Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
AN OFFICIAL paving stone commemorating Stratford-upon-Avon’s forgotten war hero for the 100th anniversary of the First World War will be placed in the town, the government has confirmed. Rex Warneford – the first man to single-handedly shoot down a zeppelin - was ignored in the government’s initial plans to recognise Victoria Cross winners because he was born abroad in India. The Herald launched a campaign, together with King Edward VI school, where Rex lived and studied for five years, to get the fighter pilot recognised.
THERE has been a spate of nudity rippling across Warwickshire this year and, at the end of last week, the epidemic hit Stratford.
It is the tenth anniversary of the 2003 comedy film Calendar Girls, which was then made into a smash hit stage play (2008). Now that rights have been released for amateur companies to perform it, performances have been popping up all over the country, with Stratford’s Second Thoughts Drama Group becoming part of this national ‘institution’.
Most people are aware of the true story of a group of Yorkshire WI women who produced a nude calendar to raise money for Leukaemia Research, whether they have seen the film or play or not.
But what has become an exceptional phenomenon is that those performing it in amateur groups across the country are too finding ways of raising money for cancer charities.
Second Thoughts had not only produced its own 2014 calendar, but also held a raffle and guess the weight of the cake competition in line with WI tradition when it performed last week.
The company also did the play proud. Granted the story lends itself for a stage production but director Paul Holtom deserves equal credit for making this a funny, well-produced and well-acted version of the show.
Making good use of the civic hall space, with a simple yet effective set, it oozed warmth, despite the underlying story.
It was truly an ensemble piece, with those on stage effortlessly becoming their individual colouful characters without overdoing it.
Humour and pathos abounds and writer Tim Firth takes every opportunity to throw in jokes about the Women’s Institute. Of course there was the inevitable flash of flesh but the director ensured none of his actors were too compromised.
It would be churlish to single out individual performances, so a big pat on the back to all of the cast: Claire Bradwell (Cora), Annette Stocken (Chris), Kate Guest (Annie), Val Harris (Celia), Kate Sutcliffe (Ruth), Annie Giles (Jessie), Justin Obsborne (John), Steph Jepson (Brenda/Lady Cravenshire), Graham Taylor (Rod), Clive Webb (Lawrence/Liam), Alex Kapila (Elaine) and Gill Hines (Mairi).
This offering from Second Thoughts was amateur theatre at its best.