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10th February 2012 JOIN IN THE GREAT PANCAKE RACES 2010

It has been fantastic to see the reinstatement of the annual Ross Pancake Day Races over the last two years thanks to ART and I am really looking forward to covering this year's event. Ross Town Mayor, Councillor David Ravenscroft will be supporting this year's event, which will be taking place on Shrove Tuesday, 21st February, starting the racers who will run up the town, tossing their pancakes until they reach Ross Market House.

'Ross-on-Wye has a long history of organising an annual pancake race,' said ART member Helen Kiddy of Essential Sewing Services. 'It costs just £1 per person to take part and all you have to do is bring your own frying pan. Races will take place throughout the afternoon in several categories with lots of races for children of all ages, organised after the local schools close for the day.'

Local shop keepers, businesses and individuals who would like to take part should get in touch with Helen Kiddy at Essential Sewing Services in Gloucester Road on 01989 566406. Entry forms are also available from: Essential Sewing Services, Tudor Sweets and Field Fair.


A scene from the 2011 Pancake Day Races.

10th February 2012 ROSS-ON-WYE MEMORY CAFE.

Are you concerned about your own or somebody else's memory? If so, why not go along to the friendly Ross-on-Wye Memory Café? The café meeting has been opened for people with memory problems, their carers, family and friends and take place at the Larruperz Centre on the last Tuesday of each month from 12 Noon until 2pm. Why not go along and enjoy meeting other people in a similar situation over a tasty light lunch, costing just £2.50?

There will be different speakers each month, who will provide a variety of information and advice on living with memory problems and related illnesses. If you would like to join the group or you would like further information, please contact Diana, the café coordinator, by telephoning 01432 371137 or by email at diana.toynbee@alzheimers.org.uk


10th February 2012 THE WAY TO YOUR VALENTINES HEART

Valentine's Day! A day when traditionally, secret admirers would declare their undying love for the blushing maiden of their dreams, or, indeed handsome young knight. (All anonymously, of course via an unsigned token or these days, a card, leaving the subject of their desire to work out who had sent it. How romantic.) These days things are apparently much simpler, with most people knowing exactly who their Valentine is and most also knowing what is likely (or unlikely) to happen should they forget this very important date. Chocolatiers, florists, jewellers and card manufacturers all do their very best to ensure that you do not forget, however. BUT! Should this date somehow manage to escape your attention, my advice to you is . . . . quickly don some protective head gear and try the following.

Book a table for two at one of the many lovely local restaurants / pubs and wine and dine your beloved to their heart's content. Actually, don't wait until the day itself or you may find yourself unable to redeem yourself at all as Valentine's Day is a popular date for dining out. Do it now! The King's Head Hotel is offering a lovely Valentine's Day menu and the Eagle Inn are offering a two course meal, (two mains, two desserts) and a bottle of wine between you for just £19.95 per head.

You might like to take the person of your dreams to somewhere a little different, such as perhaps, Orles Barn. You may like the intimacy of the lovely Old Gaol Restaurant at the White Lion. Flavours of Herefordshire 2011 winners Wilton Court is also a lovely venue as are Wilton's Castle Lodge, the Saracen's Head or the Royal Lodge at Symonds Yat East, the lovely Old Court Hotel or the Wye Knot Inn at Symonds Yat West. On the evening of Saturday, 11th February, The Hostelrie at Goodrich are hosting a Valentine's Dinner and Dance. There! Lots of helpful suggestions for you to keep your sweetheart sweet.

However you celebrate St. Valentine's Day with your loved one, I hope it will be a day / evening to remember.

Speaking of traditions, 2012 is a Leap Year and ever since I can remember, 29th February is the day when it was deemed acceptable for a young lady to propose marriage. You have been warned! (ermm reminded, I mean.)


10th February 2012 CREATE A WIGGLY SQUIGGLY STORY BOOK.

Herefordshire Council's libraries are encouraging families to pick up their pencils and create their very own wiggly squiggly storybooks based on the drawings of Edward Ardizzone. An exhibition of Edward Ardizzone's drawings used to illustrate children's books from 1900 to 1979 is on view at Hereford Museum and Art Gallery until Wednesday, 14th March.

The exhibition is being used to inspire families to create their own storybook to take away and keep. Workshops are suitable for children aged five years old and above with supervision by a parent or carer. The sessions will take place from 10.30am to 12 noon in Ross-on-Wye Library on Monday, 13th February, Hereford Library in the Woolhope Room on Tuesday, 14th February and Leominster Library on Wednesday, 15th February. Tickets are available from these libraries and cost just £1 per person.

