Teme Valley Times Oct/Nov 2020

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Oct/Nov 2020

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Tenbury Applefest Shop Window Competition Sponsored by Kerry Foods and Robinsons Cider, this went ahead despite the cancellation of this year’s Applefest. Many shops created eye-catching window displays, reflecting Tenbury’s history as “the town in the orchard”. The photo to the left shows an imaginative display at Nice Things, on Teme Street. If you took a leisurely stroll through Tenbury’s shopping streets you could see a wide range of displays, including appley quotes, poems, recipes and a plethora of apple facts and figures. Some of the displays captured a real autumnal feel with not only apples but also other autumn fruits such as pears and crab apples, plus sweet chestnuts, acorns, conkers, rose-hips and autumn foliage. You could even find ‘Adam and Eve’ and humorous apple interpretations to raise a chuckle! For more coverage turn to page 3.

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Applefest Shop Window Competition Even though this year’s Tenbury Applefest was cancelled, like so many events, due to the coronavirus situation, this year’s Shop Window Competition went ahead and was well supported. Along Teme Street and Market Street and by the Market Square, businesses had created a great variety of apple-themed displays. Tenbury Library fittingly majored on books, along with poems including Christina Rossetti’s “An Apple Gathering”. One of the featured books asked a question about an old wives tale, pondering ‘Can an apple a day really keep the doctor away?’ A huge amount of work went into many of the displays, this was appreciated and commented on by the judge, Andrew Fleming from sponsor Kerry Foods. Winners received cash prizes and a certificate for their efforts, presented by Andrew on October 2nd. There was also a ‘People’s Choice’ vote, where members of the public could vote for their favourite window. The awards for this were presented on October 9th by sponsor Robert Robinson of Little Hereford-based Robinsons Cider. In addition, one lucky voter, also drawn by Robert on Oct 9th, received a £25 voucher to spend in Pure Beauty Tenbury.

Adam and Eve at Smarty Pants

Andrew (R) presenting First Prize at Smart Fella’s

Tenbury Millennium Orchard’s display at Mr Ben’s Barber, featuring varieties from the orchard

Robert presenting an award at Smarty Pants

Tabs Tea Rooms Andrew presenting Second Prize at Aid4Aspergers

2021

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2020 WINDOW DRESSING COMPETITION RESULTS Window Dressing Competition The People’s Choice Sponsored & Judged by Sponsored by Kerry Foods Robinsons of Tenbury First - Smart Fella’s First - AgeUK Second - Aid4Aspergers Second - Smart Fella’s Third - AgeUK Third - Smarty Pants WINNER OF ‘PEOPLE’S CHOICE VOTER’ £25 VOUCHER TO SPEND IN TENBURY

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Robert presenting an award at Age UK

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Politicians, bluster, viewpoints - and free debate by Cllr Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council It is a common complaint about politicians that they are full of bluster and flannel but never make a clear statement on anything. Ask them what they had for breakfast and they will witter on about whether or not breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why this reluctance to state ideas clearly, and back particular propositions? One reason is obvious and has come to the fore recently in a wide variety of fields: our modern digital society has a long memory! Nothing is forgotten and, by the same token, nothing is forgiven. Make a clear statement one day and in a couple of weeks, months, decades even, it will be quoted back to you – or some third party – probably inaccurately, probably taken out of context, and probably in quite different circumstances. And the result of such a dredging up of a comment may be that the person in question loses their position or is denied another position. In both cases, the apparent miscreant suffers, the person who found the quote feels a degree of righteous satisfaction, maybe even virtuous contentment, but society may lose out. That rejected individual may have been ideal for the position, may have been able to use their knowledge and experience for the benefit of society in general, and can feel aggrieved, especially if the early comment was juvenile, taken out of context, or no longer representing the person’s views. So does it matter? Well, we end up with colourless politicians, who may be doing a decent job, but are very guarded in their comments. Worse, the attacks apply to everyone, so many people feel inhibited and unable to express their true feelings. And this seems to apply more to conservative opinion (political or not) where the attacks come from the left or from more radical

viewpoints. Can you recall anyone being explicit about Black Lives Matter, perhaps questioning the British section’s views on capitalism and defunding the police? Can you recall academics challenging students when the latter seek to right some perceived wrong, committed decades or centuries ago by one of the university’s luminaries from an earlier age? Can you imagine anyone daring to espouse an unpopular cause regarding gender, for instance, for fear of the attacks from the self-appointed guardians of current truth? Whatever happened to the virtue of free debate, testing one another’s beliefs with detailed argument? Both sides would start convinced about their view being correct. One side might prevail, but probably only after realising the various weaknesses in their own position. The other side might “lose” but will have a better understanding of the topic, and maybe even accept the flaws in their former position. Nobody dies! I hope no-one goes away with their self-esteem destroyed. Rather both sides have a better appreciation of the topic in all its facets, the better to apply in future actions or arguments. I have studiously avoided naming people and most topics in this short piece. You can fill in the names and ideas yourself, but would it not be better if we were more open about what we believe? Certainly, we might be embarrassed at times, when realising a cherished idea is no longer valid, or even true. But better that than clinging on to the idea in isolation, for fear of debate – and the possibility of being “de-platformed” or “cancelled” by the other side. The problem is that the latter action can be very public and may be falsely based, and the person who is “cancelled” can find it very difficult to get their response widely known! As a local politician, I recognise the impact that anything I say or write may have on the attitudes of others. Some may agree, some may disagree, occasionally violently, and in many cases, votes may be won or lost – not just for me, but for those whom I wish to support. This makes us all inhibited and guarded about the topics we discuss in public. So the next time you hear a politician being too vague or evasive, maybe you will be more forgiving, as they are responding to a regrettable tendency of intolerance in our modern society, one which we may all regret.

Teme Valley Times: our main circulation area and how to contact us Phone: 01584 781762 Email: temevalleytimes@yahoo.co.uk Online: www.facebook.com/temevalleytimes Post: Teme Valley Times, Tenbury Wells, WR15 8LW Editor & Publisher: Chris Dell. Deputy Editor: Lucy The Teme Valley Times is locally-owned and independent. Every reasonable effort is made to ensure that what we publish is accurate but no responsibility can be accepted for any errors, omissions, changes or cancellations. Check all information before making a commitment or a special trip. The contents of this publication (words, images & adverts) are protected by copyright. If you wish to reproduce anything you must first obtain written consent from the publisher.

