Wiltshire Council Tax Proposed to Increase by 6%
Commemorating the Centennial of World War I in Tilshead
In 1914 when the Canadian army arrived to support Great Britain in her war with Germany, a young black female bear cub came too. She had been spotted sitting with an animal trapper on a railway station platform in Canada by a young army vet called Harry. Harry was on his way to France to look after the army horses. Seeing the young bear cub, he felt he could not leave her there to an uncertain fate, so he decided he would take her with him. He offered 20 dollars to the trapper for the cub and the trapper quickly agreed.
When the Canadians landed in England they headed by rail to Salisbury Plain where they were to do their battle training prior to going off to war in France. West Down at Tilshead was the destination for the young bear cub and her owner.
The young bear cub was very popular with the troops, but the time soon came when it was time to head to war in France. What was Harry to do with the cub whom he named “Winnie” after the city of Winnipeg where he came from? He couldn’t take her with him as the Western Front was no place for a bear cub! Harry contacted Regents Park Zoo in London and they agreed to look after her while the war lasted. Every time Harry had leave he went to the zoo to see his cub.
When the war ended Harry decided that the cub would be better off staying at the Zoo than coming home with him, so sadly he left her behind as he sailed for Canada.
At the zoo Winnie was a very popular attraction and one man and his son built up a special relationship with her. In fact, the son was able to go into the Winnie’s pen and play with her. The black bear was a very affectionate bear. The boy named his own teddy bear after her. His father then started to make up stories about the teddy bear’s adventures. These adventures were published in short books which made the bear the most famous bear in the world. The writer was AA Milne; the books featured Winnie the Pooh.
As our village is clearly connected with Winnie’s story, it seemed to me that as we move into the final year of commemoration of the First World War it would be appropriate to link the story with those who lost their lives and find a way of preserving this special connection. An event in 2018 which remembers the lives of the British and Canadian soldiers who trained in Tilshead before heading to France, together with some form of permanent memorial might be a way forward.
I have been chairman of the Market Lavington First World War Commemoration Committee for the past four years; I would be happy to lead a project forward for Tilshead if there were others who would support me.
Please contact me if you are interested.
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Wiltshire Policing Precept 2018/19 Consultation, Jan 2018
Dear Sir or Madam,
I wanted to inform you about the launch of my consultation on the policing precept for 2018/19. I would be grateful if you could share this and make residents aware of opportunities for consultation. The details are set out below or you can access a video of me outlining the proposals at https://youtu.be/lsKkPmUd1Nc
The policing precept consultation which launches today (2/1/2018) is looking for the views of Wiltshire residents on the proposed increase of £12 a year.
Currently the average band D household contributes £14.19 per month to local policing, but if residents back the proposal then this would rise to £15.19 per month.
As a Force, Wiltshire Police has seen the second highest increase in demand across the country in the last year yet the funding we receive from central government doesn’t recognise the increasing pressures our service is under.
In fact we receive the fourth lowest funding per head of population in England and Wales.
Since 2010, Wiltshire Police has received £19 million less but have been responding to more crimes and supporting more members of the public year on year.
Whilst we live in an incredibly safe county, there’s only so far the budget will stretch and we’re streamlining our services to ensure they’re as efficient as possible at the same time as keeping the public safe, but we are feeling the squeeze more than ever. Without this increase Wiltshire Police will have to look at further reductions in officers and staff to close a budget gap of around £3m.
That’s why I am asking whether residents in Wiltshire and Swindon would be prepared to pay an extra £1 a month to help bridge this gap.
This increase will mean that I can protect frontline services from further reductions and maintain the current level of service.
The consultation which runs from 2nd January 2018 to midday 31st January 2018 wants to hear your views on the proposed increase.
With best wishes for 2018,
Angus Macpherson MBE
Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon