THE Stratford Mop of 1914 appeared little changed from previous years. Wartime austerity had not yet set in and few people foresaw that the conflict would be lengthy. One of the great traditions of the fair was its roasts. No less than five oxen and seven pigs were rotating on the spits outside the pubs on the big day. The excursion trains brought their usual hundreds of revellers from Birmingham and other centres of population. None of Stratford’s conscripts had yet embarked overseas, although just five days before, a regular with the South Wales Borderers, Sgt RH Savage, had been the first Stratfordian to fall victim to the war. He had been struck by shrapnel at the Battle of the Aisne and died of his wounds in Bournbrook Military Hospital.
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.
FROM Greensleeves to Elgar, modern musicals to madrigals, this year’s Wootton Wawen Music Festival from 9th to 14th June is intended to capture the ‘Essence of England’ in melody.
Warwickshire’s oldest church, St. Peter’s, dating from the ninth century, aptly provides the venue for such a theme, its acoustics widely recognised by many international performers, some of whom return for this festival.
Organisers The Wagen Trust charity, which raises funds for the church and village, has ensured the centenary of the outbreak of WW1 is commemorated in the festival.
The last night, Saturday 14th June, invites the audience to join in marching songs like It’s a Long Way to Tipperary and Keep the Home Fires Burning, tunes likely to poignantly echo down the church drive to the village war memorial, honouring 12 who gave their lives.
Led by the Berkley Salon Ensemble, formed 15 years ago from members of the world-famous City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, this programme will nostalgically also include light music evoking the days of the Palm Court orchestra, the illusion enhanced by male players sporting black tie, the women instrumentalists in sober dress.
International cellist James Barralet, who appeared at the successful 2010 event supported by music lovers from nearby villages and towns like Henley and Stratford returns with the Werther Ensemble to his home ground on Monday 9th June for the first of the festival’s four concerts.
The ensemble’s programme of English chamber music will include pieces by Frank Bridge, Walton and Elgar.
On Wednesday 11th June adaptations of recent popular music including Adele’s theme for Skyfall contrasts with madrigals, singularly appropriate for a location where until the 14th century an adjacent Benedictine priory perhaps resonated with the chanting of its monks.
This performance will be by Voices from the City of Birmingham Choir, supported by flautist Jessica Gabbott and harpist Kristina Kennedy, conducted by the CBSO’s Julian Wilkins.
No strangers to St Peter’s, where they have recorded commercial CDs, Warwick’s Armonico Consort will on Friday 13th June celebrate traditional folk songs with new arrangements of favourites like Wraggle Taggle Gypsie O!, Now is the Month of Maying and Greensleeves.
John Lawton, secretary to the Wagen Trust said: “Essence of England is our third festival using this lovely old church to highlight its acoustics and give people of the village and surrounding area a musical feast.
“Paying normal professional fees to put on good quality concerts is costly and we are seeking sponsorship support from businesses and individuals.
“Any profits will enable the trust to extend its funding activities for projects that help the church and support the local community.”
Tickets, £15, are available from Pat Phillips on 01564 793114 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Free parking adjacent. All concerts start 7.30 pm.