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9th June 2010 NEWS FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION.......
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ITALIAN MARKET TO VISIT ROSS ON FRIDAY

Ross-on-Wye is to host an Italian Food Market in its historic market square for the first time on Friday, 11th June. During the week leading up to the visit, there are a number of Italian themed events going on.

There will be two pasta making demonstrations by Lindy Wildsmith at the Ross Cookshop on Thursday, 10th June, one at 11am and the second at 2pm. Lindy Wildsmith is a well known local food writer and cookery demonstrator and she will perform two further cookery demonstrations at the market place at 11am and 1pm on Friday 11th June. Lindy will also be signing copies of her books at Rossiter Books, High Street at midday.

The Italian Market itself will comprise sixteen market stalls selling a variety of real Italian products including cheeses, cured meats, herbs, pasta, olives, artichokes, biscuits, olive oil, vinegars, a range of speciality breads and Torrone e Cioccolata, a famous nougat cake first made in 1441. There will also be hot food and snacks including pizza, Italian sausages and rice balls.

Throughout the week, many Ross retailers will be taking on the Italian theme. There will be Italian wine tasting and other goodies at Truffles and Italian blend coffee and specials in Pots and Pieces Teashop.

Look out for the flags and bunting in the shops this week and you are bound to be on the trail of something Italian!


KRUNCH PERFORM FOR KARENS 50TH BIRTHDAY

Happy 50th birthday greetings go to Karen Phelps, who celebrated her big day at a surprise party with lots of family and friends at the White Lion Inn on Saturday evening.

Local band KRUNCH provided the music and as usual, performed brilliantly, keeping everybody entertained with their great range of covers music. This great band kept most of their audience up on their feet all night, playing songs from Thin Lizzie, The Beatles, Greenday, the Rolling Stones . . . well they pretty much cover everything from Sandy Shaw to the Sex Pistols and more. They are well worth going to see if you enjoy live music.

We hope you enjoyed your birthday, Karen. We most certainly did and hope that you are over the shock by now.

For those of you who enjoy a good quiz, the White Lion Inn are holding a special quiz in aid of the Spinal Injuries Association this coming Sunday, 13th June. Entrance is free but donations are more than welcome. Please click here to view the background to the event.


KRUNCH giving an excellent performance at the White Lion on Saturday evening.

FROM BUILDING SOCIETY MANAGER TO DOG GROOMER EXTRAORDINAIRE

Ann Barrett, retired Branch Manager of Nationwide, Ross-on-Wye is startling local residents with her dog grooming skills. Described by highly respected, nationally recognised dog groomers as having 'a natural eye for this,' Ann, who once organized our mortgages and met our financial needs has brought her loving sparkle to the world of pet care.

Ann is nearing the completion of her City and Guilds qualification and we would like to congratulate her on her achievements so far. When asked why she named her new project 'Eden Grooming,' Ann replied, Because Eden was where the animals were made perfect…'

The people of Ross are already appreciating her services as the only dog groomer in the local area, vastly reducing travel time for local dog owners. We wish her every success in our town with all the work she does with the 'best friends' of many Ross residents.


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ROSS DOG OWNERS URGED TO TAKE LEAD WITH RESPONSIBLE OWNERSHIP

Herefordshire Council's Community Protection Team is calling on all dog owners in Ross to take the lead and learn all about responsible dog ownership. The planned Ross scheme aims to teach people the basics of dog handling and will build on a successful pilot already bring operated in Belmont, Hereford.

Shane Hancock, acting regulatory services manager for Herefordshire Council said, We have decided to bring these sessions to Ross as they have proved so popular in Hereford with more than 20 people regularly attending. The problem of dog fouling has often been raised by residents at PACT meetings and we feel education is one of the best ways to tackle this so, as part of the programme, we will also be urging people to clear up after their dogs and reminding them of their responsibilities.

