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If you have diary dates for inclusion in future editions of the newletter, please let the Editor know.
Friday 20th January
iPad Course Session 1
Sunday 22nd January
Wednesday 25th January
Flower Fund Coffee Morning
Thursday 26th January
|History Group meeting|
Friday 27th January
iPad Course Session 2
Thursday 9th February
Thursday 9th February
History Group meeting
Friday 17th February
“Russia and the Russians”talk
Friday 24th February
Spring Newsletter copy deadline
Sunday 26th February
Thursday 9th March
Saturday 11th March
Newsletter publication and delivery
Monday 20th March
Parish Council meeting
Further Tributes to Patsy
Coleshill came together at All Saints’ on 24th July (which would have been her 87th birthday) to remember Patsy Wright-Warren in her various village guises. First, Dumpy Swerling spoke of their time together working as churchwardens. She said that, although apparent opposites – both in stature and in politics – you’d never have known it from the closeness of their friendship. Stature came into it on one occasion, however, when a bequest to the church allowed for the purchase of new vestments. Involving a trip to London to choose and buy, Dumpy was looking forward to a taxi back to the station with the voluminous material. But not a bit of it! True to her egalitarian principles and ever-anxious to spare the church expense, Patsy strode from the shop imperiously down the nearest escalator and into the tube, leaving Dumpy – an escalatorphobe – trailing ruefully but gamefully in her wake!
Dumpy took the opportunity to remind us all of the vital role Sue Miles played in Patsy’s life. Sue worked for Patsy for 30 years but theirs was not simply a working relationship – it became a true friendship and in her later years Sue was always there for her, ready to help at the drop of a hat. As Patsy often confided to Dumpy, “I just wouldn’t know what to do without Sue.”
The church was central to Patsy’s life and her devout Christianity was emphasized by Audrey Tridgell. Her contribution to the regular house groups, where she shared her humour, knowledge and stories were looked forward to by all. “Patsy, one special lady.”
Ruth Murphy recalled first meeting Patsy in 1985 on Remembrance Sunday. At that time there wasn’t a choir, though Patsy and John Chenevix-Trench led the congregation’s singing from the choir stalls. A year later, very much at Patsy’s instigation, the choir had been established and since then has waxed and waned with the times. But Patsy was always, in Ruth’s words, “my teacher, mentor and guide.” And, in due course, real friendship resulted. Years later, this was symbolized in the form of a leather bookmark (which Ruth brought out to show us) inscribed with the words: “A True Friend. Friendship is the greatest gift that is given to few. We have that gift my friend, thanks to you.” It was not surprising when Ruth said how touched she’d been by this and how sad she was that she would no longer be able to hold birthday parties – something she’d done for Patsy ever since she turned 70.
Playing Jim Hacker to Patsy’s Sir Humphrey was how Richard Valentine styled the relationship between him as Parish Council Chairman and her as Clerk. Patsy held that position for 11 years and was, in Richard’s words, “a tower of strength and wisdom. Committee papers were immaculate and woe betide any Councillor – let alone the Chairman – who raised a matter that was not on the agenda, other than under Any Other Business. In truth, it was the Clerk that ran the show, always in the best interests of the village.” He closed with a sentiment shared by us all – “We shall not see her like again.”
As Carol Hallchurch put it, when describing her induction to the All Saints’ Charity committee – “You couldn’t refuse a request from Patsy. She had such a persuasive manner with those clear blue eyes...” All the time under Patsy’s guidance, the Charity raised a total of £33,000 from villagers, first for the Ryder-Cheshire home at Dehra Dun in India; then for the Rosanna Hospital in Kurdistan; and finally for the St Lawrence Home of Hope for street children in Lusaka. Carol summed up: “Throughout the years Patsy remained a very positive person and never had a bad word to say about anyone; a true Christian who was passionate in her belief in serving those in need.”
