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Due the forecast of freezing weather with possible snow over the weekend, Marlborough and District Junior Athletics has decided to cancel the Sport Relief event scheduled for Sunday, March 18. The organisers told “We are very sorry to take this step, but felt we couldn’t guarantee the safety of...

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In support of the 20mph proposals for Marlborough

16-03-2018 Jayne Drew and Jill Turner

  Sirs,Further to recent letters supporting the introduction of a 20 mph zone in Marlborough, including those from Dr Sam Page, (1 March  2018) and Jane Davies (12 March 2018) we are writing from Lockeridge to support the proposal.We were successful in obtaining Wiltshire Council agreement to the introduction of our 20mph zone...

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George Lane resurfacing: the dates & arrangements

15-03-2018 A Correspondent

This guide to the arrangements being made for the resurfacing of the full length of George Lane in April has been produced by the Town Council.     Click on the image to enlarge it.

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Former GWH apprentice wins top Health Education England award


Louise Steer, who was an apprentice at the Great Western Hospital, has received the Higher Apprentice of the Year award at the Health Education England (HEE) awards ceremony in Taunton.

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Manton Village Hall receives a major donation from MantonFest


At last week's Manton Village Hall AGM MantonFest Chair, Roger Grant and Musical Director, Stuart Whant presented the Nicki Evans, Chair of the Village Hall committee with a cheque for £3,000, raised by last year's MantonFest.  

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Mechanic / Technician Required - Savernake Auto Services


  Mechanic / Technician Required   As an independent well equipped busy garage in Marlborough we require due to expansion, a full time, fully qualified experienced Motor Mechanic / Technician to carry out service and repair work to various makes of vehicles.Experience within the VW / AUDI Group would be preferred but not...

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Flag Flying on Town Hall for Commonwealth Day

12-03-2018 Sue Round

 Town Mayor, Mervyn Hall, together with the Deputy Mayor, Town Crier, Mace Bearer, Town Clerk and Councillors officially marked Commonwealth Day, March 12 with a flag raising ceremony at Marlborough Town Hall. Mayor Mervyn Hall read the Commonwealth Affirmation before the flag was raised – an affirmation that celebrates ‘diversity, respect...

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Wiltshire Council's planned increase in parking permits for Marlborough: Claire Perry asked to spell out her views


High Street resident John Ford has written (March 12) to Devizes constituency MP Claire Perry asking her to spell out her position on Wiltshire Council's proposed £326 increase in the cost of annual parking permits.  They are set to rise in August from £394 a year to £720 a year.  

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There will be no Salisbury Arts Festival this year


It looks like another sign of continuing austerity: there will be no Salisbury Arts Festival this summer.  And it is nothing to do with Russia.

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Marlborough's housing - Part 1: tweaking the system or being pro-active?


The dire supply of really affordable homes in Marlborough was raised by the Deputy Town Mayor, Councillor Lisa Farrell, at last Monday's full meeting of the Town Council (March 5).  

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Queues at food counter as Budgens opens doors

Despite the planned 'quiet opening' the owners of the new Budgens of Marlborough convenience store and petrol forecourt enjoyed anything but a peaceful first day of trading at the Business Park today (Thursday).Jenny Cleverley, manager Frank Stevens, Sue Stevens, shops development manager Nick Fraser, Katie Mills,  and group operations manager Mark Wilson outside the new Budgens of Marlborough storeJenny Cleverley, manager Frank Stevens, Sue Stevens, shops development manager Nick Fraser, Katie Mills, and group operations manager Mark Wilson outside the new Budgens of Marlborough store

Youngsters from the nearby St John's Academy formed an aisle-long queue six abreast to buy lunch at the Subway sandwich concession, which forms part of the new £2m development.

At its lunchtime peak, ten members of staff were manning the counters to cope with demand, which was far greater than managers had anticipated.

Elsewhere trade was brisk, especially at the fuel pumps, where petrol was 4p a litre cheaper than the local competition, and diesel 2p a litre cheaper.

The official opening, by mayor Edwina Fogg, takes place next Friday, October 26. Fifty new jobs have been created within the family-run business, and some part-time positions have yet to be filled.

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Cards for Good Causes boosts charity coffers at Christmas

Manager Jo Smith with volunteer Romaine Daw at the Cards For Good Causes pop-up shop in St Peter's Church, MarlboroughManager Jo Smith with volunteer Romaine Daw at the Cards For Good Causes pop-up shop in St Peter's Church, MarlboroughThe return of the triangular Santa to St Peter's Church in Marlborough can mean only one thing: Cards for Good Causes is back.

The pop-up shop offers people the chance to raise money for charity every time they send send a friend, relation or colleague a Christmas card.

Shoppers are able to choose from a range of national charities, including Age UK, Barnardos, the NSPCC and the Stroke Association, as well as local organisations, including Prospect Hospice and Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Founded in 1988, Cards for Good Causes now operates over 300 pop-up shops every autumn and winter. At least 75p in every pound goes to the good cause nominated on the cards, and in the past five years, charities have benefited to the tune of more than £20 million.

The shop at St Peter's opened on Saturday, and will be selling cards, gift wrap and gifts until Christmas week.  

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Policemen raise much-needed coppers for Pudsey in triple marathon challenge

Police constables Adam Leakey and Jon Hewlett, who will be running three marathons in three days for Children in NeedPolice constables Adam Leakey and Jon Hewlett, who will be running three marathons in three days for Children in NeedA pair of policemen will be plodding the pavements between Marlborough and London to raise much-needed coppers for Britain's most vulnerable children, as they attempt to run an incredible three marathons in three days.