We would like any dog owners in Ross-on-Wye to contact us who are interested in attending a six-week course to be run on Tuesdays from 1.30pm until 2.30pm. Anyone who then signs up for the course will receive a certificate after they have attended the six sessions.'

For further information contact Craig Sandman on 01432 260164 or email csandman@herefordshire.gov.uk


ELIZABETH IS BRITAINS 2ND FRIENDLIEST B&B LANDLADY

Elizabeth Bloxham from Granton House is flying the flag for Ross-on-Wye as she has just been selected as runner up in the AA's Friendliest Landlady of the Year 2010. The winner came from Ulster.

This is a great achievement for Elizabeth and her husband John who were short listed from over 3,500 bed & breakfasts in the UK inspected by the AA. All the finalists were nominated by the AA's Hotel inspectors and the Awards ceremony was held on 25th May at the Royal Horse Guards Hotel in London where they were presented with a crystal engraved decanter and a framed certificate following a champagne reception and luncheon.

Granton House in Goodrich, near to Ross on Wye is an unusual and attractive 17th century house within walled gardens in a peaceful village setting with stunning views of Coppet Hill. The river Wye is less than half a mile away, and there are many walks from the door and a fantastic castle in the village. The small market towns of Ross on Wye, Monmouth and Ledbury are just a short drive away and it is conveniently within reach of many places of interest.

Guests will always find a friendly, warm welcome from Elizabeth and John, together with a home from home feel with very comfortable beds made up with Egyptian cotton linen and fresh flowers in the en-suite rooms. Local produce is used for delicious cooked breakfasts and their guests enjoy a wealth of home-made produce including bread, cakes, muesli and preserves.

Among the visitors that have stayed at Granton House in the five years since opening their doors was a lady from Covent Garden opera. Liz said, 'She was a larger than life character and as she was about to settle her bill, asked if we would like her to sing something. She sang in our hallway, a beautiful aria. The other guests were waiting to settle their bills but were equally thrilled to hear her sing. I commented that it wasn't everyday that guests were treated to such an experience in a B&B!

Another event took place when a young couple, both musicians, stayed one weekend. John chatted to them after breakfast and discovered that they had cut several CD's. He told them that our nephew worked with EMI and was always on the lookout for new talent and that we could put them in touch. They were gracious in their reply but it was only later when John asked if they had managed to sell any albums that they said 'about 70 million,' we then discovered he was part of the internationally successful reggae band.'

Granton house has been named by the AA as one of Britain's top B&B's and together with a successful self-catering holiday let, this award is the icing on the cake.


Liz (left) and John Bloxham receiving their award.

COUNCIL RECEIVES CASH SUBSIDY TO HELP CHILDREN ENJOY ACTIVITIES

Herefordshire Council has received half a million pounds to help children and young people join in activities outside school hours. The funding, which comes from the government, is to ensure that activities are accessible to all children and young people, including those who are less well off financially and children who are in local authority care.

It is a requirement for all schools to provide extended services to their children and families. The services they are expected to provide include childcare (in primary and special schools), study support, sport and music clubs, access to specialist services, parenting support, family learning, community access to facilities including adult and family learning, ICT and sports facilities. Schools are not expected to provide these services alone, or to deliver them on site necessarily. Instead, they are encouraged to work in partnership with other schools and agencies, including voluntary and community organizations. They are also expected to consult widely with pupils, families, their own staff and the wider community to identify priorities and needs.

Herefordshire's schools work in clusters to run lots of additional out of school activities across the county. Some of these activities are free but many of them have to be paid for. For example, some clusters have used funding to put on extra sports or fitness clubs after school, for which a small charge is made. Others organize trips, events and outings or provide training opportunities. The cash boost will help make sure all children and young people can enjoy some of these activities and help families with care and activities during school holidays. Herefordshire schools have agreed criteria for pupils to access the funding and the council has distributed the grant to secondary schools who manage cluster arrangements.

