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Henley NEWS On-line

Reporting each week on Events in and around
Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire

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Edition 124 - 28th September 2006
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Every Thursday

Henley's Motor Racing Champion

Mat JacksonHenley-in-Arden’s Mat Jackson was last Sunday celebrating winning £100,000 after being provisionally crowned the 2006 Blaupunkt SEAT Cupra Champion at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent. In front of a massive British Touring Car race day crowd and a live pan-European television audience on the Motors TV channel, Whale Tankers-sponsored Mat finished his latest two races in fourth and third positions to score the points required to win the biggest cash prize in British motor sport.
Mat will be handed his cheque and Champion’s trophy by SEAT UK on Finals Day at Silverstone on 15 October when he will go all out to end the season in victorious style. His achievement is a remarkable triumph for his small, family-run Jacksons Motorsport team considering it has been up against bigger squads with more experience. But there was no time to hang around at Brands Hatch and celebrate his title success with his team – Mat drove the 150 miles back home to Henley to attend a pal’s wedding bash in the town.
Mat, aged 25, says: “It was a case of getting out of my race suit, jumping into jeans and a T-shirt and when I got home getting changed again into a suit and tie. I guess you could call it a double celebration with lots of champagne.
“Yesterday was the greatest day in my racing career. I’ve loved every second of racing in SEAT’s championship and it is an honour to be its Champion. The fact that the championship is run by such professional people and the level of competition is the highest anywhere outside of British Touring Cars makes winning the title extremely satisfying. There are so many people I must thank, especially Whale Tankers and the crew who’ve worked on my car.”
Mat’s weekend got off to a tricky start when he made a rare mistake and spun his SEAT into the gravel trap during Saturday’s first qualifying session. He eventually took fifth and fourth positions for the two starting grids. In each race he made a position at the start to finish fourth and third. That meant for the first time this season he went a weekend without winning a race, but his mission of putting the title beyond was accomplished.
He adds: “I felt more relaxed all weekend than at any other race meeting all year. I’d built up such a good points lead that I could be in cruise mode if I wanted. But to be fair, I was trying as hard as ever to win. My car just didn’t seem to have the bite of some of the others so it was a case of wringing as much as I could from it and that was enough to complete the job.

”The spin in qualifying ruined two tyres, so we only had four of our allocation of six to complete both races. But then we also suffered two punctures and the rules only permit you to use old tyres that have completed a race distance as substitutes. By the end of race two, some of the tyres on my car had completed four races distances!
“Now I’m looking forward to going to Silverstone in three weeks’ time and standing on the top step of the podium as the new champion. Any pressure will be off and I’d like to end the season with two more wins. I’ve got ten from 16 so far – it would be great to make it 12 from 18.”

Henley-in-Arden Town Dinner 2006

High Bailiff Douglas and Sue Bridgewater,
with Low Bailiff Ray and Ann Holding,
who were the hosts for the evening

Peter Knight reporting

I was honoured and fortunate enough to attend the Henley in Arden Town Dinner last Saturday night (23rd). Actually, I invited myself having first seen the event mentioned in Henley News on-line.

The dinner was laid on the by Court Leet for representatives of those organizations which contribute to the life of the community in Henley.

As the chief coordinator of the watering teams on the Fire Engine, I felt that I should attend as a member of Henley in Bloom. I felt duty bound to include my wife without whose support I would have been unable to give up one night every week to watering the flowers. I also invited my very good friend and partner in crime on the fire engine Mr Graham Smith and his wife, without whose support he would not have been able to offer his services either. His own garden apparently suffered considerably during the summer months.

We arrived at approximately 7:30 for 8pm and were announced by the Town Crier (Mr Gordon Trinder). We were then introduced to a line of dignitaries. the High Bailiff Douglas Bridgewater, his wife Susan, the Low Bailiff Ray Holding and his wife Ann. Gordon has the voice for the part and made us all feel very important. It was at that moment that I wished I had been dressed in a DJ instead of a second hand sports jacket purchased a couple of weeks before from the local charity shop. Never mind after receiving the obligatory glass of wine delivered on a silver platter by a delightful young lady, the evening got under way.

The opening introduction was given by the High Bailiff and at his table were the new headmaster of Henley High School (Paul Wright), District and JPC Councillor Lawrence Marshall with his lovely daughter, and Bill and Dawn Leech.

