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Plastic-free farming? | the ultimate guide to Prosecco | Stanbrook Abbey restaurant review | checking out the latest fashions | heritage events | improving memory health | pots of colour for the garden | keeping yourself cyber safe | books and nooks | and so much more. . . .



WORCESTERSHIRE www.wrmagazine.uk

ISSUE 15 l SUMMER 2019



DOMINIC SANDBROOK The historian and broadcaster on an agreeable education in Malvern, his eureka writing moment and chronicling Britain’s political, economic, social and cultural history ISSN 2059-2965



Queen’s Birthday Honours

THE HILLS ARE ALIVE with the sounds of Malvern’s

Morgan, water and . . . music



Summer 2019 £3.95 where sold



Discover three centuries of colourful history through the world’s largest collection of Worcester porcelain www.museumofroyalworcester.org/your-visit Free audio guide with entry* and under-16s come in free Ask us about our group packages and venue hire for your special event Museum of Royal Worcester, Severn Street, Worcester WR1 2ND T: 01905 21247 www.museumofroyalworcester.org Open Monday to Saturday 10 am – 5 pm, Sunday 10 am – 4 pm *Subject to availability ‘Royal Worcester’ and the C51 crown device are registered by and used under kind permission from Portmeirion Group UK Ltd to whom all rights are reserved. 2 | ISSUE 15 | SUMMER 2019



Publishing Director Pippa Sanderson BA (Hons) Editor Gerald Heys MA Divisional Sales Executive Nelson King BSc Media Executive Jenny Walsh Editorial Contributors Seonaid Dawn Barber BSc Dr Conny Blunt Guy Ellis Michele Longari Christopher Mowbray Pershore Patty Dr Emma Philpott MBE Ruth Sears CMLI Caroline Sproule Martyn Wilson Client Accounts Lissie Goble Accounts Katherine Baines BA (Hons) FCCA Publisher Peter Smith WR magazine Open Space Chequers Close Enigma Park Malvern WR14 1GP worcestershire@wrmagazine.uk www.wrmagazine.uk



elcome to the Summer 2019 issue of WR magazine. For our cover story this issue, we meet historian, author, broadcaster and journalist Dominic Sandbrook, who has done much to chronicle Britain’s recent political, economic, social and cultural history. TV credits include Tomorrow’s Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction, The 80s with Dominic Sandbrook and Future Tense – The Story of H.G. Wells; and his latest book – Who Dares Wins – is about to be released, which takes the reader through the early Margaret Thatcher years. Educated at Malvern College, Dominic speaks with great affection about his schooling, saying: ‘You often find it with history teachers; they tend to love their subject. And certainly I had teachers who could communicate that and encouraged us to read and to think and to argue. Basically, those were the things that subsequently set me up.’ Staying in Malvern, we visit Holywell Water to discover its past, present and future, and take a tour round the Morgan workshops to discover how it grew from a one-man band in the early years of the twentieth century into the internationally respected motoring brand it is today, a state of affairs that is likely to continue as, for the first time in its history, it accepts external investment to drive the company onwards and upwards.

ISSN 2059-2965

There are a plethora of heritage events happening around Worcestershire this summer, so turn to page 15 for details of what’s going on when and where. And last, but by no means least, we would like to extend hearty congratulations to Dr Emma Philpott, our cybersecurity expert, who has been awarded an MBE for services to cybersecurity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. See page 35 for details about her outstanding achievement. Enjoy the read and have a fabulous summer! Pippa Sanderson Publishing Director




COVER PHOTO: Pippa Sanderson


Moving southwards and just over the border, we discover the fascinating history of Gloucestershire Airport, also known as Staverton, which has been a place of innovation for more than 70 years and remains at the heart of a British aviation community today.

WR magazine is now available to buy from the Wyche Innovation Centre cafe, Walwyn Rd, Upper Colwall, WR13 6PL; Worcester Tourist Centre, adjacent to the Guildhall, and the Museum of Royal Worcester.

WR magazine is published by Western Regional Media Ltd, a subsidiary of International Business Press Ltd. Articles and other material appearing in this magazine may be reproduced only with the express written permission from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed in the articles herein are those of the authors concerned and are not endorsed by the publisher. While every care has been taken during the production process, the publisher does not accept any liability for errors that may have occurred, nor for the views expressed.

© International Business Press Ltd. 2019

What is it about Malvern that attracts the musically minded? We all know how Worcestershire and the Malvern Hills provided rich inspiration for Edward Elgar in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, so it’s perhaps not surprising they also inspire the next-generation of composers in the twenty-first. We speak to David Lowe and Paul Farrer who, between them, have created some exceptional and very wellknown music for the small and big screen.

To read the magazine online, visit ▷ www.wrmagazine.uk |


If you would like to contribute an article of historical or cultural value to do with Worcestershire, then get in touch with us at worcestershire@wrmagazine.uk.








The Church of the Sacred Heart and St Catherine of Alexandria in Droitwich Spa


8. 10.

Plastic-free farming? with Seonaid Dawn Barber The ultimate guide to Prosecco, with Michele Longari Review of Stanbrook Abbey, Worcester, with Pershore Patty


12. FASHION Check it out – be cool this season in gingham and check





Is your memory on your mind? with Caroline Sproule Breaking the sound barrier: sound baths Cooking up a storm: Tackling MND head on



32. CYBERSECURITY The online phrase that pays (to keep you safe . . . always), with Dr Emma Philpott MBE


Taking the waters: A trip to Malvern’s Holywell Water Gloucestershire Airport, past to present: Aka Staverton, the airport is at the heart of an important British aviation community Morgan: 110 not out: A tour of the Morgan factory as it celebrates its 110th birthday


Pots of colour, with Martyn Wilson All set for a creative summer at The Walled Gardens at Croome Court

Turning creative dreams into sustainable reality: Developing a new performing-arts building at the Christopher Whitehead Language College in Worcester


Get out and about in Worcestershire this summer


Worcestershire: unique images from the archives of Historic England by Stan Brotherton Secret Evesham by Stan Brotherton


Elgar’s heirs: The Malvern Hills are alive with the sound of David Lowe and Paul Farrer’s music. . . . From Eden to Port Stanley: Historian, author, broadcaster and journalist Dominic Sandbrook on Malvern, Maggie and the Malvinas



Can’t find a copy of WR magazine? They do go quickly . . . so to ensure you receive regular copies, just visit www.wrmagazine.uk to subscribe.

15. 4


54. ISSUE 15 | SUMMER 2019


71. 44.


68. 28.







Plastic-free FARMING?


Plastic waste is featuring heavily on the international agenda and the farming industry across the world makes use of its fair share, but are there initiatives the local farming industry can adopt to improve the situation closer to home?


n recent months, there has been growing political and media attention, and worldwide public concern, about the amount of plastic we use and how we dispose of it; indeed we’re regularly exposed to images of plastic bottles and the like on and in our waterways and oceans, and we see only too vividly the resulting harm to wildlife caused by plastic ingestion or entrapment, stark visual proof of the global plastics problem. Closer to home, in January, the UK government published its 25-year environment plan, in which it pledged to boost the recycling of plastics and curtail the use of single-use plastics. But in the farming industry, is plastic waste an issue and, if so, how big an issue is it? Although not the major source of UK plastic waste, farming still uses significant amounts of the stuff, mainly silage wrap (the large pink, white or black ‘marshmallows’ we see in fields) and sheeting (used to cover and protect crops by acting like mini greenhouses). As such, The Environment Agency has declared that the plastic waste produced



on farms needs to be carefully managed. The Waste Management (England and Wales) Regulations 2006 extended controls for the management of waste to farming, setting out rules that those in the industry must follow, including the cessation of burning or burying plastic, the time plastic can be stored on-site, the use of an authorised waste-management company to dispose of farm plastic and correct record keeping as evidence of such. While this is all well and good, are there any ways, however large or small, that the industry can move away from using plastics altogether? One idea is regenerative farming, which takes a rehabilitation and conservationist approach that promotes biodiversity, improves the water cycle, enriches the soil, benefits the ecosystem and recycles as much farm waste as possible. Usually relatively small scale, farms using this system may often need to diversify by providing educational and recreational opportunities. Regenerative rewilding (the restoration and regeneration of nature) has broader scope and can often cover much larger acreages. Focusing on solving

specific environmental issues, a farm employing such a system may become a centre of research and innovation that benefits ecosystems quickly and effectively. Regenerative rewilding projects often benefit from wider community engagement and this type of small-scale farming project is well distributed throughout Worcestershire. The Wildgoose Rural Training Centre in Holt Heath, Worcester (▷ www. wildgooseruraltraining.org), which covers a six acre smallholding and a 36 acre nature reserve, is a good example of a small-scale farm that delivers fantastic core services while improving the ground on which it operates. The will, dedication and vision of trustees, supporters and students at the centre is clearly recognisable in the transformation of a neglected space into a care farm that is rich, diverse and welcoming. Regenerative food production utilises methods that improve the quality of the soil and enhance biodiversity year on year. Although it is not difficult to undertake, it is generally labour intensive and/or less efficient in terms of core product.

ISSUE 15 | SUMMER 2019


Left: Rows of colourful lettuce salad leaf plants, with no plastic in sight.

Image: Chris Rose

Above: Some of the supporters and students at the Wildgoose Rural Training Centre.


Delivering plastic, waste and chemicalfree alternatives – from baling twine and compostable cutlery to everyday fuels – is still a difficult, niche market. Research overheads, competition from industries that use fossil fuels and market inertia have significantly reduced the volume of viable alternatives that make it to market. Creating and supporting these types of regenerative farming business models

Seonaid Dawn Barber (BSc Business, Information, Technology and Management, BSc Environmental Biology) is a change management consultant featuring wildlife engagement and regenerative approaches to food production on a smallholding near the Worcestershire border, offering volunteer, special interest group and family opportunities to engage creatively with the natural environment.

has significant environmental, social and long-term economic benefit, but practitioners often struggle to deliver short-term profitability. Small, landbased businesses, due to their nature, remain localised and are often not openly accessible, and consumers have an obvious and significant role to play in what they buy, and what they demand of the products and the services with which they engage. ›





FURTHER INFORMATION Please note, all the wines listed here are available at Hay Wines in Ledbury, or online at ▷ haywines.


If you want to learn more about this fantastic world of wine in an informal way, or maybe just fancy spending a nice evening of fun, tasting good wines, please visit ▷ haywines. co.uk/wine-tasting for a list of our upcoming events.

The Valdobbiadene Hills in Italy.



hat is Prosecco? If you think this is an easy question, you might want to think again. And do you like Prosecco but think it’s all the same? Valid questions to ask when considering partaking in the sampling of one of the

most popular alcoholic drinks in the UK, especially during a glorious summer. Prosecco is an eclectic wine, with many different winemaking styles and traditions. However, during many tastings and wine events undertaken at Hay Wines, I have noticed that, quite often,

CRUS Rive Proseccos represent the essence of terroir. They are produced exclusively from grapes that come from a single commune or hamlet/ village, highlighting the characteristics that a particular area confers on its wine.




Superiore di Cartizze is considered, by far, to be the Grand Cru of the Prosecco Superiore denomination and is made up of a small area of 107 hectares of vines, in the steepest

Spagnol Col del Sas, Valdobbiadene DOCG Rive di Solighetto Brut (£16.99) Bastia Rebuli, Valdobbiadene DOCG Superiore di Cartizze Dry (£21.99)

In the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area, there are only 43 Rive, which offer

an equal number of distinct territorial expressions.

consumers are not fully aware of all the different styles and typologies that Proseccos can boast. Thus, my suggestion of featuring an article to help readers get a better understanding of what Prosecco is and why it has become so popular in recent years. Enjoy!

hills in the commune of Valdobbiadene. It is the result of the perfect combination between a mild microclimate and very varied terrain. In Italy, Cartizze is widely considered as a sumptuous sparkling wine.

ISSUE 15 | SUMMER 2019

Michele Longari is the Sommelier and Import Manager for Hay Wines in Ledbury

▷ haywines.co.uk



in terms of soils minerality, sun exposure and ventilation to grow Glera, the grape variety mainly used to make Prosecco. Normally, in this area, yields are very low since everything must be done entirely by hand.

The Prosecco DOC production Fratelli Collavo Organic, area is located in northProsecco DOC Treviso Extra Dry (£14.99) east Italy, more precisely in Bastia Rebuli, Valdobbiadene DOCG the territories of five Veneto Extra Dry (£14.99) provinces: Treviso, Venice, Vicenza, Padua and Belluno; and four provinces in Friuli Venezia Giulia: Gorizia, Pordenone, Trieste and Udine. Prosecco Superiore DOCG is The province of Treviso is located in the immediately recognisable thanks to its heart of the Prosecco DOC area, which is lively elegance, which is characterised a flat region were normally it is possible by fragrances that are richer in scents of to get high yields per hectare thanks to citrus fruit and vegetal notes, normally the use of agricultural machinery. accompanied by an attractive hint of crusty bread and great liveliness in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene mouth. The very fine bubbles (‘perlage’) Prosecco Superiore DOCG ensure a persistent flavour. Prosecco Superiore DOCG is only produced in the steep hills of 15 Prosecco Superiore DOCG offers a communes lying between the towns of fascinating diversity, particularly thanks Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. This to all the available styles, typologies small area presents the best conditions and . . . crus!

STYLES & TYPOLOGIES Prosecco DOCG is generally produced in sparkling (spumante) and semi-sparkling (frizzante) versions. The sparkling version is the iconic example for the denomination; appealing and versatile, it has created its own distinctive style of drink. Prosecco Spumante is mainly produced in brut nature/extra brut, brut, extra dry and dry versions, depending on the residual sugar contained in the wine: • Brut Nature/Extra Brut is the driest style, with 0–3g/l of residual sugar (very rare) • Brut is the standard dry version, with no more than 12g/l of residual sugar • Extra Dry is the most common style, with 12–17g/l • Dry is the sweetest version, with 17–32g/l of residual sugar

WHY NOT TRY: Bastia Rebuli, Valdobbiadene DOCG Brut Nature ‘Introvers0’ (£15.99) Spagnol Col del Sas, Valdobbiadene DOCG Frizzante Col Fondo (£14.99)

Prosecco Frizzante is normally more delicate since it presents less bubbles and, therefore, a creamier texture that is less aggressive on the palate. Finally, some winemakers are also reviving the customary Prosecco Col Fondo, refermented in the bottle but not disgorged, as the wines are left on their lees (the French would call it sur-lie). This yeasty residue leaves a fine sediment on the bottom (fondo in Italian) that imparts more complexity and flavour. ›






tanbrook Abbey has a long and interesting history and although best known as the erstwhile home for a superfluity of Benedictine nuns, the original Stanbrook Hall was first built in the mid-eighteenth century (1755) for its owner Richard Case. Stanbrook Hall was later bought on behalf of the Second English Benedictine Congregation of Nuns, who lived at the abbey for more than 170 years from 1838 until they relocated and the property was deconsecrated in 2009.

When we emailed to book, we learned that the restaurant was undergoing a . t o shall refurbishment, so we delayed rn t u db our visit until the work was an t an completed. It was later revealed that the Grade II-listed Stanbrook Abbey Hotel was undergoing a huge £4.2 million makeover designed to celebrate the hotel’s heritage, with the restaurant being moved back to its original position in what was The Old Thompson Dining Hall.


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Since then the new Stanbrook Abbey has been transformed into a hotel and, most recently, acquired in 2017 by privately owned country house hotel group, Hand Picked Hotels.


10 |


The Pres sing of O ld Sp o


. am th

The new brasserie-style restaurant is located on the ground floor and would have been the nun’s refectory; hence the adoption of its new name of The Refectory Restaurant. On arrival we were welcomed by General Manager Gordon Burniston, who showed us through to the also newly decorated and contemporary George’s Bar, were we enjoyed an aperitif before moving next door to the restaurant. The wine list was presented to us on a tablet device, which allowed us to browse through a variety of regions, click on the wine of choice and discover more. While perusing the list it was suggested by the sommelier that we try something from the ‘while you wait’ selection of antipasto, so we opted for some chorizo links, and chilli and garlic bocconcini to get us started. The menu included a combination of creative seasonal dishes, alongside some classic favourites such as battered haddock, chips and peas, the Hand Picked burger, a Caesar salad and various cuts of steak from the grill. I began with the Pressing of Old Spot ham, which was served with a pea puree, focaccia crisp, gherkin and wholegrain mustard. This was a beautiful, clean looking, fresh and spring-like dish, which tickled the taste buds and was full of flavour. The salt and pepper squid was our other starter choice, cooked to perfection and seasoned with an Asian style chilli, cucumber, spring onion, mint and soy puree dressing. We chose equally well for our main courses. I enjoyed the roast salmon served with baby fennel, saffron potato, spinach, Dijon mustard and lime dressing. Another faultless and delicious dish which, despite me thinking would be quite light, was actually wonderfully filling and satisfying.

ISSUE 15 | SUMMER 2019

Living in Pershore, Patty’s passion for food and burgers inspired her to start a food blog: simple recipes she cooks at home and updates on visits to eateries.

To read about Pershore Patty’s culinary exploits, visit: ▷ www.pershorepatty.com Facebook: /pershorepatty Twitter: @pershorepatty Instagram: pershorepatty

THIS WAS A BEAUTIFUL, CLEAN LOOKING, FRESH AND SPRING-LIKE DISH, WHICH TICKLED THE TASTE BUDS AND WAS FULL OF FLAVOUR. Next to me the Welsh lamb rump, shoulder, carrot textures, fondant and burnt shallot was also a triumph. A side order of tender stem broccoli, aioli and chilli completed the meal. A waitress cleared our plates and recommended we try her favourite warm treacle tart with clotted cream. A recommendation that was very well received, particularly by my dining partner who had believed since he was a child that he didn’t like treacle tart. Until now. This particular example was less dense than the usual thick slab of pastry filled tart, and was better for it, and one I would thoroughly recommend.

