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Mr William Seymour Harris
1916 - 2006
Seymour Harris was born in Cardiff May 17th, 1916 and
died Hereford January 5th 2006. He was 89. He
was the only son of Cardiff chemist Arthur Harris who
had a shop in Queen Street, and Elsye (nee Lewis). Bill's
only sister - Joan, now aged 86, lives at Ross Court.
The family lived in Richmond Road.
attended Cardiff High School, and matriculated with honours.
He also played tennis, cricket and rugby for the school.
He decided to become a civil engineer and was in Ministry
of Transport in Cardiff and in London before the war.
the thirties he enjoyed holidays in Europe with his mother.
He took cinefilm of the Nazis marching in Czechoslovakia.
joined up before WW2 as a driver in the Royal Engineers
and was soon offered a commission.
met Margaret Griffiths in the Welsh Club in London (it
was the only time either of them ever went there!) They
were married in Cardiff in 1940 when Bill was a Captain.
He was in the Bomb Disposal unit and involved in dealing
with bombs during the London blitz. He went to Normandy
six days after D day. His final rank was Major and he
was awarded an MBE for his military service.
the war Bill worked for Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire
County Councils. In the 1950s he became chief engineer
in charge of the roads in Baghdad. He and Margaret enjoyed
a great social life there with friends of all nationalities.
was the star of many amateur productions at the British
Alwiyah club. While in Iraq he was able to indulge his
great interest in archaeology with visits to places like
Babylon and Nineveh. After a revolution in Iraq, ( a hairy
moment) Bill went to work for the government in Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia - where the road developments had to share
cash with the Emperor's lions!
had many audiences with Haile Selassie who liked to control
everything. While in Addis there was a another hairy moment
with an attempted coup de'tat.
1960 Bill went to work in Borneo, where he was putting
a road through the jungle. Sometimes the very hospitable,
but formerly headhunting Dyaks suggested they should have
a 'head' for the road to put in their net in the longhouse!
Margaret was not well in Borneo so Bill decided not to
renew his contract and he went to work in London first
in Leytonstone and then in Southwark, where he became
a regular visitor to the Oval to watch cricket.
his retirement he and Margaret looked for a friendly place
to live and found Ross-on-Wye in 1983. They enjoyed a
busy social life and Bill was able to enjoy gardening
and they had many holidays abroad together.
died in 1989. After that Bill still went to the pub and
enjoyed the family visits and the company of his grandchildren,
Lisa an Marcus and great grandson Connor. His daughters,
Chris and Elizabeth travelled with him and Margaret except
when they were incarcerated for a time at boarding school.
Chris edits The Ross Gazette and Liz, who lives with her
husband Barry in London, works in the planning department
at Wandsworth Council.
to Vanessa Brann, who became champion for her third year
in succession at the Herefordshire Cross Country Championships.
The Championships were held at Hereford Race Course on
years running, John Kyrle High School student, Vanessa
became the under thirteens' champion and this year she
won by a clear 100 metres to become the under fifteens'
champion, with John Kyrle High School's Kelsey Swift taking
News would like to wish Vanessa luck at the Hereford Schools
Championships, which take place next Monday, 23rd January.
Ross Country Music Festival 2006
fourth Country Music Festival will take place between
Friday, 7th and Sunday, 9th July this year. This successful
event enables funds to be raised for St. Michael's Hospice
and last year raised £1,500.00 for the cause over
three days which were bathed in sunshine.
year's open air event will be hosted at Ross Rowing Club,
where there are wonderful river views, grassy walks and
easy access to both shops in town and the Wye Valley.
Country Music Club meets monthly at Ross Sports Centre
with a different guest artist appearing at each event.
Further details of both the monthly meetings and the festival
can be seen on the 'What's On?' page or can be obtained
by calling Colin Gray on 01989 567995.
Ross Live 2006
Live!' will be putting together a wonderful 'Holy Week'
concert for 2006, which will take place at 7.30 pm on
Tuesday, 11th April in the parish church of St Mary's,
Ross. Christian Sturm - tenor, will be taking part, as
will Katharine Hawnt - soprano and Will Burn - bass. The
trio, who took part in last summer's Bastien und Bastiene
and Dido and Aeneas can be seen below. Counter tenor,
Ben Turner will also be appearing. Ben comes from Bromyard,
and is currently a lay clerk in the choir of Westminster
programme is The Passion According to St Mark (1713) by
Reinhard Keiser (1674 - 1739,) sung in English to a translation
by Kate Fawcett based on the words of the King James Bible.