To book a place please telephone Ross Library, 01432 383280, Hereford Library, 01432 383600 or Leominster Library, 01432 383290.


10th February 2012 THE BIG LLANGROVE BREAKFAST

The children of Llangrove CE Primary School are celebrating another fantastic fund raising success. The 5th Llangrove Big Breakfast, which took place on Sunday, 5th February raised £1,100 for the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at The County Hospital, Hereford and school funds.

The Llangrove Big Breakfast has become a popular annual event in the community. Despite the snow and ice at the weekend, local people turned out in force to raise valuable funds for both the SCBU and the School. Two hundred delicious cooked breakfasts were served, with most of the food generously donated by local companies and individuals including Sam Madeley of Glewstone, Bartonsham Farm Dairies, Neil Powell Butchers, Sheila and Vernon Jones and Spar Services at Daf-y-nant, Whitchurch.

Mrs Amanda Colledge, Assistant Headteacher at Llangrove CE Primary School said, "The charity breakfast enables the children to get very involved with our local community here which is very supportive of our school. Everyone helps; children, staff, governors, parents and local people. The children have enjoyed raising money and learning about the work of SBCU and the babies that are cared for there.'

The Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at the hospital cares for sick newborn and premature babies requiring intensive care through to special care. The funds raised will be used to provide mattresses and supportive baby nests as part of specialised baby care.

Carol Lamputt, Ward Manager of Special Care Baby Unit at Wye Valley NHS Trust said, 'We are very grateful and overwhelmed by the ongoing interest and support from the children and families at the Llangrove Primary School.'


Children at Llangrove CE Primary School with the £1,100 they collected at their charity Big Breakfast.

10th February 2012 ART COMPETITION TO CELEBRATE BEST OF THE COUNTY.

Residents across the county are being given the opportunity to take part in an arts competition aimed at celebrating the best of Herefordshire and Great Britain in 2012. The competition is being run as part of the county's celebrations around the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and winners could see their work displayed in prominent places and at significant events across the county.

Organized by the Raising Our Game Partnership, the competition is open to all residents of Herefordshire and those studying within the county. Individuals can choose to enter one or both themes. For the Olympic and Paralympic theme entries should be based on a visual interpretation of one or more of the Olympic and Paralympic values which are excellence, friendship, respect, courage, determination, quality and inspiration and how they relate to Herefordshire and / or Great Britain. They can reflect any number of topics such as community spirit, culture, sport, Herefordshire icons or the Olympic Torch as it passes through Herefordshire.

The theme of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - 1952 to 2012, is seeking to celebrate the Jubilee across Herefordshire and Great Britain. All entries must be graphic works such as paintings, drawings, photography or computer generated and should be flat to the surface and on A3 or A4 sized paper or canvas, and should not include excessive text or replication of a recognize logo, including the London 2012 one.

Councillor Olwyn Barnett, chairman of Herefordshire Council said, 'This year is going to be one of big celebrations this year with first the Olympic Torch Relay crossing the county; followed by the Diamond Jubilee, which will be marked in Herefordshire on Wednesday, 11th July at Kings George V Playing Fields, Hereford, and then the Olympic and Paralympic Games themselves in London. I hope as many residents as possible will enter this competition so their creativity can be showcased and the rest of the country can see what talented people we have here. I would particularly like to encourage schools to get involved as celebrating 60 years of the Queen's reign and exploring the Olympic and Paralympic values can teach pupils a lot about our own society as well as all the other nations who will be taking part.'

The competition will close at 4pm on Thursday, 12th April 2012 to allow for judging, printing and hanging of the material prior to the summer of celebrations. For further information, or to request an entry form, contact Steve Ashton on 01432 383623, or email sashton1@herefordshire.gov.uk.

The full terms and conditions and entry form are available at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/2012


10th February 2012 HAREWOOD END LANDLORDS PLEA TO LOCALS.

A landlord who says road closures nearly forced him to call time on his pub is appealing to locals for support when workmen close the road again later this month. Laurie Cork, landlord of the Harewood End Inn, was left thousands of pounds out of pocket after the Highways Agency put signs up to close the busy A49 to allow workmen to carry out resurfacing work.

'This happened during January when I lost thousands of pounds in trade - they practically closed me down,' he said. 'What people didn't realize is that while the road was closed, there was still access to businesses and my pub was open as normal - it's just that people saw the signs and turned round and went elsewhere.' Laurie fears that when the agency is back carrying out further works later this month, the signs will reappear and once again leave him out of pocket. 'Despite the signs, there is access beyond the road closure signs and I'm open for business as normal,' he added.

