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The families of two pedestrians killed in a road traffic collision in Hereford on Monday, 7th February have paid tribute to the couple.

Thomas Matts, aged 29, and Terri-Ann Barnett, aged 24, a couple who lived in Broxash Drive, Hereford, were killed when a heavy goods vehicle shed its load of timber building supplies near the railway bridge on Belmont Road at 10.30am. Tom was taken to Hereford County Hospital by paramedics, but was declared dead on arrival, while Terri was taken by air ambulance to Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital in a critical condition, but died on Monday evening.

Terri and Tom had an 18-month-old son, Morgan, and were walking along Belmont Road after dropping him off at his nursery. Tom was in between jobs while Terri worked at Shoe Zone in Hereford. Tom was one of six brothers, Mark, Steven, John, Richard and David. His parents are both deceased. Terri leaves behind two brothers and a sister, and her parents Ralph and Diane.

Speaking on behalf of Terri's family, Ralph Barnett said, 'Terri used to be a real party girl in her day and had lots of friends in Hereford. Since Morgan was born she had become an outstanding mother. She and Tom were both besotted with Morgan and were devoted to him. They were lovely parents and were planning on getting married next year. Diane feels she has lost a best friend; Terri was helping her cope with some tough times that she had been going through recently.'

Mark Matts, Tom's eldest brother said, 'We are all in complete shock. This is a tragedy that has left their son as an orphan. Tom was a loving brother and friend who will be sadly missed. He was fun loving, easy going and a doting father. He will be seriously missed by everybody.'

Ralph Barnett added, 'We would like to thank all those people who tried to help Terri and Tom; from the emergency services and hospital staff to the passers by on Belmont Road who came to their aid.'

The driver of the heavy goods vehicle was arrested on Monday on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and released on police bail while the investigation continues. Inspector Jim McLaughlin said on Monday, 'We have arrested the driver involved, which is routine in this sort of fatal collision. Road traffic collision investigations are often complex and can take some time to conclude, but I want to reassure everyone in Hereford that our officers will thoroughly scrutinize how this tragic incident has occurred.

Two young people have lost their lives and it has had a major impact on our local community.'

Terri and Tom with their baby Morgan.

9th February 2011


Nigel Griffiths, Head of John Kyrle High School

The Headteacher and staff at John Kyrle High School, Ross on Wye, have been selected for a top role supporting other schools.

Nigel Griffiths is one of the latest Headteacher teachers to be appointed to the prestigious role of National Leader of Education (NLE) by the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children's Services. In the latest recruitment round, Nigel Griffiths is one of only 100 heads to be selected from across the country. To mark the occasion he has been invited to the National College's Learning and Conference Centre in Nottingham in February for a formal induction and training for the role in driving school improvement.

NLEs use their success and professionalism as school leaders, along with the staff in their school - designated a National Support School - to provide additional leadership capability in less well performing schools or those in transition to federation or academy status. The deployment is tailor-made to suit the needs of each school. The type of support provided is flexible and can involve NLEs becoming acting or executive Headteacher of the client school or schools. They also have responsibility for bringing on the next generation of NLEs and National Support Schools.

Nigel Griffiths said, 'This is a great honour for the school in recognition of the hard work of Staff and Governors over the past several years. The school has well established systems for working with other schools and was recognized as an Accredited Consultant School by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust three years ago. My experience has shown that all schools have expertise in certain areas and as well as aiming to assist others we will also be looking to utilize schools' ideas for the benefit of our own students.'

Toby Salt, Deputy Chief Executive of the National College said, 'This is about the best school leaders helping the rest and the results speak for themselves. It's fantastic that heads like Nigel Griffiths are becoming NLEs, looking beyond their own school gates and supporting others to help more and more pupils get the best start in life.'


Lions International are currently holding a contest to find the Lions' Young Ambassador of the Year; a young person, who has worked hard for their community and their fellow men. Ryan Green was selected to represent the town of Ross and its Lions Club.

