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Your guide to local fireworks displays

Enjoy bonfire night in safety at a professionally organised eventEnjoy bonfire night in safety at a professionally organised eventRemember, remember the fifth of November... or the 9th, or 10th. Whenever you decide to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, do it affordably and safely at a professionally organised event. Here are some of the events in our area.

Friday, November 9

Marlborough Town Football Club bonfire (7pm) and fireworks display (8pm). Hot food, adult bar. Tickets Adult £3, child £2, under 4 free. Limited parking available at the Elcot Lane clubhouse. In the case of bad weather the event will be rescehduled to Sunday, November 11.

6pm, St Katharine's Primary School, Savernake. Professional firework display, bonfire, licensed bar, hot food. Tickets £10 per car in advance (from the school), £15 on the night. SOLD OUT

The bonfire will be lit at Woodborough School at 6.15pm with fireworks going up an hour later. Attractions include hot soup, mulled wine and a barbecue. Parking is at the Woodborough Social Centre (in nearby Smithy Lane) and the Woodborough Garden Centre, where a minibus will be available to transport guests to (between 6.30pm & 7pm) and from the event.

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Poor harvest highlights importance of Community Orchard

Apple that were brimming with fruit last season are barren this yearApple that were brimming with fruit last season are barren this yearYou wouldn't know it from looking at the supermarket shelves, and some local gardeners are pooh-poohing the headlines, but officially we're suffering from the worst apple harvest in 15 years.

Branches that were last year buckling under the weight of fruit are bare. It's the reason, say organisers, why the Marlborough Community Orchard initiative and this month's Apple Day are so important.

“This is a wake-up call,” says respected food writer and broadcaster Lynda Brown. “We need to encourage the growing of different varieties of native apples, so that when one crop suffers, others will provide us with a crop.

“We have become used to buying the perfect cosmetic fruit from the supermarkets. There are early, mid and late blossoming apple trees and some will fare better than others from season to season. Variety is the spice of life, and we shouldn't put all our eggs – or, in this case, apples – in one basket.”

This year's harvest has been hit hard by the wettest summer on record. “The cold, rainy summer discouraged the bees from flying at crucial periods,” says Lynda, “while the lack of sun has meant that apples haven't ripened on time 

“And for the past couple of years we've had bumper crops, so yields have been worse as trees recover.”

Marlborough's community orchard scheme – conceived in 2010 with the ambitious aim of creating a town in an orchard – has already seen 35 trees planted around the town.

Ninety-one pre-ordered Wiltshire variety apple trees will be arriving on Apple Day and between 30 and 40 others will be planted in and around the town before next spring.

The showcase Apple Day event will be held in Marlborough Town Hall on Sunday, October 14 from 11am to 5pm. One of the leading experts on English apples, Dr Joan Morgan, will be on hand to identify apples for gardeners who have a tree, but have no idea what variety it is. Identification costs £15.

Other attractions include:

  • Opening welcome ceremony with cornet fanfare to greet the Mayor and 'Wiltshire Maidens': rare Wiltshire apple tree saplings specially grafted for Marlborough Community Orchard by Barters Nursery.

  • Announcement of the winners of the A4 Apple Art Competition and prize giving by Juliet and Peter Kindersley of Sheepdrove Organic Farm.

  • Apple pressing outside the hall, so everyone can enjoy freshly-squeezed apple juice.

  • Pip planting, face painting and other activities for children.

  • Fabulous retail line-up: local food and produce and hand-made preserves; local apple juice, honey and real cider; bee-beautiful local beauty products; bird boxes, ladybird houses, apple trugs and other bespoke woodwork ; hand-stitched linens and hand sewn gifts; Sarah Raven’s bee-friendly bulbs and seeds, gardening accessories and kitchenalia; Marlborough Community Orchard’s new series of limited edition apple cards; Apple Day treats for dogs, and much more.

