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If you are wondering what to do with the children this coming half term holiday, why not take them along to Hilltop Bop, the birds of prey centre at Llangarron? The kids are bound to be fascinated by these magnificent birds, owned and flown by Mike and Lorna Hill. Visitors not only get to see the birds in flight, however. There is also the opportunity to learn all about them and maybe even handle some of the raptors themselves.

Why not give Mike and Lorna a call to arrange a visit? Click the link to find out more about Hilltop Bop!

This beautiful bird is 'Polo' the Barn Owl.


Symonds Yat East is a beautiful village and is one of my favourite locations in the Wye Valley. The Symonds Yat page on is one of the most visited pages on the web site giving potential visitors a brief insight into this lovely place. Now you can learn even more about the East side as Nick Stephens of Rose Cottage has launched a brilliant web site called

Yat is a non commercial web site full of information about the evolution of the village, from the history of its buildings and industry and the birth of tourism to this beautiful area, to how Symonds Yat East is today. The website also features businesses on this side of the River Wye and is well worth taking a long look at.

Nick created Yat as tribute to Alan, saying that, like Alan, he wanted to put something back into the community he lives in and loves. The work he has done is fantastic and Alan would feel honoured and very proud of our friend. Well done Nick!

Speaking of Symonds Yat East, The Royal Lodge have launched their 2011 Sunday Carvery season. Alan and I went along last year to find out for ourselves how good the food was. It was fantastic and I will be paying a return visit. The carvery is served from 12 Noon until 3pm. If you fancy going somewhere different for Sunday lunch, why not try it for yourselves? I would strongly advise booking, however as these lunches are very popular.


Over 250 students, parents, supporters of the school and special guest, Rob Noble, Chief Executive of Leadership Trust, attended John Kyrle’s Annual Prize giving Ceremony on Thursday, 15th September. It was called The Academy Awards!

Karen Frost, Chair of Governors, welcomed everybody to the event. She spoke of her and other governors continued pride in the school and how the new Academy Status would be a launch pad for future success and developments. Nigel Griffiths, in praising his students, paid tribute to the support the school received from parents, the local community and governors. He felt this, the hard work of his students and his committed staff underpinned the school’s continued success.

Mr. Griffiths said it was interesting to reflect on how the school had changed over the past ten years in terms of increasing numbers, building work, Ofsted grading of 'Outstanding' and the recent New Academy Status. Despite these developments, Mr Griffiths said that what never changed was the school’s commitment to high quality teaching and learning, providing the best opportunities for students and traditional standards of respect and hard work.

Mr Griffiths paid tribute to Alan Wood who, through his website, had been such a supporter of both the school and Ross.

Students received awards for academic success, artistic and sporting excellence and their work in the community. Ryan Green was given an award from Ross Lions for his fantastic work in the school and locality. Ryan will shortly represent the Lions on the European stage when, as the winner of the British and Irish Lions Award, he takes part in the European final in Maastricht.

Another winner was Luke Stafford in Year 8. He received the Diana Princess of Wales Award for Inspirational Young People. Luke’s family and the school community are impressed by his hard work and commitment despite having lost his mum over a year ago. He is a commendable young man. Many of the students winning awards had been ambassadors for the school across different countries and continents. Mr Griffiths was able to explain about trips to France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, the USA, South Africa, Uganda and Canada.

For a number of last year’s Year 13 students, who had gained John Kyrle’s best A Level results to date, this was their last formal contact with the school before setting off to universities across the country including both Oxford and Cambridge. Mr Griffiths wished them, and those entering employment and training, all the very best for the future and thanked them for their huge contribution to John Kyrle.

Rob Noble’s speech was very well received indeed. He was able to draw upon his military and business background in encouraging students to use the analogy of a Business Plan in making their way beyond school. Mr Noble related his experiences in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and the City. Students were encouraged to base their future plans upon strong core values, ambitious targets and to shape their 'unique selling point' in developing their talents. Mr Noble said he was most impressed by the range of awards given by the school and the undoubted talents of the students at John Kyrle.

Head Girl, Ali Raine and Head Boy, Sam Matchette, concluded the evening by thanking Mr Noble for his excellent speech and recounted their own journey from Year 7 to current university applicants in Year 13.

Rob Noble of The Leadership Trust was pleased to present prizes to the JKHS students.

Prior to the ceremony, Lucas Abbott performs 'Unfold' by Jason Mraz.

Ross Lions' President, Sam Phillips tells a little of what the Lions do before presenting Ryan Green with his award.

Headteacher, Nigel Griffiths, Rob Noble and Chair of Governors, Karen Frost with some of the prize winning students.


Congratulations to the Ross-in-Bloom team for again winning Gold for Ross in the Heart of England in Bloom campaign. Chairman of Ross-in-Bloom, Mrs. Margaret Lucas was particularly thrilled as it was thought that the town may not have looked quite as good as in previous years and the team were looking towards a silver-gilt award.

Last week, Mary Sinclair-Powell and Caroline Utting went to Solihull to receive the 'Thriving' award for the Thomas Blake Garden Jubilee project. At the same time, representatives from Ross Court received an 'Outstanding' award whilst Tudorville Allotments received a 'Thriving' award. These projects were entered into the 'It's Your Neighborhood' campaign, complementing the main Heart of England in Bloom judging for the town as a whole.

When the judges visited Ross, they were very impressed; not only with the look of the town but also the way in which the community pulled together. They were particularly delighted with the work at the Thomas Blake Garden Jubilee project and highly amused by the 'resident' pigs in Pigs Alley. They were also pleased to see the British Legion event being well supported at Ross Market House.

