Road closure from 9th October for a maximum of 5 days, from Freeth Farm Road through the village to nearly The Old Forge for "Pole work" overran into Saturday morning over the weekend.
The delays were brought about by unexpected snags which had to be dealt with during the work and the reported behaviour of some vehicle drivers when they encountered the closures.
The contractors were at particular pains to stress that the offenders were mainly those choosing to use the village as a shortcut and on one occasion had to curtail their work for their own safety when vehicles were being driven at speed around the operators and their equipment. Although niether the police or Council were aware of the problem at this stage when spoken to this morning.
The Communion at 10.00am on Sunday 29th January at St Swithins will be Philip's last service in Compton Bassett as our Rector.
Philip first burst into our lives in 2006 when he became the priest in charge of The Oldbury Benefice and then to be inducted as the Rector of Oldbury Benefice. He has been responsible for enhancing the community and introducine many new events which have become a tradition already that will I am sure be carried on for many years to come.
Philip will be moving on to his new role as team leader in the Stonehenge Deanery and together with his wife Anna and their family will soon be moving to their new home at Durrington.
If you would like to join us and come along to St Swithins to wish him well in his life in his new post that would be wonderful.
2016 has been a momentous year for Alan Lewis as, after a passage of 72 years, France has bestowed upon him their highest military or civil award, the rank of Chevalier in the National Order of the Legion of Honour. It reflects his part in the D-Day landings of June 1944 where the Western Allies fought to finally liberate the Nazi German-occupied countries. Alan boarded an American Liberty ship at Tilbury docks, later transferring at sea into a Tank Landing Craft and then onto a beach east of Caen, codenamed Sword. They attempted to move on towards St Lo, a distance of some 50 miles inland, but met stiff resistance from the Germany army in a wood near Carpiquet airfield until calling in for American aerial bombardment which relieved the situation. He then joined the Royal Engineers and helped prepare the roads and temporary bridges for the incoming Allied tanks.
Alan?s citation from the French Ambassador to Great Britain, reads:
I have the pleasure of informing you that the President of the Republic has appointed you to the rank of Chevalier in the Order National de la Legion d?honneur. I offer you my warmest congratulations on this high honour in recognition of your acknowledged military engagement and your steadfast involvement in the liberation of France during the Second World War. As we contemplate this Europe of peace, we must never forget heroes like you, who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by the liberation of France. We owe our freedom and security to your dedication, because you were ready to risk your life.
Ambassador to Great Britain.
Jason Day from Wiltshire informed village representative on Friday that the Quarry and Conveyor applications due to have been heard by the Strategic Planning Committee on 16th November will not now be ready for consideration by the Committee as scheduled.
He advised that there is not enough time to finalise reports for that meeting and they are ”still in the process of considering the points raised during the publicity and consultation stage.“
The next and final Strategic Planning Committee meeting for this year is scheduled for 14th December but it is not known as to whether this application has been scheduled for consideration by the committee at that time.
We will post on this page as soon as we hear of a date when they intend to be ready to hear the application.
The planning inspector, Mr Brian Simms halted the proceedings on the first day of an appeal expected to last up to eight days after stating that much of the evidence offered was confusing. The current temporary permission to operate on the site expires on 31st December and there is much concern locally as to what happens after that and before the date for the resumption of the appeal in 2017.
After lengthy discussions between the representatives for Hills Waste Solutions and the Wiltshire Waste Alliance, it was revealed that additional information for the environmental statement and the fall back positions were required and Mr Simms instructed for an adjournment.
He said: "My approach will be to adjourn this case and I regret that we did not have a pre-inquiry meeting because I took on the case so late and I will not resume this inquiry until I know what this case is about.
"I urge that there should be a statement of common grounds, bearing in mind it will more of a statement of uncommon grounds, and that a summary of the evidence be produced."
Additional information will also be provided in the new year from Paul Tucker, who represents Hills Waste, regarding traffic sustainability, air quality and planning, something which Anne Penshaw of the Wiltshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England hopes to speak against.
