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No. 340 March 2021

BUSINESSES in the local area have voiced their pleasure at being able to open again in the weeks to come. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on the roadmap out of lockdown gave details about the earliest dates when businesses of different types would be able to open up again. The Government has said timings are dependent on various tests, including successful vaccine deployment and effectiveness. April 12 has been given as the date at which hospitality businesses such as pubs and cafes can open outdoors. From May 17, they can open indoors. Sarah Best, co-owner of Jack’s Café in Melbourne, said: “We can’t wait to re-open! We are undecided about opening in April for outside dining only as it is so weather dependent, but we will be raring to welcome our customers back the week commencing May 17, if Government plans allow. “I agree with the cautious plan to ease restrictions, I would much rather we took it slowly and see the back of restrictions once and for all, than rush and end up in another lockdown, even if that means that Jack’s has to wait a few weeks longer to re-open fully. “Whilst being unable to open has been tough, the financial support we have received from the Government has been fantastic.” Laura Bowler, landlady of The Malt pub in Aston-onTrent, said she was “really happy” that “hopefully we can start opening the doors again”. She said the pub was hoping to start opening its outdoor area over weekends Friday to Sunday from midApril, “if the roadmap goes to plan”. She said she was hoping to be able to open up inside from May 17. “It’s been challenging,” said Laura. “We have done our

Our trusted support is only a call away

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by Lucy Stephens

takeaway service, which has been supported really well. The support for the takeaway has really helped us get through this and it means we can open our doors again come April.” Tracey Ridley, who runs the popular pre-school class Music Time, said she was “thrilled” to be able to return to face-to-face classes from Monday, April 12. She said: “It’s been a particularly difficult year for parents, especially new mummies and their babies. I have been told they felt cheated out of these special events. However, it was no-one’s fault and they just had to make the best of the situation. “So now, I’m excited to get back to the buzz of the class, the giggles, the social interaction, not forgetting those important new friendships to be made. We might have some catching up to do but we’ll do it with a song, dance and a smile!” Rick Graham, general manager of Harpur’s in Melbourne, said: “We are delighted to be re-opening on April 12; it’s been a long time coming, this time around, and we have certainly missed our regular customers and being the hub of the village. “Sadly, we can only serve outside for the first few weeks, but we are planning to maximise our socially distanced outside seating with cover from the rain and wind … and are crossing our fingers for a hot, dry spring like last year. “We know we will be very busy, so we are ensuring our ‘re-opening menus’ not only offer some of our favourite dishes but also are perfect for outside. “Let’s hope we can all continue to work together to defeat the virus and get fully opened in May as per the Prime Minister’s schedule.”


It’s happy times down at Melbourne Animal Farm where owner Carla Shaw’s appeal to help with winter animal feed was answered by county councillor Linda Chilton. Full story on Page 7.




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2 Village Voice March 2021

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Calling all young artists

l Previous winner Leanne Bailey.

YOUNG artists will again have an opportunity this year to compete in the Melbourne Festival Emerging Artist Award. Now in its seventh year the competition aims to encourage young artists (aged 17 to 25) from the East Midlands to help promote their work and to reward the winners with a cash prize and to become engaged with the festival. A theme is chosen for the competition every year, and this year the idea of “Community” is to be the inspiration for the work. This is only a starting point, however, and all artists are invited to interpret the theme in as imaginative way as possible. At this stage, the panel are just looking for expressions of interest, which need to be submitted by the end of April. Full details of the competition appear on www.melbournefestival.co.uk The competition is not just aimed at fine art either, as the previous winners have included photography, street art, and other media. Indeed, last year’s winner interpreted the theme of “Chaos” through textiles, creating a dress which was sold to an enthusiastic collector. Age and location are the main qualifying factors; there is no need to be a student following an art course at a recognised institution. A previous winner was in fact a law student who did art mainly for fun. As well as a generous first prize of £500 which comes with a year of mentoring and a position on next year’s Art Trail, there is a runner-up prize of £250, as well as a “people’s choice” award and other commendations.


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Friday to Sunday 10am - 4pm We have a wide selection of cobs, sandwiches, hot food and sweet stuff, plus our extremely popular Take Away cream teas! Orders for whole cakes for weekend collections.

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Uplifting response by the community

IT WAS a case of Thanks All Round at the recent local area forum online meeting which brings together county and district councillors, council officials, police and residents to highlight issues of concern and to pass on community information. Chair Cllr Jim Hewlett, of Melbourne ward, set the tone, expressing his thanks to staff of the various local government, health and emergency agencies, to the many volunteers and to the public for all the support that had been provided through the pandemic. He described as “uplifting” the way the community had pulled together. As it was over a year since the last meeting the report from the police team covered a wide range of criminal and anti-social behaviours they had tackled, including traffic offences, drugs offences including two cannabis farms shut down, breaches of the weight restrictions on Swarkestone Bridge, two drink drivers and engagements on social distancing. One Melbourne resident told the meeting of cars “racing through the village on Friday nights with exhausts sounding like gunshots” and another mentioned a problem with drug dealing on the industrial estate, which the police said they would investigate. Speaking on behalf of South Derbyshire CVS (Council for Voluntary Service) Louise Scott talked about the great work that had been done at the local foodbank. She highlighted the launch of the South Derbyshire Volunteer Force, which has seen a fantastic level of support with 180 new volunteers, but nevertheless needed more! As well as helping at the vaccination centres there was a need for “befrienders” to help support those isolated at home, for drivers and for a range

by Frank Hughes

of other activities. More details are available at www.sdcvs.org.uk/volunteering. Also highlighted at the meeting were two transport services available to those who needed help getting to medical appointments or other attendances, e.g. at clinics. The Derbyshire Connect Active Travel service and the Active Travel/Social Car services are both available to residents of South Derbyshire. To use the Derbyshire Connect you need to ring 01283 219761. The Active Travel/Social Car service has an email address: projectsupport@sdcvs.org.uk.

More bins on way

EXTRA bins are being ordered for Melbourne and Kings Newton to keep the area tidy after a rise in dog fouling and littering. Melbourne Parish Council’s highways committee discussed the matter at a meeting in February. At its latest meeting on March 2, the parish council agreed to buy three new bins for the local community, to be emptied weekly. Cllr Carol Ferria said in the meeting that dog muck bins were overflowing and there definitely seemed to be more people with canine companions in the local area than previously. One bin has been planned for Kings Newton and another for Ashby Road, at the entrance to Brown’s Field. The location of the third has not yet been decided upon.

New school heads in our direction

A NEW secondary school for South Derbyshire has been given the green light by the Department for Education. The school – one of 21 new free schools approved across the country – will be located at Infinity Park, although the exact location is not yet clear. County Cllr Alan Dale, cabinet member for young people, said: “The secondary school at Infinity Park will really help to take pressure off other local secondary schools and will provide enough places for the numbers of new homes being built in the area.” The school will be run by The Spencer Academies Trust, a multi-academy trust which already runs 22 schools across the East Midlands region. It has been running the Chellaston Fields Primary School since


it opened in 2019 and the John Port School since 2018. The trust was in the news last year, when it was criticised for awarding its chief executive Paul West a £60,000 pay rise, taking his salary to £215,000. As a free school, the funding arrangements for the school will be the responsibility of the Department for Education, rather than the local authority, and they will also be managing the capital project. Concerns had been raised previously about a potential shortfall in funding for a new school and the timeline for its build as a significant proportion of the budget will come from ‘Section 106’ money, which developers pay when new homes are built. Up to 2,000 new homes are being planned for the Infinity Park and money

from those developments will be needed to finance the project, with the costs expected to be over £27million. Whilst the catchment area for the new school has not been indicated as yet, the website suggests that the young pupils now attending the Chellaston Fields primary will be among the first new admissions to the secondary school, which is scheduled to open in 2023. Cllr Linda Chilton, who has been closely monitoring the new school proposals, said: “I was always concerned about the exponential growth in this area with regard to schooling in particular, so after five years or so of planning I really welcome this new secondary school. “It should help ensure that our children from Ticknall and Melbourne can be confident of school places.”

Blood test clinics are back THE First Noel, depicted in Lego (above), was the winning window in the first Christmas carol trail held in Melbourne in 2020. The trail was the brainchild of Churches Together and featured 25 themed window displays, the idea being to guess which carol they depicted.

