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6th April 2011

FAMILY TRIBUTE TO JAMES BALL . . . . . . . . . .

James Ball

James Alan Ball will be sadly missed by his mother, Pauline Ball, his father, Richard Ball, his elder brother, Andrew Ball and his nine-year-old daughter, as well as his extended family and friends.

James, who died after receiving stab wounds on 26th March, used to love fishing on the River Wye and when you asked what he had done that day, he would say, 'I had a good day's fishing.'

His daughter particularly tells about her fishing trips with Daddy. She also loved writing to and receiving letters from him.

James was very good with children and they loved having him around. His nephews say that they will miss him because when James was around he would always play with them and he was good fun. He was a great person to have as an uncle.

James was a caring person and always ready to help both his family and friends. He was kind and generous and would always be the first person to offer help and comfort in times of trouble. His closest friend, with whom he had been friends since pre-school days, described him as 'one of the good guys.'

He was a good cook and had worked as a chef in hotels and pubs. He was always keen to cook meals for his family and his friends. His family would like to thank so many people who have contact them to express their condolences. It is a comfort to the family to know that he meant so much to all those people.

His family are obviously deeply shocked by the suddenness and circumstances of his death and request that their privacy is respected by the media.


If you are wondering what kind of entertainment is going on in and around Ross-on-Wye this week, here are a few items that may be of interest to you.

On Friday and Saturday evenings the popular Bare Bones Theatre Company are putting on their production of the play 'A Bolt From the Blue.' Friday's performance will take place at Woolhope Village Hall and on Saturday, the stage will be in Goodrich Village Hall.

The Bucket Band will be appearing at the White Lion Inn on Friday evening, singing for their supper, or, rather, donations to support an orphanage in Nepal.

At St. Michael's Church in Hope Mansell, Ross Choristers will be performing some vocal 'Music for an April Evening.'

Garway Village Hall is the venue for some great music on Saturday when Garway Live! will be pleased to welcome you all to performances by Elephant Talk and the lovely Lou Richardson.

On Sunday, if you want to clear that Saturday Night head, a charity aerobathon is being held at Ross Health and Fitness to raise money for the Hope Trust.

We are currently receiving lists of events to celebrate the forthcoming marriage of HRH Prince William and Miss Kate Middleton. If you are holding an event to mark this happy occasion, please feel free to send us the details and we will publish them for you. In fact, if you are holding any event at all, the same invitation applies. Have a great weekend.


If you enjoy Zumba or keeping fit in general, why not go along to Ross Health and Fitness on Sunday morning and join in their annual charity Aerobathon? Every year, proprietors, Dean and Caroline Ward offer their studio for a local charity to raise much needed funds. This year, the money being raised will go to the Hope Trust, a Ross based charity which gives help and support to children and young people with a family member who has been diagnosed with a life threatening illness.

Most of the places have already been booked but there is still room for a few more to take part in the event, which will begin at 11am with a Zumba session. At 12 Noon there will be Box aerobics, followed at 1pm by Body Condition then an Ab Attack session at 1:30pm.

If you would like to take part and help the Hope Trust, please pick up a sponsor form from the centre. Alternatively, you may just like to pay £15 for the whole event.


The Ross-on-Wye4Acorns support group held their 6 mile sponsored walk on Sunday, 27th March. This followed on from the Race Night which raised a respectable £653.00.

The weather was perfect and 22 people set off from their home base at The Man of Ross Inn at 10.30am to walk the course around Homme Green, through Walford and Tudorville and back to the Man of Ross. First home in a time of 1 and half hours was Mark Ward, although he rushed the last mile or so as the vindaloo from the night before was having an effect. Next was Mark Ravenhill pushing his son in the pushchair. Bringing up the rear of the field was Chad and Glenda Harris in 2 hours. All in all and besides a few sore feet and blisters, an enjoyable walk was had and it is now just the uneveiable task of collecting the sponsor money up, which, it is hopes will raise signifiacnt funds towards the Acorn charity.

