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.
FALLEN heroes are being commemorated around the district this weekend to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
On Saturday, the mother of a Stratford-upon-Avon soldier killed in Afghanistan is organising a 14-mile walk to honour the servicemen of the area killed in the Great War.
Naomi Whittaker lost her son, Private Joe Whittaker, in 2008.
The anniversary is a poignant one for the mother, whose son was a Territorial Army reservist serving with the 4th Battalion of The Parachute Regiment.
“He was only 20 years old, a similar age to many of the men named on our war memorials,” she said.
“They had their lives ahead of them as Joe did, and each loss was a tragedy for their families.”
She is walking from the war memorial by St Mary’s Church, in Warwick, to St Andrew’s Church, in Shottery, in time for a memorial service at 4.30pm.
Around 25 people will walk the 14 miles with her, with 40 more joining along the way in Hampton Lucy, Alveston, or Stratford.
“We will be pausing at every war memorial to remember the fallen and will carry poppy crosses, named for each person,” said Naomi, who is raising money for the soldiers’ charity, ABF.
“Sadly there are around 600 of them on our route, and I feel that we owe it to their sacrifice to remember them on this anniversary.”
Two years ago Naomi organised a similar walk, raising funds to repair and professionally clean our war memorial at St Andrew’s.
It was going to be a one-off event but this year she’s decided to recognise the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
On Monday, there is a candle-lit vigil in Stratford’s Garden of Remembrance between 10pm and 11pm.
The Royal British Legion are holding a ‘Lights Out’ vigil across the country on 4th August to mark exactly 100 years since war was declared.
Stratford Royal British Legion chairman David Hastie is encouraging people to come along for the service.
If they are unable to, residents are being urged to switch off all their lights at home and leave just one candle or one light on in the window.
In Henley-in-Arden, 55 people in uniforms of the period—soldiers, nurses and patients—will be parading on Sunday from the memorial hall in Station Road down High Street to St Nicholas’ Church.
A granite obelisk to Henley’s 2nd Lieutenant Jack Hawkes, killed in 1917, has been restored in recent weeks. It will be unveiled on the day.
After a church service at 11am, the uniformed men and women are marching back to the memorial hall, which is being turned into a war hospital next week.
Between November 1914 and April 1919 Henley Memorial Hall was home to a hospital for wounded serviceman manned by volunteers. It treated 1,576 patients.
It will be open from 2pm-5pm every day from Sunday until the following Saturday.
Ragley Hall, near Alcester, is re-creating life in the trenches on Sunday.
Visitors can enlist in a recruitment office, head into a trench and step into a HQ briefing bunker.
There is also a replica machine gun nest and a new exhibit focusing on letters from the trenches.
In Alcester, there is a service at St Nicholas Church at 3pm on Sunday afternoon and a candle-lit vigil outside the church from 10.30pm.
St Peter’s Church, in Wellesbourne, is holding a Service of Remembrance and Hope at 6.30pm on Sunday.
In Shipston, the town council will be flying the Union flag at half-mast outside their offices in West Street.
On Monday, Shipston publican Baggie Saunders is giving people the opportunity to read a poem by their favourite war poet at the Horseshoe Inn, in Church Street, before the Lights Out vigil at 10pm.
WWII Prisoners of War
Veteran prisoners-of-war, who suffered at the hands of the Japanese during the Second World War, are returning to Stratford this weekend.
Each year, the Java Far Eastern Prisoners of War Club holds an annual dinner and memorial service in Stratford.
On Sunday morning, the deputy mayor, Cllr Tessa Bates will be attending the memorial service in the Garden of Remembrance at 11.45am. Most of the veterans are now in their 90s and one is 102.
Have we missed anything going on in the Stratford district? Let us know.
Send information and photos on how you’re marking the 100th anniversary to email@example.com