Ryan was an informal carer for his mother who died recently from cancer; at the same time doing his GCSE's. Ryan was one of the founders of the Leo Club started in the John Kyrle High School. This young Lions club runs events and raises funds to help local charitable causes similar to the senior Lions Club.

In 2010, Ryan became a volunteer in the new charity called 'Hope Support Services' whose aims are to support children and young people who are suffering a family health crisis in the home. He also assisted the Extended Services Department create a newsletter that would be distributed to all schools in the local area. He was instrumental in inviting all the schools to the John Kyrle High School and facilitated the design of the pages of the newsletter and set up discussion between the school council members of the primary schools and the John Kyrle High School. During all this time young Ryan has been writing a piece of Musical Theatre entitled 'Moving On' and it is almost ready to go on stage.

Sponsored by the Ross-on-Wye Lions Club, Ryan was recently invited to attend the Holiday Inn, Newport, where the voting was due to take place and after lunch, the Lions and their guests gathered to hear what the results were. It was a breathtaking moment when the Lions District Governor, Colin Duncan, stood up to announce the winner, which was Ryan Green. In second place was Jake Smaje of Frome in Somerset, sponsored by the Frome Lions Club.

The District Governor, Lion Colin, said the standard of entries was very high and all deserved to win, but there could be only one winner and it was by a very small margin. Both boys do an awful lot for their communities, not stinting with their time or efforts.

Ryan received a cheque from the Lions District organizers for £500 for his selected charity; he was also presented with a large silver cup which he will keep for one year. The Ross Lions Club was awarded the Young Ambassador of the Year shield. Ryan will now go on to the National Finals, which are being held in Dudley later this year. There he will be competing for a further cheque of £1500 for his charity plus a chance to go to the USA to compete in the International Finals.

All this helps to expel the myth generally thought about the young people of today. If you wish to know more about the Lions visit their website at


Ross Lions recently made a donation to help Ross Army Cadets raise funds to buy a Detachment Standard. The donation will help raise the pride in the Detachment as the Cadets will carry the Standard on ceremonial parades with the Royal British Legion, Remembrance Parades and Standard Bearing competitions. It will also be used in senior Cadet Drill Training.

The Army Cadet Force, (ACF), is one of the UK's oldest, largest and most successful youth organizations. Consisting of more than 47,000 cadets in around 1,700 local detachments across the country, the ACF helps young people between the ages of 12 and 18. Led by Squadron Leader, Chris Auker-Howlett, the Ross branch has been transformed over recent months; so much so that cadet numbers have risen from 9 to 30. The Force develops young people physically and mentally, improving self confidence, teamwork, friendship and leadership.

The ACF welcome cadets of all abilities and backgrounds who are able to access the majority of their activities. They welcome male and female young people from the age of 12 years and provide a broad range of largely free, fun, exciting and challenging, educational and adventurous opportunities.

The Standard will certainly be used by the Cadets with enormous pride and passion.

Lion Martin presents a cheque to SL Chris Auker-Howlett (Detachment Commander) with several Army Cadets and Lions Sam, Bernard and Tony.

9th February 2011 ROSS MARKET HOUSE VISITOR CENTREY...........

The new look Ross on Wye Visitor Centre at the Market House will have its official opening ceremony on Thursday, 17th February at Noon.

The new service there sees the linking of tourism and heritage services in Ross on Wye, bringing together the best of the heritage and tourism offers in order to make the Market House a one stop destination for visitors to the town and county as well as for those with an interest in the history and heritage of the area. As well as the official opening, there is an open invitation to the community and community groups to come and visit the centre and to talk to staff about what the new service has to offer.

Clare O'Reilly and her team are pleased to welcome all to sample what is a new and exciting venture for the town, its local history and local businesses.


West Mercia Police have thanked a Herefordshire off-road vehicle business for loaning the emergency services dozens of vehicles over the winter to improve their response during the adverse weather conditions.

