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Village Voice No 219 February 2011

Melbourne & District

WHAT CAN WE DO WITH OLD BANK? by DAVID BELLIS LOCAL businessman John Blunt has bought the former HSBC bank building on High Street, Melbourne.

Businessman buys HSBC building and asks townsfolk for their ideas

And now he wants the townsfolk to suggest the best future use for it. "Local ideas are often the best and we are very happy to be buttonholed as we walk about the town," says John, who purchased the property with his wife, Jacqueline. This will be good news for many Melbourne people as the building has been empty since the bank shut up shop in late January, 2010. Mr Blunt says: "A great many Melbourne people know to their cost that HSBC, the world's local bank, became a lot less local a year ago. Those of us who didn't transfer to Natwest had our accounts moved to Castle Donington, which is on the road to nowhere for most of us." The question is: what is Mr Blunt going to do with this fine building? He and his wife "have in mind a commercial rather than residential use, and what is called a 'live' use, something that adds vibrancy to our little town". They have received many suggestions for the building's future use – including a family-type restaurant, a hairdressing salon and an antique furniture shop. "We have appointed an agent to spread the word more widely, Phil Randle at Salloways," says Mr Blunt, but the businessman is genuinely seeking local advice. "My family can make a strong claim to be that bank's oldest customer," he writes in a letter to Village Voice. His grandfather's bank books – "in fine copperplate" – go back to 1901, he says, "perhaps our family's first experience of holding money outside the home". So, having bought the building, Mr Blunt has spoken to the South Derbyshire District Council planners and to an architect. The building has access to a garden at the back, and the possibility of access to the car park behind. The bank had a large ground floor area, two large dry cellars, a first floor staff room and toilets, and two more large rooms on the second floor – "a lot of space but probably needing some alteration to fit a new use", added Mr Blunt. Any ideas? Let Mr Blunt know – and watch this space.

INSIDE STORIES

Hopping to a terrific result – Page 3

Hitting the charity bullseye – Page 11

CASH DEAL ... John and Jacqueline Blunt with the former HSBC building, which the couple have bought. Any ideas what they can do with it?

Super start for the Blue Sox – Page 18

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THE Safer Neighbourhood Group met in January at Weston-onTrent, the first one of four meetings a year held in alternating village/town locations. The local Safer Neighbourhood Group is referred to as Area 3, North East Area which includes Melbourne, Ticknall, Smisby, Weston, Aston and Barrow. At the last meeting it was agreed that Melbourne should become a ‘priority’ with regard to initiatives to tackle anti-social be-

haviour and to reassure elderly and vulnerable neighbours. There may also be an emphasis on what can be done to deter unwanted cold-callers. The most important part of the group are the residents of the area. Everyone living in this area can attend the meetings. The group also includes the police and PCSOs that make up the Safer Neighbourhood Team, working in partnership with the local authority partners, parish councils, the fire service, the business community and

Neighbourhood Watch groups. The local authority partners are usually referred to as Safer South Derbyshire Partnership (SSDP). Melbourne Neighbourhood Watch has a dedicated individual who is responsible for driving and pushing local initiatives to help make the area a safer place. To report someone acting suspiciously or a crime call your local police on 0345 123 33 33; to provide anonymous information about a crime call Crimestoppers 0800 555 111; in an emergency dial 999.

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Charity cheques presented MELBOURNE Rotary Club has made three major donations to its favoured charities for the year. Cheques for £1,000 each were presented to Rainbows Hospice, the Derbyshire Children's Holiday Centre and the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance. The picture shows the president Mike Thornett making an award to Caroline Rossin, of Rainbows.

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Village Voice February 2011 3 MELBOURNE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION

THE HOME OF BEER, SPORT & LIVE MUSIC The King At The Royal Saturday 19th February bute to Elvis from the early days through to Las Vegas. ission. Numbers limited, complimentary tickets available at the Legion bar.

AN AUCTION OF 100 PROMISES Saturday 12th March - Viewing at 6pm, auction from 7pm onwards Valuable, interesting and bizarre items all affordable Auction lists from the Bar, Free entry. In support of Melbourne Town Cricket Club

Great selection of draught beer, drinks and wines The

STAFF at Kangaroos Pre-School are pictured with children at one of their afternoon sessions. They are, from the left, Heather Robinson, Louise Isham, Hannah Williams and Jan Raine.

Kangaroos show they are top of the hops “GRADE 1 - Outstanding" was the verdict of the Ofsted examiners having visited Kangaroos Jump Ahead Pre-School in Melbourne. The Pre-School was notified of the results in January following its Ofsted inspection in December. The results in all aspects of the assessment were that "the provision is of exceptionally high quality”. The provision has six members of staff. Three members are graduates, with two being qualified teachers. The report states: “The pre-school provides an exciting, vibrant and stimulating environment where children make excellent progress in their learning and development. “Staff work exceptionally hard to form positive and trusting relationships with parents so that they and their children feel valued.” Fine words indeed and much appreciated by partners Louise

Isham and Lucy Lister, who jointly run Kangaroos. Lucy and Louise are extremely proud of this success, which they stress is a team effort, and they would like to thank their very talented, dedicated and hard-working staff. They are also very grateful for the support and encouragement they receive from the ‘Kangaroo’ parents (past and present) and feel lucky to work with such a fantastic group of children. They are especially pleased with the progress they have made during their partnership since September 2009. Lucy is the manager of the setting, but together they strive to give the children the best possible pre-school experience. Despite their success, the Kangaroos’ team is not standing still and is committed to continually raising standards. Both Louise and Lucy are currently studying post-graduate courses in Early Years at Derby University to help in this process.

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Melbourne Diamond Jubilee and Royal Wedding Celebrations A Public Meeting is being called on

Monday 28th February at the Bill Shone Leisure Centre commencing at 7.30pm. The objective is for organisations and interested parties to share plans for potential events and form an organising committee to plan and coordinate Melbourne's Diamond Jubilee and Royal Wedding Celebrations.

Civic society to host a June walking festival MELBOURNE Civic Society is hosting a Walking Festival over the weekend of June 25 and 26. Seven walks will be offered including a Town Walk (led by Richard Heath) on the Saturday. The walks range in length from 4 to15km. The Saturday walks all start from Mel-

bourne Leisure Centre and the Sunday walks include starting points in Stanton and Ticknall. The organisers hope that the Walking Festival will bring more footfall into the town and are offering sponsorship opportunities on the publicity materials to local

pubs, shops, restaurants and businesses at very reasonable rates (please email histman@gmail.com for details). There is a website at www.melbournewalkingfestival.co.uk. All walks must be booked – please visit the website for details. Bookings are rolling in already!

