Housemartins nesting at Stoke House.
The chick is being fed by its parent.
Village Hall 21st Birthday Party
Saturday 1 October
Stoke Lacy Village Hall
Dancing to ‘The Cats Whiskers’ Ceildh Band
Village Autumn Breakfast
and Apple Juicing event
Saturday 22 October
Stoke Lacy Village Hall
Saturday 12th November
Burley Gate Village Hall
organised by Marilyn Pemberton
Writing a novel is the easy bit!
Having worked in computing and never having used the right (creative) side of the brain since O-Levels, I was worried that my imagination was non-existent when I decided to try and write a novel six years ago. The inspiration for the novel was, Mary De Morgan, a Victorian writer of fairy tales I had ‘discovered’ whilst researching for my PhD (part-time in my 50s). I became quite obsessed with her and wrote her biography (Out of the Shadows, The Life and Works of Mary De Morgan) but there were still some significant gaps in my knowledge so I decided to fill in the gaps by writing a novel based loosely on her life. I joined a writing group, which was one of the best things I could have done, and I realised I did have an imagination and so my dream of writing a novel became a reality. Once I typed ‘The End’ on The Jewel Garden, I sat back and thought that was it. How wrong could I have been!
I had no desire to self-publish; no, I wanted a literary agent to find me a top publisher who would love the book and turn it into a best-seller. So I sent out my baby to about sixty agents and publishers and got a large number of very polite rejections, if they bothered to respond at all. Apparently, J. K. Rowling had many rejections for her Harry Potter book before she found a publisher but knowing that didn’t make my own rejections easier to handle. I did eventually find a small publisher who loved the book and agreed to publish it. I honestly thought that I had made it but before I could sit back and get on with writing the next book he told me in no uncertain terms that I would have to do all the marketing for the book myself. But I’m a writer, I said, I just want to sit at my desk and write my next novel! I certainly don’t want to have to go out into the world, meet people and try and sell myself and my book. How he laughed!
But that is what writers have to do these days. I was told I had to be on Twitter (I hated it and came off very quickly) and Facebook (still on this but reluctantly) and should be, but am not, on Instagram, Tik-Tok (what the hell is that?) and whatever new social media is the new flavour of the month. I have created a web page (https://marilynpemberton.wixsite.com/author) telling people about myself and my books and I write an infrequent blog (writingtokeepsane.wordpress.com) in which I mostly complain about how hard it is to be a writer. None of the above sells many books. There isn’t one activity which will guarantee sales and as I can’t afford to advertise on Facebook/Amazon or wherever, I do the small things like give a talk at libraries, U3A and WI, do book-signings at local book shops or hire a table at a book fair and sell my books there. I’m not a best seller and I have nowhere near recovered my costs but I have carried on writing and I live in hope that someone will read my later books and then read all the others. I have just had A Teller of Tales published, which is book one of a historical trilogy and A Keeper of Tales will be published early November with A Seeker of Tales some time in 2023, once I’ve written it.
So yes, I have an ulterior motive for organising the Artisan Fair on Saturday 12th November in Burley Gate Village Hall, but I am sure I will not be the only who will hope to benefit from having the opportunity to show off our wares – whatever they are – with the local community. If you are an artist or crafter, then please contact me on Marilyn.email@example.com if you are interested in taking part in the fair. And everyone, please come along to support us.
Author of the following books:
A Teller of Tales (Book 1 in the Grandmothers' Footsteps Trilogy)
Song of the Nightingale: a tale of two castrati
The Jewel Garden
Out of the Shadows: The life and works of Mary De Morgan
Member of the NAWG, SWWJ, HNS and SoA
Herefordshire Art Week is a nine day art trail open to all. www.h-art.org.uk
Artists, craftmakers and creative businesses open their private studios everyday from 11am - 5pm at least. Galleries put on special events, whilst groups get together to put on one-off exhibitions, in a wonderful mix of interesting venues. Meet over 400 artists - many open their workspaces only once a year - don't miss it!
