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THIS WEEK IN ROSS-ON-WYE
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Issue No. 45 [Back Issues]
17th May 2005

This Week - [Jacqueline Danter - JKHS Leavers' Ball] [Chain Reaction - Grammar School Reunion - A Mile of Pennies -
Royal Enfield Tour - Topical Photography] [Nature Watch - Archive Ross-on-Wye - Heritage Centre]

Hoping for a Chain Reaction?


Following the article, left, which was published in the April 7th edition of the Ross Gazette, I wrote to Bobbie at the email address provided in the article. In my email I explained that I have an extremely successful web site about Ross-on-Wye called 'Wyenot.com' and that it is already attracting thousands of tourists to Ross-on-Wye and the local area every year.

I also explained that some of the accommodation business in the Whitchurch and Symonds Yat areas had already taken up the £45 per annum advertising option on my web site, and that they had all found the advertisement a huge success, most businesses receiving bookings through my web site within the first few days of their advertisements 'going live.'

I explained that, working on Wyenot.com and Wyenot News to keep the web site interesting enough to make this happen takes up all of my time - 36 hours per day and 8 days per week, so it was not easy for me to attend lots of meetings but that I was willing to help in any other way possible. That was well over a month ago now and so far, my email has not even been granted the courtesy of a reply.

For the benefit of all the sceptics out there who imagine that I am raking in a fortune by running Wyenot.com, it might interest you to know that I am not. Ross-on-Wye as a whole is doing very well out of it but, even after five years, I could personally make more money by pulling the plug on Wyenot.com entirely and taking a one day per week part time job in a factory. Maybe I am just on a 'down' at the moment through being over tired but at this moment in time, lack of local support is making it tempting to do just that and see just how much local tourism can really plummet.

Wyenot.com has lots of local viewers but few local financial supporters - everybody wants the free stuff! What is not apparent to the regular local viewer of Wyenot.com is that, taking the photographs, writing the articles and physically maintaining the web site is not all I do. Every single week throughout the tourist season I receive dozens of emails, just like the one below, which is an exact 'copy and paste' of just one of the emails I received this week, and I spend time answering them all.

'Hi Alan, I am planning to visit Ross-on-Wye this summer for business reasons and would like to receive some specific information about the town (tourist information, such as a map, for example) and specially about how to get there from London or form Heathrow Airport. I see you have a wide offer of accommodation in your web page, so I will book my accommodation directly. Many thanks. My details are: Sofia Ortega' (address supplied but withheld from this article.)

Sofia was pleased with the information I supplied as can be seen below but answering questions like this . . . I am happy to do it but I really see it as the job of the Tourist Board. They are after all getting paid to provide this kind of advice.

'Many many thanks indeed. Your suggestion about train to Gloucester and then coach to Ross is great. I really appreciate your help!! Sofia Ortega.'

Somebody - I have no idea who - just somebody who is advertising their business on Wyenot.com is going to have Sofia as a guest in their accommodation establishment soon, and no doubt Sofia will be visiting local shops during her visit to the town. Maybe she will also visit a local pub or restaurant whilst she is here - who knows? The chances are, Sofia would not be visiting Ross-on-Wye at all, were it not for this web site and Sofia is just one of thousands!

The 'Wyenot.Com' domain, which holds a web site about a plain, ordinary market town somewhere in the West Midlands, according to independent statistics, is currently among the top 300,000 most visited web domains in the whole world and climbing. It averages over 1,500 page views and 11,954 'hits' every day of the week. Try going to the Google search engine and typing in just the two words, photographic tour (clicking the link will open a new browser window and take you there). Do you know of any other town in the whole of the UK which has quite as much regular publicity? It brings a huge percentage of the town's the visitors here - what they see, where they go and what they do after they have arrived is entirely up to you and those who know best.

