The Bridge February 2014
Bewdley Awash with Wassailers
The river dropped and the rain stopped to let a bright sun and 4,500 people come out for the second Bewdley Wassail in January.The revival of the ancient Anglo Saxon celebration of Bewdley’s fruit trees took off to a great start with the gentle sound of bells ringing throughout the town as Wytchwood Morris and visiting sides danced their way towards the Community Orchard of Jubilee Gardens. Local food producers and woodland demonstrators set up their stalls and the smell of delicious cooking and spiced local cider pervaded the atmosphere, as over 120 dancers and musicians, two chorals, and 22 participating children,“The Wytchettes” delighted an orchard full of visitors.
Throughout the day, there were workshops for children and dancing throughout the town. In the late afternoon, crowds assembled by the river with torches and lanterns and the parade, led by the Mayor of Bewdley and dignitaries, sang and danced their way up Severnside Side South and Load Street and in through Bewdley Museum.
On arrival in the Community Orchard, the Wassail ceremony took place with more dancing and singing led by Henry’s Orchard and Bewdley Choral Society. A wassail cup of fine local cider, produced by Bewdley Apple Co-op, was passed round to toast the health of the trees in the hope of an abundant harvest. BDT Events Coordinator Ellie Hooper proclaimed the event a huge success.“It’s only the second time we’ve done this and it already feels as though we’ve re-established a great tradition,” she said.“The museum, the choral groups, the dancers, artisans and food makers and volunteers from the community made it a really joyous and unique event. It just shows what a great community spirit we have in Bewdley.”
The event was made possible through funding from Wyre Forest District Council and delivered by Bewdley Development Trust in partnership with Bewdley Museum. www.bewdley.org.uk
Pictures from Gary Mayner Photography
The Bridge is the community voice of Bewdley
It is free and delivered by volunteers to more than 4,600 homes every month Visit us at www.bewdleybridge.org.uk
Welcome to February’s edition of the Bridge. This issue sees the first of what we hope will become a regular feature where Bewdley’s enthusiastic amateur photographers are asked to share some of their favourite pictures.We begin with Robert Limbrick who has been taking photographs for over 40 years and has a particular interest in landscapes, buildings, travel and people in their environment. His Load Street and George Hotel pictures take us back to 1970s Bewdley while his picture of children on a Zambian road is timeless and brings us African sunshine as we wait for spring. Our Secret Gardener spots signs of the new season stirring and Margaret takes us on a snowdrop walk to Dowles’ Churchyard. If you have a favourite footpath to share, please contact us. Elsewhere in the magazine, Inspector Paul Crowley explains on page 35 how the police operate in Bewdley now the police station has been sold and Linda Iles explains how our forest may be at risk and why new trees can’t replace ancient woodlands. Are you able to give some time to work directly with people who may need some support? Wyre Forest Citizens Advice is looking for volunteers for their work in Medical Centres.Turn to page 29 to find out how you can become involved in this exciting initiative. Bewdley Library is asking for volunteers for their one-to-one projects. Find out more about this worthwhile work on page19. Do please keep sending us your photographs of Bewdley views and events, old or new, and let us know if you would like to be our local photographer of the month. We are always pleased to hear from you. Gill
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Cover photograph: Robert Limbrick
Severnside School of Dancing
Classes in Ballet,Tap, Modern, Classical Greek, and Acrobatic Dance held at the Wheatsheaf Room, Bewdley Institute Special Junior hour Fridays 4-5 Training for Festivals and exams Contact Joyce Campbell on 01299 400633 www.severnsideschoolofdancing.co.uk
HORSE RIDING LESSONS
• BHS qualified instruction • Excellent Facilities • Well schooled horses and ponies • Friendly, relaxed atmosphere • Small class sizes
Flute and Theory Lessons Piano Accompaniment for Exams All ages and abilities welcome Twenty years experience
Emma Syska BA Hons ( Cantab) ARCM
Phone Adele on: 07799 761 932
Contact 01299 403655 or email email@example.com
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Thu 13 Mar CBSO Matinee at Symphony Hall Mussorgsky & Rachmaninov Sym 2 Sat 15 Mar Clarks Village & Taunton Sun 23 Mar Ledbury & Monmouth Thu 3 Apr West Side Story – B’Ham Alexandra Sat 5 Apr Peterborough & Fotheringhay
ISLES OF SCILLY or NEWQUAY 5 days MOTHERING SUNDAY in HARROGATE 2 days HYTHE & CANTERBURY 5 days LAKE DISTRICT & HADRIAN’S WALL 5 days ISLE OF MAN 7 days CRICCIETH & SNOWDONIA 5 days AUSTRIA & EAGLE’S NEST 8 days Price includes dinner, bed and breakfast & excursions
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Tel 01299 402989 To Book /For Brochure
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£550/£285 £99 £290 £310 £600 £290 £590
Or visit www.phillipstravel.co.uk or Bewdley Tourist Information
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9 10 11 15 17 17 20 20 25 26
W h a t ’ s
Bewdley Footpaths & Bridleways Association walk 1.45 meet by bridge 3 miles All Saints’ Church Wribbenhall Knit and Natter 10-12am. All welcome Gail 01299 401685 Bewdley Floral Art Club 7.30pm Wharton Park Golf Club All welcome Women's Section, Royal British Legion, Bewdley Branch Mercure Hotel 7.30pm. All welcome Rock pathfinders walk Cinema in the Hall St. George’s Hall Bewdley 7.30pm Details from SGH Community Cafe Who let the Dads out and Super Saturday Club Bewdley Baptist Church 9.30 – 11.30am Messy Church in St. Anne’s 3 – 4pm All Saints’ Church Nearly New Book Sale 10-12am free refreshments Kidderminster Beekeepers Association meeting All Saints’ Church Jumble Sale Wribbenhall Parish Rooms 10.00am -12.30pm All Saints’ Church Wribbenhall Knit and Natter 10-12am. All welcome Gail 01299 401685 Bewdley Horticultural Society meeting. Please note new venue and night Rock pathfinders walk Cinema in the Hall St. George’s Hall Bewdley 7.30pm Details from SGH Community Cafe Bewdley Townswomen 7.30pm Wribbenhall Community Centre Bewdley/ Wribbenhall Ladies Luncheon Club. To book place ring 400363
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Bewdley Footpaths & Bridleways Association walk 1.45 meet by bridge 4 -5 miles Rock pathfinders walk Cinema in the Hall St. George’s Hall Bewdley 7.30pm Details from SGH Community Cafe Women’s World Day of Prayer Service Holy Family Church High Street 7.30pm All welcome
This month’s cover picture by Robert Limbrick is of Load Street and was taken during the Charter Celebrations in 1972. If you look in the corner below the Midland Bank there are open air stalls with the stall holders dressed in period costume 5
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At the bottom of Welch gate is a sophisticated chilled out coffee lounge with a relaxed atmosphere.