Hills Quarry Products Limited have submitted a planning application to extract around 300,000 tonnes of sand from the fields between Freeth Farm and Compton Bassett over the next 6 years, transporting the sand by conveyor to Calne Quarry. The application for extraction also referred to "deposit of waste" until 2042 and therefore was thought likely to have had significant implications for the Village. However the clause which referred to the waste was removed during the day preceding the meeting by Hills.
This picture of our own idyllic corner of Wiltshire will disappear if this planning consent is granted and will be replaced by a giant gravel extraction works
A full report will follow as soon as possible
There is a brief agenda on the agenda pages for the parish council
This year our Queen will become the only British sovereign to celebrate her 90th birthday - ever.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, a brand new coin has been issued - The Queen Elizabeth II 90th Birthday Silver £5 Coin - and you can purchase one through the Parish Council for your collection.
The coin features a specially commissioned 90th birthday portrait on the head, designed by Luigi Badia. The reverse features an oak wreath and crown symbolising long life and the House of Windsor with EIIR at the centre.
Struck in sterling silver, your coin will arrive in a wooden presentation box with a numbered certificate of authenticity.
With a worldwide edition limit of just 2,500 the parish council has secured a limited number and you will need to act quickly to ensure you can get one of them.
Around 60 parishioners gathered at the Benson Hall to hear Chair of the Parish Council Pete Szczesiak outline the main issues that concern the village currently. First topic was the Neighbourhood Plan and Peter Alberry encouraged everyone to vote in the referendum that took place in late March.
Broadband, or the lack of it, was discussed at length. There are ongoing approaches to BT, four questions have been asked in the House of Lords, connection speeds recorded throughout the village that demonstrate the very poor service but all to no avail. Pressure will be maintained but another idea proposed that could be successful is to have a broadband service connected to the village hall, as a Community Access Point, which would then transmit a signal around the village.
John Reis gave a very interesting potted history of St Swithin's church, which dates to the late 11th century, although even earlier saxon walls were found recently. It is a wonderful little church and benefits from excellent acoustics, something which ought to be taken advantage of more in the future. Dwindling congregations mean that it will have to evolve to meet the needs of a 21st century community. Philip Bromiley has now been rector for 10 years and he made a plea to the audience that he did not want to be the last vicar. He stressed that the church was there for everyone and reminded us of some of the other work that carries on in the village, such as T4ALL and Little Fishes.
Next up was the thorny question of how traffic should be controlled through the village. Many incidents have been reported in recent months and there are now genuine concerns for people's safety, eroding verges and disintegrating pavements. New village signs are soon to be installed and a new 40 mph speed restriction from Goodenoughs corner will be considered, as will the creation of pinch points. Two possible locations were mentioned, in front of the village hall up to the junction of Briar Leaze to slow vehicles entering and exiting the village and the second is at a suitable point near White's House and Rosemary Cottage. Temporary cones may be utilised to test the effectiveness of such plans.
It was heartening to see such a good turn out and a very positive meeting was held.
The Lib Dem peer, Lord Nigel Jones of Cheltenham has tabled four questions now on our behalf in The House of Lords “To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will use Compton Bassett in Wiltshire as a pilot test case for installing superfast Broadband in rural areas due to its special and unusual challenges.”
He has agreed with our assertion that it is quite ridiculous that today, in 2015 many of the village homes cannot get broadband at all whilst those who are lucky enough to get any cover at all can typically achieve speeds of less than 2.0 Mbit/s.
His question was responded to by Lord Gardiner of Kimble in his role as spokeperson for 'Department for Culture Media and SportBroadband: Rural Areas' in the house of Lords. He said "The Government remains committed to taking superfast broadband coverage further than the 95% level to be achieved by current programmes, but there are no current plans to undertake a pilot exercise in Compton Bassett."