Since 2002, the county-wide art trail has taken place every year in the second week of September. h.Art has become part of Herefordshire's rich cultural calendar, with a huge variety of art and art forms on show in Open Studios, Group Exhibitions and Gallery Events. With the vast majority offering FREE admission to visitors, h.Art promises a fun day out in one of England's most beautiful counties.
Meet hundreds of individual artists, see an array of artwork across the county in the city and countryside, in fabulous locations such as manor houses, historic barns, farms, churches and beautiful gardens. h.Art is really special for art lovers, promising personal encounters with some of the UK's finest artists and makers in the intimacy of their own homes and studios. Discovering new work, as well as being able to buy or commission exactly what they want, all direct with the artist. All the elements combine to attract people who want a high quality, memorable experience.
h.Art booklet guides are availabe to pick up all around Herefordshire and bordering counties; in tourist info centres, libraries, large supermarket leaflet dispensers, galleries, tourist attractions, cafes, independent shops and h.Art venues that open all year round.
The website www.h-art.org.uk promotes participating artists all year round, so keep up to date with your favourites. T: 07983 495966
Photo: Michael Farrell
While the medieval town of Bromyard is an attraction itself each summer its appeal is enriched by ARTWALK a unique exhibition of local artists’ work shown in shops and other locations.
Each venue displays the work of one artist. At Caleb Roberts Insurance Services you can view striking portrait photographs by Paul Lack. Luxuriating at the Beauty Boutique you can enjoy paintings by Sophie Locke. Lovers of ceramics can make a beeline to Vintage Stable Arts and Crafts to see Maryanne Scadding’s creations.
If the venues are varied, so are artists’ backgrounds. Jan Stevenson whose cross-stitch designs are at Juro Antiques is a former veterinary nurse. Jane Tudge of the Studio Gallery is a full-time artist. Woodturner Roy Hadley showing at the Beauty Retreat, is a recently retired civil engineer.
Linking artists and venues benefits both. Each artist gains a new setting for their work visited by customers who can buy exhibits if they wish. Suddenly the artists’ market includes customers to the local bread shop, beauty parlour, curtain shop, insurance agent or chemist.
For owner’s their venue is enlivened by exciting artwork, becoming a talking point for customers and showing a commitment to supporting local artists. Importantly it is agreed that the artist is given a space in the venue to create their own exhibition showing their work to its best effect. Nigel Gladwin, owner of the Launderette, is delighted to support the scheme. Speaking for many shopkeepers he says, ‘Who wouldn’t back something that fills the town with beautiful and interesting artwork that livens up the main streets?’
Artist Colin Simmonds is equally enthusiastic recognising that displaying his work in the centre of Bromyard introduces it to people who might otherwise not see it. ‘ARTWALK reminds artists and venue owners that we are all part of the town community and can bring benefits to each other,’ says Colin.
Run by Bromyard Community Arts and supported by Bromyard and Winslow Town Council, ARTWALK was initiated by Vicki Barker owner of the Chapel Gallery. Now in its fifth year the project is growing all the time. ‘This summer ‘ says Vicki ‘we have 24 artists showing in the Chapel Gallery and many more in 26 other venues. It is so rewarding to see ARTWALK going from strength to strength’.
A little bit of drizzle never stopped everyone having lashings of fun at the fete.
Delicious teas, fun and games, cakes galore and a gazebo full of pre-loved.
Thank you to everyone who, baked, donated, served and had fun with the games. It all helps to keep our lovely church alive.
Photos scrolling above.
Stoke Lacy enjoyed a wonderful Jubilee Celebration event at the Village Hall on Friday 3rd June, a "Platinum Jubilee Tea Dance, Buffet and Sports Afternoon".
Janet Ivison has written a lovely report of the event in the Parish Council Notices section and some photos are scrolling above.
Live music was provided by "The Good Time Tea Time Dance Band" and all who came agreed that the Band played an excellent couple of sessions.
The band is made up of:
'Steddy' Ed Thomas - piano and vocals
Matt Warren - bass
Charlie Russell - drums
David Hurford - trumpet
John Francis - alto sax
Emily Wilson - tenor sax and vocals
Emily Wilson helped to organise the band for us and is a saxophone and piano teacher based just down the road in Wellington. So if you fancy taking up or re-learning either instrument, see Emily's listing under "Businesses - Art & Music" here in The Cider Press.
AUGUST / SEPTEMBER
Stoke Lacy is full of interesting people who are valued members of the community. Some have lived here for many years, even generations, others are new, arriving from near and far.
Let us know if you would like to be featured as one of the “Village People”.
This edition, we had the pleasure of meeting with Clifford Bufton.
Clifford has lived and farmed in Stoke Lacy all his life. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all farmers and livestock dealers in the area. The farm is primarily sheep and cattle, with some crops being grown purely to provide animal fodder, such as grass, turnips, peas and barley, which is used for silage.
Farming is a volatile and risky business, at the mercy of both the weather and innumerable livestock diseases. Clifford notes that he is addicted to weather forecasts because it is central to his daily activity, but the risks from the weather are becoming ever more serious as we worry about and occasionally battle with climate change. He has also worked through a catalogue of farming catastrophes, including foot & mouth disease, BSE (mad cow disease) and the continuing problem of TB. The latter has been exacerbated and prolonged by the protection of badgers, which might look cute to the general public but, in ever increasing numbers, spread the TB infection, with cattle being continually infected and reinfected. It is upsetting as well as expensive for Clifford when cows and newly born calves have to be split up because one of them tests positive for TB and must be sent for slaughter.
Apart from the many challenges, Clifford has also lived and worked through substantial changes. In particular, during the past 50 years there has been a significant reduction in sheep flocks in Stoke Lacy, as many farmers have switched to the often more profitable arable farming. However, the strong demand for mutton from the growing Muslim market keeps sheep farming reasonably buoyant and the markets which Clifford sells through, at Hereford, Ludlow and Ross, active and busy.
Clifford has also witnessed great changes in the countryside. Historically, the countryside was used primarily by people who worked on the land. They used the footpaths to go to work, the church and the pub and everyone knew each other. With the ubiquitous presence of motor cars, everyone now has access to the countryside and many want to live and work there, which is becoming increasingly practical with fast internet coverage and technology that makes remote working possible, spurred on by the Covid lockdowns and working-from-home phenomenon. For farmers, a direct and practical challenge is the use of footpaths for leisure and dog walking, which can often lead to the problems of gates being left open, sheep worrying by loose dogs and livestock getting tapeworm from dog pooh.
Stoke Lacy is still not a buzzing metropolis, but Clifford has seen plenty of property development and new building during his lifetime here. The 1990s Nethercourt complex of barn developments is a great example and Clifford recalls calving cows in what are now swish kitchens and sitting rooms.
For those of us who gaze through rose-tinted spectacles at the jolly farmer tending his land and livestock, Clifford reminds us that it can be an extremely lonely profession, with little human contact and mostly animals for company. Workers have left the land in droves, both for better wages in towns and because of mechanisation that has made farming less labour-intensive. This has left the farmer working on his own, unable to afford the now relatively high wages of farm workers. This impacts materially on the mental health of the farmer, who has no colleagues with whom to enjoy daily banter, and heightens the importance of going to market, or even receiving a visit from a sales rep as a break from lonesome routine.
If Clifford does get any respite from the demands of running the farm, he likes to squander his time on football, following both Hereford (United and now FC) and England. Neither an entirely gratifying source of joy in recent decades. Still, Clifford played at local level himself and has enjoyed watching his two sons play for many years, although he says that his input has declined now that they can drive and Clifford is no longer required to combine chauffeur duties with being a spectator. So, Clifford watches rugby, cricket and horse racing as well and enjoys country sports.
The farmhouse is a central part of a farmer’s life, for both socialising and business. Upper House is a fine old building, but very cold in the winter and rather cool in the summer; a saving grace during the hot July weather that we recently endured.
Clifford reflects that Covid has been a big part of everyone’s life for the past two years and led us all to take stock. The lack of church bells ringing on a Tuesday evening was particularly noticeable for Clifford, prompting him to quote G K Chesterton’s poem … “When all church bells were silent” … and reminding him of what people said about the Second World War; this time Covid is our unseen enemy.
