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Visting Marlborough 252x140

Features

Matt Prior - Marlborough Downs' "Mr Tree Sparrow" - keeps tabs on another new generation of chicks

 

During a very hot late afternoon and evening - one of June's record breakers - I watched Matt Prior ring 73 tree sparrow chicks from sixteen broods.  A five-hour shift after his day's work.

His conservation work on the Marlborough Downs centres on the tree sparrow, which is on the Red List of endangered birds and was almost extinct in North Wiltshire when he began taking an interest in them.

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Vanessa Lafaye's new novel tells of a woman's struggle against violent racism - Vanessa too has a major struggle to confront

 

Vanessa Lafaye lives in Marlborough with her husband, founded the town's Community Choir - and writes novels.  Her first published novel, Summertime, was a run away success - described as 'a cracking first novel', it was chosen as a Richard and Judy Book Club title: "It sold a lot."

 

Now she has published her second novel - At First Light.  Like Summertime it is based around a true and terrible story and is set in Florida (where she was brought up.)

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Read all about it! Fallout from a nuclear bomb attack on London - in a debut novel

 

Next Thursday (June 8) will be a big day in the nation's history.  It will be a big day too for Bishop Cannings resident Elizabeth Frearson.   She writes under the pseudonym Lizzy Mumfrey and will be launching her debut novel at a special event at the White Horse Bookshop on the evening of Election Day (details below.)

 

The novel, Fallout, explores the lead up to a terrorist nuclear bomb attack in London - and its aftermath. It reveals the impact of such an event on the lives of ordinary people living in a commuter community similar to Marlborough.

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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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A varied selection of Easter Weekend events for those who like all kinds of egg hunts - and other entertainments

An egg hunt without chickens is one of the attractions organised by the National Trust in Avebury - poster at right.   These hunts have been running since April 8 with help-yourself-timings between 11.00am and 4.00pm.  As well as those Cadbury eggs, you can hunt for spring hares or get creative with craft activities.  Call 01672 538036 for details.

The Great Lydiard Park Easter Egg Trail - Sunday, 16 April 2017 - 10.00am to 4.00pm (last admission 3.00pm) £4 per child.  (Parking charges apply.)

Faux Arts in The Parade, Marlborough have many arts and crafts opportunities for youngsters.  Details on their website or 01672 512031.

Wiltshire Museum in Devizes is open Friday, April 14, Sunday, April 16 and Monday, April 17 from 12.00am to 4.00pm - and on Saturday, April 15 from 10.00am to 5.00pm.
On Wednesday, April 19 the Wiltshire Museum runs holiday activity sessions: Colourful Textiles - including felt making, bookmarks, pictures and plaited bracelets.  Suitable for ages 11 and under - under 8s must be accompanied. £5 per child. Booking essential. Details and booking here.

Characters from the past - clues - prizes:  English Heritage hosts an Easter Adventure Quest at Old Sarum - last day Monday, April 17 - 11.00am to 5.00pm.  Free to members - non-members £4.80/£2.90.)  Booking not necessary.  

Studley Grange (near M4's junction sixteen) has Butterfly Wolrd, Farm Park and Craft Village.  Tenrecs from Madagascar are their latest attraction.  A Tenrec?  It looks like a hedgehog but has gone down different evolutionary paths.  Fascinating.  And for children who like bending things - Studley Grange's resident blacksmith will be offering drop in sessions for children to try their skills. Details here.

For those who reckon they can tell one end of a horse from another, Friday, April 14 sees the Many Clouds Lambourn Open Day - renamed this year in honour of Many Clouds the Grand National winner who died at Cheltenham in January seconds after winning his second Cotswold Chase.  He was trained by Oliver Sherwood in Lamborun.
The day-long event includes visits to many of Lambourn's famous training yards and in the afternoon a welter of events for all the family in the main arena.  More details here.