Rossonwye4acorns support group are always looking for help in raising money for Acorns. If anybody would like to help, please contact Oliva Phillips via email at The support group are also looking for sponsorship in any format. They have a fun run on 12th June, which they hope will raise a lot of interest as they would like to make it not only an annual event, but one of the main events of the year for the Ross-on-Wye calendar.

The fun fundraisers before they set off on their walk.

Mark Ravenhill and his son look forward to the walk.

Chad and Glenda Harris arrive back at the pub.


Easter is going to be very late this year, leaving many people under the impression that the 'rules' of this moveable feast had changed. This is, in fact not the case. For some reason, the people who decided upon the dates for such feasts decreed that Easter should fall on the first Sunday after the full moon which falls on or follows the 21st March. This fact however, brings little comfort to the business people from many tourism reliant towns, such as Ross-on-Wye, as it means that the traditional kick off to the season is not happening until Friday, 22nd April.

For those Mon-Fri, 9-5ers who were smart enough to latch onto the fact that if they booked a few days holiday during Easter week, they are in for a good long holiday. (The Easter holiday is followed by the Royal Wedding (public holiday), which takes place on Friday, 29th April, giving them that day, the Saturday and Sunday, then May Day Bank Holiday Monday off!) Well done. We hope the sun shines for you. But what to do with all this time off?

Apart from relishing the fact that you've 'got one over on the boss,' The Hostelrie at Goodrich are holding a Sausage and Cider weekend over Easter and will feature local sausage producers such as Toby Lovell of Broome Farm and many local cider producers including Ross Cider and Perry Co. The opportunities to sample these delicious delights will be complemented by some excellent live music provided by the fabulous Jiveoholics, The Deadbeats, OCD and many more fine local bands and artistes. For further information on this event, please call The Hostelrie on 01600 890214

On Easter Monday, Colin Davies of Colins Tyrecare will be running another of his popular Vintage Vehicle Road Runs and many people including Wilton Court are organizing special Royal Wedding events.

The Ross branch of the Royal British Legion are organizing a Family Fun Day by the riverside on 12th June where hopefully there will be a real tank on display for children of all ages to explore. The Wye Valley AONB are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year and one of their events, with a Georgian theme, will be taking place on Saturday, 18th June.

New Ross Rocks Festival will be taking place on Saturday 25th June and will be showing visitors what Ross-on-Wye has to offer by way of local food and drink producers, trades people, dance groups and the best in local bands and artistes.

Yes, Easter may be 'late' this year, but it's non stop from there and we wish all a very successful season.


More than ever before, the Midlands’ hospitality and tourism industry is critical to the Region’s success. Awareness of the region nationally and internationally, as a thriving business centre, as an unmatched location for tourism and with an unrivalled selection of locations for events is at its highest ever level.

MARCHE (the Midlands Association for restaurants, caterers, hotels and entertainment) is committed to promoting and protecting the interests of the industry. With a membership drawn from independents or part of a chain, large or small, supplier or service provider, Marche provides a unique focus for organizations of all sizes from every relevant section of the industry.

Another exciting MARCHE Awards for Excellence Ceremony took place on Sunday, 27th March at The International Convention Centre in the heart Birmingham, and over 100 tables of guests cheered to finalists as they waited to hear the results of the competitions.

Katie Ruddock , Assistant Manager of Wilton Court Restaurant with rooms was ’Highly Commended in the 'Manager of Tomorrow' Category. Our congratulations go to Katie and the rest of the team at Wilton Court.

Katie Ruddock, Assistant Manager of Wilton Court with her 'Manager of Tomorrow' Award.


Herefordshire's motorcyclists are being offered the chance to improve their road safety skill, at the annual WHAM! Rider Skills Day in April. Worcester and Hereford Advanced Motorcyclists (WHAM!) are organizing their third Rider Skills Day for fully licensed motorcyclists at the Sutton St Nicholas Community Hall near Hereford, on Sunday, 17th April from 10am until 4pm.