  • Sumbler’s ‘Best -Ever Hog Roast’ with windfall apple sauce plus, new this year, scrummy cakes and drinks provided by Bow Belles@ Little Apple Café.

  • Gloucester Old Spot competition, sponsored by Haine & Smith, starring a sow and her piglets, specially filmed for Marlborough Community Orchard by Orchard Pig.

  • Display and tasting of rare native Wiltshire apples, growing advice from experts and Wiltshire apple saplings for sale.

  • The opportunity to sponsor orchard fruit trees for the new Diamond Jubilee Plantation on Marlborough Common and other sites around town.

  • Four-star luxury raffle brings the chance to win: Four tickets to a special performance of the Nutcracker, followed by afternoon tea at Sheepdrove Eco-Centre and Organic Farm; a case of fine wine from Waitrose; a three-course dinner for two at The Bell at West Overton; an hour long aromatherapy massage at Indulgence Beauty salon.

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Pewsey dons its glad rags for carnival procession

Pewsey did what it does best on Saturday night – threw a spectacular celebration of community spirit to which everyone was invited.

And as the climactic end to the 114th Pewsey Carnival – a fortnight of fun and frivolity – the procession was one of the best in recent years.

It took three quarters of an hour from the bang of the rocket – signifying the start of the procession at 7.30pm – for the floats to wend its way King Arthur's statue in the centre of the village, where strings of coloured lights were reflected on the surface of the River Avon.

Once the first float arrived, the crowds were treated to over an hour of entertainment as the illuminated procession passed by. 

It was 70 minutes of music, colour and smiling faces led by the King's Korner Band and followed by the carnival's royal family: carnival queen Sophie Bryant and her attendants Jade Nelson and Katherine Lofthouse, carnival princess Courtney Clark, carnival prince Alfie Thorne and flower girl Sophie Farr. 

There were winners, of course, but no losers; there wasn't a bad float among the lot. Individuals, clubs, pubs, families, and friends spent weeks preparing costumes and floats, and the effort really showed.

And even when things went wrong, the crowd lapped up the spectacle. The sight of a group of lads in from the Moonrakers Inn re-hitching their Hawaii 5-0 float to the tractor in Hawaiian shirts and comedy police helmets garnered the biggest cheer of the night.

The winners in the large float (over 9m) category were Party Animals for their jubilee themed Queen on Tour float, which saw adults dressed as Beefeater and Queen's Guards while kids, dressed as Freddie Mercury in trademark yellow jackets and black moustaches, mimed to the hits of Queen.

Pinball Wizard – a tribute to The Who – scooped second prize, with one member of the Has Beens playing the Pete Townsend role of Tommy, while others dressed as wizards, or donned silver mini dresses and platform boots to play the parts of pinballs. In third place was Face Envy's Big Top Circus, featuring adults and children in clown and circus performer costumes.

In the smaller float (under 9m) category, there was a tie between the Amor and Plank Families' Don't Wok the Boat, a Chinese dragon boat manned by coolies and Kevin Arthur and Friends with Madonna – a tribute to the singer's Like A Prayer video, with a mix of raunchy and religious costumes. In third place were the Pewsey Old Broilers, who performed YMCA by the Village People while dressed as chickens.

The community and beginner class for newcomers and smaller community groups was won by Russell Fishlock & Co and their Bee Gees tribute. Russ Buck with Millionaires on Tour scooped second place, with Paula Baker's Toy Soldiers third.

In the hand-propelled float/cart category, Pewsey Vale Running Club took podium position with their Rocky Horror Show. Saffron, Hannah and Lucy were second with their The Yo Ho Ho’s, and in third place was Spanswick and Lund – The Full Moon Party

Helps and Martins' Mad Hatters Tea Party won the walkers category, with De Pass' Robin Hood in second place and Amor and Friends' Dad's Army in third. The Ron Oram Cup for best local float was won by the Amor and Plank Families' Don't Wok the Boat.