|Lindsay Haubner and Patsy in The Heiress|
Then, there was Patsy’s long involvement in village drama (the organized variety!). With thanks to Steve Hitchen for the history, she first appeared in a one act play The Strange Behaviour of Martha Webb in December 1972, the same year that she moved in to Coleshill, and almost immediately transformed what had been the WI play group into the Coleshill Village Drama Group. She became a producer – The Hollow Crown, The Bear (Chekhov) and Riders to the Sea (Synge) were some examples – but continued to act. In 1977 she appeared in The Heiress, in which she "played a significant role with lavish perfection" according to the local press. She also had a flair for comedy, as she demonstrated in the early ‘80s in two Ayckbourn classics, Bedroom Farce ("brilliantly portrayed") and Confusions. Lindsey Haubner and Patsy in The Heiress
Lindsey Haubner was impressed by how, despite her high-powered job, she always found time to learn her lines. She was very good with accents – an American aunt, a Yorkshire genie and a northern mother of a motley crew, to name but a few. She had great, comic timing but could also play sensitive parts. In recent years, Patsy donned Anne Robinson black (as if to the manner born) to introduce Murder Mystery evenings devised by Lindsey as fund-
raisers for local charities. Latterly, she also played a full part in the playreading sessions organised by Jean Newhouse at St Mary’s church. Full of enthusiasm for all she did, she is sadly missed.
Penny Ware notes that Patsy was also an enthusiastic member of the History Group from its inception and barely missed a meeting. She gave two fascinating presentations, one on the history of her family and one on Amber Cottages, where she’d lived since 1972.
Her home facing onto the common, Penny says that Patsy was always happy to engage with the work parties - often with one of the dogs she was “socialising” for Hearing Dogs for the Deaf - and was a wise member of the Common Management Committee. “She and I were the trimmers and bramble pullers, disparaging of strimmers and convinced these pervasive plants needed uprooting. Many a happy chat was had over the work and, when the time came that she found it difficult to do the work, she would still come to supervise and chat”.
What an amazing all-rounder – and what a gift to the village!
As a supplement to the reminiscences above, Patsy’s niece, Tessa Westlake, was prompted to these further reflections after Patsy’s funeral service in April:
“Hearing what local people, and Anthony Priddis, had to say about her in the second half of her life, I thought it was interesting that she said she was very shy and slow when she was young, and not sure at all about what she was going to do. When she found her vocation and was training to become a nurse at Barts, she was so bullied by the matron that she almost gave up. Fortunately, she spoke to someone and was moved to a ward with an encouraging matron. She grew and grew in confidence through the years, and I have been hearing from former Dept of Health colleagues that she was very supportive of them.
As I say - this is all quite a different picture from her reputation in Coleshill of being rather outspoken and determined - for instance when getting young and old alike to express themselves strongly when doing a reading or taking part in the carol service.”
Patsy’s story featured last month in the BBC Radio 4 obituary programme, “Last Word”, and, if you listen, you can hear her voice – and her laugh – again: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07pjkj2
The following is an edited obituary of Patsy written for national press publication.
Our aunt Patsy Wright-Warren, who has died aged 86, was a Queen’s Nurse whose bold heart and clear voice won respect and recognition for her profession. Inspired to serve in the National Health Service when it was still in its infancy, she later represented nursing at the top level of NHS decision-making and brought new focus to a group of charities founded by Leonard Cheshire and Sue Ryder.
Leaving school in 1946, Patsy’s career choice was inspired by the story of Elizabeth Kenny, a nursing sister treating patients in the Australian bush. Patsy threw herself into training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in post-Blitz London. Patsy recalled lots of very hard work, treating illness and disease with limited resources. She loved it, proud to be helping to build the foundations of the NHS as nurse, midwife, health visitor and sometimes all three.
A constructive insider, Patsy demonstrated a willingness to speak up for her profession on the front line of the health service. Colleagues found her to be a tenacious advocate for nurses when she transferred to the corridors of Whitehall and became Deputy Chief Nursing Officer. She was popular with other civil servants; she was nonetheless strong in wording her arguments to ensure the financial and practical needs of nurses to deliver appropriate care for patients were well known at all levels.
After a career in community nursing and national health policy making, Patsy might reasonably have retired to the modest pursuits of an English gentlewoman, singing in local choirs, training hearing dogs, raising funds for faraway charities and deadheading the roses in her leafy Buckinghamshire garden, albeit occasionally challenging local assumptions with a Laboursupporting election poster in her cottage window. She might have been content to be active in the deanery synod, become clerk to the parish council, or take part in amateur dramatics, whilst looking after the well-being of neighbours and the fabric of her village environment. She might have used her new-found time simply to nurture friendships and family bonds, to support her widowed sister Diana and our large family and cook the Christmas turkey. Indeed, she did all these things, with energy and kindness, but it was not enough. She decided to park the CBE for services to nursing on the kitchen shelf, rediscover her inner Sister Kenny and volunteer for some ‘part time’ caring work in developing countries.