W ar


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It was evident on our visit that the staff undergo a very high level of training and that quality is everything for Hand Picked Hotels. The kitchen, headed up by head chef David Humphreys, presented exceptional food and the brandnew restaurant is, without doubt, one of Worcestershire’s finest. The Refectory Restaurant ar isn’t just for the hotel’s tw ith guests, this is somewhere cl o t te d for locals to visit too, and c r ea m . they really should! ›


y mother has always been an amazing cook. As a child, she encouraged me to bake with her; she taught me to make all of the basics from scratch and I still do a mean chilli con carne. I’ve such fond memories of licking the bowl after the Victoria sponge mix went into the tin and salivating as I waited for the cake to rise in the oven. I loved the magic of how a few simple ingredients could transform themselves into something that not only smelled and tasted extraordinary, but also looked so incredibly beautiful too. Although my Mum did cook for our family, my parents also had a business that required them to travel the world and entertain clients, which meant they ate out . . . a lot. I was fortunate enough to dine with them at some unforgettable restaurants, pubs, tucked-away eateries (best kept secrets known only to the locals) and, from a young age, I learned all about fine dining. Food has always excited me. The journey of reading the words on a menu and picturing in your mind how that plate of food might look, smell and taste. Then it arrives at your table and the clever chef who’s designed and made this piece of art completely blows your mind with their creation. It’s entirely fascinating. It’s not just fine dining and Michelin star restaurants that impress me though, one of my quests is to find the perfect burger, if there is such a thing. Living in Pershore, my passion for food and burgers has inspired me to start a food blog called Pershore Patty. I post simple recipes that I cook at home, updates on visits to food places both locally and during my travels and, of course, photos of lovely burgers. The quest continues. To read about Pershore Patty’s culinary exploits, please visit:


▷ www.pershorepatty.com Facebook: /pershorepatty Twitter: @pershorepatty Instagram: pershorepatty

STANBROOK ABBEY Jennet Tree Lane, Callow End, Worcester WR2 4TY ▷ www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/stanbrookabbey






Check it out Summer’s arrived and our lovely gingham and check patterns will keep you cool as well as adding a trendy vibe. From swimsuits to smart blazers, pumps and accessories, these will go down a treat in the warmer weather




£37.00 ▷ www.missselfridge.com

▷ www.barbour.com

CHECK BALLERINA PUMPS £34 .00 ▷ www.joebrowns.com


▷ www.monsoon.co.uk


£40.00 ▷ www.roman.com 12 |

ISSUE 15 | SUMMER 2019

Elaine Lewis has been professionally styling residential and commercial interiors for over a decade. She lives in Malvern with her family.

See ▷ www.elainelewisdesigns.org for more information. Follow her on Instagram.com/elainelewisdesigns and Facebook.com/elainelewisdesigns.


£32.00 ▷ www.debenhams.com


▷ www.matalan.co.uk


£37.99 ▷ www.bonprix.com







▷ www.tesco.com

▷ www.jdwilliams.co.uk


▷ www.joebrowns.co.uk


£38.00 ▷ www.riverisland.com

MULTI CHECK FLORAL TROUSER £34.00 ▷ www.glamorous.com


▷ www.joebrowns.co.uk WR MAGAZINE WORCESTERSHIRE



Go on . . . give your tummy a treat

Enjoy year-long offers at more than 115 of Worcestershire’s best independent restaurants, food & drink shops, cafes, pubs, cookery schools and more with The Foodie Card. Yummy :)

GRAB a card for £15 (or two for £25) and view all offers at www.pershorepatty.com WR magazine readers can buy The Foodie Card by visiting

www.pershorepatty.com/shop. Just enter ‘WRFOODIE19’ at the checkout to receive £5 off. Don’t forget to tag us when you use your card on social media with #TheFoodieCard 14 |

ISSUE 15 | SUMMER 2019





Webheath Village Hall, Heathfield Road Redditch, B97 5SQ 7.30pm 07802 598309 arrowvalesinger@gmail.com ▷ www.arrowvalesingers.co.uk

Wyke Manor Farm, Wick, WR10 3NZ 10.00am–5.00pm. Last entry at 4.30pm. No dogs allowed. 01386 555045 sally@confettidirect.co.uk ▷ www.confettidirect.co.uk/flowerfields/


26 JUNE ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN IN THE NEW GUESTEN HALL Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, B60 4JR 12.00pm 0121 453 2898 or 07926 202307 info@festiveclassics.co.uk ▷ www.festiveclassics.co.uk

27–30 JUNE UPTON-UPON-SEVERN JAZZ FESTIVAL On the banks of the River Severn at Upton 01684 593254 info@uptonjazz.co.uk ▷ www.uptonjazz.co.uk

29–30 JUNE THE LODGE – OPEN GARDEN FOR NGS The Lodge, Bromsgrove B60 4AU 11.00am–4.00pm 07595 085745 ▷ www.ngs.org.uk/find-a-garden/ garden/34603/

29–30 JUNE TUDOR DANCING AND NGS OPEN DAY Harvington Hall, Kidderminster, DY10 4LR 11.30am–3.30pm 01562 777846 ▷ www.harvingtonhall.co.uk


Burford House Gardens, Burford, Tenbury Wells, WR15 8HQ 12.00pm–3.30 pm 01981 590604 admin@wildfooduk.com ▷ www.wildfooduk.com/foraging-trips/ worcestershire-tenbury-wells-summerforaging-courses/

JULY 2 JULY VICTORIAN STEWARD’S CHEMIST SHOP Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum Foregate Street, Worcester, WR1 1DT 11.00am–3.00pm ▷ www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/ events/victorian-stewards-chemist-shop/


2–14 JULY (excluding 8 July) THEATRE IN THE GARDEN: PRIDE & (QUITE A LOT OF) PREJUDICE The Commandery, Worcester, WR1 2HU ▷ www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/ events/theatre-in-the-garden-pride-quite-alot-of-prejudice/

3 JULY A GUIDED BUTTERFLY WALK ON THE OLD HILLS WITH WORCESTERSHIRE WILDLIFE TRUST (WWT) Old Hills near Callow End 10.30am–1.00pm 01905 422755 ▷ www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/whats-on


Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, B60 4JR 12.00pm 0121 453 2898 or 07926 202307 info@festiveclassics.co.uk ▷ www.festiveclassics.co.uk

5 JULY SPETCHLEY PARK GARDENS – OPEN GARDEN FOR NGS Spetchley Park Gardens, Worcester, WR5 1RS 10.30am-6.00pm 01905 345106 ▷ www.spetchleygardens.co.uk


From 3.00pm at Pitchcroft Worcester Carnival this year will be themed World of Books. ▷ www.worcester-carnival.co.uk


Park Hall Farm, Hanbury, Redditch, B96 6RD 9.00am–6.00pm Dog friendly 07841 499660 ▷ www.hanburycountrysideshow.co.uk

Evesham Vale Light Railway, The Valley, Evesham, WR11 4TP 01386 422282 enquiries@evlr.co.uk ▷ www.evlr.co.uk


Fladbury Village Centre, WR10 2QX 11.00am–5.00pm 01386 860432 ▷ www.fladburyvillage.co.uk/walkabout

7 JULY A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, B60 4JR 6.30pm ▷ www.oddsocks.cloudvenue.co.uk// amidsummernightsdreamavoncroftmuseum


11.00am–3.00pm 01905 371006 ▷ www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/features/ dunstall-castle


Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, B60 4JR 12.00pm 0121 453 2898 or 07926 202307 info@festiveclassics.co.uk ▷ www.festiveclassics.co.uk




Museum of Carpet, Stour Vale Mill, Green St, Kidderminster DY10 1AZ 10.00am–4.00pm ▷ museumofcarpet.org


Severn Valley Railway, Kidderminster, DY10 1QX 10.00am–6.00pm 01562 757900 ▷ www.svr.co.uk/SEItem.aspx?a=148









Chateau Impney, Droitwich, WR9 0BN 7.30am–6.00am 0845 0170637 infor@chateauimpneyhillclimb.com ▷ www.chateauimpneyhillclimb.com

Coney Green Farm, Ribbesford Road, Stourport-on-Severn, DY13 0TE 10.00am–5.00pm 07989 057049 ▷ www.stourportvintagesteamrally.co.uk

14 JULY A CIRCULAR WALK AROUND SPENNELLS WITH WWT Heronswood Road playing field car park, Heronswood Road, Kidderminster, DY10 4DZ 10.30am–1.00pm 01562 637556 djhowell@gmail.com ▷ www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/whats-on

16 JULY CROOME – PANORAMA TOWER OPEN DAY 11.00am–4.00pm 01905 371006 ▷ www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/features/ panorama-tower


Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, B60 4JR 12.00pm 0121 453 2898 or 07926 202307 info@festiveclassics.co.uk ▷ www.festiveclassics.co.uk

18 JULY BATTLE OF WORCESTER SOCIETY TALK: THE NURSERY OF THE KING’S INFANTRY – REASSESSING THE CIVIL WAR IN WALES 1642–46 The Commandery, Worcester, WR1 2HU 7.00pm ▷ www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/ events/nursery-of-the-kings-infantry/


In and around the pubs and streets of Uptonupon-Severn ▷ uptonbluesfestival.org.uk


Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb, WR6 6RP 8.00am–10.00pm 07828 797499 hello@supercarfest.co.uk ▷ www.supercarfest.co.uk

16 |

The Guesten Hall roof, Avoncroft

Harvington Hall, Harvington, DY10 4LR 7.30pm–10.30pm 01562 777846 harvingtonhall@btconnect.com ▷ www.harvingtonhall.com

Forge Mill Needle Museum & Bordesley Abbey, Redditch, B98 8HY 11.00am–4.00pm 01527 62509 info@forgemill.org.uk ▷ www.forgemill.org.uk/web/events


Museum of Carpet, Stour Vale Mill, Green St, Kidderminster DY10 1AZ 10.00am–4.00pm ▷ museumofcarpet.org


The Commandery, Worcester, WR1 2HU All day ▷ www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/ events/summer-2019-at-the-commandery/


Tudor House Museum, Worcester, Friar St, Worcester, WR1 2NA 10.30am–12.30pm 01905 612309 ▷ www.tudorhouse.org.uk/event/weavingworkshops-2

30 JULY–29 AUGUST SUMMER FUN AT THE COUNTY MUSEUM Hartlebury Castle, Kidderminster, DY11 7XZ 11.00am–4.00pm, Tues, Weds and Thurs ▷ www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/ events/summer-fun-at-the-county-museum/

31 JULY GEOLOGY OF WYCHE TO PINNACLE HILL – WITH THE MALVERN HILLS TRUST Meet at Cafe H2O at the Malvern Hills GeoCentre, Malvern WR13 6PL 10.00am–2.00pm 01684 892002 Booking essential info@malvernhills.org.uk






Museum of Carpet, Stour Vale Mill, Green St, Kidderminster DY10 1AZ 2.00–4.00pm ▷ museumofcarpet.org

Woodside Farm, Welland, WR13 6NG 8.00am–8.00pm (Fri/Sat) 8.00am–5.00pm (Sun) ▷ www.wellandsteamrally.co.uk


Forge Mill Needle Museum & Bordesley Abbey, Redditch, B98 8HY 11.00am–4.00pm 01527 62509 info@forgemill.org.uk ▷ www.forgemill.org.uk/web/events

The River School, Worcester, WR3 7ST 10.30am–3.30pm 01905 451309 ▷ www.riverschool.co.uk

A456, close to Tenbury Wells, WR15 8AR 01584 810818 enquiries@tenbury-countryside-show.co.uk ▷ www.tenbury-countryside-show.co.uk


Crown Meadow, Abbey Rd, Evesham, WR11 4SS Saturday: Parade through the town centre at 10.30am, event 11.30–4.30pm Sunday 11.00am–4.30pm 07779 340108 ▷ www.battleofevesham.co.uk

ISSUE 15 | SUMMER 2019

Elaine Lewis has been professionally styling residential and commercial interiors for over a decade. She lives in Malvern with her family.

Offenham, WR11 8QD 11.00am–5.00pm ▷ www.ngs.org.uk/find-a-garden/ garden/30421/


Lower Smite Farm, Smite Hill, Hindlip, WR3 8SZ 10.00am–3.00pm 01905 754919 ▷ www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/whats-on


Hartlebury Castle, Kidderminster, DY11 7XZ 11.00am–4.00pm 01299 250416 ▷ www.hartleburycastle.com



11.00am–4.00pm 01905 371006 ▷ www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/features/ panorama-tower

Hartlebury Castle, Kidderminster, DY11 7XZ 11.00am–4.00pm 01299 250416 ▷ www.hartleburycastle.com



Spetchley Park Gardens, Worcester, WR5 1RS Saturday 10.00am–5.00pm, Sunday 10.00am–4.00pm ▷ www.spetchleygardens.co.uk ▷ www.worcesterreenactors.uk/m5/ Panorama Tower, Croome


Dunstall Castle

17 AUGUST CROOME – DUNSTALL CASTLE OPEN DAY 11.00am–3.00pm 01905 371006 ▷ www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/features/ dunstall-castle


Museum of Carpet, Stour Vale Mill, Green St, Kidderminster DY10 1AZ 10.00am–4.00pm ▷ museumofcarpet.org


Various locations throughout Pershore info@pershoreplumfestival.org.uk ▷ www.pershoreplumfestival.org.uk


15 AUGUST BATTLE OF WORCESTER SOCIETY TALK: THE CITY OF WORCESTER – CIVIL WAR DESTRUCTION AND THE PROCESS OF URBAN REPAIR The Commandery, Worcester, WR1 2HU 7.00pm ▷ www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/ events/civil-war-destruction/


Droitwich Sports and Leisure Centre, Briar Mill, WR9 0RZ 1.00pm–4.00pm 01905 778384


Museum of Carpet, Stour Vale Mill, Green St, Kidderminster DY10 1AZ 10.00am–4.00pm ▷ museumofcarpet.org

The Callow Hill Pavilion and Showground, Tenbury Road (A456) Callow Hill, DY14 9DA 9.30am–5.00pm 07849 642273 ▷ www.farforestcountrysideshow.btck.co.uk


The Commandery, Worcester, WR1 2HU 10.00am–5.00pm (26th: 10.00am–4.00pm) ▷ www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/ events/a-medieval-celebration/

25–26 AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY AT THE TRANSPORT MUSEUM, WYTHALL Chapel Lane, Wythall, B47 6JA 01564 826 471 enquiries@wythall.org.uk ▷ www.wythall.org.uk

Tudor House Museum, Worcester, Friar St, Worcester, WR1 2NA 10.30am-12.30pm ▷ www.tudorhouse.org.uk/event/weavingworkshops-3

31 AUGUST PLANT FAIR AT BODENHAM ARBORETUM Bodenham Arboretum, Wolverley, DY11 5SY 10.00am-4.00pm 01562 852444 ▷ www.planthuntersfairs.co.uk

31 AUGUST OUTDOOR THEATRE: THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS Forge Mill Needle Museum & Bordesley Abbey, Redditch, B98 8HY 4.15pm for 5.00pm performance 01527 62509 info@forgemill.org.uk ▷ www.forgemill.org.uk/web/events


Morton Hall Gardens, Redditch, B96 6SJ 10.00am–4.00pm 01386 791820 ▷ mortonhallgardens.co.uk

31 AUGUST BOTANY OF CASTLEMORTON COMMON – WITH THE MALVERN HILLS TRUST Meet at Swinyard car park, Chase End Road, Castlemorton, WR13 6BX 10.00am–1.00pm 01684 892002 ▷ malvernhills.org.uk Booking essential





See ▷ www.elainelewisdesigns.org for more information. Follow her on Instagram.com/elainelewisdesigns and Facebook.com/elainelewisdesigns.

‘live a life less ordinary’

elainelewisdesigns Interior Design 07816 369 895 info@elainelewisdesigns.co.uk www.elainelewisdesigns.co.uk Malvern, Worcestershire 18 |

ISSUE 15 | SUMMER 2019


Fort Royal and The Commandery gardens



Meet at Swinyard car park, Chase End Road, Castlemorton, WR13 6BX 9.00am–11.00am 01684 564288 malverngroup@live.co.uk Booking essential

Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum Monday to Saturday: 10.30am–4.30pm Foregate Street, Worcester, WR1 1DT ▷ www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/ museums/worcester-city-art-gallery-museum/



Croome, near High Green, WR8 9DW 11.00am–4.00pm Assistance dogs only are welcome 01905 371006 ▷ www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/59cad595562b-48bc-b71a-59ddb42b3e81/pages/details

The Knapp & Papermill nature reserve, Alfrick Pound, WR6 5HR 10.00am–3.00pm 01905 754919 activities@worcestershirewildlifetrust.org Booking essential

8 SEPTEMBER CROOME – PANORAMA TOWER OPEN DAY 11.00am–4.00pm 01905 371006 ▷ www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/features/ panorama-tower Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings


Little Intall Fields, Stoke Pound Lane, Off Hanbury Road (B4091), Stoke Prior, Bromsgrove, B60 4LF From 10.00am 01646 278 815 stokeprior@shakespearesrally.com ▷ shakespearesrally.com/4_sept.html


Forge Mill Needle Museum & Bordesley Abbey, Redditch, B98 8HY 11.00am–4.00pm 01527 62509 info@forgemill.org.uk ▷ www.forgemill.org.uk/web/events



Hartlebury Castle, Kidderminster, DY11 7XZ 11.00am–4.00pm 01299 250416 museum@worcestershire.gov.uk ▷ www.hartleburycastle.com


Meet at the British Camp car park, WR13 6DW 7.00pm–9.00pm 01684 892002 info@malvernhills.org.uk ▷ malvernhills.org.uk Booking essential



11.00am–3.00pm 01905 371006 ▷ www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/features/ dunstall-castle

19 SEPTEMBER CURATORS TALKS – ALL THAT GLITTERS AND SOME THAT DON’T Hartlebury Castle, Kidderminster, DY11 7XZ 1.00pm–2.00pm 01299 250416 museum@worcestershire.gov.uk ▷ www.hartleburycastle.com


Museum of Carpet, Stour Vale Mill, Green St, Kidderminster DY10 1AZ 10.30am–12.30pm ▷ museumofcarpet.org


Croome, near High Green, WR8 9DW 11.00am–4.00pm Assistance dogs only are welcome 01905 371006 ▷ www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/9505ab19bb59-483d-8a0a-7b3f710577cc/pages/details


Croome, near High Green, WR8 9DW 11.00am–4.00pm 01905 371006 ▷ www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/b738df879dc7-43d9-9417-7119348e0a70/pages/details


Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum Foregate Street, Worcester, WR1 1DT ▷ www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/ museums/worcester-city-art-gallery-museum/


Worcestershire County Museum, Hartlebury, Kidderminster, DY11 7XZ ▷ www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/ events/fashioning-peace-life-and-liberty-afterthe-great-war-exhibition/ 20


The Almonry Heritage Centre, Abbey Gate, Evesham, WR11 4BQ 01386 446944 ▷ www.almonryevesham.org








Is your memory on your mind? How many times have you walked into a room and forgotten the reason you went into it in the first place? Or put the teapot in the oven? It has been known . . . honestly! Or have you forgotten words mid-sentence or been unable to remember someone’s name who you have known for many years? Don’t worry, says Caroline Sproule, owner of the popular Bromsgrove Allergy and Nutrition Centre, because she has some good news for you


emory lapses like these do not automatically mean we’re losing our minds or going to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia, but it can make us worry from time to time. It is especially worrying when we hear so much in the news about the increase in these most cruel and debilitating diseases. Our memory is directly linked to the health of our brains and there are a number of factors that affect memory and brain health. Being active, reducing stress levels and eating well, for example, can go a long way in helping to keep our brains as fit as possible.

As your brain ages, it’s more difficult for important nerve cells to protect themselves against highly unstable free radicals, which damage brain cells. Fortunately, the body has a natural defence system to protect itself against oxidative stress that causes inflammation. These are called antioxidants.

strawberries, black or red plums, oranges, red grapes, cherries and mangos are wonderful antioxidants. So, try sprinkling them on your breakfast, in your yoghurt or adding to a smoothie in the morning, or snack on them with a few raw nuts in the afternoon.

Along with broccoli and kale, one fruit that provides excellent antioxidant benefits is the blueberry, which is growing in popularity. In addition,

One of the simplest remedies for poor memory is drinking more water. Most people are dehydrated. With tea and coffee acting as diuretics, you can lose

Hydrating your brain

So in this issue, I’d like to share with you some simple tips to help you improve your memory and brain health today.

Eating more dark greens and brightly coloured fruit

Two of the most powerful brain vegetables are good old broccoli and kale, which are loaded with antioxidants. Broccoli is also very high in vitamin K, which is essential for forming a type of fat that’s densely packed into brain cells. In fact, a few studies in older adults have linked a higher vitamin K intake to better memory.

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For advice on nutrition, lifestyle and diabetes, contact Caroline at Bromsgrove Allergy and Nutrition Centre by calling 01527 758385 or email at info@bromsgroveallergy.co.uk or visit ▷ www.bromsgroveallergy.co.uk

more fluid than you are drinking by consuming too many cups of caffeine in a day. Did you know, for example, that each cup of coffee you drink makes you lose two cups of fluid from the kidneys. Alcohol has the same effect, so it is important that you top up with filtered water. It’s wise to try and limit tea and coffee consumption to a maximum of two to three cups a day and aim to drink at least five glasses or mugs of water. It is important to filter it in a filter jug, (e.g. Brita Filter Jug) or buy bottled water, as tap water has many chemicals, especially chlorine, which is rejected by the kidneys too.


Eating fish oils

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil play important roles in brain function and development. There are also claims that fish oil can improve brain function in people with memory problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive impairments. There are two main fatty acids in fish oil called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are found in cold water fish. These essential fatty acids are vital for the maintenance of normal brain function and are abundant in the cell membranes of brain cells; they are important in preserving cell membrane health and facilitating communication between brain cells. In studies carried out in older adults, lower levels of DHA in the blood have been associated with smaller brain size, a sign of accelerated brain ageing. Not all fish oils are created equal, so it’s a good idea if you’re taking a fish oil supplement to take a good quality organic variety. I recommend an oil from Lily and Loaf called Super Omega 3. You can buy it at ▷ nutritionnow.myllonline.com/ super_omega-3_epa_(60).htm.

Herbal teas count as half a glass and hot water and lemon is a good way to start and end the day. Be sure to filter the water in the kettle too before you boil it. It takes approximately six weeks to become fully hydrated during which time you may have more frequent visits to the loo, but this slows down after a few weeks and the secret is to sip slowly.

Getting a good night’s sleep

Having a good restful sleep is often underestimated as being a major health benefit, especially when it comes to memory and focus. Researchers have known for a long time that sleep is


important for memory and learning. Research has shown that taking a nap after you learn something new can actually help you learn faster and remember better. In fact, one study found that sleeping after learning something new actually leads to physical changes in the brain. Each of these steps is necessary for proper memory function. Acquisition and recall memory occur only during wakefulness, but research suggests that memory consolidation takes place during sleep through the strengthening of the neural connections that form our memories.




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greater effect on memory enhancement and cognitive brain function than not. My 80-year-old father has an amazing memory and can recount exact details from his childhood. But he has always been active, both physically and mentally. He worked as a builder for more than 40 years and was also a part-time healer. In his retirement, he took up line dancing, swam 50 lengths in a swimming pool every morning, learned to play the keyboard and even took exams; and

ONE OF THE SIMPLEST REMEDIES FOR POOR MEMORY IS DRINKING MORE WATER. If you feel your memory needs help, then you can safely take two capsules per day, as a recommended daily dose is about 1,000–2,000mg.

Moving more

Exercise is one of the best ways to improve brain health, as it improves blood circulation to the brain. Exercise can also boost memory and thinking indirectly by improving mood and sleep, and by reducing stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment. Interestingly, it has been found in studies that exercises like tai chi showed the potential to enhance cognitive function in older adults, which is involved in brain processes such as planning, working memory and problem solving. This may be because tai chi, a martial art that involves slow, focused movements, requires learning and memorising new skills and movement patterns. Aim for a goal of exercising at a moderate intensity – such as brisk walking – for 20 minutes a day. Start with a few minutes a day and increase


the amount by five or 10 minutes every week until you reach your goal.

Trying a new activity

Research shows that learning something unfamiliar, such as a new hobby or language, or taking a recreational class, such as painting or cake decorating, or taking up golf or joining a walking or members group, may help stave off the effects of an ageing brain. Apparently, the process of learning a new skill strengthens connections between parts of the brain, and challenging activities like playing a good game of chess or learning a new musical instrument can strengthen entire networks of the brain. So keep up the crosswords, but also step out of your comfort zone as this has a

AIM FOR A GOAL OF EXERCISING AT A MODERATE INTENSITY – SUCH AS BRISK WALKING – FOR 20 MINUTES A DAY. taught himself simple computer skills, as well as belonging to a men’s group and learning golf at the age of 75. He is certainly a hard act to follow. I hope you’ll enjoy incorporating some of these small changes in to your daily routine and hopefully reduce your risk of a fading memory. I know I will. ›




Breaking the sound barrier Dr Conny Blunt, an anaesthetist who works in Birmingham, talks about sound baths and how they can empower us to become cheerful and chipper every single day 24 |


usic is sound. Sound is vibration. Music touches us deeply, evoking emotions and memories. Harnessing the power of sound has been found to be therapeutic, and what have become known as sound baths are becoming increasingly popular, with quite a few now being held throughout Worcestershire. Described as ‘the new yoga’, the vibrations created by using a variety of

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FURTHER INFORMATION If you want more happiness and success in your life, Ki2energi has developed The Holistic Life System. This system blends 21st century tools, technologies and thinking with ancient Eastern traditions and disciplines, so you can have the best of both worlds. You’ll learn practices for life, which you can integrate easily into your every day: • Simple breathing and relaxation exercises for daily harmony • Tried and tested body–mind awareness techniques • The latest biofeedback tools and interactive apps • Eye-opening facts about your quantum physiology • Latest medical knowledge that supports ancient tradition • Tools to capitalise on the amazing nature of your consciousness • Experience the harmonising effect of sound on your mind and body Are you ready to create the life you love?

instruments, including gongs, drums, Himalayan Singing Bowls and modern perfect-pitch silica sand singing bowls, permeate through the body i.e. in bones, viscera and connective tissue. Harmonious sounds bring balance to our physiology; disharmonious sounds release imbalances in our physiology, all of which have a healing effect. An increasing number of sound academies train people in the art of


Left: Energy signature, painted by Lex Kartane. Top: A sound bath underway. Bottom: Some of the tools of the sound-bath trade, including Himalayan Singing Bowls and modern perfect pitch silica sand singing bowls (quartz in nature and recent inventions from Silicon Valley).

The reason this technique is so powerful molecules, organs and, as a sum, and effective is because you learn our bodies, vibrate at certain to slow down, stop and be optimised frequencies. The perfectly still in the moment. vibrations of the sound in It’s when all good things a sound bath interact with start to happen. the vibrations of our Sound baths and own molecules, cells meditations are available How does it work? and organs. at Wellbeing at The Wishing Modern physics Well, 16 St John Street, confirms that on the The sounds literally Bromsgrove, B61 8QY subatomic level, we are touch us on the visceral made of seven billion, level. It is like a deep-tissue billion, billion quanta. Each sound massage and we can quantum is particle (physical learn to feel our visceral body, matter, our physical body) and energy bringing awareness and balance to our (electromagnetic, gravitational, physiology and ultimately to our life. It is vibrational, vacuum) at the same time. a relaxing and transformative experience; Naturally, on some level, each of our a form of meditation. ›




sound healing. Sound as medicine is a traditional concept and, by taking a sound shower, you become relaxed and energy aware and, as a result, you can feel elated, ecstatic, content and connected, joyful, in awe and brimming with a love of life.


Cooking up a storm: Tackling MND head on A former soldier who teaches young people survival skills and a businesswoman who founded a specialist catering and corporate events company have become unlikely partners in the fight against a cruel, incurable disease that kills six people in the UK every day WORDS: CHRISTOPHER MOWBRAY


n the face of it, there would seem to be little in common between Anita Sharma-James from Bromsgrove and Malvern-based John Davidson. The former is a stylish cuisine expert with an Indian background, while the latter is a rugby playing Scot, originally from Dundee, who leads trips to Everest base camp and into tropical jungles, drawing on his experiences of army life. They have been thrown together, however, by the common experience of having to watch someone, whom they admire greatly, being struck down by Motor Neurone Disease, the vile neurological complaint that traps its sufferers in gradually failing bodies and which kills within two years of diagnosis. The ways in which they have tackled this adversity, using their different natural talents, have been remarkably similar. Anita was the first to undergo this ordeal when her mother, Raksha Devi Sharma, was diagnosed with the disease in 2010 at the age of 65. Anita felt that she had to do something to fight the disease in some way, so she wrote a book about her mother’s life and love affair with food. All the sights, sounds and wonderful flavours of life in India can be found in that book, entitled A Life of Spice, which is now helping to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association, and

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Raksha was able to attend a book-signing session at a Worcester bookshop seven months before her death in 2012.

Anita Sharma-James and John Davidson at the regional conference in Bromsgrove of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

‘Despite her life being hijacked by the condition, she remained so dignified and good humoured, and continued to cook with the same pride and passion as she always had for as long as she could,’ Anita recalls.

all important at different stages of her life and are placed in their cultural and historical perspective.’

‘My mum’s stoical attitude in the face of such incredible personal hardship gave me the inspiration to start writing this book, which is a warm tribute to her life. The authentic family Indian recipes were

Two years ago, Anita became Chair of the Worcestershire branch of the MND Association and was involved in negotiations with members of Bromsgrove District Council, which ultimately led to the authority officially adopting the MND Charter in support of sufferers and their carers living in the

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FURTHER INFORMATION Anita Sharma-James’ book is available from Amazon and her cookery school website at ▷ www. anitasharmajames.com. Further information about John Davidson’s big row can be found at ▷ www.


area. When the MND Association held its annual regional conference in the town in February, a copy of the charter was publicly signed on the council’s behalf by Clr Rachel Jenkins, an Independent who first proposed the authority should adopt it, and Clr Margaret Sherrey, the Conservative portfolio holder for health and well-being. Anita’s work with the county association had, by this time, brought her into contact with John Davidson, who has spent £80,000 of his army pension on an ocean-going rowing boat so that he can row across the Atlantic. His aim is to raise £1 million for the foundation set up by Doddie Weir, the former Scottish rugby international, who has also been diagnosed with MND. In December, John is taking part in the annual Talisker Atlantic Challenge, an


MY MUM’S STOICAL ATTITUDE IN THE FACE OF SUCH INCREDIBLE PERSONAL HARDSHIP GAVE ME THE INSPIRATION TO START WRITING THIS BOOK. event billed as the world’s toughest row. A total of 30 competitors battle 20 ft waves to cross the 3,000 miles between La Gomera in the Canary Islands and Antigua in the West Indies and, rowing 16

Above: Anita and her mother at their book signing. Left: Anita’s mother, Raksha Devi Sharma, on her wedding day.

hours a day, they take from 50 to 100 days to complete the task. John’s decision to face this gargantuan task was because he owes Doddie Weir, whom he first met at a rugby dinner, a debt of gratitude. When John’s son Hamish (then aged 9) was told in school that he was too small to play rugby, Doddie urged him to ignore the insult and so inspired him that Hamish is now scrum half in the school team. John explains: ‘This is why Doddie is my hero and why I want to return the favour. What better way is there to support a good cause like this?’ ›





Award-winning garden designer, Martyn Wilson, discusses planting lots of colour for your garden

Pots of



s I write this article, many of you keen gardeners out there, and those new to gardening, will have been mesmerised by the magic of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. What I found interesting at the show this year was the absence of pots or containers in many of the show gardens, particularly because, for many people with increasingly small gardens or balconies, a pot might be the most we can manage. Indeed, for some, there is nothing more familiar at this time of year than the ritual of heading to the garden centre or DIY store to purchase summer bedding, strawberries or vegetables and herbs to grow in containers. That said, the innovative ‘Gardening Will Save the World’ garden, sponsored by

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IKEA and designed by Tom Dixon, did showcase how, in an urban setting, containers can be used to grow edibles. I recently created a legacy show garden at BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2019 at the NEC Birmingham on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support. Given the theme of ‘legacy’ and supporting Macmillan’s fantastic work into the future, I interpreted this legacy as a gift. The garden included a series of brightly

coloured planters (in the colours of Macmillan), each containing trees, shrubs and perennials. My inspiration also came from an iconic quote by the actress Audrey Hepburn, who said: ‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow’, which for me embodies the idea that to leave a gift to Macmillan supports its work into the future. The size of each planter ranged in height to symbolise that, no matter how

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MartynLewis Wilson a Worcestershire-based award-winning garden Elaine has is been professionally styling residential Seeprofessional ▷ www.elainelewisdesigns.org for more information. designer creating spaces for domestic and commercial clients. and commercial interiors forand overlandscapes a decade. She lives in Follow her on Instagram.com/elainelewisdesigns and See ▷ www.wilsongardendesign.co.uk for further information. Malvern with her family. Facebook.com/elainelewisdesigns.

Left top: Fresh flowers in terracotta pots on a wooden summer terrace. Left bottom: A 3D rendering of the garden created on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support. Below images: A selection of versatile pots.

Our planters for Macmillan at BBC Gardeners’ World Live were made from GRP or fibreglass, which made them easier to relocate. We deliberately chose a contemporary style in square shapes to evoke gifts or presents.

Image: Anterovium

Sometimes I have to give them a gentle tap to satisfy myself that they really are made from a plastic-based material rather than the ‘real’ thing. But don’t be restricted to those available off the shelf; there are a range of materials that can be recycled to create pots or containers, such as old tins or wooden fruit crates. show to create a new legacy for another community. The same inspiration can be used in your own garden when considering pots. Reassuringly there aren’t many spaces that cannot accommodate a bit of earthenware. Pots, as we know, come in a whole host of materials, sizes and colours and, if chosen carefully, the right pot can be used to inject colour into your garden, not only in summer but all year round. When designing gardens, we are often asked to help our clients select pots for their outside spaces. These can be off the shelf or bespoke and we work with our clients to select colours, sizes and styles.

big or small, every donation made to Macmillan is of critical importance. Each planter can be moved so that the garden can carry on and be relocated after the


You can change your planting to match the seasons. Indeed, if your pot is able to accommodate castor wheels, you can move that pot about the garden or use a handy pot stand with wheels, which can be purchased in most outlets. As technology and materials change, it is often possible to source planters or pots in a range of lightweight and authentically created materials, which often mimic the classical look of lead or terracotta.