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The Studio @ Greenacres Handmade Christmas Gifts Saturday & Sunday 10.30am-3pm 14th-15th & 21st-22nd November Glass, Textiles, Prints, Jewellery & Christmas Cards/Decorations from local artists annwallace136@gmail.com 01584 811080

Are you looking for: Wooden Crafts; Hand painted or carved signs; Local History DVDs, CD or History Books of Titterstone Clee Hills & North Herefordshire Villages; Guided tours of the Clee Hills & Orleton Village; or Lectures by a Shropshire Lad? Contact Ann and Alf Jenkins Publications: email alfjenkins07@gmail.com or ring 01568 780398 or call and see us at The Damsons, SY8 4HW.

Tenbury Pool has reopened

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It was big smiles all round when Tenbury swimming pool and gym reopened on Monday 12th October. The Tenbury Community Pool trustees took the opportunity of lockdown to bring forward plans for extension and renovation as this could be undertaken without the complication of trying to ensure access for customers whilst work was in progress. The 18 week project has resulted in a smart new dance studio, a new office for Freedom Leisure staff, a disabled-friendly changing room with shower and improved poolside disabled access, a new family changing room, an extended gym, renovated male and female changing rooms with new showers, cubicles

Getting the work done at Clows Top! The Clows Top Victory Hall Committee decided to take advantage of the lockdown and carry out repairs and redecorations that would make sure the hall would be in good order and ready for use when restrictions are removed. Committee members cleaned and repaired the Hall’s rendered frontage and repainted it and undertook similar work at the rear of the building. The planters at the front of the Hall were refurbished and a member of Clows Top Gardening Club replanted the boxes to produce a colourful display.

Work underway at Clows Top Victory Hall

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and lockers, a reworked entrance, now with DDA compliant automatic doors, bringing things into the 21st century and creating a facility that the town can be proud of. Freedom Leisure have Covid Secure operating procedures in place, including a booking system for activities and, if needs be, are happy to talk people through these measures to help customers feel confident and safe. If you have any queries you can call them on 01584 810448. The hard work of the trustees must be applauded and the town can now benefit from the work of their labours, and thanks also go to all the pool’s supporters who have given time and funds to improve the facilities.

Weeds were treated around the grounds and equipment inspections were carried out to ensure that everything would be serviceable and ready for use. Committee members have been taking part in Zoom conferences to keep up to date on the necessary Covid precautions. As a registered charity the hall depends on volunteers to make sure that the Hall facilities are available for the local community. If anyone would like to assist with running repairs and redecoration, or in any other capacity, then please contact Roger Dyer on 07870 522567.

Fresh from her swim, trustee Jane Jenner (R), and - next in line to take a dip - trustee Barbara Selkirk (L) with Tom Mansfield, centre manager, on the opening morning

TSB supporting Citizens Advice TSB is donating £250,000 to Citizens Advice England & Wales and Citizens Advice Scotland, to help these organisations support people facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. The bank is donating the money to the charities to help meet the growing demand from the public. The charities are facing unprecedented levels of demand, with more visits to their websites and increased calls to their advice lines. This donation will help them to scale up online and telephone advice services. TSB is also working with Citizens Advice England & Wales to develop a long-term partnership as part of its corporate strategy and its commitment to help people make more of their money, every day. Debbie Crosbie, CEO at TSB, said “This is a very difficult time for many people. We are already supporting our customers in financial difficulty with changes like payment holidays on loans and mortgages, as well as checking in on thousands of vulnerable customers. But we want to do more for communities across the country, so I’m delighted we are able to support Citizens Advice’s vital work.” Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, commented “Demand for our services is at record levels. We know people are worried about how to pay their bills, their employment rights, getting access to benefits, and many other issues. This donation will help us provide vital support to people who are already struggling and to those who will inevitably need our help in the coming weeks and months.”


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Support for Local Heritage

St Michael and All Angels, Great Witley A church at Great Witley has been awarded £37,500 from the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund. St Michael and All Angels is the only church in the UK with such a well-preserved baroque interior and in normal times it draws visitors from around the world. Concerts and donations from visitors help keep the church maintained properly. Sadly Covid restrictions mean the concerts have been cancelled and the church is now only open on Wednesdays, but even when not in use the building must be kept heated and aired to prevent deterioration of the unique painted windows and ceiling. Churchwarden Angela Snow said “We were

St John the Evangelist, Shobdon thrilled to hear that our funding application has been successful. The grant will cover the costs of maintaining the church until the end of March 2021 and will provide funds to ensure that when it is able to fully open again there will be a full concert programme and new digital displays telling the history of the church and the once grand, but now ruined, Witley Court which adjoins it. It is absolutely vital that this precious heritage site is maintained for future generations and we are looking forward to the enhanced education facilities that we will be able to provide for visitors. Many of our stewards are over 70 and therefore classed as vulnerable. We are

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also required to have four stewards on duty with the new regulations so it’ll make a real difference to have some new volunteers to help us.” The grant will enable the church to employ a recovery manager who will help to recruit new stewards. To improve visitor safety, steps have been built at the rear of the church and some of the pews have been moved, so that a one-way system can be operated. Other awards in our region include £906,000 to Severn Valley Railway (Holdings) plc and £14,500 to the PCC of Shobdon Church. North Herefordshire MP Bill Wiggin commented “Shobdon Church is such a major part of the heritage of North Herefordshire and the country and I am thrilled this money will help it weather the Covid storm and be there for future generations to enjoy. Not only can we learn so much and gain so much insight from our heritage, but it also provides

Severn Valley Railway jobs and a boost for the local economy in many ways. And as we get through this unprecedented pandemic, places like Shobdon Church and the tremendous work done there can undoubtedly play a part in our recovery.”

Cycle Museum Appeal National Cycle Museum Curator Freda Davies sent us the following appeal. “Are you planning a sort out of your garage or shed? If so, if you have any unwanted older cycle parts or tools in good condition please consider donating them to the UK’s National Cycle Museum in the Automobile Palace, Llandrindod Wells. The museum is run as a charity and, to help raise funds, donated spares are sold at various cycle jumbles. Please email our stores manager Mr Steve Griffith on griffith531@hotmail.com or phone him on 07740 923630 if you can help. All donations of spares will be very much

appreciated and the museum can usually arrange collection or if you can deliver to the Museum in Llandrindod then a complimentary entry to the Museum is offered. Thank you very much.”

