Bringing to light the hidden heroes of Wiltshire
ROYAL WOOTTON BASSETT
BRADFORD ON AVON
Scratch the surface and you will find a county full of volunteers and good causes, working hard to make a difference, says Neil Henty.
MY LOVE of history is wellknown. Wiltshire, of course, is blessed with world famous historical sites which still have stories to tell. But just as interesting are the histories and stories of people and places that are not so famous. Recently, I received an email from this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Dr John Chandler. For those who are unfamiliar with John’s work, he runs Hobnob Press, ‘a publisher of books chiefly about Wiltshire, Dorset and the surrounding region’. Now, this sounds like a dream job, and I had been meaning to contact John because I wanted to find out what we should be covering.
From this initial contact I commissioned two articles by local historians, both of which are in the current issue, and both of which are fascinating. First, you may think you know everything there is to know about Stourhead, but next time you take a walk in the grounds you might want to stop and think about what came before. Stuart A Raymond details just that in his feature (see page 22), as we unpick Stourton from the current landscape. Rather than a lament for what has been lost, it is interesting to see just how the landscape has been ‘designed’ and altered.
that are raising important funds for research or supporting sufferers and their families that highlighting only one seems a little unfair to the others, however, it is worth mentioning that Breast Cancer Now’s ‘wear it pink’ day takes place across Wiltshire on Friday, 18th October.
In 2017, in Wiltshire alone around 479 women were given the devastating news that they have breast cancer. Around 96 from the area died during the year. That’s why the money raised has the potential to make such a difference. Wear it pink has raised over £33 million nationwide since launching in 2002. So, wear something pink, hold a cake sale, organise a raffle, go to work in fancy dress: any money raised has the potential to save lives. A county of volunteers I may have mentioned this more than once in a Moonraker but I am constantly reminded of what a ‘giving’ county we live in and how much good work goes on, largely unnoticed, by groups both small and large. Would it be too much to say that we are a ‘county of volunteers’? In the last few months, a number of voluntary groups have seen their hard work rewarded with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, among them The North Wiltshire Group of the MND Association, the Great Bustard Group which has recently received Royal Patronage (see page 12) and Horatio’s Garden, whose award presentation event can be seen on page 8 of this issue.
BERWICK ST JAMES
BARFORD ST MARTIN
BROAD CHALKE TOLLARD
Above: Wiltshire Life keeps you in touch with what’s going on, wherever you are in the county can help and support those who volunteer their time to make the world a better place. Frank Coombes I was very sorry to hear recently of the death of Frank Coombes. Regular readers will recall that earlier this year Wiltshire Life presented Frank with the Local Hero of the Year award for his services to the community in and around Barford St Martin and Dinton.
A parish councillor and former chairman of the parish council among many other important community roles, one of Frank’s passions was sport, and particularly cricket. Former chairman of Dinton Cricket Club, president of the rugby club and a trustee of the sports ground in Dinton, on which both sports are played, he represented Dinton Cricket Club for many years, taking over 1,000 wickets. He retired in 2010 having realised the ambition of playing with both of his sons in the same team.
R.E. Foster brings to life an extraordinary man who has been largely forgotten. Victorian statesman, Sydney Herbert was once referred to as the ‘most worthy of Wiltshiremen’, though his influence and legacy is much greater. I am sure you will find his story as fascinating as I did (see page 38).
So, thank you John, I’m looking forward to bringing to light more of Wiltshire’s leading lights and historical places. Wear it pink Cancer in its many forms blights so many of our lives. There are so many wonderful charities, both in Wiltshire and nationwide,
Across the county, the Wiltshire Community Foundation performs such good work in ensuring people and groups can access funding grants that they may not have been aware of. In this issue, we have an interview (see page 48), with Ashley Truluck the recently appointed chair of trustees at the foundation whose life of adventure has always included a focus on community. I find it fascinating reading about the good work going in the county: it is something that we will continue to highlight in the magazine because there will be readers who
I had the pleasure of meeting Frank back in June to interview him for the August issue (page 70, WL August 2019) to find out what winning the award had meant to him. True to form, perhaps, he replied: “I’ve done what I enjoy doing, I’ve wanted to be part of the things I’ve done. You like to be involved.”
Frank talked about the cricket match that he had been helping to arrange. His XI competing against an XI picked by one of his sons (Ben) to raise money for Southampton Hospital Charity, which raised over £2,000.
Our thoughts go out to all of Frank’s family and friends. WL