All our sandwich's and Panini's are filled with the finest locally sourced produce and our home made coleslaw is to die for!!! For those of you with a sweet tooth, we have a wide range of fresh cakes and pastries. We also provide a take away service No.93 Welch gate Bewdley 01299 402217. Open 7 days a week 9-5 .
A warm welcome from Bewdley Baptist Church.
Own - an afternoon meeting for ladies. Art Group - a quiet place to paint and draw. Who Let The Dads Out - second Saturday of the month for dads and toddlers Super Saturday - second Saturday of the month for primary school aged children. Super 60’s Lunch Second Tuesday of the month. Youth Activities Men’s Group. Like to know more? Contact the minister Simon Harry, at the church office (403267) or visit www.bewdley.baptist.org.uk
Our main focus of worship is on Sundays at 10am, where there is a relaxed style with lively music, all ages come together and we hear God's word for today through the Bible. Sunday evening at 6.30pm we have a shorter, more reflective service. Weekly Events Our church runs a number of regular events during the week: Noah’s Ark - for parents and toddlers.
Bewdley Baptist Church 61 High Street Bewdley
St Anne’s Church
Sunday morning worship: 11.15am
Sunday worship at 9.30am Worship lasts for about an hour. Music is usually a mix of contemporary and traditional. Children and young people will often meet in their own groups and join with adults later on.
On the first Sunday each month we have a service of Holy Communion.
On the other Sundays we have Matins – from the Book of Common Prayer. Church is usually open in daylight hours for prayer, peace & quiet.
Thinking about baptism? Come to 9.30am Sunday service at St Anne’s Bewdley and we’ll talk together over coffee.
Wednesdays at 10.15am Morning Worship
Our website is: www.bewdleyparish.org.uk
Booking a wedding at St Leonard’s Ribbesford, St Anne’s or All Saints, Wribbenhall – please call Roz Mace on 01299 401605 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appointment.
Thinking about a Wedding?
Please call Roz Mace 01299 401605 or email@example.com to arrange an appointment
Keith James is the minister of the Church. Contact him on 01299 402275 (office)
Thinking about baptism – come to our 9.30am Sunday service and we’ll talk together over coffee
or Diane Taylor, the Churchwarden, on 01299 403983. You are very welcome. However you come. Whyever you come. We hope you will come again.
Our website is: www.bewdleyparish.org.uk
ALLAN MORRIS & JONES WORCESTERSHIRE
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01299 400555 www.allan-morris.co.uk www.allan www .allan-morris.co.uk 8
Bewdley Methodist Church
St Andrew’s Bewdley
The Chapel in the woods Sunday worship: 11.15am on the second and fourth Sundays each month St Andrew's is found in Button Oak, Shropshire, 3 miles north of Bewdley on the B4194 to Kinlet. www.bewdleyparish.org.uk Keith James is the minister of the Church. Contact him on 01299 402275 (office)
High Street Services at 10.30 every Sunday
For details about any activities or special services please see our advert or contact Rev. Philip Hoar on 826641.
All Saints Wribbenhall
Sunday Worship at 9.30am Worship lasts for about an hour – often but not always Communion
We are a thriving Elim Pentecostal Church in the heart of Bewdley and you are welcome to join us anytime. We meet in the newly refurbished St George’s Hall, at 10:15am. Full programme for children and young people during our service time. Why not check our website: www.riversideelim.com for details of mid-week activities and events happening. Tel: 01299 405535 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Riverside Elim Church, Dog Lane, Bewdley, DY12 2EF
Booking a Wedding at All Saints’ Wribbenhall: - please call Roz Mace 01299 401605 or email@example.com to arrange an appointment.
Thinking about baptism? Come to our 9.30 am Sunday service and we’ll talk together over coffee Monday mornings 10.30am – 12.00noon
Church is open for Knit and Natter (1st & 3rd Mondays) or a Book Sale (2nd Monday)
Holy Family Catholic Church High Street
Sunday Mass 8 am Tuesday & Thursday Morning Prayer 9.45am, Mass 10am Holy Days of Obligation 12 noon Parish Office 01299 822633 www.stwulstanstourport.org.uk Local Contact – Deacon John O’Brien
Refreshments and a warm welcome assured.
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Bewdley Quaker Meeting House, Lower Park. Meeting for worship every Sunday 10.30-11.30am. Everyone is welcome.
For further information, phone the Clerk on 01562 741501
Animal Antics Pet Services
• Pet Sitting • Dog Walking • Pop in Service Fully Insured and CRB Checked. Qualifications in Animal Management and Animal Behaviour Call: 07530500160 www.animalanticspet-services.co.uk
We Do Blinds
A charming portrayal of our Georgian town, available as mounted prints A perfect gift for anyone who loves Bewdley. Visit our website: www.bewdleyducks.co.uk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Or contact Nick on 07773867597 Find us on facebook!
We supply & fit blinds & curtains We supply & fit awnings & canopies Phone Richard Hague for a free quotation
01562 814 887 / 07971 670 349 info@WeDoBlinds.co.uk www.WeDoBlinds.co.uk
Pleased to meet you: Balbinder Jagpal, Pharmacist Balbinder Jagpal was brought up in Smethwick before leaving to read pharmacy at Portsmouth University. Why Portsmouth? “Because it was by the sea”, was Balbinder’s simple reason. After graduation Balbinder did his pre-registration qualification in London before deciding on Community pharmacy. It was back to the West Midlands for work in Wolverhampton and finding not only work but marriage to Harjinder. They have been married now for twenty-nine years and have a daughter who is a qualified chartered accountant.
The family emigrated to Australia where they stayed for seven years before returning to England. They decided to make Bewdley their home because they felt that after city living and the wide-open spaces of Australia they wanted the close community of a small town with its river. First impressions: the friendliness of people who all talk to each other. What does a community pharmacist do? “Things have changed a great deal,” Balbinder explained. “We have a lot more to do than just count out pills and hand out prescriptions. For a start we have a duty to do nine sessions per year of ongoing training requiring written work; we check drugs for interactions with other medications a person might be taking; we do annual checkups for people when we review their drugs and how they are getting on with them. We do sessions for people with chronic disease such as asthma or diabetes and do lifestyle advice. Of course we work closely with the local GPs; I speak frequently to the staff of Bewdley Medical Centre so that I can be a first port of call for people. It is always important to be able to advise people if they need to consult their GP”. With Harjinder as the welcoming face in the shop, they have become part of the town in a very short time.
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Kidderminster Beekeepers Association
We meet at Wribbenhall Community Centre, Shaw Hedge Road, on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm.
