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Features

Children plant a "Christmas" tree at Easter

Marlborough pre-schoolers have helped to plant an apple tree that started life around the same time as they did, as part of the town's Community Orchard initiative.

Children at St Mary’s Under Fives helped to plant a Christmas Pippin in the grounds of the school. The sapling had grown from a pip planted in 2007 by Leader Janet Hobson and her husband Neville, to celebrate National Apple Day’s eighteenth birthday and the publishing of The Apple Source book.

The planting of the sapling brought the number of new apple trees in the town to 34. Other recent editions include a Grenadier in the grounds of Highfield residential home and a Charles Ross, a classic late Victorian variety, which was planted in St Peter's churchyard on Good Friday.

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Town council publishes definitive list of Jubilee events

A definitive list of events being held in Marlborough to celebrate the Queen's diamond jubilee has been published by Marlborough Town Council.

A summer of celebrations open with a concert of classical music on May 19 and wrap up with more classical music almost three months later. Between times there'll be drama, talks, art and photographic exhibitions, films, fairground rides, a picnic, a ball, the lighting of a beacon and even a skateboarding festival!

Saturday, May 19
Olympic Jubilee Ball, Town Hall, 7pm for 7.30pm. Organised by the Chamber of Commerce in aid of Swift Medics. Tickets £40 from Specsavers, The Food Gallery and Joules. Black Tie.

Marlborough Choral Society Concert. St. Mary’s Church, 7.30pm, British songs and Last Night of the Proms music, so bring your flags and celebrate! Tickets £9 from Sound Knowledge and Choir members.

Sunday, May 20
Fifteen: Drama with students from St. John’s & Marlborough College, Town Hall, 2.30pm. This unique production looks at the years from 1952 to 2012 through the eyes of a fifteen year old. Music by Kaya Drums. Sponsored by Kennet Valley Arts trust. Tickets £5 from White Horse Bookshop and KVAT website, www.kvat.co.uk or 07771704253.

Wednesday, May 23
The Merchant’s House Lecture, in association with Marlborough History Society, by Sir Roy Strong, entitled 20th Century Coronations, at The Memorial Hall, Marlborough College, by kind permission of the Master. 7.30pm. Tickets £14 (Friends of MH and MHS £12) from the Merchant’s House.

Sunday, May 27
Marlborough Area young people join in the celebrations with a Skate-n-Scoot competition, which they have organised. Open to all. Recreation Ground, Marlborough. Free entry.

Monday, May 28 to Friday, June 1
An Exhibition of Self Portraits by Marlborough’s Children, some of which will have been digitised to form part of the Face Britain initiative in celebration of the Jubilee. Town Hall, 3pm to 7pm, free entry

An Exhibition of Photographs of people in Marlborough taken during the celebrations on Coronation Day. Town Hall 3pm-7pm. Free entry. From the Merchant’s House collection. It is hoped that some of the residents featured will be on hand to tell their stories.

Friday, June 1 to Tuesday, June 5
Fair on Marlborough Common. All the fun of the fair from the town's old friends in the Showmen’s Guild who have visited Marlborough for generations for the Mop.

Saturday, June 2
Official opening of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations by the Mayor. Town Hall 10am. Hoisting of the Union Jack and a symbolic presentation by Marlborough Community Orchard of their gift of an orchard to the town.

 A Queen is crowned : 1953 film of the Coronation, with narration by Sir Laurence Olivier. Town Hall. 7pm for 7.30pm. Organisers will also be showing rare footage of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Free entry. Licensed bar.

Sunday, June 3
A Civic Service of Thanksgiving for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. St. Mary’s Church 10am. Marlborough Churches Together invite you to this service, which, in common with churches across the country, will include prayers and readings especially composed for the occasion.

Picnic in the Priory at Priory Gardens from 11am until 5pm. Bring your own picnic and join in the fun. Bouncy castle, bucking bronco, traditional Punch and Judy, dance and fencing displays, live music. Food and Bar. Town Hall open if wet. Free entry

The Thames Pageant, Town Hall, 3pm. Live coverage of this spectacular show with the Queen’s Barge and a flotilla of a thousand boats on the Town Hall's huge screen. Food and licensed bar. Free entry.

Monday, June 4
The Lighting of a Beacon above Barbury Racecourse, organised by the Marlborough Brandt Group.
This forms part of 2012 beacons being lit across the Commonwealth and those at Martinsell and Inkpen will be able to be viewed. Marquee, live music, dancing, bar. Tickets, to include hog roast, £15 Adults, £5 for those under 18 and £35 for a family of four. Available at the White Horse Bookshop and MBG on 01672 861116. Open from 6pm Beacon to be lit at sundown. A camping area will be provided for those who wish to stay the night at the site.

Tuesday, June 5
Presentation of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal to local emergency service personnel. Town Hall 10am. Come and pay tribute to the town's local heroes.