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4 Village Voice February 2011

THANKS

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Peter Jackson wishes to thank all who attended the funeral service of his wife, Jean, on 17 January, 2011. Special thanks to Betty and Rosemary for the beautiful flowers; to the Rev Sandra Chantry for conducting a lovely service and to Melbourne Hall Tearooms for a very tasty buffet - all well organised by John Springthorpe & Co Ltd.

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A particular thank you to Lucy Smith, who has been a brick, and the team of carers for their kindness and devotion.

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Weather brings us some food for thought LAST December’s weather was a record breaker with temperatures as low as minus 18 degrees C in parts of the north of Scotland and nearer to home minus 10 was recorded. This was unusual it being so early in the winter (in fact a lot of it was still in the autumn) and, as well as causing many problems for travel, it cost agriculture dearly. The eastern counties of England discovered when it thawed that thousands of acres and tonnes of sugar beet had been destroyed by the frost. Apparently if the beets are processed when they are still frozen they are okay but when thawed they are useless. Many tonnes had probably been lifted and stored on farms ready for delivery to the factories and a lot of these would be ruined. Usually they are better left in the fields for as long as possible but this time round with such sharp frosts, that didn’t work. Every acre of beet would have been worth between six and seven hundred pounds sterling so you can see the loss for each

farmer was considerable. The delay in clearing the crops to be able to plant next years will also cost money. The only saving grace for most beet growers is that they will also grow a lot of cereals and the price for these products is very high. It’s right to say that something always comes along to level things out. This occurrence ties in well with a report from scientists around the world, saying that within a few decades food could become short and 50 per cent more expensive. Seeing flooding in parts of Australia, Brazil and India makes this all the more believable and parts of China have suffered serious droughts. The population of the world is forecast to grow from 6.9 billion today to 9 billion by the middle of this century which will exacerbate the situation. The experts are calling for a ‘Green Revolution’ to boost production, including traditional farming and genetically modified crops as well as trying to stop people wasting food. This is all very thought-provoking and I’m glad that I’ve not got to solve this one. I suppose you could call it ‘food for thought’.

GENTS

KEN TAKES OVER PROBUS PRESIDENCY BSUT BOE DSBGUT NBSLFU BU NFMCPVSOF MFJTVSF DFOUSF PO TBUVSEBZ 6UI NBSDI 21BN.5QN

A VERY sprightly energetic man of 83 has taken on the presidency of the Melbourne Probus Club. Tanned after a holiday in the sun, Ken Harnden went to the AGM of the Probus Club, and finally was elected as president, after having been a most effi-

New season at Calke

As the days start to get longer we are busy getting the house and garden ready for opening on Saturday 26 February! This year you will be able to enjoy our extended opening of the gardens which will be open every day from Easter to October. Remember, Calke Park & National Nature Reserve, our shop and restaurant are open daily throughout February.

February Half Term Fun Days

Saturday 19 and everyday until Sunday 27 February Calling all explorers. Try some fun indoor and outdoor family activities in our wonderful parkland and Squirt the Stallion’s stable activity room. Try our new activity cards and take home ideas that you can use on your countryside walks and holidays. Imaginary games, exciting adventures and amazing discoveries. Become immersed in the natural world. Watch this space for our exiting events programme which will run throughout the whole year!

Opening details 26 February – 30 October 2011

House & Garden: Saturday – Wednesday 12.30pm – 5pm (Garden open daily 21 April – 30 October). Restaurant & Shop: Daily 10.30am – 5pm. Calke Park and National Nature Reserve: Daily 7.30am – 7.30pm (dusk if earlier) Enjoy our delicious offer of 2 bowls of home made soup for only £5! This offer is available Monday to Friday until 18 February 2011.

Normal park admission applies to all visitors For more information on what’s on at Calke please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/calke or telephone 01332 863822

cient and well regarded secretary for nine of the 15 years he has been a member of the club. He was honoured by being made an honorary life member for the long stint he served as secretary. Ken, born in Barrow on Trent, was a Rolls-Royce apprentice. He was in the RAF right at the end of the War, serving from 1945 to 1948, as a ground engineer. His career prospered after his service. He was a production and quality manager. "The time which gave me most satisfaction was when I was Flight Development Engineer, involved in the organisation of test flights." He met all the famous test pi-

lots of the 50s and 60s, working on fighters like the Hunter and the Swift. His later career was as production director of a smaller company, Spiral Tube Heat Transfer Ltd. He has lived in Melbourne for 24 years, with his Lincolnshire

wife Pauline. The couple have been married 57 years. They have two sons, Mark and Matthew. Still a very active man – his energy belies his age – he plays bowls at the Kings Newton Bowls Club, and still makes the league teams. He describes himself as "an avid gardener" and he tends an allotment. Taking on the presidency, he will certainly lead the club with every respect for the high standards by which he has lived his own life. After his election he warned the club that members needed to recruit new younger members, as it was from new members would come new ideas and new initiatives.

Crime-free villages TICKNALL and Stanton by Bridge enjoyed a crime-free festive month, according to the latest figures. The crime report for the Safer Neighbourhood North East area, covering December 2010, showed that both villages recorded zero incidents and crimes. The report identified the following crimes and incidents for other locations in the area over the same period: Aston on Trent – Crimes 3, Incidents 10 Weston on Trent – Crimes 1, Incidents 1 Shardlow – Crimes 3, Incidents 2 Swarkestone – Crimes 0, Incidents 3 Barrow on Trent – Crimes 0, Incidents 3 Ingleby – Crimes 1, Incidents 0 Melbourne – Crimes 10, Incidents 4 Kings Newton – Crimes 1, Incidents 0.