Councillor Jenny Hyde, cabinet member for children's services said, 'It is very important that all our children and young people are able to participate in positive activities, especially over the holiday period. Extended schools co-ordinators have been working with local school communities to put on a range of activities, but budgets are limited and some charges have to be made to cover costs. This very welcome fund is there to help make sure that no one is excluded because of economic hardship.'


YOUNG LIFEGUARDS NEEDED TO KEEP THE COUNTYS WATERS SAFE

Herefordshire Council is looking for budding young canoe lifeguards to join adult volunteers and keep the county's waters safe.

Hereford Canoe Lifeguards is a youth project supported by the council's youth service. The club is made up of 13-19 year olds and adult volunteers who want to provide a service to the local community in water safety and supervision. Members of the club, which meets once a week on a Friday evening at Hereford Canoe Centre, take part in regular kayaking, lifesaving, first aid, rescue management and radio communication training sessions. In addition, the lifeguard team belongs to a national network which provides lifeguard cover for national events such as international triathlons and raft races.

The team's skills were tested to the full last month as they provided safety cover for a play event on the King George V Playing fields in Hereford. More than 4,000 people attended the riverside event and the lifeguards were on patrol to make sure the River Wye and its river banks were kept safe. The team was involved in three missing people searches during the day, but thankfully all were found safe and sound. The young people involved also did a foot patrol around Victoria Bridge providing safety information to water users.

Mike Bethell, one of the young volunteers, was the patrol leader during the day. 'We worked hard all day but it was really rewarding to see everyone enjoying the day safely,' said Mike. 'We had some serious moments when we had to do river searches for missing young people, but all were found so that was okay.'

Nick James of Herefordshire Council said, 'It was great to see the young people doing their first independent lifeguard patrol. They've worked hard doing lots of training and making sure they were ready for the job. I'm very proud to work with such dedicated young people providing such a valuable service to their local community.

Anyone interested in joining the project should contact Nick on 01432 260212.


Mike Bethel, Patrol Leader.

VOLUNTEER GROUPS RECEIVE QUEEN'S AWARD FOR VOLUNTARY SERVICE

The county boxing club and a disability centre which have received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service will be among a host of organizations being honoured at a special tea party.

Last week it was announced that the Wye Amateur Boxing Club and the FC Phoenix Disability Development Centre have been selected to receive the award. They will join community transport providers, an athletics club and a county Shopmobility scheme, which were among eight voluntary groups nominated for the award, at a tea party to be held on Tuesday next week, 15th June, which will be jointly hosted by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire, The Countess of Darnley, and Herefordshire Council's Chairman, Councillor John Stone.

The organizations nominated for the award are: Dore Community Transport, Ewyas Harold Memorial Hall, Hereford Samaritans, Wye Valley Boxing Club, FC Phoenix Disability, Hereford County Athletic Club, Leominster Shopmobility and Leominster Flowerpot Kids.

The award is the highest given to volunteer groups across the UK for outstanding work in local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen's coronation and is managed by the Office of the third Sector, based in the Cabinet Office. Nationally, 341 groups were nominated by members of the public and 103 of these have been awarded the "MBE for voluntary groups" for their outstanding contributions to local communities.

Further details about the award can be found at: www.queensawardvoluntary.gov.uk.


PHASE ONE OF WIDEMARSH STREET REFURBISHMENT NEARS COMPLETION

Herefordshire Council's major scheme to refurbish Widemarsh Street is progressing well with Phase One virtually complete. The works, being carried out by Alun Griffiths Ltd, are on schedule and the area has now been opened to the public so they can fully appreciate the quality of the natural stone materials being used during this major refurbishment scheme.

The council's contractors are now continuing work on Phase 2 in Widemarsh Street and Phase 3A in Maylord Street. Works in Widemarsh Street were scaled down during the annual May Fair but continued in Maylord Street to keep the overall programme on schedule for completion before the Christmas shopping period.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for highways and transportation said, 'The works completed so far look fantastic and give a real flavour of how the completed street will look. We are making excellent progress with the works and I would like to again extend my thanks to traders for bearing with us. I would also like to remind shoppers and visitors that access to the shops in Widemarsh Street is being fully maintained during the works and would encourage people to continue to visit their favourite outlets.