Our tableAnyway after the formalities, we all sat down to a sumptuous meal. We were joined on table four by two delightful couples Duncan and Marijana Bainbridge and another young local couple Andrew and Andrea . The starter was smoked salmon, shrimp dill parfait, served with lemon and cracked pepper toast. This was followed by a main course consisting of Breast of chicken wrapped in smoked bacon; creamed asparagus and white wine sauce; rosemary & olive oil-baked baby potatoes. The desert was a fresh lemon tart with compote of autumn fruits and clotted cream. This followed by coffee & petit fours and accompanied by copious amounts of wine made for a splendid dinner. My compliments to the to the chef (Sue Price-Whittle) – Jamie Oliver would have been proud of you.

The reason for going into such graphic detail on the culinary front is to let those of you who read this article know that there are at least some rewards for giving of ones time to local organisations. Most people today seem to have less and less time to spare in their hectic lives. There were however almost one hundred local people representing thirty Henley organizations.

Who says volunteering is out of fashion?

This wonderful dinner was followed by equally wonderful entertainment by Wilson Roberts & Friends. Wilson Roberts used to own a quality menswear shop in Henley High Street and now resides in Stratford. He has maintained close links with the town of Henley and it was not his first performance and hopefully will not be his last. He made us laugh straight away by arriving in a wheel chair. This is indeed not in itself funny and no disrespect to the disabled is intended. It is not however Wilson Roberts preferred mode of transport and he made comment of the difficulties encountered when entering the hall.  Being the result of a recent accident, we were assured it would be only temporary.

Anyway, the humour was offbeat and different and the singing sublime and glorious.

The evening was I am sure was enjoyed by all and my thanks go out to the Court Leet for it was their idea and the result was a complete success. Long may this idea continue, as I am sure it will not be the last of such evenings. John Love and Bill Leech took the many photographs that can be viewed online by clicking on the link below.
Many thanks to all those who made such a great evening possible.
Peter Knight
Helper for Henley in Bloom

PS: Anyone who wishes to take part in the watering of the High Street next year, please contact myself Peter Knight on 01564 793160 or Ginny Matheou on 01564 794308

Town Dinner 2006 - Slideshow

146 Mile Charity Challenge for Henley Duo!

Les MarshallHopefully Henley residents Colin Sykes (Right) and Laurence Marshall aren't superstitious because in the early hours of Friday 13th October they begin their 146 mile trek from Stratford to London. This long-distance walk runs between Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford-upon- Avon and Shakespeare's Globe, London - a total distance of 146 miles. Using existing footpaths, bridleways and a few minor roads, this route has been planned to follow, as closely as possible, a path that Shakespeare might have taken on some of his journeys back and forth between his home at Stratford-upon-Avon and the city where he spent most of his productive years.

79 year old Peter Titchmarsh who created the route said ‘To the best of my knowledge, by completing this expedition, you will become part of a select group who has completed the Shakespeare Way in one go – good luck!’ So it will be a first for Colin & Laurence and further establish the Shakespeare Way as a ‘must do’ route for rambler and serious walker alike. Colin Sykes and Laurence Marshall, who serves on Henley Parish Council, hopes to raise at least £2,000 for the Shakespeare Hospice and for Headway the brain injuries charity.

The Shakespeare Hospice is an independent care centre dedicated to the relief of suffering caused to individuals, their families and carers by life-limiting illness. It provides dedicated palliative care and support. Life Well is the day centre at the Hospice and there is also a Hospice at Home service and a Family support service. The Hospice is almost wholly reliant on voluntary funding and all care is free. As for Headway, their aim is to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury; and to provide information, support and services to people with a brain injury, their family and carers.

> 146 Miles >

These are two very worthwhile charities and Colin & Laurence are hoping to bolster their sponsorship over the next week or two by securing pledges from the generous people of Henley in Arden. It couldn't be easier to pledge your support, all you need to do is send an e-mail to detailing the amount you will donate if the duo complete the 146 miles. Please say if you are a tax payer so that the charities can claim Gift Aid and increase the value of your donation by almost 30% courtesy of the tax man!

Another Window on Henley’s Past
By Ray Holding, Low Bailiff and Heritage Centre Curator

SheildAbout eighteen months ago, I received a message via the Heritage Centre’s website ( from Jean-Christophe Bisson, President of the Montfort Association of Culture and Heritage in Montfort-sur-Risle, Normandy. He was interested in the fact that our respective towns had a shared historical interest in Thurstan de Montfort (1120-1170). Our dialogue over the following year culminated in an invitation from M.Bisson for Ann and I to visit Montfort on the occasion of the annual “Heritage Days” which are held across France.