Village Voice February 2011 5

Road junction scheme is ‘sending us round the bend’ THE Derby Road / Kings Newton Lane junction improvement scheme costing £130,000 is sending local road users ‘round the bend’ even before completion, according to Melbourne resident Kevin Guilford. Mr Guilford said the improvement needed a total rethink: “The design and layout is going to cause serious problems and more accidents. Traffic cannot easily pass, buses will find it difficult and it will be exacerbated when race meetings occur”. Chairman Nigel Collyer confirmed that Melbourne Parish Council had been asked to comment on the scheme and had attended a site meeting where they were informed the design would result in fewer accidents. He agreed to take Mr Guilford's comments to the Highways Committee for review. District and County Councillor John Harrison said: “The preferred solution was a mini-roundabout, but around the junction lie many service utilities which meant the cost would be more expensive, resulting in no near term action. The current design under construction was, therefore, the only realistic deal on offer. “The design has been accomplished by paid professionals and the advice is this will provide a significant improvement." Mr Guildford also highlighted degrading road surfaces in Melbourne – Packhorse Road, Castle Street, Quaker Close/Derby Road area and Queensway all got a mention. Many of the issues, he suggested, were through utility companies not properly repairing road areas. The complaint about the condition of road surfaces was vigorously supported by Mrs Eileen Hardy, while Cllr Harrison claimed the situation was exacerbated by the winter weather and the county council would endeavour to put areas right as quickly as possible. Chairman Collyer noted the recent improve-

ment to the kerb area adjacent to the United Reform Church following parish from the district council of future work planned for the area. Relatively new resident to Melbourne Mrs Bebbington, ‘a dog owner’, raised concerns on dog fouling, claiming Melbourne was spoilt by the condition of local pavements because fellow dog owners do not take responsibility. Particularly poor areas noted were Potter Street and Chapel Street. Chairman Collyer agreed this was a continual blight on the area and suggested more emphasis on its improvement. “Safer Neighbourhood Wardens patrol Melbourne a couple of times a week,” claimed District Councillor Jim Hewlett, but many members of the parish council hadn’t seen them and were unaware of the times they operate. Cllr Brendan Freeman asked: “Who manages the patrols, what records do they keep in terms of warnings and prosecutions and can we obtain some information?" Cllr Jim Hewlett commented that patrols are managed by Environmental Services at Swadlincote and whilst they do have a large area to cover and spend more time in larger urban areas than rural, they do visit. Cllr Hewlett sugested that local residents can also play an active part themselves by taking names and descriptions of offenders and their dogs and reporting them. Chairman Collyer claimed “a prosecution backed by the parish council would provide necessary attention to irresponsible dog owners”. Cllr David Smith attended the recent Safer Neighbourhood Area meeting at which Melbourne was identified as a new police priority on anti-social behaviour. Noting that although crime is down in the area there had been an increase in breakins to obtain car keys. There were also a number of lead thefts recently with the Leisure Centre and United Reform Church roofs targeted.

OTHER BUSINESS ■ Chairman Collyer commented that 2011 was Council Election year, due on May 6, with 15 seats on the parish council. He encouraged Melbourne residents to put their names forward. Paperwork for nominations will be available shortly. ■ Concern has been expressed by the parish council to the district council on the state of the Leisure Centre perimeter wall next to the footpath to Penn Lane. The parish council is considering closure of the walkway between the Melbourne Surgery entrance and the Lothian Gardens if assurances to the wall safety are not provided. ■ A public meeting at the Leisure Centre will be held on February 28 to consider local plans for the Royal Wedding in April and the Diamond Jubilee in 2012. ■ The Melbourne Festival will go ahead again in September 2011, with dates to be confirmed. ■ The next Melbourne Area Forum will take place at Weston on Trent, on Monday, February 7, at 7pm. ■ Cllr Harrison claimed that the removal of the yellow line waiting restrictions in the bus lay-by to support additional parking at the Market Place had been refused on the basis that Bus Company Arriva in the future could reuse the lay-by, this complied with the Road Traffic Act. ■ Cllr Hewlett advised a Coalition Government led future local planning drop-in session will be held at the Leisure Centre on February 15 from 3pm-7.30pm to understand what people want for the future, what needs to change and what can stay the same.

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STUART BLATCH reports from the February meeting of Melbourne Parish Council

£1.5m town project gets a boost A MAJOR breakthrough was reported by district councillor John Harrison when he announced that South Derbyshire District Council had agreed to concentrate on a £1.5 million sport and art scheme in Melbourne now that the work at Etwall is complete. No details of the agreement or timescale have yet been issued.

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6 Village Voice February 2011

Jessica poised to take association’s reins THE election of a new chairman for the Kings Newton Residents Association will be finalised within a few weeks. The association had been led for many years by Tony Salt, but when he announced his resignation at a special village meeting in late November, there were no volunteers or nominations to take over. At a subsequent committee meeting, Jessica Long said that she would be happy to accept the role of chairman. Jessica (pictured) lives with her husband, Raffaele, in Trent Lane, Kings Newton, with their two teenage children, James and Catherine, who attend Chellaston School. Jessica runs her own consultancy business, having enjoyed a successful career in senior positions in two major national companies, Bass and Boots. A meeting of the association is to be called in the next few weeks to confirm Jessica's new role. The body has in the last few years been engaged in a struggle to try to make the local authorities fully aware of the continu-

ing and increasing problems created in Trent Lane. The association successfully pleaded at a planning appeal two years ago that the extension of the storage depot was a step too far.

And it was also instrumental in getting protective bollards built around the memorial at the top of Trent Lane. The association has been active in campaigning about the speed of traffic on Main Street, while in order to put local issues to the fore, its members have, for many years, had a representative on the Independent Consultative Committee at East Midlands Airport. Jessica said: "My first priority is to understand what concerns local residents and to explore the next steps." The Kings Newton Residents Association has for many years had the right to see and comment on planning applications within Kings Newton received by the planners at the district council. Jessica has recognised this core role and said: "One of my first jobs is to understand planning processes, and the authorities that oversee these processes." Any help, she says, "would be gratefully received". The meeting to introduce Jessica to the village and to confirm her appointment will be in late March. – DOB

FREE COUNTRYSIDE EVENTS BOOKLET DERBYSHIRE County Council’s Countryside Events 2011 booklet with details on 90 activities across the county for all tastes and ages is now available – and it’s free. Residents can obtain a copy of the booklet,packed with information about the fun outdoor activities

available to them, from any Derbyshire County Council library, tourist information centre or countryside centre. Alternatively you can get a copy of the booklet by contacting www.derbyshire.gov.uk/countryside2011


Village Voice February 2011 7

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DOUBLE GLAZING ALL MISTED UP? ● At the parish church are (from left to right): Carol Williams and Eddie Dewis of Mainline Solar, Nick Walker and Keith Hamilton from B3 Architects, Graham Truscott, Melbourne Area Transition / Melbourne Church Council, Marilyn Hallard South Derbyshire Conservation Officer, Liz Walker, Virginia Davis and Michael Knight of the Diocesan Advisory Committee.