Live coverage on the big screen of the Service of Thanksgiving from St. Paul’s in the presence of Her Majesty. Town Hall 10 am (Service at 11am). Free Entry

Sunday, June 10
Diamond Jubilee Open Gardens. Certificates will be given to open gardeners who display in this Jubilee year. Look out for a variety of interpretations on the Diamond Jubilee theme. Details from the Merchant’s House.

Friday and Saturday, June 15 and 16
Jubilee: A Celebration in Dance: Performed by St. John’s students at the Theatre on the Hill. Tickets £5, concessions £3, family tickets £12. 7pm. Download a booking form from the St. John’s website Theatre page -  www.stjohns.wilts.sch.uk/html/theatre.html

Saturday, June 23
 Manton Music Festival. A wide variety of music, including London Straight Six, Mort de la Mer and Scarlet Simonis Skedaddle. Bring your own picnic or choose from a hog roast or burgers. At Manton Grange water meadows. Licensed bar. Tickets £10, £5 for concessions and £15 for a family of four. 4pm until 11pm. For tickets see www.kvat.co.uk or call 07771704253.

Saturday, July 7
 MCO Diamond Jubilee Concert. Marlborough Concert Orchestra will play Handel’s Royal Fireworks Music among other pieces. An outstanding young violinist, Mathieu van Bellen, returns to Marlborough for a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto at this concert. 7.30pm Tickets £8 Students £1.50. From Sound Knowledge

Friday, July 13
Priory Gardens (evening). A performance of the Queen’s Suite, composed by Duke Ellington,
and premiered this Summer in the UK by the band Echoes of Ellington. Written in her honour by the Duke after they met and performed by one of the greatest ever UK swing bands. Details from www.marlboroughjazz.com

Tuesday, August 7
Queen’s Jubilee Concert - A performance of the works featured in the Coronation, Walton, Parry, Handel and others. Marlborough College Chapel and in the Memorial Hall for the second half. Tickets £15 from Sound Knowledge. 8pm

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Late artist's sculpture will be signature piece of exhibition

Penelope Waiting by Althea Wynne (© Anthony Barrington Brown),),Penelope Waiting by Althea Wynne (© Anthony Barrington Brown),),Sculptures by twenty artists including the renowned artist Althea Wynne, who was killed in a car crash in January together with her husband, the photographer Anthony Barrington Brown, will go on show to the public this week.

Wynne 's Penelope Waiting is the signature piece of the exhibition of contemporary sculpture, which opens at Avebury Manor on Saturday, May 5.

Other leading sculptors taking part include Will Spankie and Roger Stephens, both stone carvers who draw on nature to create abstract forms in granite and marble, and Emily Young, who works in the same medium, but creates human forms which express a strong sense of our long history in this ancient landscape.

Work in clay, metal, glass and resin will add to the mix. Some, like Ruth Moilliet’s stainless steel Allium, reflect planting in the long border, while Alex Moore’s steel obelisks hint at more dramatic planting to come.

On the east lawn large ceramic pots by Phil Simmonds look stunning set against the cream stone façade of the Manor itself.

Cream Tea by Helen SinclairCream Tea by Helen SinclairElsewhere in the garden, Alan Foxley’s abstract ceramic sculptures have a remarkable similarity to some of the standing stones set in the landscape beyond, while the borders will sparkle with glass installations by Sue Tinkler and Alan Spark.

The Celebrating Art in the Garden exhibition runs every day from 10am to 5pm until 10 June. Normal National Trust membership arrangements and charges apply. For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/things-to-see-and-do/events/view-page/item743461/257433/

The exhibition is organised by the Friends of the Garden in partnership with the National Trust. All work will be for sale and commissions from artists will be used to support artists in Wiltshire.

 Wynne, who lived near Warminster, was a world-renowned sculptor, best known for large works in bronze and ceramic for gardens and public spaces.

Finback Seat by Ben BarrellFinback Seat by Ben BarrellAmong her best-known works is the three bronze horses at Minster Court in the City of London. Cast and erected in the early 90s, each stands at 10ft tall and weighs four-and-a-half tonnes.

Pictured top to bottom: Penelope Waiting by Althea Wynne (© Anthony Barrington Brown), Cream Tea by Helen Sinclair and Finback Seat by Ben Barrell

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Lord Boateng’s lecture on Africa’s future is based on his own experiences

Lord BoatengLord BoatengLord Boateng’s title for the thirtieth annual Marlborough Brandt Lecture (in the College’s Memorial Hall on Thursday, May 3) tells us a great deal about his connections with Africa,  both past and present: Africa – from Poverty to Prosperity – beyond the Millennium Development Goals.

Paul Boateng spent his early years in Ghana.  When his father was caught up in a coup against President Nkrumah and jailed, the family fled to London. He became a lawyer and was elected as the Labour MP for Brent South in 1987.  In 2002 he became Britain’s first black cabinet minister.