AUGUST / SEPTEMBER
Stoke Lacy is a rural community, but many of us are ‘townies’ who have no idea what is happening on the farms during the year. So, we have asked a local farmer to give us an insight, each edition, into what is going on “Down on the Farm”.
August is the height of summer. In the farmyard, it’s a continuation from the previous month.
Silage is once again a priority and combine harvesters will still be the main tools for crop harvesting. Each one does the work of a village in past times.
July was dry, so the crops are low, with short straw where the plants cut their losses and went for seed not height. Farmers use straw for bedding animals and for feed. The maize copes best with hot dry weather, betraying its Mexican origins. It’s even got root hairs in its cup of leaves. If it gets too dry, it curls its flag leaf up to conserve water. Like the other crops, it will favour ear over stem in dry weather and, like any crop, needs water to reach its full yield.
The grass is often parched yellow or green depending on rain showers, depth of soil, soil type and if any rain showers were chased with fertiliser. The spring cows, on any drought prone hills, will be pecking away on what is standing hay, now getting shorter. It will be eked out with winter silage stock, hoping for some good autumn rain to top up the silage pits for the winter.
August is the start of next year’s preparations, though, as ploughing and cultivation begin for the next batch of cereal crop.
Also, in August begins the glorious chaos of calving. The cows are meant to start towards the end of the month, but some just can’t wait! A calving cow can go and find some privacy for this most intimate of processes. Crossbred cows produce milk with the cheese making qualities and are hardy and fertile. They have a short gestation and produce vigorous little calves whose passage into the world is easy and get up and suckle quickly.
The lambs born in spring will start to be weaned throughout August and September and will be back out in the fields. They will be grazing on the grass after the silage process finishes, which is known as aftermath grazing.
In September, as the end of summer approaches, the start of autumn will show a selection of gold, red and brown colours as the flowers and trees change. Farmers will be hoping for a long golden autumn, with enough rain to top up the stores of fodder and not so much to project us into an early winter.
Harvesting a variety of crops, including spring beans and maize, remains a key aspect of the farmyard. If the maize produces good quality fat cobs, it will be ensiled (put into a silo or silage clamp in order to preserve it as silage) and mixed with oilseed rape meal (what’s left over once you’ve pressed out the vegetable oil) on top of the grass silage already mixed with wheat feed (bran and wheat germ mixed with leftovers from flour milling), the farmers hoping that there will be enough to take them through the winter.
In addition, ploughing and general cultivations will restart around this time and some countryside villages host ploughing matches that are organised by the local Young Farmers’ Club. Drilling, or sowing, will take place on winter wheat, oilseed rape and barley crops.
The grass recovers with rain, ideally with sufficient rain to reach the roots, soon enough to grow enough silage to top up what the cows have already eaten. Too late, and the grass won’t have enough sugars for the good lactic acid fermentation silage needs.
Cows ought to have thrived during the summer. They spend no energy keeping themselves warm and dry grass takes less eating. They are shiny and their milk should have kept up. The August and September calving cows should be calving well and heifers, new to the game, can panic and that’s where an older cow can come in and reassure her. Bossy cows, close to calving, can take on mothering a new-born from a confused heifer. Farmers have to keep their eyes open for signs of calving, checking whether the calf has attached itself to someone who still has a calf in her belly, and making sure that they have had a bellyful of colostrum, which is so important for their future health.
This year’s lambs are still in the weaning phase, from their mum’s milk to food, and focus turns to the preparation for auctions of the gimmers (a term for female sheep) and the ewes (female sheep that have given birth to two or more sets of lambs).
There’s an amazing number of wild strawberries growing beside the tracks in the woodland, delectable and tiny. Whortleberries, those intense little relatives of the blueberry, carpet the woodland floor under coppiced oak. Look for dahlias, poppies and fuchsias in hedgerows and farmyards this month. Daisies and schizostylis are prevalent in September.
Painting by Deb Banks
Stoke Lacy’s WCM&A (www.wcma.co.uk), one of Britain’s leading manufacturers of badges, promotional merchandise and awards, has established a unique project in the UK to turn to a more circular manufacturing style with proven environmental benefits.