For more pictures see our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MarlboroughNewsOnline

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'Mort in a month' challenge for students

A group of thirty Marlborough students have set themselves a deadly serious challenge – to put on a theatre performance of Terry Pratchett's Mort in just one month.

In doing so the sixth form students, who are studying for the International Baccalaureate at St John’s, aim to raise funds for an Alzheimer's charity, in recognition of the condition that has afflicted the author.

On 17 October, exactly one month from the first script read-through, the first performance of Mort – which is being directed, produced and choreographed by the students – will be unveiled to the public at The Theatre on the Hill at St John’s.

Published in 1987 as part of the Discworld novel collection, Mort was written by Sir Terry Pratchett and was later dramatised by Stephen Briggs.

The performance tells the story of young Mort who is sent away by his father to become an apprentice with a tradesman, who turns out to be Death himself.

In a twist of fate, Mort decides to save a princess whose time it was to die, drastically altering a part of Discworld’s reality. From this point, there begins a dramatic race against time for Mort to save the princess’s life.

The play offers a combination of comedy as well as a thoughtful insight into human nature. Mort is a production that both children and adults will find compelling and entertaining, with a thought provoking message that will appeal to everyone on a different level.

Mort in a Month rehearsals, day 1Mort in a Month rehearsals, day 1Common to all Pratchett novels, Mort contains some wicked one-liners. Certain to get the biggest laugh of the night is: "It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever. Have you thought of going into teaching?"

The idea to produce a 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.

International Baccalaureate students are required to complete a minimum of 150 hours non-academic Creativity, Action and Service activities in order to receive their Diploma, and for the IB students involved in the production Mort will become part of their final qualification when the leave the school.

Principal Dr Patrick Hazlewood, who is a strong advocate of the International Baccalaureate said: “I am not surprised to see our sixth form students taking on such a big challenge, and I hope that students and their families will support their aim to raise a substantial sum for Alzheimers Research UK. I have every confidence that they will be able to put on a high quality performance, despite the extremely tight deadline.”

As well as being a huge amount of fun, the aim of this production is to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, a charity for which Sir Terry himself has done a lot of work with over the years.

So why take on this enormous challenge in a month? IB student and Mort press officer Charlie Linney said: “It’s simple: IB students think big, and when we work together, the sky’s the limit!”

The play will have two performances, on Wednesday 17 and Saturday 20 October, starting at 7pm. Tickets are on sale at £6 for adults and £4 for concessions.

Booking forms are available from St John’s Reception and student services, from The Theatre on the Hill pages of the St John’s website www.stjohns.wilts.sch.uk/Theatre or by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Bottoms up for the Burbage Beer Festival

Twenty five different cask ales, including ten from Wiltshire, and 15 casks of cider will be on offer at the 16th annual Burbage Beer festival this weekend.

Punters enjoying the 2011 Burbage Beer FestivalPunters enjoying the 2011 Burbage Beer FestivalThe festival starts at 6.30pm on Friday, September 7, running until 11pm. From 8.30pm local band Humdinger will be providing musical entertainment.

Punters can run off fuzzy heads from 10am on Saturday with the traditional six-a-side football tournament, then it's back to the bar on Saturday night from 6pm to 11pm, with musical entertainment from 7.30pm, courtesy of Devizes-based Fat Freddy's Cat.

The festival will be held at Burbage Sports Club, East Sands, Burbage. Tickets cost £6 for one night or £7.50 for both, and the tariff includes a souvenir tankard. Drink tokens cost £1.50 each and will buy a half pint of beer or cider, while two tokens can be exchanged for a quarter bottle of wine. Soft drinks are also available.  

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2,322 people visit Communities Market


Amanda Fearon of the 2012 Taste of the West medal-winning Ramsbury TeaAmanda Fearon of the 2012 Taste of the West medal-winning Ramsbury TeaTwo thousand, three hundred and twenty two. That's officially the number of people who visited Marlborough's popular Communities Market yesterday (Sunday). 