Tuesday 11th February Talk and powerpoint presentation on Dragonflies given by Mike Averill Trinity Methodist Church Centre, Churchfields, Kidderminster, 7.30pm. Mike is a member of the British Dragonfly Society, County Dragonfly Recorder and 2013 winner of Worcestershire Wildlife Medal. All welcome
On February 25th we welcome John Billingham with his ‘Images of Worcestershire’
Competition :Your Favourite Image of Worcestershire.
New members and visitors are always welcome. For further information please phone 01299 401352
Bewdley Footpaths and Bridleways Association
All Saints Annual Jumble Sale
Holds a walk on the first Sunday of each month, meeting at 1.45pm.for a prompt start at 2.00pm.The meeting and start point is the garden on the east side of the river just below Bewdley Bridge.
Saturday 15th February 10.00am until 12.30pm Wribbenhall Parish Rooms Bric-a-brac, nearly new clothes, toys, books etc Cakes and refreshments also available Further information from Olwen 01299 400608 or Gail 01299 401685
Bewdley/Wribbenhall Ladies’ Luncheon Club
Our Christmas festivities took place in December, firstly with a lovely seasonal meal. This was followed by Christmas music, presented by the Kidderminster Charity Singers. There was a variety of music played and sung, and our members were happy to participate. On 26th February “Alternatives to Work in the Carpet Factory” will be presented by Robert Barber. Ladies wishing to attend this or future monthly meetings at the Mercure Hotel are invited to ring 400363
Sunday 2nd February: a walk of approximately 3 miles to Ribbesford and Catchems End led by Graham. Sunday 2nd March: a walk of about 4 to 5 miles to Wassell Wood led by Keith.
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Behind the Baton
I am writing this on a sunny Saturday morning before heading to Jubilee Gardens to sing Wassailing songs at the Bewdley Wassail. It's a timely reminder of how integral music is in every festival or celebration. Wassailing songs are easy to learn, good fun to sing and it's great to think that when bellowing out these wonderful old tunes, we are repeating traditions that have gone on for hundreds of years. In the world of Choral Societies, the New Year brings with it new music to learn, preparing for concerts in the Spring. Rehearsals are full of what we call "note bashing" - learning the lines. It can be hard work at time but it's also an exciting period, singing new music for the first time or revisiting some old favourites that one hasn't seen for a few years. This year, for all the local Choral Societies in the area, including Bewdley Choral Society, there's a slightly more urgent project to prepare for as we are coming together on February 21st to perform a concert in Kidderminster Town Hall in aid of the Phillipines Disaster Fund. The event has been put together by Geoffrey Weaver - the Musical Director of Kidderminster Choral Society and will be a truly great occasion - hundreds of voices uniting to perform for a worthy cause. I'm sure that more details will emerge in the local press over the coming weeks so look out for those - it's a very exciting project to be involved in. Also exciting are the plans afoot to bring more Classical Music to Bewdley. I met with various people at the magnificently renovated St George's Hall this week to discuss these plans. The Hall has the potential to be a great venue for small scale Classical Music concerts with Chamber ensembles, Solo recitals or Vocal Groups and we have an enthusiastic group of local musicians who would love to perform there. We are very keen to make classical music more accessible to people in the Bewdley area and put on good quality concerts at a sensible affordable price in a relaxed atmosphere where audiences can enjoy and appreciate the music they are hearing. We also hope that we can then build up a following and a "War Chest" to enable us to occasionally bring world class professional Artists to the town. Finally, on a personal note, I am very excited about going to Symphony Hall on 1st February to see the CBSO perform the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony (used in the film "Babe"). It's one of my favourite works and the mighty finale is truly spectacular. I can't wait to hear the Symphony Hall Organ in full flow and I'll tell you how it sounded in next month's column. I wish you all a Happy and Musical New Year. Alastair Elliott
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Obesity in pets…
The New Year brings hopes and dreams for everyone. I wonder what our pets would wish for. Maybe more walks? More swims in the pond? More fox muck to roll in? And perhaps the cats wish all sorts of misery on their local enemies? Most of them, surely, would not hesitate to wish for more food…
Oh yes, just as we do, pets often put on a little weight over the winter. Fewer walks and more treats allow for a little festive cheer to develop around their midriff. Whilst dogs and cats are generally unlikely to suffer heart attacks, the effects of obesity long term can still be very profound, and lead to a dramatically shorter life expectancy. Overweight pets are far more likely to suffer with arthritis, and can even develop type 2 diabetes. Keeping your kitty, or pooch at optimal bodyweight will not only help to ensure a long and healthy life, but will decrease your pet food bill, and almost certainly your vet’s bill!
Your Vet can advise you if your pet could do with losing a couple of pounds. It is never too late, and it doesn’t have to be expensive to diet your pet. Most Vets are very happy to see your pet regularly for free weight checks, and it is always lovely to see them for a bit of fuss. Suggestions for topics for this column are welcome. Please email the editor.
Jeremy Hall BVMS MRCVS Severn Edge Vets
Live Wyres is a social club for single people. We meet in pubs around the area and hold dances and other events in a range of venues from hotels to village halls.
The following events are a few of our events for February:-
Tues 4th - Pub Night at The Queens Head, Wolverley ,DY11 5XB (Committee Meeting)
Wed 5th - Roving pub lunch – Three Crowns and Sugar Loaf, Kidderminster Tues 11th - Pub Night at Island Pool, , Wolverhampton Rd, Cookley
Sat. 15th - Live Wyres Valentines Dance - Blakedown Parish Rooms
Tues 25th - Pub Night at The Old House at Home, Birmingham Rd, Blakedown.
We always welcome new members. Any one interested can find out further information at our website www.livewyres.org.uk or contact Sandra on 01299 400979. 17
Bridge Advert May 09:Layout 1
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We’ve now relocated to our Worcester shop, But we still supply & fit within the Bewdley area.... We're just a phone call away!
Thoughts from the Secret Gardener
Good! The exhibition onions have germinated and have been pricked out. I like to move them when they are at the “hook” stage. Red onions seem to do better from seed than from sets so I have got these going too. Red Baron.
Lovely to see the snowdrops nodding away on fine days and the winter aconites make a yellow splash under the shrubs. Catkins are doing their stuff and it all makes me feel that things are on the move. Early days, but it’s always good to think that the new season has started. The chrysanthemums have thrown up good cuttings material and I am hopeful that they will strike (put down roots and grow on). Plants for free are always most welcome and I really will make sure that the labels stay on the plants this year so that I know which variety is which!
