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.
STRATFORD’S Territorial Army, now known as the Army Reserve, left the town’s drill hall this week after being based there for 100 years.
Volunteers in the 867 signal troop are being moved to Redditch in a Ministry of Defence reshuffle brought about by cuts.
Described as a “sad day” by both current officers and ex-reservists, the troop held an official flag-lowering ceremony at the base in New Broad Street on Tuesday night.
It marked the end of a century of history and tradition.
Lt-Col Dominique Cairns, commanding officer of 37th Signal Regiment, in Redditch, said: “It is with great sadness that we will relinquish this centre; there has been a reserves presence here for exactly 100 years.”
The 867 troop, which is under the command of the 37th regiment, currently has 16 volunteers.
“All of them have served in an overseas operation, be that Iraq, Afghanistan or Cyprus, and all have supported UK operations, including the flooding in the South East and South West,” Lt-Col Cairns told the Herald.
“We are sad to leave but we are incredibly proud of what we have achieved.”
First opened in January 1914, Warwickshire Yeomanry troopers from the drill hall fought on horseback in the First World War, and in tanks in the Second.
The hall underwent a £1 million extension in 2006-07 but the base still has the marks of years gone by.
Lucy Sewell started as a young TA private in 1998, and then became Stratford’s first female sergeant major.
“It is sad because you can go in there and you can still see where the hay was kept for the horses,” said the police inspector who was deployed in Helmand in 2012.
“Shutting the door for the last time, it’s a sad occasion.”
Stratford’s troops have been moving to Redditch over the past five months under a reorganisation known as Army 2020, Tuesday night was the official end of the TA’s presence in town.
In order the save money the number of regular soldiers in the British Army is being cut from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2020, while the number of reservists is increasing from 20,000 to 30,000.
Stratford’s drill hall was previously the home of the Warwickshire Yeomanry and the 67 squadron and had around 100 personnel, but in 2009 it was reduced to the 867 troop and numbers have plummeted.
Sgt William Thomas has been caretaker of the drill hall for over 40 years. After serving in the regular army on national service between 1955-57 he joined the TA in the 1970s. He lives next door to the base.
“I have seen a very good squadron here over the years,” he said. “It is a shame for it to go considering it’s a central part of Stratford.”
The future of the building is still unknown and although there are concerns it could be sold off, Lt-Col Cairns was positive about a military presence in the future.
“The cadets will remain on this site,” she said. “And it’s such a fantastic building I think the RFCA [Reserve Forces & Cadets Association] will find an alternative squadron for it.”
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