Latest News

Following a meeting of volunteers who responded to the January Forum plea for help, a date was fixed to plant whips along the southern boundary of Cornmill Meadows under the direction of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. Further volunteers came forward after the February appeal, and we are very grateful for all the offers of help we have received.

Locally nesting, this bird is a female green woodpecker. The green woodpecker is the largest of the 3 woodpeckers that breed in Britain. It is green on its upper body with a paler belly and red on the top of its head. They eat ants and use their strong beak to dig into ant colonies and eat the residents. Look out for them in your gardens or where the grass is shortish, where they will dig for ants.

Well, who would have thought it? Of all the activities that I have taken part in throughout my life I think I may have saved the most fulfilling role till last as (hopefully) an On-call Firefighter!

A casual conversation with my hairdresser Claire in Shipston (who is the partner of “T”, one of the crew members at Shipston Fire Station) made me aware how desperate the Fire & Rescue Service here in Shipston was for crew members. This certainly made me curious so that very Tuesday evening in October, which was drill night, I made my way to Shipston Fire Station. There I met Chris Townsend (Watch Commander), Sian (Crew Manager) together with the rest of the crew, Steve (who incredibly is also a Whole-time Firefighter in Kent!) Jack, Warren and of course “T” (Tristan).

How welcome they made me feel! It was immediately obvious to me that here was a very keen, professional, and enthusiastic squad that meets every Tuesday evening for 2-3 hours of theory and/or drill in the performance of certain simulated emergency scenarios. These have included, in the time that I have been going along on Tuesday evenings as an observer, search of a building and rescue of casualties reported (in which I played the role of the casualty in order to give it some authenticity) wearing Breathing Apparatus and blindfolded, rescue of a casualty from height using lines and ladders, accessing the third floor of the purpose-built drill tower by ladder with hose-line wearing breathing apparatus, swift water rescue simulation, setting up of a makeshift dam using a tarpaulin and a ladder framework to simulate an open source of water, where mains water is not available, and pumping from there to the fire appliance or firefighting branch (hose nozzle) via a hose-line using a light portable pump and setting up of a hazardous chemicals protective clothing and treatment station. Next week I shall be observing how the crew deal with a trapped driver in one of the donated car wrecks stored in the drill yard. This will involve use of the hydraulic “jaws of life” which cuts through steel like a knife through butter.

I have been asked to muck in on several occasions and, under supervision wearing PPE, I have run out hose-line and rolled up the hose after use and tried on a breathing apparatus set, to get a feel of what it would be like in the role. My learning curve is vertical, but I am soaking up information about firefighting like a sponge and I have been encouraged to ask questions of the team who have been only too pleased to impart their knowledge and experiences. I am beginning to slowly grasp the Firefighters technical language and use of the many acronyms in the Service.

Of course, there are however certain tests to pass before one can become a Firefighter. These are both physical strength tests and written tests involving standard numeracy and demonstration of understanding information provided. For me these take place in March of this year. This is the challenge I face since I do not have age on my side! Regardless, it has really given me a goal to aim at and what better reason to get me back in the gym three times a week knowing that one day I could possibly be involved collaboratively in saving a life!

I am certainly working hard to give it my best shot to pass the tests and hopefully to proudly take my place alongside “T” and the crew at Shipston Fire Station, call sign FS34 Papa 1. So how about joining me on this journey? Your Fire Station needs you!

After more than a year of negotiating, Shipston Town Council has finally managed to complete the purchase of the Shipston Enterprise Centre (formerly Norgren Hub) from IMI plc. Cllr, Ian Cooper said that whilst it is great news that the Town Council has managed to secure the long term future of this asset for our local community, we should not expect to see any changes in the way the Shipston Enterprise Centre is run in the short or medium term. The council decision to purchase the site was to ensure the long term retention of the land and building for community use and to rule out further residential development on the site. Mayor Marianne Westwood said “we are all delighted that the Town Council has secured this purchase and in doing so ensures that the Enterprise Centre and sports facilities will be retained for use by our local community. We thank everyone that has been involved in the running of the centre over many years and hope that this continues”. The current businesses and organisations that operate from the Enterprise Centre are not expected to be impacted by this change of ownership.

The Rotary Victorian Evening was the first in three years. The children sang beautifully, Santa arrived on time and, from the feedback Rotary has received, everyone had a fantastic evening. There were many really lovely shop-window displays throughout the town. The judges reported that they had great difficulty picking the best.

The mood would not continue. On the first two nights of the Santa Runs, the “sleigh” had mechanical problems which even Santa could not fix. Santa and his helpers walked the two routes for those evenings. Then there was heavy snow followed by freezing conditions. The “sleigh” was difficult to control on the back roads and Santa and his helpers risked breaking limbs, or worse, on the icy surfaces. Rotary was really sorry to have to cancel the runs and know how disappointed the children must have been.

Santa did appear in the Town Square on the 17th December and, hopefully, the children who had missed him earlier were able to pass on their Christmas wishes.

The Rotary Club of Shipston-on-Stour would like to thank all their sponsors and residents who supported their events over the season. Without such assistance and support, these events would not happen. Rotary would like to wish everyone a happy New Year.

This fantastic festive lights show was found on Donnington Road in the lead-up to Christmas last month. Mr Raymond Luker produces awe inspiring lights shows year after year attracting local residents and visitors alike.