I am waiting for the ground to dry out and then preparation of the vegetable beds can really get going. I have stolen a march on nature by putting up a poly-cloche to dry out and warm up the soil in one part of the garden. Early sowings of spring onions, beetroot, carrots and lettuce ….mmmm….yum-yum!
As it's Valentine's Day this month I want to share a chuckle…
Last year in the wake of the film I began to plough through Victor Hugo's Les Miserables and was intrigued by the description of Cosette's father, Felix Tholomyes. This feckless student seduced the tragic Fantine before abandoning her at an inn following a day out; and yet we are told that, at thirty years old, he is toothless and hairless. Must have been a good talker.
There are several ways of showing you care, and volunteering is one of the more painless ones. Our recent consultation revealed that several of you would be willing and able to spare some time, and the Library is in need of volunteers able to give one-to-one help with Computer Skills, or to support people looking for work with application letters, CV presentation and preparation for interviews, etc. If you think you can help, pop in to see us and have a chat. Kay Sanderson
The deadline for the March issue of The Bridge is 10th February PROF TRADESMAN 30YR EXP PROPERTY MAINTENANCE, REPAIRS WINDOW REPLACEMENTS FENCING, SLABBING, BRICKLAYING NEW BUILDS EXTENSIONS KITCHEN, BATHROOM REFITS NO JOB TOO SMALL RING FOR FREE QUOTES CLIVE ON:
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Traidcraft – not just for Christmas!
Thank you to everyone who bought from the stall in St Anne’s in the run up to Christmas. Despite a difficult year for traders in general we managed to sell over £24,500 of fairly traded goods during the year from the church and other events using the stock. Sadly this was just over £1500 down on the previous year but still a total to be really proud of. Please remember the stall is always there when the church is open and always has the main food items for sale as well as a range of cards, ranging from cheaper, blank cards for all occasions to beautiful handmade paper ones, finished with embroidery or handmade paper decoration. There’s a selection of gifts and household items too and if what you want isn’t on display do get in touch with me as I can order for you or I might have just what you want stored away. New spring catalogues will be available shortly. Here’s a question for you: Who gets what from a £2.50 bag of supermarket cashew nuts grown in India?
Answer: • For growing and harvesting the nuts the farmer earns 54p • For drying, warehousing and trading the nuts: 7p • For roasting, de-shelling, peeling, grading and packing the nuts the Indian cashew factory earns 40p • The individual cashew worker in the factory earns 3p • For roasting and packing the nuts the European importer earns 43p • For putting the packet of nuts on the shelf the European supermarket earns £1.03 It would take an Indian cashew nut factory worker a day and a half to earn enough to buy a 200gram packet of nuts from a European supermarket. Food for thought? Elaine Barbour 01299 400617 firstname.lastname@example.org
Local handyman available for all types of housing and garden maintenance. Local man John Kirk has over 30 years experience of many trades offering a professional service with pride. Skills Available Painting Fencing Blockpaving/Slabbing Grounds / Garden maintenance
Building maintenance Internal & External Free Quotes available within 24 Hrs Please contact John on any of the following details and he will aim to respond asap. Mobile : 07748 861130 Home : 01299 878725 Email: email@example.com
Introducing Rev Fr Christopher Greaney: Parish Priest at Holy Family Catholic Church
Hailing from Merseyside originally (and from the mischievously designated “posh” side, of the Wirral), I was named after the Patron saint of travellers. After studying at the local Grammar School, my travels began with a move to Durham University, where I was much involved in the Catholic Chaplaincy, at a time of great upheaval and debate in the Church. Teaching was what I wanted to do, as well as the chance to see more of the country, so that took me to Exeter and to my first post in Fowey, Cornwall. Out of school, I was member of the local fishermen’s choir, substituted occasionally as projectionist at the tiny cinema and played a very temperamental harmonium in the Catholic church. My teaching career took me slowly northwards in steps, through Hampshire, Cheshire and, to Warwickshire, where I became Deputy Head of a Prep. School, and where, like Caesar, I three times refused the crown of headship. I was involved in the local church, especially in the choir, as well as the whole gamut of boarding school life. Yet there I felt the call to be a priest. I actually had to give in my notice before I was interviewed by the Diocese but I felt that if God was calling, at worst, another job would surely come along. So, at 44, I found myself in Rome following an intensive four year degree course in Theology. I saw a great deal of Italy besides, met Pope John Paul II several times and had the great privilege of working with Mother Teresa of Calcutta in a soup kitchen. Ordination followed, back in my adopted Leamington Spa, and then a short posting to Redditch, before a curacy in Stafford. A time at St Chad’s Cathedral and in Handsworth gave me further valuable experience. My first “real Parish” was in Stoke, where I was involved in the Parish School and in local Education, before being catapulted to Kidlington outside Oxford, for just under 10 years. It was a similar assignment as now, with two churches, and towns making up one Parish, together with a School. I thought I was secure there for life, but the call was on to pastures new here in Bewdley where I have met great support and a genuinely warm welcome. 25
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Signs of Winter
Photos by Margaret Ashmore
A Local Photographer: Robert Limbrick St. Peter’s Church, Melverley Shropshire, taken on New Year’s Day 2013. Alongside St. Peter’s is the flooded River Vymwy just above where it joins the River Severn. There has been a place of Christian worship in Melverley for about 1000 years. The church as it now stands was built and in use by 1406, only five years after the burning of the original church by Owain Glyndwr. This was a remarkable achievement. Work must have started immediately after the fire. With the exception of the lower two-thirds of the east wall behind the altar, the structure you see today is substantially as it was built. Melverley is a rare example of an early British church constructed of timber, wattle and daub. Notice the white sections are narrower than the timbers, a sign of an early timber construction. The entire structure is pegged together throughout, not one nail being used. The timber is local Melverley oak.
The George Hotel picture was taken when you could still walk all the way through and the wisteria was still there.
This picture was taken in 1968 at the side of the Great North Road in Zambia, near to Mpika. The Great North Road runs from Cape Town to Cairo, although the top end of it runs through some unstable areas these days. Much of the road was still dirt when I was there and only passable with a great deal of care. At the time I was working for Voluntary Service Overseas as an instructor at the Zambian Outward Bound School on the Rift Valley overlooking Lake Tanganyika. Courses at the School normally ran for 4 weeks with only a few days before the next course started. At the height of the wet season the school closed for a week and two of us took the opportunity to go to Victoria Falls. The school truck was driving to the capital Lusaka to pick up supplies, so we took the two remaining seats.
We stopped for the night where the photo was taken and slept under a tarpaulin on the back of the truck. The children wandered up to the truck from out of the bush and I took their photo, using an exposure meter first, as everyone with a 35mm camera did in those days. When the slide came back from the processors I was amazed at the result!