First, the history lesson: Thurstan, or Toustain de Montfort is regarded by many as the founder of Beaudesert. His castle on Beaudesert Mount, built around 1140, provided protection for the early development of the settlement. Beaudesert was the nucleus from which Henley grew. Thurstan was the great-grandson of Hugh II de Montfort, a much valued comrade of William the Conqueror and in charge of 50 ships for the successful (from their point of view!) Norman expedition to England in 1066. In recompense for Hugh’s devotion and valour, Hugh II was rewarded by the Conqueror with 114 manors in England and the governorship of Dover.

The line of descent of this powerful family has been traced back to one Hrolf Turstain Brico, born 909, a nephew of Rollon, first duke of Normandy following the Viking occupation. We share the Norman experience of life under the Romans, Saxons and Vikings. This was Normandy, part of Neustria, before the founding of Royal power in France as a whole.

RuinsLooming above the little town of Montfort-sur-Risle sit the remains of a vast castle, built around 1035 in the time of Hugh II’s father (unsurprisingly called Hugh I) on the site of an earlier Roman fortification. By its position it commanded a large part of the Risle valley. This formidable fortress was the general headquarters of the family that built Beaudesert.

In recent years, the Association of Culture and Heritage of Montfort sur Risle has been retrieving the castle from obscurity. Driven with unflagging passion by its President, the Association’s 40 members have opened up access to the site, removed rocks, trees and tons of lethal brambles, levelled parts of the keep and baileys and re-created the 231 step staircase which connects the castle with the town below.

Castle PlanAt the bottom of the staircase is - guess what? A church, also founded by the de Montforts, in about 1100. It’s name? St. Nicholas. Remind you of anywhere?

Thanks to all this hard work it is now possible to take in the area once covered by the castle, the site being marked by many substantial fragments of standing wall and various floor levels. Including its massive earth ramparts, as shown in the plan left, the total area amounts to about 46,000 square metres.

The next stage in the project is to remove – very carefully and with expert advice - the enormous creepers which cover the stonework.

CampIn the last two years, in order to keep the castle and its story in the public eye, the Association has hosted an exciting gathering as the local celebration of the Heritage Days. The ancient site came alive for the weekend, with Saxon and Viking villages erected within what remains of the old walls.

A mediaeval camp lurked in one corner, flying the banner of Richard Coeur de Lion (bearing two lions - or leopards – not three: they didn’t have England at that time). There were mediaeval families, pilgrims en route to Sant Iago de Compostela, a scribe, an illustrator, various weavers, two blacksmiths,a leather worker and lots more. The costumes were superb. All manner of traditional skills were demonstrated around the grounds, including those of archery and hand-to-hand combat.

The Association provided guided tours of the site. People teemed up the staircase, arriving exhausted and thirsty at the top. A bar did steady business with the excellent local cider.

EventThe Association is now very keen to build links with Henley and Beaudesert, so who knows what might come out of this visit. They are riveted by the story of our surviving and vigorous Court Leet and would like to know (and to see!) more. We flew the Henley flag at the event, with a short and somewhat hesitant address in French but not Norman French, to the assembled multitude at the close, alongside the Mayor of Montfort, the chief Archaeologist and the Association ’s President. Nearly 3,000 people attended the event in the two days – not bad for a town of 900!

History gets rewritten over and over again. This contact will bring to the Heritage Centre a new dimension in the story of Henley’s origins and some of the people who shaped Beaudesert – powerful men to be sure.

The Heritage Centre could now use a fluent French speaker to translate some historic documents collected on this visit: any volunteers? Contact Ray Holding on Henley 792512.

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Both club President Alan James (2nd from right) and Vice-President David Snell (right) were in action during Henley Rotary's golf day.

The sun shone for this year's Henley Rotary Club charity golf day, held at Stratford Oaks Golf Club.

Nearly 100 golfers took part in ideal conditions, and comments made it clear that they appreciated the organisation of the event and the state of the golf course itself.

At the prize-giving club President Alan James thanked all concerned patricularly those local businesses and individuals who had sponsored holes or provided raffle prizes.

Final figures are not yet available but it is clear that nearly £2300 has been raised for "Hearing Dogs for the Deaf" and other local charities which the club supports.

Rtn Mike Redman reporting

The Return of The Polecat

Wild LifeHenley Wildlife Society were entertained at their September meeting by Dr Johnny Birks of the Vincent Trust with a talk called 'The Return of The Polecat'.