Church is looking to the sun of God A PLANNING application has been submitted for the installation of external solar panels to the main south nave and south aisle roofs of Melbourne's renowned Norman Parish church. The application is from Church member Graham Truscott, lead practitioner with Transition network, and James Hamilton, church architect. The application has met with a hugely enthusiastic response from many Melbourne residents. Philip Dobby summed up the views of the many residents who have given written support to the application: "Green, Low Energy, Big Society, and a Jolly Good Idea". One respondent said: "We can't preserve things in aspic". Mr Truscott summed his view that "the installation will be completely silent, passive and unobtrusive". Melbourne Civic Society has given the application the thumbs-up, and Melbourne Parish Council saw no objections to the plans, when the matter was discussed at the February Council meeting. Not everyone is happy with the plans: Philip Heath, District Council Conservation Officer and local historian, says the plans are unacceptable to him, because the panelled roofs will be visible, and can be clearly seen from the Pool and the intake. Mr Heath stressed that he was speaking in his personal capacity as a resident. One church-going lady, who did not want her name mentioned, said she thought it "wrong to put panels on such an historic building". The applicants, who have consulted Melbourne Parish Council, Derby Diocese, the Parish Church Council and Melbourne Civic Society, say planning guidelines indicate that decisions should favour proposals to "reduce carbon emissions, and secure sustainable development". The black, slightly shiny panels will cover 70 square metres, out of a total roof area of 495 square metres and, with a projected fixing height 150/250 mm, they cannot be seen from the road. Installing a 10KW system, costing about £50,000 will earn around £1,600 a year from the Feed in Tariff scheme, and will reduce the church's electricity bills by about £220. It is envisaged that the scheme will save 5.7 tonnes of CO2 each year. "Visitors saw sample panels and understood that installation will have no visual impact on the conservation area or any of the iconic views of the church," said Mr Truscott.

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8 Village Voice February 2011

Life in the workhouse

The eyes have it

AT the January meeting, members of Melbourne Civic Society and visitors heard a talk given by historian Ken Hillier on ‘Life in Ashby Workhouse’. He gave a graphic account of a typical week in 1880, contrasting the life of the well-to-do Rector at St Helen's Church with that of the itinerant vagrants and the desperate unemployed and their families who had no option but to throw themselves on the mercy of a bleak existence in The Workhouse. This was a huge, self-contained complex on the outskirts of Ashby on the Nottingham Road. Still in use until 1930 it is no wonder that there are still people who recall the shame and dread that always went with the fear of going into the Workhouse. The next meeting of the Civic Society will be a presentation by two members of the Library Service who will be highlighting Derbyshire connections in fiction and non-fiction. It is on Monday, February 28, at 7.30pm in the Leisure Centre.

CHILDREN in Year one from Melbourne Infant School visited Lomas Opticians in Melbourne as part of a school topic on 'Healthy Bodies' . The children were learning about their sight as part of the project. The staff at Lomas spoke to the pupils about eyes and about what they do at the opticians when people visit. It was a fun trip which the children very much enjoyed. Gill Wetherall, dispensing optician, and class teacher Suzie Byrne are pictured with the children during their visit.

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Village Voice February 2011 9

hoping the stars will come out to shine ... GLAMOROUS stars will be parading through Melbourne this summer – but they will be homegrown, not from Hollywood. Organisers of the Melbourne Carnival have chosen an exciting theme for this year's event: “As seen on screen”. They are hoping plenty of people will be inspired to put together a suitably spectacular float for the annual carnival procession, and that local businesses and organisations will go all out to put on some fabulous window displays. Carnival chairman Rose Minifie says: “We're hoping our theme should provide a lot of scope for people to put on a really special float. “It includes anything seen on film or TV – both today and throughout the 20th and 21st century – and let's not forget that the whole world of the Internet is available too. “This year it would be really nice to see more local residents take up the challenge of putting on a float, as well as the local businesses and organisations who always make the

procession so special with their fantastic efforts. “Why not club together with neighbours to put on a float representing your street? That really would be great to see.” Rose is stepping up to the role of chairman for the first time this year, having been carnival secretary for the previous two years. Anyone interested in running a stall should get in touch with another new face on the committee: Rachel Hill, site and stalls organiser, who can be contacted on melbournecarnival@hotmail.co.uk. Other committee members are new secretary Gemma Bettelley; Tracey Ridley, who continues to run the highly successful Miss Melbourne pageant; carnival treasurer Ann Williams; and Frank Trevena, who is in charge of manning the gates. Anyone interested in creating a carnival float should contact Rose on 07795 362936, or roseminifie@gmail.com, so organisers can get an idea of numbers.

STANDLEYS Barn Farm played host to the Meynell Hunt when approximately 30 riders turned out for one of the many hunts held in the region. This event was well supported with local riders and large numbers of local foot followers enjoying the day. Pictured are (from left) Simon Blunt, Suzie Cave, Melissa Morley and Christabel Blunt.

ChanCe to bee a part of it IN these cold winter months it’s nice to imagine yourself in the summer with the buzzing of bees and insects. Bees are vital to all our lives, pollinating crops and flowers; the value of this pollination to commercial growers is estimated at more than £200 million a year. But there’s been a decline in bee numbers in the past few years for various reasons including the Veroa mite and Colony Collapse Disorder, so we

need to do everything we can to support all Britain’s 27 species. The British Beekeepers Association has this year signed up its 20,000th member and the number of apiarists is on the up, but we can all do something to help. If you’re interested in finding out more about bees or maybe you’re thinking of getting a hive, Melbourne Area Transitions group has organised an information evening on the Febru-

ary 28, 7.30pm at the Liberal Club on Derby Road. There will be local honey tasting, a guest speaker from the local Beekeeping Association and Steve Biggins, head gardener at Calke Abbey, will be telling us about his first year of beekeeping. Everyone is invited to turn up and find out what all the buzz is about and bee part of it. – Katherine Parrish

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10 Village Voice February 2011

VILLAGE VOICE MONTH O

Charity

AFTER four months of rehearsals, dancing and learning lines, plus the obligatory cups of tea and sewing of costumes, Aston Players delivered six performances of Ali Baba between January 22-30 in Aston on Trent Memorial Hall. The Players have been performing pantomimes in Astonon-Trent for more than 25 years and have built up a very significant local following. Over 500 supporters passed through the doors to see this year's production – and they were not disapointed. Ali Baba (Tony Campbell) and his family, The Babas, had a great adventure in the desert and the bazaars of Cairo, defeating the dastardly baddie (John Sibley) and his accomplices. The youngsters Olivia Downey and Sophie Lemon gave

confident, engaging performances and the audience were also all treated to a verbal and visual tour de force with Nigel Palmer as the dame. To quote a member of the audience after the show: “My ribs ached I’d laughed so much, and that was just after the first half." Well deserved praise for the cast and production team. However, a special mention must also be made to complement on the scenery and costumes, as the show was a real visual treat. The Players would like to thank everyone who supported them with this production, as they look forward to next year’s show. If you would like to join them, just go along to Aston Memorial Hall, Wednesday nights 8pm, from early October.

