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 MP is stepping into the debate over the closure of the Young Firefighters Association after watching 18 children from the Shipston-on-Stour crew run hoses in their uniforms.
Nadhim Zahawi has promised concerned parents he will write to Warwickshire’s Chief Fire Officer, Andy Hickmott, demanding more detail on why the youth group can’t be saved.
“I was delighted to visit Shipston’s young firefighters,” Mr Zahawi told the Herald. “The enthusiasm of the children, volunteers and parents involved was obvious, and a real inspiration.
“Community schemes like young firefighters are a wonderful way to teach young people responsibility, teamwork and commitment, as well as practical skills like first aid.”
Earmarked for closure because the fire service has to save £2.4 million by 2018, fire chiefs say they can save between £40-£50,000 scrapping the young firefighters.
Started in 1997, children between 11 and 18 meet once a week to practice marching, fire drills, pitching ladders and running hoses.
There used to be 250 young firefighters at 16 stations, but the number has steadily dwindled and now there are 61 children at four stations.
It’s currently free but parents are happy to start paying for the service.
Lead campaigner Donna Hall, whose 12-year-old son Matthew is a young firefighter, said: “Hopefully the powers that be will hear what he [Nadhim] and us have to say and rethink the decision to shut us down.”
However, Warwickshire’s assistant chief fire officer, Gary Phillips, confirmed on Tuesday the fire service were focusing instead on schools.
“Engaging with young people is vital but the schools give us a fantastic opportunity,” he told the Herald.
More children are reached by going into schools and it’s cheaper.
“We can identify the right children we need to get across to so they don’t become tomorrow’s arsonists,” said Mr Phillips, who attributes a 40 per cent fall in arson in Nuneaton and Bedworth over the last three years to their work in schools.
Although the fire service are removing their links to the young firefighters, it is open to “external agencies” taking over the four groups in Shipston, Bidford, Wellesbourne and Kenilworth.
But parents and campaigners still want firefighters to be involved.
“We are asking for firefighters to maintain the YFA if the parents will contribute financially,” said the Mayor of Shipston, Philip Vial.
“We are basically asking Nadhim to see if he can broker a compromise with the fire service.”
This article first appeared in the Herald on Thursday 17th July. For the latest South Warwickshire news pick up the paper each Thursday for 60p.
All photos: Jackie Bedford