REGULAR blood test clinics and midwifery services are now back up and running at Melbourne surgery. Practice manager Alison Coomer confirmed to the Village Voice that the surgery was once again receiving the services of a phlebotomist, provided by Royal Derby Hospital. The service is running regularly. A midwife is now also at the surgery on Mondays. In order to free up its telephones as much as possible, the surgery has messaged all patients eligible for a coronavirus vaccine a link to book their appointments at Derby Arena. The surgery said the idea behind this was to help free up staff to be able to continue to answer the phones rather than calling patients. Surgery staff still contact those patients without a mobile phone but since there are relatively few of these, it is still hoped that the measure will help keep phones free. The surgery has said it is seeing an increase in patients calling up to check their eligibility for the vaccine.

Village Voice March 2021 3

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Those who took part were also asked which window they liked best and the winner was the one pictured. The trail attracted more than 50 entries, of which two winners were drawn at random and prizes awarded.

This is a question that receptionists are not able to answer without referring to a clinician, meaning phones get clogged up and those with an urgent clinical need may struggle to get through. The surgery said it would like to encourage patients to look at its website or Facebook page for any updates. Those who wish to check their eligibility for a vaccine are asked to email the local practice at reception.melbournesurgery@nhs.net instead of phoning, so that those who are unwell can get through quicker by telephone. The first round of visits to housebound patients to administer the first dose of the vaccine has now been completed for the majority of the patients. A small number who have since become housebound will be visited in due course, the surgery said. Housebound patients are informed they do not need to contact the surgery regarding their second vaccine, as these will be automatically scheduled.

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Posters putting a smile back on people’s faces

l Carole Bagnall and Richard Coates with the happy posters.







LIGHT-HEARTED posters have been put up in Aston-on-Trent to try to provide some cheer as lockdown continues. The posters have been organised and displayed by Carole Bagnall and Richard Coates, from Aston’s local history group. The idea is simply to raise a smile to people out and about on their daily exercise, all that is currently allowed in the lockdown imposed by the UK Government in January. “They are just light-hearted,” said Carole. “I think we have all reached a low plateau.” The history group in Aston is currently developing a series of walks for people to enjoy.

The village is set amongst a number of interlinking rural footpaths and the walks are designed to take in the area’s historic features. Carole, who is chair of the history group, said: “We’ve noticed that during the Covid restrictions many people have taken their exercise through walking, so we thought we’d develop a series of walk packs including a route, map and information about local history along each walk. “Ten walks have been planned and we hope to launch the first five very soon. They’ll also be available for walkers to download and print for themselves.”

Council tax bills to be bigger

LOCAL residents will see rises on their council tax bill when it lands on the mat this Spring – but they are not as high as in other areas of the UK. An emotionally charged full meeting of South Derbyshire District Council saw a decision to raise its element of the council tax by 1.5 per cent. Rises of various percentages had been put forward by different political groups but it was the 1.5 per cent proposal which won the day. The maximum council tax rise permitted by the Government is five per cent. It has been reported that more than half of England’s local authorities have set out plans to raise their council tax by the maximum amount this year. In this area, Derbyshire County Council’s bill has increased by 2.5 per cent; Derbyshire Constabulary’s by 6.62 per cent; Derbyshire Fire & Rescue by 1.98 per cent; and Melbourne Parish Council’s by 2.99 per cent. Melbourne district councillor

Martin Fitzpatrick, leader of the council’s Independent Group which had proposed the 1.5 per cent rise, said there were three reasons behind this proposal: knowledge that the least able to pay would be able to find support in recent Government grant announcements; uncertainty over future funding from the Government; and a desire to show residents that, while the maximum amount was not being charged, a modest rise was being asked for in order to pay for the services that the council provides. He said: “SDDC (South Derbyshire District Council) has good reserves at present and many residents could rightfully ask why any increase is needed at all. “Financial year 21-22 is the last year of the Government’s current funding scheme for district councils using the new homes bonus and as yet councils like SDDC do not have any certainty on exactly how they will be funded from next year onwards. “Our medium-term financial

plan predicts that we will move into a cycle of needing to use our reserves to maintain services at their current levels and it is therefore prudent that we consider the longer-term financial picture when setting our council tax.” He added: “The recent debate at full council on this matter was fairly emotional but all members seemed keen to help the poorest in our district. “Recent Government announcements have meant that SDDC will receive an extra £88,000 to support those who cannot afford to pay their council tax and an additional £470,000 of funds to support the community in general as we recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

Car park shuts

MELBOURNE Assembly Rooms car park will be closed for two weeks so that it can be resurfaced. South Derbyshire District Council has appointed a contractor to do the work on the car park, which will be shut from March 15-31.

The lockdown bears helping children’s clinic

MELBOURNE’S very own three bears are the stars of a new book written by a local grandma keen to give back to the NHS in her own way. Christine Astle’s children’s book, the NHS Bears in Lockdown, is her own take on the 12 weeks following March 23, 2020, when the country was put under its first set of strict restrictions. Now she is selling copies and donating all proceeds to the children’s diabetic clinic at Royal Derby Hospital. This clinic has helped Christine’s 11-year-old granddaughter Sophie with a device that has transformed the way she can manage her own type one diabetes, with which she was diagnosed aged six. When the first lockdown was announced and Christine was unable to see any of her eight grandchildren in person, she kept in touch by sending them pictures of the exploits of three of her teddy bears, called Neil, Harriet and son Sammy – to spell out ‘NHS’. Christine, who with husband Dave is a keen collector of old toys and memorabilia, was inspired to produce her book when


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l NHS bears Neil, Harriet and Sammy pose with Chris Astle’s new book.

by Lucy Stephens

she noticed that many local people were putting teddy bears in their windows during the UK’s first lockdown – a way of providing some cheer when people could not meet and were only able to undertake limited outdoor exercise. Christine’s NHS bears were pictured in ways that underlined safety measures to protect from the virus. “I’d send photos each day to the grandchildren,” said Christine. “They (the bears) would be distancing, washing hands. I even had Prime Minister Boris in there, when he took ill.” When the first UK lockdown started to ease, Christine decided to use the photos she had created to make a book. Ending with an Easter image featuring a bunny hidden in the garden, which the reader must find, the idea is to provide a record of those early days of the virus in the UK. “I thought I’ll have a photo book made for the grandchildren, then I showed it to a few people, and before I knew it, I sold about 30 copies!” she said. Christine is keen to donate proceeds to the children’s diaher betic clinic so that other young

people can be helped in the same way as Sophie. Like others who are diagnosed with type one diabetes, Sophie and her family have to carefully monitor her blood sugar levels so that they do not dip too low or get too high – either of which can be life-threatening. In the past, this involved regularly pricking her finger so as to check glucose levels in her blood. Sophie now has a ‘Libre’ device attached to her arm, which allows her to check her blood glucose levels via an app on her mobile phone. She also wears an Omnipod, another device which gives her the insulin she needs. To get the equipment, she had to go through three months of having her finger pricked eight times a day. Christine said the device was “life-changing” for Sophie and her family. NHS Bears in Lockdown is priced at £14 for a hard-backed copy and £7 for paperback. Christine would like to thank everyone who has bought a copy. Anyone else who wants one should phone or text her on 07968 514 803.


l Sophie Bush guinea pig.

Village Voice March 2021 5

MELBOURNE Fete & Carnival Committee has been awarded £700 from South Derbyshire District Council (SDDC). The award, which was funded from a Covid-19 discretionary grant, was to support the group during 2020 and 2021 – years when it has not been able to hold the annual event but is still incurring costs. Melbourne councillor Martin Fitzpatrick, who supported the committee’s request for help, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to be able to support the Carnival & Fete Committee’s request for financial support. “When they are able to run the carnival it has

been and will be in the future a tremendous asset to our community. “Of course it’s a wonderful day in the calendar for us all, but it’s especially important for those charities and local good causes who benefit from the funds that the carnival raises.” Christian Peat, the committee’s treasurer who worked with Cllr Fitzpatrick on the bid request, said: “It’s been fantastic to see that SDDC recognises the benefits that we bring to Melbourne. “These funds will mean that when we run the carnival in 2022 we will ultimately have greater surpluses that can be shared with our chosen charities and good causes.”