Pots are so versatile they can be used to frame an entrance, line a pathway or break up and soften a large patio or terrace. There is nothing better than a clipped topiary in a pot by the door to say welcome home. Some might be surprised to know that you can grow roses in pots and they are a great way to introduce flowers and scent to a terrace or patio. I would recommend Rosa Desdemona, a lovely white shrub rose available from David Austin Roses. ›




Image: Peter Young


All set for a creative summer Last year, the new art exhibitions on display within The Walled Gardens at Croome Court generated a lot of interest from visitors. As a result, there is a brand-new series of outdoor sculptures and indoor art exhibitions

Following the interest with the art installations last year, walled gardens’ owner Karen Cronin revealed: ‘We will again be working with more artists as we host another series of exhibitions. During the six months the gardens are open to the public, there will be three exhibitions, each one running for seven weeks and each one showcasing the work of four talented artists.


‘We are delighted, and more than a little excited, to be exhibiting the work of renowned sculptor and member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, Ian Marlow; member of the Royal Society of Painter–Printmakers, Frans Wesselman and, in the second exhibition, illustrator Joe McLaren, whose clients include Penguin, Faber and Terry Pratchett.’

he exhibitions showcase the work of talented and creative artists, and provide inspiration for garden and art lovers alike. The first exhibition, which ran from the Easter opening until Sunday 9 June 2019, showcased outdoor sculptures created by artists Ian Marlow and Angela Palmer. Paintings, etchings and stained glass pieces by Frans Wesselman could be viewed inside the walled gardens’ visitor centre, along with a range of seainspired jewellery and metalwork by artist Sharon McSwiney.

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Each exhibition will be made up of work by two artists and two outdoor sculptors, and will include media such as fused and stained glass, stainless steel, bronze, silver, ceramics and wood. There will be an opportunity to

meet the artists on the first Saturday of each exhibition and all exhibits will be available to purchase. As the restoration of the gardens continues, work commenced over the winter months

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FURTHER INFORMATION The privately owned Walled Gardens at Croome Court are open to visitors every Friday, Saturday, Sunday (and bank holiday Monday) until the end of September 2019. Opening times are 11.00am–5.00pm (last entry 4.00pm) and tickets (£5.00 adult/children free).

The funds raised go towards the ongoing restoration, which was entirely funded by the Cronin family prior to the gardens being open to visitors. More information can be found by visiting ▷ www.


Image: Peter Young

Image: Annette Davenport

Access to The Walled Gardens is through Croome’s National Trust Visitor Centre, where admission tickets can be purchased. If visitors would also like to visit the National Trust parkland and house, there is an additional admission charge.

Previous page top: The Rose Garden in bloom. Previous page bottom: Laura Hickman’s Effusion, Breeze. Top: The Mediterranean Garden, March 2019. Above: Vegetable Patch by Kate Wrigglesworth. Middle: Happy browsing during the Sharon McSwiney exhibition in the visitor centre. Right: Sculptor Ian Marlow is a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors.

to restore the Tomato House, with plans to progress with the Pineapple House and, finally, the Mediterranean garden throughout 2019. Visitors will be able to see significant progress in the gardens this year as they follow the developments throughout the seasons. In addition to the progress, the shop in the visitor centre now has several new lines of stock and visitors to the gardens can enjoy browsing carefully selected candles, jewellery, cards, children’s games and unique gifts. At the time


of writing, the Rose Garden, featuring beautiful David Austin scented roses, is in full bloom with an array of summer flowers adding to the colourful display in the borders and beds. A range of freshly picked vegetables grown within the walled gardens will be available for sale in the visitor centre shop and at the entrance gate throughout the seasons, subject to availability.

Five of the seven acres of historic gardens at Croome have been privately owned by Chris and Karen Cronin since they rescued them from ruin in 2000. Chris and Karen look forward to welcoming visitors old and new for another exciting year in the continuing restoration of The Walled Gardens at Croome Court. ›







In my experience, the subject of passwords is usually enough to make people quickly change the subject or rant for hours. The frustration of trying to remember the password you thought was obvious when you created the account six months ago or the frustration of trying to register with something and being told that your perfectly good password does not have the required number of ‘special characters’ is enough to raise anyone’s blood pressure! 32 |


e are always getting lectured about passwords – have a different one for each account, don’t write them down, make them long and complicated. It would truly take some kind of memory genius to obey all these instructions with the accelerating number of online accounts a modern life now requires. So why does it matter and how can we stay safe online

ISSUE 15 | SUMMER 2019

Dr Emma Philpott MBE is the CEO and founder of the UK Cyber Security Forum and CEO of IASME, and is one of the 50 most influential women in cybersecurity

without needing to go through memory training exercises?

Why is it so important to have different passwords for all your accounts anyway?

It is now a fact of life that online accounts get hacked. We see it in the news regularly. Millions of user account names and passwords harvested from very popular and large organisations like Yahoo, Marriot, eBay and many more. If you are happily thinking you have


(SC magazine UK). For further information, visit

▷ www.ukcybersecurityforum.com and www.iasme.co.uk

It is now a fact of life that online accounts get hacked.

not been affected then there is a fantastic free website where you can enter your email address and it will tell you all the different times your details have been included in stolen data:

▷ haveibeenpwned.com

If you enter your email address and it says ‘Oh no – pwned!’ then your email address was found in a batch of stolen data. If you scroll down the page you can see which breaches it was found in and what kind of data they stole. Please do not be alarmed by this. In this day and age, it is very common indeed for your email address and password, and maybe other information about you, to be part of a stolen



CYBERSECURITY data batch. This is why it is vital that you use different passwords for each of your accounts. Once the criminals have big batches of stolen email addresses and passwords, it is a simple process for them to write a program to automatically try all those email addresses and password combinations against lots of other accounts. For all of you who use exactly the same password on another account, the criminal will be able to easily log in to your other online accounts as well.

What can we do to protect ourselves? Password Manager

If you are worried about forgetting the password for the Password Manager, you can write it down and store it in a secure place (not stuck to the computer screen). There is the obvious risk that the Password Manager is hacked but its whole business rests on it being secure and so it is usually much more secure than other accounts.


A very effective way to secure an individual account is to use two factor authentication or 2FA. This involves using a second method of authentication in addition to a password. This might

be a little dongle thing for a bank or a texted code to your mobile phone. This additional step means that, even if a criminal works out your password and user name, they will not be able to access your account without that additional step. This is a very good way to keep your accounts secure and should be used as often as possible. Passwords are frustrating and annoying and I hope one day we will not need them. However, before that day comes, you don’t need to be a memory genius to keep yourself safe online, but remember not to use exactly the same password for everything. ›

A really good solution is to use a Password Manager. This is a piece of software that sits on your computer and remembers all your passwords for you. Then you only need to remember one password to access the Password Manager. Many really good password managers, such as LastPass, can be used for free. Of course, that one password does become very important and so you

IN THIS DAY AND AGE, IT IS VERY COMMON INDEED FOR YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS AND PASSWORD, AND MAYBE OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT YOU, TO BE PART OF A STOLEN DATA BATCH. do need it to be long (ideally more than 12 characters) and not obvious. One good way to get a good long password is to use a phrase rather than a word and add a few numbers or symbols for added security. The longer the password, the harder it is to be cracked.

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ISSUE 15 | SUMMER 2019




r Emma Philpott, CEO of IASME, has been recognised for her contribution to cybersecurity with a Member of the Order of the British Empire award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Emma is widely known as CEO of IASME, a brand that has grown significantly under her stewardship. An advocate of accessible and affordable cybersecurity for all, Emma’s leadership has helped enhance the security of thousands of organisations, including those micro and small businesses who can find the necessity for cybersecurity daunting.


Emma is also the CEO and founder of the UK Cyber Security Forum (UKCSF),


a network of more than 17 regional clusters. Founded in Malvern with the Malvern Cyber Security Cluster in 2011, the clusters now stretch from the Solent to Scotland. The UKCSF supports more than 600 cybersecurity businesses, providing them with a respected and coordinated voice into government and a platform to access notable domestic and international business opportunities with key Primes. Her knowledge, influence and plain English approach have not gone unnoticed by the BBC, which now regularly interviews Emma for informed comment on topical cybersecurity news. Dr Emma Philpott MBE will receive her award at a formal ceremony later in the year. ›



Xytron Data Recovery UK


n operation for 14 years, Xytron has recovered data from a vast array of situations. Managing Director Richard Cuthbertson recalls one of the more memorable cases: ‘In 2006, a Norwegian client contacted us in a state of considerable panic, having dropped a hard disk into the sea. Upon receipt of the drive, we were able to completely recover all of the client’s data.’ Richard adds: ‘After thousands of cases, we really have seen it all, but dud Internet information doesn’t help so, to put the record straight, if you have a hard drive malfunction, please note the following and call us straight away’: • •

• • •

Don’t put your hard drive in a freezer: This will destroy the hard drive and eliminate any chance of a possible recovery. Don’t open your hard drive and don’t let anyone else, unless they’re a specialist lab: Opening a hard drive in any environment, other than a laboratory clean room is likely to jeopardise the recovery effort and will almost always add to the cost. Never change the circuit board: Hard drives contain unique codes, and with some drives – Hitachi, for example – using a substitute circuit board can result in total and irretrievable data loss. If your hard drive is clicking: It usually indicates a mechanical failure requiring the drive to be rebuilt in a specialist laboratory. If your hard drive spins but does not boot or operate the computer: This is usually a firmware issue.

Xytron’s lab data specialists recover files from all types of storage device failures; from dropped or bumped external hard drives, to virus or malware damage. Routine data recovery includes hard disks and RAID systems, mobile phones and tablets. The company’s strict Confidentiality and 256 AES Security policy provides clients with the peace of mind that their recovered data is in safe, secure and competent hands. Their services have been employed by many of the UK’s leading organisations, companies and celebrities to recover accounts, videos, photos and all manner of documents.




Winter 2018

‘Excellent service,’ says WR magazine publisher Peter Smith. ‘We’ve used it; so have the BBC, DHL, Oxford University, Malvern College and many others. Have a look at its impressive client list’.

▷ www.xytrondatarecovery.co.uk/clients

Tel: 0800 881 8900 Tel: International +44 (1432) 273469 enquiries@xytrondatarecovery.co.uk www.xytrondatarecovery.co.uk Xytron Data Recovery UK, Xytron House, Twyford Road, Rotherwas Industrial Estate, Hereford HR2 6JR

ISSUE 15 | SUMMER 2019




unique images from the archives of Historic England


his illustrated history portrays one of England’s finest counties. It provides a nostalgic look at Worcestershire’s past and highlights the special character of some of its most important historic sights.

Bibliographic information Author: Stan Brotherton and contributions by Historic England Publication: April 2019 Price: £14.99 ISBN: 978 1 4456 9117 6 Size: 234 x 165mm Binding: Paperback Extent: 96 pages Illustrations: 160 illustrations See Amberley Publishing at ▷ www. amberley-books.com for more.

About the author

Stan Brotherton is Evesham born and bred. He has a background in teaching, accountancy, technology, management consultancy and charity work.

The photographs are taken from the Historic England Archive, a unique collection of more than 12 million photographs, drawings, plans and documents covering England’s archaeology, architecture, social and local history. Pictures date from the earliest days of photography to the present and cover subjects from Bronze Age burials and medieval churches to cinemas and seaside resorts. ›

He was treasurer for the local Bell Tower Appeal and managed the development phase of the associated conservation project. He was a founding trustee and treasurer of the Evesham Abbey Trust, working to conserve and investigate the site of Evesham’s long-lost abbey (founded c700, dissolved 1540). As a life member of the Vale of Evesham Historical Society, he has worked on a range of local heritage projects. From his earliest days he has had an abiding interest in the history and heritage of his home town, the ancient and picturesque market town of Evesham.

Clockwise from top right: Witley Court in its heyday, before it was burned down in 1937; ‘The oldest door in Kidderminster’, Vicar Street; Chestnut Villa, Worcester Road, Malvern Link – the original Morgan Motor Works, which was founded in 1905; and the staircase at Hanbury Hall,


surrounded by huge paintings that illustrate the life of Achilles and other Greek legends, painted by Sir James Thornhill and completed in 1710. All images courtesy of Historic England Archive.



BOOKS Bibliographic information Author: Stan Brotherton Publication: April 2019 Price: £14.99 ISBN: 978 1 4456 8958 6 Size: 234 x 165mm Binding: Paperback Extent: 96 pages Illustrations: 100 illustrations See Amberley Publishing at ▷ www. amberley-books.com for more.

About the author See the previous page.

Secret Evesham


he picturesque market town of Evesham is situated in a loop of the River Avon. Famous for its market garden produce, particularly plum and asparagus from the surrounding Vale of Evesham, the town was built around its abbey, founded by St Egwin in the eighth century. It grew to become one of the most important abbeys in England but was largely destroyed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Today the town welcomes visitors to its festivals, shops, cafes, inns and ancient churches. In this book, Stan Brotherton investigates mysteries, secrets, quirks, curiosities and historical oddities in Evesham’s past. Among these are the origins of Evesham

before the Anglo-Saxon settlement around the abbey, the meaning of the symbols in the town’s coat of arms, a centuries-old poem about the Cotswold Games and a musical celebration of the town by one of England’s most famous composers: Edward Elgar. Along the way, the author also examines the truth behind some local legends, such as its connections with King Canute. Secret Evesham explores the less wellknown episodes and characters in the history of Evesham through the centuries. With tales of remarkable characters and unusual events, fully illustrated with photography, it will appeal to all those with an interest in the town. › Top: Obverse of the conventual seal of Evesham Abbey, created in 1245–74 and used until 1540. Middle: Stained glass, St Lawrence’s Church, showing a shackled St Ecgwine dropping a key into the Avon and then recovering it from the Tiber. Bottom: The Shakespeare’s Rest (c 1900) located at ‘Four Corners’ (locally once known as the ‘Four Corners of Hell’). Left top: View from the Bell Tower of the long-lost abbey chancel. Left bottom: King James I granting Prince Henry’s petition for Evesham’s second town charter (1605).

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Easing the process of divorce Is the current legal basis for divorce hypocritical and does it lack intellectual honesty? It is criticised as such by Sir James Mumby, former President of the Family Division. It is no coincidence that the government is considering reform of our existing divorce law after the landmark case of Owens v Owens. In 2016, Mrs Owens petitioned for divorce. The court found the marriage had irretrievably broken down, but was not satisfied that the fact upon which Mrs Owens relied was proven. In simple terms, this means that Mrs Owens argued that her husband’s behaviour towards her had caused the marriage to break down and, as a direct consequence, she sought a divorce. The court on this occasion did not agree with Mrs Owens, finding that Mr Owens had not behaved in such a way that Mrs Owens could not reasonably be expected to live with him. Currently, the only grounds for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. In order to prove that it has, the petitioner must satisfy one of five facts; three of those facts are fault based and two rely on periods of separation. Once a marriage has failed, most couples want to divorce sooner rather than later and settle their financial arrangements. Currently, the quickest way to get divorced is to blame an offending spouse. The fact that parties can only legally settle their financial arrangements on grant of decree nisi is a persuasive factor and often the reason for expediency. A government consultation paper has been launched in order to review current divorce law and has largely been welcomed. The consultation process seeks to establish whether the current requirement to establish fault or wait two or even five years to divorce amicably should be replaced with a process of notification. Further, as the law stands at present, should one party wish to defend a divorce, they can currently do so, as in the case of Owens. However, the government is also considering whether to remove the ability to object to or defend a divorce petition.


There are arguments for and against simplifying divorce; those against believe the sanctity of marriage should be supported and articulate concerns that the divorce rate will increase and children might suffer. There have been many previous attempts to ease the process of divorce by senior members of the judiciary, Resolution and The Times newspaper, but none have yet succeeded. Those who are in favour of an easier process argue that a no fault divorce will remove conflict and reduce both cost and delay for parties who are necessarily facing a difficult and stressful time in their lives. The government has provided this overview of what is proposed and why: • The breakdown of a marriage is a difficult time for families. The decision to divorce is often a very painful one. Where children are involved, the effects in particular where there is ongoing conflict, can be profound. • Under current law in England and Wales, couples must either live apart for a substantial period of time before they may divorce, or else they must make allegations about their spouse’s conduct. This is sometimes perceived as showing that the other spouse is ‘at fault’. • Both routes can cause further stress and upset for the divorcing couple, to the

detriment of outcomes for them and any children. There have been wide calls to reform the law to address these concerns, often framed as removing the concept of ‘fault’. • The government therefore proposes to reform the legal requirements for divorce so that it is consistent with the approach taken in other areas of family law, and to shift the focus from blame and recrimination to support adults better to focus on making arrangements for their own futures and for their children’s. The reformed law should have two objectives: • To make sure that the decision to divorce continues to be a considered one, and that spouses have an opportunity to change course • To make sure that divorcing couples are not put through legal requirements which do not serve their or society’s interests and which can lead to conflict and, accordingly, poor outcomes for children • This consultation proposes adjusting what the law requires to bring a legal end to a marriage that has broken down irretrievably. This adjustment includes removing the ability to allege ‘fault’ (ref: Commons Briefing papers SN01409 ). Russell & Co is keen to reduce conflict when couples are divorcing and subscribe to the code of practice developed by Resolution, which commits family lawyers to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational way. Russell & Co is available to give initial free advice to assist parties who find themselves in this difficult situation.

