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I was absolutely delighted when I was invited to the recent christening of Liam, Douglas Emerton. Liam was born on 21st October, just a couple of week's after his parents, Shell and Stef knew they were expecting a baby. Shell shocked but very happy, the couple threw themselves into a whirl of activity, getting everything ready for the baby's imminent arrival and . . they just made it!.

Liam was born on 21st October 2010 and is a gorgeous, happy boy. His christening took place on Sunday, 25th March at St. Bridget's Church, Bridstow, after which family and friends gathered at the Royal Hotel for a lovely celebration.

Liam with his grandmother, 'Nana' Chris Kiss.

Liam having a cuddle with his cousin.

Liam, totally unperturbed by the day's event.

Liam's cake tasted as wonderful as it looked.


The Wye Trow being built to represent Herefordshire in a pageant on the Thames to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee has been completed. For the first time in around 200 years, skills used to construct the trows which hauled goods along the River Wye have been in use again at Nielsen's boatyard at Gloucester Docks.

The trow has a clinker bow, stern and sides (the timber panels overlap) with a carvel bottom (the timber panels butt up to each other) - ideally suited to the Wye with stretches of deep water, but gentle banks on which the trows would be gently grounded to load and unload. To ensure the trow is an accurate reconstruction of an original Wye Trow, plans were drawn up after careful measurements were taken of the remains of a Wye Trow which had been uncovered at Lydney.

On Sunday, 3rd June, The Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire, Lady Darnley, will be on board the newly built trow when it joins 1,000 other water craft for what will be the biggest pageant of boats and ships the River Thames has seen for many centuries. The spectacular pageant will be one of the highlights of an extended Bank Holiday weekend in June during which beacons will be lit and thousands of Big Lunches will take place up and down the country. The Wye Trow will carry 14 people for the Thames Pageant, including eight oarsmen/women, who will row the craft.

Out of 24 men and women who volunteered from around the county, a squad of 16 rowers will be selected and of these, the crew of eight rowers and two relief oarsmen will be chosen. During the Thames pageant they will be dressed in period costume as they row the 9 miles of the course. All 16 members of the squad will be invited to attend the naming ceremony of the Wye Trow, due to take place in Hereford's High town in May, and on Wednesday, 11th July, Herefordshire Diamond Day on the King George V playing fields when the trow will be present and the county will welcome the visit of The Queen.

'I was delighted to see the Wye Trow on the water for the first time recently and am eagerly looking forward to taking to the Thames for the pageant in June,' said Lady Darnley, the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire. 'It will be an incredibly proud moment to represent Herefordshire in such a unique vessel constructed out of timber from the county. It's been amazing to see how the trow has taken shape in recent months and I'm staggered by the quality of craftsmanship which has gone into creating such a beautiful vessel.'

The Wye Trow.


Conservation work has been going on at Staunton Meend in the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) for many years to eradicate bracken and restore the common to heathland. After progress with bracken bashing the land is improving, however the Staunton villagers have decided they also need the equine touch. To this end new fencing, gates, cattle grids, and an animal pen have been installed to prepare for the new equine arrivals. These works have been funded by Gloucestershire Environmental Trust with landfill tax contributions donated by Cory Environmental. The project has also had considerable support from the Wye Valley AONB Sustainable Development Fund.

The Meend is now home to six rare breed ponies from Exmoor's Moorland Mousie Trust (MMT), who have just taken up residence. These ponies have been used successfully on many such schemes including areas in Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire. Used to fending for themselves on wild moorland expanses the Exmoor ponies will be part of a long term conservation grazing scheme. The ponies' hardy nature and ability to get tough with all kinds of harsh vegetation make them the perfect heavy brigade to tackle the bracken and brambles and reduce the amount of manual volunteer labour needed.

Local equestrienne Cheryl Hockey has been selected as the horse manager and is now in charge of the herd. Nikki Moore, Wye Valley AONB Information Officer and Juliet Rogers, both trustees of the MMT gave a presentation at a well attended meeting at Staunton Village Hall in March to interested villagers. Juliet, who has supervised several projects all over the UK, discussed the merits of using the Exmoor ponies as conservation grazing animals.

Cheryl hockey and Linzi.


Regulars at Hoarwithy's Harp Inn can now get more than just a pint when they pop into their local pub in the village. Drinkers enjoying their favourite tipple or simply a tea or coffee have given the new Post Office in the pub their stamp of approval after it opened for business on Monday, 16th April. Having the Post Office there means visitors to the pub can collect their pension or benefits, buy stamps, post parcels and enjoy Post Office services most people take for granted.

'I'm pleased that we have been able to convince the Post Office of the need to keep this service running,' said Councillor Russell Hamilton, ward member for the area. Many local residents signed a petition that I submitted making our views very clear during the Post Office's recent consultation. While we've not got the number of opening hours that we would have liked, we have protected the service and have an agreement with the Post Office that they will consider extending them if we can demonstrate the demand - so that's our challenge.

This is a great boost to the community in Hoarwithy, Hentland, Kynaston and adjoining areas such as King's Capel. It's now up to local people to use this service if it is to be maintained. I'm convinced from talking to people - while I was out and about delivering leaflets last week telling them of the opening - that this is a service that they really want to support. I'd also like to congratulate the local parish council which is working hard for its community for demonstrating its support for this initiative. Parish councillors are currently pursuing proposals to open the Post Office for additional hours on a trial basis to help establish the demand. I'm therefore calling on everyone to get behind this as part of a broader strategy to put the heart back into our rural communities.'

Councillor Hamilton continued, 'With travel costs rising sharply due to rises in the price of fuel, this new Post Office is set to make life a lot easier, and somewhat cheaper as, for some of the locals, it will avoid the need to jump in their car and drive to Peterstow, Ross-on-Wye or Hereford. The opening of the Post Office follows quickly on the back of the launch of the Hoarwithy Bus as a scenic route. Watch this space as there are other developments on the way that make the pub the hub in Hoarwithy.'

The Post Office will not only save fuel costs, but also cut down on the amount of miles being driven on county roads. Landlord of the Harp Inn, Adrian Shaw, said, 'I'm all for making life easier for local people. Having the Post Office in the pub suits my customers and I hope it will go from strength to strength. This is an exciting time for us as we really do feel that we are on the brink of transforming the way people look at their local pub. I really do believe that we have a great deal to offer both our locals and visitor to the area.'

The new Post Office is open on Monday mornings between 9am and 11am.

Adrian Shaw, Parish Council Chairman, Henry Rudge, Councillor Hamilton, Gemma Davies of the Post Office, parish Council Clerk, Peter Pember and wife, Julia.
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