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Chemist with competitive spirit

6 Village Voice March 2021

MELBOURNE streets were lined with mourners for the funeral of chemist and garage owner, and lifelong motorsports enthusiast, Bob Parkinson. Bob ran the chemist’s on Potter Street for 40 years, co-founded Shenpar garage, co-founded and was chairman of Melbourne Round Table. He was also a successful race, rally and kart driver. He passed away on January 17 after a short spell in hospital. The second of two children, Bob was born in Derby on May 17, 1939, to Joe and Agnes Parkinson. He attended Bemrose School in Derby where he honed his competitive nature on the school cross-country and cricket teams, before going on

to higher education in Bradford, enabling him to follow into the family business of the chemist shops trading in Melbourne and Repton. Qualifying to be a pharmacist was not Bob’s first passion, however. His love of motorsport soon showed as in the early 60s he began racing one of the first karts ever built, a ‘Buckler Villiers’, which was owned by local milkman Dennis Jackson. By the mid-60s he had qualified into the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, but he would tell you his greater achievement at that time was to buy one of the first ever Mini Cooper ‘S’ cars in Derbyshire! Keen on socialising, Bob joined many groups l Bob Parkinson behind the wheel of the restored Buckler Villiers kart he drove in the 1960s, and (right) the chemist shop in 2003.

and societies throughout his life. He was a member, then chairman, of South East Derbyshire Young Conservatives, and then became one of the founder members of Melbourne Round Table, later to become chairman in 1968. Around this time, his social circle led him to meet Sandra Rogers from Barrow on Trent and they started going on dates at the Melbourne Hotel. Sandra’s dad, Ralph, wasn’t so keen on the driving style Bob had adopted on the road as one night he had unwittingly passed Ralph at breakneck speed in an effort to get Sandra back home in time! On January 21, 1971, Bob and Sandra were married at St. Wilfrid’s Church, Barrow. Later that year Simon was born and Nick three years later. Bob’s competitive spirit meant that even just delivering prescriptions and medication became a race against the clock; he constantly felt he could always knock a few more tenths off his time going between the Melbourne and Repton pharmacies. Well known in Melbourne for running the chemist shop, he was liked and respected by everyone but after 40 years of service behind the pharmacy counter it was time to hang up his white overall for the last time. Upon retirement, and when their motorhome was released from motorsport duties, he and Sandra used to drive up Windsor Avenue, packed to the gunnels and had the freedom to say … left or right? They would spend many weeks away, enjoying time to relax and soon grew a fondness for the New Forest where they would spend many a summer. Son Simon was fortunate enough to follow in Bob’s footsteps through Round Table, and when he became chairman of Melbourne in 2001, was honoured to be able to have Bob as his president. Unfortunately, Melbourne Round Table eventually folded but Bob had been present at both the

inaugural meeting and then the closing meeting, some 48 years apart! He was still able to continue his friendships, however, through 41 Club. A devoted family man who had a unique relationship with all his three grandchildren – Zac had the same competitive spirit as him and even inherited the ‘Parko scowl’! Anna was his only granddaughter and brought out the softer, caring side of him. He loved her cooking, especially her chocolate cake. When Lewis came along, he would pop his trainers on and they would love playing football together out in the garden, feeding the fish and a competitive game of ‘snakes and ladders’. Unfortunately, over the latter years Bob developed dementia but, whilst his health slowly declined, his zest for life certainly did not. After a short stay in hospital he was unlucky enough to contract coronavirus and passed away peacefully. He will be sorely missed and was loved by everyone who knew him. The family would just like to thank everyone for the cards of condolence, messages of sympathy, words of comfort and kind support shown since Bob’s passing. Any donations in memory of Bob are invited for Dementia UK and can be paid directly to the charity.

BOB’s love of racing and motorsports began in the 1960s, and has carried on through generations of Parkinsons ever since. He had great success racing his ‘Buckler Villiers’ kart, mainly at Darley Moor and RAF North Luffenham in 1963. Later that decade he began racing in the Mini Cooper ‘S’ and Mini Marcos, enjoying a very successful career. This provided a brimming trophy cabinet and took in circuits all over Great Britain, including the likes of Brands Hatch, Silverstone and one of his favourites, Cadwell Park. On many an occasion he was known to take on multiple events during a weekend. Different circuits on different days hundreds of miles apart, travelling through the night to compete ... but somehow making it back in time to open the shop on a Monday morning – just! In the 70s Bob switched to rallying in Escorts, Hillman Avengers and Talbot Sunbeams with successes at local and national level encouraging him to take part in prestigious international events such as the ‘Lombard RAC Rally’ and the ‘Tour of Britain’. To keep his hand in at circuit racing though he contested several events driving a Yamaha engined Superkart, which was nearly 100mph faster than the ‘Buckler’ kart he drove in the previous decade! Later into this period Shenpar garage was born, the brainchild of Pete Shenton and Bob Parkinson, hence the name. Originally, it was a motorsport garage based in units behind the chemist to look after and prepare rally cars with a small area selling car spares within the pharmacy itself. Many a time, unsure of the price of something in the chemist’s, staff would hunt for Bob. Invariably, he could be found out of the back of the shop – if you looked under any rally car bonnet you would see the familiar white overall with blue ink stains on the top pocket. The competitive spirit came through in the next generation when Simon and Nick were bought BMX bikes in the early 80s. On Thursday evenings, they would race on a track based within

Derby Greyhound Stadium, with Bob having to continually scrape dog muck off their tyres! Over the next 10 years the family travelled all over the country most weekends, eventually progressing into Europe on a monthly basis and then racing at the world championships in America. Always good for sniffing out a business opportunity, at the same time Bob saw a gap in the BMX market and began to import bikes into Britain through his Shenpar shop. He then developed a racing team that would ultimately go on to win National, British, European and factory team championship titles, year after year, making it one of the most successful teams of the period. His incredible vision for BMX racing was matched by his philosophy: “Go big, or go home!” After the BMX buzz died off, Simon began his motor racing career, with Bob spearheading the team as manager and Sandra’s skills as chief bacon buttie maker once again becoming highly valued. Meanwhile, Shenpar garage had not forgotten its roots and was still successfully preparing and supporting rally cars under his guidance, but now the Talbot name had given way to Peugeot. A major achievement came when a Shenpar sponsored and supported car won its class on every event bar one during the 2000 season to become Mintex National Rally Champions. This led to a return to the rallying scene for the Parkinson family, but now it was time for Bob to dust off his overalls and become navigator to both Simon and Nick on various events. As a third generation of Parkinson donned a crash helmet, Nick’s eldest son Zac was now behind the wheel of a kart bought by Bob at the age of just four. Twelve years ago Bob was lucky enough to be reunited with the actual ‘Buckler Villiers’ kart he drove in the 60s which had started it all. After a full restoration, and a few years of frustration, it was back on track and he was once again behind the same wheel ... some 50 years later!

Love of motorsport that became family tradition

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Garden event raises £600 for charity

Village Voice March 2021 7

VISITORS to The Dower House garden in Melbourne over a snowy weekend in February raised hundreds of pounds for charity. The Dower House opened on February 13 and 14 with strict measures in place to comply with Covid restrictions. There were more than 100 visitors. It being a chilly February, snow still cov-

ered a good many of the snowdrops, aconites, crocuses and others that had pushed their heads up. Plants to take away were available, with donations for these plus entrance charges meaning around £600 was sent to the charities supported by the National Gardens Scheme.

MALCOLM EDWARD RIDGWAY 27th August 1941 – 27th January 2021

Linda’s fund helps feed farm animals

FEEDING TIME ... Carla Shaw down on the farm.

CASH from a county councillor’s leadership scheme helped feed local animals this winter. When county councillor Linda Chilton saw an article in January’s Village Voice about how freezing temperatures were affecting Melbourne Animal Farm, she stepped forward to help. Carla Shaw, co-owner of the animal farm which is set to open this year, had been featured in our pages after firefighters were called out to assist when her horse Sebastian had trouble getting to his feet in the snow and mud. Our article mentioned that Melbourne Animal Farm owners Carla and Phil Shaw had put out an appeal to help with winter animal feed. Due to the pandemic, they had not managed to open their new business and earn any income at all during 2020. Cllr Chilton got in touch with the pair offering financial support by way of her community leadership scheme.

“I saw the article and contacted her, saying I had got this leadership fund and could I help out in any way,” said Cllr Chilton. “I was quite surprised, because I had never heard of that fund before,” said Carla. “Thank you very much – I really appreciate it. “It will definitely help towards the food costs.” Carla explained how bills for animal care often shoot up in the winter, which can be for a variety of reasons. “A lot of animals are grazing animals,” she said. “Obviously, the grass stops growing, you have to supplement it with extra nutrients in their food, so you might go for a more specialised feed in winter that’s going to give them something extra. It’s all about putting that energy back in their bodies.” It is hoped the animal farm can open from midApril, providing restrictions are eased as expected at the time of going to print.

