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Wyenot News - The Weekly News Magazine for Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Issue No. 176 - Wednesday, 5th December 2007
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Page 1 [WNTV NEWS presented by Tina - Christmas Light Switch-on - Last Apple Pressing - What's Happening in Ross]
Page 2 [Bridstow Christmas Fair - Visit Santa - A Tribute to Peter McCutcheon - Letters - Christmas Menus]
Page 3 [Local Heroes - SOFA at the Prince - Medieval in Peterstow - Art and History for Ross Community Hospital]

Page 4

[Filming Bats - John Kyrle Autumn Concert - Pussy needs a home - River Tales - Public Notices]
Page 5 [Long Service Awards - Tree of Remembrance - Advent Market - Psychic - Smoke free - Shopmobility - Weather]
Page 6 [News from around Herefordshire County]
Commendations for our Local Heroes

West Mercia’s top police officer has praised police officers, fellow emergency services professionals and members of the public for their role in making Herefordshire one of the safest places in the country to live. Speaking at the Herefordshire Division Commendations ceremony, held last night at Hereford Town Hall, Chief Constable Paul West recognized the contributions of those in the local community whose actions had far exceeded the call of duty.

Alongside officers and police staff from across Herefordshire Division being honoured, were personnel from the fire and ambulance services, as well as ordinary members of the public whose actions had proved decisive in resolving difficult circumstances. The awards included Commendations for police officers and staff who dealt with the extreme flooding which hit the region in July, a ‘Good Samaritan’ who ensured their elderly neighbour did not become the victim of a distraction burglary and several members of the public whose quick thinking saved lives.

Mr West told recipients that their exceptional actions in serving the community were uplifting and inspirational. Quality people was one of West Mercia’s key principles, he said and the commendation presentations provided an ideal opportunity to recognize and reward the very best of the excellent work carried out on a daily basis. 'It is an opportunity to pay tribute to their professionalism, bravery and commitment of all those involved in policing,' said Mr West.

Herefordshire’s Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Mark Turner hosted the event and echoes these comments, describing the awards as a celebration of the pride and professionalism of the county’s police. He was pleased to recognize the efforts of the fellow emergency service personnel and the honoured members of the public, saying it reflected the strong community spirit in Herefordshire. 'All of those receiving awards have demonstrated their desire to make a large contribution to improving the quality of life of all people who live, work and visit the county of Herefordshire to ensure it remains an increasingly safe place,' said Chief Superintendent Turner. 'Without exception, all those commended tonight are people to whom the local community can look with pride and confidence.'

The awards in full were:


PC Bob Conway (Herefordshire Roads Policing Team) - for his dedication and commitment to the investigation of a road death incident near Ledbury in July 2006. His thorough and professional investigation resulted in the successful prosecution of the driver for dangerous driving, as well as the owner of the vehicle for related motoring offences.

Divisional Commendations relating to the July 2007 flooding:

CSO Gareth Maddox (Community Support Officer, Leominster Town North) - for his teamwork, self-motivation and community spirit displayed during the flooding of July 21/22. Gareth was on a 1pm to 10pm late shift the day the flooding began and provided immediate support and reassurance to the local community in Leominster, including arranging the evacuation of a school for people with learning difficulties. He then helped staff the emergency accommodation centre until midnight, when he was finally persuaded to take a break and to make his way home. On trying to drive north, Gareth quickly realized the roads were by now impassable and turned round, heading back to Leominster Police Station to change back into his uniform. He then resumed duties at the emergency centre, where he remained all night assisting some 250 similarly stranded people.

CSO Christina Howard (Community Support Officer, Leominster Town South) - for her teamwork, self-motivation and community spirit displayed during the flooding of July 21/22. Christina was on rest days when the flooding began, visiting friends in Evesham, Worcestershire. During the course of the weekend, it became apparent that Christina was not going to be able to return home and was effectively stranded in Evesham. Despite thus being forced into temporary accommodation herself, she contacted the South Worcestershire Divisional control room to make herself available for duty in whatever capacity would be most useful. Christina was posted to nearby Sedgeberrow, which had been particularly badly affected by the floodwater. While there she performed the role of providing reassurance to the residents left behind - and all with her usual cheerful and helpful manner, despite the awful conditions and her relative unfamiliarity with the area.

Special Officer Robert Chappell and Special Constable Darren Emery - for their excellent and professional policing work during the flooding of July 2007. On the Friday night of the floods, SO Chappell and SC Emery were deployed to the Marcle straight crossroads as reports had been received of cars trapped in floodwaters. They found two miles of standing traffic, with several motorists trapped in very fast flowing water. In turn, the two officers checked each vehicle in turn and helped move the occupants to the safety of a local pub - a total of some 35 people, including one pregnant woman and her two-year-old child.