The gruelling challenge is being undertaken by Jon Hewlett (35) from Marlborough and Adam Leakey (29) from Swindon, colleagues from the burglary and robbery unit based at Gablecross police station in Swindon.

The PCs, who hope to raise £10,000 for Children in Need, will set off from Marlborough Town Hall on Wednesday, November 14. Following the A4 through Hungerford and Newbury they will finish their first 26.2 mile leg at Woolhampton, near Thatcham.

On Thursday they'll set off from Reading, hitting the A4 again and arriving five hours later at Slough.

And on Friday – Children in Need day – they'll set off from Hammersmith Apollo in London, taking in the capital's most famous landmarks before finishing their 78-and-a-half mile endurance challenge at BBC Television Centre in West London 

For the runners, getting the pace right will be vital. “It will be so tempting to set off at our normal running speed,” said Jon, “but we have to remember we're running three marathons; not one. We'll aim to cover each mile in about 16 minutes, to preserve our stamina. That means five hours of fairly steady running each day. 

“Reducing our recovery time has been really important,” said Adam, who only took up running in April.

“When I started, I couldn't run a mile without stopping. Now I run the six miles to work in under an hour, or do a half marathon before starting a shift. The daft thing is that running 18 or 19 miles in a day has become a routine for me – my legs used to ache and I felt tired after a long run; now I don't.”

Both men have young families, which inspired them to raise money for Children in Need, although – for Adam – it was always going to be the charity he supported. “I grew up watching the telethons,” he said, “and always wanted to support it.”

Adam LeakeyAdam Leakey“It's such a well known charity that it has made fundraising easier,” added Jon. “You don't need to explain Children in Need to people; everyone has heard of Pudsey Bear.”

The pair admit that families and work colleagues were skeptical when they first announced their intention to complete three marathons in three days.

“But people have seen the changes in our physiques, and witnessed our dedication, and they know we're serious,” said Jon.

“Besides the physical effort, training has involved huge personal sacrifice, both on our parts and those of our families,” said Adam.

“If we work a shift then go running for 18 miles, that's two and a half or three hours when our families aren't seeing us, and it's hard work when you just want to relax after a shift.

Jon HewlettJon Hewlett“You don't put yourself through six months of training not to go through with the challenge in the end.”

The sporting community has also fallen in step with the duo. Swindon-based physio Danny Clayton, former sports masseur to Swindon rugby club and the Cardiff Blues, will be following the runners to treat minor injuries, aches, and pains; while sports outfitters Run Swindon, in Old Town, have donated a pair of running shoes to each constable.

Adam and Jon's fundraising total is currently just shy of £2,000. To make a donation, log on to the Just Giving website.  

Businesses that want to offer support or sponsorship can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Economy “on the road to recovery” as national figures for employment rise

The coalition government has welcomed the latest national employment figures which show a fall of 50,000 in the jobless total.  There was also a fall of 62,000 in those sixteen to twenty-four-year-olds who are out of work – that figure fell below the one million mark during three months to August.

However, most interest in the figures has been in the large rise in those in work. The national figures show people in work rose by 212,000 to a record level of 29,600,000. More than half of that increase was in part-time jobs.  Those in part-time work reached the record high level of 8,100,000 and of those 1,400,000 had taken part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work.

This month’s release of figures for the Devizes constituency does not fit neatly with the national figures for the numbers without work.  Those in the constituency claiming jobseekers allowance (JSA) in September stood at 1,003 – exactly the same figure as for the previous month.  The figures for those aged under twenty-four were slightly up; those aged between twenty-five and fifty slightly down; and those over fifty slightly also down, standing at exactly the same figure as in July.

Those in the constituency claiming JSA for more than twelve months – the normal definition of the long-term unemployed – went up again very slightly.  And more worryingly, the Jobcentre Plus vacancies fell by over a third between August and September. This may well be due to seasonal factors.

The data released for constituency-by-constituency employment does not distinguish between full and part-time jobs.

Claire Perry, the Devizes constituency MP, writes in her weekly newspaper column that there is a local trend in improved trading conditions and that local “companies are either maintaining or increasing their employment”: “This encouraging local trend was borne out by the employment data released this week…”

Her column was headed: “Economy is on the road to recovery at long last”.  Mrs Perry also praised the thirty per cent rise between April 2010 and March 2012 for those in the constituency who have started apprenticeships.  That was considerably less than the increase in apprenticeship starts in the constituency between April 2008 and March 2010.

Mrs Perry writes: “…I am trying to do my bit by looking to hire an apprentice in my local Devizes office.”  The successful applicant will help with “the full range of constituency business” and will follow a Business and Administration Diploma Level 2 with Wiltshire College.

Those interested can apply online or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Students motivated for Magical ‘Mort’

Less than one month ago a group of International Baccalaureate students at St John’s Academy in Marlborough decided to take on the challenge of directing and performing a dramatised version of Terry Pratchett’s ‘Mort’ to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK (see ''Mort in a month' challenge for students').

Since 17 September the group of around 50 students between the ages of 16 and 18 have been working tirelessly to produce a stunning performance of ‘Mort’, a novel published in 1987 as part of Pratchett’s Discworld series and later dramatised by Stephen Briggs. The first of two performances of the play will take place tomorrow (Wednesday 17) with the second performance on Saturday 20 October at 7pm in St John’s Theatre on the Hill.