The Vincent Trust is a registered charity and has been involved in wildlife research and conservation since 1975. It has been focused particularly on the needs of British mammals and has concentrated on species such as polecats, weasels, stoats and bats etc.

The talk was mainly on potecats and near relation Ferrets.The research involves trapping and releasing to gain knowledge as to the population in areas. Two of our members were involved in Austy wood in the 70's. Our Chairman David Evason and member John Knowlson.

The chairman thanked Johnny in the usual way.

John Love

Buried Treasure?

Warwickshire digAt their September meeting the members of the Civic Society were treated to an explanation of the work of the Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record Centre. Emma Jones from the Centre explained how the records revealed a long history of habitation in Warwickshire from Palaeolithic times up to the present day. Recent finds had extended the known history from 300,000 years to 500,000 years in the County.

She demonstrated how the records are used by planning archaeologists when considering planning applications, education resources and also the general public. The work is continuous with finds being entered into the record on a daily basis. Although most people think that archaeology consists of excavation of various sites she pointed out that digging of this sort, besides being very expensive, destroyed the actual site itself. A much preferred use is the use of non-invasive techniques such as aerial photography. She showed several examples of this method and explained how the trained observer could obtain a good deal of information about the past habitation and use of the sites being investigated.

The Centre is also concerned with legally protected monuments such as historic churches, and has extensive records regarding them.

In answer to a question she admitted that the use of metal detectors by amateurs had caused difficulties in the past, but that recent regulations, including the setting up of Portable Antiquities Teams, had substantially improved the position.

As an example of the effect the records have on scholarship she produced a chart of findings on Edge Hill; in particular the location of lead shot and other metal relics has led to a re-evaluation of the traditional view of how the battle had proceeded. A further example was the recent discovery of a piece of Viking metal which was the first known evidence that there had been a Danish presence in Warwickshire.

The next meeting, on 19th October will be a chance to appreciate the life and times of local MP and Prime Minister, Anthony Eden.

Jonathan Dovey's History of Henley

Organised Crime in Medieval Henley
The Strange Case of Joan de Cruddeshale

In January 1285 the Assize court held at Warwick heard an extraordinary case brought by Joan de Cruddeshale against the rector of Preston Bagot, Peter of Leycester.

Script 1
Entry in the Warwickshire Eyre of Joan de Cruddeshale’s case

She was travelling home to Cruddeshale along the king’s highway when outside the house of the Nicholas le Warrener at Preston Bagot she was captured and led away to the castle at Henley where she was held against her will. She was held there from the Monday after the feast of St Peter & Paul (29th June) until the Thursday after the feast of St James (25th July). Amongst the items that were taken from her were a clasp or buckle (firmaculum) worth 2s, a silk veil (peplum cerico) worth 18d, a belt (zona) worth 12d and a silk purse (bursa cerico) worth 12d containing 2s worth of silver.

Script 2
zonam [belt] worth xii.d. … bursam de cerico [silk purse] worth xii.d. containing ii.s.

She accused the following of committing the crime:

John Sparkes of Henley and Lettice his wife, William Gollifrey of Henley, Adam of Hynestoke, Nicholas de Leicester, Roger de la Lee, Thomas Sparkes, Ralph de Leicester servant of Peter of Leicester, William … a servant of Peter of Leycester, William the chaplain of Preston Bagot, Thomas de Stokes and his son Richard, Richard Baron, Thomas Bygod and Alice his wife, John Clerk and his wife Agnes, Ralph Truman, Thomas Longbridge, Alan the clerk of Peter of Leycester.

Peter de Leyc’ rector of Preston Bagot

All Saints Church, Preston Bagot

She blamed Peter of Leycester the rector of Preston Bagot of organising her capture but the accused were acquitted due to a technicality and were exonerated by the local jury. Peter of Leycester (d.1304) was a notorious pluralist and had been clerk to the Bishop of Worcester. He was made rector of Preston Bagot by Peter de Montfort of Beaudesert in 1275. But by 1287 he was very much out of favour with the Bishop of Worcester as he was stated to have committed the vice of ingratitude.

It is impossible to discover whether or not this incident actually occurred as the case was thrown out because of a technicality not because it didn’t happen. At this time gang robbery was rife, often targeting merchants and often supported by or involving: knights and the clergy. In 1280 Henry Bagot of Ullenhall was robbed of £10 worth of grain by a gang of ten led by Ralph the Barber. And Peter de Montfort was involved in a skirmish at Garthorpe in February 1265 where he and 12 others including his two sons were pardoned for killing William Gorham of Stapelford.