That precise figure comes courtesy of volunteers from Transition Marlborough who, armed with clickers, used scientifically-approved methods to count the footfall of visitors as they browsed stalls. 

For lovers of statists, here are a few more: 

  • 39 – the number of stalls at the biggest market so far. The food section in Marlborough High Street boasted 28 stalls, while the inaugural arts and crafts market inside the Town Hall had 11.

  • 98 – the percentage of stallholders who came from the SN postcode area, in keeping with the organisers' hyper-local ethos. A fair proportion were from Marlborough's SN8 postcode area.

  • 11,000 – that's (roughly) how many miles at least one of the visitors – a New Zealander – was from home. Other visitors came from Japan and Bermuda, and from within the UK there were shoppers from London and Cardiff.

  • 4 – the number of cars left in Marlborough High Street overnight, despite the presence of No Parking signs. The problem led to the marquee being placed some distance away from the Town Hall – the organisers' preference was to have the two abutting.

Dewi Williams of Marlborough Mushrooms, winner of the Local Hero Award in the 2012 Good Housekeeping Food AwardsDewi Williams of Marlborough Mushrooms, winner of the Local Hero Award in the 2012 Good Housekeeping Food Awards“Overall it was a really, really good day,” say Ellie Gill from Marlborough Communities Market. Trade was slightly slower than at previous markets, and we suppose the rain may have put some people off.

“Many traders sold all their stock although, thankfully, not until the end of the day. Our regular stallholders are better able to gauge the event, rather than selling out in the morning, and there was a constant flow of customers all day.”

Organisers are promising even more stalls in October. “We have more interest from traders than we have space to accommodate them,” said Ellie. “New to the market next month will be the The Cotswold Curer, a producer of free range British salami, and Paul's Poultry, an award-winning pie maker.”

The Cotswold Cooks will also be back in October, selling teas, cakes and savouries from their 1950s themed beach hut.

Amy Ball and Scarlett Camm of Shyroom, a new business which sells 'up-cycled' jewellery Amy Ball and Scarlett Camm of Shyroom, a new business which sells 'up-cycled' jewellery As the nights draw in, the market will be operating winter hours. From Sunday, October 7 the hours of trading will be 11am to 3pm. November's market will be held on the 4th, with a special Christmas Lights market on Thursday, November 29 – the night the town's Christmas Lights are switched on – replacing the December 2 event.

A Christmas market will be held on Sunday, December 16. For details log on to www.marlboroughmarket.org.uk

  • Click images for a larger version

 

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Apple day organisers promise a jam-packed day

Tilda Borthwick (4) looking forward to Marlborough Apple DayTilda Borthwick (4) looking forward to Marlborough Apple DayOrganisers of Marlborough Apple Day say the event is set to be the best yet, with plenty of free fun, education and retail therapy for all the family.

Now in its third year, the event will take place from 11am to 4pm on Sunday 14 October in and around the Town Hall.

The leading highlight of this year’s event is an apple identification workshop, led by renowned fruit authority Dr Joan Morgan. Places are limited for the Apple Identification. To register interest, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Attractions include:

  • Opening welcome ceremony with cornet fanfare to greet the Mayor and 'Wiltshire Maidens': rare Wiltshire apple tree saplings specially grafted for Marlborough Community Orchard by Barters Nursery.

  • Announcement of the winners of the A4 Apple Art Competition and prize giving by Juliet and Peter Kindersley of Sheepdrove Organic Farm.

  • Apple pressing outside the hall, so everyone can enjoy freshly-squeezed apple juice.

  • Pip planting, face painting and other activities for children.

  • Fabulous retail line-up: local food and produce and hand-made preserves; local apple juice, honey and real cider; bee-beautiful local beauty products; bird boxes, ladybird houses, apple trugs and other bespoke woodwork ; hand-stitched linens and hand sewn gifts; Sarah Raven’s bee-friendly bulbs and seeds, gardening accessories and kitchenalia; Marlborough Community Orchard’s new series of limited edition apple cards; Apple Day treats for dogs, and much more.