In 2005 he left government to be High Commissioner to South Africa.  Now he’s an active member of the House of Lords and works as a lawyer in emerging markets – such as Africa.  He was also the Prime Minister’s special representative for the Africa Commission.

LLord Boateng with Dr Nick Maurice discussing plans for the lectureLLord Boateng with Dr Nick Maurice discussing plans for the lectureBut his present links with Africa go much further.  When Marlborough News Online met Lord Boateng in London he was leaving the next day for Somalia.

There he has a “serious engagement” in helping the formerly British part of the country establish its legislature – part of an EU funded programme.  He is advising them how they might form their upper chamber – how their clan chiefs can be involved.  As an active member of the British upper chamber, he knows about the role ‘clan chiefs’ can find for themselves.

Advice is one thing, but he is convinced that when it comes to the debate about further development goals, the South must be allowed to lead. “The old notion was that we or the international banks could deliver.”

At a recent meeting of African Finance Ministers, Lord Boateng was told very clearly all that had changed and now Africa and the other nations of the poorer South must call the tune.  Anyway, as he says, “Africa increasingly looks to the east – and we in the west have to establish our own relevance – we now have to write our own relationship with the South.”

Lord Boateng works for several different companies involved in development in Africa.  Foremost is Aegis the private security and risk management company. He’s a non-executive director and advisor.

He sees this company as a major aid to investment in “difficult markets”, with boots on the ground to “Advise on how not to fall foul of local anti-bribery legislation, on personal and plant protection and how to relate to the local community and make friends of the local community.”

He is also an advisor to Gilead Sciences a huge United States based drug company which was foremost in providing low cost generic drugs for HIV-Aids.  He also works with the Swiss company 4G Africa which is providing broadband wireless and mobile networks in sub-Saharan Africa.

Oh, and he’s just become a Governor of the London School of Economics.

However strongly Lord Boateng feels that the nations of the South should design the next phase of development goals, he does, unsurprisingly, have ideas of his own.

He believes that sound agriculture and strong science and technology are essential to economic growth.  And he is critical of the obsession in some development policies with primary education: “No economy can flourish on primary education alone.”

And he warns South Africa that they cannot go on with policies that have led to there being less land under cultivation than in the Apartheid years and fewer people in education, especially learning maths, than under Apartheid.

And then we got round to the Jubilee and the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth.  Lord Boateng is a “great believer” in the Commonwealth as a forum for business development.  And he lauds the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as being very influential in improving the standards of governance.

He’s a realist who remains an optimist – and the next round of development goals can be decisive in spreading that optimism far and wide across the South and be another programme for survival”, just like Willy Brandt’s 1980 report North-South: a Programme for Survival.
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Lord Boateng’s lecture will start at 8.00 pm in Marlborough College’s Memorial Hall.  He is being introduced by Lord Joffe, onetime human rights lawyer and a member of Nelson Mandela’s defence team at the 1953 Rivonia trial.  Joel Joffe will be signing copies of his book about the trial The State vs Nelson Mandela – the trial that changed South Africa immediately after the lecture.
Admission is free. There will be a gift aided retirement collection for the Marlborough Brandt Group.

 

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Boateng calls for Africa’s potential to be recognised for future development goals

 Lord BoatengLord BoatengLord Boateng has told an audience in Marlborough that Africa’s future needs a ‘Strategy for Success’ to build on recent progress.  Giving the thirtieth annual Marlborough Brandt lecture, the former labour cabinet minister and former High Commissioner to South Africa, referred back to Willy Brandt’s report North-South: a Programme for Survival.

It was Brandt’s 1980 report on the needs for innovative development policies which prompted the formation of the Marlborough Brandt Group (MBG).  Lord Boateng  gave his lecture the title: Africa – from Poverty to Prosperity – beyond the Millennium Development Goals.

Over 350 people came to the College’s memorial Hall on Thursday (May 3) to hear Lord Boateng.  Among them were students from Swaziland on an exchange at the College, members of Bristol’s Gambian community and students from the College and from St John’s  - some of whom are preparing to go on MBG’s summer visit to Gunjur in the Gambia which has a long-standing link with Marlborough.

Lord Boateng was introduced to the audience by Lord Joffe who in 1963 was part of Nelson Mandela’s defence team at the Rivonia trial.  Mandela and ten other opponents of the Apartheid regime were tried on sabotage and conspiracy charges and received life sentences.

Lord Boeteng with Lord JoffeLord Boeteng with Lord JoffePaul Boateng was looking beyond 2015 when the current Millennium Development Goals run out of time and to the coming negotiations on how the next set of goals for Africa’s development should be decided and what they ought to include: “The last set of Millennium Development Goals emerged from an opaque top-down process generated out of the UN Secretary General’s office – through the UN machinery.”

This time, he declared, it must be a bottom up process. The action the new goals will demand “needs to be rooted in the experience of those whose lives are still circumscribed by poverty and/or environmental depredation that continue to haunt our world.”