Our dad sadly passed away in January, after a great life for which we are all very grateful. He always had a positive outlook and enjoyed life to the full, with our amazing mum, Maureen, whom he married on 20th April 1963. He leaves his three daughters, Sally, Helen and Claire; five grandchildren, Matt, Jessica, James, Esme and Abbie; and son-in-law, Martin. Dad was born at the Cottage Hospital in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, second son to Selina and Laurence, and brother to David, who was 13 years his senior. Dad had an entrepreneurial spirit which shone bright to the end, running the family green grocery and florist business before developing their property portfolio. He loved improving and renovating property, including his family homes in Chellaston, Aston-on-Trent and most recently in Ticknall.

During the months leading up to dad’s passing, we have been so fortunate to be supported by very many excellent medical professionals without whom we could not have delivered dad’s wish to die peacefully at home. We will never forget the genuine care and dignity shown to our dad. Our sincere thanks to the staff at Melbourne and Chellaston Health Centre, including Drs Hallas, Stobbs, Long and Thomas who were always there; Sally and the staff at Well Pharmacy in Melbourne; Sam and the District Nurses; and Mr Thomas and colleagues in the Urology¸ Ophthalmology and Oncology Departments over the years at the Royal Derby and London Road Community Hospital. Also to Treetops Hospice, especially Katie, Sally, Debra and Lisa, who visited frequently in the snow and during the night. A special thanks to Andrea Jones, our McMillan nurse, who took away the fear, and gave us solutions and confidence. We are so grateful and feel hugely privileged to have received such amazing support from you all. Thank you so much.

Mum would like to thank everyone from the bottom of her heart for the wonderful tributes she has received. Your support, thoughtful words and acts of kindness have made such a difference. We were all immensely touched and grateful to see people from Ticknall Thank you too to George Simnett, funeral directors, for their and Aston-on-Trent along the route to dad’s funeral, clapping. care and professionalism - they did us proud. Thank you. Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who so generously Mum and Dad have been welcomed with tremendous warmth donated to Treetops Hospice in memory of dad. You have into the Ticknall Community and enjoyed great friendship. raised over £1,400 to support this great charity, doing Mum wants you all to know how much you mean to her. We all exceptional work. appreciate enormously the enduring kindness and thoughtfulness of everyone in the Close, at Luncheon Club and Sally Archer, Helen Ridgway and Claire Curley across the Village.

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Dave lifts annual award 01283 701001 KINGS Newton company director Dave Guilford has been awarded this year’s Dr Freeman prize, for “putting some bright colour in a drab year”. The prize is awarded annually by Melbourne Parish Council in recognition of service to the community. Dave (left), who runs DG Light Haulage, was recognised for his many efforts for the community over the years, including volunteering to water the flowers in Melbourne’s hanging basket display last year. Melbourne Parish Council organises colourful hanging baskets for the village every year. Parish council chair Sheila Hicklin said Dave had done a great job in helping keep Melbourne colourful last summer, which he did by going out to water all the hanging baskets around twice a week. Cllr Hicklin said Dave had also made many other contributions to local life, including lending lorries for use as floats in the carnival parade. Dave’s wife, Liz, collected the prize – virtually – on her husband’s behalf.

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100 years and still growing

8 Village Voice March 2021

THE allotment association at “Hilly Fields” in Melbourne is celebrating 100 years of operation this year. As part of its 2021 centenary celebrations, Melbourne Allotment Holders Association has published a booklet on its history. The author, Paul Sturges, is a professor emeritus at Loughborough University, who has cultivated an allotment with his wife, Claire, for nearly 10 years. He says that the history of allotments in Melbourne is surprising and fascinating, “When I was invited to write something for our centenary, I thought it would just be a page or two to be made available via the Internet,” he said. “I soon discovered that it was possible to draw out a great deal more of the history of the association than a few dates and basic facts. It revealed more about Melbourne’s special contribution to 20th century social change than might be expected. “Since the 17th century, Britain has had a profusion of societies, clubs and associations and over the years Melbourne has played a part in this phenomenon, producing a wonderful richness of organisations. Melbourne Allotment Holders Association has turned out to be a surprisingly interesting example. “What makes the association distinctive is that it was one of the very few associations throughout the country which bought its own site, rather than renting it. The £16/10s that each gardener had to raise for their share of this was enormous in rela-



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tion to average earnings in 1921. “The association’s history is a tale of bold commitment by the founding group of gardeners, inspired by the strong personalities who led them. There is also the contribution of courageous women to be celebrated. By offering plots on a gardener-owned site, the association has been able to provide for the security and continuity of allotment gardening in Melbourne for all this time. “What’s more, it can continue to do so as long as Melbourne people want to keep on growing their own fruit and vegetables. Someone in 2121 might well find themselves writing the bi-centennial history.” The booklet is now on sale priced at £5 and is available by emailing rp.sturges@yahoo.com, or from Melbourne Post Office or any allotment member. They will also be available at the Thursday market on March 25 which is the actual centennial birthday of the association. A larger celebration is planned for Sunday, July 4, when the association will be holding an open day on the Hilly Field site. Hilly Fields allotments saw record demand after advertising vacancies when lockdown was announced in 2020. When the Village Voice covered news that plots were available, all of them were snapped up within a week. Tending allotments was one of the few permitted activities during the first lockdown of 2020.

RIGHT: Paul Sturges gets down to some spadework at his allotment.





Choir on song to raise vital charity funds

A VIRTUAL choir single that was the brainchild of a Melbourne music company saw hundreds of children from all over the UK take part, raising vital funds for charity. Brendan O’Neill, who runs Midlands Music Services Ltd, came up with the idea of bringing a virtual children’s choir together as a tribute to the country’s key workers. Hundreds of children from all over the country responded to a social media call-out for youngsters to take part. One of them was Grace Humphries (pictured), of Melbourne, who said: “I’m so pleased to have been involved with this project. To be able to say thank you to all our key workers and pay tribute to everyone who has done so much for us is a great thing to do.” Brendan, who has been featured on BBC Radio Derby and East Midlands Today talking about the choral project, said he was inspired by fitness guru Joe Wicks, who helped keep millions of children fit with his YouTube PE sessions during lockdown. “It’s a thank you to key workers, people who have been working all the way through,” he said. “My team and I have been discussing at length how we could continue to bring music to the homes of our children. We came up with the idea of setting up a virtual choir for children aged six to 16 to sing the well-known hit ‘You Raise Me Up’.” Melbourne’s Sophie Short, 10, is on the track, which features pictures of children holding thank you notices they designed themselves. You Raise Me Up is also signed by the Nottingham Downs Syndrome Support Group and is available on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. It was released on Valentine’s Day. The single is raising money for the NHS and the NSPCC. To donate to the cause visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/1000youngvoices

Local sledging slopes to be home to sheep


Village Voice March 2021 9

LOCAL residents are being urged to make sure they are registered to vote so their voice can be heard at the next Derbyshire County Council election. The Government has confirmed that local elections can go ahead despite the pandemic; the county council election is to be held on Thursday, May 6. Anyone not registered to vote by midnight on Monday, April 19, will not be able to cast their vote on the day. Covid-19 secure measures will be put in place at polling stations to keep voters safe, the Government has said. People can also vote by post or by proxy: nominating another person, but either method still needs registration. The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on Tuesday, April 20, and for proxy votes it is Tuesday, April 27. The Government also recently announced that people self-isolating with coronavirus could apply for an emergency proxy vote up to 5pm on election day. All 64 county council seats are up for re-election as a new council is elected for the first time in four years. Derbyshire County Council is responsible for a range of matters, including highways, education, social care and libraries. n Those who are standing for election in the Melbourne or Aston ward in the forthcoming county council election may submit a short statement to the Village Voice, for inclusion in our April issue. Nominations close on April 8 but, due to our printing deadlines, we will need any statements by Friday, April 2. Candidates should email us at news@melbournevillagevoice.co.uk.


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MELBOURNE sloping fields popular for sledging in snowy weather are to become home to sheep and some newly planted trees. Brown’s Field and Bare Hills, off Ashby Road, will have new fencing around the perimeter and kissing gates at the three points of entry. A local farmer will be grazing his sheep on both fields. Owners said trees were being planted to create an old parkland feel to the area as it would have been hundreds of years ago, and is still today at Calke Park. Dog owners have been politely asked to keep dogs on leads and pick up any mess. People are also welcome to continue with the Melbourne tradition of sledging on the hill when it snows, at their own risk.

