Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A LOVELY FUSION OF HERITAGE, ARTS AND CULTURE

Enjoyed meeting folk from Arts Council England,Heritage Lottery Fund and Essex County Council at the Essex Record Office this evening.  Earlier in the day I paid a visit to Chelmsford Museum in the quest for more information on my current writing topic - the upcoming commemoration of the L32 Zeppelin disaster on 24 September 1916. 

It's always great to meet like-minded people, especially those from museums in Essex, for as you know, our Cater Museum in Billericay is one of the town's precious buildings full of fascinating artefacts from a bygone age.


This evening's ERO event was packed and the enthusiasm was high. Didn't make the workshops aimed at voluntary groups involved in all kinds of cultural activities, but was pleased to discover more about what sources of funding are available and how best to apply. We listened to highly articulate representatives from the Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery, Big Lottery, SHARE Museums East and Museums Essex who offered guidance and advice on applying for funding through their organisations.

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Heritage, Culture and the Arts, said: “Having lived in Essex for 36 years I have come to understand what a brilliant and diverse county it is. So often we underestimate the scale of our heritage, ranging from Colchester and St Peter's Chapel in Bradwell through our medieval towns and villages to the great symbols of human achievement such as optic fibres at Harlow, radio in Chelmsford and the Stow Maries airfield. Our intensely active culture and arts sectors add to the richness of the county and all of these help make Essex a better place in which to live, work and play."   

  

 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

LITTLE FORAY INTO WRITING FICTION

LEFT BWC PRESIDENT FRANCES CLAMP
Can you believe that the Brentwood Writers' Circle is this year celebrating its 75th birthday? Anniversaries are amazing events and in Brentwood, Essex, our team of writers are an inspirational group.  Check us out at www.brentwoodwriterscircle.org.uk and you will see some of our committee who work hard to organise some of the country's best speakers to visit us and tell of their successes.  I was happy last week to receive this lovely glass trophy as winner of the story competition.  Huge surprise as I rarely write fiction, but that is going to change and set me on a new path. Shall fit this into my current schedule and won't let editors down, but I feel if you don't try something new now and again, how do you know what you can accomplish!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

TED BAILEY'S MEMORABLE VISIT TO MONCHY-LE-PREUX, FRANCE


 
Dr Ted Bailey is far left


At 11.00 hours on Saturday 21 May, Lord Petre, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Colonel Charles Thomas, Colonel Stephen Foakes, retired Major Dick Gould, Councillor John Aldridge, Chairman of Essex County Council gathered in the square of the church with the local Mayor, M Zéchel, the Secretary of the Prefect and the Sénatrice for that area, to commemorate a memorial dedicated to the Essex Regiment and the Essex Yeomanry.

This ceremony was to mark the heavy sacrifice of both units in a desperate battle in April 1917 for this small but strategic village on a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside. The MC for this event was Simon Godly an Ulsterman who lives locally and speaks fluent French as well as organising memorials for Canadians. After welcome speeches by the Mayor and the Prefect’s Secretary, Dr Ted Bailey, whose grandfather fought there as then RSM, 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment, outlined the history in French (!). 

 After the speeches, Lord Petre laid a wreath as HM Queen’s representative in Essex, Colonel Thomas on behalf of the now subsumed Essex Regiment, Colonel Foakes on behalf of the Essex Yeomanry, Dr Ted Bailey for his grandfather and comrades and retired Major Gould, on behalf of the Royal Anglian Regiment into which the Essex Regiment was incorporated in 1964, followed by the French.

The 10th Essex Living History Group attended in World War One dress marching from the Mairie to the square and presenting arms. The local band played Au Morts, the French version of the Last Post and Andy Smerdon played the British post followed by a minute’s silence. Ian Hook, the Keeper of the Essex Regiment Museum played the Reveille on a genuine WW1 bugle and the French band struck up with the British, French national anthems followed by the European.

 The ceremony was also attended by many French veterans in their characteristic black berets and many villagers. The Yeomanry provided two lancers who stood either side of the memorial throughout. The sun kindly shone on us and it was a respectful yet enjoyable occasion in the spirit of Entente Cordiale. We all repaired back to the Mairie where there was a champagne reception. The Essex units gave plaques to the French while they gave plates ascribed with the Monchy town and Essex county badges.

All agreed that it was a suitable event which honoured the brave men from Essex during that engagement. It is in the square directly opposite a bar/cafe and should form a necessary part of any tour. On the 100th Anniversary in April 2017 there will be another ceremony there for the Essex Yeomanry.  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

SWWJ SUMMER GATHERING AND AGM - STILL TIME TO BOOK




This is one of our SWWJ highlight occasions - our AGM and Summer Gathering last year.  It's always a great chance to get together and catch up with friends.  This year on Thursday 30th June 2016 will be another occasion.  Always a very happy day in the presence of our members, guests and a superb speaker (see below).  Also, take a look at our website  www.swwj.co.uk 

LAST DATE FOR BOOKING IS 22nd JUNE 2016

Location: National Liberal Club, London SW1A 2HE

Attendance at the AGM is FREE to all Members

If you are staying for the Summer Tea, it is £18.50 for Members & £19.50 for Guests

Non-members welcome. Further details and ticket application form in the Spring WW (page19/21) or contact enquiries@swwj.co.uk.

Guest speaker Michelle Magorian, author of “Goodnight Mr Tom”.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

SINGING THE PRAISES OF BILLERICAY NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH GROUP

 
Can't always get to BILLERICAY NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH meetings, but managed this evening.  It was great to meet up with some familiar faces - local residents who really care about the safety of  their own town.  Of course, this organisation which was set up so long ago, once relied on their local Police Station as a base from which to operate. This is no longer possible.  In the near future Billericay Library will be the information venue to find out more about this great friendly organisation which has been operating in the town for more than 26 years.
 


The very first Neighbourhood Watch was set up in Cheshire in 1982  following the success of a similar scheme in Chicago, USA. Many more groups followed throughout the UK, and it is now claimed that 3.8 million households are covered by a similar scheme.  The neighbourhood watch schemes covers many aspects of community safety including, but not necessarily, limited to crime.

Essex Watch encourages, supports and facilitates the formation and development of other ‘Watch schemes,’ which include:  Allotments, Businesses / Industrial Watch, Caravans, Country Farms, Forest / Park Watch, Golf Courses, Horse Watch, Marine Watch (Inland Waterways), Pubs,  Schools, Shops and other community places.  There are several additional initiatives which are currently being looked at, including Plant Watch (construction plant) and Trailer Watch. All of these schemes share two common aims and objectives which are: To ‘Keep Crime Down,’ and to ‘Help Communities to Help Themselves

Billericay's NHW was hugely popular and enjoyed a large membership.  Today, it lacks numbers. Fred Good, Liaison Officer and his team would like more residents to join them in fighting crime.  Pictures, more information and contact details to follow.

Friday, June 03, 2016

LEAVING STAR WARS ASIDE FOR THE MOMENT, WE ARE LOOKING AT VIABLE SELF SUFFICIENCY AND THE BEST MAGAZINE ON THE MARKET - HOME FARMER

Latest image from the superb HOME FARMER MAGAZINE


The fields, hedgerows and gardens of England are looking particularly beautiful during this month of June and my features on home winemaking appear regularly in HOME FARMER.  This great journal has a a cornucopia of wonderful advice for people who like to garden, harvest their fruit and vegetables, preserve them, cook them in the most healthy and exciting ways and, in my case, turn their organically grown produce into their own wine.  Do check them out at www.homefarmer.co.uk