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Visting Marlborough 252x140

Residential Care Worker - Esland Group, Devizes

20-07-2017

  Residential Care Worker    About The Esland Group With 35+ years of residential childcare experience between the two legacy organisations, Esland has over 20 residential children’s homes and one school, our portfolio is spread across the Midlands, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Wiltshire, Kent & London regions of England.At Esland, we have a clear mission of...

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Chilvester Financial sign up as long term sponsor for Marlborough Rugby as Elisi Vunipola joins as Head Coach

19-07-2017

   Marlborough Rugby Football Club have just announced two very important signings:   firstly, Elis Vunipola, former Tonga international fly half, and uncle of England internationals Billy and Mako joins as Head Coach, and secondly, Chilvester Financial commit to a long-term five year sponsorship deal which will provide funding to support...

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Wiltshire Museum's new gallery space to attract exhibitions from national museums

19-07-2017

  The Wiltshire Museum in Devizes is creating a new Special Exhibition gallery that will be suitable to take exhibits from national museums.

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Refurbishment of Marlborough Youth Centre wins £10,000 Area Board Grant

19-07-2017

  Marlborough Town Council's decision to turn the deserted building that once housed Wiltshire Council's Development Centre for Young People into a working Community and Youth Centre, got a boost from the Marlborough Area Board with a £10,000 grant towards refurbishment.

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Marlborough Golf Club Junior Captain hands £850 cheque to St Mary’s Under Fives

18-07-2017

Alex Jewell chose St Mary’s Under Fives as his Junior Captain’s charity for his year in office.

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Brimslade air crash - a tribute to one of those who tragically died

17-07-2017

  The wife of one of the men who tragically died in a light aircraft crash near Marlborough has asked Wiltshire Police to release the following tribute. Kirsty Boazman said: “In the early evening of Thursday 13 July my precious and outrageously talented husband, Paul Gunnell (PG to most),...

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Brennan winner at Hills Wiltshire Professionals’ Golf Championship

17-07-2017

Nick Brennan of Tony Valentine Golf Centre was the winner of the 37th Hills Wiltshire Professionals’ Golf Championship held at Marlborough Golf Club on Thursday, July 6. Brennan scored an overall three under par. Despite a forecast of heavy rain and thunderstorms, perfect conditions prevailed throughout the day and 19...

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Marlborough networkers can discover how to prevent paper panic

17-07-2017

Paper panic and how to prevent it is the topic of conversation at the next Marlborough Chamber of Commerce business breakfast. Guest speaker Sammy Ryan will explain how her company, Strictly Organised, helps clients get to grips with piles of paperwork.The event takes place at Marlborough Golf Club from 7.30am on...

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Big crowds at Marden Open Day as time runs out for archaeologists working on the Cat's Brain long barrow

16-07-2017

  Six hundred and seventy-three people went to Marden for the Open Day on Saturday (July 15) to see Reading University's final explorations there - and to see the major discovery of a long barrow at nearby Cat's Brain.

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Marlborough Golf Club Seniors Open attracts record entry

16-07-2017

Marlborough Golf Club has hosted its annual Dick Lovett BMW Seniors Open - with a record 139 golfers taking part.

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Young people want better access to mental health services in Wiltshire 

Zoe Tonks & Elley-May Timmins with the Young Listeners report - ready to present it to the Wiltshire Health & Wellbeing Board (Photos: Tim Gander)Zoe Tonks & Elley-May Timmins with the Young Listeners report - ready to present it to the Wiltshire Health & Wellbeing Board (Photos: Tim Gander)A group of Wiltshire young people are on a mission to change the way mental health services are run for their peers and will be presenting a report to Wiltshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board next Thursday (May 18).

Young Listeners from Healthwatch Wiltshire spoke to 174 children and young people in the county to find out how they felt about using health and care services.