As long ago as 2007 over half the population across the country had already got broadband running at speeds in excess of 4.6 Mbit/s. The equipment to bring proper high speed broad band to the village terminates just over a mile from the southern reaches of the village and the ducting is believed to come right up to the village itself.
Under current rules, Wiltshire Council has already gained funding and upgraded the exchange at Quemerford from which half the village gets its service and so Compton Bassett is deemed to have been upgraded commercially, preventing further investment at this stage. The council is currently going through procurement for phase two funding to consider communities that have been upgraded commercially but who are not able to access a superfast service. Any result for this funding application will not be known until June of this year.
Lord Jones requested an answer to his question within two weeks, before parliament is broken up for the next elections. Full story Gazette and Herald
Thanks to all who kindly donated towards the oak post, the post and sign will be going in between the tree behind the memorial bench on the corner of Briar Leaze and the end of the hedge sometime in April, as soon as the post can be ordered.
A social evening was held on Friday 27th February for those interested to have a sneaky preview of the new village sign over a glass of wine. A small donation towards the cost of the wine and the 6 metre oak post support for the sign was asked for from thise who wanted to. Giving everyone the chance to “own” a bit of village history.
The sign was erected 29th April 2015 and is a fine spectacle as you approach the hall.
The Compton Bassett War Memorial was the scene of the act of remembrance on Sunday 10th November. Across the nation thousands of people at small village memorials like ours or major monuments in towns and cities fell silent for two minutes as the nation paid tribute to those who have given their lives in well known and lesser known acts of heroism and sacrifice in conflicts right up to the present day.
In Compton Bassett, the act of remembrance was lead by Dr Tony Milsom. Alan Lewis, (pictured above with Dr Milsom) is a veteran of the D-Day landings at Arromanches, and was also mentioned in the War Memorial Trust Bulletin article from 2002, was there to read out the names of those killed during both World Wars. He ended with the immortal lines "We shall remember them". He is now over 90 years old which I think makes him our oldest resident.
WE REMEMBER THEM:
Overnight on 04/11/2014 between the hours of 2200 and 0630 hrs a Mitsubishi 4x4 vehicle was stolen from a house in Compton Bassett.
Please can we remind our residents that if they should see or hear anything suspicious – please call 999.
It is likely this vehicle was stolen around midnight.
Additionally – please consider placing extra security on any 4x4 - a heavy steering wheel clamp is a very good reasonably cheap option and well worth consideration.
Pop star and owner of Compton Bassett house, Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda are today celebrating the arrival of their second child, a boy, weighing in at a healthy 8lb 20z.
Robbie took the unusual step of posting several videos and pictures of the lead up to the birth on You Tube, Facebook and Twitter. Robbgie and Ayda announcerd the name of their second child via Twitter earlier on Thursday "Charlton Valentine Williams has left the building.... and Daddy is doing just fine. RW x" http://tinyurl.com/Robbie-Compton-B
We wish the family well in this new chapter in their lives and hope that Ayda has forgiven Robbie for the video by the time she is up and about again.
A Bingo, Beetle & Quiz evening was held on Saturday 11th October 2014.
The evening was to raise money to cover the costs of painting the Benson Hall and other sundry maintenance works.
The evening was a great success again and our thanks go to Peter Alberry for organising it all. Although not as well attended as the previous similar evening we still managed to raise the princely sum of £450.
Congratulations to Julian Barlow and his team for retaining the Compton Bassett Cup for the second time.
A Safari Supper was held in the village on Saturday 6th September. The proceeds of the evening, in excess of £900 is to be shared between St. Swithins Church & The Benson Memorial Hall.
Grateful thanks are expressed from Judy and Nicky, the event organisers, to all those who helped make the event a success. Thirty eight people attended and ate at nine different houses in the village after all meeting at the village hall for an aperitif.