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WINNERS of the 2020 Melbourne Community Awards, dubbed the ‘MELs’, have now finally received their accolades. The awards were due to have been publicly presented in March last year but the pandemic meant the ceremony could not take place. With more than 60 local organisations and individuals nominated for four separate categories, organisers felt it was time to hand them out. Here at the Village Voice we are delighted to have won one of the business categories of the awards, and we thank our kind nominators and judges. Winners of the awards received them separately at Melbourne Assembly Rooms. Organiser Andy Heafield said: “The awards were due to be presented in March 2020 but with the lockdown then various guidelines and lockdowns since, we have been hoping for an appropriate moment to announce the awards but feel that the winners have waited long enough to receive their accolade. “Despite there being no public award show they are, nonetheless, well deserved and everyone is a worthy winner. The MELs have a bit of a fixture in the community and will be back with the next awards due in March 2022 and voting taking place towards the end of this year.” Katherine Parrish, on behalf of Whistlewood Common, which won the group prize in the community category, said: “Everyone at Whistle-

wood is delighted that ou been recognised as a val one to enjoy, spend tim skills.” Mark Rotherham, wh sport category for his k feel honoured and privi and to be awarded spo karate to all ages. Coach knowledge and watchin award in itself. I would l for myself and my wife M the sessions. Thanks to nated and voted for me. The winners of the aw

THE ARTS Performer – Helen B Phoebe (the lovelorn spin Operatic Society’s 2019 Sullivan’s Yeoman of the Event – The Village Fo out concert ‘The Bar Ste ican’ held in February 2 Assembly Rooms

BUSINESS Company – Greenboro tinuing to publish the Vi of our community and it Retailer – David at M long-established busine bourne and district ‘hea

‘We have been hoping for announce the awards but feel long enough to receive their

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ur community space has lued resource for everyme there and learn new

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ho won best coach in the arate teaching, said: “I ileged to be nominated ort coach for teaching hing and passing on my ng students excel is an like to accept the award Mandy who helps at all o everyone who’s nomi” wards are:

COMMUNITY Volunteer – Angie Cooke; she took on organising the fund-raising concert for Community Care’s mini-bus appeal starring ‘Blurred’ and many other activities to support the appeal. Group – Whistlewood Common for their continuing commitment to the community and sustainability. Neighbour – Jane Carroll for her cake baking and delivery of home baking to the community.

latch for her role as nster) in the Melbourne production of Gilbert & e Guard olk Team for their selleward Sons of Val Doon2020 at the Melbourne

ough Limited for conillage Voice, a vital part ts communications. Melbourne Cobbler, a ess that is serving Melart and sole’.

SPORT Sportsperson – Oliver Page, Melbourne Rugby Club. He drives the club forward on and off the pitch with his expectations and standards. He contributes to Melbourne community, always drumming up support for activities and actively leading the fund-raising side of the club. Team – Melbourne Dynamo FC for their consistent performances in the Midlands Regional Alliance and their continuing development. Coach – Mark Rotherham of the MRKD for his coaching of karate to all age groups and standards and helping the development of each athlete. Lifetime – Tim Shone, Melbourne Tennis Club, for his lifelong dedication to the sport that has finally been rewarded with a new home and a thriving membership.

an appropriate moment to l that the winners have waited r accolade’ – Andy Heafield

l Lucy Stephens (left) and Tina Baker of the Village Voice.


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Backing for £35m castle restoration project

l An idea of what Elvaston Castle and its park could look like.

by Frank Hughes

AN ambitious £35million plan to restore Elvaston Castle and the surrounding 321acre park has been backed by Derbyshire County Council and the Elvaston Castle and Garden Charitable Trust (ECGT) which will eventually manage the estate. Following a consultation exercise changes have been made to the original master plan which, as reported in October’s Village Voice, was heavily criticised by the Friends of Elvaston Castle group. Among the changes: the showground will not be moved; there are no plans for residential property to be built on part of the

Melbourne Parish Council Chair’s Report 2020 - 2021

Melbourne Parish Council welcomed two new councillors last year, Councillor Joe Ward and Councillor Robert Hatton. Cllr Ward filled the vacancy created by the sad passing of Councillor Andrew Jackson. Andrew, Andy or Jacko, however you fondly remember him, was the longest serving councillor giving 36 years’ service to the people of Melbourne and Kings Newton. Andy worked on numerous projects but, for me, his most memorable was the Beacon of Light in 2018 which commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of the first World War. Councillor Hatton filled the vacancy created by the departure of Councillor Martin Fitzpatrick; Martin was elected to represent the Melbourne ward on the South Derbyshire District Council. We have recently received the resignation of Councillor Mick Usher, Mick worked tirelessly on some major projects for the Council including the bench project where he oversaw the installation of ten new benches throughout the village. Whilst he was the Chair of the Burial Committee, he digitalised the burial records for the public to easily access them. Due to Covid, all our meetings have been held virtually, whilst some councillors have embraced this, I, along with some others relish the day when we can return to face-to-face meetings. It has been heart-warming, but not surprising, to see how the parishes of Kings Newton and Melbourne have pulled together and supported each other through the pandemic. Many individuals and groups have gone above and beyond to support the vulnerable and elderly in our community. As always, I will leave it to each individual committee to give a full report on their year. This will be my last report as Chair of the Parish Council, I have served for 3 years and have thoroughly enjoyed representing the people of our community. Whilst there have been many highlights, my outstanding memories were the events held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the first World War especially the Beacon of Light, a one-off unique event. However, nothing can compare to the pride I felt when laying the wreath on Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph on behalf of the Council. Finally, I would like to thank all the councillors and Jacqui the clerk for their unconditional support and hard work in maintaining the high standards of support and service given to our community. Sheila Hicklin, Chair Melbourne Parish Council

grounds; and the access route has been modified. Cllr Tony King, Cabinet Member for Clean Growth and Regeneration, said: “In normal times, Elvaston Castle and Country Park is enjoyed by people from all over Derbyshire so it's no surprise that so many wanted to contribute their own ideas, many of which have been included in our masterplan.” The plan will be submitted as an application for planning permission to South Derbyshire District Council. Once it is submitted the public will be free to comment, as is usual. Cllr Neil Atkin, who sits on both the county council and the district council for Aston Ward,

has indicated his support. “I fully support the proposal and welcome the boost it will give to the local area,” he said. “The £35million regeneration project has taken a step forward being supported by Derbyshire County Council … It will include the construction of a new access road, the uplifting of older buildings and the restoration of inside the castle. “The upgrading of facilities including catering, a new café, adventure playground and camping facilities for caravans, motor homes and tents on the former campsite will give the local economy a massive boost, creating jobs and bringing in income to the local area,” he


FRANK ALAN SMITH March 30, 1938 December 20, 2020 FRANK was born at his grandparents’ house in North Street, Melbourne, to market gardeners Pat and Harry Smith. He had a younger sister, Barbara. In 1952 the family moved to Highfields, off Cockshut Lane, to continue with the market gardening business. Frank attended Melbourne School until he was 11 before going to Derby Diocesan School for Boys. After school and during the holidays Frank would often work in the fields with his parents and on leaving school he joined the family business. He met Sybil at the Locarno dance hall in Derby and, three years later, they were married at Chellaston Methodist Church in 1964. They lived in a bungalow which they had built, at Highfields, adjacent to his parents’ home. Frank became the proud father to Andrew and Karen, who both married and provided him with four grandsons of whom he was immensely proud. He continued to work in the family market gardening business – a life that he thoroughly enjoyed even though the hours were long, hard and in all weathers. He would get up at 4am to take the vegetables to Nottingham Wholesale Market as taking them to Nottingham was a family tradition. Following the death of his parents the family moved into their bungalow. Frank continued with

added. The five-year project, if approved, will need to be funded by the county council and from bids to the National Lottery Heritage fund and the D2NW Local Enterprise Partnership. Opponents of the plan remain critical on social media, challenging some of the claims being made by the promotional information. They are particularly critical of the plan for a new car park and entrance, and the high cost of the project. The aspiration is to significantly increase the number of visitors from the current 240,000 per annum and enable the attraction to be self-sustaining.

the business with help from Sybil and part-time staff but, unfortunately, market gardening in Melbourne went into decline and he decided to retire. The land was sold except for a small field adjacent to his home. He converted part of this field into a vegetable garden where he spent many a happy hour until illness prevented him from working in his beloved allotment. In his younger years, Frank had a season ticket for Derby County and supported them throughout his life. During his retirement, and especially when his mobility became difficult, he would sit and enjoy watching sport on television, especially football, tennis, snooker and Formula One. Frank, with his wife, spent holidays and most weekends walking in the Peak District, Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and the Welsh Borders. They enjoyed touring Scotland and Ireland and went on several cruises, visiting many places in Europe. Sadly, the last three years saw a deterioration in Frank’s health. He was cared for at home until he was admitted to hospital following a fall which required him to have an operation. Whilst recovering from this he contracted Covid and sadly passed away on December 20. Frank was a dearly loved and loving husband, father and a treasured grandad who faced his adversity with great fortitude and courage. He was devoted to his family and will be greatly missed.

