Good causes and charities will do battle in Marlborough later this month for a slice of a £6,000 jackpot.
The nine community organisations won a place in the final of the Budgens of Marlborough Community Giveaway after their supporters voted for them in a contest run on Facebook.
Nineteen groups faced each other in three categories – Education and Young People, Health, Wellbeing and Social, and Community & The Arts.
Now the finalists will find themselves in the spotlight as representatives from each community group are invited to pitch their ideas to a voting audience at The Theatre on the Hill, St John's School, Marlborough on Thursday, September 27 from 7pm.
The community group from each category that receives the most votes on the night will walk away with £1,000.
And all of the nine finalists will get a share of another £1,000 over the first three months of the new forecourt opening.
Customers will be given a token each time they shop, to vote for one of three organisations per month. Each of these three organisations will get a share of £1,000, proportional to the amount of tokens they receive in-store.
Anyone can apply for a ticket, which will give them a vote to support their favourite community organisation. Tickets, which are free, can be booked through the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BudgensMarlborough or at www.budgensmarlborough.eventbrite.com
The Community Giveaway is being staged by Budgens of Marlborough, which is opening a petrol station, convenience store and Subway outlet at Marlborough Business Park in October. Work on the £2 million development, which will create 50 new jobs, started in July.
The finalists, and their projects, are:
Education and Young People:
St John's School
Having completed the new school building without the help of any national government funding, and moved in late 2009, the school is now working hard to raise the money needed to complete the external sports facilities at the new school. The All-Weather Pitch will not only benefit the students, but will also be available for evening, weekend and school holiday use by the wider local community.
Marlborough Brandt Group
To enable six students studying for the international baccalaureate from St John's School in Marlborough to travel on a study visit to The Gambia with a teacher and an education worker from MBG, to enhance their learning about development in an African community.
Savernake Forest Scout Group
Savernake Forest Scout Group requires new lightweight tents so that the 60 young members of the scout troop can go on camping adventures and develop key life skills through adventurous physical activity.
Health, Wellbeing and Social:
Wiltshire Air Ambulance
To support the running costs of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, the only emergency helicopter in the UK to fly with a pilot, paramedic and police observer at all times. Each day the Wiltshire Air Ambulance is called out an average of three times. Since 2009 the Wiltshire Air Ambulance has attended 41 emergency incidents in Marlborough and Pewsey alone. It costs almost £2,000 per day to keep the Wiltshire Air Ambulance flying and saving lives.
Splitz - KidzPace
Working with children aged 11-17 who have witnessed or been exposed to domestic abuse in Marlborough and Pewsey. Splitz provides a mix of one to one support and group work to build children's confidence and self-esteem.
Carer Support Wiltshire
To support the work of the Wiltshire-wide charity that gives free and confidential emotional support, information, advice and breaks to unpaid carers living in the county.
Community & The Arts:
Phoenix Brass Band
To purchase two tenor horns to enlarge the horn section of the training band, which exists to introduce any person, young or old, to the joys of music and brass banding.
Marlborough Communities Market
To support the ongoing success of the monthly Marlborough Communities Market, a not-for-profit enterprise working in collaboration with Transition Marlborough and Marlborough Town Council and incorporating a farmers' market and local crafts and produce.
We Love Marlborough
To bring Christmas cheer to Marlborough families, We Love Marlborough would like Father Christmas to be free to visit in the town hall this year, and have an free top-quality artist-led Christmas crafts-making session culminating in a procession at the lights switch on at 7pm. The Christmas Lights Switch On Activities will take place on 29 November 2012.
Marlborough town councillors may rebel against the government’s latest plans to relax planning rules and allow people to build extensions to their homes without seeking planning consent.
They fear it will lead to a war between neighbours and result in local councillors facing the flack from residents opposed to new extensions.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s aim is to get planning officers "off people's backs" and the government intends to carry out a consultation exercise before allowing a three-year period during which extensions up to eight metres long can be built on detached properties.
There are also proposed relaxed rules on shops and offices looking to expand, and similarly on developments having to include affordable housing as ministers seek to boost the economy.