A talking doorknob, a street party for wizards, and a monkey in charge of a university – anything is possible in Discworld, where the story of a young boy named Mort is set.  This performance recounts the challenges and interesting encounters with strange people that young Mort faces when he becomes an apprentice to Death himself.  In a split second, Mort makes a decision to save a beautiful princess from dying, which alters the reality that his world hangs in and presents him with more obstacles than he has ever faced before.

The idea to produce the play was proposed by Year 13 students Charlotte Farrow and Sam Hutchings and will be brought to life entirely by Sixth Form students at St John’s, some of whom are performing, some taking backstage roles and others responsible for ticket sales and marketing.  Two St John’s teachers will also be performing in the play, Mr Gary Paterson, St John’s IB Co-ordinator, and Dr Leslie Spencer, St John’s IB CAS Co-ordinator.  International Baccalaureate students are required to complete a minimum of 150 hours non-academic CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) activities in order to receive their Diploma and for the St John’s IB students involved in the production Mort will become part of their final qualification when the leave St John’s.

The wacky and hilarious tale of Mort will appeal to anyone of any age with any sense of humour, as well as having a deeper underlying meaning that will interest and intrigue all.  The students have worked long and hard in refining the choreography, giving an extra dimension to the screenplay by adding tremendously realistic fight scenes one minute and making the audience laugh out loud the next.
St John’s student and Mort Press Officer Charlie Linney, 17 said “This challenge is one of the most demanding that the school has ever undertaken, and IB students are not ones to back down.  I have every confidence that the performance will be amazing and that we will make a significant contribution to Alzheimer’s Research UK”.

The decision to support this charity was easy to make for the students: Alzheimer’s is a disease which affects a large percentage of the population and Sir Terry Pratchett, himself affected by the disease, is also a great supporter of their work.

With only a few days to go until the opening performance, the students prepare themselves for a rollercoaster week of rehearsals and excitement; final touches are being made, costumes are being designed, and tickets are selling fast. They are ready and the audience is waiting in anticipation: St John’s is preparing for something very special.

Tickets, which are available on the door, are £6 for adults and £4 for concessions..

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Claire Perry demands left-wing charity for women’s rights takes on Tory trustees

Claire Perry, Marlborough’s outspoken Tory MP who has demanded that the Fawcett Society appoint Conservative trustees, has been rebuffed by the liberal feminist group that promotes women’s rights.

The society, founded in 1866 by early suffragette campaigner Millicent Fawcett, and largely led the feminist movement in the 1970s, has a board of trustees dominated by left-wing activists.

And it has been seeking a judicial review of the 2010 coalition government Budget on the basis that it did not fully assess its impact on women, many hit by tax credit and benefit changes.

Now Mrs Perry, chairman of the Conservative Women’s Forum, has joined the society together with other leading Tory female MPs, among them Home Secretary Theresa May, are calling for it to appoint Tory trustees because, under charity law, it has to be politically neutral.

“We believe in more female participation,” declares Mrs Perry in an interview in the Daily Telegraph.  “We have suggested to them that they look for some Conservative representation.”

“We have said to them, ‘ it is very interesting that you consider yourselves to be a charity because as far as we can see none of your trustees are anything other than lefties – labour or liberals.  Have you ever had a Conservative trustee?’ ”

“If you look at the literature it is drawn straight from the TUC’s ‘Bash the Tories’ pocketbook.  It is rubbish and it is factually incorrect.”

But the society has pointed out that all its trustees are elected by a ballot of the full membership.

“Any Fawcett Society member may stand for election to the board,” replies Ceri Goddard, the society’s chief executive.  “We make a point of publicly advertising vacancies, and actively encourage applications from all political backgrounds.”

“The board are asked with ensuring the society is effectively managed and also hold certain legal and financial duties.  Whatever the government of the day, it’s our role to hold them to account on women’s rights, but as a charity we are strictly non-party political and non partisan.”

Mrs Perry says her colleagues have objected to the fact that the society “defined women as victims, who are entirely dependent on the state for their well being”, and “never talked” about successful women.

You need humility to be a good Tory MP says Claire

Claire Perry has called on Tory Party chairman Grant Shapps to continue forcing constituency parties to ensure that women account for half of the shortlists for new parliamentary seats.

“Fifty-fifty was great,” she tells the Daily Telegraph. “It works really well, It shows if you have got enough quality candidates, you can get them to the finals.”

And she suggested that some female Tory candidates, who were successful in business, were not humble enough to be good MPs, humility being a requirement for all MPs

She points out: “It is a very multi-faceted job and you have to be prepared and there is a lot of humility that comes with it.

I think often for women, who have been fighting their way through their careers and are very high powered, they often forget how to be humble.

“You can be too strident, too impressive in the selection process.”

The Fawcett Society had, for example, ignored the fact that the Coalition had for the first time funded victim support and rape crisis centres for three years.

“This was completely unreported by the Fawcett Society,” she declares. “We have said ‘do you support this, why do you never talk about it?' ”

"It is because you can’t bring yourself to talk about it. This is not about women, this is about Labour, you are a mouth piece for the Labour party. They are so uncomfortable.”

Her outburst follows the surprising fact that, though Prime Minister David Cameron promoted four women MPs in his government reshuffle, the overall impact was that women had lost out with leading women Tory MPs being either sacked or demoted.

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Funding squeeze hits our area’s only specialist early years centre

You probably won’t have heard about this very special specialist centre – and you almost certainly haven’t heard about the financial position it’s been landed in. But it’s a vital part of the care and development of very vulnerable toddlers in our area.

Devizes and District Opportunity Centre is an independent charity which was originally  set up in 1978 by a small number of parents who needed help for themselves and for their children with special needs.