Helen Morton, Senior Solicitor Russell & Co Solicitors, Church Street, Malvern Worcestershire WR14 2AH Tel: 01684 892000, fax: 01684 892202 Russell & Co Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Russell & Co Solicitors is a Trading name of Russell Malvern Limited, Company No. 06722941. SRA Number 498255





The Church of the Sacred Heart and St Catherine of Alexandria IN DROITWICH SPA The tower, arches and gables of this church’s brick exterior are handsome enough, but the imagery inside is a complete knockout WORDS AND PHOTOS: GERALD HEYS


ook up before you go in. Carved into the near white of the tympanum over the entrance is an Annunciation scene: the angel Gabriel kneeling before a seated Mary; the Holy Spirit represented by a dove; a lily symbolising the Virgin’s purity. In the bottom right-hand corner, and under Gabriel’s wings, sits a little bird: a pipit. The angel and the bird are a rebus (a kind of visual pun); reading

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them from left to right reveals the name of the man who was both the tympanum’s sculptor and the designer of the church’s mosaics: Gabriel Pippet. As you enter, perhaps take a pew at the back and absorb what you see. Over the altar is the cruciform Christ and the Sacred Heart against a background of palm trees and a glowing, golden sky. The animals drinking the waters of life at His

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A closer look at some things worth looking at.

FURTHER INFORMATION There are guidebooks available as you enter the church that detail the mosaics and their history. Group tours can be arranged by contacting Kate Dalgleish, the parish secretary on 01905 773258 or secretary@ sacredheartdroitwich.org.uk The church’s excellent website can be found at ▷ www.

sacredheartdroitwich.org.uk Many thanks to David Holden, who acted as a guide on the day of our visit to this very special place on the Worcester Road.

THE ANIMALS DRINKING THE WATERS OF LIFE AT HIS FEET ARE ANOTHER OF PIPPET’S PUNS: THEY ARE MALE DEER, I.E. HARTS. feet are another of Pippet’s puns: they are male deer, i.e. harts. Each is drinking deeply, except for the chap on the far left, whose head is raised towards Jesus. This perhaps serves as a pictorial lesson for the congregation: we all benefit from the gift of life, but not all of us acknowledge its provenance. After all, no matter how sumptuous a church’s imagery, its ultimate purpose is not to please the eye but edify the soul. Pippet and the church’s architect, Frank Barry Peacock, were inspired by the sixth-century Basilica di Sant’Apollinare in Classe in Ravenna (see ▷ bit. ly/2DygBp7 for more) where, instead of harts, there are 12 lambs at Christ’s feet, representing the Apostles. The Venetian tesserae (the coloured glass blocks no bigger than a thumbnail) that make up the mosaics at the Sacred Heart were put in place between 1921 and 1933 from Pippet’s design by Maurice Josey and










Fred Oates. As an art form, the mosaic goes back to Mesopotamia in the third millennium BC; it was used by both the Greeks and the Romans and particularly flourished in Byzantium. If you’re still sitting, to your left is the life of Mary and Jesus in seven panels, beginning with her acceptance into the Jewish faith and ending with the boy Jesus talking to the wise men at the temple. Following these is an image of what, according to John’s gospel, was the first of Christ’s miracles: turning the water into wine at Cana. To your right, another seven panels illustrate the life of St Richard de Wyche (1197–1253), bishop of Chichester and patron saint of Droitwich. The attention to detail of each panel on either side is as arresting as its beauty. All around, there are representations of the Apostles, the patriarchs and prophets and a number of saints, accompanied by flora and fauna, and associated signs and symbols (the roundel featuring St John, for example, also includes his symbol, an eagle). The capitals of the double-headed

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THE ATTENTION TO DETAIL OF EACH PANEL ON EITHER SIDE IS AS ARRESTING AS ITS BEAUTY. columns were carved in situ by Pippet and are exquisite. The Lady Chapel is particularly opulent, with an astonishing profusion of birds in a depiction of the life of St Francis of Assisi. The chapel dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria features a toothed wheel with tongues of fire, reminding the viewer of how she was condemned to death for her faith. Halfway up the left aisle, there is a chapel dedicated to St Michael Garicoits, the founder of the Sacred Heart Fathers and Brothers of Betharram,

who inaugurated the Droitwich parish in 1908 and continue their ministry in the town to this day. Perhaps the most magnificent mosaic – and what is thought to be Pippet’s own personal favourite – is in the choir gallery. It surrounds a simple round window and includes the Throne of God; the nine choirs of angels; the archangels Raphael, Michael and Gabriel; and the founders of the religious orders. It is best viewed by taking the stairs up to the gallery, but no matter from where you look, it is a glittering marvel, especially on a sunny day with the window glowing with light. The church was donated by Walter Loveridge Hodgkinson of Rashwood Court, and the foundation stone was laid on 25 November 1919. The dedication to St Catherine was a memorial to Catherine Hodgkinson, Walter Hodgkinson’s wife, who had died in 1906. The decoration in the Lady Chapel was the gift of Major H G H Galton of Hadzor (a cousin of the scientist Sir Francis Galton) and dedicated to the memory of his sons Francis and Theodore, both of whom were killed in the Great War. ›

ISSUE 15 | SUMMER 2019








Turning creative dreams into sustainable reality Creative arts not only benefit the economy but also promote healthy lifestyles and mindfulness. When taught at schools they can help boost children’s confidence, understand new ways of learning, improve memory and enhance team-working skills, emotional literacy and problem-solving. Ruth Sears CMLI, Senior Landscape Architect with Worcester-based One Creative Environments Ltd (One), tells us about a project to develop a new performing-arts building at the Christopher Whitehead Language College (CWLC) in Worcester, working on a charitable basis with the school as it begins its fundraising efforts to help turn the project from concept to reality


he creative arts are a major success story in the UK. Recent statistics reveal the creative industries make a record contribution to the UK’s economy and that the sector, now worth £92 billion, is growing at twice the rate of the economy, making up 5 per cent of the country’s GVA (Gross Value Added). Research has also shown that participation in arts and culture can make communities stronger and safer, reduce social exclusion and contribute to community cohesion. CWLC, a secondary school and sixth form college located in the centre of Worcester, prides itself on ensuring that the best opportunities and standards of education are available for every pupil and this is key to delivering on the school motto ‘In Pursuit of Excellence’. To continue to fulfil this ambition and to improve its educational provision on-site, the school has launched a very ambitious project to build a state-of-theart performing-arts facility within the school grounds. The concept for an attractive, modern, flexible, sustainable and technologically

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advanced performing-arts facility at CWLC was first envisioned by the head teacher, Neil Morris, and has been supported by One from the outset. The building design was developed during various workshops, where the functional requirements were discussed

CURRENTLY THE PROJECT HAS PLANNING PERMISSION AND IS READY TO BUILD. FUNDING IS THE ONLY REMAINING BARRIER TO DELIVERY. and tested to make the maximum use of space and achieve flexibility. The in-built flexibility ensures the building does not only meet the school’s current requirements, but also projected future needs as well. Incorporating

flexibility into building design causes significant design challenges, especially in environmental performance. For example, One’s design team had to come up with a natural ventilation strategy that worked both for small classes and school assembly, and operated for a fully occupied theatre. To address these conflicting needs but deliver user comfort, a thermal labyrinth of pipes was integrated within the concrete of the building’s base. Other challenges included creating spaces that address the school’s need for dance, drama and music, the occasional need for exam rooms and vocational courses alongside utilising the same spaces for the community in activities outside of school hours. The resulting building design is a sustainable, simple, secure, contemporary and innovative structure that is visually enhanced by creative cloaking of the building in a mixture of block, timber and perforated metal cladding in undulating forms, which were inspired by the movement of dance and drama. When built, the performing-arts facility will include a theatre, lighting gallery,

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For more details of how to get involved, please contact the school on +44 (0)1905 423906 or make a donation through the fundraising website ▷ www.

christopherwhitehead.co.uk/ fundraising-appeal For more information about One, visit ▷ www.oneltd.com

Youthcomm Radio, which is already on board for collaborative use of the recording studio. The focal entrance bell tower, or ‘ballerina’ tower as it has become affectionately known, is the most dramatic feature of the project. The bell tower serves to promote and inspire the next generation to continue the 500 year old art of change ringing. dressing rooms and box office, music classrooms with soundproof practice rooms, a recording studio, dance studios and art exhibition space. The building will promote its activities through the local youth community radio station


CWLC will be the first state school in the UK to have a purpose-built bell tower. It has close connections with Worcester Cathedral and will contribute to the spires across Worcester’s skyline.

Currently the project has planning permission and is ready to build. Funding is the only remaining barrier to delivery and the school has just launched a very challenging fundraising campaign that provides the opportunity to sponsor an element of the building. The aim of the campaign is to raise £5 million through private funding with a further £2 million already identified from public funds. All contributions will make a huge difference and if you would like to get involved, there are a wide variety of sponsorship opportunities that range from buying a building brick or a classroom door to sponsoring a theatre seat, a dance studio, the bell tower or the theatre. ›



A donation of £250k has recently been confirmed from the Garfield Weston Foundation, and Zoe Lister of Hollyoaks fame has agreed to be one of the project’s ambassadors.





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especially for those who live rurally and usually suffer from poor connectivity. By taking space with us, businesses can manage their costs and avoid the commitment, risk and hassle of owning their own property, which gives them the flexibility to grow in a professional, well-equipped environment. By having just one bill at the end of the month and everything else dealt with by us, our clients save time, energy and money.

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“. . . Open Space allows us to run our business without spending our time on the practicalities of running an office. They manage the administration and associated costs for our energy bills, our Internet and telephone lines, and the flexibility of the letting terms gives us peace of mind and allows us to grow our business without committing to a lengthy rental agreement. . . .” Amanda Woods Frodshams Solicitors





Image: Holywell Water

A trip to Malvern’s Holywell to talk about its past, present and future with Yang Xu and Anthony ‘Mitch’ Mitchell






bit spotty with rain this morning, though the view is a treat. The familiar building up here on Holywell Road was, Manager Yang Xu says, built by Schweppes (well before Coca-Cola became its parent company) back in the mid-nineteenth century for only a few hundred pounds. But the beneficial properties of the water were, of course, first noted hundreds of years before. We go to have a look at the Holywell spout and at the old production line in the lower part of the building. There’s plenty of information on the walls about the water’s history, including a map of the amazing number of springs, wells and spouts that can be found in and around the town, where the water surfaces after permeating through the granite and limestone of the hills, and those taking the water cure back in the day would stop for sips on their medically prescribed hikes. Mitch stands by one of the thousand-litre tanks. ‘The smallest water plant in the world,’ he says, ‘and the first. We don’t know how to improve on that.’ Mitch, who oversees production and has been working with Malvern water for about 30 years, says that in the old days here, they would only fill two bottles at a time and that the whole business was entirely manual.

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Pointing at the places where the water is filtered and at a UV light that eliminates bacteria, Mitch says, ‘This water is taken from underground, so you expect it to have some bits in.’ But once those are removed, it becomes something very special. ‘It’s the purest natural water you can find,’ he says, with a purity ‘very close to distilled water.’ Mitch adds, in the words of the humorist who summarised the findings of Dr John Wall, the physician who analysed the water in the mid-eighteenth century, ‘It contains nothing at all.’ There’s a very good and simple reason, Mitch says, why such purity is in demand: the fewer impurities there are in the water the more it will bring out the flavour of, say, your tea or coffee. Purer water therefore means more tea or coffee taste. ‘And so you drink just tea, not mineral tea.’ Mitch adds that Malvern’s Friday Beer Company has used it to

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replicate the taste of a Czech pilsner beer made from a water source of a similar rare purity. We go up to the house now, Mitch saying that he’s very much a local man. Born just outside Colwall, he was working in a garage before he went to the old bottling plant. ‘That was from Primes Well, and the main bottling plant of the time. My wife was a cleaner there and I was working the production line.’ He also worked in the syrup room, where they added Coke’s secret ingredient. The Coke made with Malvern water, Mitch says, didn’t really taste any different from any other Coke, but its tonic water was distinctly better.

Previous page: Holywell’s selection of still and sparkling water. Above: Outside Holywell Water in Malvern Wells.


We take a seat in the kitchen to talk over a coffee. Yang mentions Holywell’s two current owners – one company in Shanghai, the other in Hong Kong – each of whom has a 50 per cent stake in the concern. The boss of the Shanghai company’s interest was initially piqued, Yang says, by the fact that he is a little particular about the quality of his tea. The story is that when he first had a cup made with Malvern water, he was so impressed that he bought the company.

not really there at the moment, though there is a presence in Hong Kong and, incidentally, Dubai. They are, however, looking to expand, and there are opportunities to do so.

Yang, a financial analyst and a graduate of Birmingham City University, Edinburgh and the LSE, says that in China, partly because people don’t really order water in restaurants, the market for Malvern water, as it is currently being produced, is

‘Things have been quiet since 2010, when Coke quit. But people still know the product. My wife works in London in a bank and all her bosses, who are aged




Above: Inside the water plant with Holywell Water’s Manager, Yang Xu, and Anthony ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, who oversees production. Left top: The water production area. Left bottom: Two of the thousand-litre tanks used to store the water before bottling.

about 30 and native to England, when they ask where her husband works, she says, “Malvern”. And they say, “Where’s that?” But when you talk about Malvern water, everyone knows it. They know it, but they don’t know where you can buy it or drink it.’ But Holywell water can be found in a number of restaurants and pubs in the county and also at a few restaurants in London. ‘We’re not trying very hard to push our product in supermarkets, because they sell it cheap. We don’t want our restaurant customers to see the water we sell in a restaurant on sale elsewhere for one third or one fifth of the price.’ You can, though, buy it at Waitrose, where paying a little bit more for quality is perhaps expected. There’s a glass bottle on the table between us with a green label: the sparkling version. It’s the same 75cl size of a wine bottle and clearly designed to look at home in a smart restaurant. ‘It’s a niche market,’ Yang says, ‘the glass high-end prime water. And it’s a

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BUT WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT MALVERN WATER, EVERYONE KNOWS IT. relatively small market with very big competition. Because in the UK alone, you have Harrogate, Buxton and Belu – even Highland has a glass product.’ Negotiations with Coca-Cola about using the sole brand name ‘Malvern Water’ have been, he adds, a little tricky, hence the addition of ‘Holywell’ on the bottle. ‘The overall margin in the business is very low, less that 5 per cent.’ But even though it is more competitive than Yang at first thought, he appears confident about the future. He adds, though, that perhaps it wasn’t a big enough proposition for a company the size of Coca-Cola, which may explain why it quit back in 2010. Yang says that because they have a very limited source at Holywell, they want to keep it as a niche item, though that could change. ‘For example, if we had Walms Well, we might be able to produce the same quantity as CocaCola used to do.’ At present, though, what the company produces is mainly intended to accompany fine dining. ‘It might be expensive, but people like to order a bottle of sparkling or still water with their wine to wash their mouths for the next course and have the sparkling before their dessert.’ We have some time now to look at the well at the back of the house and to go down to the production area just below the main building, where everything looks very spick and span and is, Yang and Mitch say, more efficient and sophisticated than the older production area. The water is not, of course, being turned out in anything like the quantities it once was, but it’s nice to hear and see that such a venerable brand continues to find favour with more than a few discerning palates. ›


Some of Malvern’s wells, including top: North Malvern Clocktower well; middle left: Holywell spout; middle right: Jubilee Fountain and bottom, the Hayslad Spring with its bifurcating spout.



Clockwise from top: St Ann’s Well, a dressed West Malvern Tap, Evendine Spring, and a dressed Ryland’s Royal Malvern Well and Wynds Point Spout.

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Queen Elizabeth I granted John Hornyold the spring, which remained in his family until 1919.

16–17th centuries

The water has been bottled and distributed in the UK and abroad from as early as the reign of James I. Local legend says that the curative benefit of the spring water was known in medieval times. The value and the bottling of the water were praised in verses 15 to 16 of a poem attributed to the Reverend Edmund Rea, who became vicar of Malvern in 1612: To drink thy waters store, Lie in bushes Many with ulcers sore; Many with bruises. Who succour find from ill, By money given still Thanks to the Christian will; O praise the Lord. A thousand bottles here, were filled weekly, And many costrils rare, for stomachs sickly; Some were to London sent, Some of them into Kent, Others on to Berwick went, O praise the Lord.


Bottling of water at Holywell was already taking place. The healing powers of the water were mentioned by the oculist Richard Banister in Banister’s Breviary of the Eyes, in which he refers to the Eye Well, situated just above Holywell:


Dr John Wall (1708–76), one of the founders of the Worcester Royal Infirmary and the Royal Worcester porcelain works, analysed the spring water and revealed it had very little mineral content. Dr Wall did a great deal to develop the town as a spa resort.

A little more I’ll of their curing tell, How they helped sore eyes with a new found well; Great speech of Malvern Hills was late reported, Unto which spring people in troops resorted.


Edward Pophams of Tewksbury was partially cured of his gout at the Holywell.


A Dr Walcott wrote a scholarly discussion of the four-hundred year benefits of the water.



Drs James Manby Gully and James Wilson opened water cure clinics in Malvern, thus beginning the town’s prosperity. Famous patients included Charles Darwin, Lord Tennyson, Samuel Wilberforce and Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, whose writings contributed to the popularity of the water

The current Holywell building, inspired by the architectural style of the German spa town Baden-Baden, was built by Schweppes.



Princess Mary Adelaide granted the second warrant for the Holywell Water Company.

As official sponsors of the Great Exhibition, Schweppes introduced Malvern Water as Malvern Soda, later renaming it Malvern Seltzer Water in 1856.