The issue was raised by Councillor Peggy Dow, who is also a Wiltshire councillor, at the Planning Committee meeting of Marlborough town council last night (Monday).
Councillor Margaret Rose, the Tory committee chair, responded: “I personally feel we ought to send a letter expressing our objections to this.”
She referred to a radio programme on the subject and added: “This is bound to lead to a war between neighbours and we will be left in the middle to take all the flak. I shall put it on the agenda for our next meeting.”
Town Clerk Derek Wolfe pointed out that that at the moment this was only a government proposal and no changes had yet been made to ease the planning regulations.
But Councillor Nick Fogg, also a member of Wiltshire Council, fears that it is a misguided policy.
“You can’t have a planning free for all,” he told Marlborough News Online. “There may be cases where minor alterations shouldn’t be subject to planning but I’m against people being allowed to build extensions all over the place without regard to the nature of the property and its effect on their neighbours.”
“I can’t quite believe that the government would allow that but obviously there is a mood abroad to try and boost the economy by getting more buildings works carried out, which I find bizarre.”
“I tend to believe that house buildings reflects the state of the economy rather than stimulates it. It is a misunderstood issue in economic terms.”
What might be the reaction of Tory-controlled Wiltshire Council?
“I know the planning committee in the eastern area, which covers Marlborough, and I believe those good people and true would not be happy with this,” added Councillor Fogg. “ Can’t speak for them but can speak from my knowledge of their reaction to certain issues.”
“They are an objective and unpolitical group. And they wouldn’t like this.”
London 2012 saw Gambia’s first ever participation in Paralympic Games with two wheelchair athletes competing. The day after the closing ceremony, athlete Isatou Nyang, coach Faye Basirou and the Chef de Mission, Sulayman Colley visited Marlborough.
Isatou Nyang, Chris & Caroline Loveday and Sulayman ColleyThey were guests at a lunch given by Caroline and Chris Loveday whose daughter Lilli lives and works in the Gambia. She’s married to Gunjurian Kebba Jatta who has been working with the Gambian Paralympic Committee.
Travelling with the Gambians were three of those wonderful volunteers – the Games-Makers – still in theireye-catching official uniforms. Also present at the lunch were Marlborough Mayor Edwina Fogg and Nicholas Fogg.
Isatou Nyang, who is twenty-eight years old and was born with deformed legs, took part in the women's T54 100 and 800 metre events. The other competitor was Demba Jarju, aged twenty-three. He is wheelchair-bound through polio and took part in the men's T54 100 and 800 metre events.Isatou Nyang at the opening ceremony photo by Sulayman Colley
Neither of them advanced from the first round. But Demba was in the same 800 metre heat as gold medallist David Weir and Sulayman Colley says Demba is very proud of that.
Also on the visit to Marlborough was Gambian journalist Fatoumata Saho. She has been covering the Paralympics for Gambia’s Today newspaper and the radio station City Limits. However, as she was the only Gambian journalist at London 2012, her reports have been used in many other newspapers.Fatoumata Saho
LOCOG (the London 2012 organising committee) paid for the air fares and accommodation for the six member Gambian delegation. And the two athletes were only able to compete after their competition wheelchairs were donated by the Swiss Paralympic Committee.
The President of Gambia’s Paralympic Committee, Sulayman Colley, says they get nothing in the way of funding from the Gambia government to support para sports. They struggle to get the proper equipment – and secondhand equipment is gratefully received.
Sulayman ColleySulayman Colley, who is also wheelchair-bound, told Marlborough News Online that the great challenge facing them when they get home is that lack of funding. The private sector in Gambia is small and raising money is never easy, so they try to interest people outside the Gambia. Sulayman Colley can be contacted at paralympicgambia.weebly.com
Sulayman’s committee now have four basketball teams in great Banjul. Isatou, who’s better known as Ida, plays for one of the teams – she’s its only woman player.
The committee have organised para sports clubs in each of the country’s seven regions – and they been able to send ten wheelchairs to each region. The problem now is keeping them properly maintained.