Ever since then, the Centre has provided specialist early years educational and therapeutic care for children from birth to five years old, who have disabilities, learning difficulties or complex, life threatening health conditions. It is now designated as one of Wiltshire’s four District Specialist Centres.

Forty-two children and their parents are supported at the main centre in Devizes and a further ten at the satellite centre in Tidworth. The catchment area covers the towns of Devizes, Marlborough, Pewsey, Tidworth and Melksham and all their outlying villages.

Children come to two sessions each week and each has their own key worker. The staff team consists of one full-time and eleven part-time highly trained and experienced pre-school teachers and four trained volunteers – that gives a minimum ratio of one staff member to every two children in each session.

Parents have the opportunity to play with their children, learn how best to support and stimulate their development with support and advice from experienced staff and medical therapists. Parents can also benefit from mutual support and friendship with other parents.

There are also preschool sessions for children over two-and-a-half who attend on their own.

The centre works closely with consultant paediatricians, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.  It also works with other charitable organisations such as Portage and Home Start.  The centre’s policy is to ensure children benefit from a ‘Whole Team Around the Child’ approach.

When children join the Centre staff take approximately eight weeks to assess them, identify their strengths and their needs and then devise an individual developmental plan.  Betty Newman, who has been involved with the centre for twenty-one years and now manages it, explains:  “We concentrate on maximizing each child’s ability, we might only deal with tiny steps of progress but we celebrate every single one”.

Julia and PaddyJulia and PaddyTwo-and-a-half-year-old Paddy and Tom are two children who come from Marlborough to the centre in Devizes with their mothers Julia and Nancy.  Both mothers say the centre has done wonders for their children.
Julia and Nancy support one another and as Tom’s mum Nancy doesn’t drive, Paddy’s mum Julia brings them in her car. As we shall see, transport can be a major problem for some of the centre’s families.

Over the years the Devizes building has been enlarged and improved. It now has a multi-sensory stimulation room, a soft play room, a computer area with specially adapted equipment, and two large play rooms – one of which has an under-floor sand pit which can easily be opened up to provide a real get-in-and-get-sandy experience. There are also outside areas to play in and explore – when it’s not raining.

Betty says: “Although we have excellent premises and equipment our most important resource is our trained staff.” And she’s adamant that she must be guided “by what the children need and what their parents want.”
The development of the centre over the years has been something of a roller-coaster ride as local authorities have changed, policies have changed at local and national level – and funding has changed. When early years education and specialist intervention became national policy, the centre was commissioned by the Council to provide specialist services for under-fives. Their funding was increased which enabled them to consolidate and develop the service that could be offered.Nancy and TomNancy and Tom

The centre is inspected by Ofsted – in May last year the Tidworth centre which had opened just five months earlier, was rated outstanding. And Betty sends quarterly reports to Wiltshire Council and there’s an annual inspection by Council officials.

Then in 2010 Wiltshire Council, which still commissions the centre as a service it is obliged to provide, cut its funding by £13,000 to £84,110 a year. And before March 2014, the Council will be putting this service out to tender again.

The centre has always had to raise some extra money, but this year with the added pressure caused by the funding cuts, the centre’s trustees need to raise £70,000 in order to maintain the high quality of its service. At the end of the last financial year the centre was left with a deficit of £10,000 and it looks as though that will be matched this year. This eats into the reserves which every organisation that employs paid staff must keep.

There's always been a reliance on community support and the centre has some very generous donors – often anonymous. The soft play room was added by a local builder who decided not to send in his invoice. A grant from BBC’s Children in Need pays the costs of one and a half members of staff.

Devizes Lions and Round Table have helped. Recently Melksham Rotary have raised funds and Waitrose in Marlborough gave one of their monthly Green Token community grants. In June Devizes-based Seren Events Management organised a ‘Roaring Twenties’ evening which raised £4,500.

The future of funding in this area looks most uncertain as the coalition government plans to take money from the early intervention grant to fund the new free nursery places for two-year-olds from poorer families, and to remove the ring-fence round the rest of this grant so local authorities can use it as they wish.

There is an urgent need to raise more money from communities the centre serves – Marlborough among them. And, to return to transport problems, there is an urgent search underway to find volunteer drivers-with-a-car to take children and parents to the centre from more rural areas.

The centre may have a colourful and well-equipped soft play room, but it does not offer a soft option for these children and their parents. The sessions are intense and tiring for all concerned.  Whether children have temporary developmental delay problems or more lasting conditions, they and their parents need specialist help.

Betty Newman: “Our parents don’t have the security of knowing what the future will bring for them or their child. Each child’s difficulties and families situation is different however they all live with very high levels of anxiety and many experience varying degrees of isolation. I always say we haven’t got a magic wand here at the centre, but we deal with reality. Our job is to support and reassure parents and to give each child the chance to reach their potential by providing opportunities they would not otherwise have.”

The centre’s telephone number is 01380 726077 - half-term starts on October 22 - so please leave a message.

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Workers encouraged to get the sack for Prospect

Shop and office workers in Marlborough are being urged to get the sack, in aid of Prospect Hospice.

Marlborough's local hospice is running its second annual Santa day on Friday, December 7 and is looking for 100 people to dress up as Father Christmas and raise much-needed funds for the charity.

Everyone who registers will receive an ID card, a collection bucket and a Santa suit, and participants can spend as few or as many hours as they like during the day collecting much-needed funds for the charity.