Participants were then told who their first course hosts were and dispatched to their respective hosts for their starters. Starters eaten, their hosts told them where in the village their main courses were to be found. Everybody returned, amid great chatter, to the village hall in for their puddings, donated by various participants. Further drinks to round off a very enjoyable evening saw everyone return to their homes happy, tired and full.
Hills Waste is scaling back plans to extend its materials recovery facility at Lower Compton following criticism from residents and councils.The site is used to sort household waste and collect recyclable materials which are then sent elsewhere.
As we have reported elsewhere in the site, an application to extend the site and make it permanent, was submitted in 2012 but there have been many delays and alterations to the application but at the moment a decision has still not been made.
Hills now propose to submit a new application, describing it as a “smaller and significantly scaled down scheme” saying that if they are successful, previous applications for the site will be withdrawn having listened to and taken into account strong local opposition. Hills say the site remains of strategic importance to them, but will significantly scale back their operational plans. The new proposed extension will provide capacity for up to 55,000 tonnes of recyclable waste per year. They also hope to build a new waste transfer station, which between them would process around 130,000 tonnes – a 45 per cent reduction compared to the 2011 application which was for 235,000 tonnes.
Hills are holding a five-week pre-planning consultation, a public exhibition was held on July 1 at the Village Hall from 10am to 8pm and was attended by 45 people during the day. Hills personnel, including group director Mike Webster, were on hand to address concerns over noise, traffic, and pollution. Mike Webster advised that the new application would mean an extra 49 vehicles in and out of the site per day and although he sympathised with residents concerns he had been surprised by some of the criticism of the original application. The MRF at Lower Compton handled over 27,000 tonnes last year and the new application is designed only to deal with the 55,000 tonnes as mentioned above. The extra tonnage will be largely paper and cardboard which is currently handled at the Calne Porte Marsh site which is due to cease operation in 2017. Pete Szczesiak, chairman of the parish council said that the parish councillors would issue a response on the proposal after the next council meeting.
Sid Wolford who received a long service award this year from the Royal Bath & West Show Society. A prestigious award that is only given to six candidates every year it marks over fifty years of unbroken service to agriculture. The award was presented at the opening ceremony of the show by the President of the NFU and afterwards Sid was presented to the Duchess of Cornwall before sitting down with Pat to a special lunch in the marquee. Following army service Sid went to work for Mr Bernard Barnett at Compton Farm in September 1957 and has continued both there and at Manor Farm ever since. A quite remarkable countryman he has kept as fit and strong as a man half his age; an example to us all. He is a skilled ploughman and has won numerous ploughing championships including County Champion.
After completing his National Service he worked for a while with an agricultural contractor. He then worked at Compton Farm until his retirement aged 65 years.
He is a well known figure at the various ploughing matches in the county and has indeed won at many of them.
He is still today helping on Compton farm and on Manor Farm in the village.
Sid is pictured with his wife Pat.
It has been reported by the BBC that a £30m plan to re-establish a railway station at Marlborough is soon to be presented to the government.The proposal, which has been backed by the town's Chamber of Commerce and Devizes MP Claire Perry, has been drafted by a local community group known as 'Transition Marlborough'.
They argue that a rail link to the town should be restored, as the nearest station is 14 miles away.
Passenger rail services to and from Marlborough were withdrawn in 1961, some two years before Dr. Beeching famously axed many of Britains rural rail routes. Many people who have moved to the town in the last 30 years commute to London requiring a car journey to and from Swindon or the smaller staions along the Taunton to Paddington line running south of Marlborough. Graham Francis from Transition Marlborough said: "The opportunity to put that line back where it was in the sixties is something that should be seriously considered."
The proposed new branch line, coming off the main London to Westbury line at Savernake, would stretch for five miles and end with a new station opposite the Marlborough Business Park. MP Claire Perry has apparently indicated she supported the scheme and has agreed to contact Rail Minister Stephen Hammond to discuss the proposal.
A very big thank you to all who helped in the BriarLeaze Pothole day on 26th April '2014, particularly Andrew Slade whose estimate of the tarmac requirements were totally on the money.