I would also like to draw attention to the fact that we are using low kerbs in this scheme and pedestrians need to take care. Internationally renowned street designer Ben Hamilton-Baillie, has reiterated that these low kerbs are widely used elsewhere in new street schemes and people just need time to adapt and get familiar with the new environment. This is especially the case during construction works and I'm sure when the work is complete, people will soon get used to the low kerbs which are intended to combat the problems partially sighted and blind people encounter when there is no kerb face.'


The completed Phase One section of Widemarsh Street.

Workmen laying the natural stones in Widemarsh Street.

GIANT JUMBLE SALE AT MAY HILL RAISES FUNDS FOR MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY

The Royal Forest of Dean branch of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign held their most successful Giant Jumble Sale recently at May Hill village hall. Despite the poor weather, the event drew a large crowd of keen shoppers. Branch Chairman, Lifa Oakley, was delighted to report that the event raised £1285.00 and would like to say a huge thank you to all the helpers who made this a wonderful day. The next Giant Jumble Sale is on the 23rd October at May Hill commencing at 2pm and Lifa looks forward to your support.

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the only UK charity focusing on all muscle disease. It has pioneered the search for treatments and cures for nearly 50 years and continues to provide practical, medical and emotional support to people affected by the conditions. The charity relies entirely on voluntary donations. The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the only UK charity focusing on all muscular dystrophies and related muscle diseases. More than 60,000 people in the UK have muscle disease and 300,000 people are indirectly affected as relatives and carers. Treatments remain limited and there is, as yet, no cure, but increased knowledge has improved the quality of people's lives and, in many cases, length of life.

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign has pioneered the search for treatments and cures for nearly 50 years, and are dedicated to improving the lives of all those people affected. They rely almost entirely on voluntary donations to fund their groundbreaking and vital work. All their work is underpinned by the dedication of it's supporters. Up and down the country, thousands of people give their time and energy to help them continue their vital work. They are always ready to welcome anyone who wants to help join the fight against muscle disease.

Please visit the website www.muscular-dystrophy.org


The giant jumble sale was a great success.

CRIME IN HEREFORDSHIRE AT AN ALL TIME LOW

Residents of Herefordshire will be pleased to know that the county has recorded fewer than 10,000 crimes for the first time since National Crime Recording Standards were introduced across West Mercia in 2002/03. This is a reduction of over 4,230 crimes over seven years.

Chair of Herefordshire Policing Board, Bernard Hunt said, 'This astonishing figure mean many fewer victims of crime and a better quality of life for people in the county. We very much appreciate and would like to thank Herefordshire Division of West Mercia Police. Superintendent Kevin Purcell and his whole team of officers and staff have risen to the challenge we set to make a real difference to local people.

In particular the Police response to the concerns we raised on behalf of a local community regarding the possible closure of their front counter was excellent, re-enforcing a spirit of co-operation and understanding. I am sure that community is grateful that their concerns were listened to and that their front counter remains open. I would also like to thank local communities and partner agencies who have worked along side the Police and contributed to these impressive results. The Police could not have achieved these results on their own.'

In the year ending 31st March 2010 there were 9,883 recorded crimes in Herefordshire. In comparison with the previous year there was a reduction of 542 total crimes, which included: 51 fewer serious violence against the person crimes, 47 fewer domestic burglaries, 44 fewer motor vehicle thefts and 10 fewer robberies.

The Herefordshire Policing Board is made up of West Mercia Police Authority Members: Councillor Bernard Hunt, Councillor Richard Smith, Paul Deneen JP-DL and Peter Dunford. They meet regularly with Superintendent Kevin Purcell, who is responsible for operational policing in Herefordshire, to monitor delivery of the West Mercia Policing Plan at divisional level. Their focus is on performance, community engagement and partnership working.