Sheryl Crouch, head of fundraising at Prospect Hospice, says: “What we’re really hoping for is to have lots of Father Christmases all across Swindon and North Wilts collecting money for us on the same day – it would be fantastic if we could get 100 people to do it.

“The good thing about it is that you don’t need to stand in the street or go door-to-door, or vary your normal routine during the day to do it, or even take a day off work. You simply dress as Santa for the day, take a collecting bucket with you and collect money from whoever you meet.

“It’s only £5 to register, and for that you get everything you need, including a free Santa suit to keep. It’s a really simple idea that will hopefully be a lot of fun for everyone and help raise some money towards our work.”

If you are keen to don the big man’s red suit for the day and help raise funds for Prospect, please visit

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Marlborough celebrates Apple Day as it inherits rare Wiltshire breeds for generations to come

Mayor Edwina Fogg toasts Apple Day eventMayor Edwina Fogg toasts Apple Day eventMarlborough went apple crazy today as the town celebrated its annual Apple Day event and showed off the rare Wiltshire apple breeds saved for generations to come. 

Cornet players Stephanie Browning and Harry Austen from St John’s Academy played a welcome fanfare as the clock at St Mary’s struck 11 – and on to the town hall entrance stepped Mayor Edwina Fogg and her entourage. 

She reminded an audience of supporters that it was her husband, Nick Fogg, twice mayor before her, who had originally called a meeting of people interested in creating a Marlborough community orchard.

This was taken up by inspirational Apple Day founder Philippa Davenport, proudly standing alongside the mayor, who announced: “I was so caught up in the vision that I joined the founding committee.”

“Today is Marlborough’s annual celebration of orchard fruits in general, apples in particular, especially those rare Wiltshire varieties.”

“This time last year many of you joined in a display and tasting of these rare Wiltshire apples, and an impressive 91 pledges were made to buy them so that the Marlborough community orchard team could arrange for them to be grafted.”

Apple being juiced in the High StreetApple being juiced in the High StreetWell, they have arrived.  They are doing a tour of the High Street in a trailer as we speak. So a big thank you to everyone who sponsored a tree and to Barters Nursery for grafting them.

Mayor cuts the tape for opening of Apple Day town hall events watched by founder Philippa DavenportMayor cuts the tape for opening of Apple Day town hall events watched by founder Philippa Davenport“Once planted, Marlborough can truthfully boast that we have saved their gene bank for our children’s children to inherit.”

And she added: “If you missed out last year, you can still share in this important and delicious fruit festival.  Lots of extra saplings were produced and you can buy them here today.”

“This time next week I shall be planting the first tree of our royal diamond jubilee plantation up on the Common.”

“So happy Apple Day everyone…happy Apple Day.”

The crowd responded Happy Apple Day amid warm applause, figures showing that more than 1,000 people, many of them families, attended the event.

The Mayor then cut the red ribbon to open up the displays upstairs and downstairs in the town hall, special entertaining games and events for children among the enticements.

Juliet and Peter Kindersley from Sheepdrove Organic Farm sponsors of the apple art competition plus Philippa DavenportJuliet and Peter Kindersley from Sheepdrove Organic Farm sponsors of the apple art competition plus Philippa Davenport

 Marlborough Apple Day


Art Competition Results


ART CATEGORY A(Age 11 and under)


Phoebe CazalyA31               For painting skills.             Highly Commended


Tom HoleA30                       For drawing skills.             Highly Commended


Lawrence Bett-HewittA03    Apple and a half                                Winner

Excellent composition – well executed in a difficult medium.



ART CATEGORY B(Age 12 – 16)


Gabby ChurchB06                  Little old apple tree         Highly Commended

For attention to detail and the creation of ‘atmosphere’.


Isabella Hutton B05                 Fruit vine                                    Winner

For impressive use of colour



ART CATEGORY C(Adult 17 and over)


Robin Buchanan-DunlopC18     "Autumn"                     Highly Commended

Well designed composition. The apples are all individual and well drawn


Carolyn DavisC05                    Apple Noggin Dobbin       Highly Commended

This is a good idea with a lovely sense of fun.


Clare BickfordC09                     "Take Three"                             Winner

This is a well designed painting with a lovely use of colour that makes each apple very individual. The apples and their shadows are well observed.

 sponsored by Sheepdrove Organic Farm

supporting local foods for local people

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A time for touching tributes at the funeral of Marlborough’s town clerk Derek Wolfe

Moving tributes were paid yesterday (Friday) to Derek Wolfe, Marlborough’s late town clerk who died suddenly last month, at his funeral service held in Axminster Methodist Church, Devon. 

The church where he and his widow, Lynette, were married a decade ago, was packed with relatives and friends, together with 16 members and staff of Marlborough town council, headed by the Mayor, Councillor Edwina Fogg. 

Mr Wolfe,  58, who only became Marlborough’s town clerk in January, died in the Great Western Hospital, Swindon, from a ruptured aortic aneurysm after waking in pain and calling an ambulance himself.

“Derek’s death has left us all in shock, hardly able to comprehend his absence from us,” the mayor told the congregation.

“I should like to dwell on two aspects of Derek that Lynette shared with me.  First, his professionalism: ‘He would have hated the idea that he left any unfinished business on his desk,’ ” she said.

“It was a poignant moment for me when I entered his empty office and saw his tidy and well-ordered papers: there was a sad silence in that room that spoke of our loss.  His approach to his multi- faceted tasks was organised and thorough.”

“The second thing that Lynette pointed out was his love of Marlborough –‘He absolutely loved the town and his home here’.”