It has been set up under the name “Sustainable British Manufacturing” and details of the project can be seen at www.sustainablebritishmanufacturing.info and downloaded as a very smart and informative pdf brochure.
WCM&A has eco-consciousness at its heart. Sustainable British Manufacturing is a unique initiative directly supporting environmental projects from the sale of factory waste materials, the reuse or recycling of key parts from its British made products and persuading customers to choose products made from more sustainable natural materials.
The Sustainable British Manufacturing initiative is based on WCM&A’s belief that they have a responsibility for the whole life cycle of their products, all the way from design to end of useful life and beyond – a “circular” manufacturing model based on the 3R’s – REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE. But the project goes further than that because they are turning waste into thousands of trees and tonnes of carbon reduction.
The company is turning its factory waste into gold standard carbon offsets, encouraging their customers to return to them any goods that cannot be easily recycled, which WCM&A then recycles for them, and encouraging customers to select products that use sustainable and natural materials. The environmental benefits are all achieved with no loss in quality, no additional cost to the customers and no increased lead times, all from informed decision making.
To thank its customers for making that choice, the Sustainable British Manufacturing project is planting trees in a forest with a company called Ecologi. The company started planting trees and purchasing carbon offsets in January this year, with ambitious objectives to offset of 100 tonnes of carbon and to plant 20,000 trees. The targets were a real stretch, but less than four months into the year the company has already offset 47 tonnes of carbon and planted over 5000 trees, so they are well on the way.
Stoke Lacy is privileged to have such a ground-breaking company in its midst, so do contact WCM&A if you would like to volunteer to help them in any way.
WCM&A, one of Britain’s leading manufacturers of badges, promotional merchandise and awards, has established “Sustainable British Manufacturing”
Who would have thought that footpaths could be so complicated?
Having chatted to John Thompson, Stoke Lacy’s Footpath Officer, The Cider Press has discovered what a fiendishly complex set of issues are involved. Apart from the usual labyrinthine set of laws, regulations and rules, which are alive and well when it comes to footpaths, there are broadly three sets of interested parties, who do not always have coinciding aims and objectives.
Happily, there is a good deal of cooperation between them, but it is clearly wise to tread carefully, in every sense.
The three groups are the walkers, the landowners and the local authorities.
Walkers, and especially those whose abilities are challenged for a variety of reasons would prefer unimpeded, easier access to rights of way. Landowners want their land respected and their livelihoods protected. Local authorities want both and, ideally, someone else to police it and pay for it.
In the parish of Stoke Lacy, we actually have very few footpaths. Only four miles in total, as compared with up to some twenty miles or more in nearby parishes but some of those within our parish continue across the parish boundary to provide longer walks. The Stoke Lacy Parish Council web-site has a whole section on footpaths, including the parish footpath map, and can be found at https://stokelacyparishcouncil.org.uk/footpaths-report/
Broadly speaking, once upon a time right of way footpaths were more open and thus easier to walk along. Over many years, as farmers needed to secure fields, to contain livestock in particular, they gradually received permissions from local authorities to install structures across footpaths, typically stiles, pedestrian style gates, or kissing-gates. In return the local authorities and relevant laws required the landowners to bear the majority of the costs of maintaining the structures and ensuring that the rights of way remained accessible.
It requires minimal imagination to see how stresses and tensions would creep into that system. Walkers, who often take dogs on walks with them, can find stiles awkward. Farmers, who all too often suffer from uncontrolled dogs or uncollected dog-pooh, which can cause serious diseases in livestock, are typically less than enthralled at the idea of dogs loose on their land at all. Also, the farmers are ultimately liable if livestock escape from fields and cause any loss or injury so they tend to prefer stiles to pedestrian or kissing gates. Local Authorities, who never seem to have any money for such matters, try to perfect their side-step-shuffle and categorise footpath matters within a wide remit of “roads and public rights of way” and thereby prioritise roads. To the extent that footpaths do get any focus, it is, of course, the path more trodden that receives attention and the lesser used paths gradually sink into increasing decline.
In Herefordshire, the Council sub contracts the handling of highway associated issues to the Balfour Beatty Living Places team who through their front line “locality stewards” monitor our roads network as a priority.
