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.
AN OFFICIAL paving stone commemorating Stratford-upon-Avon’s forgotten war hero for the 100th anniversary of the First World War will be placed in the town, the government has confirmed. Rex Warneford – the first man to single-handedly shoot down a zeppelin - was ignored in the government’s initial plans to recognise Victoria Cross winners because he was born abroad in India. The Herald launched a campaign, together with King Edward VI school, where Rex lived and studied for five years, to get the fighter pilot recognised.
AFTER driving a Transit van through residential areas at up to 70mph in the middle of the day, ignoring his terrified passenger’s screams, a man has admitted his driving had been horrific.
Daniel Whittaker volunteered to the police that he had taken ‘stupid risks’ and could have killed someone as he tried to get away from officers who were trying to stop him.
Whittaker, aged 31, of Avon Crescent, Alcester, was jailed for nine months and banned from driving for two years when he appeared at Warwick Crown Court.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving, having no licence and driving without insurance.
Prosecutor Jason Pegg said that on 11th July the police were on the look-out for a white Transit van when they saw it heading along the A46 towards Evesham at 11.45am.
The officers, who were in an unmarked car, put on their blue lights and siren, and pulled alongside the Transit.
Whittaker, who had two passengers, a man and a woman, gave them the thumbs-up—but then suddenly accelerated away and crossed the central reservation into the face of oncoming traffic.
He then went the wrong way round a roundabout and headed at speed towards oncoming traffic and on to the A44.
With the police in pursuit, he drove along 40mph roads at 70mph, most of the time in the middle of the road or on the off-side, causing oncoming traffic to swerve.
As he headed into Evesham he continued to drive at 70mph along residential roads, still in the middle or on the off-side of the road, and when he had to brake, smoke came from the wheels.
Reaching the junction with Worcester Road he went through traffic lights on red on to the off-side of the road, forcing other drivers to brake to avoid a collision.
Whittaker continued along the A4184 towards the town centre before turning sharply into St Egwin’s Road, a cul-de-sac with the entrance to St Mary’s Catholic Primary School at the end of it.
He stopped and he and his passengers got out, and he made off on foot. His passengers were detained at the scene, but Whittaker was not arrested until 11 days later.
When he was questioned about his driving, he confirmed he had no licence or insurance and said: “I panicked; I was scared. I’ve been to prison three times, and didn’t want to go back.”
And he told officers: “I made a mountain out of a molehill. The driving was crazy, horrific. I could have killed someone. I was taking stupid risks.”
Whittaker, who had previous convictions for offences including taking vehicles and failing to comply with a community order, for which he was jailed in February, added that his female passenger was screaming at him and he was telling her to shut up.
Nick Devine, defending, said: “The three most compelling matters of mitigation are his age, his plea and his complete and utter and unusual level of frankness during his interview.
“He showed a mature level of insight into his behaviour, and it is clear he was demonstrating genuine remorse.”
Mr Devine said that after serving his last sentence, Whittaker was determined to steer clear of alcohol and drug misuse and to repair his relationship with his family.
He went back to live with his parents, found employment and bought the van with a friend, with the aim of using it to do painting and decorating work, but panicked when the police tried to stop him because he had no licence.
Asking the judge to consider a suspended sentence, Mr Devine added: “What happened during that chase has been a salutary lesson for him. He was himself terrified at what was going on.”
But jailing Whittaker, Recorder William Mousley QC told him: “You drove in an absolutely terrible way, as you recognise.
“I am not persuaded the sentence I pass can be suspended. You have recently demonstrated your ambivalence to court orders.
“The time has come for you to start making your own decisions on how you live your life. The probation service has invested quite enough time and energy on you in the past.”