Herefordshire Council's ward councillor, Russell B. Hamilton, said he's hoping a plea to the public through the local media could help local businesses. 'We understand and appreciate the valuable work the Highways Agency is doing and we commend the workers for the way they're getting on with it while trying to cause the minimum of disruption. However, the signs have caused a massive drop in trade and I fear for the livelihood of Mr. Cork and others along the route of the work who have already suffered greatly because of the signs which do not make any mention of access to local amenities.

Having spoken to the Highways Agency myself, I am aware that the workman marshalling the road blocks will allow anyone wishing access to private residences or businesses along the route to reach their destination. They will, however, need to take great care when passing through the road blocks given that there will be workers in the road. I would urge everyone to continue to support pubs and local businesses affected by these road works through these challenging times because they are there for our benefit and enjoyment.'

The Highways Agency has advised that the next work is due to start on Monday, 13th February and will be on the stretch of A49 between Redhill and Rotherwas and work north of Much Birch. This will be followed by resurfacing work from Much Birch to Pengethley, which is scheduled to take place during the second week of March. The work is weather dependent so the timings could change, the Highways Authority has warned.


10th February 2012 COUNCIL WARN OF CENSUS SCAM.

Herefordshire Council has been asked to alert residents to a scam which is circulating relating to the census which took place last year. An email entitled 'Population Census: a message to everyone - act now' is being circulated, allegedly in the name of National Statistician, Jil Matheson. The email demands individuals provide further personal information, supposedly for the Census and threatens fines for non-compliance.

Glen Watson, 2011 Census Director for the Office for National Statistics, said, 'This email is a scam and a hoax. It has no connection whatsoever with the National Statistician, the 2011 Census or the Office for National Statistics. We believe the links in the email could download malware to any computer where the user clicks on the links. This could put your personal data, including financial information, at risk. Anyone receiving this, or similar emails, should delete them, not open any links and certainly not provide any information.'

Anybody receiving these emails or any other scam emails, can report them to www.actionfraud.org.uk . ONS takes the protection of personal census information extremely seriously. Collection of census data was completed last year and no further requests will be forthcoming from the Office for National Statistics relating to the 2011 Census.


10th February 2012

JESSE CALLS FOR OLYMPIC SCREEN FOR HEREFORDSHIRE


Jesse Norman by the Olympic Clock.

Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman has called on the 2012 Olympics organisers to install a large public screen in Hereford city to show the Olympic and Paralympic Games, forming a focal point for local celebrations.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games is working with the BBC to erect 'Live Sites' across the UK to show the latest action and news from the London Games this Summer. There are already plans to erect the screens in public areas of 22 cities outside London including Bristol, Norwich and Plymouth. The screens are free to watch and allow communities to gather together to watch major events.

In a letter to the Organising Committee, which was also sent to Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Mr Norman asked that a 'Live Site' screen be built in Hereford to help local people to be part of the Games.

'Many Herefordians feel that the Olympics are a long way from Hereford,' said Jesse, 'but I am determined that Herefordshire should have its fair share of the celebrations. The Games will be a great moment of national pride, but they can also be part of a great celebration for Herefordshire, and they’re a fantastic opportunity to encourage local young people into sport.

That’s why I campaigned successfully last year for the Olympic Torch to visit Hereford and that’s why I am lobbying LOCOG to erect a big screen here this summer. Our county is home to the UK Blind Football team: we’re doing our bit to support the Olympics, and it’s important that LOCOG does its bit to support Herefordshire.'



10th February 2012 COUNCIL TO BUDGET FOR 2ND FREEZE IN COUNCIL TAX

A budget which includes extra cash to pay for services for older people and means council tax levels will remain frozen for the second year has been approved by Herefordshire Council. At the meeting of council on Friday, 3rd February, councillors agreed that the authority should take advantage of a one-off £2.16 million government grant offered to councils willing to freeze council tax in 2012/13.

'This is good news for local people,' said Councillor John Jarvis, leader of the council. 'We know that many families in the county are struggling to make ends meet and, just like them, we're having to reduce our spending and work better to continue to provide the quality services people in the county expect from us.'

Council members heard that, by using the government grant wisely, the authority will be able to secure savings year on year. The agreed budged includes an extra £1.4 million from central government be put into the adult service budget for the next financial year, which will be in addition to £2.2 million from the NHS to support care activity. However the scale of the challenge arising from the government's deficit reduction programme means that all parts of the council will make a contribution to meeting the savings requirement.

