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.
A WELLESBOURNE man who is serving sentences totalling more than 12 years for robberies escaped by climbing a fence at the open prison where he was being held.
But Mervin Mason, whose offences included the savage beating of a pensioner who was robbed in his own home, was recaptured six days later.
And at Warwick Crown Court he pleaded guilty to escaping from lawful custody at HMP Thorn Cross, in Cheshire.
Mason, aged 46, of Elliott Drive, Wellesbourne, was jailed for six months—consecutive to sentences totalling 12 years and four months he is currently serving.
Prosecutor Tim Harrington said that in April 2009 Mason had been jailed for nine years and four months at Worcester Crown Court for his part in the violent robbery of a 68-year-old pensioner in his own home.
The victim had been tied up and subjected to a savage beating with a crowbar by a gang who believed he had £40,000 stashed away at his cottage in the Worcestershire village of Hadley.
At a later hearing, also at Worcester Crown Court, Mason was given a consecutive three-year sentence for two further robberies, said Mr Harrington.
“By August last year he found himself in Thorn Cross prison near Warrington, which is an open prison where prisoners are trusted to come and go at certain times of day.”
But when a roll-call was taken after lunch on 24th April it became apparent that Mason, who was due for release at the end of January next year, had absconded.
He was at large for six days until he was traced to the home of a friend in Shipston-on-Stour where he was arrested.
When he was interviewed later that day Mason explained the reason he had gone on the run was that, because of where the prison was, he had had few visits from his family, and a request to be transferred to HMP Hewell, near Redditch, had been turned down.
So he climbed over the fence and got a train to Leamington before going to his friend’s address.
An unrepentant Mason added: “I know I’ll get a few more months, but if it’s at Hewell it’ll be worth it. It’s all about seeing my family.”
Richard Hull, defending, conceded: “There is very little I can add to what was said by the defendant.
“The motive had been building for some time, but the decision made by him to go was spontaneous.”
And he pointed out that Mason had not resisted when he was arrested and was fully-co-operative with the police.
Jailing Mason, Recorder Lance Ashworth QC told him: “It is absolutely imperative for that system to work that prisoners do not abscond from such prisons.
“But this is a case where no violence was involved and no damage caused. You were only free for six days, and there is no suggestion you committed any other offences while you were out.
“You explained to the police why you had done it; but while those reasons are understandable, they are not good reasons. You can’t choose to which prison you are sent.”