As an example of what should not happen, he cited the case of the recent appointment of a new head of the World Bank.  He had been Addis Ababa at a meeting of African finance ministers when the Nigerian finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, announced her candidacy – and it was well received there.

But in what Lord Boateng called the “carve up” that followed, she was ignored by the dominant western nations and yet another American was installed at the World Bank. “Made in Washington, London or Paris simply isn’t good enough anymore…the balance of power is shifting – unreversably and rightly so.”

Anna Quarendon, Chair of the Marlborough Brandt Group, proposing a vote of thanks to Lord BoatengAnna Quarendon, Chair of the Marlborough Brandt Group, proposing a vote of thanks to Lord BoatengPaul Boateng illustrated his analysis of Africa’s future needs with evidence provided by his grandfather, a cocoa farmer in Ghana.  He had benefitted from a rail line to the port and, right on his doorstep, from the West African Cocoa Research Institute.  Now the railway had gone and the Institute had become a Ghanaian rather than a West African concern.

Africa he said needed investment in infrastructure and, through stronger tertiary education,  in research and development.  It also needed co-operation between its states.

Lord Boateng based his optimistic forecast for Africa’s future on the strides it has been making: Africa’s GDP is growing by about six per cent a year and over the past decade six of the world’s fastest growing economies have been in Africa.

Africa has a huge workforce available and a huge area of land ripe for arable use – it should, said Lord Boateng, shrug off the ‘basket case’ label, and become the world’s bread basket.

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That hosepipe ban will stay till Christmas despite all the rain

Despite having well over double the average rainfall during April -- only four dry days were measured in Marlborough -- the River Kennet is still only half its average flow for this time of year.

And although drought orders have been lifted in various parts of the country, the hosepipe ban is likely to continue to Christmas in the Marlborough area.

“The cold wet weather has provided a welcome respite for the beleaguered river, but is not enough to get us out of drought yet,” Charlotte Hitchmough, director of ARK, the River Kennet action group, told Marlborough News Online.

“The groundwater level is rising, and the springs at Avebury and up in the Winterbournes are now flowing, which is great news – however groundwater levels are still well below normal for the time of year.”

“Effectively, we have had below average rainfall of almost two years, so one or two months of above average rain is not enough to get us out of trouble.  But it has made a really positive difference.”

And she added: “The hosepipe ban is likely to stay in place until Christmas, but the rain has moved us further away from other restrictions like water rationing or restrictions on business use, so it's very good news.”

Everyone can help further, she pointed out, by getting a FREE water saving makeover for their home. So far, Barton Park is topping the tables with the most homes in Marlborough signed  up to save water as part of the Care for the Kennet

Campaign.

It's simple:

1. You call 0800 358 6665 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2. A trained fitter from Climate Energy comes to your house at a time to suit you, and in 20 minutes fits free gadgets to help you use less water and more is left in the river.

3. As well as those good things,  you save money by using less water if you are on a meter, and you save energy by using less hot water.

Thames Water is sponsoring a prize to the school which signs up the most home makeovers, so you can nominate the school of your choice to win.

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St Peter’s Church hosts brilliant young pianists in new festival series for Marlborough

 Charles Owen (pictured) is an internationally renowned concert pianist, but his first experience of appearing before an audience was in Marlborough when he was nineteen.   Since then he’s played for Marlborough audiences fourteen times.

Now he’s Professor of Piano at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and wants to give some his best pupils the chance to share in the Marlborough audience experience.  So, working with Nick Maurice and with David Du Croz of the St Peter’s Trust, a new music feast has been planned.

A unique series of recitals will showcase some of the new generation of virtuoso concert pianists.

From June this year through to June next year five star pupils aged between fifteen and twenty-six and a group of Suzuki students will have the chance to follow in Charles Owen’s steps and play at St Peter’s – on the newly restored piano.  The series will open with a concert by Charles Owen on Sunday, June 17.

Charles Owen is certain that his Marlborough concerts gave a tremendous start to his career.  And he has been able to play programmes here before his big recitals – giving Marlborough audiences sneak previews of his national and international performances.

He has a busy diary: in March he has recitals in Rome, Teramo, Arezzo, Trinity College, Cambridge and the University of Leicester.  At St Peter’s Church in June he will be playing Schumann’s Carnaval and JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations.  You can get a sneak preview at www.charlesowen.net

The concerts will raise funds for two Marlborough-based charities the Marlborough Brandt Group (MBG) and BUILD.  MBG looks after the town’s link with Gunjur in The Gambia and supports development projects there – such as malaria eradication, health education and employment for women.   BUILD is a national organisation encouraging links and partnerships between communities and institutions – from schools to hospitals to local authorities – in the United Kingdom with communities and institutions in other countries.

