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.
A BISHOPTON woman says BMW owe it to her family to reveal what they know about her husband’s fatal accident at the press launch of one of its bikes.
Kevin Ash, one of the world’s leading motorcycle journalists, died in South Africa on 22nd January last year while testing the new model of the BMW R1200GS.
The 53-year-old from Bishopton Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon, fell off the test bike near the town of George, 155 miles east of Cape Town, while riding on a gravel road in dusty conditions. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Motorcycle correspondent at the Daily Telegraph for 15 years, he left behind three daughters and wife Caroline.
At a recent inquest into his death held at Warwick Crown Court senior coroner Sean McGovern recorded a verdict of accidental death.
He said because nobody saw the crash, there was insufficient evidence for him to say whether the bike, the road, or the weather conditions played any part in his death.
At the inquest BMW did not release a technical report on the R1200GS he was riding at the time.
“I believe BMW owe it to Kevin, myself, and to our daughters to reveal what they know about Kevin’s accident,” said Mrs Ash afterwards. “If anyone deserves to know why Kevin died, it is us.”
Having sat behind him on a bike for years, since his death Caroline has been re-teaching herself to ride solo.
She pointed out that problems with the R1200GS have been reported in the press, and that modifications relating to steering stability had been made to this year’s model.
“Shortly after his death I went to see the road where Kevin died, and I cannot see any reason for such a catastrophic accident,” she said. “I would find it very difficult for the rest of my life not to know what happened.”
Together since 1986, Kevin and Caroline have three daughters, Laurien, Kirsten, and the youngest, Ingrid, who recently turned 12.
His wife, friends, and colleagues all described Kevin as the ultimate family man.
“He was the cornerstone of our family, highly supportive to all of us, emotionally, practically and financially. His death has severely devastated all of us,” said Caroline.
“Our two oldest daughters have had their university studies interrupted and our youngest is struggling to cope. We all feel the loss as one enormous dark cloud engulfing us.”
Kevin was invited to BMW’s launch in South Africa with around 100 or so other journalists, including eight from the UK.
Treated to a helicopter flight and a dive with great white sharks on the first two days, on the third day they were handed the motorbikes.
Travelling in convoy with the other UK journalists, they were told to ride 100 metres apart because of heavy dust.
When Kevin fell off his bike the dust was so thick, Alun Davies, riding behind him, couldn’t see him or his bike.
Mr Davies, who also lives in Stratford, is a director of a publishing company that owns Adventure Bike Rider magazine.
“It happened so quickly, the visibility went, it was split second,” he told the coroner.
“The dust went thicker and the next thing I can recall is seeing the bike ahead of me and seeing Mr Ash lying prone on the floor.”
Mr Davies swerved violently to avoid Kevin and fell off his bike too, hospitalising him for four days.
He couldn’t recall how fast he was going, but said the road “was nothing to trouble anybody”.
BMW prepared a technical report on the bike after a solicitor friend of the Ash family contacted them after the death.
The company maintained that it had been prepared for the possibility of civil proceedings and asked that it remain confidential. It was not made public.
A resigned Mrs Ash said: “I went in with an open mind, I didn’t have any expectations. I probably knew that getting hold of the report would be difficult and I am disappointed.”