August 2019

3rd Aug 2019

Shipston Proms 2019 brings another fortnight of fabulous music

A member of the Britpop Boys - one of the bands playing at the Last Night of the Proms - said how lucky Shipston was to have such a festival and what a privilege it was to be part of it. Judging by the packed crowd in the square on the Last Night, the audience agreed.

In what some have said was the best Proms yet, an eclectic mix of music was very much on show across the fortnight.

The Last Night party was opened by the Young Musicians Choir, followed by the winners of the Fame Contest, Kathryn Packer (solo) and the Shipston High Jazz Band. Mr. Blonde brought a mix of popular soulful and funky covers and Oliver Darling and the Living Legends had everyone dancing with their jumping rhythm and blues and rock ‘n roll. When 90’s tribute sensation, The Britpop Boys, came on everyone was ready for a sing a long to the likes of ‘Wonderwall’ and the finale ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’.

This fabulous finale was preceded by about thirty acts designed to entertain everyone from young to old. Events included two dance parties, a sing- a-long Sound of Music night, the popular Helen Porter Chamberpot Pourri and organ recital, a Michael Jackson tribute night, jazz on a Sunday afternoon, an American blues troubadour, choirs, coffee morning concerts, an open mic night and more. This year, events were held in many venues across more local villages than before.

Some of the highlights included the Pub and Cafe Trail which saw venues packed as people followed the music round on Saturday night.

At St. Edmund’s Church, international guitarist Craig Ogden and Claire Bradshaw played to over a hundred people in an event organised by The Music Society.

The three DJ Dance Night at the Townsend Hall saw Tim Samsara, Mike Smythy and Benji bring their mix of club tracks and dance anthems to Shipston and impressing the audience with an amazing light show by Clearsound. The young crowd who went have asked for more of the same next year.

Giving young musicians a platform

Shipston Proms was set up in part to showcase local young talent and this year was a great example of this. Fifteen year old Kathryn Packer showed herself to be an accomplished musician as she sang and played the keyboard on the main stage, having won the double at the Fame Contest, both in the soloist and band category. Another local win in the Fame Contest was the Shipston High Jazz Band made up of talented students from Years 10 and 11.

Thanks to a number of talented music teachers, many of whom actively support the Proms, including David Hunt, Helen Porter and Emma Jane Roberts, local students have been encouraged to learn and perform music. This is showcased at the Young Musicians Concert at Barcheston, held every year on the second Wednesday of the Proms. Both the High School and Primary School also hold their own concerts during the Proms giving children of all ages the chance to perform.

Proms Chair, Charlotte Haines, said: “We are very fortunate to have access to some fine musicians in and around Warwickshire and that outstanding performers are willing to come and take part in this exciting annual tradition. The Proms Committee works hard to put on a successful fortnight of music every year and it is so rewarding to see residents and visitors of all ages enjoying themselves at our events.

“I would like to thank everyone who helped make this year’s Proms such a success - can’t wait for 2020!”

3rd Aug 2019

League of Friends share vision for Ellen Badger Hospital

League of Friends (LoF) Chair, Bryan Stoten, and Fundraising Manager, Hannah French, shared their vision for the redevelopment of the Ellen Badger Hospital with Shipston Town Councillors in July.

Thanks to fundraising from the League of Friends and investment from South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, there is potential to make the EBH a community hub to promote wellbeing rather than just a rehabilitation centre.

Bryan Stoten gave the example of the North Cotswold Hospital in Moreton which offers antenatal care, speech therapy and psychology services for adolescents. “We would like to see the Ellen Badger serving our community as a whole,” he said.

With the right support and funding, the LoF believes the EBH could play a role as part of a ‘healthy town’ initiative that promotes short walks, smoke cessation, food preparation classes and a cafe where people can catch up to help tackle social isolation.

To find out more, come along to the LoF public meeting on 17th September at the Townsend Hall. Full details to be published next month.

3rd Aug 2019

SAFAG sees a silver lining in June’s downpour

The heavy and persistent rainfall throughout June played havoc with the plans the Shipston Area Flood Action Group (SAFAG) had to introduce flood alleviation measures into the southern and eastern parts of the catchment area. But on the plus side, the downpours provided the severest test yet of the effectiveness of existing installations.

As a condition of the funding SAFAG receives, the interventions have to be monitored to ensure they are performing efficiently. Some monitoring is handled automatically with solar powered cameras feeding pictures directly to the Environment Agency. Group members are also allocated sites to visit and photograph at times of excessive rainfall. So important is this data that Kings College London have installed their own recording devices in the catchment as part of a worldwide study into rainfall and the impact upon flooding.

During the June downpour, it was extremely rewarding for the team to receive feedback from some of the Pigbrook landowners and farmers that interventions on their land were working and that Shoulderway Lane, which historically floods under a deluge of similar scale, remained unaffected.

So just maybe in these reported cases, the clouds did have a silver lining!

Well done and thank you to everyone involved for their hard work (see page 14 for more news about SAFAG).