HOW many wo have ever played question posed b fessional darts p of Oz’ Osbourne in the world – pla fessional Robbie hibition match a Organised by t of war team to r ity, Help for Hero tured a raffle and players to play ag Alma landlord, J barman Nathan the locals to tak For Nathan it wa he beat ‘The Kon pacity crowd. After a superb have plans for darts classic in th Power' Taylor at not? From left are club), Robbie Gr club), Colin Osb (TOW club).

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DANCE classes organised by South Derbyshire District Council in conjunction with the Arts Council have been taking place in Melbourne at the leisure centre every Thursday morning. The classes are informal fun sessions run by Alan Axon and are available to people of any age. No experience is required and there’s definitely no need for sequins. Those attending have so far tackled the foxtrot, rumba, jive and are now taking steps to learn the waltz. The group pictured are some of the 20 or so people taking part. There are still opportunities to join in – no need to book, just turn up. The cost is £2 for the session. Simi-

lar sessions are held in Swadlincote on Thursday afternoons.

Alan Axon is pictured at the front of the Melbourne group.

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Village Voice February 2011 11

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rld ranked sportsmen d in Melbourne? It was a by many people as proplayer Colin ‘The Wizard – currently ranked 15th ayed against fellow proe ‘Kong’ Green, in an exat the Royal Suite. the British Legion’s tug aise funds for the charoes, the evening also fead auction for local darts gainst the professionals. ames Cripps and Legion Davis were just two of ke on the professionals. as a dream come true as ng’ in front of the 120 ca-

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Friends’ fund-raising feat TWO South Derbyshire friends are taking on a mammoth challenge to raise money for Treetops Hospice. Eila Baugh and Joyce Chilver from Swadlincote plan to walk 189 miles in 16 days along the Cumbria Coastal Way, starting in Silverdale, Lancashire, and ending in Gretna Green, Scotland. Joyce said: “We decided that as my milestone birthday is approaching (she is 60 on August 2), we really needed to take on a challenge. I am looking forward to celebrating my birthday in this way. All we need now is support and encouragement and, of course, help to achieve our goal.” The pair will complete the walk in two legs with the first stint starting on May 8 for 10 days, before they return on June 9 to walk the rest. The longest they will walk in one day will be 22 miles.

They hope to be able to raise around £2,000 for Treetops Hospice which supports adults with life limiting illnesses at their Day Care unit and through their hospice at home service. Gay Evans, community fund-raiser at Treetops, says: “We wish them all the best with their training in the months leading up to the walk. We are very pleased that Joyce and Eila are raising money for us as we rely on local community support to enable us to offer all our services.” If you would like to support Joyce and Eila with sponsorship, donations, raffle prizes, ideas for fund-raising or if you belong to an organisation which might support this trek, please contact Joyce 07753 700940 or Eila 07956 243141, or visit their Just Giving page at www justgiving.com/trekkingfortreetops

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Village Voice February 2011 13

Airport turbines DOG FOULING...is a problem get off the ground •

Preparation work is now underway for the two turbines, which will be a UK first. Ground clearance and foundation construction started in January and the turbines are set to be installed in March. It is estimated that they will produce five per cent of the airport’s electricity. Located next to the airport’s headquarters, the turbines will stand 45 metres high, including the rotor blades, which will have a radius of around 14 metres. Since planning consent was confirmed in 2008, the airport has worked in partnership with local based companies and suppliers from across the

world to source the most suitable product for the airport environment and to guarantee the most effective installation. With plans to install a further two turbines, the electricity generated will significantly add to the airport’s existing suite of environmental measures reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. Neil Robinson, director of Sustainability at the airport, said: “The turbines will be installed for 20 years and we see it as a significant investment for the airport and the environment. Throughout the process, we have been careful to ensure that they will have no effect on our operations or be obtrusive for neighbours. "The airport has invested heavily in environmental projects over the past four years and will continue to do so.”

All in a good cause MELBOURNE Inner Wheel held its overseas meeting in January when the guest speaker was Terry Harrison, who gave a memorable talk on the work done by the volunteers on the Mercy Ships. Mrs Rachel Cooper, Inner Wheel Overseas Service Officer, presented a cheque to Mr Harrison for this worthy cause.

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OBITUARIES

14 Village Voice February 2011 KATH KINGTON 1921 - 2011 KATH Kington was born and raised in Wolverhampton. Her connection with Melbourne began when she visited with her sister Elsie to enjoy occasional holidays with relations of their father. Through these holidays with cousin Bill Hackett, Kath met his best mate, Vernon. Kath and Vernon married in Wolverhampton in July 1940 and moved to live in Melbourne where they established themselves in the community. Kath settled into Melbourne life – as a land girl with Samuel Jackson & Sons in the day and providing war-time entertainment at the piano in the evening. Vernon was in a wartime occupation with Wilkinsons Coachbuilders in Derby. The closeness of the family to the Parish Church increased with Melbourne moving out of the war period, the arrival of son Roger and the advent of the dance band era – Kath and Vernon were known as accomplished ballroom dancers with Vernon a regular MC for the many local balls. Kath’s piano skills were in much demand in the 1950s and her interest in music and amateur dramatics was behind the formation of the Parish Church Drama Guild.

With Kath as producer, each year the Guild performed a religious spring presentation in church with a comedy in the autumn. This programme continued through the mid-1960s and moved to become a series of Old Time Music Hall shows, which were written and presented to tour the region for charitable causes over the following 25 years. Kath was, for 20 years, school secretary at Melbourne Secondary Modern School, changing to a part-time role when it moved to Chellaston until she retired. She was a member of Inner

Wheel, the Women’s Institute, Chellaston Choral Society and was nominated Citizen of the Year by the Rotary Club in 1991. She took an enormous pride in her family and was delighted when grandchildren Rachel and Alex came along. The loss of Vernon brought about the need to adapt and, while she continued to be active, her enthusiasm for concert work obviously waned and led in time to her spending two very happy years at Pool Cottage Residential Home. Here she enjoyed wonderful care, with a room looking across the pool to the parish church that had meant so much to her and Vernon, along with her Vale House home of 62 years. Having been present at Rachel and Steve’s wedding five years ago, it was a great joy seeing her two great-grandchildren, Olivia and Freddie, christened in the parish church and she knew it to be a particular triumph to be able to attend Alex and Lou’s wedding in Worcestershire just four months ago. Kath’s passing sees the end of a strong and continuous thread through the community of the Church and Melbourne. Her loss will be felt in many quarters, but chiefly by her family.