Signs of Spring
Photos by Martin Flegg
Free guided walks along our footpaths and bridleways taking 2-3 hours, off the roads and into the countryside. Thursday 6th February from Waseley Hills Country Park, Gannow Green La, Rubery Birmingham B45 9AT OS reference 972782, 10.30am start Thursday 20th February from The Manor Arms Inn,Abberley Village, WR6 6BN, OS ref 752678, 10.30am start. Thursday 6th March from Bringsty Common,Bromyard. Park by A44 at the sign for the Live & Let Live Inn. OS reference 698551 Everyone welcome For our full programme visit www.rockpathfinders.webspace.virginmedia.com or go to www.rockvillagehall.co.uk or ring Alan on 01299 400304 or Jan on 01299 832571
Children’s Society your help needed
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 15TH @ 7.30PM
WRIBBENHALL PARISH ROOM
Would you be willing to help 100,000 children by giving a couple of hours to go house-to-house collecting money in April? If you are able to help, please contact Susan Price on 01299 402199. Thank you
KIDDERMINSTER ROAD, WRIBBENHALL, BEWDLEY SUPPORTING THE RESTORATION FUND
TEAMS OF 4 BUT LET US KNOW IF YOU ARE LESS AND WE WILL TRY TO FIND OTHERS TO ADD TO YOUR PARTY
Rock Pound The Bounds Sunday 4th May 2014 For details see www.poundthebounds.org.uk SAVE THE DATE!
COST £6:50 EACH INCLUDING FOOD BRING YOUR OWN WINE, BEER ETC AND GLASSES TICKETS TEL KEITH 01299-403357 TONY 01299-409282
Do you need a dependable consistent quality supply of Hardwood & Softwood Firewood? Cut & split to suit and delivered in breathable 1.2 cubic metre bags so no need to restack.
Small delivery vehicle fitted with crane can deliver to most situations. David is happy to discuss your requirements
The deadline for the March issue of The Bridge is 10th February
For all your gardening needs
call Richard on 01299 409148
LANDSCAPES & DESIGN
Kevin Hayes N.C.H.(Pershore)
Planting Plans Pergolas Pruning Water features Patios Walls and fences Phone: 01299 400465 ! 11:Quarter page.dat 18/03/2011 16:36 1 964427 MobPage :07866
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- Base Laying - Garden maintenance
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â€˘ Professional Beauty & Mobile Service â€˘ Organic Facials â€˘ Waxing â€“ Pedicures â€“ OPI Manicures â€˘ Eyebrow & Eyelash Treatments. â€˘ Massage â€“ Reflexology â€“ Hot Stone Therapy â€˘ One to One Stretch & Tone Sessions Lisa Johnson BTEC DIPLOMA. BABTAC. IIHHT.
Tel: 01299 409190 M:07813 776263
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osteopathic healthcare at home or at w work ork Edward Ed ward Cound ((B.Ost) B.Ost) .Ost) Fully registered mobile osteopath
Most people find osteopath osteopathyy extremely beneficial Sports Injury Sciatica and Trapped Trapped Nerves Nerves Shoulder pains Headaches Headac hes and Migraines Migraines Postural Pre and P Post ost Natal Postural problems Back Arthritic pains Back and Neck Neck pain Hip Knee and Ankle pain Post P ost Surgery
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Wyre Forest Citizens Advice
We are recruiting volunteers as Community Health & Wellbeing Buddies…..a unique opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.
This new service is being introduced into Medical Centres throughout the Wyre Forest. The confidential service will provide help for patients who have physical, mental or emotional issues that have been identified by their doctor and have then been referred to our new service. The buddies’ role will be to address the needs of the patient by signposting them to other agencies and community activities that can help them with such issues as housing, debt, social care, loneliness and isolation. As a volunteer you will need to be responsive to the evolving holistic needs of the person and committed to building a trusting relationship with them. No previous experience is necessary but communication and basic IT skills are important. Full training and ongoing supervision will be given. Once training is completed you will shadow an experienced buddy until you feel confident to work on your own at the medical centre assigned to you.
For more information and an informal chat about this exciting new role please contact Katrina Willetts at the Wyre Forest Citizens Advice Bureau Tel: 01562 60194
Email at: email@example.com
Bewdley Baptist Church
Activities for pre school children and bacon butties for Dads £1 per session We meet again in Bewdley Baptist Church on Saturday 8th February 9.30-11.30am.
Super Saturday is a fun monthly club for primary school children. Each month there are games, songs, craft activities, snacks and puppets all run by experienced, CRB checked, caring leaders. We meet again in Bewdley Baptist Church on Saturday 8th February 9.30-11.30am.
Dr Vivien Newrick Homeopath
All Ages & Abilities
Tel : 01299 401617 Mob : 07884 098582 firstname.lastname@example.org
Haybridge Sports Centre DY8 2XS
FRENCH / ENGLISH TUITION
French > GCSE English > Key Stage 2/3 Experienced teacher with excellent local reputation. Please call 01299 401902 Funeral Director
Telephone: 01299 403105
Private Chapel of Rest
Bank House Severnside South Bewdley, Worcestershire
Mrs Darley’s Herbal Bewdley Museum
Loose Leaf Teas & Herbs - Tea Ware Facial, Hair & Body Care Bach Flower Remedies - Essential Oils Incense - Gifts & Cards ‘Mrs Darley’ Books - Talks - Workshops Reiki Courses Shop On-line: www.arcanus.co.uk/shop.php Telephone: 07977096257
medically qualified and registered homeopathic practitioner
Two films in February
We hope that those of you who came to our inaugural cinema night on January 23rd enjoyed the experience. If so, please tell your friends. If you'd like to give us feedback, please use this e-mail address: email@example.com.
The film programme continues in February with screenings on Thursday 6th and Thursday 20th at 7.30pm. As this edition of The Bridge goes to print we're grappling with a couple of last minute technical issues that make it difficult to finalise the film choices. However, by the time you read this, details of the February films will be known and the café in the Hall is your best place to find out what they are. The screen there displays details of the films 'coming shortly' and you can buy tickets in advance over the counter. If you've read our previous updates, you'll know that the plan is to make every Thursday night from March 6th a film night in Bewdley. In addition, the Cinema in the Hall volunteers are setting up a members-only film club that will meet once a month for screenings of cult, classic and more avant-garde films. If you're interested in joining this please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Bewdley and District Horticultural Society New Venue – New Night We shall now meet at:Riverside Elim Church, The God House,Dog Lane, Bewdley, DY12 2EF Our first meeting is on
Monday, 17th February, 2014 7.30p.m.
