HVOSS Talent Match – 19th December 2018

Herefordshire Voluntary Organisations Support Service (Hvoss) won a contract for £1.8m from the Big Lottery (as part of a nationwide scheme of £108m) to run the local Talent Match partnership covering Herefordshire and Telford.

Talent Match is “a scheme designed by young people for young people, with the aim of helping those aged 18-24 who are struggling the most to find career opportunities.” The goal is to reduce youth unemployment. Here is a link to the relevant page on the Hvoss web-site.

The Herefordshire team had their Christmas lunch at the MBA Bowling Alley near Hereford Station. We joined them to hand out certificates to those who had done particularly well in overcoming some sort of barrier to achieve a goal.

All it takes is a little help for people to achieve something and make a contribution. A little goes a long way.

South Wye Over ’60’s Christmas Lunch – 19th December 2018

The Over ’60’s Club held their Christmas dinner at the Kindle Centre today. Cllr. Paul Rone was the chief chef and produced a delicious lunch for 100 or so eager feasters. A number of us volunteered to help serve and wash up in return for our rations. We heard some carols sung by local children and it was what Christmas is about – celebrating the birth of Jesus who taught us to look after our neighbours.

Ledbury Town Carol Service – 16th December 2018

This was a carol service with a difference. It called itself “A nativity play for grown-ups” and it was. It was led by the Ledbury Community choir led by Philip Holland. A new script had been written telling the story of the nativity and it was acted out under the direction of Sue Millington-Jones. The script was hard hitting, not shying away from the practical difficulties there must have been at the time. Christmas has, since Victorian times, been somewhat sanitised and this production moved away from that tradition back to the Mummers of yore (though sadly no scripts survive).

The town of Ledbury came together to produce this event. St. Michael’s was full and, yes, we sang some hearty carols too.

Traditional refreshments were very welcome afterwards.

2018 Premier Charity Christmas Boxing Dinner – 15th December 2018

The South Wye Police Boxing Academy, led by Vince McNally and Tony Chadwick, laid on this evening in aid of charity. Although the Academy is based at the Hinton Community Centre in Hereford, the dinner was held at Hereford Sixth Form College. The supported charity was the Hereford Sixth Form College’s Hardship Fund, to support students who cannot get funding from elsewhere either for their course or for materials or educational trips.

The gym was packed with supporters of the boxers from home and away for 11 bouts each with a generous sponsor. BMW Cotswold Hereford were the main sponsor of the event.

The atmosphere was very friendly and I now know more about boxing but I am glad that I am too old to take it up.


Attendance at Hereford Crown Court – 13th and 14th December 2018

His Honour, Judge Daniel Pearce-Higgins QC, the Honourable Recorder of Herefordshire, invited us to sit with him to hear a case. We were also there for some hearings on legal matters.

Although it is unlikely that Hereford will have a visiting judge during this year of Shrieval office, it is part of the role of the Sheriff to understand all types of justice dispensed in the County. It is alarming that some much is now being done outside the County. As it was, the case did not involve people from within Herefordshire but had been allocated to the Hereford Court for administrative reasons. Whether this is desirable is moot.

Hereford Cathedral School Carol Service – 13th December 2018

Hereford Cathedral School held its annual carol service in Hereford Cathedral today. As one might expect, this was musical perfection. With the combination of the two institutions, now separate legally but rooted in the same inspiration, how could it be otherwise?

The congregation were invited to join in a rendering of the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah. The music was printed in the programme.  Handel would have recognised it and, I like to think, would have been thrilled that so many people were prepared to give it a go so long after its first performance in Dublin on 13th April 1742. While writing, I was inspired to find out more. Here is a link.

The Bishop of Hereford gave the Address which emphasised that God is within all of us if we care to look.

HCF have an amazing number of choirs – Cantabile, the Cathedral Choristers, Colla Voce, the Chamber Choir, the Junior Choir and the Chapel Choir. All filled the Cathedral space with beauty.




Royal Visit – The Princess Royal – 12th December 2018

The Princess Royal is the Patron of the Townswomen’s Guilds. The first Guild was formed in Hayward’s Heath in 1929. There are now about 550 such Guilds with 20,000 members. Their home page summarises their goals to be:

TG provides the opportunity for women everywhere to find support, encouragement, friendship and fun!

It was born out of the Women’s Suffrage movement. Suffrage for women on an equal footing to men finally came in the UK by Act of Parliament in 1928. The Guilds then continued to campaign by peaceful means for other equal rights for women and to support one another in the ancient tradition of guilds.

Here is a link to Wikipedia’s entry on Women’s Suffrage in the UK.

Here is a link to the Townswomen’s Guild web-site.

Every year, the Guilds hold three carol services, one in the North, one in the Southeast and one in the West. Hereford Cathedral agreed to host the one in the West this year and The Princess Royal, their Patron, joined them and read a lesson. The Academia Musica Choir led the congregation and performed a number of musical pieces suitable to the season mixing traditional with lesser known but lovely works. The Dean of Hereford gave the address.

It was an honour and a pleasure for Herefordshire to welcome the Princess Royal and a Cathedral full of folk from all over the region. Here are some pictures.

Hereford Choral Society performance of Handel’s Messiah – 8th December 2018

There Hereford Choral Society gave a performance of Handel’s Messiah by candlelight in Hereford Cathedral. The soloists were Lorena Paz Nieto, soprano; Jess Dandy, mezzo; Ruari Bowen, Tenor; Malachy Frame, Bass. The orchestra was Marches Baroque led by Sharon Lindo and conducted by Geraint Bowen, the Director of Music at the Cathedral.

The evening was kindly sponsored by the Clive and Sylvia Richards Charity. Thank you.

The whole performance was very good but the arias that included the solo violin were on an even high plain of beauty.

Flash Mob – Care for Heroes – Hereford – 8th December 2018

At 1:30pm in the Old Market in Hereford, what appeared to be casual Christmas Shoppers were transformed into a synchronised dance to publicise Herefordshire Council’s Care for Heroes programme to encourage people into the caring profession.

It had been postponed once due to terrible weather. This time, the weather thought about doing the same but didn’t. I did not count but there must have been at least 40 people dancing away in almost perfect unison. Great fun and entertained the shoppers magnificently.

Here is a link to the Care for Heroes campaign. Herefordshire badly needs more people to help look after those in need themselves.


Hereford Cathedral Choir in London – 4th December 2018

The Hereford Cathedral Choir, for the ninth year running, held its Advent Service at the Guards Chapel in London. The Service was attended by TRH the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

HRH the Duke of Gloucester laid a wreath at the Special Air Service memorial at the start. What followed included the great Advent hymns – Veni Redemptory Gentium with the glorious melody by Michael Praetorius, Vox Clara Ecce Intonat to the tune Merton, Veni, Veni Emmanuel to the well know tune adapted from a French missal, Jordanis Oras Praevia to the tune Winchester New and Lo, He comes with clouds descending to the tune Helmsley.

We heard readings about the coming of Christ and the choir sang a number of advent carols that looked to the coming of the Messiah.

A very moving event.

The service is in support of the Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust which has to raise over £400,000 annually to support the cathedral choir, the education outreach work, the continuing fabric restoration programme and the cathedral’s mission and ministry. there is much going on.