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Geological Society Talk Lindridge Saturday Market The Teme Valley Geological Society visited part of the French Alps in October 2019. Prof. Donny Hutton is to give an illustrated talk about the visit, highlighting the impressive and varied geology that can be found there. John Nicklin, from the group, said “This will be a Zoom talk, on Monday October 26th at 7.30pm and more details will be available nearer the time. Email martleypfo@gmail.com for further information”. The society was started by a group of enthusiastic amateurs who wanted to understand more about the extraordinary geo-diversity in and around the Teme Valley. It is based in Martley; rocks from seven geological periods can be found in the parish.

The next Saturday market at Lindridge Parish Hall in Eardiston is scheduled for 31st October. The organisers are hoping to have breakfasts available to take away or seating at external tables. Stalls for vendors are £5 (call 01584 881615) and the market runs from 10am - 12.30pm.


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Tenbury Flood Defences Representatives from Worcestershire County Council, Malvern Hills District Council, Tenbury Town Council and Environment Agency recently joined Tenbury’s MP Harriett Baldwin for a walking tour of the locations of the proposed flood defences. Harriett said “It is now essential that local people have their say and I am thankful that Tenbury’s elected representatives joined me in the town to look at the plans and see the challenges of delivering a workable scheme. This was the start of a long journey and I hope people will be encouraged to take part in the consultation”. She added “I’ve urged the Environment Agency to work closely with the town council as the finer details are discussed and I repeat my challenge that we’d like the work to be done by local contractors offering local people employment opportunities. This is a really important project for the future success of Tenbury as we deal with the ravages of

coronavirus and attempt to kick start our economy.” Harriett also commented “I am keen to see this get underway as quickly as possible. Local people are eager to share their views and we need to make sure as many people as possible get the chance to have their say. I understand that Covid-19 does present some challenges but I am adamant that the process needs to get underway soon and I am pleased that the Department for the Environment has backed me on this one.” The scheme aims to reduce the flood risk for approximately 120 residential and 145 business premises and a link on Harriett Baldwin’s website takes you to the consultation. This includes a map of the current proposals. The plan is for ground investigation and site survey work to take place this year and for construction to start by early 2022.

Local MP Harriett Baldwin (centre) on Church Street with representatives including County Councillor Ken Pollock (left), Tenbury’s Mayor Eric Hudson (red jacket) and (right) Sarah Rouse, leader of Malvern Hills District Council

Far Forest & Rock RBL After so much flooding in the last 15 years, Tenbury is finally set to get flood defences

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On Saturday 15th August, the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day, members of Far Forest and Rock Branch of the Royal British Legion held a short parade, service and wreath laying at the Far Forest Memorial. The Branch Standard was paraded by Branch Standard Bearer May Carter, and a special commemorative Poppy Wreath was laid by the Branch Poppy Appeal Organiser Jim Woods. Despite the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Branch Welfare Officer, May Carter, has tried to maintain regular welfare contact with members through lockdown, including delivering groceries and other essentials to those who found

themselves isolated. This regular contact has been greatly appreciated. Like many charities the Legion is facing a significant financial downturn due to the effects of the pandemic. At the time of writing the Branch is awaiting details of the arrangements for this year’s Poppy Appeal and hopes to be able to publish details in good time. Members are gearing up to support the Appeal in whatever way will be possible and look forward to the continuing support of local people.

For a real conversation call the Ludlow Agency on 01584 872416 to arrange a telephone appointment or meeting with our Financial Adviser. The Old Dairy, Sheet Road, Ludlow SY8 1LR NFU Mutual Financial Advisers advise on NFU Mutual products and selected products from specialist providers. We’ll explain the advice services and the charges.

Jim Woods lays the special poppy wreath at the Memorial

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Grange Court Heritage Open Day The Heritage Open Day at Grange Court on Saturday 19th September ran with the theme ‘Apples for Health’. Apple juicing was demonstrated with three local varieties. Two of these, Kings Acre Bountiful and Ten Commandments, produced sharp refreshing juice, possibly because they were slightly under-ripe! The third, Crimson Queening - a Herefordshire variety but less well documented - produced a rich full-bodied juice. All the apples came from Leominster’s Millennium Green orchard. You could hardly get more local! The heritage event included a slide show of historical photos of Leominster, shown in Grange Court’s John Abel room.

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More Bench transformations in Ludlow

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Some months ago we reported on a project that seeks out and restores neglected public benches in Ludlow. The latest reconstruction project, undertaken by Graeme Perks with help from the ladies at Poyners, has been the restoration of two benches from St Laurence’s Garden of Rest. Seriously deteriorated, with pieces missing, the 1950’s benches were removed to a workshop where, over several months, they have undergone a remarkable transformation at the hands of volunteer Graeme. The pictures say it all.

As part of the restoration commemorative plaques have been added to the benches. One is in memory of Rev Preb John Francis Baulch, Rector of Ludlow 1984 - 1994. The other is to commemorate the 75th anniversaries of VE and VJ Day. The work has been funded by public donations. If you would like to support the endeavours just call in at Poyners, at the top of Broad Street, and the ladies there will gladly accept offers of help, materials, funds or even ideas for future rescues!

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Work in progress

One of the transformed benches ready to be returned to its role as public seating in the town

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Tenbury Wells

Tenbury Town Band playing at Leominster Priory in 2019

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Tenbury Town Band Update

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The Band’s Committee supplied the following words. It is now approaching 6 months since we have been in lockdown and unable to play as a band. After the disruption of the floods in Tenbury in February, we managed one rehearsal before everything was brought to a halt once again. We were all disappointed not to be able to have our Annual May Concert as everyone had worked so hard in preparation. But we totally understood that we have a duty of care for all our players and in this instance we all stopped meeting and playing together on a Sunday afternoon and cancelled all events until further notice. Many of our members played on their doorsteps for the weekly Clap for Carers which really bought everyone together and lots were having requests for certain tunes to be played. Others have joined together virtually by individually recording a piece of music and then skilfully gathering all the different parts together and mixing them into one complete piece of music - a very clever and good way of keeping playing during lockdown. Turning the calendar over every month has highlighted how many fetes and events we would have been playing at in normal times. We hope the local communities continue with their events when safe to do so and we

look forward to be playing again soon. Under normal circumstances TTB would have been marching proudly, leading parades alongside the RBL and other organisations for both VE and VJ Day. Unfortunately these events didn’t happen on a big scale but thankfully TTB was able to support events on both of these important days. Mark Yarnold played on Whitcliffe Common overlooking Ludlow for a film capturing moments of VE Day for Ludlow. In Tenbury the RBL were able to hold a small event commemorating VJ Day where Melanie Parker played Last Post and Reveille. On 6th September we should have been playing at the National Memorial Arboretum for the Mercian Regiment Volunteers Association. We hope to be back there in 2021. Unfortunately, at the moment we are still unable to resume rehearsals. The age range of our members makes any potential return difficult and even youth bands are still unable to rehearse. Rest assured that we (the committee) are keeping up to date with the latest government guidance and taking advice from Brass Bands England. We are also keeping an eye on other bands that are registered charities to see what they are doing and when they return to rehearsals.


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Tenbury Commemorates 75th Anniversary of VJ Day After months of lockdown and not being able to mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day earlier this year, the Tenbury Branch of the Royal British Legion received permission to organise a 30-strong gathering, socially distanced, to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day on Saturday 15th August. This was very relevant, as a recent survey by a major Armed Forces charity revealed that almost half of people questioned did not know what VJ Day is. Sadly, over half (52%) of those who had not known what VJ Day was, stated that they were not likely to do anything to remember VJ Day, even after discovering that it marked Victory over Japan. This was not the case in Tenbury, where members of the Legion were joined in the town’s Memorial Gardens by Tenbury’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr Mary Drummond, plus Cllr Maggie Davies and the Town Clerk, Lesley Bruton,. The Royal Naval Association was represented by Branch Chairman Ken Holloway and Standard Bearer Roy Lewis, and the Town Band by their President, Mark Yarnold, and Conductor, Melanie Parker. Melanie played the two bugle calls: the Last Post and Reveille, to coincide with the timing of the calls and the two minute silence at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas. Mike Palmer carried the Union Standard and Edd Corfield Standards lowered during the two minute silence was the Branch Standard Bearer. Prayers were conducted by the Branch Padre, the Rev Mark Inglis. Major Richard Fox, President of Tenbury RBL, opened proceedings with the Exhortation and, as it had not been possible to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day on 8th May, this was followed by prayers remembering all who fought in the War in Europe and the thousands killed or wounded there. Thoughts then went to the Far East, where fighting against the Japanese continued for a further three months before being brought to a close by the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the unconditional surrender of Japan by Emperor Hirohito on August 15th,1945. For those fighting in the jungles of Burma, including men from Tenbury and District serving with 7th Battalion the Worcestershire Regiment, the dense, impenetrable jungle would have been an alien environment, where the humidity, heat and monsoon created terrible conditions. And with the rain came leeches and thick liquid mud; a 10-mile march with supplies and equipment could take three to four days Branch Padre, Rev instead of one. Mark Inglis, led the After months in Burma spirits were low and most soldiers were in a weakened condition from dysentery, commemorative prayers malaria and lack of food. They battled on despite these odds and against an experienced, junglehardened enemy. Spirits were lifted by performances given in jungle clearings, close to the front line, by the ‘Forces Sweetheart’: the late, great, Dame Vera Lynn. The ceremony closed with wreaths being laid to commemorate VE Day and VJ Day. Private John Perkins of Tenbury was killed fighting with the 7th Battalion the Worcestershire Regiment at the Battle of Kohima and the following Tenbury men fought at Kohima to great effect with the 7th Worcesters: Bert Haywood, Jack Walker, Pryce Marston, Percy Jones, Justin Dipper, Ernest Breakwell and Tom Wormington, so the Kohima Epitaph delivered by Chris St Clair (RBL Branch Chairman) was particularly poignant: “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.” Men of the 14th Army considered themselves ‘The Forgotten Army’ and this short poem by a soldier of the Burma campaign remains relevant today: “Remember these men who fought so well, and lived and Mel Parker, Conductor of died in that green hell.” Tenbury Town Band, played The Poppy Appeal, the Royal British Legion’s biggest fundraising campaign, officially starts in the last Reveille and the Last Post week of October and runs until November 11th, and there is always opportunity to donate and find ideas of how to get involved at www.britishlegion.org.uk Local RBL branches include Tenbury, Cleobury Mortimer, Far Forest and Rock, Leominster, Ludlow, Bromyard, Clee Hill and more. Photos are by Keith Gluyas.

Major Richard Fox, Branch President, opened the proceedings with the Exhortation

Chris St Claire, Branch Chairman, pays his respects after laying a wreath to commemorate VJ Day

Standard bearers - Mike Palmer (Union), Edd Corfield (Branch), Roy Lewis (RNA)


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Letter from Westminster by Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow Britain’s rivers have historically provided habitats for our wildlife, pleasure to our population, as well as coursing through our culture. They flow throughout South Shropshire, just as they flow through our folklore and literature as well as invigorating our famous green landscapes. It is frankly shocking that, in the 21st century, 40% of all our rivers in England and Wales are polluted with human sewage, now threatening our own health as well as the aquatic species who live in them. Much of this pollution enters our rivers when wastewater is discharged from the very sewage treatment works whose purpose is to clean it up. In part this is because regulations have not kept up to date with changes in behaviour and pressure from development, so now all too frequently pollutants enter our rivers untreated. This is simply not good enough. I have always believed we need to leave our own part of the planet in a better condition than we found it. So this is why, when I was successful in the Private Members Bill ballot earlier this year, I decided to table a Bill in Parliament to tackle one of the prime causes of persistent pollution of our rivers. During periods of ‘unusually heavy’ rainfall the capacity of the sewer network is widely acknowledged to be incapable of coping. To avoid flooding sewage over farmland, streets or properties, the Environment Agency grants permits for untreated sewage to discharge directly into our rivers. Shocking as this sounds, it is meant to be for brief periods of time, through the 18,000 treatment plants designated Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). But last year, the water companies have admitted over 200,000 CSO events spilled raw sewage into rivers across England for over 1.5 million hours. But there is something we can do to avoid this. I applaud the action the government is taking through the landmark Environment Bill. This legislation includes for the first time a requirement for water companies to publish a drainage and sewerage management plan every five years.

I have tabled an amendment to this Bill to strengthen these plans explicitly to cover water quality and the impact of pollution from sewage, to help inform debate around the government’s very welcome plans to set a target for water companies to reduce discharge of phosphate. My Private Member’s Bill, published last month, goes further. It contains a suite of measures to address the extensive failings in regulation, enforcement, transparency, investment and infrastructure which drives the contamination of our rivers with wastewater. We need water companies to be more transparent and encouraged to monitor, report and mitigate wastewater discharges better. We also need to make our rivers fit for recreation, particularly given the renewed enthusiasm for ‘wild swimming’ during the Covid pandemic. My Bill calls for each water company to reach bathing quality standard on two inland waters a year. By improving the ecological health of our rivers, we could deliver in relatively short timescales, huge benefits for wildlife and biodiversity as well. The Environment Bill requires the government to set legally binding targets to improve the health of our water bodies. To ensure these targets are delivered promptly the new Office for Environmental Protection must be in place swiftly as we exit the Brexit transition period. It must have the necessary independence and enforcement mechanisms to hold public bodies and Ministers to account. We also need to ensure the Environment Agency has sufficient resources to work with communities in fulfilling its role, and political support to uphold standards where water companies fail to comply. I accept that these improvements won’t be cost free. So I have proposed that Ofwat’s objectives should allow capital investment in improving water quality to be eligible under the five yearly pricing review mechanism. If we are to fulfil our obligation to leave the environment in a better state for future generations, we must act now

Not related to this Letter from Westminster, but Philip Dunne showed his support for the CLA’s Rural Powerhouse Campaign back in March.

to clean up our rivers. This is not a partisan issue – it affects us all. So I am hoping to encourage as many colleagues as possible to support my Bill and help make it law. If you would like to know more, or add your support, please visit my website at www.philipdunne.com/sewage_bill. Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow

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12

Wines from Tuscany TEME VALLEY TIMES

For some, Tuscany will conjure up visions of Florence and Pisa; for some it will be the towns, villages, hills and coast in a more general way, but for others it will be the wines. Some, such as Chianti, are very well-known, but there are a great many other wines. Wine-making in Tuscany has a very long history, and dates back to at least the 8th century BC. Florentine wine retailers are known to have existed by 1079 and a guild was created in 1282. The Arte dei Vinattieri guild established strict regulations on how the Florentine wine merchants

could conduct business and no wine was to be sold within 100 yards of a church! Over the centuries techniques, and the grapes used, continued to evolve. Tuscany is best known for red wines and Sangiovese is Tuscany's most prominent grape, though many other varieties are grown. A wine-area called Chianti was first defined in 1716, though the boundaries then were not the same as they are today. Baron Bettino Ricasoli, who was subsequently Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy, created the traditional Chianti recipe of 70% Sangiovese,

Tesco Chianti 2018 13% £5.25 A good-value example of a basic Chianti. Pleasantly dry, well-balanced, with dark cherry and red fruit

15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia bianca in the middle of the 19th century, but over the years the blend changed, with different makers having different approaches. About 50 years ago, some producers decided to produce wines that fell outside the requirements of 'Chianti', which at the time required the inclusion of some white grapes. This led to the creation of what became known as 'Super Tuscans'. Here we look at a range of wines from Tuscany, starting with a simple 'Chianti', then moving up the price ladder to see what more expensive bottles can offer. Prices do not take account of any special offers.

Tesco Finest Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 13.5% £8 Very enjoyable, with quite a bit of fruit, but not excessively so. Smooth tannins, with enough firmness, but without harshness.


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Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2019 12% Sainsbury's £8 The only white we tried, this is made in and around the Italian hill town of San Gimignano, using Vernaccia grapes. It was the first Italian wine to be awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status. Zesty and fresh with melon and lemon flavours, this might be enjoyed chilled as an appetiser or it should go well with fish.

Villa Antinori Toscana 2017 13.5% Co-op £13 A softer, fruitier finish than some and not as dry.

13

Villa Boscorotondo Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 14% Co-op £16 The most expensive bottle we tried, but overall it was the tasters' favourite. A lot of fruit (dark cherries and blackcurrants) in the mouth; velvety tannis; lovely and dry, with a bit of freshness and pepperiness, and a long aftertaste.

Rocca Guicciarda Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 13.5% Sainsbury's £15 From what was one of the most important feudal estates, belonging to the Ricasoli family. With 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot and 5% Canaiolo this is smooth, dry and complex, with some fruit and pepperiness.

Longobardi Chianti 2018 12.5% Co-op £8.75 Relatively light, with red cherries and redcurrants on the palate, and with obvious tannins.

Florence

Pisa


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TEME VALLEY TIMES

LUDLOW

15

Eastham held a virtual Fete!

~ Est 2019 ~

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The Fete’s organisers supplied these pictures and words, which show what they achieved despite the coronavirus situation. “The Eastham 2020 Fete with Produce Show and Tote proved quite a challenge! Having decided in January to return the produce show to the Memorial Hall it became clear mid-year that there was a possibility the hall could be demolished by fete day, on 16th August. The concept of installing a large marquee on the Village Green and socially distancing looked very demanding. So back to the Church it was (if that was allowable under whatever Covid guidelines would be in place at the time). The 2020 horticultural schedule which had been drawn up in February was radically downsized to include physical entries, but no food, with social distancing and video/photograph entries for the infamous dog show. Finally, when church restrictions lessened, on 4th July, Fete Day started to look more achievable. More difficulties lay ahead with risk assessments, a visit from Environmental Health, there seemed no end to obstacles. Then Sunday arrived and after all the fine weather, rain was forecast for the whole day! The open air church service was now another challenge weatherwise. However, on the day, supporters and villagers totally stepped up to the plate and the Church was ablaze with colourful flowers and a wonderful display of produce. With the Tote as well as sponsorship, we cleared a fundraising total of £2,100 and the Church service went ahead before the rain returned. To round it off, Mathew Hall photographed and videoed the whole event (including drone footage) and by 8 pm all was all available online.”

RESULTS This year not all cups could be awarded due to the limited classes however The Cyril Norman cup was awarded to Tina Lord, the Buckingham Bawden Cup jointly to Ted Mills and Tina Lord, The Lily Lanman Rose Bowl to Josie Ward and the Handicrafts cup was jointly won by Mike Palfrey, Jen Jones & Katy Williams. Diana Clarke won the George Hipkiss cup.

EASTHAM FETE TOTE Mike Adams under the supervision of Robin Dean rolled the dice on 16 August to select the set of random numbers. Prize winners were: £100 - Jane Spilsbury of Eastham, £50 - Alison Brookes of Eastham, £25 - David Harrison of Tenbury. Our thanks go to Robin Dean for running the Tote and in the end over 1,000 numbers were sold at £1 each (which broke the target of 750).