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role in the civic life of the parish, as well as transforming the church from one that was rather austere to one that was lively and welcoming. He also oversaw radical changes to the church building, including the controversial removal in 1955 of G G Scott’s ‘pepper pots’ on the two west-end towers, and the replacement of a dangerously inefficient heating system. Again courting controversy, in the mid-1960s he commissioned a crucifix by local sculptor Ronald Pope which stills hangs in the church. As a priest, Bob conducted all he did with dignity, reverence and devotion. He was instinctively ecumenical, fostering and encouraging a closer relationship among

the different denominations in the town. In recognition of his special abilities, he was appointed rural dean in 1954, and four years later, honorary canon of Derby Cathedral. It was a great loss to the community when Bob and Alice left Melbourne in 1972. Bob became vicar in the parish of Beeley and Edensor and chaplain to the 11th Duke of Devonshire. Just over 10 years later, however, Bob and Alice moved back to their beloved Melbourne with Bob’s sister Muriel, and spent a happy retirement in Castle Mews until Alice’s death in 1999. Although Bob’s faith, family and friends were of huge support to him in the years that followed, the loss of Alice, and his increasingly poor health and failing eyesight inevitably weakened his spirit. Even so, and despite the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, his ingrained graciousness continued to shine through and draw people to him. In an article written in 1998, recalling T S Eliot, Bob expressed the hope that "however old or young we may be, 'we shall not cease from exploration'." And Bob never did cease – he continued to inspire all those he met, and to bring them closer together. We were profoundly blessed to have known him. — Rosemary Pipes

Through a friend who brought Jean to Melbourne picture house, she met Peter Jackson, who also worked on the land and at wholesale market for Samuel Jackson. They met on Saturday nights only and would dance at Staunton Recreation Room in Lount, with Mrs James playing the piano to a full house. The couple married in 1951 and continued to build the business together from their home on Station

Road, Melbourne.. At this time, selling good produce presented no difficulty, but acquiring land was more challenging. Bit by bit, they managed to buy a field and obtained parcels of land to grow flowers and vegetables to sell at Long Eaton, Allenton and Derby markets. Following the tragic death of their only son, Trevor, at the age of 18 in 1975, the couple decided to have a hobby together and bought a canal boat. After 10 years, they sold the boat and bought their first vintage car – a bull-nosed Morris. Jean really enjoyed going to rallies, meeting people and making new friends. As they bought and sold cars, moving from opentourers to saloons, trying to improve, a few prizes came their way, including at the County Show and Chatsworth. Jean loved dogs. Her gamekeeper father had Labradors and retrievers: she and Pete were very fond of Staffordshire Bull Terriers. She also delighted in her family’s children. Jean is survived by her husband and sisters, Joyce and Bett. – Jean Grimley

One of Paul's proudest moments was when he was presented on behalf of the company with Certificate No. 5750 - The British Standard of Excellence – by Edwina Currie, the South Derbyshire MP at that time. At one time factory workers in Melbourne said that they felt they would always get a fair deal from Paul even if they weren't union members.

A manager from the Rhode Island, USA division of Brown & Sharpe once told Paul that he looked after his staff too well. Paul's reply was: "You could not have paid me a higher compliment!" He also treasured the little things such as the beer mug the company football team presented to him. Paul was an innovator and a shrewd and caring man manager. During his time in Melbourne he introduced Japanese working practices, new HP software, state of the art machine tools and, during the miners' strike, purchased a generator to ensure that the factory could stay open. His efforts contributed to the profitability and ensured a longer life for the factory. Paul retired in 1993 and died aged 75 from a long standing illness on Christmas Eve, 2010. He is survived by his wife and two children.

THE REVEREND CANON ROBERT RALPH HONNER 1915-2011 THERE can be few long-term residents of Melbourne whose lives were not in some way touched and enriched by knowing Bob Honner, one-time vicar of the parish, who died on January 7. For all of us who knew him during his 18-year ministry in the parish, it was his deep faith and utter sincerity as a priest that will always be remembered, as well of course as his cheerfulness, kindness and ability genuinely to engage with all he met. Bob, his wife Alice and their daughter Kate came to Melbourne in 1954, following some years in Derby, Rugby, Wigan and Great Crosby. A graduate of St Chad’s College, Durham, Bob was ordained deacon in 1938, and became curate at St Faith’s, Great Crosby. He left St Faith’s to become priest-in-charge at St Andrew’s church in Wigan. There, he met Alice, whose tremendous warmth, vitality and sense of fun helped to make the vicarage at Melbourne such a welcoming place to be. Bob, too, enjoyed conviviality, and wherever he and Alice went there was invariably merriment and laughter. Bob’s legacy to Melbourne is remarkably rich: he played a major

JEAN HAZEL JACKSON 1925-2010 JEAN was the second of Bob and Violet Dye’s three daughters. Bob was gamekeeper for Perks, a wellknown builder in the Breaston area until, in the 1930s, he was appointed gamekeeper at Staunton Harold and the family moved to Keeper’s Cottage. Jean travelled by cycle and bus to school in Ashby and worked there for a short time in a corn merchant’s shop, before working for Earl Ferrers in the gardens of Staunton Harold Hall and joining the Land Army. She stood at Morledge Market in Derby two days a week, selling the produce from Staunton Harold, the Calke Estate and other local gardens – mainly flowers and plants. In about 1948, Jean’s father thought he could help her start a business on her own. Bob purchased an old car from Measham Auctions and a trailer so that she could have a stall at Long Eaton Market, where Jean learned quickly and built up a business selling fruit, vegetables and flowers.

PAUL WATSON 1935-2010 PAUL Watson, with his wife Wendy and children Richard and Fiona, moved from Cornwall to the Midlands in July, 1982. An accountant with Brown and Sharpe in Plymouth, Paul came to Melbourne to take on the role of chairman at their newly acquired factory previously known as Melbourne Engineering. Some time later, when colleague Eric Martin retired as managing director, Paul took on that role. Paul's job was to modernise the factory, thereby increasing production and efficiency. He soon knew all the employees by name and would tour the workshop at least once a week, to talk and listen to the team. He was well liked by the workforce. He was a clever and generous man who always expected a high standard of work from everyone – including himself.