“Derek rented a house a few minutes from the town council offices and stayed there during the working week, giving him time to join in and support several initiatives in the community, for example, he became a valued director of the Communities Market and an active member of Transition Marlborough.”

She quoted too the tribute paid by Father John Blacker, of St Thomas More, Marlborough, when he said prayers for Derek at the last town council meeting, declaring:  “We shall miss a good man and a good town clerk who served the people here in Marlborough so well.”

And she added: “Townsfolk had a great respect for his willingness to help them with their various requests and inquiries -- that feeling on their part was expressed in the many messages of condolence we received on his loss.”

“Our office staff remarked on his almost old fashioned gentlemanly manner and observed that he never had a bad word to say about anyone.”

The sermon was given by the Rector, the Rev Brian Hadfield, and there was a poignant address too from his widow.

“She talked about ‘My Derek’ and how special he was to her in what was a very moving and touching tribute,” Val Compton, one of the town councillors present, told Marlborough News Online. “I really take my hat off to her. It was truly amazing, a very fitting tribute.”

The service was followed by cremation at Wimple, near Exeter.

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Now a new estate agency takes on tough times with its own tanks on Marlborough High Street

A new estate agency has made an audacious appearance on Marlborough High Street by taking over the former offices of top agent Carter Jonas. 

And Edward Hall (pictured), the man in charge of Smiths Gore, who was once a tank captain in the armoured Royal Hussars, told Marlborough News Online: “Yes, I really have put my tanks on the lawn.  I mean Carter Jonas, Chesterton Humberts and Hamptons are here for me to take on.  That’s the exciting challenge.” 

“Carter Jonas didn’t know they were letting in the opposition at the time, though they were surprised when there was a new tenant and they were asked to do a structural survey for Smiths Gore, the new tenant.”

Already Clare Manley, from Downer & Company and formerly Strakers, has joined 52-year-old Mr Hall, who quit agents Strutt and Parker in Newbury to take up his new role, and his aim is to increase his staff to five in the coming months.

He laughed as he recalled how Smith Gore has thrown down the gauntlet to the opposition at a time of economic turmoil when some agents are drastically down-sizing and others disappearing.

“Strategically we believe there is still a market place for bespoke estate agency that is not involved in stack them high and sell them cheap but to look after your client and use the Smiths Gore philosophy into selling houses,” declared Mr Hall.

“It is quite an aggressive strategy of building a business when most people are declining, consolidating or closing down in the economic doldrums.”

“It’s tough for vendors who are still looking for good value, good prices for their houses.  For buyers, they are now much more cautious, they know that they can’t borrow money and are conscious of the cost of running a house.”

“All of a sudden it’s a bit like the 80’s when suddenly the fuel price went up.  People are tending to pull in their lifestyle at the moment, introducing double glazing, secondary glazing, woodchip bowlers, things that are cheaper to run are easier to sell at the moment than traditional old country houses or country cottages, which are difficult to maintain and very expensive to heat.”

“We are seeing a shift where newer houses and houses that are well insulated tend are becoming more popular again.  Money is actual real money all of a sudden, people are spending a pound, they are not borrowing a pound. And that makes them thing hard before actually committing themselves to buying something.”

But Smiths Gore, who have adopted a progressive policy of investment by buying up other agencies, are not new to Marlborough.  For three years they have had an office on the Business Park, but one devoted to land sales and management, as they have been since they were founded 160 years ago.

“We call ourselves the manager of rural Britain,” explained Mr Hall.  “But selling houses, which has been my background since 2001, is something we are doing much more actively now.”

Marlborough and the nearby rural villages are the prime target. “As agents this is an opportunity for us,” he added.  The market will settle.  It is settling.”

“Houses have been over-priced and we are seeing a long overdue correction.  Houses will become more affordable but people need to buy and sell because their circumstances are changing.  We are in challenging times and that means times when opportunities present themselves.”

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

And he pointed out: “Marlborough is a vibrant town, a town of choice, and there are so many reasons for living and working in the area.  We have good pubs, good shops, schools and great walks, good parking and a friendly view for those who are visiting.”

“It is a destination where people want to come and live.  A desirable location that has a great feel.”

“And to be based on the High Street in Marlborough – No 42 – is a great opportunity for me to build a new team, a great excitement and, frankly, a great privilege.”

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You can’t touch that College wall – its probably “medieval” declare archaeologists

A last minute e-mail sent by the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society has played a vital part in the unanimous rejection of Marlborough College’s plans to breach its listed boundary wall to install new gates.

The College, which is seeking a Puffin crossing at the top of Bridewell Street for female students using its new Ivy House hostel, wanted to make entry into the campus safer.

But the society, founded in 1853 and backed by the Council for British Archaeology, dramatically informed the Eastern Area Planning Committee that, since the origins of the wall were possibly “medieval”, this made the planning application unacceptable.

And this was probably a key factor in the six committee members present voting down the new gates proposal.

The email declared: “The wall (1836 or earlier) in question predates Marlborough school (founded 1843) and has a coping top that appears to be recovered building material from an earlier period.  These may even be of medieval origin.”

“The date of the wall and the materials would therefore require that proposal to adopt a resolution that did not require the loss of this historic boundary wall.  In any event, the copings should be assessed for the historic origination.”

The email, sent by John Baumber, chairman of the society’s Buildings and Monuments Committee, is made a second objecting, pointing out:

“Whilst it is not in our remit to consider the need or otherwise of a pedestrian crossing at this particular location, the applicant should research other solutions to the problem considering traffic history and incident occurrence before being allowed to remove historic boundary wall.”