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Aldbourne's Scarecrow Trail returns again - for a third year

A 2016 scarecrow: Why on earth isn't that bird scared?  Perhaps it's not a crow...A 2016 scarecrow: Why on earth isn't that bird scared? Perhaps it's not a crow...Scarecrows will once again be appearing all over Aldbourne this year as the village prepares for its Scarecrow Trail - taking place over the weekend of May 20-21.  This will be a third annual outing for scarecrows - this time matching a new theme.

Building on the trail's successful track record, residents, community groups and businesses have come forward to create a fantastic array of scarecrows. This year's chosen theme is Fairy Tales & Musicals.

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Avebury's historic chapel has been sold

The small chapel that stands right at the heart of the Avebury stone circle has been sold by the United Reformed Church (URC).  When no longer used as a place of worship, it was for a time a Tourist Information Centre funded by Wiltshire Council.

Its future has been the subject of long and sometimes fierce debate in the village.  Last summer a group was formed called the Avebury Sacred Trust which wanted to raise £150,000 to turn the chapel into a centre for spirituality and interfaith understanding.  They would also have kept the 'quiet garden' at the rear of the chapel.

However, they could not raise the funds and the URC put the chapel on the market at the asking price of £150,000.  It was marketed as "Suitable for community use or to convert to a single dwelling (subject to permission)."

The sale is now in the hands of solicitors and until it is complete the agents are unable to say who the buyer is.

There are some restrictions on the Chapel's future use: "There are headstones to the front of the property and access will need to be given to them."  In addition there are binding 'special conditions and covenants' on the sale of URC properties.

These include: future owners cannot use the property for 'the sale of alcoholic liquor for consumption on or off the Property'. Nor can they use the property for gambling 'or in connection with any illegal or immoral purpose'.  And owners cannot use 'any reference to The United Reformed Church' in the name of the property.

The Chapel is of historical importance as an early example of a Dissenters’ meeting house. Following an Act of Parliament in1665, dissenting clergy were forbidden to preach within five miles of their former parish churches.  What is more it is the only such chapel built within a prehistoric stone circle.

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High Street matters: safes removed from closed HSBC branch, a sale and another restaurant closure

HSBC safes ready to leave - presumably empty (more photos below)HSBC safes ready to leave - presumably empty (more photos below)Monday evening in Marlborough High Street (May 8): it may have looked like the most flagrant bank raid the town had ever seen.  In fact it was a specialist crew with a very specialist truck removing several very large safes from the Marlborough High Street branch of HSBC.

These were the safes in which HSBC used to keep your cash.  The branch closed at 3pm on Friday, May 5 - so in less time that it takes to clear a cheque, the building was being emptied ready for sale.

A crane reached right in through the front door of the former branch to lift the safes onto the truck.  It certainly took more men, muscle and engineering skill than it takes to change the proverbial light bulb.

A property sale a bit further towards that end of the High Street may not bring any material change.  The premises at 143 High Street which house Costa Coffee are for sale.  This is an 'investment' prospect and Costa has a long term lease which should not be affected by the sale.

The premises to be sold are the ground floor and basement and the asking price is £700,000 - which comes to about £403 per square foot.

And the former charity shop at 1-2 Kingsbury Street is still being offered to let - at an annual rent of £22,000.

Just round the corner from Costa, behind the Town Hall was the recently opened Thai restaurant Nang Noi - it replaced the popular Tapas Bar which had replaced the Indian restaurant which....

The Nang Noi closed on April 18 and a website note goes a little way to explain the owners' sudden departure: "Hi everyone - sorry to tell you that due to a significant change in our personal circumstance - we decided that Nag Noi Thai will no longer trade and we have left the premises...we are both very grateful for the support and encouragement shown by all our customers - and leave with a heavy heart."

This is a loss for the town as people we have spoken to found the food there to be outstanding.  One very satisfied customer said he had had his best ever Thai meal there.  And the Tripadvisor reviews were very positive indeed.

 

 

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General Election: four candidates so far announced for Devizes Constituency

L to r: Green Party, Labour Party & Liberal Democrat PartyL to r: Green Party, Labour Party & Liberal Democrat PartyWe know that Mrs Claire Perry, who until Wednesday was the Member of Parliament for the Devizes Constituency, has been re-selected as the Conservative Party candidate for the constituency.