Following this, Robert and Darren headed to Ledbury Rugby Club and rescued two ambulance service staff and a motorists trapped in water that was around 2.5 metres deep. Shortly after this, the pair were called to Leadon Way in Ledbury, were a car had been washed into a field. The three occupants - two elderly - were found on the roof of the vehicle, with only an inch of the roof above the water. The two Specials could only get to within 20 metres as the water came up to their chests, but remained in position keeping the motorists calm until a rescue plan could be put into operation. It took a combined force of five fire appliances, two fire rescue boats and a helicopter to complete the rescue. Robert and Darren then took the shocked, cold and wet motorists for a check-up at Hereford County Hospital (there being no ambulance that could reach the area) and then onwards to their home address, before finally completing their shift at 7am.

HIGH SHERRIFF’S COMMENDATIONS (Presented by former High Sheriff of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Mrs Sally Clive on behalf of the current High Sheriff, Mr John Yorke who was unable to attend the ceremony)

Mr Mark Smith - for his calm and professional actions on Wednesday, 19th September, 2007, at the Marlbrook railway bridge near Leominster. Mark, who was on duty as a paramedic with West Midlands Ambulance Service, was returning to Leominster when he saw a man standing on a bridge parapet. Having first alerted the police, Mark approached the clearly distressed man to offer assistance, engaging him in conversation. When police arrived the man became more agitated and all attempts by the officers to approach seemed to worsen the situation. Mark remained in situ, offering reassurance and at one time climbed onto the wall to strengthen the bond with the distressed man. These efforts bought valuable time for the police to arrange for a trained negotiator to attend, bringing the incident to a satisfactory conclusion. Through the period of negotiation, Mark remained at the scene to offer assistance and reassurance. All police personnel present were impressed by Mark’s actions and strongly felt they should be formally recognized.

Ms Clare Bevan - for her alertness, quick thinking and prompt actions in September 2007, when she reported to police three males acting suspiciously at her 93 year old neighbour’s address in Ross-on-Wye. Concerned by their presence, she warned her neighbour not to open the door to them and the men abandoned their activities and fled. Clare then saw the men running to a nearby vehicle and shouted at them but was rebutted and told, in no uncertain terms, not to be ‘nosy’. Maintaining her composure, she was able to take the vehicle details to pass to police. The registration was traced to a vehicle used elsewhere in burglaries, including a distraction burglary the same day in the Avon and Somerset area. Unfortunately the plates had been ‘cloned’ from another vehicle and the offenders were unable to be traced. However, Clare’s swift intervention undoubtedly prevented her neighbour falling victim.

Mr Michael Harris - for his composure and quick thinking action in saving the life of a motorcyclist following a collision on the B4362 at Bircher on September 13, 2007. Michael, an off-duty retained fire-fighter, correctly anticipated a head-on collision between a motorcycle and car ahead of him on a blind bend. He was able to bring his car to a halt across the road and with hazard lights flashing to warn other traffic, call the emergency services and then assist the rider who was unconscious on the road. Having administered initial first aid to the rider, he then dealt with the car driver, who was clearly heavily in shock and had also suffered chest injuries, before going back to the motorcyclist when he heard him stop breathing. Summoning the help of another motorist, Michael carefully removed the man’s helmet and identified that his tongue was blocking his airway. He rectified this, allowing the man to breathe and undoubtedly saving his life. Michael then turned his attentions back to the car driver and led him away to safety. As he did this he saw the heavily damaged car was still running and smoking badly, so he turned off the ignition to prevent it from catching fire. This alone prevented further substantial danger to those at the scene. All of these actions came despite the shock of witnessing a horrific collision. The motorcyclist suffered multiple severe fractures and a ruptured artery and remained unconscious for several days. However, he owes his live to Michael’s quick thinking.

Mr Oliver Black - for his public spirited and quick thinking actions, which prevented a young man from taking his own life. Oliver and another member of the public were walking through Ledbury in the early hours of the morning in March 2007 when they saw a man jump from a fence while hanging from a seat belt in an attempt to take his own life. Having called for an ambulance, Oliver was able to maintain the man’s weight to prevent him from hanging himself and brought him down to safety. Emergency services then arrived and the man was taken to hospital for treatment. The other member of the public involved was also commended but unable to be at the ceremony and will receive his award at a later date.

Mrs Margaret Jones and Mrs Margaret Langridge - for their unstinting help and support both for victims of crime and to West Mercia officers in their roles as representatives of Victim Support. In particular, they are commended for their assistance with the victim of a sexual offence, referred to them by Hereford CID. They provided continued support, both emotional and practical, and without this assistance it is unlikely that the victim would have felt able to see the case through to its Crown Court conclusion.


Mr Len Dykes - for his consistent high performance during his service with the Special Constabulary, latterly as Commandant for Herefordshire. Len has been committed to the role of the Special Constabulary in Herefordshire, since joining in 1971. He was based within Herefordshire for the whole of his career until entering semi retirement earlier this year. During his years in the role, he has ensured the voice of the specials is heard at both Divisional and Force level, proving an inspiration to many along the way. Len continues to work for West Mercia as a handyman and driver, so is still in touch with his many former officer colleagues across the county. Len was also presented a Certificate of Service by Chief Constable Paul West.


