Ross on Wye Home Page, Wyenot News - The weekly online news magazine for Ross-on-Wye., Herefordshire.
The place for information on Ross-on-Wye and the Wye Valley

Wyenot News - The Weekly News Magazine for Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Issue No. 217 - Wednesday, 24th September 2008
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Page 1 [WNTV NEWS - Anne Gray Award - Tudorville Post Office - Civic Service - Silverfish - Good Citizen - Potters Bar Party - Do you know the story behind the giant football?]
Page 2 [A lovely day with Sir Patrick Moore - Plans for the future, have your say]
Page 3 [Ross in Bloom Awards - Letters]
Page 4 [Ross in Bloom Awards continued - Llangrove houses refused - Ross Traders development Framework - Weather]

Page 5

[A very special duo and the rest of the news from around the region]
A Lovely Day with Sir Patrick Moore

Having enjoyed a life long passion for astronomy, I first communicated with Sir Patrick Moore when I was a 13 year old boy. I asked him how I could take photographs through my small telescope. When Patrick wrote back, even at that age, I realized what a nice, and very helpful man he was. Patrick put me in touch with Commander Henry Hatfield at the time, and I must admit that the technical text and diagrams I was sent, completely baffled my schoolboy brain. It was not until years later that I actually started taking my first astronomical photographs.

Following the solar eclipse of 1st August, I sent Sir Patrick the film I shot from Ross, along with a letter, thanking him for sparking what had become a lifelong interest in the moon, planets and the stars. The next morning my telephone rang and, to my surprise, it was Sir Patrick. We had a very a long chat, quite literally about life, the universe and all that. Getting on to local matters, my friend, Roger Lovell, who is the Son of Sir Bernard came into the conversation. Sir Bernard Lovell built the great 'Lovell' Radio telescope at Jodrell Bank and as younger men, during the telescope's construction Patrick and Bernard shared an interest in watching meteors at night and playing cricket. Sir Patrick remembered Roger but had not seen him since he was about 5 years old.

To cut a long story short, Sir Patrick invited Tina, Roger and I to his home in Selsey for lunch and we arranged a date for Saturday, 20th September. Some weeks later, I received another call from the Moore household. Patrick's personal assistant had mistaken my number for that of a member of the BBC 'Sky at Night' team. An Autumn Equinox Star Party had been arranged for the same day. Fantastic!

As soon as we entered the garden of 'Farthings', Patrick's home, we were made to feel extremely welcome - both by Sir Patrick himself, his staff and by those in the garden, who were setting up their telescopes for the 'Sky at Night' Star Party. Patrick invited the three of us into the already familiar surroundings of his 'study', and we sat around his desk. There, in front of us was the famous 'Woodstock' typewriter - a machine which had belonged to his grandfather - with another, newer machine next to it. Over pre-lunch drinks, Patrick explained that, due to an old war injury, he was having some difficulty typing on the 'Woodstock' now and he had been given a new electric typewriter that very morning by a friend.

Continued . . .

Setting up for the 'Sky at Night' Autumn Equinox Star Party. Ref: DSC_7444

At the dining table, we were joined by one other guest, a friend of Patrick's who was also called Roger and also from Herefordshire. Roger's wife is a musician and had sung some of Sir Patrick's own musical compositions on a recent 'Sky at Night' programme, 'Music of the Stars'.

We had a really nice time. Sir Patrick is one of the kindest, most helpful men I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He has a fantastic sense of humour and over lunch explained how an 11 year old boy had once visited his home to look through his telescope. He had had to lift the boy up so that he could look through the eyepiece. That boy was Chris Lyntott, now Co-presenter of the 'Sky at Night'.

Sir Patrick spoke to me for this week's WNTV. We were out in his garden at the time with the party setting up and his sense of humour comes across in the film. Those you can hear laughing in the background at Patrick's remark about 'those who do not believe the moon landing took place - mainly Americans' are members of the BBC team. I must admit, I was more than a little nervous filming. Not because of Sir Patrick. It was doing so in the garden with so many people who know far more than I do milling around. This interview is good, but I cannot help but notice my own nervousness. I hope to try to interview Sir Patrick again, on a quieter day without so much going on around us. There is so much more I wanted to ask him but I didn't write anything down and all of the questions left my head as soon as Roger switched the camera on.

I would love to have returned later on with my own telescope for the Equinox Party but I had promised that I would cover the Ross-in-Bloom Awards. Sir Patrick has said that he will let me know when the next 'Star Party' is taking place.

Tina Jones, Sir Patrick Moore, Roger Lovell and Alan Wood. (Patrick asked Sky at Night photographer, Peter lawrence to take this photo with his own camera, so I gave him my camera as well. Sorry it wasn't a Canon, Peter!) Ref: DSC_7438

Myself and Patrick Moore. Ref: DSC_7436
Apologies to Roger Lovell, who actually took the photo, for the wrong credit. Trying to do everything in too much of a hurry here, I forgot to make the change whilst processing, using my auto Photoshop 'action' for Wyenot News pics.

More telescopes for the Equinox Party. Ref: DSC_7445

Ref: DSC_7446

By the hedge in this photo, in the wooden structure, the telescope which Patrick used to map the Moon for NASA can be seen on it's manual alt azimuth mount. Ref: DSC_7463

Patrick's famous 'Oil Drum Observatory'. . . Ref: DSC_7448

. . . and inside, Ed Sampson and Mark Irving collimate Patrick's world renowned 15 inch 'Fullerscopes' reflector.
Ref: DSC_7455

Ref: DSC_7458

It was daylight but I could not be there and not look through the telescope, so I checked out the leaves on the bushes.
Ref: DSC_7462


Old Court Hotel,  Symonds Yat.
Old Court Cottage  - Self Catering at Symonds Yat.
The White House Guest House, Ross-on-Wye. Anchor Lodge Bed & Breakfast, Ross-on-Wye.
'The Halt' Self Catering, Homs Road, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. Broome Farm B & B and Restaurant, Peterstow.

Plans For The Future - Have Your Say

Following an initial consultation stage to identify the issues that matter to the residents of Ross, which ran from November 2007 to January 2008, and a period of time spent analysing responses, The Ross Town Plan Steering Group is all ready to host a series of Planning for Real Events to be held at a variety of locations within the town.

The first of these events will be held at The Larruperz Centre on Thursday, 25th September between 10am and 4pm. You are warmly invited to come along and take part. Set out on a table will be a huge map of Ross which we would like you to use to identify places where you would like to see some action taken. There will be topic cards and pins available for you to stick in the map at locations in the town or, if your issue is more abstract, on the periphery.

Issues that have been raised so far include the one way system, shabby shop fronts, policing and anti social behaviour, the need for a cinema, parking, road signage and sporting facilities. This is a marvellous opportunity for you to influence The Ross Town Plan by having your views included.

Further events are planned for The Market House, Brampton Abbotts School, The Library, Tudorville Community Centre (Tuesday, 7th October 10 - 4pm) and John Kyrle High School. Please check the local press for dates or go to for the latest information.

We would be most grateful if you could circulate this information to all your friends who live in Ross as we want as many residents (people of all age groups) as possible to have the opportunity to express their views.

Thank you. Caroline Utting Secretary to The Ross Town Plan.


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