If the incident did occur then it raises some questions that cannot easily be answered. How did this gang manage to hold Joan in Henley Castle for about a month without the cooperation of at least the constable or even the De Montfort family themselves? Is this evidence of an organised gang that operated in the area with the support of the De Montfort family? Who was Joan de Cruddeshale and was there a specific reason for targeting her? Perhaps she had committed a crime at the local market? But what is known is that this wasn’t an isolated case of criminal activity in Warwickshire in the 13th century.

Thanks to Mairi Macdonald for help in reading the Warwickshire Eyre entry.

Jonathan Dovey

Stratford Train Centre "Off the Rails?"

Train CentrePlans to transform a derelict site next to Stratford Station into one of the 'most unique tourist attractions in the area' may have run out of steam after it was revealed significant objections have been lodged by 'rival' developers. The £1.6 million Stratford Railway Tourist and Steam Locomotive Centre looked set to be the first major railway tourist attraction in the area, celebrating Warwickshire's rich steam heritage - when plans were submitted to the district council last month.

Proposals, which go before the west area planning committee in October or November, include a fully equipped working steam complex, giving visitors the chance to see classic trains being maintained, serviced and running. Outline designs also include a historic 1909 listed Great Western Railway building facade - salvaged from the construction of Bullring in Birmingham; an engine shed; visitor centre; a 70-foot turntable and cooling tower.

If given the go-ahead the complex would see locomotives and carriages brought out of storage at Birmingham Railway Museum and put on display in Stratford, yet owners of the neighbouring Cattle Market, in Alcester Road, have slammed the plans saying they will prejudice the redevelopment of their site - plans for which were thrown out by council chiefs in August over 'quality' concerns.

Shakespeare ExpressStansgate Planning Consultants acting on behalf of owners, SCM Properties, ripped into the potential tourist attraction, asking for plans to be refused because they make 'no allowance' for transport between Alcester Road and Birmingham Road; they ignore the proposed roundabout on Western Road and claim the railway delivery yard is inadequate in 'size and layout.' They state plans make 'no provision' for parking and declare there must be 'a real question as to whether the scheme will be delivered in the foreseeable future.'

Tony Horton, senior planner at the council, told the paper planning permission was still at a very early stage but the conflict over transport and parking could see the plans refused if the Highway Agency backed the objections. Former mayor and project supporter, Coun Clive Thomas, told the paper it would be an 'utter disaster' for Stratford if the plans did not go ahead."This is something that will be of great advantage to Stratford - it would be something very different for the town and very important for visitors, residents and schools."It's an opportunity to create something unique in the area. A museum of national standard is something Stratford lacks, there is nothing like this in the area and it would be another major attraction for the Midlands."

Reprinted from The Stratford Observer

The Shakespeare Express at Henley in September 2006

Local radio presenter LES ROSS travelled on the train during his Sunday show giving a live broadcast, which he claimed was the first time that a live broadcast in its entirety had been made from a train.

John Love reporting and video

John Garner's Business Column

Recruitment – Part 2 Discrimination

John GarnerLast week we discussed the pitfalls of recruiting staff. Here are some more. Be careful! Be very careful! You will probably have in mind the type of individual you would like to have working for you. If so keep it to yourself!

As I’m sure you already know it’s illegal to state your requirements in terms of colour, creed, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation or to discriminate against the disabled. Small businesses may be exempt from some legislation (e.g. special arrangements for disabled staff) but you should check this out for your own business (see the ACAS web site

From 1st October 2006 it’s also illegal to discriminate on grounds of age.

ACAS says:
“From 1 October 2006 the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations make it unlawful to discriminate against employees, job seekers and trainees because of their age. The protection covers direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.”

That means you mustn’t ask for someone who is “young” (or “old” for that matter) nor who has a specific amount of experience. Also you must treat all employees equally no matter what their age. But… it is still legal to reject a candidate because they are aged 65 or over.

There are also new rules about retirement. Existing employees now have the right to request to work beyond 65 or any other retirement age set by the company. The employer has a duty to consider such requests objectively. I won’t say any more here as there’s a lot of it. Have a close look at the ACAS website, it’s a mine of useful information.