The pothole team worked to a very high standard with hidden talents emerging from everywhere in the village.
Thanks also to the ladies for the cakes, scones, flapjacks – the Pothole gang certainly appreciated the support and sustenance.
One of the Mums at the children’s party in the Benson Village Hall asked how on earth we managed to get Wiltshire Council to do our potholes.
When she learnt that it was the Compton Bassett Village Pothole Team – she said “Wish we had such a wonderful village spirit”
Well done to everyone!
Across the nation at 10:00pm on 4th August lights were turned out and households, offices and public buildings were left with a single candle lit to mark the moment when Britain was officially at war. Inspired by the quote by the then Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, on the eve of Britain’s entry into the first ever global conflict: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
In his memoirs, he recalled making the remark while standing at the window of his office in the Foreign Office on 3 August watching the lights being lit along the Mall as dusk fell.
There is a Centenary evening service on 10 August at 6pm to be taken by Dr Tony Milsom at St Swithin's.
There was a wonderful turn out for this fundraiser in aid of the pothole fund for Briar Leaze in the Benson Hall on Saturday night 25th January, with twelve teams of up to six people.
The road outside the Village Hall is unadopted, so it’s the Village Hall responsibility – it is planned to carry out the work after April when its drier and warmer, for the Tarmac to be laid properly – we may be back to ask for some manpower to help lay it.
Peter Alberry, who organised the event together with his team of willing helpers were pleased to be able to announce that the evening raised over £1200 towards the fund. Peter has asked for his thanks to be given to Steve & Judy Izatt; Dave & Marion Coward; Peter Barnett and his wife Nicky for their help on the night and to everyone for their generous raffle prize donations, particularly Robert & Sarah Buttle (Rare breed Pork dinner) and Libby Barnett (amazing cake).
A duplicate first prize was given to the lady who missed out in the raffle due to the organisers colour blindness – we thought it only fair.
And of course all congratulations to the winning team 'Apathy' for their impressive win for which they were presented with the Compton Bassett cup which is theirs to keep..... for now!
Congratulations to Jennie Brooks who took part in the Devizes Open Door - Sleepout 2013 on Friday 1st March. Just a few miles away there are people sleeping rough in weeds and church porches, people who find themselves isolated with no friends or family and others who do not have the means to feed themselves adequately. For many, the meals and fellowship offered by Open Door will be the only hot food they eat and the only companionship they experience.
Jennie herself raised £290 by sleeping out on a freezing cold night with fifteen others ranging in age from 14 to 75, well done all of them.
Hounds for Heroes is a charity which raises funds to provide specially trained assistance dogs to injured and disabled men and women of both the UK Armed Forces and Civilian Emergency Services.
As a fund raising initiative the 14/15th September was designated as ‘Dogs dinner weekend’
In Compton Bassett 23 people supported the event by coming to a supper hosted by Caroline Ransom and Judy Izatt.
We had a three course supper which was greatly enhanced by Marian Coward’s delicious vegetarian quiche, Stephanie Milburn’s scrumptious trifle and, as a complete surprise for Michael Ransom, a magnificent ‘doggie’ birthday cake. Luckily for all he was happy to share. We had a dog quiz (e.g. contrary to popular belief dogs do not sweat by salivating, they sweat through
what?*), guess the dog silhouette and how many dog biscuits in the jar, all of which produced much debate and laughter.
A great fun evening raised £380 for Hounds for Heroes. Satisfaction all round!
The Benson Memorial Hall was the venue for this event intended to give a forum for those who run businesses, cottage industries, clubs & societies, or just have an interest they wish to show off.
There were cakes, jams and chutneys from folks within the village and simple taster dishes from The White Horse. There was art and photography from our local talent and a fascinating displayon the history and archives of the village.
With over sixty guests coming through the doors and a large contingent of exhibitors, there would have been over half the residents of Compton Bassett in the hall that afternoon!