During the years it ran, Ross-on-Wye International Festival brought many thousands of visitors to the town - for two weeks of the year. For the past two years, a high percentage of festival visitors tried to book tickets through Wyenot.com, not realizing that the festival did actually have its own web site. The festival was well supported financially, starting big but growing small. Wyenot.com started small and is growing bigger by the day. It may well collapse at this point, depending on local opinion about this article, but if that is the case, at least it will make way for the idea of creating a town and tourist web site to be 'thought up' by somebody far more important than I - a web site which could then be run by a team of 'experts'. I could then get a one day per week job in a factory or take up selling 'Big Issue' in the 'Maltings' to cover my own loss of income and get a life back.

Wyenot.com is not run from luxurious offices. It is run from a wooden shed in my back garden, in which I freeze during the winter, sweat during the summer and drink Earl Grey tea from a thermos flask purchased for £5.99 at Morrisons. It cannot afford to host fantastic parties in expensive hotels, or provide a VIP Bar for local dignitaries, nor does it receive any form of Local Government grant. It does however bring visitors to the town of Ross-on-Wye - lots of them and all year round!



Ross Grammar School Reunion

The fourth consecutive Ross Grammar School reunion took place at Ross Conservative Club on Saturday evening, 14th May. The original concept for the gathering was for a reunion of the pupils who started at Ross Grammar in 1949 and 1950 but the attendance saw pupils who started between 1945 and 1954.

As well as ex pupils, Frank Drabble who taught many of the guests of the evening Chemistry also attended. Frank will be 88 years old in August of this year. Three brothers; Graham, Ralph and Lou Probert alone spanned about five years. The long group school photographs from 1946 to 1959 were on display so that all of those attending could find themselves and their old friends, which proved to be a great source of amusement and nostalgia.

The usual buffet style meal allowed people to circulate, which is probably why it has been so popular and has expanded to cover more years than originally intended. Many wanted a repeat for next year.

Jerry Lyons, organizer would like to thank to Beryl Downing and her Conservative Club staff, who ensured all went well with the catering. Jerry said, 'We will be availing ourselves of their services again on 6th May next year.'

If any Old Rossians out there would like to attend, particularly from the school's 1949 and 1950 intake, please get in touch by contacting Jerry Lyons.


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Tour of the Royal Enfield Dealers

Two owners of brand new Royal Enfield motorcycles visited Lucas Motorcycles in Ross-on-Wye last Tuesday whilst on an eleven day tour of Britain. Riders, Rowena Hoseason and Emm Walters are making a point of visiting all forty two Royal Enfield Dealers in the country during their journey. Both girls write for various motorcycle magazines and Emm commented, 'It is just for fun - two bikes, two girls and 2,222 miles.'


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A Mile of Pennies for Macmillan

Residents of Goodrich Court, the retirement homes in Gloucester Road are raising money for Macmillan Cancer Relief by attempting to gather together a 'Mile of Pennies'. At the time of taking the photograph below, on Monday morning, I was reliably informed that they had raised 256 feet and 3 inches, which equates to £41. If my maths is correct (I never was particularly good at the subject) I reckon that, taking a penny as being 3/4 inch in diameter, 84,480 of them are required to make up a mile (5280 feet) in length. No doubt the mathematicians out there will correct me but I am sure it will not matter if they manage to collect more than a mile.

If you have a jar full of pennies at home, I am also sure that the Manager of Goodrich Court would appreciate you joining in and dropping them off. It is best if they are bagged up in 100s but it will give her something to do if they are not - hit me for suggesting that, most likely!


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Topical Photography This Week

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Above: Ben Nelsey and Zena Dillow leave for Gretna Green on Sunday afternoon, in readiness for their Tuesday wedding at 'The Old Blacksmith's Shop'. Good wishes to you both!

Below: The Fitness League celebrated their 75th anniversary at the Royal Albert Hall this year and a repeat of the performance by the Welsh contingent, involving League members from Newport, Cardiff and Swansea with the theme, 'Pirates' was given on Sunday 15th May at the Larruperz Centre, Ross. The performance took place following a fitness class, involving members from Ross, Monmouth, Cheltenham, Worcester and Gloucester. A raffle at the event raised £150, the proceeds of which will be split between Ready Steady Win, The Bridges Community Centre in Monmouth and the Larruperz Centre, Ross.


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