Annual General Meeting Followed by Gardeners’ question time and social
Come along and enjoy a friendly night out for just £1 50p. This includes refreshments. On the night Derek Walker and Derek Aston will be on the panel to sort out any garden problems no matter how big or small More details 01299 400580/402670
Hi, I am Paula,
Are you a Smart Single Gentleman/Lady 60+50+or 40+ Widowed, Single or Divorced? Would you like to meet a new partner/find love or just a New friend LOCALLY? Not 100,s miles away? Then you may apply to join my select INTRODUCTION AGENCY. Everyone is interviewed for your safety. I have made many successful matches for 20 years.
Lots of people are in happy couples because of me. SPECIAL OFFER low cost joining fee.
New members join weekly. BE POSITIVE DO NOT BE LONELY.
Phone me Paula now on 01299 403309 See my website on www.introductions4u.co.uk
Private Nursery for 2 – 5 year olds
Wribbenhall Community Centre Shaw Hedge Road, Bewdley
Large and secure natural garden Monday & Friday 8.00am – 4.00pm; Tuesday & Thursday 8.00am – 1.15pm £3.50 per hour 3 and 4 year olds receive Nursery Educational Funding 15hrs per week (free) Promotional offer:- Buy 15 hours and get an extra three hours free of charge, offer includes children in receipt of NEF funding For more information contact Sharon on 07837295698 Or visit our website at www.inbtweenies.co.uk 38
High Quality Fruit & Vegetables (inc seasonal produce, locally grown)
Fish, Eggs, Local Honey & Marmalade. Flowers for all Occasions (Special Orders Catered For)
Online ordering now available at www.bewdleyfarmshop.co.uk Register with us for regular FREE deliveries to your door
HEALTHY START vouchers accepted
Dog Lane • Bewdley • Worcs • DY12 2EF
01299 400346 39
SALON BEAUTY ROOM ORGANIC FACIALS
WAXING & THREADING
FABULOUS STYLISTS x x x x x
SPRAY TANS MAKE-OVERS
PPD FREE ORGANIC PARABEN FREE AMMONIA FREE SODIUM LAURETH SULPHATE FREE
45 HIGH STREET, CLEOBURY MORTIMER APPOINTMENTS
Community Corner Pre-School
St.Anne’s Cof E Primary School, Wyre Hill, Bewdley DY12 2UQ Tel: 01299 401871
• Community Corner; at the heart of the community on the site of St Anne’s Primary School, enjoying an excellent partnership with our host school • Quality pre-school care & education: our staff team are highly qualified Practitioners, who are passionate about childcare, it’s in their hearts • ‘TOTS’; our specially created 2 yr. olds room, a gentle start for your child Funded places offered for 2, 3 & 4 year olds Monday to Friday, 9a.m. - 3p.m. during term time Call Chris for more information or visit us at www.communitycornerpreschool.co.uk Community Corner Pre-school; touching hearts right from the start 40
Policing of Bewdley
Things never stay the same…that is just as true in policing as it elsewhere. After many years of occupying the police station on Kidderminster Road, we have sold the buildings. This does not mean that the police have left the town. In actual fact the Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) has been increased in size. What does this actually mean?
Police officers remain available to you 24 hours of every day throughout the year. These ’24-hour’ officers are deployed from Kidderminster and are given Patrol Zones for their tour of duty one of which is centred on Bewdley. The officers have been provided with small laptop-type computers from which they can access all force IT systems. This means that they do not have to return to Kidderminster to complete paperwork as they did in the past, other than in certain circumstances such as following an arrest. The ’24-hour’ officers complement your Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT). This team is made up of a police officer and three Police Community Support Officers (PCSO). They are dedicated to your town and will often be seen at community events and meetings such as PACT (Partners and Communities Together). The SNT generally works between 8am and midnight under the supervision of a sergeant. The members of the SNT are Sergeant Jan Shore, PC Steve Thomas and PCSOs Jeni Bray, Ben Poppleton, and Sue Eden and they can be followed on Twitter at #BewdleyCops.
While we do not have a building in the town we are most certainly maintaining our presence. If you need to contact the police simply call 101 or 999 in an emergency.
You can find more details at www.westmercia.police.uk. Inspector Paul Crowley Safer Neighbourhood Inspector
PACT (Partners and Communities Together)
Your safer neighbourhood team is working with partners to tackle the issues causing most concern in your neighbourhood. There are a number of ways you can let us know about issues or concerns you have: call us on 101, drop us an email at the address below, complete a PACT postcard or attend one of our public PACT meetings or surgeries.
We have a number of PACT post boxes in Bewdley. Simply fill out one of the cards provided and pop it into the post box. Our post boxes can be found at Bewdley Medical Centre, Bewdley Library, Bewdley Community Café at St. George's Hall and The Bewdley School and Sixth Form Centre. Bewdley's next public PACT Meeting will be held on Tuesday 18th February at Shaw Hedge Road Community Centre. The meeting will start at 7pm.
Email: email@example.com 41
Hagley Clock Clinic Ltd Est: 1978
Repairs, restoration & servicing of antique & fine clocks and other mechanical devices. Telephone: 01562 885080 www.hagleyclockclinic.co.uk
SOLUTIONS FOR ALL YOUR BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS * Book-Keeping * Self-Assessment Tax Return * Limited Company Accounts
* Payroll Services * Preparation of Income & Expenditure Accounts * Specialist in Tax Planning
Struggling with Real Time Payroll? Our payroll bureau can ease the burden Call 01299 403503 Springhill House, Bewdley, DY12 1DQ www.dhjh.co.uk For a free consultation contact Anita Stewart (firstname.lastname@example.org) 42
You are warmly invited to Messy Church Games – Stories – Creativity for all children of all ages
Coming soon to Bewdley Riding Lights Theatre Company in conjunction with the Bewdley churches presents “Inheritance” A Passion Play for Easter 2014. St George’s Hall Tuesday 25th March 7.30pm. For more information contact 01299 403267.
Sunday 9th Feb Sunday 16th March 3-4pm St. Anne’s Church, Load Street, Bewdley Rev Keith James 402275 Little Pack Horse raises over £3000 for Midlands Air Ambulance in 2013
The Pack Horse run a weekly pub quiz on Sunday evenings where teams of up to 5 people battle it out for a box of chocolates provided by the landlord. It only costs £1 per person to enter but these small donations added up to more than £3000 last year. The quiz is run by local Chris Mills. The landlord Mark Payne said “it just shows that with a little bit of effort we can make a significant difference and I am really chuffed at the amount raised for the Midlands Air Ambulance.”
Advertise your business here!
The Bridge is delivered to over 4600 houses in Bewdley every month!