Over the coming months we will be doing our level best to bring some of the history and interest displayed at the Benson Hall to you on the pages of this site.
Robbie Williams and Ayda Field are now three!
Compton Bassett resident Robbie Williams and his Turkish American wife Ayda Field have proudly announced yesterday on Twitter, the birth of their new baby daughter. They have named her Theodora Rose Williams.
On his blog he added: "Praise be, it's Theodora Rose Williams, affectionately known as Teddy... Born 3.33pm on 18.9.12, 7lbs 4oz."
"Baby, Mummy and Daddy are all rockin...Thank you for your best wishes."
His Take That friend Gary Barlow tweeted a message to the couple: "Massive congrats Rob and Ayda. So happy for you."
In interviews Robbie had previously said that they had always planned to use a traditional style of name for their daughter, "No mad celebrity baby name. It's not Appleesque. It's a very solid, old-school name." He has made it known that they wanted their daughter to have a British passport and be eductaed here in England to give her traditional English sensibilities.
The people of Compton Bassett wish the new family every happiness for the future.
Watch his recent interview on the BBC from a few days before the birth where he talks about his impending fatherhood.
Blessed with a perfect summer’s day our Church Fete was a great success. What else could it have been with Calne Silver Band playing all the afternoon for our entertainment. Lots of happy willing helpers, lots of generous giving and spending. Roundabouts, sideshows, teas, barbecues, ice-cream, bottles, books, cakes, DVDs and records, produce, bric-a-brac, nearly new and side shows. The Grand Draw first prize of £100 was won by J.May, 2nd prize Dinner for 2 at the White Horse was won by Isobel Reis.
Children’s competitions, Painting 1st Lara Candy, 2nd Kitty Henly, 3rd Edward Candy. Decorated Cup cakes. 1st Lara Candy, 2nd Edward Candy. Fancy Dress (up to 5 years) Charlotte Swanton (6-11) 1st Amelia Hayley, 2nd Edward Candy, 3rd Lara Candy.
One very special helper aged 12 William Smith (Enid Taylor’s grandson) deserves special mention because on his own, volunteered to run Rope the Steer, which he did for the whole of the afternoon and the winner was Paul Rossiter. The Chicken Dinner was won by Pam Evans and the Box of Groceries was won by Anna Lane.
Thank you to everyone too numerous to name who all made the afternoon great and an extra thank you to Pete Szezesiak who keeps it all ticking over. We raised £1,600. [In 1967 we made £155 and in 1987 £1,038] how about that?!
Anything that was not sold has gone to raise money for the Great Western Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit which is a registered charity and we do have a Mummy and a Daddy who have a special baby that was born at 34 weeks.
St. Swithin’s hosted a second Concert within a month on 16 June. The Galliard Trio entertained an appreciative audience to a varied programme of classical and modern pieces that demonstrated their talents on the flute, oboe, core-anglais, bassoon and harpsichord. We even had a world premier with their transcription of two J.S.Bach figures. After the concert the audience lingered over the refreshments and were joined by the Trio. One topic of conversation was the family connections of flautist Andrew Morris with Compton Bassett, Yatesbury and Hilmarton that went back to the 17th century. The surname was Eatwell.
Held at St.Swithin’s, this was a very enjoyable evening. Their choir’s ethos is to have fun while making music. Our church was bedecked with bunting and Union Jacks which created a special atmosphere. Their programme was very varied, each song relating in some way to our Queens 60 years. So we enjoyed listening to music by Mozart and Handel, Gershwin and Elgar, Rutter and Goodall and much more with a grand finale at which everyone sang Jerusalem. What is so special about this choir of 65 is that their membership ranges in age from the elderly to the very young. The beautiful vegetable garden cake made by Libby Barnett raised £50 as a raffle and the total evening raised £477 which was shared equally with the choir and the church.
Sunday 10th June
Four gardens in the village were thrown open to the public by their generous (some may say brave) householders to raise funds for The Dorothy House Hospice.