Clarity is not a word that springs to mind. The good news is that despite the bureaucracy, things seem to work. Most walkers respect the land, control their dogs, clean-up after them and remember to close gates behind them. Most landowners are extremely accommodating, accepting that the footpaths be signposted, way-marked, and rights of way generally unimpeded. Most local authorities at least pay lip-service to being concerned but, in the case of Stoke Lacy Parish Council, take positive steps to help, not least in appointing a dedicated Footpath Officer, John Thompson, who puts in immense effort on an entirely voluntary basis and we should thank him for his service.
So, we ought to make the most of the footpaths that we have. Leave our vehicles and, if we are able, exercise by walking. It should be good for body and mind. Requirements are simple. Wearing appropriate footwear and clothing, together with the skills to read a map and use a compass, are sufficient to afford you the confidence to explore pastures new and experience the peace and quiet as you take in new views across our beautiful countryside that cannot be experienced from the driver or passenger seats of a car.
Let’s all continue to care. Do our best to keep right of way footpaths open and show support and respect for walkers and landowners in equal measure.
Neighbourhood Development Plan
The Herefordshire Council Consultation period ended on the 29th June and a ‘Progress to Examination’ report has been submitted for sign off.
Once this is signed by a Director, any comments received during the consultation period will be sent to the Parish Council for further responses. At this stage, Herefordshire Council will make an application to NPIERS (Neighbourhood Planning Independent Examiners Referral Service) for 3 potential examiners.
The Stoke Lacy Parish Council will then be asked to select which individual we would like to perform the independent examination.
Thereafter, there will be a referendum of parish residents on whether to adopt the NDP.
The following documents are live on the Stoke Lacy NDP Website and will also be uploaded onto the Herefordshire Council website:
Section 106 funding
Under S106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as a result of a new development taking place contributions can be required from developers towards the costs of providing community and social infrastructure. Herefordshire Council owes significant amounts of Section 106 funding to Stoke Lacy.
Stoke Lacy Parish Council is actively on the case, but it cannot hurt for individuals to write to them and ask: “Where is our money?”.
Ho hum; this is still an issue.
Drivers through Stoke Lacy continue to ignore the 30mph speed limit, some being clocked at 100mph!
We need more deterrents, probably speed cameras.
Meanwhile, all villagers should make sure that they drive very slowly and cautiously through the village, to set a good example and make a point.
Remember to gesture to motorists to slow down. Pretending to video record them on your mobile phone for some reason seems to work rather well. Also, continue to point and wave.
Don’t be embarrassed, they are in the wrong!
The footpath down through the village between Stoke Lacy and Stoke Cross is so overgrown that it barely exists and is very dangerous.
We need everyone to be ready to support pressure on Herefordshire Council to make a real and safe footpath.
Essential for walking between the church and the pub!
The Cider Press is funded entirely by our Sponsors. They are Cuckhorn Estate, Morgan Motors, WCM+A, Wye Valley Brewery, Stoke Lacy Parish Council and a private sponsor who wishes to remain anonymous.
This is a new funding model. Previously, The Cider Press was funded by paid-for advertising. Having funding from our Sponsors allows us to include all the local businesses, both in and serving Stoke Lacy, to be listed for free in our directory of businesses. The directory is a valuable community resource, which we expect to grow over time.