We now know that three other candidates will be on the ballot paper on June 8 - and nominations do not close until 4pm on Thursday, May 11.

For the Green Party, political economist Emma Dawnay will be standing for a second time for the Devizes consituency.  Since she was five, she has spent much of her life in Wiltshire.

The Labour candidate will be Imtiyaz Shaikh who stood unsuccessfully as a Labour candidate in last year's elections for Swindon Council.  He is married with two children and works at Tyco Electronics in Swindon.

The Liberal Democrat candidate will be Chris Coleman.  He stood unsuccessfully in the 2015 general election as his party's candidate for the Forest of Dean constituency.  He sits on Cheltenham Borough Council and has been the council's deputy leader and a cabinet member.

This report will be added to as necessary.  Candidates’ views will be featured later once nominations close so we can publish them all at the same time.

At the 2015 General Election Mrs Perry took 57.7 per cent of the votes cast. 

The votes cast were as follows:

Claire Perry (Conservative)                  25,519
David Pollitt (UKIP)                                7,544
Chris Watts (Labour)                              6,360
Manda Rigby (Liberal Democrat)           3,954
Emma Dawnay  (Green Party)               2,853

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Elected......to Wiltshire Council

Three of the winning candidates in the Marlborough Divisions of the Wiltshire Council elections were re-elections, with Nick Fogg (Independent) holding off Tamara Reay (Conservative) in Marlborough West, whilst Stewart Dobson (Conservative) overcame the challenge of Alexander Kirk Wilson (LibDem) and Katherine Davis (Labour) in Marlborough East, and James Sheppard (Conservative) comfortably holding on to Aldbourne & Ramsbury.

The onbly newcomer was Jane Davies (Conservative) who easily defeated Sara Spratt (LibDem) in West Selkley, taking over the seat from former Councillor Jemima MIlton.

The full results are below:

Marlborough West:
Fogg, Nick (Elected) (Independent)      754     54.56%
Reay, Tamara Louise (Conservative)     507     36.69%
Card, Sylvia Christine (Labour)             121     8.76%

Marlborough East:
Dobson, Stewart Raymond (Elected) (Conservative)      733     60.48%
Kirk Wilson, John Alexander (Liberal Democrats)             274     22.61%
Davis, Katherine Grace (Labour)                                       205     16.91%

West Selkley:
Davies, Jane Frances (Elected) (Conservative)     933    70.15%
Spratt, Sara Elizabeth (Liberal Democrats)              275     20.68%
Lee, Matthew James Bowman (Labour)                   122     9.17%

Aldbourne & Ramsbury:
Sheppard, James Henry (Elected) (Conservative)     1056     67.39%
Bishop, Fran Liberal Democrats)                                    278     17.74%
Haythornthwaite, Jason Steven (Labour)                       147     9.38%
Utton, Brian Roy (Green Party)                                        86     5.49%

 

 

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Nick Fogg almost unseated by admin error at last Friday’s Wiltshire Council election count

Councillor (still) Nick FoggCouncillor (still) Nick FoggWiltshire came close to experiencing its own La La Land / Moonlight Oscars moment last Friday when an admin error in the count put Nick Fogg, long standing Independent Wiltshire Councillor for Marlborough West into a narrow second place behind Tamara Reay (Conservative).

“I’d even congratulated Tamara on her victory” explained Nick. “If any apologies are due it is to her as she believed that she had taken the seat”.

“It was bizarre and unprecedented” he added. “A genuine administrative mistake, but could have had severe consequences if the error hadn’t been picked up”.

Wiltshire Council apologised for the error, returning officer and Wiltshire Council corporate director, Carlton Brand issued a statement saying “….Unfortunately, there were a couple of errors on the day which were quickly rectified and anyone who was affected was apologised to immediately.”

Thankfully Councillor Fogg’s ‘Moonlight moment’ arrived, albeit later than sooner and he was able to deliver the victor’s address to the count, and be reappointed to represent the residents of Marlborough West division on Wiltshire Council for a further four years.