Some employers may try to find ways around this, that remains to be seen. As this is brand new legislation it has yet to be tested in the courts. Just make sure yours is not the first test case! As you can see, it’s a minefield. The Government is continually urging small businesses to recruit more employees; pity it keeps making it more burdensome.

Next time we’ll talk about the selection process.

John Garner

Grumpy Old Man Comments

Loyalty Cards

When I look into my wallet, what do I see? 

Cash? Not a chance !

No, I see more plastic than there is in Hong Kong.

Club Card, Morrison’s petrol card, Nectar Card, Total Tops Card, Texico IOU card, Somerfield card (this one has stopped but I still have one)……. What are they all for?  Do we actually show any loyalty to the stores ? No actually :

Loyalty CardsMost of us choose our supermarket because it is the closest, we choose our petrol station when the light on the dashboard says we must fill up. From the traffic lights in Henley, it is 8 miles to Tesco, Shirley, 8 miles to Tesco, Stratford, 6 miles to Morrisons, Redditch and 10 miles to Sainsbury’s Maypole.

So what is the point ? We all collect nectar points, club card points etc and redeem them against out ‘big’ Christmas shop or swap them for tickets to gain admission into Drayton Manor, Alton Towers, Lego Land etc

The stores believe we will buy all our stuff from them, whether it is groceries, petrol or other such commodities. This is clearly not the case, we just have many cards and are loyal to none.

So what do we all really want? 1p back for every £1 we spend?  No….. we want cheaper prices !  take the 1p / £1 off the price we pay and also take off another 1-2p that is saved by the store by not having the overhead of the ‘store card /  loyalty card’. That way we all have cheaper prices, the stores have lower overheads, and MY wallet is not full of unwanted plastic!


Grumpy Old Man

The Nigel Hastilow Column

Watson launches jobs flight

Nigel HastilowA few weeks ago I was talked out of attacking Tom Watson, then a Defence Minister, in the Express & Star by a Labour Party supporter who said I’d be putting thousands of jobs at risk. The fat blogger with the Playstation habit was the man charged with the responsibility of deciding whether 4,000 jobs should go to RAF Cosford near Wolverhampton or to some place in Wales nobody has ever heard of.

The Welsh thought Fat Tom, who is still the MP for West Bromwich East, might be somewhat biased against them on the grounds that he represented a constituency not a million miles from Cosford. I wanted to remind Tom which side his bread was buttered. But when I discussed this with a Labour insider, he told me with various nods and winks that Our Man at the Ministry could be relied on to do the decent thing when the time came.

Tom was in a difficult position, I was reminded. He had to be seen to be above reproach. He could not do or say anything which might imply a bias towards RAF Cosford. He had to play it with a straight bat.

The reality, I was reassured with lots more nods and winks, was that Tom knew the score. He could be relied on to come up with what, for the West Midlands, was the “right” decision. In other words, he would decide to invest the Government’s money – that is, your cash and mine – in the region which elected him to Parliament in the first place.

It would not do for me to stir it up in the Express & Star by having a go at him, I was told. If I did, it would just make life more difficult for Tom and potentially force him to choose the Welsh site just to prove he had not succumbed to partisan pressure from the Express & Star. So I kept schtum. The last thing I wanted to do was rock the boat and be accused of contributing to a decision which went against the best interests of the West Midlands. As things turn out, it would have made no difference because by carefully nurturing his own political career, Uncle Tom has abandoned what may have been the region’s best chance of winning the RAF Cosford investment.

His bid for headlines and the glory of being one of Gordon Brown’s cheerleaders in the Battle of Downing Street may well do wonders for his long-term political career. You can imagine the reward on offer to Fat Tom when the dust finally settles and Prime Minister Brown forms his first Government. He may or may not be in the habit of plotting with the Chancellor before he calls on the Prime Minister to resign. But he’s certainly in the habit of calling on Gordon at home with gifts for the bab, which makes him pretty close to the Potentially Great One. Short-term pain for long-term gain may well be Ton’s game plan. But in the meantime RAF Cosford’s bid has lost its best possible friend.

The cost of this resignation to the regional economy could be catastrophic. The site which wins the Defence Training Rationalisation contact will become the main training base for all our armed forces. It would protect the 2,500 jobs at RAF Cosford now and create perhaps 3,000 new ones. The deal is hugely lucrative – £600 million for new buildings, a defence training budget worth £4.2 billion a year, a contract worth maybe £10 billion, maybe more.

