Latest News

7th Nov 2019

Shipston Museum set to move to new venue thanks to local enthusiasm

Shipston Museum is set to move to a new venue thanks to the combined efforts of the Shipston on Stour and District Local History Society, Shipston Town Council and the Ashley family.

Shipston Town Council has agreed to lease Old Clark House to the History Society at a peppercorn rent, subject to a formal lease being agreed. Old Clark House has already been hosting a photographic exhibition - a project championed by the town council’s Heritage, Amenity and Leisure Projects (HALP) Working Group. This new arrangement will see the exhibition expand to encompass all the treasures collected by the History Society since it formed in the 1960s.

Shipston has benefited from a museum since the 1970s, thanks in large part to the generosity of the late Mike Ashley and his family who have provided a venue to house the growing collection of artefacts from the local area over the last 20 years. Mike and fellow historian, Dick Burge, regularly opened the museum to the public and passed on the stories accompanying many of the museums’ exhibits.

Moving to a new venue will allow the museum to grow and be more accessible to residents and visitors. The photographic exhibition has already attracted people from far and wide – including a lady from America who was here on her honeymoon! The new venue will be led by the History Society, with support from the HALP working group and volunteers.

Bekky Hillman, local archaeologist and Director of the Shipston on Stour and District Local History Society, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have the town council’s support in giving Shipston Museum a new home. The History Society has collected a vast array of interesting artefacts that tell a fascinating story about Shipston’s past and it’s wonderful that more residents and tourists will soon be able to enjoy these exhibits.”

Mayor, Dan Scobie, said: “As a local council, we are really proud to be able to invest in preserving our town’s history by giving Shipston’s History Society the opportunity to carry on the fantastic work started by Mike Ashley and Dick Burge. There are legalities that need to be completed but we are looking forward to seeing Shipston Museum open its new doors as soon as possible.”

The new museum venue will be open to visitors as soon as practically possible. In the meantime, the photographic exhibition will continue to be open at Old Clark House, West Street, on Thursdays and Fridays from 1-4pm and Saturdays from 11am-4pm

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7th Nov 2019

Shipston aims to become a ‘Healthy Town’

The Town Council has endorsed proposals to seek ‘Healthy Town’ status for Shipston.

According to Healthy Bicester, ‘healthy towns’ “involve individual residents, workplaces and employers, schools and nurseries, clubs, associations, volunteers and health and care services who are all working together to enable and support people to live healthier lives and to promote their wellbeing”.

While national efforts to create healthy new towns are focusing on ten ‘demonstrator sites’ Bryan Stoten, Chair of the Ellen Badger League of Friends has challenged Shipston to attain the status of a ‘healthy town’ with the expansion of the hospital, including a wellness hub, and location of the new medical centre on the site being at the heart of the initiative.

A number of community groups and associations have already come together to set up the Stour Partnership Against Social Isolation and Loneliness (SPASIL), including Rotary, the Lions, SCAN, the League of Friends, Shipston Medical Centre as well as Warwickshire County Council and Stratford District Council.

The next step is to expand SPASIL into a Health and Wellbeing Partnership (HWP), which will allow a wide range of community groups to get involved. The new HWP will develop a health and wellbeing strategy, taking into account the emerging priorities arising from current plans and consultations.

Shipston Town Council has nominated two representatives to join the partnership. For more information about this initiative, please contact Trevor Russel on 01608 662514/ 07771 855214 or

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7th Nov 2019

Local swim teacher receives surprise visit from Olympic Medallist

Award-winning Shipston swim teacher, Suzanne Verralls, recently received a surprise visit from Team GB swimmer, Rebecca Adlington.

The Olympian visited Shipston Leisure Centre, managed by Everyone Active in partnership with Stratford District Council, to surprise Suzanne and present her with the Everyone Active Swim Teacher of the Year 2019 Award.

Suzanne scooped the award for her commitment to continuously bettering her own teaching skills, as well as her ability to help people of all ages to build their confidence in the pool and consistently working to a high standard. Her students develop fantastic abilities throughout all levels of the swim scheme, proving the quality of her teaching.

Swim Teacher of the Year 2019, Suzanne Verralls, said: “I’m speechless! I had no idea I had won, everyone’s kept it very quiet, and I can’t believe I have won this award for simply doing what I love!