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16

Village Hall reopening At 11.30am on Saturday 24th October, Cllr Sebastian Bowen, Chairman of Herefordshire Council, is scheduled to formally reopen Orleton Village Hall, following major refurbishment. The opening will be done in company with Marj Pritchard, Chair of Village Hall Management Trustees, and Dan Powell of Powell & Son, the contractors. Prior to the Covid crisis it was planned to upgrade the toilets, but when the virus struck it was decided to make the toilets Covid compliant. The significant extra cost was met through the generous support of a number of the hall’s user groups. External doors have been removed and replaced by screens, cubicle doors have large sliding catches that can be pushed with an elbow, and the cubicles have been enlarged and each fitted with a wash basin and mirror. Toilet flushes, taps and soap dispensers are all infra-red, touch free, and there are no light switches as the lights are now motion sensitive.

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Hand Sanitisers in Tenbury Hand sanitisers have been erected in Tenbury Wells to help people keep safe. The photo shows the sanitiser by the ‘pay and display’ machine in the Malvern Hills District Council car park.

Photo Exhibition Andy Compton is known to many in the local area as an oftenseen press photographer. In collaboration with the Shropshire Star (Midland News Association) this exhibition covers 25 years of Andy’s press photography in and around Ludlow and the Marches. Lockdown meant this exhibition wasn’t held in spring as planned, so it’s now set to open at mid-day on Saturday 17th October at the Photo Space Gallery, located at the entrance to Quality Square in Ludlow: open Saturday and Sunday, 10.30am to 4pm, or at other times by appointment (03000 110 333). Social distancing applies only one person or one family group (maximum four people) may enter at a time. A suitable face covering must be worn and contact details will be collected. This photo was taken in the late 1980s. It shows policeman Paul Kirkham (standing) and special constable Harvey Jones helping young competitors in an event during festival fortnight in Kington.

Tenbury League of Friends David Baker, from the League, gave us these words about his retirement. “I have recently decided to retire from work, which also includes retiring as treasurer of the League of Friends of Tenbury Community Hospital, a position I have held for the last 20 years! Mrs Sue Whitefoot will be taking over from me. I would like to thank the following people: Miss Margaret Morris OBE, Mrs Jean Grosvenor, the late Miss Mary Thorpe, the Reverend Stephen Thomas and the committee. Together they have enabled the league to fund a £1,000,000 extension to the hospital and loan Worcester £500,000 to help with finance. They have also enabled the refurbishment of the wards at Tenbury to EU standards and have donated £70,000 to the hospital to bring ‘The Hub’ to Tenbury. The League has financed probably in excess of £750,000 worth of equipment and support to the hospital. Most of all the above has been funded from donations made by the people of Tenbury and district - a far cry from the first recorded donation in the early 1950s of a bag of potatoes and a half a dozen eggs! Please continue to support the League during these difficult times because the hospital’s pull on it is continuous. Thank you.”


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Back British Farming Day Now in its fifth year, this campaign, run by the NFU (National Farmers Union), provides a focus to celebrate British farming values and highlight its importance to the UK economy. British food and farming contributes over £120 billion to the UK economy each year and employs four million people. Minette Batters, NFU President, Back British Farming 2020, explained “On Back British Farming Day (9th September 2020) we wanted to celebrate why the British public have complete trust in British food and the farmers that produce it. Our farm to fork approach to traceability, how we look after our animals and our environment, and how we lead the world in reducing antibiotic usage are all the envy of the world.” “On the day we galvanised support from farmers with many using the day to post selfie videos, change their Facebook and Twitter pictures with a special frame and use #BackBritishFarming - which resulted in the hashtag trending at number five in the UK. So a big thank you from us to all NFU members who got involved.” 140 English and Welsh MPs showed their support on social media including local MPs Phillip Dunne and Harriet Baldwin. Prime Minister Boris Johnson along with Labour Leader Kier Starmer and many more MPs wore their wheat pin badges in PMQs in the House of Commons. Five chefs also got involved with the campaign posting videos, including Raymond Blanc (who was retweeted by Jamie Oliver), Brian Turner, Cyrus Todiwala and John Williams (Executive Chef at The Ritz). As part of this year’s campaign the NFU is asking that Parliament be provided with independent advice about the impact every post-Brexit trade deal will have on British food and farming standards, before it decides whether to accept or reject those trade deals. An amendment to the Agriculture Bill, put forward by Lord Curry in the House of Lords, would give this duty to the new Trade and Agriculture Commission, which was set up by the government in July. The amendment was passed Tenbury’s MP Harriet Baldwin at Blue in the Lords but didn’t gain enough Bell Farm Caravan & Camping near support when the bill returned to Upton-upon-Severn Parliament on October 12th.

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TEME VALLEY TIMES

SKODA CITIGOe iV

Rear seats can be folded down to increase luggage space

Electric cars might be thought of as being innovative, but they were actually part of the early motoring scene. Indeed, it was electric cars that set the speed records in the 19th century, with the final record of the electric era being 65.792 mph, set in 1899 by Camille Jenatzy driving La Jamais Contente. Of course, you'd be unlikely to think of a Citigoe as a 'performance' car, particularly with its 61kW (83PS) output and its extra weight, compared to a petrol-engined Citigo. However, the Citigoe does a surprising job where acceleration off the line is concerned. Even as speeds rise it remains impressive how immediate the urge is. To get an equally sprightly response from a petrol engine you'd need to be in the right gear, with the engine at the right rpm, and

even then you'd probably need a more powerful car. But for most buyers it's the car's environmental credentials that will be the attraction. Many will be drawn by the idea of zero tailpipe emissions, by the near-silent running at low speeds, and by the sheer convenience of electric power in stop-start traffic. Driving the Citigoe differs little from driving a petrol car, other than the fact that torque is immediately available and the delightfully seamless power delivery as there are no gearchanges. There is a gentle whining sound when the driver uses the car's performance it's reminiscent of turbo whine, and even adds a somewhat sporting note! A good feature is the ease with which it climbs hills. Unlike a typical city car, where significant hills mean