Click here for full report and pictures.
The Easter tradition of a Cross being placed on the hill near Oldbury Castle and the Cherhill White Horse was observed again this year. A crowd of parishoners gathered in Cherhill and the procession then wended its way out of the village and up the hill, following the cross. The younger members of the congregation also had their own smaller version of the cross to bear on their journey.
The procession was lead by our Rector, Philip Bromiley, from St James church following a church service. After erecting the cross, there was a short service of dedication and hot cross buns and hot drinks were laid on after the return journey.
The cross remains during the Easter period. The poignancy of the cross on a lonely hilltop, silhouetted against the dark skies we have endured this Easter weekend, cannot be overlooked and is perhaps a fitting reminder to all of the Christian faith.
Our church has been really going through the ways since Christmas!
It was indeed a sad day when some of our ancient church roof was stolen and became another statistic in the worsening trend of metal thefts that plagues our society all over the country. About three tonnes of lead was removed from the church roof one night recently and the matter is currently in the hands of our church insurers for the repair of the damage and replacement of the missing roof covering.
A great deal of time and money is given to the upkeep and general maintenance of our church, not just now, but our village ancestors have done so before us for hundreds of years. It is a tragedy of our times that there are those who feel it is their right or privelage to attack the focal point of our community with such impunity and apparent disregard for the history we have fought for so long to preserve. We would all like to be able to hand our church on to future generations in the same good order that we ourselves have recieved it in. Church security is being reviewed as we understand it, but perhaps now is a timely point to remind ourselves that a cautionary eye cast over the church and its access route as we drive past each day and our willingness to report cars or other vehicles parked at a suspicious time or behaving in a suspicious manner may be enough to prevent further attacks on our collective historical village property.
'Twas a dark, wintry, mid December afternoon, with the cold rain stinging the faces of those foolish enough to brave the world outside their own front door when there was an almost biblical parting of the clouds. With dark storm clouds, threatening, but staying to the north of us and a slightly lighter yet no less threatening sky to the south, but with a light blue sky directly overhead the combined parishes of the Oldbury Benefice joined together for the first visit of the Bishop of Salisbury, The Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam to bless the crib on the A4.
The Bishop, newly appointed, was telling the gathered crowd how last year he was blessing the crib in Trafalgar Square in London in his previous role as vicar of St Martin in the Fields. But, because of his recent elvation to the role of Bishop, was fearful he may not get the opportunity to bless a crib this year. So he was very pleased to be invited to come and bless the Oldbury Benefice crib.
The Cherhill CofE School's "Sing Up" choir delighted the gathered crowd of worshippers and well wishers with their singing of carols. The representative of the Children's Society, the beneficiaries of The Oldbury Benefice Christmas 2011 Charity Project, thanked everyone for their efforts and told a little of the work that the charity does throughout the year.
Philip thanked the hosts of the crib and providers of the electricity to light it, The Divine Cafe as well as a large list of businesses and individuals who had all worked to make this crib possible.
The tableau was illuminated every day over the Christmas period until the twelfth night. During that time over £250 was raised for The Children's Society to aid the valuable support they give to very needy children.
The project team would like to say a very big thank you to all those who sponsored the event and the volunteers who gave up their time making and painting the figures and building the stable.
Four Hercules aircraft, such a familiar sound and sight in the skies above Compton Bassett were the last planes to leave RAF Lyneham at 10:30 BST today, 1st July 2011. They were seen yesterday flying in formation over the village as they planned for today's ceremony. Lyneham has been the home of the planes which have earned themselves the nickname "Fat Albert" since 1967 until today due to restructuring and cost saving from the government cut backs have distated that the base should close completely in 2012 and transfer operations to Brize Norton. In the ceremony, station commander Gp Capt John Gladstone said "It will be a very sad day for everyone at Lyneham but it's just a new chapter in the history of the Hercules." as he boarded the last plane to leave.
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