“I’ve been teaching swimming here for over 10 years and really enjoy seeing my students develop their skills and become more confident in the water, especially when they get to grips with something they have been struggling with and achieve their goals.”

Speaking about her surprise visit, Adlington said: “I’m delighted to be here to celebrate Suzanne’s incredible commitment to teaching swimming… I’m so honoured to be a part of this award and celebrate an incredible teacher who’s inspiring the next generation - plus the expression on her face when I walked in was priceless!”

Jacqui Tillman, Group Swim Manager at Everyone Active said: “Suzanne is fantastic. She always goes above and beyond to make sure her students get the most out of their lessons. She’s always looking to improve too, and is now planning to gain her aqua fit qualification to help more Shipston residents keep active in the water.”

For more information about the activities at Shipston Leisure Centre visit

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30th Sep 2019

Shipston Town Council seeks bids for grants to support the community

Shipston Town Council’s annual community grants scheme is now open or bids for the next financial year – April 2020 to March 2021.

The community grant scheme is one of the most rewarding aspects of the council’s work. The council sets aside money every year to directly support local initiatives undertaken by voluntary groups and charities which benefit residents.

Last year saw a total of £20,500 awarded to support a wide range of projects from community events to lifesaving services.

The grant scheme is open to any voluntary group or charity based in Shipston or actively working in the town. Bids must relate to specific projects, such as a purchase of new equipment or support for an event, rather than general funds.

Typically, individual grants range from £250 to £2,000, although in some cases, awards may be higher. Mayor, Dan Scobie, said: “Community grants are a great way of supporting the many and varied projects and services available in the town. Wherever possible, we are keen to support projects that benefit a wide group of residents to make best use of public funds, but we do consider niche projects as well, particularly when it’s to do with supporting some of the more vulnerable members of our community.”

Applications for grants must be received by 31 October. To find out more and for copies of the application form, please
contact the Town Clerk on 01608 662180.

Grants in Action

Improving access to the river bank
Shipston Town Council contributed funds to help pay for work being done by the Sports and Social club and Angling Club on
the riverbank. The grant has helped make it possible for people with disabilities to access the river and enjoy fishing. The new platform was officially opened as part of the Fish n Frolics festival in July.

Keeping people moving
The Town Council has supported both the voluntary drivers scheme through VASA and Shipston Link, both of which provide transport for those in need, particularly to help residents get to medical appointments and shops.

Lifesaving support
Through its grant scheme, Shipston Town Council funds the ongoing costs of the Shipston Community First Response vehicle, including insurance, road tax and maintenance. This funding helps ensure the voluntary first aiders can reach people throughout the town quickly when there’s an emergency.

Proms party
Grant funding has also been awarded for the Last Night of the Proms, recognising that it is such an important event for the town, and an opportunity for everyone to come together and enjoy music free of charge.

Blooming marvellous
Every year, the council funds the flowers planted by Shipston in Bloom which make such a positive visual impact throughout the town. 

Grants have also been used to support maintenance projects and new equipment for the Townsend Hall, invest in the Youth Club outreach programme and Xfest, support Citizens Advice services and help pay for repairs to the Town Band hall.

Unfortunately we can’t fund every bid, and often we are not able to give as much money as groups would ideally like. However, we consider every bid carefully and aim to support as many and as diverse a range of projects as we can”, the Mayor concluded.

For application details see the advert on page 14 of the Forum.

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30th Sep 2019

Shipston Town Council welcomes new councillor

Shipston Town Council has co-opted Gerry Kelly to the council, following a successful application and interview in September.

Gerry lives locally having moved here from Merseyside some years ago. He worked in the Fire Service for 32 years, including two secondments to the Fire Service College in Moreton. Having had experience of planning, particularly in relation to fire safety and emergency planning, Gerry is keen to make use of his skills to benefit the local area. He is already a member of the Speedwatch Group.

Gerry Kelly commented: “I look forward to being more involved in local council activities, adding my expertise and experience to a knowledgeable and active group of local councillors.”

Gerry works part time and is married with two children.

The Town Council still has one vacancy and is keen to hear from anyone aged over 18 and living in the town that would like to get more involved with their local community. For more details and full criteria, please contact the Town Clerk on 01608 662180 or

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