Five of Charles Owen’s students will be playing in the series:

Ashley FrippAshley FrippAshley Fripp’s recital on Sunday, September 23 will include Bach’s French Suite No 5, Rachmaninov’s Ten Preludes and Brahms’ Vier Klavierstucke.  He has been described by the New York Times as ‘disarmingly precocious’ and has already played at most of the prestigious venues in this country.  Hear Ashley play here

 

 

 

 

Mai Charissa Tran RingroseMai Charissa Tran RingroseMai Charissa Tran Ringrose who was born in 1996, started playing in France aged five and continued studying when her family moved to Thailand.  She now studies at the music conservatoire in Vannes as well as with Charles Owen.  At her recital on Sunday, December 16 she will be playing Beethoven Chopin, Faure and Mendelssohn.

 

 

 

 

James KreilingJames KreilingJames Kreiling will play at St Peter’s Church next year on Sunday, January 27.  He will play Schumann’s Kinderszenen, Ravel’s Miroirs, Debussy ‘s Image, Book Two and Beethoven’s Sonata in C minor, op 111. Apart from being a student of Charles Owen, James has also been taught by John York and Martin Roscoe.
Hear James play here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mishka Rushdie Momen plays on Sunday, February 17 – her recital includes Beethoven’s Six Bagatelles, a Schubert sonata, Ravel and Chopin.  Mishka was the youngest pupil to be accepted at the Purcell School and is now a postgraduate student at the Guildhall School.  She won the Chopin Prize at the EU piano competition and in 2003 took first prize in the Leschetizky Concerto Competition in New York.
There’s more about Mishka here

 

 

John Paul Ekins’ recital is on Sunday, April 14, 2013. He graduated with First Class Honours from the Royal College of Music in 2009, won a scholarship to study under Charles Owen at the Guildhall School and graduated from there last year with Master of Performance (Distinction.)  He will play Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes, Mozart’s C minor Fantasy and Scriabin’s 4th Piano Sonata.
Check out John Paul’s website here

 

 

 





The series’ finale will bring a group of seven young Suzuki piano students from London to St Peter’s on Sunday, June 30, 2013.  Aged between five and fifteen they will represent the next generation of Britain’s concert pianists.

Tickets for each recital in this major new series will go on sale six weeks before the event at:
*  The White Horse Bookshop (136 High Street, Marlborough, SN8 1HN),
*  Sound Knowledge (22 Hughenden Yard, High Street, Marlborough, SN8 1LT)
or from the Marlborough Brandt Group (01672 861116 or The Dutch Barn, The Upper Office, Elm Tree Park, Manton, SN8 1PS with SAE.)

Tickets are £10 for the Charles Owen concert and £5 for each of the other concerts in the series.   In addition there will be a retiring collection for the two charities.

(Charles Owen photograph is copyright John Batten Photography.)

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Routemaster bus will be centrepiece of new market

It's a long way from London, but Marlborough residents will soon get used to seeing a red Routemaster bus in the High Street.

The bus, which is fitted out with a kitchen and has a small cafe on the upper deck, will be the striking centrepiece of the relaunched Farmers' Market, which will return on Sunday, July 1 from 10am to 4pm with a wider remit under its new name – Marlborough Communities Market.

The market aims to be a showcase for local enterprises and fairly traded produce, as well as locally-sourced produce grown with the minimal use of pesticides and fertilisers.

The markets will be organised by the not-for-profit organisation Wessex Community Markets, with support from Marlborough Town Council and Transition Marlborough.

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Meadow day a great success

Meadow day a great successMeadow day a great successWhen an organisation called ARK hosts an event, no-one should be too surprised when there's a downpour.

Regardless, around 60 friends of Action for the River Kennet braved the wettest weekend of the year to spot the wildlife that lives along the banks of the river, which flows through Marlborough.

People on the wildlife walk, led by expert Peter Marren, had good views of great spotted woodpeckers, a kingfisher, a bullfinch, a blackcap and – perhaps thanks to the soggy conditions - four species of snail.  There was also evidence of the healthy water vole population.

ARK's riverfly monitors, who carry out important surveying of river invertebrates were on hand to help the many young children present explore the river and get up close to the wide variety of creatures that live in the riverbed.

There was a last chance to help fund a large wildlife pond in the 15 acre meadow by buying Grand Pond Raffle tickets and being in with a chance of winning one of 50 prizes donated by local businesses and individuals.

The raffle and meadow day was organised by voluntary Stonebridge Meadow project officer Anna Forbes and her son Harry.

“Even with the weather there were approximately 60 people who donned their wellies, bought homemade cake and enjoyed the reserve. Through the raffle, donations and cake sales we have now raised just over £2,000 towards the pond. I would like to thank everybody for their amazing support, ” said Anna.

ARK will also be holding a series of Moth Trapping Evenings in the meadow over the coming months. This will add to the valuable data already collected of species present. Anyone interested in attending should call Anna on 01672 511028.