For more information or to book your advertising space: email:
Private Tuition In GCSE/AS/A2 Physics and AS/A2/KS2/GCSE Maths Call Roy on 01299 409 460
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The deadline for the March issue of The Bridge is 10th February PERSONAL COUNSELLING SERVICES Christine Holloway 01299 402545 CORST Accredited UKCP Reg www.personalcounsellingservices.co.uk Finding the joy in life is much easier said than done, or just remembering what used to make you smile or raise a chuckle can be difficult. Especially as life seems to be getting tougher. Asking for help is not a failure, it can take courage. But counselling for only a short while can make all the difference. I can't solve all the problems but I can help you think about them in a different or more positive way. Then change happens PEOPLE MOVE ON. Make peace with the past or present, so that it won't spoil life now. Give me a chance to help, visit my web site to see what is achievable.
Your local legal experts With us, there will be no hidden costs, no legal jargon and your first advice will always be free. Please get in touch to find out more or to arrange a home visit: Stourport 01299 827766
Worcester 01905 730670
E: email@example.com W: qualitysolicitors.com/lumsdons 45
• FAMIL FFAMILY-RUN AMILY-RUN BUSINESS BUS USINE INESS INE SS FFOR OR OOVER VER 60 YE YEARS NEW • EEXCEPTIONAL XCEPTIONAL NE W CCAR AR OOFFERS FFER FF ERS USED VEHICLES • QU QQUALITY U ALITY USE US ED VE HICLES MAKES • ALL MA KES SER SSERVICING ERVI VICCING HONEST, FRIENDLY • HO NEST, FRIEN DLY SER SSERVICE ERVI VICCE TTel: el: 01562 862 822 WORCESTER WOR CESTER ROAD, ROAD, KIDDERMINSTER, DY DY10 1JR www.clarksofkidderminster.co.uk w ww.clarksofkidderminster.co.uk MARK WILLIAMS MIPW PROFESSIONAL WILLWRITER
“A lifetime’s attention to the most complex of legal investigations as a retired Detective Superintendent means you can definitely trust Mark to write your will”
Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Care Home Fee Avoidance Probate Support & Funeral Plans (Wills from £65 per person)
Instructions taken in the comfort of your own home T: 01299 251442 M: 07966 053887 Trading Standards Institute Approved 46
Bewdley Museum and Tourist Information Centre
2013 was a very busy year for the Museum and Tourist Information Centre with almost 150,000 visitors coming through the doors. Some came to learn about Bewdley’s rich history, view temporary exhibitions or take part in educational activities and events. Others came to find out information about the local area from knowledgeable staff. The Museum also acted as a base for guided walks which explored the Wyre Forest or Ribbesford, and school visits which ran in partnership with Severn Valley Railway.
Over the course of the 3 weekends leading up to Christmas, visitors were entertained by a community choir, a lively band from Winterfold School and an amazing ‘Beauty and the Beast’ pantomime. And of course, many excited children were delighted to meet Father Christmas during his annual visit to a specially built Grotto in the Sawyard! Parents and grandparents may also have picked up a few hand-made presents and Christmas decorations when passing our Craft studios and stalls.
For now, the Museum has temporarily closed its doors whilst the winter maintenance programme is in full swing. As usual, there are many practical tasks being undertaken in order to prepare for the coming season. Currently, staff and volunteers are gearing up for another busy year ahead with a full programme of exhibitions, education visits, demonstrations and events being planned. For the Museum’s opening times, especially in February and March, please refer to our website www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/museum or phone 0845 603 5699. Remember that the Tourist Information Centre is open daily, currently from 11am until 3pm. Discounted tickets are available for West Midlands Safari Park and Severn Valley Railway. Sue Duffield Museum Education and Development
Call for Artists: Open studios, Art Fair and Exhibition 2014 Exhibition: 17th May - 14th July
Open Studios and Art Fair: Saturday & Sunday 14th & 15th June.
Open to all Artists in all media. Please contact Karen Parody for more information and how to take part in Bewdley's premier visual art event. Karenparody@hotmail.com
01299 400387 07581576201 47
marion evans solicitors 67 High Street, BEWDLEY DY12 2DJ
family law since 1992
tel: 01299 402741
www.marion-evans-solicitors.co.uk email: firstname.lastname@example.org
for a free initial appointment contact:
marion evans or lynette atkinson family law including separation, divorce and issues involving children and finances.
lisa tucker property including sales, purchases, mortgages.
marion evans wills, probate and inheritance claims (home visits can be arranged).
Professionalism in Print
• Bespoke Business Stationery • Flyers • Leaflets • Posters • Newsletters • Catalogues • Postcards • Greeting Cards etc. From a business card to a full catalogue, our inhouse design facility has it covered and our high quality, short run digital print service is available on a variety of papers & boards
AND IF YOU NEED IT IN A HURRY WE OFTEN GIVE A 24 HOUR TURN AROUND
t : 01299 406046 • m : 07710 523853 visit : www.printworxbewdley.com e : email@example.com
A warm welcome for you at Bewdley Methodist Church
Join us for worship every Sunday morning at 10.30 in our lovely old church on High Street, next to the Jubilee Gardens entrance. Our services last about an hour and, once a month, children and grandchildren enjoy their own lively Sunday Club. See www.bewdleymethodists.org.uk
Weekday activities this February Tuesday 11th House Fellowship 7.30pm
Thursday 13th Knit & Natter 2.00-4.00pm at church Tuesday 18th Walking Group 10.30am
To find out more about any of our activities or to enquire about baptism or marriage, please contact our minister Revd Phil Hoar Tel 826641
Did you know? We seek to discover the word of God through reading the Bible. Starting this month our house fellowship group is studying the gospel of Mark - the shortest and probably earliest account of Jesusâ€™s life, death and resurrection.
Where your pets are our priority
Providing veterinary care and treatment for all types of pet animal, including chickens.
Bewdley Pet Supplies
Posh Pads Professional Groomers
All your petsâ€™ preventative healthcare needs covered from just ÂŁ9.99 per month with our Healthy Pet Club loyalty scheme.
Welcome All Breeds For A Variety Of Treatments Located In The Heart Of Bewdley: Unit 4 Dog Lane Mews Call Now For an Appointment 07743720114 or 01299 488352
For more information call or pop in today.
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Unit 2 Dog Lane Mews A Small Family Run Business Offering Free Local delivery Free Loyalty Card With 20% off! Stocking James Well Beloved, Royal Cannin, Burns, Beta and lots more Call Jason on 01299 400 832
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TOWN COUNCIL NEWS
TOWN COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON 6TH JANUARY 2014
St George’s Hall Councillors expressed concern at the decision made by St George’s Hall Venue Management Ltd which runs the newly refurbished venue to refer to it for marketing and branding purposes as “The Hall” rather than its full and historic name of St George’s Hall. It was agreed that the Town Clerk should write to the Directors to press for it to be referred to consistently throughout as St George’s Hall given that had been its title since it was originally built more than a century ago.