Members of the council heard that during the last two years Herefordshire Council has made in excess of £20m of savings to stay within the government's funding requirements and ensured that council tax levels stay at 2009/10 levels for the second consecutive year. The budget also reflects the role economic regeneration can play in supporting Herefordshire's economy through a capital programme that includes funding for key infrastructure projects. This includes the commitment to explore funding options for the £27 million Hereford link road which will help bring 1,400 gross new jobs and around 800 much needed homes to the city. The link road, which will run from the bottom of Aylestone Hill and across to Edgar Street, is a key element of the major regeneration of the city centre which includes bringing a Debenhams store a multi-screen cinema to the old cattle market site. In partnership with Sanctuary Group, it will also include the creation of new city centre housing which will include an element of affordable housing. The overall cost of the scheme will be established in 2012.

'This decision provides funding certainty and also allows us to go out and find alternative funding for the link road - including seeking appropriate contributions from developers. The road will provide access to this massively important project which will bring jobs, homes and retail facilities to the city centre. It's key to unlocking economic vitality in Hereford - and we all know that a healthy economy in the city will boost a healthy county economy. This is what the council is committed to,' added Councillor Jarvis.

Although Garrick House multi-storey car park has been repaired and maintained since it was built 27 years ago, £1 million has been earmarked for major improvements, including new lifts and lighting, to ensure it remains fit for purpose in the coming years. The ambitious Borders Broadband project - a partnership between Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to improve the broadband network in the counties to create opportunities for businesses, households and communities - is also to receive £6 million which will match government money allocated to the county.

A final decision to freeze council tax at the current level will be taken when council meets in early March.


10th February 2012 JESSE DELIGHTED AT PLANS FOR 4G MOBILE COVERAGE.

South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman has expressed his delight that OFCOM, the telecoms regulator, have agreed to increase the legal coverage requirement for next generation (4G) mobile phone services, from 95% to 98% of the UK population.

Jesse launched his Wireless Herefordshire campaign in 2008, and has long pushed for better mobile coverage across the county. He said, 'This is fantastic news for Herefordshire. I’m delighted that OFCOM now recognizes the vital importance that mobile phone coverage has for rural communities like ours in Herefordshire, and that they’re taking a tougher stand with the mobile phone operators.

After winning superfast broadband and the Enterprise Zone, 4G coverage will be another important step towards a more prosperous and successful Herefordshire. But the battle is not over yet. I will continue to push OFCOM to put the 98% requirement in other licences so that we can have more competition and better service across our county.'


10th February 2012 CREW NEEDED FOR HEREFORDSHIRES DIAMOND DAY TROW

The Wye Trow being built to represent Herefordshire in a pageant on the Thames to mark HM Queen's Diamond Jubilee is taking shape. For the first time in around 200 years, skills used to construct the trows which hauled goods along the River Wye are being rediscovered in Nielsen's boatyard at Gloucester Docks. On Sunday, 3rd June, The Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire, Lady Darnley, will be on board the 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.

To see how the trow is progressing, Lady Darnley visited the boatyard in Gloucester and heard that the unique construction of the vessel meant skills not seen for two centuries were being called on. 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. The skeleton of the craft is now complete and work has begun to add the planking for the sides which involves steaming the timber - sourced in Herefordshire - to fit its unique shape. To ensure the trow is an accurate reconstruction of an original Wye Trow, the plans being followed were drawn up after careful measurements were taken of the remains of a Wye Trow which had been uncovered at Lydney.

'This is very exciting, in particular being able to see the shape and scale of the trow for the first time is very special,' said Lady Darnley after visiting Gloucester Docks. 'June 3rd is going to be a unique day and I'll be proud to represent Herefordshire aboard a watercraft which genuinely represents this county.'

Of course, any vessel of this size needs a crew, so the search is on to find eight oarsmen and women for the occasion. The Wye Trow will carry a complement of 14 people, including the oarsmen/women, who will row the craft from fixed seat positions using 15ft oars. It is expected that they will be dressed in period costume and the distance rowed is likely to be between 11-15 kilometres (which will take between 1½ and 2 hours). The Wye Trow project team is looking for athletes from Herefordshire to put their names forward for selection into a team of rowers to train for and take part in this historic event.

A squad of 16 oarsmen and women will be selected from the volunteers to attend trials and crew training on the Sharpness Canal in Gloucester in April and May. From this squad, eight will be chosen to row the Wye Trow at the Pageant. However, all 16 members of the squad will be invited to be in attendance with the Wye Trow on Diamond Day, Wednesday, 11th July in Hereford on the King George V playing fields. The basic requirements for the crew are that they must be aged 16 or over and must be an experienced rower. (Fixed seat rowing experience is an advantage but not essential.. They must have a good reach and flexibility and be at an excellent level of fitness. Applicants must be available for crew training (likely to be in the first two weeks of April and the second week in May) and the Pageant weekend of 31st May to 4th June.