This is probably the first performance to this translation
to take place in England. Christian Sturm will be singing
the Evangelist and William Burn, Jesus Christ. The choir
is the Ross-on-Wye Baroque singers directed by David Backhouse
is to be followed by the hauntingly beautiful Stabat Mater
(1736) by Giovanni Pergolesi (1710 - 1736), which will
be sung by Katharine and Ben. The orchestra is The Musical
and Amicable Society Baroque Orchestra, who will be playing
period instruments, directed from the harpsichord by Martin
cost £15 reserved or £10 unreserved and are now on sale,
initially from The County Collection, 1 Market Place.
For further information, please call 01989 563883 (daytime)
or 01989 730439 (evenings).
Eerie January Views
out walking with Eric, the dog at around 00:30 am last Tuesday
I was rather taken by the beautiful view of Ross from the
Rope Walk, with an eerie mist rising from the river. Murphy's
Law unfortunately came into its own at the time as I did
not have my camera bag with me. I didn't think I would be
needing it at that time of night and it's a heavy lump to
carry around. I must have the strongest left shoulder in
Eric on his way however, I rushed home and fetched it, returning
to the scene in the Wyenot Mobile. (Which incidentally still
has party string attached from where I parked by the market
on New Year's Eve and smells worse inside than the giraffe
house at London Zoo, from where I drove into a flood to
take a photo a month before Christmas and went a little
too far, flooding the inside an inch deep with muddy river
water. If I get time, I'll clean it this week.)
really nice view had faded by the time I returned at 1:00
am with camera and tripod, but I still managed to catch
the two shots below, using time exposure.
contacted me last night, full of praise for your site. He
reads it every week. Apparently I am the second person you
have reunited with Pete. Keep up the good work!
Wye Valley Friends and Family
of the side effects this web site has had over the years
is that it has put many hundreds of old friends, all around
the world back in touch with one another. Alan and Pete,
above are another example of two Ross-on-Wye ex-patriots
reuniting via their common interest in Reading Wyenot News
and in fact, Alan is the second old friend the web site
has reunited with Pete.
you are looking for a lost friend or family member, you
are always welcome to write to me and I will put details
on the weekly news pages.
reason this web site works very well in most aspects is
because, due to the constant high web site maintenance level,
the domain 'wyenot.com' has built up a very strong 'Google
Importance Rating'. Those who are mentioned on this web
site for one reason or another become more easily findable.
worry - despite this, your privacy is absolutely safe. Unless
specifically asked to do so, I never publish your contact
details and I never pass them directly to those writing
in and asking for them. When somebody writes in asking for
a person's contact details, I contact the person being sought
first, asking if they wish to be found.
may take weeks, months or even years but if you are trying
to find a local friend or family member with whom you have
lost contact - here is the place to do it. I do not charge
a fee - it is just one of those useful side-effects of Wyenot
my own 'contact'
page there is currently a note concerning genealogists.
It is not that I do not like genealogists. I can get on
with most people and was even known to have a friend in
Romford once. The trouble is - because I have a web site
about Ross-on-Wye and the Wye Valley people automatically
assume that I know everything and everybody, living or dead,
within a 100 mile radius. Ten page emails, in
five point type, describing the 'Longbottom-Smithe'
lineage in intricate detail do nothing to inspire my enthusiasm
and I do not automatically know whether or not, six times
great grandfather, 'Godfrey Longbottom-Smithe' owned a dog
will always try to help but please try to remember that
having a local information and community web site does not
automatically make me the fount of all human knowledge.
As a rule of thumb - if the answer to your Wye Valley question
is not already mentioned somewhere on this web site, I do
not know the answer off the top of my head. There is a huge
amount of information here, most of which is accessible
via the index
or else searchable via the 'search site' facility on the
Please try these two options first and then if you really
cannot find what you are looking for, sending a concise,
clear and preferably polite query for publication here might
bring you a result. No guarantees but it usually works -
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HR9 7EY. Tel: 01989 763217