The event consists of an individual 40 minute ride with a qualified Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) observer, followed by a discussion on safe riding techniques, particularly in relation to road hazards and bends. The event, which is sponsored by Safer Herefordshire's Road Safety Group, is completely free to the rider. All participating riders will also have the opportunity to win an IAM 'Skill for Life' programme worth £139.

Brian Morgan, WHAM! Chairman said, 'As a group, motorcyclists tend to have higher death and serious injury rates than any other group of road users. Although some accidents are caused by other road users, the majority of motorcycle accidents don't involve other vehicles but occur due to a simple loss of control, particularly on bends. One of the main elements of advanced motorcycling is the ability to correctly 'read the road'. This involves approaching bends at the right speed and in the right gear and using sensible acceleration, which all help towards reducing unnecessary accidents.'

John Hodges, WHAM! Newsletter Editor said, 'IAM statistics reveal that upon successful completion of the 'Skill for Life' programme, drivers and riders are 70% less likely to be involved in a road traffic accident. This is why we're keen to promote advanced motorcycling to Herefordshire riders and look forward to welcoming them to our Rider Skills Day, because in the end you have nothing to lose but possibly a lifetime to gain.'


A new DVD, Stand By Me has been launched and features some of the mental health staff from NHS Herefordshire. The DVD is aimed at raising awareness and improving the quality of communication by health care staff with people living with dementia and their families. The premiere took place at the Artrix Theatre in Bromsgrove on Thursday, 17th March, when dementia campaigner and journalist, John Suchet compered the evening.

Cheryl Poole, lead nurse for older people's mental health in Herefordshire, who attended the premiere said, 'This has been a wonderful project to be involved with and it was fantastic to see the completed film and the reactions it produced. It really makes you stand back and think about the issue. I would like to thank all the staff in Herefordshire for acting the roles in the film, ranging from administration workers right up to our consultant. Our staff made up around 75 per cent of the total actors and featured in every one of the six vignettes. Our service users, carers, residential and nursing homes and care agencies also came together in focus groups to provide material for the DVD.'

The DVD has been created through collaboration between Herefordshire PCT, NHS Worcestershire, the University of Worcester Association for Dementia Studies and North East Worcestershire (NEW) College and will be used as a training resource for mental health professionals throughout the UK and overseas. It consists of a series of mini films reflecting a wide range of realistic situations, including someone being cared for in their own home, someone being cared for in a care home setting, and someone admitted to an acute hospital. The scripts were developed from a series of focus groups involving health and social care staff and people with dementia and their families. Most of the actors in the films are real life health and social care staff from across Herefordshire and Worcestershire, family carers and people with dementia.

Diane Jones, Non-executive Director for NHS Herefordshire said, 'The launch event for the wonderful training DVD and resource pack was a stunning night. I was so proud of them all and the passion they have to ensure that we care for people with dementia and their carers as well as we can shone through.'

Professor Dawn Brooker, Director of the University of Worcester's Association for Dementia Studies said, 'The idea for the project and the methodology to support it comes from a programme from Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia, which I was involved in. They developed a DVD training resource entitled 'Come into my World'. We are working collaboratively with Flinders in evaluating the impact of the resource.'

The funding for the programme came from Herefordshire & Worcestershire Workforce Deanery 2010 / 2011.

John Suchet at the launch of the DVD with Professor Dawn Brooker Sandra Brennan.

6th April 2011 WHERE THERE IS A WILL . . ....

Herefordshire Council's Archive Service is looking for 'willing' volunteers to help launch a major archive repackaging project that will preserve one of its most important collections. Tens of thousands of wills and other probate records dating from the 16th century are to be carefully re-boxed in preparation for being moved.

'This is a significant undertaking and the Archive Service is looking for volunteers to help out,' said Head Archivist, Elizabeth Semper O'Keefe. 'Wills are priceless records of everyday life from centuries ago; they give you a really immediate contact with our ancestors. Our repackaging project will ensure that the collection will be available for future generations to use. Our project will appeal to anyone who enjoys direct contact with precious historical documents and enjoys paper craft.'