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A remarkable royal picture is on its way to the Queen to mark her diamond jubilee visit

remarkable royal pictureremarkable royal pictureHe didn’t meet the Queen, alas, but Marlborough’s Nick Fogg did greet the Duke of Edinburgh during yesterday’s diamond jubilee visit to Salisbury – and showed him a photograph of a unique event in royal history.

It was surprisingly something the 90-year-old Duke of Edinburgh remembered, the moment when the late American jazz musician Duke Ellington was presented to the Queen in 1958 on a visit to Leeds.


And it turned out to be a truly special occasion as Ellington was inspired to write the Queen’s Suite, a composition which is to be royally revived at the Marlborough International Jazz Festival in July.

As the jazz festival’s founder, as well as a Marlborough and Wiltshire councillor, Mr Fogg had wanted to show the photograph to Her Majesty, but she and the Duke of Edinburgh split up at the Salisbury celebration.

 

And it was the Duke who arrived at the medieval jousting tent representing the Marlborough Area Board to be greeted  by board chairman Chris Humphries and vice chairman Nick Fogg.

The Duke of Edinburgh in the Marlborough Pavillion meeting Rosalind Martin dressed in period costume as Mrs BaylyThe Duke of Edinburgh in the Marlborough Pavillion meeting Rosalind Martin dressed in period costume as Mrs BaylyThe Duke of Edinburgh in the Marlborough Pavillion meeting Rosalind Martin dressed in period costume as Mrs BaylyWe invited him in and he quipped, ‘It looks like a pub!’, which I suppose it did as we had the Ramsbury Brewery there inside as one of the stands representing the local area. He was totally charming and extremely friendly – really quite remarkable for someone who is 90.”

“I showed him the Duke Ellington picture in which he also appears.  ‘The other one’s the Duke too,’ he recalled.  Of course he couldn’t take the photograph with him, but it will be conveyed to the Queen through the Lord Lieutenant’s office.”

And he added: “I had hoped to show this historic photograph to the Queen, as Duke Ellington composed his Queen’s Suite in her honour, and to tell her how we were reviving it here at the Marlborough Jazz Festival.”

“I don’t think she will drop everything and come and listed on July 13, but you never know once she hears about it.”

The royal Salisbury visit brought with it “royal weather”, according to Mr Fogg, the rain clouds dramatically disappearing and the arena where each of Marlborough’s area boards had its own tent was bathed in sunshine.

Inside the Marlborough tent were stands and representatives of Avebury’s world heritage site, the Merchant’s House, the Brandt Group, Action for the Kennet (ARK), Riding for the Disabled and the North Wiltshire Area of Outstanding Beauty.

Their appearance and presentations were organised by Area Board convenor Andrew Jack.

Nick Fogg, the Queen and the DukeNick Fogg, the Queen and the DukeNick Fogg, the Queen and the Duke“The weather was gorgeous and it turned out to be a terrific day, a great occasion for all of us,” said Sir John Sykes, chairman of the Merchant’s House. “Jane Scott, the Wiltshire Council leader, said it was like having our own gigantic garden party.”

One centre of attraction in the tent was volunteer Rosalind Martin dressed in period costume as Mrs Bayly, wife of the silk merchant Thomas Bayly, who built the Merchant’s House in 1653.

The splendid costume was specially made for the occasion by Angela Munn.

Also present was Helen Kelly, co-ordinator of ARK’s Care for the Kennet project in Marlborough.

“The Duke of Edinburgh didn’t make it to our stand,” she said.

“He was so engaging with everyone he met.  And for me it was a fabulous experience to be part of the diamond jubilee royal visit.”

Marlborough Brandt Group was represented by its founder, Nick Maurice, Kathy Pollard, Alex Davies and long-standing Gambian friend of MBG, Lamin Manjang.

Prince Philip spoke to Kathy who told him about the thirty years of Marlborough’s relationship with Gunjur, in the Gambia.  “Been busy then?” he responded, and was then introduced to Lamin Manjang, who was asked if he was returning to the Gambia – Lamin replied that he intended to do so to take up his teaching career again.

After the Royal party left, two car loads of Gambian friends from Bristol arrived with their drums and, with a Gambian Kora player from Oxford and dancing by two Gambian ladies, attracted a good crowd to the tent.

One disappointed person who didn’t make it to Salisbury was Devizes MP Claire Perry because she is still recovering from a minor operation. She obeyed advice not to drive from London to Wiltshire and back in one day.

“I was particularly looking forward to hearing the Salisbury Plain Military Wives Choir sing – they are fantastic,” she said. “It such a huge shame that I was unable to meet the Queen.”

Salisbury pics:  Sam Pinkney

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Marlborough’s Diamond Jubilee beacon - music, food, a full moon and a big bonfire

What links Marlborough, St Helena, Treetops in Kenya, Gunjur in the Gambia and Hadrian’s Wall?  They are all hosting beacons to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – but not all of them will be graced by a glimpse of the full moon.