The Chief Executive of Advantage West Midlands, which is leading the campaign to secure the development at Cosford, has said: "We cannot underestimate just how much Cosford needs to win this crucial and lucrative contract. The potential benefits for the county and the wider region are immense. "A successful bid will ensure that the West Midlands economy remains buoyant and that we can sustain a highly skilled workforce."

The chances are that the Welsh will now win the race. They have a lot going for them, not least the fact that the private consortium behind the Welsh bid includes the Government’s favourite defence contractor Quinetic. Quinetic was the subject of one of the sleaziest privatisations yet when its shares were flogged for £1.3 billion, handing a hideously huge payday to American investors the Carlyle Group. Carlyle, which has had John Major and both George Bushes, among others, on its payroll, got one third of the company for £42m, worth ten times as much three years later.

So, according to the pundits, their involvement in the Welsh bid is likely to be enough to swing the deal. Especially as the Government still owns more than half the business. The new Minister for Defence is Derek Twigg, an MP in Merseyside who at least includes military history among his interests. It’s now his decision and no doubt he will be entirely unbiased, doing only what is in the best interests of the taxpayer and the country. But if the money and the jobs do go to Wales, then Tom Watson should be held personally to blame.

Whatever he thinks about Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and whatever his personal ambitions or calculations, he was in a position to give the Black Country an enormous boost and he threw it away.

Thanks, Tom. Let’s hope Gordon gets the job, eh? Otherwise it’ll all have been a bit of a waste, won’t it

Nigel Hastilow

For the most Comprehensive Information about Henley-in-Arden

Visit Henley-in-Arden's Gateway Website at

Henley in Arden Police Surgery

Neighbour WatchThere is a 'Drop In' facility at Henley Police Station to discuss issues/problems within the community with your local policing team. The next Police Surgery will be Wednesday 4th October 2006 between 11am-1pm

If you have any information or have witnessed any incidents, contact Alcester Police Station on 01789 762207.

Make Henley Greener
Save Money - Help Save the Planet  

Pennies from Heaven

Rainwater can easily be collected in water butts - and now autumn's arrived, there'll be plenty of rain to collect! Save rainwater for watering plants when the weather warms up next year - plants prefer it to tap water. In the meantime, you can use it to water indoor plants, washing the car and other outdoor jobs. Water butts (and diverters to redirect the water from downpipes) are available from DIY stores.

For more sophisticated rain harvesting ideas, see Drain the butts when it becomes frosty so they don’t split due to freezing. They soon fill up again in spring once hard frosts are over.

For more information about the Make Henley Greener project, click here.

John Stott

District & Parish Council Information

Planning Applications - Search on-line at Stratford District Council

Stratford on Avon District Council Website

Information about the Beaudesert and Henley-in-Arden Joint Parish Council is regularly updated on the Gateway Website "This is Henley-in-Arden". Look no further than for the latest and most comprehensive information about the JPC.

Since the resignation of the Parish Clerk, Minutes & Agendas have not been published by the JPC





Alerts from Trading Standards

Have You Been Phished Lately?

Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service is warning computer users that phishing fraudsters are becoming ever more sophisticated in their attempts to steal users financial information and password data.

Some of the latest reports to reach the Service have come from Stephen Wilks, Chair of Cedar Tree Residents Association and NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH Nuneaton. Commenting on the scams, Stephen said: “I regularly receive these scam ‘phishing’ emails. They usually come from banks or building societies that I do not bank with and those are the easiest to spot. However, some of these emails are very cleverly put together, and as such I think it is important to warn computer users about the dangers and how they can protect themselves.”

Mark Ryder, Head of Warwickshire Trading Standards said: “It is now estimated that one in five PC users receive at least five phishing emails every day, and as people become more aware of how these fraudsters operate, phishing scams are becoming ever more sophisticated. Millions of phishing emails are being sent every year, and, as it is estimated that 5% of recipients respond to them, this means that a huge number of people worldwide are potential victims.”

Originally, a fraudulent phishing email was little more than a direct request, purporting to come from a bank or building society, for the recipient to provide the sender with their personal and financial information. However, as computer users have become more savvy, so have the fraudsters.

One of the most common ploys used by Internet criminals is to send out emails containing links that direct the user to a copy of the banks homepage on which the user is asked to verify their customer details and divulge confidential pin numbers and passwords.

And now some of the links actually direct the recipient to the genuine web pages of the banks in question. Hidden in the link however is an instruction that creates a pop up box that overlays the genuine web page. The pop up box asks users to enter their bank account, customer PIN’s and passwords. These are then automatically sent to the fraudsters, who use them to transfer money from the recipients account to other accounts from which money is then withdrawn in cash and using money transfer agents sent to the criminal organisers.

