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.
STRATFORDIAN Bob Unitt who, apart from his war service, spent his whole life in the town, died on New Year’s Day at the age of 88.
Robert Frank Unitt was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and his early years centred on Unitts Newspaper shop in Ely Street. His lifetime career was in insurance and he worked for the NFU Mutual from the age of 16 until he retired aged 60. As a senior manager he had special responsibility for the company’s largest clients, including the Milk Marketing Board. He was president of the Stratford branch of the Chartered Insurance Institute in 1964.
During the Second World War he served as a wireless operator in the Royal Signals, joining in 1942. He saw active service in Algeria, Italy and France with Special Force Number 4 during 1944 and with Force 136 in India and Burma until the end of the war in 1945. Subsequently he was transferred to SEAC HQ in Singapore but later returned to Burma before demobilisation in May 1947.
When he retired in 1983 he was able to indulge his passion for steam trains, joining the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) at its inception. He was actively involved with the Stratford Area Group holding the position of chairman for eight years. On the railway itself he was perhaps best known for his role as stationmaster of Toddington and Winchcombe but was also a qualified guard and ground frame operator.
Bob was a happily married family man—his wife Betty supported him throughout his life and died in 2008. He is survived by his two sons, four grandsons and three granddaughters.