  • Sumbler’s ‘Best -Ever Hog Roast’ with windfall apple sauce plus, new this year, scrummy cakes and drinks provided by Bow Belles@ Little Apple Café.

  • Gloucester Old Spot competition, sponsored by Haine & Smith, starring a sow and her piglets, specially filmed for Marlborough Community Orchard by Orchard Pig.

  • Display and tasting of rare native Wiltshire apples, growing advice from experts and Wiltshire apple saplings for sale.

  • The opportunity to sponsor orchard fruit trees for the new Diamond Jubilee Plantation on Marlborough Common and other sites around town.

  • Four-star luxury raffle brings the chance to win: Four tickets to a special performance of the Nutcracker, followed by afternoon tea at Sheepdrove Eco-Centre and Organic Farm; a case of fine wine from Waitrose; a three-course dinner for two at The Bell at West Overton; an hour long aromatherapy massage at Indulgence Beauty salon.

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The Diana makes her way home from her successful voyage to the Paralympics

Memories of the Paralympics surely won’t fade for those disabled people who visited or stayed on board the Bruce Trust’s canal boat The Diana, which made the long journey by canal and river to play its part in London 2012.

Now, The Diana is on the final stage of her five week, one hundred and sixty five mile round trip to the Paralympics  – on her way back to her home base at Great Bedwyn. During her time moored on the Regent’s Canal, as near to the Olympic Stadium as the strict security would allow, The Diana provided accommodation to dozens of disabled visitors from all over the United Kingdom who were visiting the Paralympics.

The Diana is especially adapted to take those who are wheelchair-bound. Amongst those welcomed aboard were a group of men and women from the armed services who are getting specialist treatment with the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court.

For the final part of The Diana’s epic journey back to Great Bedwyn, she is again being crewed by members of local Rotary Clubs who are offering day trips to groups of people with special needs.

The founder of the Bruce Trust, David Bruce, says the whole adventure to the Paralympics has been a huge success: “It has given my Trust a unique opportunity not only to provide day trips en route each way to local groups of disabled people, but also to provide an invaluable overnight base near the Olympic Stadium for dozens of disabled visitors to the Paralympics. None of this would have been possible without my Trust’s wonderful voluntary helpers and, of course, the many members of Newbury, Hungerford and Thatcham Rotary Clubs”.

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Could you lend Olympic medalist Shelley a pooch?

Shelley RudmanShelley RudmanWinter Olympics hero Shelley Rudman is appealing for help to complete her latest challenge – a sponsored walk through Marlborough's Savernake Forest.

The world cup champion and winter 2006 Olympic silver-winning skeleton bobsleigher is hoping someone will lend her a canine companion for the Best Paw Forward walk in aid of Cancer Research UK. 

Shelley’s commitment to her sport makes it impossible for her to own a dog so she’s looking for a temporary canine companion.

“I don’t have a dog of my own at the moment, but would love to take part in such a great fundraising event if someone has a dog I can borrow...I promise I will give it back!” said Shelley. 

“Growing up in Pewsey, we had four beautiful dogs and I would love to have one, but sadly my training schedule and competing in North America doesn’t allow me the time.”

The sponsored dog walk is the first regional event outside of London organised by Cancer Research UK.

Organisers are hoping to attract hundreds of dog walkers to the Savernake Forest on Sunday, September 23 between 11 am and 4pm to raise much needed funds for Cancer Research UK. Entry is £10 per dog and is open to walkers of all ages.

To sign up for the event log on to http://supportus.cancerresearchuk.org/events/charity-walks/Best-Paw-Forward-Marlborough

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Brit award winner plays Sound Knowledge gig

Ethan JohnsEthan JohnsWith a reputation for showcasing up-and-coming bands, Marlborough record shop Sound Knowledge will be playing host to a far more established artist in November.