The water was bottled under the Schweppes brand from 1850 until 2010. In 2012 the family-owned Holywell Water Co Ltd was given permission to use the ‘Malvern’ name in its branding, thus becoming Holywell Malvern Spring Water. It has long been favoured by royalty. Elizabeth I drank it in public in the sixteenth century and Queen Victoria refused to travel without it.



Gloucestershire Airport, also known as Staverton, is at the heart of an important British aviation community. A place of innovation for more than 70 years, aviation researcher and writer, Guy Ellis, tells us its fascinating history

Image: Eddie Faulkener




loucestershire Airport, just over the Worcestershire border, saw the development of several legendary aircraft by the Gloster Aircraft Company, including Britain’s first jet, the Meteor, along with the Gladiator, the E28/39 and the delta-wing Javelin all-weather fighter. The airport was, and still is, the site of many innovations that include Rotol’s variable-pitch propeller, Smith’s automatic landing system and Sir Alan Cobham’s in-flight refuelling system. More than 70 years later, the descendants of many of these companies still provide aviation equipment to the world. It all began when Arthur King and Major John Blood, partners in Westgate Motor House Limited, became agents for De Havilland aircraft. They needed an airfield from which customers could buy and fly aircraft. King’s father provided a large field on the north side of the main Gloucester to Cheltenham Road, which became known as Down Hatherley Aerodrome, named after the nearby village. Colonel the Master of Sempill, who opened the airfield on 26 September 1932, was to play a vital role in the creation of Staverton. Gloucestershire businessmen lobbied for a larger

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municipal airfield, countered by local papers arguing that commercial flight was unproven and limited to the wealthy. Famous ‘showman’ aviator Alan Cobham staged an air display at Hatherley in May 1933, bringing aviation to the many. The low-level flying tricks, autogiro aerobatics and wing walking of his Flying Circus drew rapturous support from the crowd. This encouraged the Mayor of Gloucester, in front of his Cheltenham counterpart, to announce plans for a joint venture to provide a large airfield in the area. Negotiations between the councils were fraught with politics. In December 1933, Sempill flew in to address a conference, where he highlighted the importance of airfields, the suitability of the identified site at Staverton and the fact that the two towns would be by-passed if they failed to act. The result was that the

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Image: Phil Mathews

two councils purchased 183 acres of land at Staverton and, in November 1936, granted an operator’s licence to Westgate Motor House Limited.

The war years

With the country facing a war, in May 1938 the Air Ministry selected Staverton for military use. For a short time, Cotswold Aero Club trained pilots under the Civil Air Guard scheme, before the formation of a military flight training school, equipped with Tiger Moths. A year later, six De Havilland Rapide aircraft arrived to be used to instruct aircrew in the art of navigational trainers. Seven days after war was declared, the airfield was renamed RAF Staverton and No 6 Air Observer Navigation School (AONS), operating Rapides and a large number of Avro Ansons, became the main resident unit. There was a large contingent of Polish officers under training as observers or pilots. Later, crews trained in Canada were posted to Staverton to give them experience in European weather and blackout conditions. Additional accommodation


Previous page: Cars have also been a part of the airport, from the Cheltenham Motor Club Sprint weekends to promotional shoots, such as this one for a mid-1960’s Riley Kestrel 1100. Above: The Westgate Motor House hanger and CAC club house in 1932. The roadway leads to the main Gloucester– Cheltenham road.

was provided in 27 Nissen huts built in Parton Lane, Churchdown, but demand for trained crew forced the establishment of a tented camp in the orchard on Bamfurlong Lane. By the end of 1944, the demand from Bomber Command for crews had dropped and the training unit was disbanded. Luftwaffe attacks on Staverton were luckily rather limited to three minor and one major attack. In July 1940, a Dornier bomber dropped three bombs, which killed two airmen, injured several others, and destroyed eight huts and an ablution block. One of the most famous graduates of Staverton was Thomas Dobney, the world’s youngest qualified military pilot. After training at Staverton, he won his wings in Canada and, at the age of 15,



Image: Stephen R Davis

flew bombers in combat until he was found by his father and dismissed from the RAF, re-joining in 1943. In November 1942, Staverton became the home of the newly formed RAF Dog School, which moved into several vacant wooden huts at Down Hatherley. Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Baldwin DSO, the highly intelligent and hardy German Shepherds were bred to provide airfield guard services and release men to the front line. A driving school and an extremely popular Silver Band, the RAF Gloucester Dance Orchestra, were established. The band played at social gatherings and dances in the area, the top tune being ‘Sussex by the Sea’!

Propellers, fuel and test beds

Wartime drew some significant companies to set up business away from the dangers of war in and around Gloucestershire Airport. These included Rotol Airscrews, Smiths Industries plc, HP Folland and Flight Refuelling. Rotol was a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Bristol to develop and manufacture propellers in a factory on the old Down Hatherley Airfield. The administration building is still a well-known landmark and it was here that important advances were made in propeller technology. Now owned by Safran SA, the design, research and manufacturing of propellers and landing gear continues to this day. Smiths Industries plc transformed the motor industry with the introduction of a speedometer and the aviation world by

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Above: Dog handlers in training. Avro Anson aircraft can be seen in the background. Next page: An early 1970s fire crew with Thornycroft appliances. L–R: Steve Saunders, Peter Ellis, Tom Hulland and Chief Gerrt Johnson.

its airspeed indicator. Smiths moved production to Cheltenham and, in 1953, established its flying test and demonstration operations at Staverton. Probably the most influential system developed in the mid 1960s was Autoland, the automatic blind-landing system used today throughout the world. However, technological developments and rising flight costs forced the closure of the flying unit in October 1969. Today, Summit Aviation operates a fully equipped gas-turbine engine test facility at the airport that follows a tradition begun in 1940. Folland Aircraft built a flying engine test bed: the Folland 43/47, or ‘Folland Frightful’. The 12 aircraft were large, single-engined, low-wing monoplanes, with a crew of three and capable of being fitted with a variety of power units. Modern military jets rely on in-flight refuelling to operate. Experiments had been conducted since the 1920s, but it was Alan Cobham who developed the forerunner of the systems we see today. Flying from Staverton, Flight Refuelling carried out a wide variety of research, including bomber/fighter towing

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M5 from Strensham south to Bristol in 1970 made the airport more accessible, increasing the air traffic already attracted by the installation of a Decca radar system in 1969. By the mid-1970s, 1,800 people were employed by the airport and the 70 businesses based on the site.

photographic quarters and a radio room in buildings made available by the airport’s management. It also built flying aids, such as a 5 kW beacon and an angle-of-approach indicator for everyone to use. The club eventually closed in the early 1960s.

Airlines, flying schools and business

Dowty/Rotol Flying Club was established by Rotol employees in January 1945. Difficult times were experienced until, in 1952, Rotol introduced a scheme that subsidised employee flying. The club ceased to operate in the late 1990s.

Businesses located at the airport ranged from airlines, through to aviation maintenance organisations, aircraft assembly and, of course, the flying schools. Over the years, many airline companies have operated from Gloucestershire Airport but there is simply not the demand and with little opportunity to extend runways, the last company, Citywing Aviation Services ceased operations in 2015.

Staverton Flying School (SFS) was started in 1965 by the charismatic character L H ‘Woodie’ Wood, who had spent his war as an RAF instructor. Post-war, he flew for an airline, ran a charter company,

combinations for long-distance delivery of fighter aircraft.

In the immediate post-war years, there was very little management and control at Staverton. The airport was brought back to life when Murray Chown took over the management in 1952 and introduced scheduled services to the Channel Islands. The following year, Cambrian Airways took over airport management and increased passenger services to a point that required the opening of a control tower and new passenger terminal complex.

By 1957, Staverton could claim to be the centre of Gloucestershire aviation, providing services to three flying schools, Smiths, Rotol and a growing demand by leisure pilots. When Cambrian’s operations moved to Bristol, Smiths Instruments took over airport operations during business hours in 1958, while evening and weekend ground control and the emergency services were managed by the flying schools on a voluntary rota basis. The growing chaos, near misses and occasions when the runways were used as racetracks meant that, in 1962, the two city councils decided to take direct control of the airport. The opening of the


Image: Eddie Faulkener

‘Guns to butter’: from war to peace

Flying schools The Cotswold Aero Club was established in 1930 by the owners of Westgate Motor House. It was a strong and popular club but, after the war, it struggled to compete against clubs with more modern aircraft. Its fortunes were revived in 1966 when, under new management, new aircraft were obtained. Since then, the club has continued its tradition of a professional yet relaxed attitude towards flying and learning to fly.

was CFI (certificated flight instructor) at various flight schools and chief pilot for Smiths Aviation. In the late 1960s, Jennie Lyons came to do the books but, by 1974, she was instructing and became the youngest woman instructor in the UK. Jennie took over SFS in 1981 and she introduced ‘Women in the Air’ days where three women instructors would fly up to 14 trial flights a day. SFS is still a vibrant contributor within the airport community to this day.

The Cheltenham Aero Club was formed in 1949 by former Central Flying School instructors to provide ex-RAF personnel an opportunity to enter the world of commercial flying. The club provided a new restaurant, a Link Trainer room,

Businesses Gloucestershire Airport has always been a vibrant business centre with most companies allied to the aviation industry. Flight One Air Services offered maintenance services, including aircraft



Image: Eddie Faulkener Image: Jeannie Lyons

assembly and sales. In 1964, it built a Rhomboidal Biplane replica for the film Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines and, in 1970, was licensed to build the Glos-Airtourer. Until recently, Stampe SV.4c biplanes were flown by Tiger Airways to give people the opportunity of flying in the open cockpit of a vintage biplane. The Colt Car Company operated its aviation division from Staverton until 1983. Its Aviation Director, Peter Turner, established Executive Aviation (EA) to manage executive aircraft on behalf of their owners. The maintenance, chartering, scheduling and crewing of these aircraft are all provided by EA. Staverton is the service centre for two major helicopter operators and providers. Bond Helicopters was founded in the 1960s to provide crop-spraying and heavy lifting services. It contributed significantly to the establishment of a nationwide network of air ambulances run from its Gloucestershire HQ, which also houses a sophisticated maintenance centre. Specialist Aviation Services is the umbrella organisation for Police Aviation Services (PAS) and Medical Aviation Services (MAS), which provided the first police air support unit, offering pioneering techniques that are common practice in police aviation today. Later, MAS began operations to provide air ambulance services.

Gloucestershire Airport

In 1993, Staverton was renamed Gloucestershire Airport to reflect its increasing prominence as the business aviation centre for the county. Today, it is a thriving business and recreational airport handling around 85,000 movements each year, making it the 11th busiest airport in the UK. Within the airport precinct, more than 40 aviation-related companies rent premises. On the north side, the Meteor Business Park contains a range of companies, employing some 2,500 people, including large

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Above left: SFS moved across the airfield in December 1965 to the wartime station commander’s office and then airport manager’s office. The Cessna 152 G-BIMT, purchased in 1981, is shown outside the original SFS location, now known as the Flying Shack. Above right: The 1970 terminal. Next page: John Schooling, Peter Thomas and David Ogilvy pictured with Skyfame’s three twins: Airspeed Oxford, Avro Anson and DH Mosquito, after an open day.

aviation-related firms such as MessierBugatti-Dowty. Around 180 aircraft are permanently based at the airport, ranging from single-seat microlights to multi-million-pound executive jets. Approximately 40 air ambulances and police helicopters, serving about 75 per cent of the UK’s forces, are operated by Staverton-based companies. A wide variety of specialist tasks, including aerial surveying, monitoring and photography routinely take place from the airport. The airport’s pilot training facilities continue to supply pilots to the wider market and aircraft maintenance operations support the aviation sector in the region. More than 30 companies based in the area regularly use Gloucestershire Airport for corporate aircraft or air-taxi services. Almost all the 100 air-taxi operators in the UK use this airport to connect the Gloucestershire area to other parts of the UK and Europe not directly served by scheduled services.

The museums

Skyfame Fondly remembered by Gloucestershire people and aviation enthusiasts around the country were the Skyfame airshows. Started by Peter Thomas, as a memorial to his brother, its aim was to conserve and fly the famous planes of the war years. Keeping the collection

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ABOUT GUY ELLIS Guy Ellis has researched and written about aviation history for more than 25 years, while also running museum open days, and building websites for a museum and an historical journal. He is employed full-time in the logistics industry.

Image: Ray Thomas

His books are available to purchase via Amazon and W H Smith.

airworthy was a constant battle, but Peter’s initiative became the stimulus of the aircraft preservation business. By the mid-1970s, the buying and selling of classic aircraft was a booming and profitable undertaking. Accordingly, the airport’s management increased the rental on the Skyfame hangar, which forced the museum to close. All 19 Skyfame aircraft are now rare treasures in other collections.


The Jet Age Museum The Gloucestershire Aviation Collection was established in 1986 to set up a museum devoted to the county’s worldclass aviation heritage. Originally it was set up in a hanger at the former Gloster

Aircraft Companyʼs factory airfield site, where 10 exhibits were housed, while a friends’ organisation began work on a replica 1925-vintage Gloster Gamecock biplane fighter. Plans to redevelop the


airfield saw the museum relocate to half of Hangar 7 at Staverton. At that point, it was decided to concentrate on building a core collection of Gloster aircraft and the name was changed to the Jet Age Museum, commemorating Glosters’ development of the first British jet. The Jet Age Museumʼs wilderness years began in 2000 when notice was received to quit Hangar 7. The airport offered a site for a new museum building, but it was 13 years of concentrated fundraising by members and sponsorship from local and international businesses and city councils before The Jet Age Museum could, at last, open the doors of its permanent home. It is a great place for the family to visit, with free entry, a cafe, a live runway next door and some open cockpit experiences. For more information, visit ▷ jetagemuseum.org. ›



A tour of the Morgan factory to see how the celebrations for its 110th birthday are going and to hear a little more about what is probably the biggest announcement in its history





s timeless as a bar of Pears’ soap or a tin of Lyle’s Golden Syrup, it’s perhaps the most distinctive car on the road and almost always guaranteed to raise a smile. Morgan is also, according to James Gilbert, its press and media coordinator, a great place to work. ‘There’s a certain magic to it, a good family atmosphere. We always talk about the Morgan family, and that’s not just the Morgan family itself. That’s all of our employees, customers, dealers, suppliers, visitors. Everybody’s part of this big family unit.’ We’re sitting in the visitors’ centre over a very decent cup of tea and about to go and look around. Morgan welcomes some 30,000 visitors a year from all over the world, James says, many of them in the summer. But they don’t all come from the most obvious demographic. ‘It’s a real mix, and it’s all ages as well. Not just guys. It’s families. You’d think that sports cars equal men. But there’s a general interest there, too. It’s not just blokes and cars.’ Back in 1909, Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan lived in Herefordshire but worked at a motor garage in Malvern, travelling over the hill on his bike to get there. With his engineering knowhow, some money from his father and help from the Malvern College workshops, he built a car: a three-wheeled runabout. He

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did this not just to get to work and back, but also for fun. And that sense of fun, James adds, has always been part of the Morgan equation. HFS, as everybody knew him, also realised that he’d put together something with commercial potential: it was cheap to buy and run, and easy to maintain. So he went into production. ‘It was almost a motoring-for-the-masses type of approach. He started building the 3 Wheeler at his workshop, which was about a mile away. He later moved here to Pickersleigh Road.’ Thanks in part to phenomenal motorracing success, the business thrived. In 1936, a four-wheeler was introduced: the classic 4/4 that it still makes today. The 3 Wheeler ceased production in 1952. However, as if to prove they were suckers for nostalgia, it was brought back in 2011, but this time with state-of-the-art technology and materials.

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In its 110th year, Morgan is building a number of special celebratory models. And back in March, it had a very big announcement to make at the Geneva Motor Show. From the very beginning, the firm had been entirely family owned. However, for the first time ever, it will now be accepting external investment. The new majority stakeholder is Investindustrial, a family-owned Italian business that also has a controlling stake in Aston Martin and, James says, ‘pedigree and experience within the automotive industry’.

Above: Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan on the first ever Morgan outside the Morgan family home, The Old Rectory at Stoke Lacy, in June 1909. Left: The Pickersleigh Road site in, top, 1914; middle, 1925 and bottom, 1930.

Morgan took that financial backing, James adds, for a number of reasons: ‘To enable us to develop more cars; to keep up with safety requirements; to bring in new engines, new technologies, electrics; to improve the infrastructure; and to keep Morgan in Malvern. It safeguards the future of the company. ‘We’ve been doing really well for the last few years and I think that’ll continue, but we’re looking to the medium and long term. I think the investment will allow us to keep our footprint in Malvern, to redevelop everything you see and to expand. Which is great from our point of view and for people in Worcestershire.’ With that, we finish our tea and set off for the factory workshops. As we walk, James explains that the production line is built on a hill, a fact which works to the company’s advantage: all the craftsmen and women need do is put wheels on the chassis, then literally roll it down through the various workshops. We stroll passed a particularly sleeklooking 3 Wheeler which, James says, is a prototype EV3: the first electric Morgan. ‘It still looks like a Morgan sports car. It’s still handcrafted. All those elements are still there, but it’s got an electric motor. The driver still enjoys the experience. It’s still exhilarating to drive. But it’s electric.’ To clattering and banging and a radio blaring, we step into the chassis shop, where every four-wheeled Morgan starts its life (the 3 Wheelers are put together at the bottom of the hill). Things have




changed down the years, James says, but the company still retains the same philosophy as in 1936, though using more modern materials. ‘It’s all about having that very distinctive silhouette and Morgan design, and reimagining everything that underpins it.’ In the assembly shop, the rolling chassis is starting to take on a Morgan shape as the technicians put on wings, bonnets and body frames. Over the din, James says that he thinks one of the most unique things about a Morgan is the blend of craftsmanship and technology. Go to somewhere like Maclaren, he says, you get the absolute height of technology, while some other companies focus more on craftsmanship. ‘But what we’re doing is drawing down some really advanced technology, whether it’s in the platform or engine or drivetrain, and putting a body on top that hasn’t changed in style since it was first made.’