Land Rover Experience, which is based at Eastnor, lent out more than 24 vehicles from its entire product range to ambulance, police and fire services throughout the West Midlands during the difficult period. The two vehicles lent for free to police officers in Herefordshire - a Range Rover Sport and a Land Rover Discovery - were handed back with thanks on Wednesday, 2nd February at Hereford Police Station.

Inspector Jim McLaughlin, who is responsible for roads policing in the county said, 'While we have our own off-road vehicles, these two 4x4s proved to be an excellent addition to our fleet. They were not used as emergency response vehicles, but to ensure that we provided reassurance to our communities during the heavy snow and the thawing conditions. They enabled us to get to the most difficult areas where normal vehicle access would have been impossible.'

Inspector McLaughlin highlighted the use of a 4x4 that was used to locate a couple from London who had become lost and then broken down in a remote area near Ross-on-Wye. The police were able to use the Land Rover Experience vehicles to locate the stranded motorists and ensure that they were taken safely to their bed and breakfast.

Jamie Warner from the Land Rover Experience said, 'We are really pleased to be able to help the emergency services. These additional vehicles made a difference and were able to handle the bad weather conditions with ease.'

Left to right are: PC Gareth Turner, Sergeant Dave Evans, Jamie Warner of Landrover Experience and Inspector Jim McLaughlin with one of the vehicles.

9th February 2011 FEBRUARY IS SCAM AWARENESS MONTH .............

As part of February's national scam awareness month, Herefordshire Council's trading standards service is warning people not to fall victim. Each year an incredible £4 billion is given over to fraudsters every year in the UK.

Beware of the following top ten scams from 2010:-

1. Doorstep Crime- always top of the list. Anyone who cold calls you for property repairs will almost certainly be a rogue trader and charge excessive amounts for poor quality and unnecessary work, whether it is for driveways, roofing, garden/tree surgery or any other work. If you are trying to find a reputable trader then search the Herefordshire Council's Trader Register at or phone 01432 260746.
2. Cold telephone calls falsely purporting to be from Microsoft, claiming you have a virus on your PC. They will take over your computer and charge you £80 when there is nothing wrong in the first place.
3. Small business scams:- cold calls pushing advertising in fictitious publications for the emergency services or schools etc. and then sending you an invoice for £400. Also companies who cold call you claiming to be able to reduce your business rates and others who claim to get you top of internet searches.
4. Calls falsely offering to get your credit card debts written off due to legal technicalities and then taking £400 off your credit card as payment.
5. Calls and emails offering low interest loans if you pay a large up front fee-usually by wiring the money abroad.
6. Cold calls offering free gifts, e.g. free alarm systems which come with an extortionate monitoring contract, free carpet cleans which are merely the hard sell on a vacuum cleaner costing up to £2400.
7. Timeshare resale / Holiday clubs: those with existing timeshares coerced to a presentation by false promise of buying their timeshare - only to be conned into signing up for a holiday club costing £5,000 or more.
8. Bogus charity collections, still as rife as ever and cost genuine charities millions every year.
9. Unsolicited calls that result in high pressure selling from unscrupulous traders for extortionately priced mobility aids such as bath lifts, reclining chairs and scooters.
10. Last but not least, Prize Draw Mailings, Scratchcards, usually asking you to ring a premium rate number and implying you will receive a much better prize than you actually do.

Principal Trading Standards Officer, Tim Thorne said, 'Typically, it's the elderly or vulnerable who fall victim to such scams. We can all therefore play our part and be vigilant to ensure that our relatives or neighbours don't get conned ! There is a very simple rule to follow to avoid being a scam victim and that is never deal with anyone who cold calls you at home or on the telephone and put all unsolicited mail / flyers in your green recycling bin.'


Herefordshire schools are having to face up to reductions in school budgets as a result of falling pupil numbers, increases in spending commitments for looked after children and changes to the way the government allocates its funding.

The majority of the funding schools depend upon comes from the Dedicated Schools Grant, which is allocated to the local authority by the government on a 'per pupil' basis. In the past, this has been topped up with a range of other grants, including the Standards Fund and Area Based Grant. However, these have either been stopped or reduced, making the Dedicated Schools Grant the sole source of income for many schools. Although the government has set a pupil premium of £430 for vulnerable children and an additional £200 for service children, there is still a predicted shortfall in the overall Herefordshire schools budget of £1.5m.