Camille Jenatzy, his wife, and La Jamais Contente

changing down two or even three gears and ascending with the engine revving hard, the Citigoe simply climbs the hill. Unlike a petrol car, the Citigoe has 'recuperation' settings. These determine how much the battery is charged when you lift your foot off the accelerator, which in turn determines how quickly the car slows down. Higher settings give a feeling resembling the increased engine braking you get in lower gears on a petrol car. The amount of 'recuperation' can be selected to suit the driving conditions or personal preference. Charging the car is simple. For basic at-home charging you could simply use the lead that connects to a standard 13 amp socket. This is the slowest method but it's convenient not only at home, it's also useful when visiting friends. Alternatively, a charge point can be installed at home, or you can use a public charger - these are no longer rare and are typically found in car parks or at supermarkets, pubs or hotels. Different chargers can have different power outputs, so the time to recharge can vary significantly. There are also different networks, so 'on the move' recharging can be less straightforward than refuelling a petrol-engined car, where you can readily use any petrol station. Charging takes much longer than refuelling. To charge to 80%, Skoda quote one hour using a CCS (Combined Charging System) charging cable connected to a 40 kW DC fast charger, or 4 hours 8

minutes using a 7.2 kW AC wall box. With a 2.3 kW home charging station the quoted charge time is over 12 hours. These all assume the battery has been drained to a low level, but recharging is often done before then, in which case it would take less time. Equally, it's up to you what level you charge it to, and a part-charge may be all you need to get to your destination. The purchase price is much higher than for a comparable petrolengined car, but the running costs are much lower. The cost per mile for electricity depends on what you pay per unit and on how you drive, but for home charging, around 3p to 5p a mile might be common; petrol can easily work out to double that. Range is a potential concern but a relaxed run in this Citigoe suggested a range of over 170 miles on a full charge. Intensive stop-start driving, with the air conditioning flat out, saw this drop to perhaps 130 miles - more than enough for typical commuting journeys or shopping trips, and also ample for many days out, particularly if you know you can recharge at your destination. This Citigoe showed how practical an electric car can be, and it was also more fun than expected. List price was £22,815, before deducting the £3,000 Government grant, but high demand means that the Citigoe is now totally 'sold out'!

The 'B' position provides maximum 'recuperation'

Charge level gauge replaces fuel gauge

Charging connector

The battery pack is under the floor

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19

Kia Niro

SKODA

SKODA KAMIQ 20 20 KAMIQ 1.0 TSi SEL, grey, 800 miles . . . . . . £21,450

SKODA YETI

17 17 YETI 1.2 TSi SEL Drive DSG Auto, silver, 18,000 miles . . . £15,750 17 17 YETI 1.2 TSi SEL Drive DSG Auto, blue, 20,000 miles . . . . £15,495 17 17 YETI 1.2 TSi SEL DSG Auto, grey, 8,400 miles . . . . . . . . . . . £15,250 17 17 YETI 2.0 TDi SEL, beige, 25,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £14,995 17 17 YETI 1.2 TSi SEL, blue, 19,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £14,995 17 17 YETI 1.2 TSi SE Drive DSG Auto, green, 28,000 miles . . . £14,995 17 17 YETI 1.2 TSi SE, beige, 13,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £13,995 17 17 YETI 2.0 TDi SE, grey, 17,800 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £13,995 15 15 YETI 2.0 TDi SEL 4x4, mystic green, 32,000 miles . . . . . . £13,995 16 66 YETI 2.0 TDi SEL, grey, 38,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £13,495 14 64 YETI 2.0 TDi L&K 4x4, Auto, brown, 55,000 miles . . . . . . £13,450 14 64 YETI 2.0 TDi SE 4x4, white, 50,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £9,995 13 63 YETI 2.0 TDi Adventure 4x4, white, 67,000 miles . . . . . . . . £9,250

SKODA FABIA

15 65 FABIA 1.2 TSi SE Auto Estate, blue, 54,275 miles . . . . . . . . . . . £9,250 16 16 FABIA 1.2 TSi SEL Estate, white, 30,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £8,995 15 65 FABIA 1.2 TSi SEL, black, 50,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £7,995 14 64 FABIA 1.2 SE, silver, 46,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £5,995 14 14 FABIA 1.2 SE, blue, 56,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £5,450 14 14 FABIA 1.2 SE, blue, 71,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £4,895 10 10 FABIA 1.2 SE Estate, green, 79,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £3,995 09 59 FABIA 1.2 S, blue, 80,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £2,995

SKODA CITIGO

18 18 CITIGO 1.0 SE, blue, 14,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £8,250 18 68 CITIGO 1.0 SE Greentech, silver, 20,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . £8,250 18 18 CITIGO 1.0 SE, red, 16,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £8,250 13 63 CITIGO 1.0 SE, red, 37,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £4,750 14 14 CITIGO 1.0 SE, silver, 70,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £4,250 13 13 CITIGO 1.0 S, red, 60,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £4,250

SKODA OCTAV IA

17 17 OCTAVIA 1.6 TDi SEL Auto Estate, silver, 67,800 miles . . . £11,495 16 66 OCTAVIA 2.0 TDi 150 Business, red, 46,240 miles . . . . . . £10,995 15 15 OCTAVIA 1.6 TDi SE, silver, 70,000 miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £7,450

OVERTON SERVICE STATION HEREFORD ROAD, LUDLOW. Tel. 01584 872584

A family-sized petrol-engined automatic that returns 60mpg might sound unlikely, but it's certainly possible. All you need is a Kia Niro self-charging hybrid, a relaxed driving style, and a pleasant cross-country run on a halfdecent main road. To give an example, a drive from North Wales saw the car's computer display an average of 62mpg by the time it reached Tenbury Wells which is better than many diesels would deliver. This journey, on a mix of 'A' and 'B' roads, illustrates what can be achieved, and even on shorter trips it was easy to see over 50mpg, underlining what a good job Kia have done with this Niro. However, if you simply jump in and drive away it's not immediately obvious what the car has to offer. This is because it runs in 'Eco' mode as standard, which delivers a very lazy response to the accelerator. If you want a livelier feel it's simply a question of moving the gear lever to the 'S' position. Out on the open road there's sufficient performance and the suspension does a good job of soaking up the bumps. And despite the comfortable ride, this Niro has good poise, even on poorly-surfaced corners. The braking is also good, with a very linear feel. Another strong point is the gearbox, which delivers smooth changes and does a good job of selecting the best gear for the conditions. There are paddles but these only change gear when you are in Sport mode; in Eco mode they adjust the

amount of regenerative braking. Consequently, if you want to use the paddles, you need to know which mode you're in. This change of function of the paddles may take some getting used to, if you do use both modes. Being a self-charging hybrid, it can't be plugged it in to charge it up; the battery simply charges up while the car is being driven. Sometimes the engine charges the battery directly, but at other times it is charged during braking when, rather than waste the car's kinetic energy as heat in the brakes, it is used to charge the battery. If the driver wants to know what's happening, it's just a case of selecting the relevant screen on the display. But there's no need for the driver to take an interest in the details, as it all works seamlessly and automatically. Despite not being a plug-in, this Niro can cover some distance running just off the battery, with the engine not running. Not