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Top: The Morgan Plus Six. Above: In the assembly shop, the rolling chassis starts to take on a Morgan shape. The old oak jig in use and in the foreground. Right: The 3 Wheeler, brought back in 2011 and boasting state-of-the-art technology and materials.


The frame, James says, will always be made of ash. ‘It’s coach building as it was: you take a chassis and you put a body on top of it. If you imagine the ash frame as a coat hanger, we’re draping the aluminium body panel over that frame. ‘Fettled and cut, rolled and moulded. You can watch it being made for hours. We have a lot of visitors who come through here who don’t like driving or don’t drive, but this is of interest to anyone who wants to see how cars can be crafted, and the kind of skills that are dying out in England and the world that we’re proud to be retaining.’


There’s a venerable-looking oak jig in the middle of the wood shop on which every rear wheel arch of every four-wheeler has been made. Nobody, James says, knows how long it’s been here, pressing the laminated wood together to be later trimmed down and sanded. The only change that has taken place is probably the type of glue Morgan now uses. Not far away, there’s a 3D printer in action, prototyping a part from the development office; solid tradition and cutting-edge technology sitting, seamlessly, side by side. Next, there are the paint and the trim shops, the mingled smell of fresh paint and leather in the air. Things are

THE COMPANY STILL RETAINS THE SAME PHILOSOPHY AS IN 1936, THOUGH USING MORE MODERN MATERIALS. ‘IT’S ALL ABOUT HAVING THAT VERY DISTINCTIVE SILHOUETTE AND MORGAN DESIGN, AND REIMAGINING EVERYTHING THAT UNDERPINS IT. still hand sprayed, James says, but the latest paints and equipment are utilised. Everything up to this point has been grey and monochrome, but now there is a burst of colour. One of the things Morgan really prides itself on, James says, is being



Top: In the assembly shop, technicians put on wings, bonnets and body frames. Above: Putting the finishing touches to one of the seats using the finest of leathers, which come in a wide spectrum of colours. Left: Handstamping the bonnet louvres. Right: Morgan’s classic 4/4 takes to the road.

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able to offer the customer whatever he or she wants. ‘We’ve got 40,000 different paint colours and 150 to 200 leather choices. If there’s something you want that isn’t in any of those, we can sort it, down to the stitching on headrests or doors, or the piping on the carpets. The permutations are almost endless. This means that when you buy a new Morgan, you have the opportunity, should you want to take it, to create a truly one-off, like tailoring a suit. The appeal of that around the world is hugely important. What you’ll also find is we get a lot of people coming to see their car getting built. Watching that process is almost like welcoming a new member into the family. ‘You’ll probably only ever have one Morgan in your life, so you’re going to absolutely go to town and come and see it being made once – or maybe even twice. The great irony is, so many people choose the same colours: you’ll see lots of green, ivory, black, red and blue.’ Sure enough, in front of us is a Morgan in classic British racing green. All of the cars built in its 110th year will have a special commemorative badge,

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IF YOU IMAGINE THE ASH FRAME AS A COAT HANGER, WE’RE DRAPING THE ALUMINIUM BODY PANEL OVER THAT FRAME. James says. And every car will, as always, go on a 26-mile road test before it’s signed off. Once that’s taken place, they come through to the last process: PDI (pre-delivery inspection). A day is spent polishing each car mechanically, ensuring that the finish meets all of Morgan’s quality standards. From there, the car goes to logistics to be delivered. ‘Whether it’s to our dealer in Bristol or our dealer in Beijing. A lot of customers, though, like coming here to pick their cars up; a sort of pilgrimage. So

you’ll find people flying in from Europe with number plates in their luggage. They want to pick their car up from the factory, drive it through the gates and take it home. For some people, that’s their dream.’ Outside again in the sunshine, James says that the sun is Morgan’s best friend: when it shines, the sales rise, especially for the UK market. ‘People don’t often think about buying a Morgan when it’s raining. The irony of it is, with a sixmonth waiting list, the best time to buy a Morgan is in winter, because you’ll get it delivered in summer.’ Morgan has, it seems, settled on six months as the optimum waiting time. ‘We don’t like it to be any less and we don’t like it to be any more. The days of eight-year waiting lists are now gone. It’s a very romantic notion, waiting eight years for your Morgan, but most customers didn’t like having to wait that long.’ That said, there’s little doubt that more than a few of the romantic notions associated with the distant days of motoring’s golden age still cling elegantly to this most engaging of cars. ›

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ELGAR’S HEIRS The Malvern Hills are alive with the sound of David Lowe and Paul Farrer’s music. . . .







F With that ‘Oh, my God’, David’s face lights up with the enthusiasm of an 8-year-old. He’s been a composer for years, but the gogglebox and the theatre were his first loves. That said, music

Image: Pippa Sanderson

ive minutes in and we’re singing Johnny Dankworth’s theme to Tomorrow’s World circa 1975. ‘One of my favourites,’ David says. ‘It does the whole lot. And you know where you are: it’s Thursday night and Raymond Baxter’s about to appear on the telly.’ But the best, he says, was probably Blue Peter – ‘that drum roll!’ – especially when they were driving through the big doors and you got a wide shot of the entire studio. ‘And I’d be going, “Oh, my God, I can see the lights!” I was totally enthralled by it all. The BBC just evoked so many dreams.’

seems to be part of his bones: ‘When I was a kid, I was constantly having tunes in my head. And I’d be tapping rhythms.’ We’re up in his studio near the bedrooms in his house in Malvern,

which is maybe appropriate: after all, back in the 80s, David was one of the first bedroom composers. ‘Until then, people had written theme tunes with bands. Basically, the budgets for them


THE LOWE-DOWN How composer David Lowe flew the flag, topped the charts and got the pips 68 |

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A careers talk when he was a lad at school in Sutton Coldfield led to some work experience at BBC Radio Birmingham (as it then was) and, in time, a job as a sound man based at Pebble Mill. In the early 80s, he got hooked by the synthesizer sound (John Michel Jarre, Tomita, Vangelis) and, at a music fair in Bingley Hall, came across a Roland Juno-6 and, amazed at what it could do, bought it. ‘Literally from that day, I’ve never stopped writing tunes. Apart from going on holiday, I’ve pretty much done it every day from then.’

‘Lucky Number’. Charlie asked the now solo David if he’d like to do a project with him. This led to the Dreamcatcher album that, to David’s astonishment, got him a deal with Island Records. This was great, of course, but hardly made him a rock star. Charlie then suggested focusing not on another album but on coming up with a single idea: a Latin dance track, perhaps, as Latin was, Charlie said, about to get a big revival.

In an inspired move, David then added some vocals from a TV documentary he’d worked on with the Discovery Channel, a show about sexual attraction that detailed a famous psychology experiment carried out in the 70s in which attractive women and men approached strangers of the opposite sex with the statements ‘I’ve

Dave tried a remix of The Champs’ ‘Tequila’, but Charlie wasn’t keen and said that the electronic duo Propellorheads might provide some inspiration, with their use of bass,

Though David has always preferred working in the studio, he did enjoy a stint as a minor pop performer with the band Samantha and the Cool Fish. But a chance encounter with a graphics man in the Pebble Mill bar looking for someone who could write some music for Midlands Today changed his world. ‘I thought, Oh, my God, that’s perfect, because it combines everything: working with telly, writing music and being in the studio.’ He came up with the theme in less than a day. He started to build a portfolio, but didn’t get the really big gig until he teamed up with fellow composer Julian Ronnie, who got in with the ad agencies, including Saatchi and Saatchi when it was working on a contract with British Airways. Julian had studied world music at university, and what he and David did for BA was combine an ethnic sound with Delibes’ ‘Flower Duet’ from his opera Lakmé (▷

Top: In the studio, 1977, at BBC Radio Birmingham (now WM) at Pebble Mill. Above: The Radio Brum Club Posse, 1977. L–R: Harvey Edgington, Jonathan Harris, Toby Cotterill (sitting), Deborah Kerby, Jon Walkley, Presenter George Parry (sitting) Kurt Calder Freunlich and David.

davidlowemusic.com/projects/ commercials). It worked a treat. ‘And it


It caught the attention of Charlie Gillett, whose record label, Oval Records, had had hits with the likes of Paul Hardcastle’s ‘19’ and Lene Lovich’s

rhythm, instrumentals and vocal samples. Utilising the technology, David started to play around with their sound. Then he thought that something like ‘Tequila Trumpet’ might work for the chorus and asked trumpeter Jim Lynch to jam over a chord sequence.

David mixed it all together and, with no idea whether it worked or not, took it to Charlie, who listened and said, ‘Congratulations, Dave, you’ve just got your first top-10 hit.’ And Charlie was right. Not only was it a hit in the UK (peaking at no. 3) and a smash in Europe

went global. From that we got so much, with everybody wanting us to do a version like that for them. It all took off. We were the golden boys for about two years. Everybody wanted that sound.’


noticed you around. I find you very attractive.’ Followed by the question ‘Would you go to bed with me?’ The responses of the subjects were then recorded and analysed.*



*Perhaps unsurprisingly, in answer to the final question, most male subjects said yes, but all the women said no.

were like 20 to 30 grand, because you’d have to get somebody to write it and score it, and then get it played.’

CONGRATULATIONS, DAVE, YOU’VE JUST GOT YOUR FIRST TOP-10 HIT. over the idea of using a dance beat, big drums and the pips. Mr Lambie-Nairn said, ‘Can you come back Friday and bring some ideas? It doesn’t matter if they’re not right. And I’ll introduce you to the BBC executives.’ David had Thursday to come up with something for the bigwigs at the Beeb. Sitting on the train home, the pips were still on his mind. ‘Because the other thing about the brief was that it had to be about accuracy and reliability and dependability, and I thought, Oh, my God, it’s perfect.’ It was so ‘blindingly obvious’. But the most obvious ideas, he told himself, are often the best. At home, he sampled the pips but played them a semitone lower, adding a bass drum, a high hat, a bassline, a clutch of big drums and some strings for gravitas.

Above: The Cool Fish Days with Samantha Meah, in 1983. Left: David with one of his first electric organs 1978.


and Russia, but variations and samples of ‘Would you. . . ?’ have been used all over, from TV shows to adverts. It has, David says, seriously raked in the reddies. And then came another big moment. The BBC, with whom he’d continued to maintain a solid relationship, asked if he’d like to be on the shortlist to do the new theme for the news. ‘Not something you’d refuse,’ David says. So he went to a meeting with Martin Lambie-Nairn, the man then charged with rebranding the corporation. It was just a chat, initially, Mr Lambie-Nairn said, to see if they gelled. Could David go away, put something together and send it back? Which David, not expecting overmuch, duly did. . . . And he got the call. ‘I’d literally got the job as composer for the new BBC news theme. So I met him again.’ The idea he’d sent was completely wrong, Mr Lambie-Nairn said, but it put them on the map. ‘Then he started explaining what he was looking for: a modern, elegant, instantly recognisable sound or musical idea, but containing the seriousness of the BBC news. He said, “It’s going to be used online, on the radio, on telly, everywhere.”

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He took the package back down to London on the Friday, where Mr LambieNairn introduced David to the execs. ‘And I played it. And he just went, “That’s perfect. You’ve done it.”’ And, aside from the myriad variations on that core idea that would take a lot of time to work out, that was that. Then he gave me pointers using things he liked: “This big drum sound, or this dance beat there. . . .”’ Mr Lambie-Nairn wanted it to be something new; a departure from the big orchestral sound; something nobody’s ever heard before but as distinctive as the pips. Because when you hear the pips, he said, you know it’s time for the news. You could be in the kitchen washing up, but as soon as you hear that beep, beep, beep, you know where you are. . . . As David sat listening to Mr Lambie-Nairn that Wednesday, he was already mulling

Getting the news gig was, of course, a dizzyingly high point in David’s career. But there have been other triumphs that can match the excitement of landing the above. For the 2012 Olympics, David produced a remix of Vangelis’ ‘Chariots of Fire’. He recalls now the euphoria of Andy Murray thrashing Roger Federer at Wimbledon and the theatre of the following medal ceremony. ‘And we saw him getting his gold medal, with that playing in the background. And I was like, “S**t”!’ Quite. ›

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aul Farrer’s involvement in music goes back quite a way and includes a long spell with the Voluntary Choir at Worcester Cathedral. ‘I was exposed to all this amazing music as a chorister and, of course, we’d often sing with big orchestras. I’d be sitting there on the bleachers while the CBSO were right in front of me, and I was behind the percussion section. It’s a pretty profound experience, sitting in an orchestra when you’re 9 years old.’ Growing up, he was into ‘geeky’ synthesizers and drum machines and, at 16, got a job at the Old Smithy Recording Studios at Kempsey, going from making jingles for the likes of Radio Wyvern to taking care of the music. At 20, he went freelance, with the aim of becoming a composer. He now has an immense and

Image: Pippa Sanderson


impressive CV that features producing the music for such global TV hits as The Chase and The Weakest Link.

The challenges of creating modern TV quiz show music are, Paul says, not to be underestimated. ‘In the old days, you’d


CALLING DR MUSIC A seat-of-the-pants cottage industry with no two days the same WR MAGAZINE WORCESTERSHIRE




have theme music at the beginning, theme music at the end and perhaps a gong when they’d run over time. But shows like Who Wants to be a Millionaire and The Weakest Link changed all that. The whole event has become quite operatic: every moment or format point has its own piece of music.’ This means composing tens of discrete musical segments for each show that must all work seamlessly together and draw the viewer in.

Next page top: Paul’s home studio contains a multitude of musical instruments, including several keyboards and guitars. Next page bottom: Playing the melodica.

Jobs like this bring their own kind of pressures, but the Internet also means that he can put together finished material without having to schlep to a London recording studio. ‘Let’s imagine I’m working on a show that I do at the end of every year, Michael McIntyre’s Big Show. That involves a lot of musicians and the deadlines are ridiculous – a couple of day’s notice to do great big things – so what I’ll do is score the parts out and send them to a big string section in Manchester or Vienna or Macedonia. They’ll record their parts and send them back.’ Thanks to the immediacy of working online, all Paul has to do then is collate the music and press send. ‘What it’s done is turn all of us into cottage industries again. Which is lovely.’

And, of course, the Internet has profoundly altered the way a composer like Paul gets the job done; although he has a flat in London, he rarely goes there for work; pretty much everything is done in Malvern or from his place in Spain, or even on the hoof. ‘So I’m always at work. Like a doctor on call.’

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There’s a sign of this among the technological paraphernalia in his home studio: near the colossal computer screen a clock shows the time not in Malvern but in LA, reminding Paul that he’s got a commission for a trailer for a Hollywood movie; 5,000 miles away, the suits are expecting him to deliver.

And despite the technology, his role on the Michael McIntyre show is reminiscent, Paul says, of the way musicians would extemporise back in the days of variety and the music halls, when ideas for a piece of music would be shouted down to the guy in the orchestra pit, who’d scribble all the parts down.

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At times, this can be a tad hairy. Once, he got a call saying that Aled Jones was coming on and Michael wanted to do a duet with the singer, a funny version of ‘Walking in the Air’. Paul asked how long he’d got to put something together. The answer came back that, well, the theatre doors were open but most people hadn’t actually taken their seats. Yikes. Scenarios like this may sound completely bats, but Paul’s talent for handling such seat-of-the-pants situations makes him, whenever they arise, a go-to guy. But how does a composer come up with music that works? And what, in this context, does ‘works’ actually mean? A tricky question, Paul says. It’s often argued, he adds, that a good theme grabs you within the first few seconds, like Mission Impossible’s Morse code-

matter, the time of the programme, the channel that it’s on . . . all of the criteria. It has to feel that it’s the most obvious music to use. ‘But there’s great art in trying to find that inevitability.’ That said, much of it can be arrived at by putting yourself in the mind of the viewer. ‘What do I want to hear? What am I expecting? What’s inevitable?’ But whether a show and its music will go on to strike gold can be entirely unpredictable. ‘It’s the X factor. Very


often, it’s so arbitrary. There are things that, on paper, look fantastic but don’t work. I’ve been a part of so many shows that tick every box but just fall flat on their faces.’ But sometimes, when nobody’s sure if the thing’s going to do the biz or not, the most unconsidered show ends up being a hit. What is it, Paul says, about Judge Rinder, for example – for which he wrote the music – that’s made it run and run? Though he’s composed for films and video games, TV is most definitely his first love. ‘It’s a rich thing in Britain. We don’t realise how good we are at it until you travel around the world and see just how many of our ideas do well.’ And if you don’t mind the tight deadlines, and that the guy who wrote the music is unlikely to get top billing, there are great compensations. ‘There’s an unbelievable amount of music types – techno, orchestral, fun stuff, ethnic stuff. It’s got that whole world of opportunity. So every job becomes a puzzle. It allows you to use all of the toys in your toy box.’ There’s thus a sense of fulfilment that, in Paul’s view, some parts of the business lack. ‘I always say that absolutely the worst job in music would be someone like the member of an established rock band, where you just tour round and play the same songs for 40 years. The same three chords. My idea of hell.’ Which has to be the antithesis of working from a home in the Malvern Hills where you call the shots and no job is a bore or a grind. ›

inspired dah-dah di-dit. But there are those themes – Band of Brothers, for example, with its measured two and a half minutes – that don’t act on you immediately. ‘But that doesn’t make it any less good. It’s whether it’s appropriate that matters. I think Jony Ive, the Apple design guy, said that a really good design feels inevitable. And I love that word, particularly when it comes to music.’ It’s hard to quantify and qualify, Paul says, but in TV, the music must fit the subject





‘That’s basically me, but in the twentyfirst century.’