SOULS OF THE FIRE DRAGON AUTHOR SIGNS BOOKS

You may have read in an earlier issue of Wyenot News that local author, John Wriedon had published a book and, it turns out that on the strength of that article he sold a copy. On Thursday evening he gave a talk on 'Souls of the Fire Dragon' after which a book signing was held at Rossiters Book shop.

Souls of the Fire Dragon introduces you to lovers, Fate and Chance, twins, Life and Death, dragons and magicians, tyrants and heroes, characters who are cleverly woven into a web of dark fantasy coupled with a good deal of humour. The story is set in an Orwellian society which is controlled by the Patrician and the Watchmen via CCTV and where freedom of speech and magic are forbidden. One word out of place was punishable by death, not only for the offender, but his entire family too.

The Hero of the story is Akea, who, with the help of dragons, magic and friends endeavours to fight the tyranny of the state, discovering many things along the way, including powerful magic, love and his true self. John's idea for this story came from a dream he had, the details of which he wrote down, later adding scenes from his imagination.

John's novel, Souls of the Fire Dragon, is currently available on Amazon, Tesco.com and Book 24, priced at £8.99 and will soon be available online from Waterstones and W.H. Smith.


Local author John Wriedon gives a talk on 'Souls of the Fire Dragon' on Thursady evening.

COUNCIL TO ENCOURAGE WILD FLOWER GROWTH IN HEREFORD CEMETERY

As part of its commitment to the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, Herefordshire Council has decided to manage selected areas within Hereford Cemetery differently to encourage wild flower growth and biodiversity. John Gibbon, the council's bereavement services manager, has agreed to change the maintenance programme carried out by the council's service delivery partner Amey.

John said, 'Amey are responsible for maintaining the cemetery grounds to its current high standard. This change will allow some of the much older areas to be cut every six months in preparation for sowing wild flowers in a few years, when the ground has been suitably prepared, which in turn will encourage bees and insects to flourish in the undisturbed grass areas. Meandering paths will be cut within these areas to encourage visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of the grounds.'

Neill Davies, grounds supervisor for Amey added, 'These changes mean we will be able to concentrate on the maintenance of the newer areas of the cemetery and assist with other works as needed on site while allowing the natural beauty of the older areas to be enjoyed by all.'


COUNCIL RELAUNCHES SCHEME GIVING GRANTS TO HELP CUT FUEL BILLS

Herefordshire Council has just relaunched its Special Energy Efficiency Scheme (SEES) for 2010/11 offering up to £500 to help county residents install energy saving measures and help to reduce their fuel bills. Conserving energy in the home also makes a vital contribution towards the Government's climate change commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.

Loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, draught proofing for doors and windows, thermostatic radiator valves, room thermostats, programmers, hot water cylinder thermostats and jackets are all measures covered by the SEES grants. Councillor Phil Cutter, Herefordshire Council's energy champion said, 'As fuel costs continue to increase, more and more people are seeking ways to reduce their energy bills. Last year we issued a record 1,130 SEES grants and a further 1,300 people received grants for loft and cavity wall insulation. It is wonderful to be able to help so many households and I hope people will take advantage of this new round of grants which will not only reduce their fuel bills but will also reduce the impact their activities have on the environment.'

Private homeowners or private tenants living in Herefordshire may apply if they are aged 60 or over; or if they heat their home as a main source of heat by electric storage heaters, electric central heating, solid fuel central heating, LPG central heating, oil fired central heating, room heaters with no central heating, or if they pay for their fuel use with prepayment meters.

Any private home owner or tenant with less than 4 inches of loft insulation can also apply for a grant to pay for the insulation to be topped up to the recommended depth of 10 inches. They are also eligible for cavity wall insulation regardless of income. Aside from the SEES scheme, there are other heavily discounted schemes which residents can apply for to have their home insulated funded by energy suppliers.