Herefordshire's Schools Forum met this week and agreed to the distribution of a consultation document which will be tabled at a meeting of head teachers. A package of cash-saving measures are included in the document, which could see a number of schools experiencing cuts to their school budgets from April 2011. There are also proposed cuts to the nursery education grants, which will have an impact on private, voluntary and independent play groups and nurseries. Schools and early years settings are being given the opportunity to respond to the paper this month before the Schools Forum considers a set of formal proposals at the beginning of March.

Budgets have to be set by the end of this financial year, March 2011.

9th February 2011


Autumn Medlar

Those interested in botanical art might like to know that the Courtyard Theatre will be holding an exhibition by Ross Botanical Art Group from Friday, 4th March until Saturday, 23rd April.

The exhibition, called 'A Year in the Life of Wilton Castle Garden' is the culmination of a year of visits to the beautiful castle gardens to draw inspiration and subjects from the plants growing there. The subjects vary from Spring snowdrops and polyanthus to Autumn medlar and acorns and are in a variety of media including water-colour and artistsí coloured pencil.

Ross Botanical Art Group meets for a couple of hours every Wednesday during term time at Upton Bishop Millennium Hall. Its origins lay in the Botanical Illustration classes that have been run at various venues in the county by Mary Brewin over the last few years.

Currently the group has 10 members, all of whom enjoy the challenge of painting or drawing botanical subjects to the best of their abilities.

Caroline Utting of Ross Botanical Art Group.


West Mercia Police are continuing to urge residents who use oil to heat their properties to be extra vigilant following further reports of thefts in Herefordshire. Four isolated properties were targeted by thieves in recent weeks. The details are:

∑ Between 14th and 28th January, near Phocle Green, Ross on Wye;
∑ Some time before 30th January, near Rushall, Ledbury;
∑ Between 24th and 28th January, Lucton, Leominster;
∑ Between 13th and 31st January, Longtown, Hereford.

Almost 1500 litres of heating oil was stolen between the four properties. A number of similar thefts have also occurred recently in Shropshire and Worcestershire.

Sergeant David Bishop, of Hereford Police Station said, 'While this not a large problem, we have begun to notice an increase in such crimes in the county. Previous publicity and some local people returning from breaks over Christmas have led to a clutch of reports coming in over the last week. It's a crime that's easy to miss until homeowners and farms notice their oil level has dropped dramatically. We may also be seeing an increase nationally due to the rise in fuel costs over recent months.

We are warning local people who use heating oil to take precautions against being targeted by thieves. Among other security tips, we recommend fitting an alarm which rings if the oil level suddenly drops or installing security lights to alert residents when there are intruders. It is also inexpensive to fit surveillance cameras. Residents are also urged to keep any eye out for unusual activity or vehicles and report anything suspicious as soon as possible on 0300 333 3000, or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. Of course, if you see a theft in progress, call 999.'

Sergeant Bishop recommends the following hints and tips, which can help reduce the chances of heating oil being stolen from your property:

∑ Plant shrubs or install fences to hide your tank from view. This is especially important if you live close to the road - although heating oil theft has also been known to occur at secluded properties with long drives.
∑ Remember to check your tank's oil levels on a regular basis.
∑ Where possible, install security lighting that covers your tank and the immediate surrounding area.
∑ Put in place a cage to stop thieves being able to get access to the tank.
∑ If your tank is openly accessible to all, consider re-siting it to an area or building where it is better protected
∑ Be extra vigilant of tankers or large vehicles close to your property. Note down any suspicious vehicles' registration numbers and report them to the police.
∑ If your tank is located in an outbuilding, ensure it is kept locked and secured at all times.
∑ Remove any empty containers or drums from the immediate area - they could draw attention to the presence of your oil tank.
∑ Deter thieves from entering your property by installing and using lockable gates and by maintaining boundaries and perimeter fencing.


Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a man in his 20s was assaulted when walking home after an evening out in Hereford on Saturday, 29th January.

Between 11.15pm and 11.25pm, the man, who was walking home with a friend along Victoria Street, was approached by three teenagers who assaulted him before running off towards Friars Street. The victim sustained facial injuries, including a cut to his eye that required stitches.

The offenders were described as being white males aged between 13 and 15 years old. The main offender is described as 6ft 2ins tall, of a large big build and with dark hair. The others were a similar age and one of them was wearing two earrings in his left ear, one with a ball on it.

PC Charlotte Wells of Hereford Police Station, who is investigating said, 'This was a nasty incident and it appears to be have been an unprovoked attack. We are keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed this assault and are particularly keen to speak to a group of teenage girls that were seen nearby at the time this assault took place. It is possible one these of girls saw this assault take place and they may have vital information.'

Anyone who witnessed this incident, or who may have information about the assault, is asked to contact PC Wells on 0300 333 3000 as soon as is possible. Alternatively, please remember that Crimestoppers can also be called anonymously on 0800 555 111 if you'd prefer to pass on information without identifying yourself.


Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a lorry was robbed in Herefordshire overnight.

The lorry, which was delivering a large amount of copper piping to the Plumb Centre on Holmer Road, Hereford, was targeted at approximately 11.20pm on Monday, 7th February. The driver had parked up overnight at the rear of the centre and as he slept, two men entered the cab, threatened him with violence and tied him up. The men then drove the lorry along the A49 until they arrived pulled over into a lay-by just south of Leominster.

The driver was taken into a nearby field, out of sight of the lay-by, and held for three to four hours. Meanwhile, at some point the lorry was driven away by other unseen people, possibly continuing north along the A49. A dark Vauxhall Vectra, which detectives believe may be connected to the robbery, was seen parked nearby on the slip road to Wharton Court.

Detective Sergeant Tim Powell of Hereford CID said, 'Although the driver was unharmed, it was a long and traumatic experience for him. We would like to hear from anyone who saw suspicious activity near the Plumb Centre in Hereford or any activity around the lorry as it was parked in the A49 around midnight. The lorry is very distinctive, with a bright yellow and red trailer, so if anyone saw it parked or travelling north along the A49, then we would like to hear from them. We would also like to speak to anyone who saw this dark Vauxhall Vectra acting suspiciously either near Wharton Court or perhaps on Holmer Road.'

Any witnesses or those with information are urged to call West Mercia Police's non-emergency line on 0300 333 3000; you can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Ambitious plans for a county roll out of broadband are outlined in a new strategy produced by Herefordshire Council. The strategy sets out the importance of broadband to Herefordshire as well as its potential to support the economic competitiveness of local businesses and how technology can enhance local services. The aim is to have 90 per cent of homes and business in the county linked up to fast broadband by 2015, and by 2020 50 per cent of premises having the opportunity to access broadband speeds of 100Mbps.

Councillor Roger Phillips, leader of Herefordshire Council said, 'Though we are focusing on making sure the network is in place, the most important thing is the impact super fast broadband can have on our businesses and communities. The potential is massive for the county and we want to make sure people and businesses make the most of the technologies that are going to be available.'

The benefits, as outlined in the strategy, include allowing businesses to become more competitive with an increasing dependency on technology to do business and communicate in a global economy. Other benefits include easier access to services for people, particularly those living in rural areas, and more widely, the use of technologies to improve services to everyone. In addition there are environmental and cost benefits that broadband coverage in the county can bring.

The broadband pilot awarded to Herefordshire will focus on the south of the county but with the intention of a quick roll out to the rest of Herefordshire as the lessons from the pilot are identified. As part of the pilot, Herefordshire Council will work closely with business and communities to ensure they make the best use of the technology that will be available.

The strategy is available on the Herefordshire Council website at Alternatively email or telephone 01432 261758 to request a copy.

Councillor Roger Phillips with the new broadband strategy.