Village Voice February 2011 15

Finding out what YOU want in the community

THE Melbourne ‘Early Bird Walk’ which takes place each Wednesday has got off to a good start. The walks are led by trained leader Toni Jantschenko, who is the South Derbyshire Village Games Co-ordinator, and start from Melbourne Junior School at 9am. Toni is pictured (centre) with some of the participants as they put their best foot forward at the start of a recent walk. There are opportunities for more people to join them, the only requirement being that you are over 18.

SOUTH Derbyshire District Council is to hold a series of ‘drop-in’ sessions throughout the region to obtain first hand from residents what they want for their communities. This programme is in support of the ‘Big Society’ following the publishing of the Localism Bill by the coalition Government in December. The first stage will be the participation in the local Neighbourhood Planning Drop-In event to be held in Melbourne at the Bill Shone Leisure Centre on February 15 between 3pm 7.30pm. All residents of Melbourne, Stanton-by-Bridge, Woodhouses and Kings Newton are specifically invited to attend. Planners will be on hand to discuss issues facing communities, and hear what local people would like to protect as well as their priorities for change. All feedback from the event, and previous consultations, is to be used to help the Council develop its Local Development Framework, a plan to shape where future homes, jobs and community facilities will go.

March date for the annual Weston Run THE annual Weston Run will be held on Sunday, March 6. The event starts and finishes at the Ukrainian Centre in Weston-onTrent. Parking, refreshments, toilets and first aid facilities will be available in the start/finish area, and spectators will be able to watch the runners complete a circuit of the field both at the start and the finish of the race, which will begin at 11am. There are two events – a five-mile road race and a two-mile fun run. The road race passes through Weston-on-Trent and Aston-on-

Trent villages and is covered by a Road Race Permit from UKAthletics. All finishers will receive an engraved tot glass memento The winner of each of 11 categories and the winning team will also receive individual awards. The fun run will start just after the road race passing through the quiet lanes of Weston-on-Trent. All finishers will receive a medal and an adult should accompany children under eight. Entry fees apply for both events and entry forms are available online on www.107derbyscouts.org.uk. Advance entries should be sent to The Weston Run, c/o 12 Green Leas, Aston on Trent, Derby.

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Village Voice February 2011 17

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An independent community paper designed and published by Village Voice Newspapers. Typeset by Greenborough Ltd., t/a Voice Productions. Printed by Harmsworth Printing Ltd., Derby. The publishers of Village Voice are not responsible for any content or claims in advertisements in this newspaper.

Advertisements may not be reproduced without the written permission of the publishers.

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18 Village Voice February 2011

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MELBOURNE United Blue Sox Under 7s team are enjoying a promising start to their first season in the Derby Mini Soccer League with a 1-1 debut draw against Mickleover Jubilee Jets and a 6-1 win in their second game against Spondon Dynamoes. It was a fantastic first game display by the under 7s team against Mickleover Jets. Having never played in a competitive league together, the boys were led out by Jake Laban and quickly realised that matters were serious when, after five minutes, Mickleover scored with a powerful shot. United quickly rallied and soon levelled from a superlative strike from Tommy Shaw. With the aid of great crowd support and the goalkeeping skills of Oliver Edmonds, Melbourne tightened their end and continued to pound Mickleover's goal, unfortunately without scoring. The midfield of Zach Robertson, Oliver Lee, Ross Johnson, Fraser Howart and Thomas Wolverson worked continuously to thwart the opposition. Melbourne looked the better side and after an interception from the goalkeeper; Ziggy Turton grabbed the ball and shot only to be stopped by a combination of the keeper and post. Near to time Mickleover pounced on a free ball and were sure to score if not for the tackle and clearance of Oliver Lamb. The game ended 1 -1, but what a brilliant match for all. Their committed performance continued in their game with Spondon when they ran out clear winners with goals from Zach Robertson, Archie Turton, Ziggy Turton, and Fraser Howat in their 6-1 win.

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Village Voice February 2011 19

HIT FOR SIX IN THE CUP Dynamoes see their luck run out in the semi-finals MELBOURNE Dynamoes first team went out of the Derbyshire Cup at the semi-final stage, coming across a very strong Allenton United side who ended up winning 6-1. Danny Guild netted Melbourne’s consolation. In the league Dynamoes won both games and shot up to third place with games in hand. Top of the table Willington were beaten 4-1 with a brace from Dave Brough plus strikes from Paul Swallow and new signing Matt Brian. This was followed by another 4-1 home win against lowly Ashover, with Dave Brough, Matt Brian, an Alex Slater penalty and a wonder goal from John Mills doing the damage. MELBOURNE Dynamoes Reserves had a good month, winning two of their three league games. They began with a tough 2-1 away win at lowly Hilton Harriers with Ben Dale and a stunning Kevin Earp header securing the points. This was followed by a lacklustre 4-1 home defeat to a young Selston Reserves side, Ben Dale getting the consolation goal. The Reserves ended the month with a stunning 7-0 away win against Roe farm. A hat-trick from Jack Tivey backed up by doubles from Ben Dale and Jack Havron helped Melbourne surge up the table. TICKNALL Rangers gave their best team performance in years with a quite brilliant 4-3 away win versus Greenfield Royal Oak in the quarter-final of the league cup. A double from Alex Slater plus strikes from Matt Smart and skipper Kevin Earp gave Ticknall a 4-1 half-time lead and, although they conceded two late goals, they held on for a semi-final place. In the league Rangers beat Midway 5-3 at home with strike duo Slater and Smart in good form with two goals apiece plus a Craig Hall header securing the points. An 11-game unbeaten run came to an abrupt end with a disappointing 6-1 away loss at Moira United with an Ian Hall free kick the only bright spot. Ticknall are sitting in third place in the league with games in hand. STREAMLINE FC got their first points of the season with two superb displays in January earning two draws. A 3-3 draw at home to Inham Celtic was more remarkable as Streamline had just 10 men and took the lead early in the game through Adam Leach but were

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STREAMLINE FC: Back left to right - Paul Tebbatt(Manager), Ben Hall, Toby Grinder, Phil Evans, Adam Leech, Ali Findlay, Chris Beer. Front left to right - Owen Williams, Rich Tasker, Oliver Stirling, Colin Pope and Daniel Hannigan. pegged back at 2-1. Dan Halligan equalised only for the home side to go 3-2 down with a minute to go. Lee Hoyle scored a wonder goal in stoppage time to secure Streamline’s first point of the season. They followed this up with a hard earned 0-0 draw against the Bulls Head to cap a brilliant month. THE BLUE BELL had a good month by winning two of their three league games, although they did start with a 5-1 defeat by Walka-

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bout, the consolation coming from Tony Heatherington. A superb team performance saw The Bell win 4-1 at home against The Wheel with a double from Jack Havron plus strikes from Matt Holmes and Mike Bestwick securing the points. They ended the month with a 4-0 win against Rolls-Royce with Havron, Taylor, Holmes and Oli Seamer getting the goals and helping The Bell surge up the table.