To find out more, contact Domestic and General Insulation on 0844 5430043 or the Energy Saving Trust Advice Centre on 0800 512012.

To help people know how electricity is used in their homes, energy display meters are also available to loan from the county libraries. These devices really show where energy is being wasted in homes and can help encourage people to switch off lights when leaving rooms as well as turning off all appliances at the plug rather than having them use electricity when they are on standby.


COUNTY NURSERIES TAKE PART IN NATIONAL TODDLER FOOD SURVEY

A lack of clear guidance about a healthy diet for the under fives means that even the best intentioned nursery schools are failing to provide the right proportions of food and nutrients to children, a study supported by Herefordshire Council's trading standards team has discovered.

The extensive two-year study co-ordinated by LACORS, part of the Local Government Association Group, found that none of the nurseries which volunteered to be involved were managing to meet all of the current guidelines on food for this age group, despite many putting a lot of effort into providing healthy menus. The twenty nine councils which took part in the project, working with more than 100 nurseries, showed that food standards were improved when childcare providers were given better information by dieticians about how to give very young children the right diet. Herefordshire was one of the counties taking part and food standards officers from the council took samples of food provided at the nurseries which were then analysed and compared with nutritional guidelines.

Problems varied across all the nurseries involved but included, excessively high levels of salt, inappropriate portion sizes, both too large and too small, and shortages of carbohydrates to give children energy because some were being given too much fruit. A common problem was applying healthy eating principles which work for adults and older children to the under fives, despite their very different needs. Some nurseries also encountered pressure from parents to offer low-fat options such as skimmed milk, even though this could be bad for very young children.

LACORS is now urging Government to establish a single source of practical guidance for nurseries in association with councils and health professionals. One of the participating nurseries was Bridges Childcare who are based at Wormbridge. Acting on the dietician's advice following the survey, Bridges childcare have found innovative ways to improve the nutrient intake of the children in their care. New foods on the menu include a 'pink potato pie' using pilchards and white fish, and weekly helpings of a cleverly disguised 'liver casserole'.

Anyone requiring further information should contact Kathryn Simpson, trading standards enforcement officer on 01432 261683 or email: ksimpson@herefordshire.gov.uk


Tucking into spaghetti bolognaise are Joshua Hanson, Alice Lloyd, Colette Powell and William Smith, watched by nursery assistant Christopher Honey.

SCHOOLS URGED TO JOIN CHALLENGE TO CUT ENERGY USE

Herefordshire Council is urging all schools in the county to get involved in an energy challenge aimed at not only reducing their running costs but also saving the planet. The Schools Energy Challenge 2010 is being run by the council's Eco-School team who will help schools taking part and co-ordinate the scheme.

Philip Tamuno, the council's sustainability officer said, 'Schools in Herefordshire account for about 50 per cent of carbon emissions from council properties. As part of the Herefordshire Local Area Agreement (LAA), we have a target to reduce carbon emissions by 13.1 per cent by March 2011 so schools can really help us to meet this challenging target.

We know most school energy costs come from lighting and other electrical appliances and what we are aiming to do is make our schools more energy efficient so they not only save money but also reduce the impact they have on the environment. The challenge will involve working with pupils and teachers to reduce the amount of energy they use and then share best practice among those taking part so everyone benefits from more efficient schools.'

Schools are being invited to sign up for the energy challenge and need to complete an application form before Monday, 14th June. Application forms are being delivered to all schools in the county and anyone who needs any extra information should contact Philip Tamuno on 01432 260132.

It is planned to start the challenge in September this year when schools return after the summer holidays.


GRAHAM BOWS OUT AFTER MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS SERVICE

NHS Herefordshire bade farewell to one of its longest serving employees at the end of May. Graham Price has been looking after the maintenance and development of NHS buildings in Herefordshire for more than 30 years.

Graham started work on 1st September 1979 as Senior Buildings Officer in the Works Department for the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Area Health Authority, as it was called then. He was responsible for the maintenance of properties across the county, including Holme Lacy hospital, St Mary's hospital at Burghill, all the community hospitals and the old county and general hospitals.