One of the excellent examples which showed the judges how well people of all ages worked together was seen at Solihull when Jack, Archie and Dylan Morgan of the Radcliffe Guest House were presented with certificates of merit by judge Angela Pendleton, who was very impressed with the work the three young boys had put into the Jubilee project.

Margaret Lucas said, 'Everyone has worked very hard on all of the projects and in the town this year. Our Gold award justly proves how much effort people put in. We are very grateful for all the hard work and hope that there will be lots of enthusiasm to make next year a jubilee year to remember. There are plans afoot to make judging day and the summer a time to never forget in the town's history. Based on the very successful Historic Day a few years ago, we hope to get some order into this soon and will be calling on everyone to help. We would also be pleased for any suggestions on what people would like to see as well as volunteers for projects. Nothing is too onerous, just come along and talk to me at my shop.'

Well done to all involved in Ross-in-Bloom. Once again you have done Ross-on-Wye proud!

Delighted with their results, the Ross-in-Bloom team with representatives of the various groups which took part.


NHS Herefordshire and Wye Valley NHS Trust are launching a countywide campaign to reduce the number of people using A&E who can be treated more appropriately elsewhere. A recent survey undertaken at the county hospital's A&E department identified that around 20 percent of those visiting had either minor cuts, colds, sprains or stomach upsets. A few even visited A&E with hangovers or to find emergency contraception - all ailments that could be treated much more quickly elsewhere.

To try and encourage people to think twice before choosing A&E when they are injured or unwell, a campaign has just been launched involving a series of bus back adverts travelling around bus routes throughout Herefordshire urging people to only use A&E when they need to. In addition, a radio campaign has begun on Wyvern FM and over the next few weeks, pharmacies, GP surgeries and public buildings will be issuing visitors with credit card sized contact cards promoting other places where people can be treated such as minor injuries units, pharmacies and the walk in centre, ASDA.

'Too many patients are turning up at A&E who could be treated more appropriately elsewhere,' said Andy Watts, GP and chair of Herefordshire Health Care Commissioners. 'In Herefordshire we have a range of alternatives to A&E including GPs, pharmacies, minor injuries units and the walk in centre at ASDA, where people can have their minor injuries and ailments cared for just as effectively but more quickly. We are trying to encourage people to use these alternatives so that A&E can be more available to those who really need the emergency care.'

Tim Tomlinson, director of service delivery, Wye Valley NHS Trust added, 'The A&E department provides care for seriously ill and injured patients 24 hours a day and the growing numbers of patients presenting with minor ailments and injuries puts unnecessary pressure on the department. I would urge patients to consider all the options available before attending the A&E department. A local media campaign is planned for the build up to Christmas when A&E traditionally becomes busier.'

Details of where to get help are available at


Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman joined local residents in a celebration last week to mark the opening of the new Kindle Theatre in South Wye. The audience was treated to a short revue of skits by the Wye Theatre Company and the Kindle Youth Theatre Company, as well as magic and dance, capped off by an excerpt from 2Faced Dance’s new work, 'In The Dust.'

The theatre project was launched by Jesse at a Winter Supper in 2009, which raised over £8,000. Further substantial contributions were made by foundations including the Beaumont Trust and the JP Getty Trust, taking the total raised to over £40,000. These have enabled the new theatre to be equipped with an acoustic ceiling, curtaining, sound and lights.

Speaking after the event, Jesse said, 'After two years of fund-raising, it is a complete thrill that the new Kindle Theatre has opened. It is a new piece of community arts infrastructure in the county, and it has been entirely funded by private contributions, the vast majority of them from within Herefordshire. It will I know be widely used, especially by young people.

This just shows what we can do to renew the city and the county, even at a time of economic hardship, if we work together.'

Jesse Norman and Lara Latcham at the Kindle Theatre launch.

18th October 2011 WERE YOU BORN ON ACCESSION DAY - 06.02.52?

The Ross Jubilee Committee are asking anybody who was born on Accession Day, 6th February 1952 to get in touch with them as they are looking for people who are as old as HM Queen's reign to be involved in the Jubilee celebrations which are being planned for June 2012.

The Jubilee Weekend will run from Saturday, 2nd to Tuesday, 5th June and the Jubilee Committee is already making plans to give Ross something to look forward to. On Sunday 3rd, The Big Jubilee Lunch, a national campaign to encourage neighbours to get together for Sunday lunch will be taking place. Ross Town Council has organised music at the Bandstand in Caroline Symonds' Garden from 12.30pm onwards and would like to invite you to bring a picnic down to share with your neighbours, friends and family.

Committee member, Councillor Ian Henderson said, 'With street parties being a bit tricky to organize these days it makes sense to relocate them somewhere safe with plenty of room and The Caroline Symonds' Garden by the river is the perfect venue.'

Ross Lions are getting involved and will be organizing an afternoon of fun games with a retro feel looking back to the 1950's. A competition for school children to design a Diamond Jubilee logo for Ross has been launched and it is planned to sell unique Ross-on-Wye merchandise as part of the commemorations. John Kyrle High School is planning a concert and there will be a sing-a-long event at St Mary's Church.

On Monday, 4th June, beacons across the country will be lit in succession. Ross has registered its beacon at The Prospect which will be lit between 10pm and 10.30. It is planned to have a torch lit parade to the beacon and a fireworks display to follow.

Now is the time to start planning what you would like to do to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. If you would like to organize something yourself let The Jubilee Committee know as it will be putting together a programme of events so that everyone can see what is going on where and when. If you would like to get involved or register an event please contact Rachel Lewis at The Town Council Offices on 01989 562373.

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