Result:

Nicholas Fogg (Independent):   754 votes
Tamara Reay (Conservative)        507 votes
Sylvia Card (Labour):                   121 votes

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Jack Wills to open new outlet in Marlborough

The day before they openThe day before they openPreppy outfitter Jack Wills is to open a new outlet in Marlborough tomorrow (Wednesday).

The store will be the brand’s 76th in the UK, and its second launch of 2017. It will be opening in the Grade II listed building vacated by independent home decor trader Charlotte Quest last Spring.

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Property developers sell £2m of retirement apartments at one event

Over £2m of top end retirement apartments were sold off-plan at an English cream tea event-themed event in Marlborough last week.

Renaissance Retirement’s Fleur de Lis complex – under construction at a former builders yard off London Road – will consist of 28 one- and two-bed apartments, priced between £295,000 to £630,000.

The event attracted 30 prospective buyers, and the developer was keen to stress that moving to its retirement complex does not necessarily mean downsizing, as one of the apartments boasts 1,500 square feet of space – about the same as a three-bedroom house.

Sales manager Matt Smith said: “We are delighted with the start of our sales launch. Who says you need to downsize when you want to move out of the family home? We have some very spacious apartments on sale.

“Our message is not to think ‘downsizing’ but ‘rightsizing’.”

Chris Wotton, marketing director at Renaissance Retirement added: “Prospective buyers were very encouraged with how the apartments will look inside. It will be one of the major new homes’ launches this year in the region and not one to miss.”

Ideally suited to those seeking to maintain a quality standard of independent living, each of the properties is connected to emergency call systems and 24-hour security, as well as an on-site concierge who is on hand to assist owners and oversee the development’s daily operation. A stylish owners’ lounge and guest suite are also accessible to all owners.

The first residents are expected to move in in the Autumn.

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Running the off-road Marlborough Downs Challenge raises funds for children in Ghana

The chap in the photo (right) is Ramsbury resident James Higgins - and he is enjoying a well-earned pint of Ramsbury Gold in The Bell after completing the Marlborough Downs Challenge - an 'ultra marathon' across the downs held this year on Saturday, May 6.  

He chose to run the 33-mile version of this trail race, which includes 3,000 feet of climbs.  And he chose to run it to raise funds for the Ramsbury based charity Action Through Enterprise (ATE) which helps the people - especially children - in Lawra one of the poorest parts of Upper West Ghana.

He completed the run in six hours twelve minutes and thirty-six seconds - putting him fiftieth out of the ninety-six runners.  So far he has beaten more than the 33-miles - he has beaten his original £300 target.   He has raised £755 (including Gift Aid) and his fundraising page is still open for donations.

ATE's Chief Executive, Sarah Gardner, told Marlborough.News: "All the funds James has raised will be used to provide free school meals for hungry children in Lawra. His fantastic total (so far) will buy 3,775 lunches."

"James's huge success today is particularly impressive as he sadly lost his grandfather, Dr Trevor Tiplady, last weekend."

The Marlborough Downs Challenge is organised by the Marlborough Running Club and entrants can choose to run the 20-mile version of the trail race.  It attracts runners from all over the south of England including London.

The route of the long version takes runners past some of the Wiltshire's best loved countryside:  The Wansdyke Path, Tan Hill Way, White Horse Trail, and Mid Wilts Way with superb views across the Vale of Pewsey West Woods and Gopher Wood, with its wild garlic.    

Runners take on two of the highest points in Wiltshire: Knapp Hill and Tan Hill, where the long and short courses diverge.  Runners on the long route follow The Kennet & Avon Canal into Devizes, take in Roundway Hill and Morgan's Hill, Cherhill Monument and its white horse.


Finally, the routes re-join to pass through Avebury with views of Silbury Hill, then go via Overton and Fyfield Downs back to Marlborough Leisure Centre for showers and refreshments.

For the record, the long route of the Marlborough Downs Challenge was won this year by Edward Knudsen of the Avon Valley Runners in a time of four hours twenty-one minutes.