Patsy went to meet Leonard Cheshire and her life upon retirement gained wider horizons. For my aunt’s generation, the founder of the Cheshire Homes was an awesome hero of the Second World War and the post-war peace. Like Cheshire, Patsy believed in patiently working to change things for the better. He asked her to work as project officer in a charity he had founded with Sue Ryder when they married in 1959. On first name terms with Patsy, he later wrote to her in a Christmas card ‘we are so lucky to have you’.
The Ryder-Cheshire Foundation was an eclectic collection of charitable causes dear to the hearts of the founders, ranging from supporting the disabled in the UK to tackling tuberculosis and the rehabilitation of leprosy sufferers at the Raphael centre in India, with an office base in an English stately home and funding from Australia and New Zealand. So it was that in her 60s and 70s, Patsy travelled the globe by bus, train and rickshaw and when necessary slept on the floor in Nepal or Tanzania to hold the charity together, professionalise it and raise funds. As chairman of the charity after the founders‘ deaths, she oversaw the transition of its work into more targeted organisations for fighting the ongoing challenge of tuberculosis in developing countries, whilst Enrych (formerly Ryder-Cheshire Volunteers) continues its focus on enabling leisure and learning possibilities for disabled people in the UK today.
Patsy took inspiration from Cheshire and Kenny to pursue a life of practical Christian purpose and became herself an inspiration to others.
Village Day 2016
The weather was glorious for the afternoon although we had erected the marquee and gazebos in the rain in the morning. We laughed at the time about needing them for sun protection and in the end that is what we needed.
The church was filled with all manner of posies fit for the Queen which made for a magical display.
We started with a fascinating talk from David Robinson about his time in the Queen’s protection service. This ended with prayers of thanks.
Next our guest judge for the Coleshill Bake Off competition viewed the colourful array of beautifully baked and decorated cakes from both children and adults. Hannah Watts won the adult prize and Lily Swindle and Eric Louis shared the junior prize.
We then had a relaxing hour enjoying sharing picnic tea and cakes with friends with the background music of hits from the First World War years to now. Linda Daly and her team ably provided us with hundreds of cups of tea and delicious scones freshly baked by Sally Pool that morning. The Red Lion team kept us supplied throughout the evening with a delicious BBQ and their bar very soon needed supplies of Pimms replenishing.
Before the bands started, a large tractor digger arrived at the paddock. This proved to be the inventive means of raising John Jefford above the assembled villagers for a group photo to mark this memorable occasion. Another one for the village annals.
At 6pm on a lovely sunny early summer’s evening the ever popular Straight Eight began to play in their entertaining upbeat style followed by the Night Jars starring our own Andrew Aylett on bass. Then Straight Eight finished off the evening with some great cover versions which had everyone dancing. By 8pm when it ended everyone felt we had celebrated the Queen’s 90th birthday in grand style.
Many thanks to Susan Smith and Heather Auton and their team for putting together such a memorable celebration, including the weather!
Coleshill Colts win Wooburn Cricket Tournament
On 3rd July, the Coleshill Colts cricket team won the Wooburn Cricket Tournament. It's a great achievement in only the second season of our coaching activity.
We played the tournament at Wooburn Narkovians Cricket Club. The boys beat Wooburn, Farnham Common, Hurley, Beaconsfield (1st and 2nd teams) and finally Winchmore Hill in the Final during a long day's cricket, playing for around 6 hours altogether.
It was a very well organised day and the boys were presented with their Cup and medals by Olympian Sam Mead who is the Team GB hockey centre forward.
We are looking forward to having more competitive matches and playing in more tournaments having only started a Colts Cricket effort last year at Coleshill CC. Next year we hope to be playing Colts League Cricket for the first time.
The team members were:
- Thomas Alexander
- Tom Cornelius
- Ollie Harris
- Oliver Lawler-Smith
- Hugo Meakin
- Tom Richards
- Thomas Scott
Village Festival 2015
The run of glorious weather that we have been lucky enough to experience over the last couple of years continued this year and set us up for another hugely enjoyable festival which again brought the whole village together on 11th July.
Proceedings kicked off at lunchtime at the Red Lion, with the Aldbury Morris Men, complete with their highly entertaining hobby horse and insistence on full audience participation.
That set things up perfectly for the main festival which opened at two o’clock. Highlights of the afternoon were the excellent performance from the Amersham Community Brass band, childrens’ entertainer John Joliffe with his Cheeky Monkey Show which kept the children enthralled for an hour, and, of course, the display of country dancing from the boys and girls at Coleshill Infant School without which the festival wouldn’t be complete.