only at low speed, but even when cruising at 50mph. It's not hard to tell when this occurs, but there is also a light to let you know. Again there's no need for the driver to worry about what's happening as the car manages things in a totally fuss-free way. Inside the car there's a good feeling of space and it's an easy car to get into and out of. There's also a useful size boot, and this all helps make the Niro family friendly. Overall this self-charging hybrid was surprisingly impressive. Not only because it's a competent all-rounder that delivers commendable fuel economy, but also because it's relatively affordable. Prices start at less than £25,000, and even the entry-level model comes with smart cruise control, roof rails and a reversing camera. On top of this, Kia are currently running a number of offers, and there's also Kia's seven-year/100,000 mile warranty to take into consideration.


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FIELDS MITSUBISHI Vehicles in stock now Dunley Service Station, Dunley, Stourport-on-Severn DY13 0UE 01299 827867 www.fields-mitsubishi.co.uk

The 0% APR Hire Purchase Finance plan requires minimum 20% deposit and is over 36 months. Only available through Shogun Finance Ltd, St William House, Tresillian Terrace, Cardiff, CF10 5BH and is subject to status to UK resident customers aged 18 and over. Free Servicing is a Mitsubishi Service Plan and covers the first three scheduled services. For Mitsubishi Service Plan terms and conditions visit www.mitsubishi-motors.co.uk/msp. Offer is only applicable in the UK (excludes Northern Ireland dealers), subject to availability, whilst stocks last and may be amended or withdrawn at any time. Retail sales only. Offer not available in conjunction with any other offer and is available between 29th September and 29th December 2020. We may receive commission or other benefits for introducing you to Shogun Finance Ltd. Field's of Bromsgrove trades as FIELDS MITSUBISHI.

life driving results, which will depend upon a number of factors including the accessories fitted (post-registration), variations in weather, driving styles and vehicle load.

FIELDS MITSUBISHI Vehicles in stock now Dunley Service Station, Dunley, Stourport-on-Severn DY13 0UE 01299 827867 www.fields-mitsubishi.co.uk

The 0% APR Hire Purchase Finance plan requires minimum 20% deposit (Mirage requires minimum 40% deposit) and is over 36 months. Only available through Shogun Finance Ltd, St William House, Tresillian Terrace, Cardiff, CF10 5BH and is subject to status to UK resident customers aged 18 and over. Free Servicing is a Mitsubishi Service Plan and covers the first three scheduled services. For Mitsubishi Service Plan terms and conditions visit www.mitsubishi-motors.co.uk/msp. Offer is only applicable in the UK (excludes Northern Ireland dealers), subject to availability, whilst stocks last and may be amended or withdrawn at any time. Retail sales only. Offer not available in conjunction with any other offer and is available between 29th September and 29th December 2020. We may receive commission or other benefits for introducing you to Shogun Finance Ltd. Field's of Bromsgrove trades as FIELDS MITSUBISHI. Figures shown are for comparability purposes; only compare fuel consumption and C figures with other cars tested to the same technical procedures. These figures may not reflect real life driving results, which will depend upon a number of factors including the accessories fitted (post-registration), variations in weather, driving styles and vehicle load. Outlander PHEV figures were obtained using a combination of battery power and fuel. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a plug-in hybrid vehicle requiring mains electricity for charging. *There is a new test for fuel consumption and C res. The figures shown however were achieved using the outgoing test procedure.


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Mitsubishi ASX

Over 1.3 million Mitsubishi ASXs have been sold in the last ten years, with the biggest markets being North America, Europe, Australia and China. The 2020 model, which was launched at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show, has benefited from a major refresh. The revised styling gives it a much stronger appearance and a more up-to-date look, transforming it from a model that merged with the traffic into one that catches the eye as it goes past. The ASX is a compact SUV so it works as well in an urban setting as it does in the countryside or on the motorway. Two- and four-wheeldrive versions are offered, both powered by a 150PS 2-litre petrol engine and transmission is either a five-speed manual or a CVT automatic, the latter having a sixspeed Sports Mode. The car I drove was an 'Exceed'. Being a top-specification model this came with 4WD, automatic transmission, self-levelling LED headlights, a panoramic glass roof and a whole lot more. It has an onthe-road list price of £26,805, excluding any extras, but the ASX range starts at just £21,035 for a manual-transmission 'Dynamic'. CVT automatics haven't always had a great reputation as many older implementations allowed the engine to rev excessively when climbing hills. Fortunately Mitsubishi have done a good job on this ASX and even when

climbing Raddle Bank (on the A4112 Tenbury to Leominster road) it behaved as calmly as a good traditional automatic might be expected to. Should you feel the need to change gear yourself, paddles are provided but we found the car managed things satisfactorily without any intervention from the driver. Few people would buy an ASX if they were looking for an overtly sporty drive and the car feels to have been set up for everyday use, which is probably the right approach. Tasks such as commuting, shopping trips and school runs are all natural grist to its mill, but if you want, for example, to take a relaxed drive into mid-Wales, the ASX will be happy to oblige. We did exactly that and headed off to Rhayader, travelling with the natural flow of the traffic, and arriving with car's computer showing 42mpg. That's not bad for a two-litre petrol-fuelled 4x4 with automatic transmission, in fact we've seen worse on a smallercapacity turbocharged two wheel drive car! It's a very easy car to drive under these conditions, with its smooth, quiet engine and with the automatic transmission working so well it largely goes unnoticed. After 200 miles on relatively good main roads it felt just as comfortable at the end of the day as it had at the beginning. An unusual feature in this class of

car is 4WD lock and its fitment in this ASX underlines Mitsubishi's off-road expertise. Consequently the ASX should be able to get places that some crossovers couldn't. The manufacturers even publish a wading depth - 400mm which could be useful if you find yourself having to tackle flooded roads. The 1,300kg towing capability (braked) is another useful point. There are many other features on

the Exceed. These include perforated leather upholstery, a navigation system, a reversing camera, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, an 8-way electric driver's seat, heated front seats and hill-start assist. Another good feature, this time across the entire ASX range, is Mitsubishi's five-year warranty. You may well not need it, but it's reassuring to know that it's there just in case.


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