Bex comes up with mug shots of the area

Freeport win for East Mids

Village Voice March 2021 13

THE EAST Midlands has been named as one of the UK’s 10 new freeport locations promised by the Chancellor and Prime Minister last October to promote regeneration and investment following Brexit. Freeports are designated areas, usually around a seaport or airport, where goods can be imported without having to pay import duties. Taxes only become payable when the goods leave the freeport and are transported somewhere else in the UK or they can be re-exported free of UK tariffs. The Government wishes to bring them back hoping to regenerate deprived areas and stimulate economic growth following Brexit. The East Midlands bid was based on three strategic sites: a transport hub, based around East Midlands Airport and the Segro site; a new “green technology park” based on the decommissioned Ratcliffe Power Station site; and an “Intermodal Park” to be built at Etwall as a road and rail interchange adjacent to some six million sq.ft of warehousing. The Midlands bid is claiming it could create 60,000 new jobs, as well as transforming the local economy with innovation and a move to new green technology. The “Intermodal site” in Etwall has been on the table since first submitted as a draft plan in 2014.

by Lucy Stephens

A MELBOURNE artist whose clients include motor legends Sir Jackie Stewart and Nigel Mansell has stepped off the racetrack and into the countryside for her latest project. Bex East, who has won a loyal following amongst the motoring fraternity for her vivid paintings of classic cars, has designed and produced a ‘Melbourne mug’ which celebrates local scenes you can enjoy on foot. The former Chellaston Academy pupil said her limited edition mug was a celebration of the beautiful local countryside. “It was a lockdown project,” she said. “A lot of people I have noticed, especially from living in Melbourne, are walking more and enjoying their close surroundings, a lot more people than normal. That’s all we can do: a lot of walks! I’ve done a lot of walking myself and I’m so appreciative of where we live. “The mug is something for Melbourne people to celebrate the village we live in.” Bex has always loved art and was the first Chellaston Academy pupil to be awarded a distinction for art at A-level. Her teacher, Roger Charles, former head of art at Chellaston Academy, said it came as “no surprise” to him that she had found a successful career in art. “She was a joy to teach and a model student,” he said. “She enjoyed art and design. She had excellent skills from working from direct observation. She also enjoyed experimenting with a range of art and design as well.” Since leaving school, Bex has used

her proximity to Donington Park and her love of classic cars to develop an impressive list of clients. A particular fan of the classic Mini Cooper, in 2019 Bex collaborated with rally driving legend Paddy Hopkirk and John Michael Cooper, son of racing driver John Cooper, to produce a 60th anniversary artwork celebrating the legendary British vehicle. “I should have been born in the 60s,” said Bex. “The Mini at that time was such a characterful car that so many people wanted. People have got stories behind these cars.” Along with Sir Jackie Stewart and Nigel Mansell, her clients also include Finnish racing driver Mika Hakkinen, British racing driver Derek Bell, former footballers Sir Geoff Hurst and Colin Bell and wellknown businessman Theo Paphitis. You can see Bex’s limited edition mug at the Post Office in Melbourne.

l Bex East outside Melbourne Post Office with one of her mugs.





Police warning after dog bites a newborn lamb

POLICE are reminding dog owners to keep their pets on leads and under control near livestock after a newborn lamb near Melbourne was bitten. The lamb was bitten by a dog which was off its lead, causing its face to be cut. Whether or not injury is caused, livestock worrying is an offence. The farmer said: “This incident was distressing for all involved, including the dog owner. It is the knock-on effect for not only the sheep that is injured but the other sheep in the field which become stressed from it which can cause heart attacks or can even result in them aborting their pregnancy.” PCSO Claire Robbins visited the farm on February 27 and reported that the lamb was now doing well.


She provided several signs for the farm to put up and other local farmers too. Police said if a dog worries livestock on any agricultural land, the owner of the dog is guilty under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act. If the dog is being walked by someone who is not its owner, that person is also guilty of an offence. ‘Worrying’ means either attacking livestock, or chasing it in a way that might reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering to the livestock. In the case of female livestock, suffering includes aborting, loss of or diminution in their produce. A dog is also deemed to be worrying if it is “at large” in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep, which means if it is not on a lead or otherwise under close control.




14 Village Voice March 2021



THE parish council was extremely disappointed in the coverage of our decision to forward a complaint on behalf of our parishioners to the Clinical Commissioning Group about the Melbourne surgery covered in January’s Village Voice. Despite being discussed at great length during our meetings, the Village Voice chose to cover this in a short paragraph at the end of a lengthy front page story about vaccinations. For the benefit of your readers, we would like to briefly recap the reasons behind this decision. We were approached by a neighbouring council expressing their concerns on stories circulating that the surgery was to close, this was raised at our next meeting. Subsequently, we received a couple of complaints about the surgery as did a number of other councillors. As the complaints came in (a total of 16) they were collated and sent to the surgery prior to a meeting with a senior member of the practice. Whilst we had a very productive meeting we still felt we owed it to our parishioners to forward their complaints to the appropriate governing body. At all times, our actions were discussed in depth at the parish council and it was a surprise that the Village Voice didn't report this in greater detail as they have a representative at all our meetings and know this decision wasn't taken lightly, something that the short paragraph failed to convey.

The parish council are there to represent the people of Melbourne and Kings Newton, to hear their voice and to act accordingly and, whilst some people do not have any issues with the service provided by the surgery, on this occasion we felt we had no alternative but to act. Melbourne Parish Council

Note: The parish council’s February meeting heard that their complaint was forwarded to the local CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group). The CCG told the parish council that the complaint needed to be made to NHS England, who said that any complaints needed to be registered by individuals. Therefore, the parish council was not able to proceed further with its complaint. The Village Voice first asked Melbourne surgery about its plans as regards a return to ‘normal service’ in the summer of 2020. We ran an article detailing their response in our July issue. Complaints about the surgery were voiced at the September meeting of Melbourne Parish Council. Detail of the debate was published in our edition that month, alongside a longer article in which further comment about frustrations being experienced by local people was outlined, together with a response from the surgery. Letters about the surgery, both in criticism and defence, were then published in our October, November and December editions.


l Claire Peace-Bittner, of Melbourne, pictured with her dog, Winston, enjoying a run in freezing conditions at Calke on February 13.


I WOULD like to offer my positive thoughts for the Melbourne Outdoor Market. I cannot walk, I don’t drive, and this is my only half an hour a week outside of the four walls of our bungalow, the car or the office as we do not go into any enclosed shops. It is not over the top to say this is a lifeline. Whatever the weather, your spirits cannot help but be lifted by the atmosphere and the banter. We can buy all of our fresh produce bar meat in one place. Nothing is too much trouble; the stall holders are consistently there each week, and accommodating to needs. Andy Heafield has taken the time to get this going to ensure that each week runs so smoothly, a friendly face at the opening to the market place, and we as a Melbourne situated charity, have been grateful for the opportunity to stand with a free fund-raising stall. I look forward to the possible expansion of the market when nonessential shops can open, and hope that the market continues to be well supported. Maria Hanson MBE (pictured) Founder/CEO Me&Dee


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THE restrictions imposed by the covid pandemic do have some, although not many, positives. One of these, in my view, is that there has been more time for reading and reflection on some of the more important issues facing us. I feel very fortunate to have been given a copy of Sir David Attenborough’s excellent book ‘A life on our planet’ as a Christmas present. I have already read it twice! The first half of the book is autobiographical and describes what Sir David has witnessed

happen to our planet during his long life right up to last year. The second half is entitled ‘A Vision for the Future’ and is particularly informative and also quite inspiring as it describes not only the nature of the problems and what needs to be done, but also most importantly what can be done. Some exciting technology and innovation is described and it does help one to think big about some of the very big problems, which confront us. Reading it is a very good adjunct to watching the ‘Perfect

Planet’ (the latter now on BBC iPlayer) as a means of getting to grips with the whole thing. I would suggest that for those who don’t want to do an ostrich and pretend it’s not happening and perhaps even for those that do it’s a must read. It helps open one’s mind at a time when it is really necessary to do so. After all it really can’t be business as usual anymore for all of us and we have to do things differently very quickly and this includes farming and deep sea fishing. Christian Murray-Leslie


GRATEFUL thanks to all the kind people – named and anonymous – who have responded to the pre-Christmas appeal in the Village Voice and have posted used stamps to me, to be forwarded by Jane Lakin to the RNIB. You may wish to know that, on January 28,

Jane posted almost 3 kgs to RNIB. That’s a lot of stamps! Please note that at least one centimetre of paper needs to be kept around each stamp. Jean Grimley, Hoarder of 37 Sweet Leys Way, Melbourne DE73 8LE

Village Voice welcomes your opinions. Email them to letters@melbournevillagevoice.co.uk

Project to help young people through poetree

Village Voice March 2021 15


Photo: Andrew Jansen, of Melbourne.