Owned and run by Roland and Jane Horton, Cuckhorn Estate, Stoke Lacy is an event and equine venue with Tudor-style hall, barn, ponds and gardens. The venue is perfect for bespoke gatherings and intimate family celebrations and can also be hired as a regular meeting place for clubs and craftspeople. Riding arena hire and regular local and International freedom-based equine training opportunities are offered. You can see more about Cuckhorn Estate on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CuckhornEstate/
Morgan Motor Company
The world famous Morgan Motor Company, based in nearby Malvern, has its roots firmly in Stoke Lacy. The company was established in 1909 by H.F.S Morgan, whose father and grandfather had each been the rector of the Stoke Lacy Parish Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The family lived at the Old Rectory. Stoke House was built by the family for his sister, Dorothy Morgan. Each Morgan car is hand crafted using three core elements: ash, aluminium and leather. Every car is entirely unique, built to the highest standards by passionate craftsmen and women, whose skills are handed down through generations and perfected over a lifetime, bringing together heritage, innovation and cutting-edge technology. Morgan builds around 800 cars per year. The model line-up comprises the 3 Wheeler, Plus Four and Plus Six. Each one offers something unique, while retaining the true DNA of what a Morgan sports car should be. The best way to discover the unique charms of this motoring icon is to visit the Morgan Experience Centre in Pickersleigh Road, Malvern. It was recently extensively redeveloped, re-opening in summer 2020, and is open six days a week. There is a range of experience activities and attractions and a new on-site restaurant. Each year it welcomes around 30,000 visitors from around the world. Find out more at www.morgan-motor.com/
WCM+A, owned and run by Simon & Jules Adam, are sustainable British manufacturers of a wide choice of badges, promotional merchandise and awards. Founded in 1976, they employ over 50 people at the factory in Stoke Lacy, where they have been for over 18 years, selling their products via a distributor network throughout the UK with many items exported around the world. In the simplest terms they take sheet metal, plastics, acrylics, wood, bamboo, vinyl and paper and print them, bend them, shape them, form them or whatever is necessary to make a wide their range of completely UK manufactured, high quality, corporate and promotional merchandise. From literally millions of button badges every year to individual high quality personalised real wood gifts they’re leaders in their field. They use traditional and digital print techniques, mechanical and laser cutting and marking equipment plus a wide range of presses, punches, laminators and then different finishing techniques to add the final touches - it’s all in house from product design through manufacturing to final despatch and that’s how they like it for total quality control and to provide lead times second to none. The company has won many national awards for it’s products and services, including all of their industry’s highest accolades, as they pursue their mission of bringing more manufacturing and skills back to the UK whilst promoting more eco-conscious product choices. You can see what the company makes in Stoke Lacy at www.britishmademerchandise.co.uk and www.britishmadegifts.co.uk
Wye Valley Brewery
Wye Valley Brewery, based in Stoke Lacy, is run by Vernon Amor and employs around 60 people. It has been producing the very best cask, keg and bottled beers, using the finest ingredients, since 1985 and has built a reputation for consistent excellence in product quality and customer service. Its beers are served in more than 1,200 pubs and bars throughout the West Midlands and South Wales. It has grown from producing just 10 brewers' barrels a week to now brewing an average of 800 barrels per week; more than 12 million pints per year! An eco-conscious brewer, Wye Valley styles itself as a "Mean, Green, Brewing Machine", with the claim that very few other breweries can match it when it comes to sustainability. It is also local, with over 80% of its hops and raw ingredients coming directly from farms within 10 miles of the brewery. As well as sponsoring The Cider Press, Wye Valley Brewery supports a variety of local charities, not-for-profit organisations, clubs and community groups. It’s all about raising a glass to the community and championing local causes in the same way Wye Valley Brewery champions the ‘Great British pub’ - the original social hub! Read the whole story at www.wyevalleybrewery.co.uk/
Stoke Lacy Parish Council
Stoke Lacy Parish Council is our closest tier of government and acts as the voice of local people. It is made up of unpaid councillors who are elected to serve for four years. Currently, it is Chaired by Janet Ivison, the other councillors are John Davies, Bill Morgan, Anne Reece and James Wilson and the Clerk is Paul Hayden. It is a small parish council with a total budget of about £9,000 pa. A parish council is an elected corporate body that carries out beneficial public activities in a geographical area known as a civil parish. There are about 9,000 parish councils in England. A parish council receives the majority of funding by levying a precept upon the council tax paid by the residents of the parish covered by the council. In 2021-22 the amount raised by precept was, on average across the whole of England, about £38.50 per person. Other funding may be obtained by local fund-raising or grants for specific activities. Parish councils can vary enormously in size, activities and circumstances; representing populations ranging from fewer than 100 (small rural hamlets) to up to 130,000 (Northampton Town Council). Around 80% represent populations of less than 2,500 and two thirds spend under £25,000 per year. Stoke Lacy Parish Council has a web site www.stokelacyparishcouncil.org.uk/ which publishes all of its business.