Factual evidence to show the need for the crossing – it would be the third on the Bath Road edge of the campus – was also challenged by John Ford, a resident of the High Street, in a letter to the planning committee.

And during the meeting there was confusion when Wiltshire Council’s solicitor claimed that only the application to create a hole in the wall, not the need for a new crossing, was material to the application.

However, Councillor Nick Fogg, who represents Marlborough at county level and called in the planning application for urgent consideration, insisted that the report of planning officer Charlotte Douglas extensively raised both issues, and the fact that could not be separated was accepted.

Mr Ford’s letter declared that a similar proposal in 2008 revealed that there had been no accidents at all in Bridewell Street for the previous five years – and there had been no accidents since then either.

“This cannot be construed as a dangerous an hazardous crossing point,” he said, pointing out that there was no statistics to support the claim by the College’s consultants, Cole Easdon, that there were an estimated 1,400 daily pedestrian movements at the crossing point.

“The figure would seem to be ridiculous,” he suggested, adding that since he Puffin was solely for the benefit of the College and not residents, there was no justification in it being paid for by public funding.

 “Of course the College is now free to appeal and its consultants will probably suggest that it does so,” Councillor Fogg told Marlborough News Online. “We can only wait and see what happens.”


College wall pic from the Marlborough College Planning Application

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Wiltshire Council urged to change its staff complaints system

Wiltshire Council has been told it needs a “more appropriate forum” to ensure “early and sensitive resolution of employees/councillor complaints.”  The call came from Caroline Baynes who was the ‘Independent Person’ for the Standards Hearing earlier this month into complaints against the conduct of Councillor Chris Humphries, Conservative councillor for Aldbourne and Ramsbury and Chairman of the Marlborough Area Board.

Caroline Baynes hoped her views would be “noted and taken forward by the Council”.  Her statement came to light when the full minutes of the Standards Hearing Sub-Committee were published on the Council’s website.

However, Caroline Baynes also told the hearing that it was “disappointing that the [Councillor’s] behaviour was not dealt with earlier, particularly as the sub-committee heard Councillor Humphries’ behaviour and general demeanour was well known, but apparently not challenged formally prior to the complainant doing so.”

The complaints were made by Mrs Julia Densham who had, at the time of the incidents, recently started working full-time for the Marlborough Area Board. Caroline Baynes also regretted that Mrs Densham’s line manager “was not able to take the matter forward once it was brought to their attention.”

Councillor Humphries was found to have breached the code of conduct in five of the seven incidents alleged by Mrs Densham.  He refutes all the allegations.

Councillor Humphries was censured by the sub-committee.  They also recommended that Jane Scott, the Council’s Leader, should “request the Marlborough Area Board to consider the appropriateness of Councillor Humphries continuing as chairman of the Area Board in the light of these findings.”

The minutes of the hearing will be presented to the next meeting of the Standards Committee (24 October) and to the full meeting of the Council on 15 November. It is usual for the Standards Committee merely to note reports from its sub-committee.

A Council spokesperson told Marlborough News Online that if there were to be any further sanction taken against Councillor Humphries it was now a party matter - therefore in the hands of the leader of the Conservative group on Wiltshire Council who is also the Council Leader.

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Claire Perry in World at One clash over government childcare reforms due in Octobe

Tory MP Claire Perry has clashed with a social policy expert in a World at One radio debate on government plans to deregulate childcare services as part of its welfare reforms due to come into force in October along with tax credit changes.

She attacked the Labour government’s too costly promotion of Sure Start Centres – the centre in Marlborough has lost its Wiltshire Council funding – because they drove up the cost of childcare through the tax and benefits system.

And she claimed in the Radio 4 programme yesterday (Tuesday) they resulted in half the child minders leaving the market.

“We have an expensive and inefficient system right now and instead of arguing we should be working together to fix it,” she told Nick Pearce, director of the Institute for Public Policy Research and a former No 10 adviser.

But he replied that minders of primary school-age children had left the system because schools had set up their own after school clubs and parents preferred to leave them instead of picking them up at 3.30pm and taking them elsewhere.

Parents preferred Sure Start Centres created from models started in Norway and Sweden, which provided all communities with good childcare facilities.

“Sixty per cent of the staff in them have qualifications to degree level, here it is about eight per cent,” he pointed out. “So the really big issue for us is: Can we get affordable childcare and can we make it universal? And can we also ensure that it is really high quality?”

“But I don’t think the deregulation, market-based approach of Claire and others proffer will really get us to that point.”

Mrs Perry, who has three children, responded: “You did say in your report that the childcare system we have inherited is expensive, inefficient, of low quality, confusing and variable.  So I think we can probably agree we have got some work to do to fix it.”

Mr Pearce replied: “The childminders own professional body says they don’t want deregulation.  They want high standard, professional childminders.”

Mrs Perry interjected: “Yes, we all want that too but we want deregulation of ratios (of children to minders) to Danish levels, the Danish ratios are even looser than British ratios.”

Then Mr Pearce butted in: “No, 60 per cent of its people are qualified to degree level. So deregulation is not the answer.  The key thing here is Do parents not want to send their children to children centres, the case you are making is that they don’t want to. That’s just not true.”

Mrs Perry: “I disagree completely. As you get out of London… in my constituency I have been involved with Play Schools, often again one that takes the Early Years vouchers, one of the four very complex funding streams.

“They provide really valuable support for parents who can’t access a fabulous Sure Start Centres and they have been run ragged by over-regulation and over bureaucracy. We have to solve this problem.”