Some links have also requested cash point PIN’s and the 3 digit security number of the reverse of debit cards. This has meant that not only are online bank users at risk of fraud, but so is anyone with a debit card as with these details fraudsters can attempt to clone their cards and withdraw cash at cashpoint machines. The information gained is also used to create new identities through which fraud is also committed.

Any site where you may be required to put in confidential passwords or financial information, including credit card details, may be copied and abused. The websites of banks, building societies, auction sites and other businesses have all been used to perpetrate these crimes.

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately.

If you wish to report an email scam you can do so at:

Follow our advice.

  • Know who you are dealing with - Always access Internet banking by typing the bank's address into your web browser. Never go to a website from a link in an email and enter personal details. If in doubt, contact the bank separately on an advertised number.
  • Keep passwords and PIN numbers safe - Always be wary of unsolicited emails or phone calls asking you to disclose any personal details or card numbers. Keep this information secret. Be wary of disclosing any personal information to someone you don't know. Your bank and the police would NEVER contact you to ask you to disclose PINs or your password information.
  • Many banks and other financial institutions have their own online additional security measures, for example, asking customers to keep a record of when they log in. Make sure that you are aware of them.
  • Keep your PC secure - Use up-to-date anti-virus software, security patches and a personal firewall. Be extra careful if using Internet cafes or any PC which is not your own and over which you have no control.
  • Check your statement - If you notice anything irregular on your account contact your bank immediately.

And always remember - if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Trading StandardsSimon Cripwell
Senior Information Officer
Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service

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Meets in the Memorial Hall on Tuesday 7th October from 7.30 p.m. and visitors are welcome to join us for a light-hearted talk by Jack Lindsey “Laughter The Best Medicine”. Why not try WI, make new friends and join in lots of activities this autumn.

Tuesday 10th October at 7.30 p.m. in the Memorial Hall. “Roses and Castles” by Sharon Badger. Competition: “Towering Inferno”.

Stephanie Gaskin is our speaker on 17th October “The Other Side of the World – New Zealand”. Venue is the Baptist Church at 7.45 p.m. Visitors welcome.


On Thursday 19th October the speaker is David Howe on “Anthony Eden – Leamington to Suez”. Meetings are at the Baptist Church starting at 8.00 p.m.

Our speaker on Tuesday 24th October will be Ann Bird telling us about “Historic Roses”. Ullenhall Village Hall, 7.45 for 8.00 p.m. New members and visitors (£1) always welcome. Competition: 3 roses in a vase.

Make Henley Greener and Warwickshire Energy Efficiency Advice Centre invite residents of Henley and district to a free Energy Saving Exhibition on Saturday 21st October from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and Thursday 26th October from 6.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. at the Baptist Church Hall. Come and talk to the professional energy team and get your free energy saving gift. Grants available towards energy saving measures that can cut bills by up to 50%. Further information from Margaret Anderson on 792138.

Evergreen ClubMeetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month in the Parish Hall, Beaudesert Lane at 2.15 p.m. The Club has around 80 members and organises a varied programme together with various outings. If you are interested in joining, please contact Gordon Trinder.
meets on Monday evenings from April to September at 6.30pm and plays until it is dark. The club is situated next to the Tennis Courts at the Sports and Social club ground on the A34 just outside Henley. The Club welcome new members, whether beginners or established players. For further information contact John Townson 01564 792407.
There are still vacancies in some areas of Henley-in-Arden for NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH Co-ordinators. If you are aware that  you are not covered in your area or are willing to be a co-ordinator. Please contact Annette Walker on 792837
THE WARWICKSHIRE BUSINESS CLUB holds their monthly lunchtime meeting on third Thursday of each month from 11.30am to 2.15pm at the Henley Golf Club. There is a one hour networking session followed by a quality lunch and a informative speaker on a business topic.
Meets at the Golf Club on Monday evenings at 7pm.
New members are always welcome.
Please call: Robin Freeman on 01789 765411 or email
Plays Duplicate Bridge of intermediate standard on Tuesday evenings at the the White Swan Hotel and usually find time for a tipple, which may or may not improve our play!!. Play commences at 7.15 promptly. There are normally 5 - 8 tables and the club does not issue master points.
For further information please contact the Secretary - Christine Whitehouse on 01564 792993.
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