Bewdley Library The County Council had indicated that it was looking at ways of making cost savings at libraries across Worcestershire including Bewdley. The Council debated some possible options that they felt could be suggested to the County Council including the greater use of volunteers, giving some financial support from Town Council funds or reducing opening hours/days. The position was complicated by the uncertainty as to the long term future of the present library building. No firm conclusions were drawn other than that it was vital for the library provision to be maintained.
River Severn Fishing Attention was drawn to the fact that based on the number of day permits sold during the season, the town had seen a dramatic drop in the number of anglers coming to Bewdley. There was a view this was due to the lack of promotion of Bewdley as a good place to come for fishing and generally anglers not being made welcome. The Council agreed to take steps to encourage greater take-up of what was an excellent stretch of river.
Public Toilet Provision in Bewdley The Council now understood that the District Council were not proposing to close the toilets in Load Street.
Town Council Budget Councillors considered a first draft of the budget for 2014/15 which was likely to see a small increase in the Council Tax levied on householders. The Town Council part of the overall Council Tax bill was currently £23.59 per annum for an average Band D property. Future Town Council meetings Town Council meetings are held at The Guildhall at 7.30pm on the first Monday of each month unless stated otherwise. The next meetings are: 3rd February, 3rd March and 7th April. The Annual Town Meeting will be held on Monday 14th April 2014 at 7.00pm. Agendas and Minutes of Town Council and Planning Committee Meetings are posted on the Notice Boards outside the Mayor’s Parlour, in the Guildhall Entrance and by the Library Entrance and on the Town Council’s page of www.bewdley.org.uk Minutes are also available at the Library and at the Town Clerk’s Office. TOWN COUNCIL NEWS IS PRODUCED AND PUBLISHED BY BEWDLEY TOWN COUNCIL
Bewdley Chamber Maids New event for 2014
Baby & Early Years Fayre Sunday 6th April Mercure Hotel, Habberley Road, Bewdley from 10.00 to 4.00
We are inviting anyone who supplies either goods or services for babies, pre school children and their parents. If you sell toys, clothes, furniture, party goods, educational toys, prams & buggies, etc. or perhaps offer nursery care please get in touch. Whatever you do, we would like to hear from you.
We are also offering advertising for those businesses which do not require a full stall; again, please get in touch for full details. Please contact Maggie 01299 404065 Ann 01299 404226
Bookings are also being taken for the St George’s Fair on Saturday 26th April Please ask for a booking form
Women’s World Day of Prayer Friday March 7th 2014 7.30p.m.
The day of prayer begins as dawn breaks over the islands of Tonga, travels across each continent until it ends in the islands of Samoa 36 hours later, circling the world in prayer. In Bewdley the main churches share the honour of hosting this service. Last Year it was St Anne’s. Next year it will be at the Baptist Church. This year it is at Holy Family Catholic Church.
The service is prepared by Christian women from all over the world and is truly ecumenical. It is open to all to share. Men are very welcome but unfortunately rarely join us.
This year it is prepared by the women of Egypt. Rather poignantly it was prepared with great optimism after the Arab Spring but before recent developments in their country. The Christians in Egypt and in other parts of the Middle East and elsewhere are in desperate need of our prayers, There is a preparation evening on 19th February at 7.30pm at Holy Family. Do join us at one or both of these but especially come on March 7th . 53
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A Favourite Footpath This month's walk is ideal for those who want to insist they ventured out of doors in the horrible weather but don't actually want to. It starts in the car park at the end of Dry Mill Lane (see September's magazine) and takes in Dowles Church. From the car park walk down to where the road meets the path to Dowles Brook. You will see the signs of the old railway bridge and some steps up to the railway track. Walk west along this track with the brook surprisingly far down on your left. Near the end are the only signs that remain of the old Dowles Manor, destroyed by a mysterious fire in 1982. At the road turn right and walk - carefully! - to the gate on the left by the bridge. Go down this track to where Dowles Brook meets the river and cross the bridge to walk a little way along the river to a stile. Cross the stile and walk across the field to enter Dowles churchyard. The church was demolished in 1956 but some walls can still be seen and the churchyard is maintained by St Anne's parish. Most years it is carpeted with snowdrops; this year looks to be a good year as I write in late January. Now cross the churchyard and turn left up the track that leads back to Dowles Road. Turn left on the road and walk a short distance to a drive on the other side of the road. Go up this drive and into the field at the end. Now follow the footpath south to join Dry Mill Lane by the shop. Turn right and walk back down the lane to the carpark. About two miles in all. If you want to extend your healthy walk stay on the riverbank and go into town then take the road back. There! You've earned a slice of left-over Christmas cake!
February in the Forest
A few days ago I heard something from a certain Secretary of State that got me pretty hot under the collar. He implied that there would be more planning permissions in future allowing development on ancient woodland sites, providing that “many more trees” were planted elsewhere to compensate, which would “deliver a better environment over the long term”. This ‘biodiversity offsetting’ is not unheard of, and ensures that where habitat loss cannot be avoided some kind of recompense is undertaken.
So why was I annoyed? Let’s look at the term ‘ancient woodland’, which, by the way describes our Wyre Forest. The National Vegetation Classification describes 19 different types of British woodland with their own distinctive trees, shrubs, flowering plants and often ferns, mosses, liverworts and lichens. All are ‘semi-natural’, which is to say that they have been modified to a greater or lesser extent by human activity, and all have a complex web of wildlife associated with and dependant on them. Ancient woodland can be defined as woodland that has covered an area continuously (but not necessarily without partial felling and re-growth) since 1600. So even a forest which is clear felled and allowed to regenerate from the seed in the soil would still be termed ancient. The forestry term ‘Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site’ is an important distinction, recognising that even a plantation of non-native conifers retains some wildlife benefit from the relict habitat (soil, bacteria, fungi, soil invertebrates etc) still remaining.
This should lead you to the conclusion that it ain’t just about the trees. The backlash to said Secretary of State’s ill-thought-out comments from not only conservation organisations but also the broadsheet press was predictable and (to me) satisfying. I’m heartened that there is enough opposition to the conservation equivalent to destroying say, a Turner, in favour of a hundred quite nice college students’ paintings to see the proposal kicked into touch. Quantity rather than quality won’t work in this case. There is a Native American saying, popularised by Greenpeace: When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money. And what’s all this about the Environment Agency stopping development in flood plains? Don’t we all know of examples where new houses have been built on flood plains since the floods of 2001? Puxton Marsh, for example, where valuable wet woodland was lost when planning permission was given on appeal in 2011. Rant over.
Do enjoy the wonderful natural world this month, as winter is stealthily overcome by spring in the form of snowdrops and hazel catkins.