Image: Pippa Sanderson



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ominic Sandbrook has written and said quite a lot about boarding schools, but he’s not sure if that’s because he went to one. What the Old Malvernian does recognise, however, is that plenty of us are fascinated by the boarding school world, from the arcane traditions that shaped the young Jacob ReesMogg to jolly japes at Hogwarts and Malory Towers. ‘I think they loom very large in our popular imagination in a way that’s hard to miss. No matter if your school looked like Grange Hill, I think you’d still see it.’ Dominic acknowledges, though, that the nature of most schools where you both live and learn

is such that they are bound to mould a young life. And at Malvern College, the moulding was, he says, very agreeable. ‘It’s common in the arts that people who’ve been to boarding schools are embarrassed about it, or present it as this dreadful scar from which they’ve never recovered and that you should feel sorry for them and all their suffering. But I really enjoyed it.’ He speaks with great affection and admiration for two of his Malvern history teachers, Roy Allen and Joe Gauci, and their talent to enthuse. ‘You often find it with history teachers; they tend to love their subject. And certainly I had teachers who could communicate that and encouraged us to WORDS: GERALD HEYS


EDEN TO PORT STANLEY Historian, author, broadcaster and journalist Dominic Sandbrook on Malvern, Maggie and the Malvinas WR MAGAZINE WORCESTERSHIRE



The Young Turner Ambitions in Architecture and the Art of Perspective 4th May–6th July Open Monday–Saturday 10.30am–4.30pm FREE Entry Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum Foregate Street, Worcester, WR1 1DT. Tel: 01905 25371

Exhibition organised by the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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J.M.W Turner, View of the High Street, Oxford, 1809–10 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum

read and to think and to argue. Basically, those were the things that subsequently set me up.’ That ‘subsequently’ includes reading history at Balliol College, Oxford, and picking up a PhD at Cambridge. But there was also a ‘previously’: for as long as Dominic can remember, he has been in love with the past. Kicking off with the Ladybird books, and tales of Robin Hood and King Arthur, he’s always been in history’s thrall. ‘It was all about the glamour and the romance of it. The adventures. The mystery. And the narrative; to me, a lot of it is still about the narrative, I think. I could never have had a life without it.’ Assuming relatively early on at university that life in the academic bubble would always be rosy, he later realised that the gig wasn’t exactly Shangri-La. ‘Like a lot of people who go into academia, I had a very foolish and naive view of what it entailed; I could see myself in a wood-panelled room holding court over the port. As so often, you don’t think about the practicalities, or about how much money you’re going to make, or how you’re going to live.’ But there was much worse to come than tarnished expectations. Not long into his time lecturing at Sheffield University, Dominic realised that he was bored. Very bored. But not trapped. There was a way out. His PhD thesis about the American politician Eugene McCarthy was, Dominic’s examiner said, publishable, and that he would mention it to Knopf, his New York publisher. And he did. And Mr Knopf, he said yes. Dominic was delighted: writing history, not teaching it, was the way to go. ‘I just thought, I enjoy doing this. It comes easily, and it’s much more fun than teaching 40 students a second-year historiography course that none of them wants to do and I don’t want to teach.’ But what to write about after McCarthy? Dominic’s first idea was something about the Profumo affair – ‘a good story’ – but he’d also observed that there was very little in UK bookshops at the time


about modern Britain. There were, he knew, plenty of books on bookstore shelves in the States about its recent

LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO GO INTO ACADEMIA, I HAD A VERY FOOLISH AND NAIVE VIEW OF WHAT IT ENTAILED; I COULD SEE MYSELF IN A WOOD-PANELLED ROOM HOLDING COURT OVER THE PORT. history, with tons of titles about Martin Luther King, the civil rights movement, the Kennedys, Nixon. So why not do something similar for the UK? And why not cover the entire modern period instead of just Jack Profumo? But what approach should he take? What kind of history should it be? Well, there were various inspirations knocking around, Dominic says, one of which, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Years, was on the telly. ‘A sort of compilation. There would be three minutes of Slade and then they would cut to Ted Heath going to negotiate entry into the EEC. And then there would be another clip from Top of the Pops. And I thought, that gives you a real flavour of the time; more than a book on just Ted Heath would.’

snatches of music and presented by Dennis Waterman. ‘Don Revie’s Leeds sweep aside Southampton 7–0 and then you’d cut to a little bit of the three-day week. Then Dennis Waterman would say, “Meanwhile, City were going strong at the top of the table . . .” And I thought, that’s what I want to do. I want to have a book that has both Paul McCartney and Harold Wilson in it, or Ted Heath, Don Revie and Noddy Holder.’ Eureka! To cut to the chase, the first part of Dominic’s comprehensive history of modern Britain, Never Had It So Good, came out in 2005. And it was, as they say, a hit. (‘Unforgettable vignettes and revelations in this prodigious and groundbreaking study of British life.’ – the Sunday Times.) It traced the national story from the shame of Suez to the dawn of Beatlemania. This was followed by White Heat (2006), covering

THE MEETING PLACE We met Dominic for morning coffee at the sign of the prancing pony; or rather, at the Bell Inn in Moreton-inMarsh, which Tolkien aficionados regard as the inspiration for the hostelry where Frodo met Strider in The Fellowship of the Ring; a fact that the Bell has cheerfully made the most of for years via the blue plaque near the front door and the map of Middle Earth by our table. That we’re meeting in such a haunt is not entirely inappropriate: Dominic has made his name not only as an historian of the recent British past but also as a chronicler of our popular culture, including the works of J R R Tolkien. See The Great British Dream Factory (2015), which charts Britain’s rise as a cultural superpower.

And there was another similar TV show: Match of the Seventies. This consisted of clips from Match of the Day accompanied by a smidgen of national context,



the swinging 60s; and then two volumes for the turbulent 70s: State of Emergency (2010) and Seasons in the Sun (2012). About to be released is Who Dares Wins, taking the reader from 1979 to 1982: Maggie’s early years at the helm.

Dominic’s books trace not just political but economic, social and cultural events, hopping between Harold

devaluing the pound, to shopping at Biba with young Lesley Hornby (aka Twiggy), to Mick and Keith getting nicked for possession. But the political changes of the day are, however, given prominence and used to divide the drama into acts: Never Had it So Good ends as Harold Wilson steps into Downing Street; White Heat begins with Ted Heath’s unexpected victory in 1970. And Dominic thinks that these cut-off points work, not least because the stars of the show (Macmillan, Wilson, Heath,

Image: Pippa Sanderson

Here, though, there should be a note of caution about parcelling history into conveniently identifiable packages. In his books and elsewhere, Dominic frequently says that to label an entire decade as, say, ‘swinging’ is not only to

paint with far too broad a brush but may even be completely misleading. After all, for vast swathes of people, the 60s were a pleasant but relatively humdrum experience and hardly the non-stop orgy of popular myth. And, as has been pointed out more than once, sex didn’t begin in 1963 but had been on the rise, as it were, for decades.


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who saved Britain from chaos. And on the left, they would say she destroyed it and everything that’s wrong is her fault.’ This, Dominic explains, is the kind of ‘great man’ view of history that, these days, is usually dismissed as facile. (‘We no longer think Elizabeth I was responsible for the glories of the Elizabethan Age; it would be ludicrous to make that argument.’) But many of us do commonly attribute the political changes made during Thatcher’s time, for good or ill, directly to her, in a way that, Dominic says, can be ‘silly and simplistic’. Dominic’s approach is to treat Thatcher as a product of her society. ‘She’s reflecting things that are already happening. She’s accelerating some things, of course, and she’s making

Callaghan, Thatcher) play crucial parts in the national drama. Their exits and entrances matter. ‘I use them as characters, identifiable characters: White Heat is really Wilson’s story. And I’m really lucky that the prime ministers generally tend to be interesting personalities. And obviously Thatcher in the current book is a gift. ‘She’s brilliant as a character because she’s always doing something interesting or saying something really striking. So it’s irresistible from that point of view.’


Regardless of where you stand politically, Dominic says, Mrs T is often seen as not so much polarising as game-changing. ‘The thing with her, as opposed to all these other characters we’re talking about, is most people will say, if they look at Heath, Wilson, Macmillan, that they’re products of their society. If all of them had been rounded up in 1950 and locked up and never let out again, would Britain today be at all different? And most people would say that in no regard would Britain be different at all. With Thatcher, people take a totally different view. On the right, they would say she’s the woman

small differences. But you have to ask yourself, is she really the person who’s single handedly changing it? Is she really pulling a lever and a factory closes in South Wales? Or was that factory doomed anyway? And I think that to see her as a prisoner of events, rather than as the architect of events, is a more interesting way of looking at it. That’s the case with all politicians, I think. They’re not the masters of their own destiny. They wake up in the morning and they have a series of unpalatable choices to make, and that’s the same with Thatcher.’



To become familiar with this material, Dominic says, is to disabuse yourself of any notion that politicians are allconquering gods. The sense it gives is that here’s a person stuck behind a desk who’s got a pile of paper to wade through and a myriad of constituencies to satisfy and questions and promises to consider, while all the time having to listen to civil servants’ advice and keep an eye on the available money. ‘And that’s what life as a politician, as a minister, as a prime minister is like. But there are those who refuse to accept that a politician like Mrs Thatcher can be like this. They insist on seeing her as this Boadicea or as this monstrous Cruella de Vil. And you know, when you dig into it, it’s always more interesting and complicated.’ That’s not to say that she wasn’t a great character, Dominic says. Of course she was. She was a diva, a performer who ‘forced herself almost onto every page of the book’ and provoked such remarkably strong opinions. But when you look at policy, much of what she and her government did was neither utterly unique nor entirely original. To imagine that it was, is to ignore what other governments in other countries were doing, which, in many cases, was not so very different. ‘All the things we associate with Thatcherism have happened pretty much everywhere. Sometimes people say, “Well that’s because they’re just copying Thatcher.” But that’s ridiculous. People are not just sitting around in foreign lands saying, “What are the British doing?” And would South Yorkshire be full of booming coal mines if Margaret Thatcher had never existed? Obviously

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not.’ So what is it that Dominic thinks makes her distinctive? Exactly what is her legacy? He argues that one of the things that makes her unlike her predecessors was often more about tone than content. ‘There’s a kind of certainty and a stridency and a sort of ideological vigour in what she said that her supporters found absolutely invigorating

‘But I think that what also makes her different, and what those jaded civil servants and world-weary Tory patricians often found actually embarrassing, was she was fervently patriotic to the extent she was suffused with a belief in Britain’s unique history and destiny. Sometimes she says in interviews, “I know the British people are with me. I feel I know


what they want. The British people love freedom.” Now, it’s very hard to imagine Ted Heath or Harold Wilson saying that.

Image: Pippa Sanderson

Evidence for this, Dominic says, can be seen from reading her papers. And you can do this with Maggie, he adds, more easily than with any other politician. Thanks to the Thatcher Foundation, there is a website that has ‘every remark she ever made and ever document she ever read’, and you can examine all of her speeches and the annotations she made on every document that crossed her desk from her prime minister’s file.

Eugene Joseph McCarthy (1916–2005) was a US senator from Minnesota, whose entry into the 1968 race for the Democratic presidential nomination on an antiVietnam War platform ultimately led President Lyndon B Johnson to drop his bid for reelection. McCarthy never earned the presidential nomination himself but made five attempts to do so.

and her critics found horrific. And a lot of that, I think, comes from her religious background. The daughter of somebody who was very religious, she’d go to church multiple times at weekends as a child. She’d grown up with this language of fire and brimstone, and she reaches for it at every opportunity. The difference between Tories and Labour are not just minor differences about the economy; it’s good versus evil. She loves all that. And that makes her different.

‘When she moves into Number 10, she asks why there are no pictures of Nelson and Wellington. She was absolutely seized with a belief that Britain has a unique character and history, that Britain is freer, more virtuous; more godly, I suppose. It’s a very deeply rooted kind of idea, Britain as a chosen nation. And she thinks economics are a matter of virtue – and morality – as much as anything: you pay your way; inflation is robbing future generations; debauching the value of the currency is an immoral thing to do; it encourages borrowing; and it encourages waste and overspending.’ And then came the Falklands. And, Dominic says, she finds a role, and almost unexpectedly. It wasn’t, he adds, a war she wanted but, thanks to the Argentinians, it came. ‘And suddenly, as someone who is a great performer, she has found the part that she really enjoys and that she is brilliantly suited to play. And the public

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Dominic outlines how 1981 – the year of Chariots of Fire, Botham’s Ashes and the royal wedding – is also the year of the urban riots and the absolute nadir of the recession. ‘So on the one hand, you have Britain’s fortunes apparently at their lowest ebb since 1940; a real sense that the crisis of the 70s has not been reversed, it has deepened. And just at that moment, there are two stories on the front pages: Botham being stripped of the England captaincy and inner-city riots. Britain was once top nation, and now we’re in the gutter. Our streets are awash with rioting and unemployment and urban breakdown. And the cricket team, which is this kind of symbol of Englishness, is sunk in shame and misery and disaster.’ But ‘Beefy’ Botham bounces back. And the Aussies are whipped. ‘There’s probably a bit of Botham that wishes he’d been on the deck of HMS Victory alongside Nelson, or at Rorke's Drift. People said of the Bothams that they were exceedingly patriotic and all his friends say of him you’ll never meet a more patriotic man. And that, I think, anticipates what shocks the more herbivorous characters less than a year later, which is this explosion of patriotism when the Falklands War broke out.’ Thatcher, Dominic says, decides pretty much straight away that we’ll send a task force. And the public are right behind her. ‘People like Salman Rushdie writing impassioned articles in The Guardian cannot believe that the public are so enthusiastic about the war. They are appalled. And polls show that if a lot of people had had their way, Britain would have invaded Argentina and we’d have been bombing Buenos Aires; if anything, the government was not tough enough. But there’s obviously a part of society, let’s say 15–20 per cent, who are just appalled.’ Dominic refers to a book called Authors Take Sides on the Falklands, published


in summer 1982 and similar to a book produced in the Spanish Civil War that asked whether writers backed Franco or the Republicans. ‘So they’ve got like a hundred authors and intellectuals to express their opinion and some of them – the Kingsley Amis types – say, “I think we should nuke them. I’m going to join up myself.” That kind of thing. But the majority, of course, are absolutely aghast. And what makes them so aghast is how patriotic people are. They are horrified that the common man and woman are so old-fashioned and are almost like people from the eighteenth century.’

of Britishness is defunct. Obviously, our future is in Europe.”’


The Falklands War feels, Dominics says, like a really important hinge moment for Thatcher’s government. After it, Maggie was unstoppable. He adds that he thinks that in 1983, she would have won anyway, regardless of the Falklands, because the economy was recovering after its absolute nadir. ‘It’s easy to forget when we’re talking about unemployment in the 80s, that at any given moment, nine out of 10 people were still working.

The nature of the public response has caused Dominic to consider the Falklands War to be a hugely underrated moment in our modern history. The flag-waving and similar patriotic displays when the fleet came back were, he says, significant. ‘It was the first time that had happened since World War II. Every other time you’d seen a flag before the fleet returned, it had been coming down. It had been in Ghana – or somewhere – and descending. I could fill the book with excerpts from newspapers or interviews with people who are saying, “Britain is back. I’m proud of Britain again.”’ And if Argentina had won? ‘It would have seemed to confirm that sort of declinist version of our recent history. An awful lot of people would have said, “Well, this really proves that it has all been downhill since 1945. This really proves that the old idea of a Union-Jack-Rule-Britannia sort

And Dominic thinks that a line can be drawn from the Falklands to our current time and the battle over Brexit. ‘Because to a lot of people it confirmed that Britain can fight. Britain can do it on its own. It’s a maritime war. It’s an island people being rescued from fascists. It plays into every myth of our kind of patriotic identity. I’m not saying that exit from the EU was inevitable, but lots of people do think of Britain as different, as special. We’re not like the Finns, the Greeks or the Luxembourgers.’

‘And for the nine out of 10 who were working, living standards were rising every year. They had stagnated in the 70s, whereas they were rising quite sharply in middle-class boom towns. If you went to Basingstoke or Peterborough or Cambridge or Reading in 1981 or 1982, these are places that are doing very well. But they don’t feature in our memory of the 80s; it’s either Liverpool or it’s Canary Wharf. But those are the people who give Thatcher her majority in 1983.’ The period comes back as we talk: Argie Bargies in The Sun; watching Bob Willis through Rumbelows window as he steamed in like a nutter; Mrs Thatcher urging ‘Rejoice!’ – a word you only ever heard in a hymn – to embarrassed journalists outside Number 10. . . . It never is, of course, but as a thing to study and contemplate, the history of what as children we think of as ‘the olden days’ feels like it’s complete; it’s all done, dusted and buried. But the recent past seems to go on forever. ›




have been thirsting for it. I mean, one thing that really struck me doing this book was how much appetite there was. And it was building. And you can really feel it building as the story goes on.’

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Profile for WR Magazine

WR magazine Summer 2019