For horse racing fans there is the famous Cazenove Capital Point-to-Point & Country Day at Lockinge (near Wantage):  activities from 11.15am and first race at 2.00pm.
General admission is £25 per car (single occupancy £10) and pedestrians are £5 per person. Gates are open from 10am.  Excellent viewing available from the hillside.

Back in the real and old world, Crofton's world famous beam engines will be in steam from Saturday, April 15 to Monday, April 17.  A spectacle, a history lesson and a science lesson - or you can just sit and watch the canal traffic go by. And there is a cafe.  Prices and opening times here.

And this is a Studley Grange Tenrec And this is a Studley Grange Tenrec

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Fairy fun comes to Pewsey

Twenty one little doors appeared around the bases of treesTwenty one little doors appeared around the bases of treesChildren were given the keys to a magical kingdom on Sunday, as Pewsey first Fairy Trail came to the Scotchel nature reserve.

Twenty one little doors to fairy homes – made and decorated by local children – appeared around the bases of trees, while wirework sprites and insects danced from the branches.

And the fairy theme continued in the Bouverie Hall, where a stallholders at a Fairy Fayre sold fairy-related gifts.

Donations for the Brighter Futures Radiotherapy Appeal were collected in a wishing well at the end of the trial.

Brighter Futures launched the Radiotherapy Appeal at Great Western Hospital in 2015, in a bid to raise the £2.9 million needed to make radiotherapy treatment available in Swindon, meaning local cancer patients no longer have to make the daily 70-mile round trip to Oxford.

Wirework fairies danced from the branchesWirework fairies danced from the branches

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Elliot Lassiter - future Triathalon star awarded Wiltshire Council Grant

Elliot Lassiter representing GB in Aviles, Spain last summerElliot Lassiter representing GB in Aviles, Spain last summerElliot Lassiter (18) a member of Marlborough and District Junior Athletics Club (MADJA) and the South West Triathlon Academy was presented with a Sports Scholarship Grant of £500 by Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, leader of Wiltshire Council in a special ceremony at County Hall, Trowbridge on February 23.

Baroness Scott said, “We are committed to supporting our rising sports stars and we know that these grants make a huge difference helping with their development and providing much needed financial support for competitions, events and training camps.”

Elliot finished third in his category in the Duathlon World Championships in Aviles, Spain in June 2016.  This year he aims to qualify for the Elite European Cup Series (a series of races in different European venues). If he finishes in the top eight in the Sospan Sprint Triathlon in Llanelli on May 13 he will represent Great Britain in the Series.

“It will be very difficult because there will be two Olympic development athletes (athletes who are likely to represent GB in the next Olympics) competing against me”  he said.   Elliot’s long term aim is to compete in the 2024 Olympics, but in the immediate future he has embarked on a rigorous training schedule which gives equal weight to the three Triathlon disciplines : swimming, cycling and running.  Usually a triathlon is composed of a 800m swim, followed by a 20km cycle and a 5km run.

Elliot Lassiter on the bikeElliot Lassiter on the bikeHe completes at least twenty hours of training a week, often swimming before school (he is a student at Dauntsey’s).  In the winter he uses the turbo bike indoors but in summer he can be found cycling a 65 mile circuit from his home in Lockeridge as well as training on the Marlborough College track.

It all started when he was eight years old and his mother persuaded him to enter a Duathlon at Throxham which he won.  Elliot is also convinced that his competitive streak has been developed by his older brother, Adam.  “I’ve always been trying to beat him!”  Juggling revising for his A-levels in Biology, Chemistry and Maths as well as preparing for triathlons is tough.  Elliot says he is very grateful for the support of his parents to keep organised and on top of things.

In September he hopes to study Human Physiology at the University of Leeds and to make full use of the University’s excellent athletic facilities.  Elliot told marlborough.news that he is passionate about Triathlon because,  “I like all three disciplines and I like having to push myself until you reach the point where you feel like you’re hurting but you know you can keep pushing harder, go through the pain and get to the line and win.”

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  • Sunset
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