VICTORIAN BEACON 2 230pxVICTORIAN BEACON 2 230pxAnd not all of them will be on the scale of this beacon built for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

Marlborough’s Diamond Jubilee Beacon will be above Barbury Racecourse on Jubilee holiday Monday, June 4 –under a full moon.  The event will be open from 6.30 pm – the sun will set at 9.20 pm and the beacon will be lit at 10.00 pm.

Marlborough’s beacon – organised by the Marlborough Brandt Group – will include a hog roast, fish and chips, and a bar in the racecourse barn.  There will be music from a trio led by Marlborough’s favourite saxophonist, Mick Allport – with dancing encouraged.

At about 9.30 pm people will stroll up the hill from the barn, along a torch-lit route, to the beacon.  And while the huge bonfire burns on, people can camp close by for the night.  At least one other local beacon will be visible from the hillside – the one on Martinsell Hill.

Admission will be by ticket.  These cover the hog roast supper (with veggie alternative and with sausages for children) and are on sale now from the White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough High Street.  There’s a family deal available.

Access to this event is only from the Marlborough-to-Broad Hinton road.  There is no way through from the Barbury Castle side of the hill.  And as there are horses about – it’s strictly a no firework occasion.

A coach will take people from Marlborough High Street but only by prior arrangement.  This service will only be available if you book seats by close of play on Monday, May 28 by phoning Marlborough Brandt Group on 01672 861116.  And it’ll bring them back again.BEACON 1897 1 300pxBEACON 1897 1 300px

Why a beacon?  Once used to communicate from hilltop to hilltop – especially to warn of an approaching dangers like the Spanish Armada – beacons have become a feature of celebrations, notably royal ones.

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 was the occasion for some major beaconary – as the photo on the right shows some were so big the plate camera could not see the top and show the bonfire builders clearly as well.

Beacons were organised for Queen Elizabeth’s Silver (1977) and Golden (2002) Jubilees.  This year the aim was to have 2,012 beacons lit around the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.  That target has been left far behind:  over 4,000 beacons are now registered with the Queen’s Pageant Master.

These includbrazier beacon brazier beacon e sixty beacons (one for each year of the Queen’s reign) along Hadrian’s Wall; a beacon on St Helena in the South Atlantic; and one at Treetops in Kenya where Princess Elizabeth was staying in 1952 when she heard about the death of her father, King George VI.  And they’re building a beacon in Gunjur in the Gambia which has had a thirty year link with Marlborough through the Brandt Group.

The chain of beacons will be completed at 10.30 pm in London when the Queen will light the national beacon at the end of the celebratory concert.

Some beacons will be the brazier type (see left) – and this year there is a gas-fired version which is safe enough to install on church towers.  Marlborough’s beacon will be a huge bonfire some eight to ten metres high, designed to burn for a long time.


 

Watch this space for more news about the Marlborough beacon.

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Britpop star Albarn brings opera to muddy Marlborough field

Damon AlbarnDamon AlbarnA very special performance by one of the world's leading contemporary musicians was given to a small festival crowd in near-freezing conditions in a muddy field outside Marlborough at the weekend.

 OneFest – billed as the UK's first music festival of the year, and the successor to last year's community pub-related HoneyFest – was headlined by Damon Albarn, the maestro behind Britpop champions Blur, cartoon band Gorillaz and more leftfield works like 2007's Oriental pop-opera Monkey, Journey to the West.
 
Before arriving at the festival site, at Rockley on the Marlborough Downs, Albarn was seen in Marlborough shopping for thermal clothing – and with good reason: by the time he took to the stage at 8.30pm the temperature had dipped to a positively chilly five degrees.
 
Albarn was at OneFest to play songs from his new concept opera, Dr Dee, based on the rise and fall of the Elizabethan mathematician, scientist, alchemist, occultist and inspiration for Marlowe's Faustus, which premiered at last year's Manchester International Festival.
 
Populist it wasn't, and anyone up for a warming jump-around to jaunty numbers from the singer's back catalogue was in for a shock.
 
Albarn brought with him a gaggle of seven classical musicians playing 16th century instruments, including the recorder and the lute,  instruments from West Arica, including the kora, and three vocalists, including some wonderfully haunting falsetto from Christopher Robson. 
 
Name-checking nearby Silbury Hill in the sublime Apple Carts, the star himself delivered vocals, guitar and keyboards from behind a harmonium. The first half of the set was performed without introduction or explanation, before he broke into his trademark grin to gently mock the crowd: “Is everyone getting a little cold? Well, you did turn up in a field in April.”
 
He then insisted on playing the lively Watching the Fire That Waltzed Away – the only upbeat song in the set – twice “because it will help us get warm again” and warning the crowd that “that's as much excitement as you'll get – it kind of goes back in on itself now.”
 
The performance was a teaser for the release of the album, which comes out in May, followed by the London premiere with the English National Opera this summer, and was probably the only time an outdoor festival crowd will get to hear the set. 
 