Over the years Graham has survived many organizational changes in the local NHS, working for the Herefordshire Health Authority, Herefordshire Community Health Trust and finally the Primary Care Trust. After seeing the Stonebow Unit built during 1985, Graham says he has been pleased to see the recent modernization and refurbishment works completed there before he retired. Other highlights of his thirty years have included the building of the new community hospital in Ross on Wye and the Leominster dental access centre.

Of his long service, Graham said, 'It's always been about trying to make a difference; to provide the best possible environment both for our staff who provide the services, and for the patients they serve.'

Graham says he is planning a holiday and then intends to get the garden tidy and enjoy spending time with his family.


Graham Price, Associate Director of Facilities, NHS Herefordshire retires after more than 30 years' service.

WHEELCHAIR USERS HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO PRACTICE USING THE BUS

Herefordshire Council and First Group bus company have teamed up to give wheelchair users the chance to practise getting on and off a bus without the pressure of other passengers and a timetable to keep to.

Learning to get on and off a bus in a wheelchair can be quite a daunting task if you've never done it before. Buses are usually busy and have to stick to timetables so there is very little opportunity to practice getting it right, yet lots of pressure to do so quickly. Being able to use the bus gives wheelchair users freedom to get about more and live more active independent lives.

To help users practise manoeuvring their chair into the allocated space on a bus, a bus will be available from 10.30am until 2.30pm at Maylords Orchard Bus Stops on Tuesday, 15th June. Lynsey Radmore, of Herefordshire Council said, 'We know that the thought of using a bus for the first time without a carer can be a worry to many wheelchair users, yet once the technique is mastered, it's easy and provides users with lots of opportunities to travel around the county, meet new people and live independent lives. We're delighted to be able to offer users this practise session. Council staff will be on hand to give guidance, along with a driver from First Group, although no manual assistance can be given. Users are welcome to bring a carer if someone usually pushes their chair for them.'

Please note this opportunity is only suitable for manual or electric wheelchairs and not for users of mobility scooters. Further information is available from the council's corporate diversity team on 01432 260244 or by emailing diversity@herefordshire.gov.uk


AMEY WORKER SHORTLISTED FOR NATIONAL AWARD

Herefordshire Council and Amey Herefordshire are delighted to congratulate Alan Clarke, Gang Leader, on reaching the shortlist for the National Transport Awards 2010 for Frontline Employee of the Year.

Mark Thomas, Amey service director said, 'In the 35 years since he first started working on the roads, Alan has worked in many roles, showing dedication in each and every one. Alan has, on numerous occasions gone above and beyond what might reasonably be expected of him, most recently during the heavy snow and sub zero temperatures of the worst winter weather we have had for almost 30 years. During the winter, Alan demonstrated his dedication to service and safety by not only completing his gritting routes during the night when the weather was at its worst but also helping less experienced drivers in a combined effort to help keep the roads open and safe. We wish Alan all the best for the award finals in July.'

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for highways and transportation said, 'It is only due to the dedication and commitment of people like Alan that we were able to keep the roads open in the county during the worst of the worst winter weather we have seen for many years. Alan's experience and knowledge will also have been invaluable in guiding gritting operations on the ground and I would also like to wish him all the best for the finals.'

The National Transport Awards 2010 are run in association with Transport Times and with the support of the Department for Transport, GMPTE, Passenger Focus and the Local Transport Planning Network. Winners will be announced on Thursday, 15th July at the Palace Hotel, Manchester.

The judging panel, chaired by David Begg comprised Andy Southern, Managing Director of Transport Planning, Atkins Highways & Transportation; Nick Bisson, Director of Regional and Local Transport Policy, Department for Transport; and Anthony Smith, Chief Executive, Passenger Focus.


Alan Clarke receiving the letter informing him he is in the final with John Maddy, Amey divisional contracting manager.

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