Despite the deepest cuts in the funding they will receive from Central Government, Herefordshire Council has confirmed they are to keep council tax levels at the same level as last year. To achieve this, they are to cut management costs and slash red tape, but have vowed to safeguard most front line services, including those to the most vulnerable people in Herefordshire.

'Be under no illusion,' Councillor Roger Phillips, the leader of the council, told fellow councillors at their meeting on Friday, 4th February. 'These are the deepest cuts we've ever had to face. Our strategy is to cut the costs of delivery and protect front line services where we can.'

Councillor Philips highlighted the deep partnership which has been forged with NHS Herefordshire and Hereford Hospital Trust which has allowed a number of services to be shared as a key area of savings, along with a commitment to cut around 250 jobs, approximately 12 per cent of the workforce, including more than 30 management posts.

The financial strategy is designed to save just over £10.3 million in the coming financial year and £5.8 million in the following year. However, the budget also includes an extra £3.5 million for adult social care to help support services to the more than 4,500 older people in the county. The number of older people is growing rapidly and during the last 12 months alone has increased by seven per cent.

While the cut in Government funding affects concessionary bus fares, councillors were told that the council proposes to use some of its financial reserves to retain free travel for bus pass holders, although free travel will no longer be available during the weekday morning commuter period before 9.30am. The budget also means that, unlike many other areas of the country, Herefordshire will hold on to its existing libraries but the mobile library service is undergoing a review.

During the two hour debate, Councillor Phillips announced that he was writing to the county's two MPs to raise his concerns regarding the alarming rise in the cost of fuel which is affecting individuals, businesses and the public sector. He also said he would continue to lobby central government in a bid to ensure maintenance and improvements to the county's roads remained a priority.

'There's no doubt that this is a tough budget. We've been planning for it; it will take a lot of effort to implement, but we have no choice,' he said.

Thirty councillors voted in favour of the budget strategy and keeping council tax to its current level, while 22 councillors abstained.


The 73rd annual exhibition of the Society of Wood Engravers will show the latest work by their members at Hereford Museum & Art Gallery from Saturday, 12th February until Wednesday, 6th April. This will be a welcome return visit to Hereford for this popular show as the Society of Wood Engravers was last in Hereford back in 2006.

The Society was founded in 1920 by a group of artists that included Lucien Pissaro, Eric Gill and Gwen Raverat. Over the years, the Society has built up an international reputation for excellence and subjects are wide ranging as are the techniques.

Hilary Paynter, a former chairman of the Society said, 'Our annual exhibition regularly attracts work from across the globe with artists in Japan, Ukraine, Poland, Italy, Holland, France, Brazil, Canada and the USA.'

If you would like to see the exhibition, the opening times are: Tuesday to Friday, 10am until 5pm, Saturdays, 10am until 4pm. Sunday 3rd April, 10 - 4pm. Closed: Sundays and Mondays except Sunday, 3rd April.


Herefordshire Council is setting up shop at a market place event for schools which promises to change the way schools buy services from the local authority.

More than 200 delegates from 85 local schools and academies have booked to attend the event which will take place at The Freedom Centre, Hereford and they will be able to talk to individual service providers and learn more about what is on offer. A new traded services brochure will also be available explaining what schools can expect from each service, how much it will cost and what benefits it will bring to the school.

Every year individual schools are given the option of buying a number of corporate services from the council. Financial support services, human resources management, school library services and help with ICT are just a few of the things schools can purchase at the moment. This year a new suite of services from the Children and Young People's Directorate will be available for schools to choose from. Services on offer include support for newly qualified teachers, educational welfare, youth support, additional and special educational needs, governor services, schools library, buildings management, curriculum advice and support, legal and insurance services.

Chris Baird, assistant director for planning, performance and development said, 'Now schools have more choices about how they run their finances and we have responded by developing a more commercially-based portfolio of services which they can choose from. The marketplace event will help schools understand the new way of working and give school representatives the opportunity to talk directly to service providers about what is on offer.'

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