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.

Hereford Cathedral and Whitecross Schools CCF Biennial Inspection – Thursday 26th April

It was a pleasure to attend this event and to see so many young people taking part.

Hereford Cathedral School

Whitecross School

Royal Visit – HRH The Countess of Wessex – Wednesday 25th April

The County was honoured by the presence of HRH The Countess of Wessex and was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant, the Dowager Countess of Darnley, who then presented HRH to a number of county dignitaries and their partners.

Air Vice Marshall Mike Smart escorted HRH to the “Weeping Window” display of ceramic poppies that had been set up as a cascade from a high window on a tower to the East of the North door of Hereford Cathedral. The poppies were the same as were on display at the Tower Of London in 2017 to commemorate the fallen of the First World War and made a powerful impression on the viewer.

HRH was then introduced to a group of former munition workers at the munitions factory in Rotherwas that was still in production until well after the second world war finished. I was told some hair raising stories told with remarkable understatement. https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/info/200164/herefordshire_archive_and_records_centre/273/rotherwas_munitions_project/2

HRH was also shown the new SAS Memorial Window, ‘Ascension’, a beautiful new addition to our Cathedral. http://www.sasmemorial.co.uk/ HRH was presented with a (delicious looking) hamper of Herefordshire produce by Mrs Dorothy Knight, a former munitions worker now aged 96. I had talked to her beforehand and was struck by the way she talked about her experiences.

HRH was escorted across the road to the Hereford Museum to see the “Herefordshire in the Great War” exhibition as well as artwork by Herefordshire artist, Brian Hatton, a man of remarkable talent from Hereford, born in 1887 and, tragically killed in 1916. In his short 39 years of life, he produced over 1,000 art works. One can’t help but reflect on what might have been. HRH also met a group of children who had won prizes for their artwork remembering the First World War and met the sponsors of the prizes, former High Sheriff, Bob Tabor and his wife Bea. HRH was also given a briefing on the work of Caplor Horizons in Commonwealth Countries. https://www.caplorhorizons.org/

HRH was then taken to the Hereford Cider Museum, formerly a Bulmer site but dedicated to all cider making in the county where we all enjoyed tours of the Museum. We also all enjoyed a good lunch. Finally, HRH was given a briefing of the work and continuity of the Brightspace Foundation.  https://www.brightspacefoundation.org.uk/.

HRH then made her departure.

Grand Opening of the Bromyard Heritage Trail – Sunday 22nd April

The High Sheriff was asked to be dressed in full 18th century Court Dress for this great fun occasion. Bromyard have devised a Heritage trail from the Heritage Centre via St. Peter’s Church, the Alms houses and the Falcon Hotel (that was part of the carrier/coach and mail system when the horse was the only alterative to ones feet), past the most beautiful black and white houses and important refreshment opportunities to end at the Petty Bridge Toll House. www.VisitBromyard.org.uk.

Bromyard was in festive mode. Before the High Sheriff cut the ribbon on the Trail, everyone was entertained by the Belle d’Vain Morris dancers “ranting” the Trail. I recognised the Scottish dance tune that was being played but misremembered its name in the speech. Luckily few spotted it. We met a Highwayman (a number of times) but I was better armed than he.

I was escorted by Cadet Stephen Gow, who ushered Laura and me to where we should be at any time and was clearly anxious when we dawdled. He did a brilliant job and his boots shone like mirrors. A credit to the Cadet Force.

Thanks are owed to Jan Scrine, the Mayoress of Bromyard and Winslow, who made the Heritage trail happen, to Fred Clarke, the Mayor, and the Heritage lottery fund who helped pay for the Trail information boards.

The Declaration of David Price as High Sheriff of Powys – Saturday 21st April

Laura and I attended the declaration ceremony of David Price as High Sheriff of Powys at the Strand Hall in Builth Wells. Each Bailiwick does these ceremonies a little differently but all require the incoming High Sheriff to swear an oath written in English that is not entirely clear. Before I was swore my own oath at the Herefordshire ceremony on 13th April, Laura and I had attended the Declarations of Rhoddy Swire as High Sheriff for Shropshire, Cassian Roberts for Worcestershire and Charles Martell for Gloucestershire (so al our neighbours except Gwent).

The outgoing High Sheriff of Powys, Susan Thompson, reflected on her year in office. His Honour, Judge Richard Twomlow addressed us on our ancient office and the new High Sheriff responded and talked about his hopes for the year.

At the end, a member of the audience stood up, microphone in hand and burst into song. Then another. Then another and finally the new High Sheriff himself. These were the Young Farmers with whom David is much involved. The High Sheriff of Shropshire, Rhoddy Swire was also there with Georgina, his wife and we reflected whether this should be a tradition that we should introduce to our Counties. The jury is out.

We were treated to an excellent lunch afterwards.

Music Pool Business Forum Event – Friday 20th April

The High Sheriff attended a function aimed at raising awareness in the local business community of this wonderful charity which is “dedicated to providing chances for people of all ages and abilities to make all sorts of music together, because it is one of the most powerful ways to improve people’s lives and well-being, and the life of their communities” – to quote their web-site. http://www.musicpool.org.uk/

We were addressed by Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire and a Patron of the charity, followed by James Miller, Chairman of the Charity who both told us more about the charity.

We were then addressed by Karen Usher DL, who is a key member of the team that is bringing a new university to Hereford and Herefordshire. It is in the High Sheriff’s remit to promote the County and  I view the success of this project as crucial to the healthy future of Herefordshire. It will bring opportunities and jobs to the area and arrest the net exodus of young people from the County.  http://nmite.org.uk/.

It was encouraging to be told that it is never too late to take up an instrument and there were people there of similar age to the High Sheriff to prove it!   Music makes creative people and team workers, all of which we badly need. Anyone reading this, please support them.