There will be an introductory meeting for any potential volunteers at Herefordshire Record Office, Harold Street, Hereford, on Monday, 18th April. This will be followed by a training session on Monday, 9th May. Anybody who is interested in volunteering for the project should contact Liz Bowerman, the senior conservator by telephone on 01432 260750 or by email at


Herefordshire's Youth Orchestra is tuning up for a major event to celebrate 50 years of bringing music to the county's ears. The Anniversary Gala Concert will take place on Saturday, 9th April at The Shirehall, St Peter's Square, Hereford and promises to be a spectacular event with 60 ex-members joining with the 40 existing members to create one of the biggest orchestras to perform in Hereford.

Herefordshire County Youth Orchestra, which takes the best musicians from schools and colleges and provides them with a full orchestra experience was set up 50 years ago and young musicians aged between 13 and 18 years audition to join the orchestra which meets on a weekly basis. Each year they put on a big concert in order to celebrate and showcase some of the most talented musicians in the county.

In recognition of its fiftieth anniversary, the music service has trawled through its records to try and locate ex members and invite them to participate in this year's event. Following a countywide appeal, 60 ex-members have come forward to participate. They are from a range of backgrounds and age groups and include a member of the original founding group back in 1961. Roger Woolley, one of the council's peripatetic music teachers, was the first leader of the orchestra. Performances will include Bizet, Carmen Site No 1, Elgar, Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4 and Dvorak, Symphony No 8. In addition, a newly commissioned trumpet fanfare, written by a former leader of the orchestra, Liam Dunachie, will be performed on the night.

Cliff Woollard, head of the council's music service said, 'We are very excited about this event which will bring together some of the county's best musical talent of today and yesterday. It will be fantastic to catch up with some of our previous members too. So far we have over 70 VIPs attending, including the Lord Lieutenant, which makes the event even more exciting for our young musicians.'

After an afternoon of rehearsing, the concert will begin at 7pm. There are still a few tickets available, costing £6 for adults or £3 for those aged under 18 years. These can be purchased from the music service office on 01432 260840.


'Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!' might not be something you would expect to hear in High Town, Hereford but on Saturday, 23rd April, St George and England are being celebrated in a special event. Herefordshire Council’s Diversity Team, Hereford City Council, and the Kindle Centre are holding the event between 10am and 3.30pm to mark St George’s Day and encourage English people to take pride in their Englishness.

Neville Meredith, Corporate Diversity and Community Cohesion Officer said, 'The 23rd of April is not only St George’s Day but Shakespeare’s birthday and the day he died, so about as English a day as there can be. We have an actor belting out a speech from Henry V, the Golden Valley Singers with a selection of English songs and Wyvern Radio will be there dishing out flags to everyone wanting to show their national pride.

“We will also be holding quizzes, opinion polls and celebrating all things and all people English. So come down and join us if you can on Easter Saturday, St George’s Day, 23rd April in High Town and rejoice with pride in being English or living in England.'

All activities are free and there are some great prizes to be won, so deck yourself out in red and white and fly the flag for England.


West Mercia Police is issuing a warning to shops and pubs across Herefordshire about an apparently bogus charity collector, who claims to be collecting for a leukaemia charity. The man is believed to have visited many shops in Leominster over the past few weeks and intelligence suggests he may also be active in Hereford. He is also suspected of similar incidents in Shropshire, Gwent and Cheshire.

The man claims that his child died from leukaemia recently and that he is either collecting for a charity such as Leukaemia Research or looking to be sponsored for a run on behalf of the charity. He often claims that by giving money, the premises will get a mention or advert in the local newspaper, sometimes saying it's because he works for the local paper and as such the adverts will be free.

The same man is also believed to be targeting local pubs with a different tactic. He is thought to loosen the connections of water pipes, causing a leak, and then and claims that he has slipped in the water and broken a SatNav or a new watch, or ripped his clothes, in the hope that the management will hand over some cash as compensation.