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20 Village Voice February 2011

Promising night ahead for town’s cricket club IT “promises” to be a great night when Melbourne Town Cricket Club organises the first of its 150th anniversary events, “The Night of a Hundred Promises”, at the Royal Suite, Melbourne British Legion on Saturday, March 12. Organiser of the auction and mother of two young cricketers, Sheila Hicklin, has managed to persuade many Melbourne organisations, businesses, cricket players and supporters to donate a promise. Sheila said: “It’s been hard work but the response of almost everyone I asked was very positive. The club is a thriving part of the community and has got some great plans for the future, people were only too pleased to be able to help them. We’re very grateful to everyone and I only hope that people will turn up to support the event, bid for an item or two and have a good time.” Some fabulous promises have been pledged ranging from the unusual to the enjoyable, from the sublime to the ridiculous and from the exotic to the very bizarre. Among the bound to be popular items are a tour of the Houses of Parliament, a private tour of Melbourne Hall, conducted by the club’s patron, an electric guitar and amplifier and a local artist has offered to paint your favourite Melbourne view in watercolours. For sports fans, there are match tickets for Manchester United, Derby County and Derbyshire County Cricket Club. Additionally there are private golf and cricket lessons by professional coaches. The auction will be conducted under the auspices of Charles Loake, who has donated his services for free. Entry to the auction is free with viewing from 6pm and the bidding getting underway at 7pm. Auction programmes are available at the Post Office, the Welcome Cafe, the Alma Inn and the British Legion, with further details from Sheila on 01332 865726. – ACH

Three victories keep 1st XV in the hunt MELBOURNE RFC 1st team got their season back under way following the postponement of fixtures before Christmas. The 1st XV have played four league games in January, with three wins and one defeat and are now second in Midlands East North 3. The first game of 2011 saw a trip to Worskop. Melbourne won the home fixture 48-0 but the return game was a much tighter affair. Rusty from six weeks without rugby, Melbourne started slowly against a spirited but limited Worksop side. Despite not performing at their best, Melbourne eventually triumphed 27-15, missing out on a bonus point victory. Tries from Ash Stringer, Matt Smith and Tommy Howard with 12 points for skipper, Euan Holden. There were also two yellow cards for Ben Burchell and Euan Holden. Next up were Mellish at home. This game saw Alec Judge making his first team debut to join his brother Will in the side. Playing on a boggy pitch, Melbourne stuck to their normal game and attacked whenever possible, with one try being a length of the field effort. The final result was a bonus point win of 34–5 with tries for Ash Corden (2), Will Judge and Olly Page, with 14 points for Euan Holden, who also received his second yellow card in two weeks. The following week saw the top of the table game at Notts Casuals in which Melbourne put in their worst performance of the season. Ian Lucas returned to the side to add some experience but to no avail as Melbourne were well beaten by a team playing at the top of their game. Matt Smith scored the only try for Melbourne in a comprehensive 36-5 defeat. The performance was also hindered by local ‘bad boy’ Will Judge receiving two yellow cards,

● Melbourne RFC players in training under the floodlights. which resulted in his dismissal. Notts Casuals remained top of the league at the end of January. Finally, Melbourne welcomed Sleaford to Cockshut Lane. Melbourne won narrowly at Sleaford and the visitors were keen to avenge that defeat. With the injury to Morris Hall the previous week, unavailabilities, and no second team game, Euan Holden was forced to draft in veteran Pete Ilott for his first 1st XV game for a year. Chris Stark replaced Will Judge in the second row. In a hard, fast, physical game Melbourne showed some good form to run out 27–8 winners, for another bonus point win. Melbourne took an early 3-0 from a Holden penalty. Two yellow cards for Sleaford put them under pressure and Melbourne dominated the first half. Josh Snowden scored in the corner from a long pass from Jack Fisher. The second try was a forward effort and was scored by Ash Corden. The second

more slowly, and Sleaford scored an early penalty, but gradually Melbourne re-established their dominance. Euan Holden touched down in the corner for a try after some sustained pressure and Olly Page sealed the bonus point with an interception try from 60m. Jacob Watts and Matt Smith received yellow cards and Melbourne conceded a late try. With other games being postponed, Melbourne are now second in the league with a full month of fixtures to come. THE second team have played three games with two bonus point wins against Leesbrook 29-5 and Tupton 48-0 and a narrow defeat, but a losing bonus point, to Belper (23-25). Twelve different players have scored tries with Skye Alejandro, Scott Buxton and Ben Wigger leading the way with two each. After eight games, the second XV are second in Group 5 of the Pennant leagues.

WINTER WORK PAYS OFF FOR THE MINIS MELBOURNE Minis U12s Chiefs and Chariots are having an incredible season. In recent weeks the Chiefs have posted wins against West Bridgford 15-5, Mansfield 25-5 and Ashby 65-0 with a 5-5 draw against Southwell. The Chariots’ form is also impressive with straight wins against West Bridgford 40-5, Stoke 40-5, Loughborough 20-0 and Matlock 20-0. Both teams show considerable skill and determination with individual flair complementing their commitment to each other working as a team. The players so often look fitter and more powerful than their opponents, a result of all the winter training work they’ve done.

Strength in depth and versatility is a feature of the U12s which showed in their last outing to Ilkeston. Fielding a combination team, they found the match to be very comfortable from the start. The most impressive aspect was the way in which all players rotated positions, most playing four or five different positions during the game, yet they kept the ball alive and had support on their shoulder from their team mates. This resulted in 11 tries being scored, which was all the more remarkable when head coach Kevin Brown swapped all the backs into the forwards and made all the forwards play in the backs! The final score of Melbourne 57, Ilkeston 0 brought to a close a very successful January.

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Melbourne Village Voice February 2011