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HOME IMPROVEMENTS YOUNG people are being invited to share their experiences of nature during lockdown as part of a new poetry project organised by Arts Melbourne. Launched in February, the ‘Whispers From The Woods’ project has been made possible through support from the National Forest Company as part of the new Arts Grant initiative. It will see the creation of a new poetry woodland art trail through Melbourne and surrounding woodlands. This will comprise lines of text written by young people, summing up their experiences of interacting with nature in the National Forest during the coronavirus lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. A survey commissioned by youngminds.org.uk in summer 2020 found that 80 per cent of the children and young

adults asked agreed the coronavirus pandemic had made their mental health worse, with an increase in anxiety and feelings of isolation. ‘Whispers from The Woods’ aims to help young people to share their experiences of lockdown “in a safe and supportive way” while exploring the benefits of interacting with the natural world. Lines submitted to the project will form the base of a poem, which will run the length of the trail. It is being curated by Dan Webber, an award-winning LGBTQ+ poet and producer based in Derby, whose previous works include commissions for Coventry Pride, SHOUT Festival, Birmingham and Derby Feste. Melbourne Festival Director Sharon Brown said: “Young people have had their

lives turned upside down for most of the last year, regular trips to local cities have been replaced with walks in the National Forest, slowing down and rediscovering the joys of being outdoors in constantly changing countryside. “We want to encourage young people to share their experiences with us, and for members of the public who frequently walk through the woodlands, and those who don’t, to rediscover and reconnect with nature on their doorstep.” Submissions to the project are open to young people aged 25 and under based in South Derbyshire. All submissions must be sent via email to info@melbournefestival.co.uk before 5pm on Friday, April 30, 2021. For more information on the project, visit www.melbournefestival.co.uk

The Common Touch... AT Whistlewood we find there’s a plant that grows especially well – willow. This amazing tree is so versatile and useful, we’re trying to grow as much as we can. You might know about its history in the discovery of aspirin for pain relief, but it also has many other uses. One of the most successful uses we’ve found is creating living structures. We have a fantastic willow den which we call the Willow Dragon in the natural play area. We planted it about six years ago under the expert tuition of Peter Wood from Greenwood Days. It took us a whole weekend with many volunteers helping plant and tie in the willow whips. It was a memorable weekend in February: cold, wet and extremely windy. Now all those years later our ‘Dragon’ domed den, is one of the features that really makes us such an attractive place to visit especially for children. The willow has grown and now regularly needs a haircut – and this provides us with lovely green

stemmed rods of willow which we’ve used to make some willow screens or ‘hurdles’. We also have a ‘Fedge’, a living fence, made of willow providing a windbreak for the BBQ area. It was created by planting the willow as a hedge, then cutting or pollarding the tops of the willow when it’s about four foot tall and using any cuttings to weave into the structure adding strength and more of a ‘fence’ look. It’s a really efficient way to create a windbreak. We also have some beautiful orange stemmed willow which we are growing for basketry and at the end of February we increased the diversity of colours by planting about another 10 different types of willow. There are easily over 100 varieties and all have their different colours and uses. We’ve planted a range of colours including Flanders Red, White Welsh, Noire de Villaine and some other yellow and purple varieties. We can’t wait to be using these in basket

making courses, it’s going to be amazing to see what fantastic creations we’ll make. This will feed into our aim of keeping ancient crafts skills alive and increase our community’s sustainability. Willow is also useful as a rooting hormone. There are a few ways to do this but an easy one is to cut a piece in spring about a half a metre in length, take off the leaves and chop into one-inch pieces. Place in a medium jam jar and top up with just boiled hot water; leave for a few days and then remove the twigs. Dip your cuttings in the water before planting, it’s supposed to be good for watering seeds too. It really is a plant that gives many benefits to us, and it’s often forgotten that it was grown as a crop locally in the Trent valley. If you have space grow some in the garden but be careful not to plant too close to the house or any drains. In a few years’ time we’ll have some lovely cuttings to share with you! – Katherine Parrish

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18 Village Voice March 2021 SOUTH DERBYSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL Your County and District Councillors can no longer hold advice surgeries because of the Covid rules, but are available on phone or email: LINDA CHILTON (County) - 07973 753525/01332 695112 linda.chilton@derbyshire.gov.uk MARTIN FITZPATRICK (District) - 07710 030187/01332 862323 martin.fitzpatrick@southderbyshire.gov.uk JIM HEWLETT (District) - 07979 976860/01332 863927 jim.hewlett@southderbyshire.gov.uk


Announcement of Forthcoming AGM To be held on Wednesday 14 April 2021 at 7.00pm.

Due to Covid restrictions the AGM will take place ‘on-line’. Any RBL member wishing to attend the AGM, please contact Club Secretary Susan Worrall on: 01332 863547, or email melbelec1@gmail.com giving your name, RBL membership number, and email address. A link will be emailed to you on the day of the meeting. The closing date for applications to attend the on-line meeting is: Monday 5 April 2021.

Should any RBL member wish to join the Club Committee, please contact the Secretary for details. The nomination sheet will remain open until twenty-four hours prior to the AGM.

Notice is hereby given to advise on the intended tree works to be undertaken at the Old Burial Ground on Castle Street. The site is maintained by Melbourne Parish Council (MPC) on behalf of the Parish Church. During a meeting between the Parish Council and representatives of the Church and Parochial Church Council (PCC) last Spring, agreement was reached that all parties will work closely together to maintain the status and appearance of the burial ground by proposing an annual inspection to identify works to be undertaken over the next 5 years. One aspect of the works is to address the condition of the trees by sympathetically pruning native trees and removing those trees which have been deemed alien to the site. In respect of this, MPC and the PCC obtained professional advice from the SDDC Tree Officer about the condition of the trees and associated ongoing maintenance to ensure that the trees on the site remain healthy and vibrant. Through his advice, it is this scheme of works which has been agreed to be undertaken to manage the trees within the burial ground site. Permission is being sought from the Diocese of Derby via a faculty.


NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR NEW PREMISES LICENCE Tollgate Brewery Limited Unit 1, Southwood House Farm, Staunton Lane, Calke, Ashby De La Zouch LE65 1RG Summary of proposed licensable activities (hours and activities applied for): For the sale by retail of alcohol for consumption both on and off the premises, live music, recorded music and dance, between the hours of:-

Sunday to Thursday 09.00hrs to 21.00hrs Friday and Saturday 09.00hrs to 22.00hrs

A MEDICAL manufacturer with employees in the local area is one of only a handful of companies to be working with the British government to make UK-manufactured face coverings. Daniel Wilson, of Barrow-upon-Trent, is digital marketing executive for Pennine Healthcare, a privately owned medical manufacturer based in Derby. Pennine is part of a £14m government investment to produce UK-made face coverings, with the capacity to make millions a week. It is one of only a few businesses able to make the coverings in the UK, which it does using specialist machinery in a ‘clean room’. One recent order saw Pennine supply 96,000 face coverings to Collins Aerospace Systems in Wolverhampton. Collins requested the coverings in order to protect staff who could not effectively work from home during the pandemic. Daniel said: “This is great for British manufacturing. It’s great for manufactur-

Any representation relating to this application must be made in writing to the Licensing Authority by 29 consecutive days after the date of this notice.

ing within Derby. It’s a nice feeling to know you’re producing a product that will help keep people safe in this current climate.” The single-use coverings made at Pennine are tested and approved by the British Standards Institution under the new facecovering Kitemark scheme. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said: “This is a major step to ensure that this country can meet any increase in demand for face coverings by working with British firms to establish the capability, capacity and skills required to manufacture these items at scale. “These production lines will be able to get millions of face coverings to the public, without putting any additional pressure on NHS supply chains.” Critical materials used in the manufacture of the coverings also come from UK manufacturers, Pennine said.