It was a demonstration of how seriously Albarn took the performance that he had brought along his parents and his daughter, whom he welcomed from the stage. 
 
As the set finished – with Albarn playing an old 78 vinyl record on a vintage portable turntable – he thanked the audience and the organisers of the festival, and later took to Twitter to say “OneFest was a brilliant experience, a lovely festival and there for all the right reasons, I'll be back."
 
If he does return, he'll be in good company. Michele Stodart, who performed at HoneyFest last year as one quarter of harmonic pop rock band the Magic Numbers, was back again as a solo artist to perform a reflective folksy set. 
 
And folk rock band Dry the River were back too. Canny Marlborough music lovers will have caught their intimate live set at Azuza back in March, courtesy of record shop Sound Knowledge 
 
And when the five piece played at Honeystreet last year they performed as relative newcomers, having only just released their first single. 
 
This year they took second place on the main stage, having just returned from a 9,000 mile slog across America to promote their debut album, Shallow Bed.
 
“We did it in an RV,” vocalist Peter Liddle told the crowd. “We did all the tourist stuff – Niagara Falls, giant redwoods...”
 
“... but to be honest it doesn't get better than this,” interrupted bassist Scott Miller, who had chosen to maintain his rock god image by wearing a sleeveless vest. “I thought it might make us all feel warmer,” he joked. 
 
Dry the River played a blinding set worthy of a headline slot; an eclectic mix of folk and heavy rock.  The penultimate song, Bible Belt, was – said one Marlborough festival-goer – worth the entry fee alone, while their final song, Lion's Den – also the last track on the album – swelled from a pastoral ballad to an ear-splitting wall of sound which left the crowd baying for more, and looking forward to OneFest 2013.

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Expert shows how to reclaim villages back from the roads

How do we tackle speeding traffic and Marlborough villages cut in half by busy roads? This was the question for which over 80 local people wanted an answer at yesterday's seminar (Tuesday, March 13), Traffic Planning for Rural Villages at Kennet Valley Hall, Lockeridge.

Ben Hamilton-Baillie, renowned traffic consultant, looked at how parish councils might reduce speed, handle parking problems and better manage their traffic.


Anyone expecting suggestions of more road signage, more road markings and lots of unfriendly warnings to motorists were in for a surprise; quite the opposite.

Ben showed how removing the usual highway furniture and markings could not only enhance the appearance of a village, create more tourism and improve the viability of pubs but also see a reduction in speed and a more considerate motorist.

With the aid of some revealing real-life pictures and inventive use of Photoshop enhancements, Ben gave rise to excited murmurings by demonstrating how appealing to the subconscious mind could be a more powerful behaviour changer than marking a road with the word 'SLOW'.

He showed how one village had counteracted their large and obvious 30mph sign and command to 'slow' with the continuation of the central white line and a chevron bend warning. “You are telling motorists to drive slowly,” he said, “but then helping them to speed as quickly as possible through the village.”

The key in villages and towns was to give signals that drivers were entering a community, rather than the continuation of the highway. Standard highway signage and markings encourage drivers to feel the village road is their territory. Take this away, create a village space, and ownership is given back to the community and drivers become well behaved guests rather than unthinking road users.

Removing standardised signs forces drivers to think. This makes them drive more slowly and more carefully. Controversially he suggested that: “The only way to make a place safe is to make it dangerous.” In other words, to make it safer for pedestrians, you have to put more hazards in the way of drivers to make them engage their brains and consider the world around them.

Ben was also keen to highlight important features of the community: a paved area outside a pub, a road design that drew the eye to a village pond, a courtesy crossing outside a church. Traffic would still drive over these places but with more respect and awareness of their surroundings. Motorists are funnelled into the pub car park rather than past it, and admire the church rather than it being a building on the side of the road.

Pie in the sky? Ben had plenty of examples both locally and in Europe where this had worked a treat.

West Meon in Hampshire on a busy commuter route had seen traffic speeds fall by three to four miles an hour by removing white lines, changing the design of the road and highlighting village features.

Seven Dials in Convent Garden London, a busy junction of seven roads, saw the transformation of driver behaviour by the replacement of a traditional roundabout with a sundial pillar complete with seating. The junction has became a place where people sit and socialise, successfully encouraging motorists to drive slowly and more considerately.
Amazingly, the reduced speed and relaxed driving also meant traffic flowed more smoothly.

Ben cautioned that villages needed to take responsibility for their own 'design speed'. Increasingly, he said, county council highways will have neither the resources or the knowledge to effectively manage traffic through villages.

And the parish councillors present, unanimously agreed. There was broad and enthusiastic agreement to work with Ben to reclaim our villages back from the roads. Henry Oliver, director of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, also voiced his support. 

The seminar was a parish and Wiltshire initiative initiative, funded by Marlborough Area Board. For further information, contact community area manager Andrew Jack on 01225 713109 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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