PC Angie Hull, from Leominster Local Policing Team Station said, 'This man was first reported to us earlier this month and my investigations have uncovered at least 24 reports about his activities in and around Leominster. But he has potentially targeted many more businesses who have not realized they may have been conned, especially as some of the amounts he 'collects' are pretty small. I am aware that he has been seen operating in Hereford, but we have yet to hear of any confirmed reports. West Mercia Police colleagues in Shropshire are investigating eight further incidents in Shropshire and his offences being investigated as far apart as Gwent and Cheshire.

He is described as smartly dressed and extremely plausible, often changing his story depending on which business he is talking to. He is described as white, in his 20s or 30s and of average build, with brown or light brown hair. Our advice to anyone, whether in a shop, pub or other business is never to hand over any money unless you can verify that the person is legitimately collecting for a specific charity. If you have any concerns about a person's validity, offer instead to donate directly to whichever charity they are collecting for, getting the contact details yourself either from the internet or the phone book.'

PC Hull also urged anyone who might be visited by the suspected bogus collector not to give him any money and to contact police immediately on 0300 333 3000.

6th April 2011 JESSE PUSHES FOR LOWER DUTY FOR PUBS . . . . . . . . . .

The Chancellor of Exchequer, George Osborne, has agreed to look at ways in which alcohol duty can be rebalanced between supermarkets and pubs, in response to questioning from local MP, Jesse Norman.

Jesse used a hearing of the Treasury Select Committee on the Budget to highlight the plight of struggling pubs in Herefordshire, and the knock-on effects on villages and local communities. His proposed 'rebalancing' would mean that alcohol duty would be lower on beer sold through pubs relative to beer sold through supermarkets. The Chancellor agreed to look at the issue, but also pointed out that pubs should benefit from the extension of small business rate relief in the Budget.

Commenting, Jesse said, 'I am delighted that the Chancellor has agreed to look at this important issue. Local pubs are vital to the well-being of many of our communities in Herefordshire, in town and in rural areas alike. But many of them are being squeezed to death by price pressure from supermarkets, which often sell beer on massively discounted promotions. The result is more alcohol abuse, more teenage drinking, more social problems, and more 'beer miles.'

By contrast, many pubs offer a safe, local and supervised family environment in which to have a pint. Rebalancing alcohol duty away from beer sold through pubs, and onto beer in supermarkets, would be a major step towards addressing these issues and protecting our locals.'

Jesse Norman MP puts the case forward for pubs at the Treasury Select Committee.


Detective Inspector Martyn Barnes, from CID in Hereford, has admitted he continues to have serious concerns about a suspicious incident in Herefordshire that was reported to police on Friday, 25th March.

Officers received reports of two vehicles acting suspiciously in Ridgeway Road, which runs between the villages of Sutton St Nicholas and Withington at around 9pm. A dark coloured 4x4, believed to be a BMW X5 and a dark coloured panel van were seen in the area and officers are keen to identify those people in the vehicles and are asking them to come forward. It was reported that four men and a woman were with these vehicles and concerns were expressed by a member of the public that the woman, who is described as having long dark hair, was being carried from the 4x4 and put into the back of the van.

Detective Inspector Barnes said, 'We have continued to speak to the witness at length this week and she has confirmed she believes that the woman she saw being put into the van was unconscious. It was because of this that she reported the incident to the police, while she was also suspicious about the fact that she witnessed the incident in such an isolated spot. The witness initially believed she had come across a road traffic collision and asked if there was anything she could do to help. She was told politely that everything was fine and that she could go on her way.

As I've stated before, there may well be a perfectly innocent explanation for what was seen on Friday night but we would like to speak to the people involved so that we can be reassured that nothing untoward was happening. Until we are reassured we simply have to take this incident very seriously. We currently have no missing person locally that fits the description of the woman the witness saw being carried into the van and we have now put out a national request to all police forces to check whether they have any leads as to who this woman could possibly be. A significant amount of police resources continue to be used in this investigation and therefore it is vital that we find out once and for all what the circumstances surrounding this strange incident were.'