In a final statement, Mr Pearce replied: “Well, I do get out of London to places where there are fantastic children’s centres, parents love them, they’re really high quality, their good for social mobility because children do really well in them, their great for employment as well.

“That is the path we should take.”

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Marlborough College loses hole-in-the wall demolition battle for a third safety crossing

Marlborough College has suffered a major setback in its controversial plans to install a Puffin crossing in Bridewell Street, to provide a safe way for students from its new female hostel at the former Ivy House Hotel to cross to the campus.  

Despite a recommendation for approval from Wiltshire planning officer Charlotte Douglas, the council’s Eastern Area Planning Committee has rejected the initial part of the scheme by a resounding six votes to nil. 

The College was seeking permission to create new gated entrances on either side of the crossing, in particular knocking a hole in its main listed wall on the Bath Road, where two crossings already exist for College campus use. 

Without this consent, the consideration by Wiltshire’s highways development control team of the introduction of a third crossing, now the subject of a four-week consultation, is considered unlikely to succeed. 

A “demolition job” on the College’s hole in the wall plans was launched by Marlborough town councillors last month, who voted unanimously against the scheme, members pointing out that students already ignored the existing crossings, often darting across the road. 

They feared a new crossing at a narrow section of the A4 would cause enormous traffic congestion back into Marlborough High Street, the reason a similar proposal in 2008 was also rejected, as well as noise for neighbouring residents. 

And they have been supported by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which has also questioned an increase in air pollution caused by traffic being held up at crossings.

But the hammer blow came at last night’s area planning committee when town councillor Nick Fogg (pictured), also one of Marlborough’s two Wiltshire councillors, pulled the planning recommendation to pieces.

Councillor Nick FoggCouncillor Nick Fogg"I'm glad that good sense prevailed,” Councillor Fogg, a former Mayor of Marlborough who was once a teacher at the College, told Marlborough News Online.

“While I appreciate the need to safeguard those to whom, we have a duty, the overall view was that this scheme could be counter productive to achieving that objective."

But one telling point came from High Street resident Liz Rolph, one of the objectors at the meeting.  It was the fact that since the Ivy House Hotel is on one side of the High Street, the 50 senior girls living there would still have to cross two other roads before arriving at the Puffin crossing.

However, the main consideration on the agenda was the quality of the new gates being proposed by the College for its main boundary wall and that at its arts building on the other side of the road, the designs already having been subjected to amendments called for by Wiltshire Council’s conservation officer, who considered the listed boundary wall “significant and sensitive.”

Marlborough town council was adamant in its own objections,  pointing out that even the publicly displayed planning application notices were “at variance” and “thus invalidating the application.”

As to the main application, the council objected “most strongly on the grounds that the proposed alteration to the footpath and adjoining listed wall are not necessary as two other crossings already existed.”

And it added that “the proposed additional Puffin crossing would cause unacceptable noise levels to nearby residents and would result in unacceptable traffic congestion at peak periods.”

Planning officer Charlotte Douglas nevertheless recommended approval of alterations to the existing boundary walls and gates, informing councillors that they would “have limited impact on the fabric and setting of the listed building and the Marlborough conservation area” as and when a Puffin crossing was installed.

The six committee members disagreed.

Marlborough College has been invited to comment on the decision.


Bridewell St Pic from the Marlborough College Planning Application

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Camilla Duchess of Cornwall to unveil Marlborough’s mosaic diamond jubilee memorial tribute

Marlborough is to have a royal visit – to unveil a huge hand-painted mosaic of the town’s history to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee year. 

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will be here on October 19 at the invitation of the Mayor, Edwina Fogg, who has been working behind the scenes for months to organise the event, which will also link up with its sister town of Marlborough, New Zealand. 

“It’s all been touch and go, but it’s happening and I am really delighted,” Edwina told Marlborough News Online. “I’ve had to keep everything very secret until the Duchess’s visit became official on Friday.”

“I am very pleased that we are going to have a permanent jubilee memorial of Marlborough, which will hang in the Court Room at the town hall, and that it is going to have a royal unveiling on the town hall steps.”

“It’s going to be a great day for Marlborough and a wonderful moment for me in my mayoral year.”

The Mayor announced at her election in May that a sponsored mural of the town – it will show off all its major buildings and its famous High Street – was being created by Marlborough Tiles, whose hand-painted tiles have won it admiration by owners and collectors.

She has also been in contact with Marlborough, New Zealand, which sent its Swiftsure whaler and crew to London to take part in the Queen’s jubilee pageant down the Thames.  The crew was due to visit Marlborough at the time but it unfortunately failed to happen.

Now the giant steering oar from the boat is on its way to Marlborough to become a permanent fixture in the town hall. And it is that too that the Duchess of Cornwall is keen to admire as she and Prince Charles are due to visit New Zealand.

Marlborough’s ceremonial officer David Sherratt suggested using the oar as a way to promote Marlborough, New Zealand, in Wiltshire and the act as a link between the two countries.

Alistair Sowman, mayor of Marlborough, New Zealand, has said the oar would be a fitting reminder in England of what Swiftsure boat builder Ron Perano and the rowing crew from Marlborough Boys' College achieved, rowing the only New Zealand-made boat in the royal regatta.

The oar was sent on September 21 but there is worrying speculation whether it will arrive in time for the visit of the Duchess of Cornwall.

“It may take weeks to get here and then be held up in customs,” said Edwina. “I have written to the New Zealand High Commissioner in London to ask if he will receive the oar when it finally arrives here in Marlborough and I am awaiting his reply.”

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