Applicants are invited to write to the Wye Trow rowing director summarising how they meet each of the basic requirements and adding briefly any other information they wish. The address to write to is: Jeremy Picton-Turbervill, Coughton House, Coughton, Ross-on-Wye HR9 5SF or by email to jeremypt@hotmail.com. The closing date for applications is Monday, 27th February.


Lady Darnley inspects the Trow with Tommi Neilsen.

The Wye Trow under construction at Neilsen's boatyard in Gloucester Docks.

10th February 2012 COUNTY YOUTH SERVICES COME UNDER SPOTLIGHT

The way youth services are provided comes under the spotlight this month as Herefordshire Council launches a consultation on the future of the county's youth services. At the moment, the council works from eight youth centres across the county, an outdoor education centre based in Hereford and also provides targeted youth support to young vulnerable people. About a quarter of the county's 13-19 year olds use one of these services or clubs. The majority of young people access clubs and groups delivered by other organizations including young farmers, voluntary youth groups, schools and churches. Some simply do not access youth services at all.

Due to budget pressures, the council needs to explore a range of options for the future. This involves doing things differently by considering a package of changes in line with recommendations approved by the council's cabinet earlier this year. These recommendations were to prioritise services for the most vulnerable young people in the county, encourage positive activities for young people through promoting more community involvement and consider transforming outdoor education services into a self-financing business. As a result, the council has published a consultative document explaining the challenge being faced and asking for the views of young people, and other interested parties including adults and carers, providers and agencies working with young people.

Councillor Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing said, 'We are consulting on the principles presented in the Youth Review and need to keep our options open until we have gathered the views of young people. To keep things as they are is not feasible. Like our neighbouring authorities in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire we need to explore how we can do things differently to make sure that the cash we have available is being spent well and targeted in the right places. We are very keen to hear what young people would like their services to look like and are particularly interesting in receiving feedback from those who don't use council youth services at the moment.'

The deadline for responses is 20 April 2012. Findings will be published on the council's web site and recommendations made to the council's cabinet when it meets in June.


10th February 2012 IT IS NOT TO LATE TO VACCINATE.

NHS Herefordshire is warning that as the cold weather arrives the level of flu like illness could increase, those at risk of getting serious complications from flu may be more vulnerable if they haven't yet had the flu jab. The recent mild weather has meant that flu cases this year have been relatively low to date. However, there are warnings that there could be a surge in cases, similar to last winter, leaving those who should have been vaccinated at greater risk.

Each winter the free flu jab is offered to people in 'at risk' groups. These include everyone aged 65 and over, children and adults under 65 with certain medical conditions and all pregnant women. But, whilst the majority of older people in Herefordshire have now received their flu vaccine, there are still some under 65s with long term conditions, such as heart or breathing problems, and pregnant women who have yet to have theirs. The vaccine takes around 10 days to start working, so the sooner people have it, the quicker they'll be protected.

Arif Mahmood, consultant in public health medicine said, 'Flu is much more serious than getting a cold, and the effects of seasonal flu are often underestimated. Some people are more at risk from flu and need the vaccine because they are not able to fight off flu as easily as others. Only around 30 percent of pregnant women and 55 percent of under 65 year olds at risk have had the vaccine to date. Yet for these people, flu can often result in more serious complications which require hospital treatment. It can even be fatal in some cases. Flu can be prevented by having the vaccine, which is provided free at GP surgeries across the county for those people most at risk.'

If you think you may be eligible for the free flu jab, call your GP surgery now to check and to book an appointment. For more information on the flu vaccine, go to http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth/pages/fluandthefluvaccine.aspx


10th February 2012 JESSE HONOURED TO OPEN ARTS SPACE AT COLLEGE

Local MP Jesse Norman was 'honoured' to open the new Arts Space last week at Hereford College of Arts. The new building was host to a throng of students, supporters and other local people as it celebrated its formal opening. Jesse paid tribute to the architects, to the College's staff, governors and students, and to its principal, Richard Heatly.

Speaking afterwards, Jesse said, 'This is a stunning addition to the College of Arts, and to Herefordshire's public spaces. It perfectly illustrates that great design does not require huge external funding or grand committees, and it really sets the standard for future building in the city and around the county.'


Jesse Norman at the opening of the new arts space at Hereford Colege of Art.

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