Special Constable Ben Chance - awarded in recognition of his consistent high level of performance during 2007. Special Constable Chance has completed more than 1,000 hours of duty in the last 12 months, based at Ross-on-Wye and Ledbury, assisting with a wide variety of incidents. While on duty Ben always gives total dedication to whatever task he is given and is a much respected colleague among the regular officers - to the point when they always ask when he is on duty next!


SOFA's performance at the Prince of Wales on Saturday evening was brilliant. SOFA are one of Tina's favourite local bands and although I had been to two of their performances before, at both I had been otherwise preoccupied and had just taken the photos and run, leaving her to enjoy herself dancing. This time I stayed and listened. Tina is right. SOFA are very much one of the better local bands and we both had a great evening!

Actually, I was a little spoiled for choice at the Prince on Saturday as The Zebras were also playing at a private party in the function room. Not wanting to leave my personal favourite local band out, I slipped out of the SOFA performance just once, catching one of my favourite Zebras numbers, 'My Perfect Cousin' on film.

The Prince of Wales is becoming known now as a great local music venue which, in a way reminds me of my youth at the Dagenham Roundhouse 'Village Blues Club'. Although, being a London Suburb, 'The Village' had a far bigger audience, most of the bands who played there regularly, like Status Quo, Arthur Brown, Hawkwind, Uriah Heap and Sabbath, to name a few became really big. Times have changed, of course since then but, if the Prince continues as it is, and uses the function room more often for the music, I can see it becoming a similar venue, on a smaller scale in the future.

I did film some of Saturday's performances by both SOFA and The Zebras and these have been included in this week's WNTV NEWS.

Ref: DSC_3065

Ref: DSC_3070


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Going Medieval in Peterstow

Whilst at Broome Farm on Saturday, Cindy told us that a Medieval Christmas Fair was taking place in Peterstow Church that day, so after the apple pressing activity, we went along to take a look.

The fair was being held to raise awareness of, as well as funds for, the Peterstow Community Project. The project began in July 2004 and its aim is to extend the use of the church for the benefit of all the community, whether they are church goers or not.

Saturday's fair was very successful, despite the wind and rain. There were many stalls selling hand crafted cards, scarves and ornaments and some beautiful paintings and delicious cakes. There was even mulled Broome Farm Cider available for visitors!

More of this story can be watched in this week's WNTV News.

Roasting chestnuts outside St. Peter's Church, Peterstow. Ref: DSC_3062

There was some beautiful hand made jewellery and gift boxes at the fair. Ref: DSC_3041

There were lots of cards to choose Ref: DSC_3045

Delicious soup helped to keep the cold out. Ref: DSC_3050

As well as beautiful jewellery, this lady also brought along some brilliant paintings. Ref: DSC_3036

I could not resist some of Cindy's mulled cider. Ref: DSC_3056

Art and History to help Ross Community Hospital

Ross Heritage Centre will be the site for a joint history exhibition and art auction to raise funds for the community hospital. A local artist and the Ross Community Hospital League of Friends are working together to raise funds and awareness of this invaluable local charity and its work.

The Ross Community Hospital League of Friends provides a wide range of equipment and services that are fundamental to the hospital and help raise the standard of care to an exceptional level. International artist, Rodney Beecher Roberts has donated seven paintings which will feature in a fund-raising exhibition and auction for the Ross Community Hospital League of Friends in February 2008.

Rodney Roberts moved to Herefordshire from the US in 2002 and has exhibited his work both locally and in London. 'Both my wife and I have benefited from the physiotherapy centre at the hospital in past years. As the Friends have contributed a great deal of the equipment in the department organizing a fundraiser seemed like a good way to give something back,' he said.

His wife Kathryn who has organized several charity fundraisers proposed an art auction to members of the League of Friends which led to discussions with Mary Sinclair Powell at the Heritage Centre. Before they knew it a date was set and historian Heather Hurley, also a Friend's member, was enlisted to head up the history exhibition.

The exhibition will open Saturday, 2nd February and run through Sunday the 17th February. Local artists are invited to make donations to the auction which will accept bids throughout the duration of the exhibition and culminate in a live auction at a wine reception on Sunday, 17th at 3:00pm. Donations of original artwork are still being sought for the auction. Artists donating work will also have the opportunity to sell original artwork or prints from browsers with a small commission going to the League of Friends during the exhibition. Anyone who has photos, interesting old medical instruments or kit relating to medical care in Ross is also welcome to participate in the exhibition.

For general information about the event or to lend items for the history exhibition please contact Mary at the Heritage Centre on 01432 260675, to donate artwork ring Kathryn Roberts on 01981 540597.

Ross Cottage Hospital in 1909.


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