The one to avoid becomes the best place to live
ROYAL WOOTTON BASSETT
BRADFORD ON AVON
It feels like this is the year that Salisbury fights back. After a year to forget there is much to look forward to, says Neil Henty.
WHAT A spectacular way to celebrate all that is good about the county. I am talking about the Wiltshire Life Awards, which were held on March 29th at Messums Wiltshire. Our awards are always big events, but this year’s was extra special for a number of reasons.
The venue was stunning. If you have not been to Messums Wiltshire already then you really should go. It would be doing it a disservice to state that it is quite impressive, as you will see from our gallery on pages 100-104, and from the online gallery.
Celebrating our county is something we love to do. It is true that everyone who was nominated for an award should be proud. It is not all about winning, as I said last month. The fact that you have positively impacted on other people’s lives means that you are doing great things. It is wonderful, of course, to be shortlisted and to win is special indeed.
The pinnacle of the evening is always the Pride of Wiltshire Award. This is a special award and not one that is given out lightly. This year, however, there was only ever going to be one winner. Or many winners. We were delighted to present the Pride of Wiltshire 2019 award to the emergency services for their handling of the novichok poisoning incidents that so blighted Salisbury and Amesbury, and that sadly took one life, and affected many others.
So many people and organisations responded with the utmost professionalism and determination to the incidents, from the initial discovery of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, to the ongoing cleanup operation, and everything that happened in between, that it would be impossible to present an award to everyone.
There will be countless individuals whose actions were pivotal to the ongoing operations who will remain in the background. This award is very much for these unsung heroes,
and for their families who supported, cared for and worried about their loved ones dealing with what was a fluid and ever-changing situation.
On the nightof the Awards, we were treated to a series of moving and inspirational speeches from representatives of services involved. It was, without question, a unanimously popular award and if you would like to see a short video of the speeches then please head over to our website at www.wiltshirelife.co.uk/news.
Salisbury has suffered as a result of the incidents. Certainly its businesses have suffered. The same I am sure can be said of Amesbury. But there are signs that a corner is now being turned. Prime minister, Theresa May, visited Salisbury on March 4th this year and declared the city ‘open for business’, and all locations have been declared novichok free.
More good news was to follow. Salisbury was voted as the best place to live in the UK in The Sunday Times, April 14th. This will be a significant boost to the area: the citation reads: “This cathedral city is divinely attractive, has a distinguished history and offers topclass schooling, but this year we’re honouring its resurgent community spirit – and its glorious surrounds.”
Salisbury, its businesses, residents, organisations, can start to look with more certainty and security to the future. It will have an effect on everything from the housing market to tourism, from inward investment to shopping trade, and more.
There will be an additional boost to the area this month with the annual National Armed Forces Day (see p24-26 for our feature) focused this year on Salisbury. Estimates suggest the city can expect crowds in the tens of thousands over the weekend of the event.
Both Tisbury and Corsham were named as top places to live in the south west. The competition was very strong, but it goes to show that Wiltshire is not just a beautiful place to live, it is also one that can attract and
BERWICK ST JAMES
BROAD CHALKE TOLLARD
Above: Wiltshire Life keeps you in touch with what’s going on, wherever you are in the county retain families and businesses that in turn will support the future of our thriving towns. Hands-on at Stonehenge June plays host to the world’s largest dedicated history festival this month (see p20-22) as thousands descend on the Chalke Valley. Getting ‘hands-on’ is a powerful learning experience and so I was delighted over the Easter holidays to head to Stonehenge with my family to take advantage of English Heritage’s hands-on history event.
Not only do you get a real sense of the achievements of our ancestors, but my daughter and I can confirm that pulling a four-tonne stone along a set of wooden runners is both hard work and great fun. Best of all, the public’s efforts are adding to our understanding of how monuments like Stonehenge were created. The wrong Usher I would like to thank our reader, Audrey Catford, from Quidhampton, for writing in regarding the Village Life article in the May issue – This Seend and pleasant land. On page 58, the article suggested that Thomas Usher had moved to Seend in the early 1920s, but Audrey kindly points out that it was actually Charles Usher who moved to the village.
Known as ‘Uncle Charlie’, he married Constance Bell, whose younger sister married Arthur Catford, Audrey’s grandfather. As Audrey states, it is important that the correct names are recorded, rather than ‘lost for all time’. Thank you for writing in, Audrey. WL