Before the race: James with his mother Sara Thompson - a long term ATE volunteerBefore the race: James with his mother Sara Thompson - a long term ATE volunteer

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GWH gets a capital grant to help solve A&E crisis - but where can they find the staff?

Just before the notion of General Election 'purdah' apparently put a stop to everyday policy implementation - as opposed to everyday electioneering promises - Great Western Hospital was listed to get a share of the first £56million of capital money from NHS Improvement to help hospitals ease the nationwide A&E crisis.

GWH will receive £899,661 towards a scheme they put forward to make building alterations integrating their Emergency Department and their Urgent Care Centre.  The latter is now being run by GWH as part of its new responsibilities for Swindon's community health services - making these changes feasible.

This will have an impact on the flow of patients through the emergency department.  But the problems in meeting the national target for 95 per cent of patients to be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, have many other wider causes - causes that this novel 'bricks-and-mortar' plan cannot cure on its own.

So at a time of ritual claims and counter claims about the Government's treatment of the NHS, let us look at some facts.

In March 2017 the total number of emergency attendances at GWH's A&E was 6,893 - that was an increase of twelve per cent on February's figure and showed a decrease of 6.2 per cent against March 2016 - though February is, of course, a shorter month.  

With that slightly better news came more serious news:  there were 3,430 emergency admissions to GWH during March.  That was 15.5 per cent up on February, but also 7.3 per cent up on March 2016.

The 95 per cent A&E target was missed at GWH in March with 83.7 per cent of patients within the four hour target. The figure across 2016-17 was 86.6 per cent.  The main cause for these figures is simply that GWH - which has too few acute beds for the huge growth in the population it serves - has problems with the flow of patients through its wards.  Most of these problems are not of its own making.

We are back to 'Delayed Transfers of Care' (DTOCs) - known also as 'blocked beds'.  The number of bed days lost at GWH to DTOCs in March was 810 - up more than 30 per cent on February, but up by a whopping 36 per cent on March 2016.

Of those 810 bed days, 345 were Swindon patients (up 50 per cent on February) and 259 were Wiltshire patients (down marginally on February.) (The other 206 bed days lost were patients from outside the Swindon and Wiltshire areas.)

Additional beds have been made available at Savernake Hospital. But as patients are moved out of GWH's acute beds, blockages are occurring further down the line:  with community hospitals' beds blocked because patients cannot be moved back to home or to rehabilitation.

As the report to the GWH board meeting (May 4) says: "...Community services report that community hospital and intermediate care beds for GWH patients have been difficult to access due largely to placement and Help to Live at Home delays..."

One of the many ways GWH are seeking to minimise DTOCs is through their Home to Assess service.  This began in November as a pilot scheme funded by Swindon CCG.  Although somewhat undermined by staff shortages, it has had successes - saving about 111 bed days during the pilot.

Now the pilot is over, Swindon CCG are funding it month by month.  "But", the report to the board states, "certainty is required if the service is to reach its full potential."  To which GWH Director of Finance, Karen Johnson, added: "Swindon desire to make it work - but there is a gap in funding."

The building work must start soon as under the rules for this £899,661 it must be complete by October - before the 'winter pressures' kick in.  

NHS Improvement are demanding that recipients of this money reach the 95 per cent target by the end of the year. And GWH has to present a plan on how that will be achieved - as Karen Johnson told the board: "It's got to be a credible plan."

NHS Improvement may be able to magic-up cash, but they cannot magic-up staff.  The next hurdle will be for GWH to recruit staff - including GPs - to work in their newly integrated A&E service. But - as with recruitment - many of the problems around A&E waiting times and DTOCs lie outside GWH's remit.   

 It is not yet clear how - or even whether - shares of the government's £1bn to help local authorities meet their social services responsibilities that go to Wiltshire (said to be £5.8m) and to Swindon will help GWH get patients back home faster.  

Will, for instance, Wiltshire Council use part of this money to upgrade and fully staff its Help to Live at Home service to help with DTOCs?  That is something you can ask your new Wiltshire councillor.

 

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