Tour of Hinton and Hunterdon wards in Hereford – 21st June 2018

As part of a programme to get to know our County better, Councillor Chris Chappell gave us a tour of his ward in South Wye, with particular focus on the social centres of Hinton and Saxon Hall. We have previously visited the Kindle Centre which also plays a key role in the community, (see post for 27th April) .

It was moving to pause at the immaculately kept cemetery for the Regiment at St. Martins Church and reflect on the role that the Regiment plays in the County. See here.

This is an area that has had many challenges and the community is clearly rising to those challenges. Both Community Centres (and the Kindle) are hives of activity due to a dedicated staff and volunteers. Next door to the Rotherwas Industrial Estate and the Skylon Enterprise zone, it has interesting employment on its doorstep that should grow.

Meeting with Herefordshire Police -21st June 2018

This was an informal meeting and tour of Herefordshire Police Station. The Police Force took over active responsibility for bringing criminals to book from the Sheriff of the county in the early 19th century. Thus, working with the police is a central part of the role of High Sheriff. This will be one on a number of such meetings for the current High Sheriff as previous High Sheriffs have done before.

Civic Fabric – Skills, Sustainability and strong futures for Culture – 19th June 2018

Rural Media organised a conference at the Left Bank in Hereford. They work with the Brightspace Foundation who work for our county under the banner of “Herefordshire’s a Great Place”.

The conference had presentations and panels covering wide range of cultural interests. The emphasis was on collaboration and partnership and the key role of volunteers.

Here is a link to a video that Rural Media made of the conference that explains what it was all about.

Annual Concert of the Hereford Police Choir – 16th June 2018

The Hereford Police Male Choir were joined by the Avon and Somerset Constabulary Male Voice Choir and baritone soloist, Stephen Davies in singing a range of pieces from Welsh folk through Spirituals to Musicals.

In addition Violin Soloist, Raye Harvey, who received the Hereford Police Male Voice Choir Young Musician’s Bursary sponsored by the Becket Bulmer Fund (managed by the Herefordshire Community Foundation), played a Movement from a concerto by Mozart exquisitely.

The Hereford choir started in 1957, some time before their Avon and Somerset colleagues. At the end of each half, they sang together. Lovely.

Herefordshire Light Infantry Museum – The Chipp Medals – 15th June 2018

The Herefordshire Light Infantry Museum at Suvla Barracks, Hereford, has managed to acquire the medals wards to Lt. Colonel Wilkins Fitzwilliam Chipp D.S.O and bar., O.B.E., M.C., E.D. Croix de Guerre, France and Belgium, the most decorated Herefordshire regiment soldier who serves in uniform from 1899 to 1956. We attended a preview before they went on display at the museum.

Lt Col. Chipp has a quite extraordinary military career. He was born in 1882 and died in 1970 so a long life too. This link takes you to an excellent account.

The account says little about his career outside the military but it is clear that he was thought of highly in the forestry industry. Here is the obituary in the Commonwealth Forestry Review

The old cliché “They don’t make them like that anymore” seems all too true.

The Royal Three County Show – 15th June 2018

Every June, the Counties and Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire hold what must be the best agricultural show in the Country at the showground in Malvern. It is good to know that agriculture and music bind our three counties together, what a combination.

Today was the opening day with an Opening ceremony and Long Service awards given out.

The Showground in Malvern has a full programme of events. This includes big events under the Royal Horticultural Society banner and various conferences. Click here for more information.


Herefordshire and Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service – Tuesday 12th June

The Chief Fire Officer for the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service picked us up from home on the East of the County. The programme had us getting to Peterchurch on the West of the County in 15 minutes. This would have been optimistic even with the excitement of a blue light. However, the public will be pleased to know that blue lights are not used lightly and certainly not in these circumstances. The timing was a clerical error.

We got to Peterchurch where the service has a fire training facility that was demonstrated to us. Our fire personnel are volunteers on call when needed. Those on call have to be at their fire-station within a few minutes. The fire-station network is such that this service is usually the first responders to an incident. Their capabilities are broad. Due to the fire prevention work that they do, fires are less frequent than they used to be. Sadly, traffic accidents are not going in the same direction and the service is coming up against new challenges dealing with accidents as technology changes vehicles.

We then went on to the Hereford Fire-station. After getting a lofty view of Hereford from the top of a fire platform at full extension (high!), a number of us sat down and talked about the service and the wide range of skills that it can bring to bear. Particularly good to hear was the degree of cooperation with other services such as the police and ambulance in ways that were not obvious.

We are fortunate to have them at the service of the public.

Visit to Long Lartin Prison, Evesham – Monday 11th June

At the invitation of Cassian Roberts, High Sheriff of Worcestershire, we accompanied him and Jane, his wife, on a visit to Long Lartin prison.

Long Lartin is a Category A men’s prison. Prisons are categorised A to D and A is for those considered to be the most dangerous. The links are to Wikipedia entries which should be read with care.

For some of us, it was remarkably difficult to get in through the security which created one of the day’s few lighter moments. None should be under any illusion that being incarcerated here is a soft option. Prisoners sent here are likely to have been given sentences of ten years or more. However, the staff are very conscious of the need to treat their prisoners humanely and try to prepare them for a new life when they are freed. Each prisoner has to be considered as an individual, both from the point of view of his needs and also to keep others safe. This requires very difficult judgements. Always to take the safe option would result in lock down that would, over the longer term be less safe.

We were given a very comprehensive tour of the prison, particularly the workshops. The Deputy Governor and her staff were very hospitable.

Long Lartin finds itself trapped in an unenviable position concerning prison inspections. It is marked down for some of its accommodation. It has put in proposals to rectify these serious deficiencies to be told that there is no budget. Not good for morale. Society needs to face up to the need to manage well those it feels that it must lock up. It will be cheaper in the long term.

Anne Frank Memorial Day Service – Saturday 9th June


We were invited to attend a memorial service for Anne Frank which took place at Saxon Hall, Hereford as part of a Jewish religious service for the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Liberal Jewish Communities. Most of the service was conducted by Rabbi Anna Gerrard in the hall but the part dedicated to Anne Frank took place outside around the memorial tree. For a number of us, it was our first experience of a Jewish service but much was familiar. Thirty Boys from Monmouth Boy’s Prep School sang expertly.

The Deputy Mayor of Hereford, Kath Hey and Canon  Anna Nugent from Hereford Cathedral also attended.

It was a gathering of different traditions gathering to celebrate our common humanity.

Hereford Times report

Herefordshire Jewish Community

Saxon Hall

Visit to Offices of Encore Enterprises – Wednesday 6th June

Having attended the Spring concert of the Herefordshire Schools Brass and Concert Bands (see earlier report), I was keen to know more about music in Hereford schools.

So I visited their office on June 6th at Lugwardine Court, outside Hereford and was told more about what they do by Cliff Woollard, Managing Director and Roger Wiebkin , Learning and development Manager. In effect, the Local Education Authority have outsourced what was the Herefordshire Music Service to Encore that was specially set up to take over the job. This struck me as an example of outsourcing at its best with lots of scope for innovative thinking.

It would be hard to over-estimate the importance of music in the upbringing of our young people. Not only can it give great individual satisfaction but it brings people together to work as a team. There is not more demanding need to work as a team than an orchestra!

Here is a link to their web-site again.