Ida has really enjoyed being in London for the Paralympics and hopes very much to have improved enough to come back in 2014 for the para sport events at Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games. And beyond that, of course, there’s Rio 2016’s Paralympics.
Jim SherrittThe chairman of one of Marlborough town council’s main committees has apologised unreservedly over the four month delay in the council providing permission for a memorial bench to go up on The Green in tribute to the late Jim Sherritt.
Donations totally £526 have been made to an appeal launched by two of his close friends, Chris Sparkes and Lisa Bartlett, who wanted a permanent tribute to one of Marlborough’s wartime heroes.
They expressed their considerable dismay at Monday’s meeting of the council’s Amenities and Open Spaces Committee over the council’s lack of action since they had first sought its support in April.
Now Councillor Richard Pitts, the committee’s chairman, has accepted their criticism, promising that Remembrance Day on November 11 is now the targeted date for the bench to be in place.
And at the same time refurbish the damaged wrought iron seats that already exist on The Green.
“I apologize unreservedly over the way this has been handled by the town council,” said Councillor Pitts. “I do not expect it to take it as long as it did from the committee deciding to ask you about the current iron benches.”
Councillor Richard Pitts, chairman of the Amenities and Open Spaces Committee “I am deeply sorry for the justifiable upset caused and will ensure that the final decision on location and style will be completed with all possible speed.”
“I do not see why this can’t be done in a very small space of time, in place to enjoy some autumn sunshine and perhaps with a formal dedication during the Remembrance Sunday.”
And he added: “I stood for council to serve and provide leadership to make a difference for the improvement of the community and its environs. That starts with accommodating the wishes of a group people where possible, exactly as you have requested.”
“With that in mind I see there is no better way to do this in remembering someone such as Mr Sherritt who fought to keep the British way of life safe and later to become a respected member of our community.”
Mr Sparkes had emailed the town council last week providing details of Mr Sherritt’s career and the fact that collection boxes at six points in the community, including Marlborough Conservative Club, home of the local branch of the British Legion, plus four public houses had raised £526 to pay for a memorial bench, any sum left over being given to Marlborough British Legion.
Mr Sherritt, born in Enniskillen in 1923, served in the Royal Irish Horse Regiment. Shortly after the start of the World War II he became a tank driver and saw action in North Africa and Italy, where he also worked with the War Graves Commission before returning home to Marlborough.
His earlier career was in the construction industry before retirement at 65. He then spent 18 years in the armoury at Marlborough College. He died in February, aged 88.
Mr Sparkes later praised Councillor Pitts for his public apology over the delay and told Marlborough News Online: “We feel it is a magnanimous gesture on his part.”
“But it should not have been necessary if members of the council had fully appreciated how well Jim was liked and respected in Marlborough -- and done what we felt was in the best interests of the community at an earlier stage.”
St John’s School, Marlborough, has finally been granted academy status by the government , a move that will give it significant independence and a boost in the school’s annual budget of £8 million.
Headmaster Dr Patrick Hazlewood has told parents: “This represents a very important step for the school and secures a considerable higher level of funding that will directly benefit our students.”
Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced that St John’s will operate on this basis as from September 1 this year – and the internationally acclaimed school already it has changed the school’s logo to announce the fact.
The decision comes some 20 months after a school deputation headed by Dr Hazlewood met Lord Hill, the then Parliamentary Under Secretary for Education, in London, together with the school’s governors, who include local Tory MP Claire Perry.
It was then reported that academy status will give the school extra government funding of about £450,000 and allow St John’s to return to being an independent state school able to control its own curriculum for its 11—18 year old students.
A statement on the school’s website recalls that between 1993 and 1998 St John’s was a grant maintained school and during these years was directly funded by central government, making it independent of local authority control.
Since 1998 the school has had foundation school status, which gave it independence in most respects other than funding.
And it adds: “The academy status will allow St John’s to return to an independent state school status and will bring significant benefits. A letter from Dr Hazlewood has gone to parents to explain the new status.”