Anybody with any information about this incident, or either of the vehicles concerned, is asked to call the police as soon as possible. Information can be given by calling police on 0300 333 3000, quoting 280-N-250311, or independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.


Richard Benyon, Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries visited the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on Monday to make an announcement confirming Government backing for England's 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Minister made the announcement at Berry Head National Nature Reserve, just outside Brixham, a stunning coastal location and internationally acclaimed heritage site set within the South Devon AONB.

From 1st April 2011 the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is taking over the direct funding of AONBs through a new tripartite agreement between DEFRA, Natural England and National Association for AONBs. This transfer of sponsorship represents a new era for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, confirming them as valued members of the UK's protected landscape family. By the change of sponsorship, Her Majesty's coalition government is acknowledging that AONBs are strategic national assets and that local AONB partnerships such as the Wye Valley AONB Partnership are key players in managing positive landscape change.

Richard Benyon said, 'We need AONBs to ensure that our most important and treasured landscapes continue to thrive and are enjoyed by future generations. They are crucial to our environmental objectives. To help AONBs deliver those objectives, today marks the transfer of their national sponsorship from Natural England to Defra and a new agreement between Defra, Natural England and the National Association for AONBs. This is a new era for AONBs, and a new partnership that can unlock the full potential of our greatest resource - the people that care passionately about these areas.'

Peter Stevens, Chairman of the National Association for AONBs commented, 'Today marks a step change for the AONB Family. Working closer to Government, supported by local authorities, AONBs have been given a renewed confidence in their partnership approach to delivering on the ground. The new relationship with DEFRA and Natural England will ensure that our AONBs continue to have special relevance to those that live in within them, work within them and visit them.'

Tintern Abbey mist.


Hereford Crematorium has been targeted by thieves who made off with £8,000 of equipment used to maintain the grounds at the Westfaling Street facility.

John Gibbon, Herefordshire Council's bereavement services manager said, 'The theft happened during the evening of Wednesday, 30th March and I would urge anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area to get in touch with West Mercia Police. The thieves broke into a locked garage and took a Diamond Core drilling rig, strimmers, pressure washer, generator, kango breaker, petrol and containers, pruning equipment and toolbox with tools. They also tried to escape with the lawnmower, sack truck and wheel barrow but we found that dumped nearby.

These items are used to ensure the crematorium grounds are maintained to a high standard so people visiting the graves can have pleasant surroundings, and now we will have to replace them. It will also, of course, cost us money to replace these items and this could have been better spent on providing services, especially at this time of budget cuts.'

Anybody who has any information should contact West Mercia Police on 0300 333 3000 or independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 and quote log number 57N of 31st March.


Herefordshire Council's regulatory subcommittee has revoked the premises licence for the East European Food shop, 133, Eign Street, Hereford. The full review held on Monday, 4th April, follows an expedited review which led to a hearing on 18th March when it was decided to immediately suspend the store's alcohol licence. This action was taken under Section 53A of the Licensing Act which says a full review must be held within 28 days of the interim steps being taken. The revoked licence allowed sale by retail of alcohol Monday to Sunday 08:00 to 22:00 and was revoked because serious crime had occurred at the premises.

Jim Mooney, Herefordshire Police's licensing officer, told councillors that a search warrant was executed at the premises on Monday, 13th December in a joint operation between Herefordshire Council's trading standards team, HM Revenue and Customers and West Mercia Police. The premises licence holder, Mr Ali Ahmad Azad was on the premises when in the region of 300,000 cigarettes, 10kg of tobacco and a large amount of alcohol was seized. It has been established these were smuggled goods and no UK tax duty had been paid on any of them.

On 16th March 2011, a further warrant was executed at the premises and 4,400 cigarettes were seized, again because no UK tax duty had been paid on them. On this occasion, Mr Azad was not on the premises which meant there was no designated premises supervisor and any sale of alcohol would be unlicensed.

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