Ethan Johns is a Brit Award-winning record producer, engineer, mixer, musician, and songwriter who has worked with such artists such as Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Ray LaMontagne,The Vaccines, Laura Marling, Tom Jones and Crosby, Stills & Nash to name but a few.

Having worked alongside some of the biggest names in music, Ethan has been drawing inspiration and decided to put out an album in his own right.

Twenty years in the making and produced by his legendary producer father Glyn Johns – who has worked with Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan – the album is keenly anticipated in the music business.

Ethan will be performing songs live in Azuza and signing copies of his album in Sound Knowledge on Friday, November 16 from 6.30pm.

Lucy RoseLucy RoseMeanwhile, Lucy Rose – a regular guest vocalist with Bombay Bicycle Club – will be playing a live show and signing copies of her new album, Like I Used To, on Friday, September 28 from 6.30pm.

Vogue magazine has described Rose as “One of indie music’s breakout stars for 2012”.

Attendance to both gigs is free by registering on the Sound Knowledge Facebook Page

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Roll up, roll up, the circus is in town

Ella, Ceri and Hannah from Gifford's Circus urge the crowds to roll up, roll up! Ella, Ceri and Hannah from Gifford's Circus urge the crowds to roll up, roll up! Roll up, roll up, the circus is in town.

And not just any old circus, but Gifford's Circus. Gifford's put on a particularly 'Marlborough-ish' kind of show – part traditional English circus, part cabaret, part physical theatre.

Each show has a theme – Joplin came to Marlborough in 2006, with its 1960s theme reflected in costumes and music. Caravan (2008) was set around a horse fair and 2010's Yasmine was inspired by the life of legendary equestrienne Yasmine Smart, who played herself in the production.

Last year's tour was called War and Peace and explored Napoleon's disastrous intrusion into Russia from a Russian Aristocratic family's view. It is, perhaps, what you'd expect from founder and creative producer Nell Gifford, who has a degree in English literature from Oxford.

This year's tour is called The Saturday Book. Somewhat aptly for a town with a growing reputation for literary excellence, organisers promise a witty collection of vignettes, tableaus, stories and paintings based on an annual miscellany, published between 1941 and 1975, which provided literary and artistic commentary.

Writers included John Betjeman, Graham Greene, Laurie Lee, Philip Larkin, George Orwell, Siegfried Sassoon and PG Wodehouse, while LS Lowry provided pictures.

Gifford's Circus, in all its artistic gloryGifford's Circus, in all its artistic gloryThe show is directed by Cal McCrystal, who has worked with The Mighty Boosh and Sacha Baron Cohen, and whose Royal National Theatre's hit show One Man, Two Guvnors – on which he was physical comedy director – transferred has played the West End and Broadway.

The cast includes loveable clown Tweedy, a veteran of children's television and a star on both sides of the Atlantic, Bibi the Ethiopian horse-riding juggler, Ukrainian gymnastics troupe The Godfathers, while Francois Marietta and Sarah Schwarz will be providing ariel thrills above the ring.

There'll be animals too, including Sallyann and Ionut Ronescu’s Comedy Dogs, pony trick riding with The Victorians and Giffords favourite Brian the goose.

The Saturday Book opens tomorrow (Friday) at Marlborough Common, with performances at 5pm and 7.30pm, and runs until Monday, September 3.

Once again, the circus will be bringing a most unusual pop-up restaurant to the town. Artistes and audience members dine together on a three-course meal made from seasonal and local ingredients for £25 a head.

Circus Sauce is also serving afternoon teas at £11 a head, and it will open during the intervals, serving freshly baked cakes, traditional ice creams and beverages.

Performance tickets cost £21 for adults and £14 for children under 14. For a full list of showtimes and booking details, log on to www.giffordscircus.com

Pictures from show are now on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MarlboroughNewsOnline

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