Royal Visit – HRH Princess Alexandra – Thursday 17th May

The County was honoured by the presence of HRH Princess Alexandra. The visit started at St. Michael’s Hospice, Bartestree. Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant presented a number of dignitaries and some of St. Michael’s major donors before being given a tour of the Hospice which has recently been greatly expanded and changed. HRH met a number of patients, volunteers, staff and supporters. The Hospice Choir gave a short recital. HRH presented a Life Time Patron Award to two of the Hospices Founders – Dr. Richard Miller and Dr. Jeffery Kramer.

HRH then visited I & JL Brown Limited, Whitestone. A number of management and staff were presented to HRH and there followed a tour of the factory where much beautiful furniture is being made.

After tea, HRH departed.

Royal Visit – HRH The Duke of Gloucester – Thursday 10th May

The County was honoured by the presence of HRH The Duke of Gloucester. The visit started at Lucton School, Leominster. Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant presented a number of dignitaries to HRH before HRH laid a wreath at the school’s war memorial. HRH then took the salute and inspected the School Cadets before awarding a number of prizes to particularly distinguished Cadets. HRH then toured a number of demonstration stands relating to cadet activities.

After lunch, HRH visited Leominster Priory. After a number of presentations of representatives of Leominster Town Council, the Priory, the organisers of the forthcoming choral recital and the Leominster Medieval Pageant, we heard a beautiful recital by a combined local school and community choir.

HRH was escorted past the Verdun Oak to Grange Court, where a number of people involved with the Grange were presented to HRH before being a tour. Refreshments were served by representatives of MiEnterprise. HRH viewed a display by Leominster in Stitches.

The Lord Lieutenant presented Mr Mike Thornhill MBE and said a few words before Mr. Thornhill was presented with his MBE by HRH.

HRH was escorted to Corn Square where he was announced by the Town Crier. A number of presentations were made and HRH was given a tour of the exhibition area in the Tourist Information Centre. The Mayor then escorted HRH through the market stalls set up by “Community Expo” covering a number of community groups and support organisations.

HRH visited Brightwells, the auctioneers. Various presentations were made and HRH visited the Fine Arts Section, the Vehicle Auction room and the Classic Car showroom. The High Sheriff particularly enjoyed these last two but left empty handed.

After unveiling a plaque to commemorate the visit, the Royal party left the County.

Hereford May Fair – Tuesday 8th May

From river frolics to dry land. This fair goes back to a Royal Charter in 1121. It has an interesting history and more information can be found here. The Bishop of Hereford was duly paid his rent in bushels of the best wheat and we very much enjoyed his acceptance speech. All the fun of the fair was there. The High Sheriff could not resist the candy floss but was able to resist the big wheel having become separated from the Mayor’s party which might otherwise have forced him to give it a go.

Hereford River Carnival – Saturday May 5th

We joined Will Lindesay, representing the Lord Lieutenant, The Bishop of Hereford, the Dean of Hereford, the Mayor and Junior Mayor of Hereford and the Chair of the Herefordshire Youth Council to process from the west end of the cathedral to the Left Bank village for the opening ceremony of this festival. Take a look at their web-site to get the idea! It was a hot day and those in their livery (thank goodness I was not) got very hot indeed.

Many thanks to Stuart Fox, Jo Henshaw and the team for organising what is a complicated event.


Spring concert of Brass and Concert Bands – Courtyard Theatre, Hereford – Tuesday 1st May

Music in Herefordshire schools is now run by Encore Entreprises who took on the Herefordshire Music Service. Do look at their web-site to understand all that they do to bring music to our young people and help them to make music.

We attend this concert to hear the Intermediate Concert Band, The Herefordshire Youth Brass Bands, the Junior Concert Band and, finally and quite spectacularly, the Herefordshire Youth Concert Band playing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, written to celebrate the  victory of the Russians over the French in that year. It contains pyrotechnics and other crashes and bangs which, in this performance, were not held back. The orchestra played as if it happened all the time. Just great. All the orchestras were of a very high standard. There were a lot of proud parents there.


Vennture Student Graduation

It would be impossible to overstate what a great charity this is. Its origins go back to 1856 when the then vicar of St. Peters’ in Hereford and his sister, Amelia, set out to help in a number of ways struggling families in the city.

Today (to steal from their web-site) Vennture remains a Christian cross-church initiative true to John and Emelia’s original vision of loving those who are marginalised or vulnerable. Their work relies on an army of rigorous trained volunteers, incredibly diverse (from retirees to students) but all who share a passion to make a difference by ‘Loving people better.’

This is put into practise in a number of ways. They run teams of Street Pastors helping people who get into trouble on the streets at night. The Street Pastors may have to pass people on to the  “Lean on Me” volunteers to access their needs. They may otherwise end up at the police station or the hospital. The Ambassadors help people out and about during the day. Their Family Pastors help people at home.

These volunteers are given considerable responsibility to make decisions about people’s needs and they go through a rigorous training. Today, new volunteers, having been through this training were “passed out” and given certificates by Paul Deneen on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant and Street Pastor tea-shirts by the High Sheriff.

Do find out more with this link to their web-site.

RAF 100th Anniversary Service – Sunday 29th April

Air Vice Marshal Mike Smart and Hereford Cathedral with their respective teams created a memorable celebration of this important anniversary. We heard accounts and poems that illustrated many aspects of the service – the bravery, especially in those early days, the dangers and tragedies, the excitement and joy too. Humour played its part with the gentlemen of the choir singing “Those magnificent men in their flying machines”.

The service was followed by a March past with the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire taking the salute.


This link takes you to the National RAF 100 Anniversary web-site.

CUP Ceramics fund-raising – Saturday 28th April

CUP Ceramics is an open access project aimed at all who want to make things in ceramics and work together so doing. We attend this fund-raising. They hope to launch this Autumn.  CUP Ceramics.

Barton Court, Colwall – Launch – Saturday 28th April

Barton Court, a beautiful Georgian House near Colwall, north of Ledbury, has been turned into an events venue and place to stay. This was their launch. Barton Court.

Hereford Labyrinth Opening and tour of Kindle Centre – Friday 27th April

I was unable to attend the opening of the Hereford Labyrinth, on the South side of the Wye in Hereford opposite the Cathedral. I joined the party at the Kindle Centre next door to Asda just over the bridge on the South side in Hereford and was then given a tour of this impressive Community Facility by Amanda Evans who runs it. Kindle Centre.

On a subsequent day, I found myself between meetings in the area and have walked the labyrinth to the centre and back most carefully. Hereford Labyrinth.