Laura helps to set up new allotment

As well as face coverings, Pennine specialises in products for use in other areas of medicine such as urology, anaesthetics and gastroenterology. It is also producing face coverings in small orders for members of the public who want hospital quality protection from their face masks through its sister site, Arma. Daniel said the company was seeing people wanting to buy the best coverings available in order to help them keep safe from the virus. He said: “At the start of the pandemic there was a PPE shortage but we would never list products as available to the general public, if it meant the NHS were to go short. “Now there are enough products to go around and we are delighted that the general public can buy and wear the same quality medical masks as those being used in the NHS. Our whole mantra is to keep you and your loved one protected with hospital quality products.”

A PUB landlady and her mum from Aston-on-Trent have set up a new community allotment in the village. Laura Bowler, who runs The Malt, has started the new garden along with mum Sharon. The allotment has been 18 months in the planning and the land on Shardlow Road has been granted courtesy of Whispering Trees, an Aston-based organisation which provides wellbeing support through horticulture. Laura said the garden was open for anyone in the surrounding area who wanted to get involved in growing their own. Plans involve organised meet-ups at the garden, when restrictions allow, to bring the community together. “It’s good to be outside for mental health,” said Laura. “Anyone who wants to be outside can get involved. If you grow anything, that would be amazing. It’s getting out and doing something together as a village. “We want it to be an open garden – if you wanted to come down and just do a little bit of weeding, or pick some produce.” Laura is now looking at different funding streams to support the community garden now it has officially been launched. Laura is pictured at the community allotment with volunteers behind.

Dated: 24th February 2021 The register can be viewed during office hours at South Derbyshire District Council, Civic Offices, Civic Way, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, DE11 0AH. Please contact 01238 595890 or 01283 595724 in order to make an appointment. Alternatively, the full application can be viewed at www.south-derbys.gov.uk.

by Lucy Stephens


NEW coronavirus cases in the Melbourne area rose during February, the latest figures reveal – but overall numbers in South Derbyshire have been steadily falling. Case numbers recorded by Derbyshire County Council show that from February 20-26, there were 12 people in the Melbourne area testing positive for coron-

avirus. The Melbourne area includes Kings Newton, Staunton Harold, Ticknall, Calke and Smisby. In the week from January 30 to February 5, there were six cases in the same area. Overall in South Derbyshire, cases have fallen from 232 at the beginning of Febru-

ary to 166 at the end of it. In the Aston on Trent area, numbers fell from 14 to 11 over that period of time. South Derbyshire MP Heather Wheeler has said she welcomes figures showing that, as of February 26, 31,414 people in South Derbyshire had received a vaccine – 29.3 per cent of the population.





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Real cold snaps!

Village Voice March 2021 19

BRRRR – we may have shivered in chilly temperatures this February but when the mercury plummeted, it did also create some stunning icy art. Our photographer TINA BAKER took these pictures of beautiful ice scenes in the local area on February 11. The previous night saw the coldest temperature recorded in the UK since 1995: -22.9C at Braemar in Aberdeenshire. It was the coldest February temperature recorded since 1955. Like other areas of the UK, it got so chilly here that spectacular icicles formed along the hedge on Derby Road, Melbourne. Tina also snapped the shot (far right) of an iced-over pond at the Aston Brickyard Nature Reserve.

Paving the way for a new link road

A MAJOR new road development in South Derbyshire moved a step closer to fruition after Derby City and County councillors voted their approval for the scheme. The new road will link the A50 at a new junction (3A) about midway between the Bonnie Prince and the A38 exits, with Infinity Park to the North East, eventually joining up with Infinity Park Way. It is needed to facilitate access to the proposed Infinity Garden Village where around 2,300 houses are to be built, along with some 117 hectares of land for business and employment. It will be dual carriageway up to the first roundabout and single carriageway thereafter, with a 40-mph speed restriction. Walking and cycle paths will be included in the design.

by Frank Hughes

New traffic modelling predictions show that there would be reductions in the morning peak rush through Chellaston along the A514, but there would be significant increases around the perimeter of the city, particularly along Merrill Way, Stenson Road and through Sunny Hill. The traffic flow map also indicated significantly more traffic crossing the Causeway. Concerns were raised by councillors about the environmental impacts, the loss of “greenbelt” land, impacts on residents – both existing and future – and in particular to wildlife. Cllr Joanna West, who represents Sinfin Ward, sought a change to the plan to erect a noise bund to protect Sinfin Moor and the


nature reserve there. That was not possible as it was deemed the additional land required would be prohibitive, but an acoustic barrier is planned, and there are tunnels under the new road to protect small mammals. In voting through the application it was acknowledged, with some regrets about building roads on green land, that opening up the area on the southern edge of the city was necessary to support the economic growth of the area and the opportunities for homes and employment it will bring. The project is likely to take 18 months to complete with around nine months to finish the new junction. A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “The next step is to look at various national funding pots to seek the money to build the road.”


POLICE have unveiled a new survey to understand the risk and impact of dog theft in Derbyshire. DogLost, an online service which reunites dogs with their owners, saw reports of thefts in the UK rise by 170 per cent in 2020, compared with the year before. Derbyshire Police say that dog thefts in Derbyshire remain low but they are nonetheless keen to find out more. The idea of the survey is to help assess support for harsher sanctions against those who steal dogs and determine how many pet owners are worried or have been directly affected by dog theft. A force spokesperson added: “Whilst the reporting, and coverage, of dog thefts in the UK has increased in recent times, dog thefts within Derbyshire thankfully remain very low. However, we recognise that for dog owners, the theft of a dog is akin to losing a family member, and this crime is particularly upsetting.” Dog charities nationally have reported unregistered litters discarded on roadsides and puppies used as bait for fighting. To complete the survey, you can visit: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6218381/Dog-Theft-Survey


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l Nikhil Patel, who plays for Melbourne Cricket Club’s under 9s Kwik team, wearing the club’s sponsored shirt. Nikhil’s father, Chetan Patel, coaches the side.


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LOCAL clubs are now raring to go after the Government’s announcement that grass roots sport could return from March 29. Whilst at the time of going to print the respective sporting governing bodies had not announced any guidelines or restrictions it is hoped that the Melbourne Sports Park could welcome players from that Monday. Tennis has been given the allclear and it should see all 11 Melbourne tennis league teams competing in both the Derbyshire and Burton leagues throughout the summer after missing out in 2020. Cricket should also be able to get a full season in this year. Only half a season was played last year. All six Melbourne Town Cricket Club junior sides and its five senior sides are hopeful of completing a full fixture list in 2021. It is a little more difficult for both football and rugby as their respective leagues have yet to announce if teams have enough time to complete their 2020/21 league fixtures. It is almost certainly not the case for rugby but there should be some sort of competitive football and rugby in the next couple of months which everyone is so looking forward to after months of inactivity. Melbourne Town Cricket Club is gearing up for

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what should be a full set of junior and senior fixtures in the 2021 season with the first game only five weeks away at the time of writing. In preparation for the season the club’s committee has been working hard behind the scenes in securing sponsorship, for both the senior and junior sections, which is a vital source of income for the club. As usual the local businesses have gone above and beyond in their support of the club. One such company, Bounz.co.uk, has been the shirt sponsor of the club’s u9s kwik cricketers for a decade since the junior section was reformed back in 2011 – which is amazing support for junior cricket. Martin Bowman of Bounz.co.uk insists modestly his support is nothing really and is “always happy to put something back into the local community” as his bouncy castle hiring business continues to grow. The club itself has hired his castles frequently for all their outdoor events and hopes to do so again in the summer months if restrictions continue to be relaxed. Anyone interested in any aspect of the club, from their child joining the club to a business sponsoring Town, should get in touch with Alex Slater on 07966933583.

Nigel top coach

MELBOURNE Swifts Table Tennis Club is proud to announce that its founder and coach Nigel Webster is this year’s “East Midlands Coach of the Year”. The title was bestowed by Table Tennis England in their annual “Pride of Table Tennis” awards. Nigel, who recently stepped down from the role of chair after five years at the helm, said: “I was honoured to receive this award from the national governing body. The timing was especially fitting as I received the call on the same day I had my part one Covid-19 vaccination. This took place at the velodrome in Derby where I have been attending National League table tennis and other events since the facility opened.” Melbourne Swifts play league table tennis at the Assembly Rooms as well as practice sessions and a daytime “Bat and Chat”. They are looking forward to getting going again as soon as they can after a long lay-off due to lockdown. Anyone wanting to be kept up-to-date on club developments can contact them on melbourneswifts@gmail.com

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Melbourne Village Voice March 2021  

Melbourne Village Voice March 2021 Derbyshire local newspaper. Melbourne life and times.

Melbourne Village Voice March 2021  

Melbourne Village Voice March 2021 Derbyshire local newspaper. Melbourne life and times.

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