With the good weather continuing through the day, the tea tent, run by Linda Catley and her hard working team, did a good trade, with the teas, soft drinks and delicious home baked cakes contributing £300 to help cover the costs for the day and evening. This together with the quiz night held in early May allows the whole day to be free of charge for the Coleshill community.
The cup winners at the village show are shown separately in this newsletter but, needless to say, the standard of entries across all categories was as high as ever. Thanks to everyone for their contributions and especially to Heather Auton and Susan Smith for their hard work organising the show, and to all the ladies who created the stunning festival of flowers in the church celebrating the 100th anniversary of the WI.
This year we were keen to extend the fun of the afternoon into the evening festivities at the Red Lion, and the combination of our DIY disco and local band, Blemish Of Gravity, did just that. With a mix of rock classics and contemporary music, all ages were on their feet dancing until closing time, fuelled by Paul’s BBQ food and the odd beer or glass of wine. And, with perfect timing, just as all the equipment had been cleared from the Red Lion car park at 11pm, the rain started!
Very many thanks go to Serena Hodgson for again taking on the daunting task of organising the Festival, and doing it with such good grace, patience and determination.
Next year, due to the nationwide Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, there won’t be a Village Festival as such, but look out for details of Coleshill’s village arrangements on the weekend of 11th/12th June 2016.
Festival Photos by Penny Ware and Andrew Aylett
Christian Aid Walk 2015
Blessed with a beautiful day, on Sunday 10th May, 17 walkers and 2 dogs set off from the
Red Lion car park across the fields over the A355 and then on to Hodgemoor Woods, where we were treated to refreshments at the half way point and, suitably re-energised, we then continued through the woods and back to Coleshill. I think everyone enjoyed this most relaxing walk, making new friends and catching up with old ones. The countryside looked stunning, lambs gambolled in the fields and the bluebells provided the perfect blue carpet in the woods. Raising money for a worthwhile charity while enjoying a community activity is very satisfying and I look forward to another ramble next year.
From 24 February the timetable for the no.73 Red Rover bus through the village has changed yet again. Transport for Bucks do this from time to time in order to keep us all on our toes and to demonstrate in due course that no one uses the service and it can therefore be safely abolished. So please use it if you can!
For the record, the Monday-Friday service towards Amersham now leaves the Red Lion at 0914, 1141, 1341 and 1726, arriving at the station at 0937, 1154, 1354 and 1737 respectively. On Saturday, departures are at 1028, 1228, 1428 and 1628 (all arriving at the station 13 minutes later).
In the reverse direction, weekday buses leave for Coleshill (via Penn Street and Winchmore Hill) at 1115, 1315 and 1650. Departures are from outside Carrols. On Saturdays, buses leave Amersham for here at 1015, 1215, 1415, 1615 and 1715.
Maundy Money for Dumpy Swerling
Dumpy Swerling had the honour of receiving Maundy Money from the hand of the Queen in Christchurch Cathedral on Maundy Thursday this year. Her nomination came from the Bishop of Oxford in recognition of over 50 years of devoted community service.
This article describles the origins of Maundy Money
Photographs by John Jefford
The word Maundy is derived from the Latin mandatum (command) and lies behind the name Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday in the Christian calendar). John 13:34 tells of Christ at the Last Supper giving his disciples a new commandment, that they should love one another. This command has been symbolized since at least the 13th century (the first record is of King John – who, given this, was clearly not a wholly Bad King) by the sovereign displaying humility to a selection of the poor of his kingdom. The ceremony initially took the form of washing the feet of the chosen poor (after courtiers had washed them several times first) and then distributing alms as money, food and clothing. James II was the last monarch to wash feet and the food and clothing elements have also subsequently fallen by the wayside.
Today, the Queen gives two purses of money to the same number of men and women as her current age (so 87 of each this year). They are chosen for services to their church or local community. A white purse contains the Maundy Money itself – sterling silver coins in denominations of 1p, 2p 3p and 4p, in a total amount summing to the Queen's current age -- while a second, red, purse contains the monetary equivalent of the previously distributed food and clothing. This sum has been deemed to be worth £5.50 for some years now.
Although most monarchs in the 18th and 19th centuries delegated the annual task to court officials, Elizabeth II has been absent on only four occasions since she came to the throne.
Fibre Broadband Arrives!
BT are now accepting orders for Fibre Broadband from customers served by Amersham Cabinet no.3, the cabinet that serves Coleshill. The service can be ordered from BT Internet and also from a number of other Internet Service Providers. You can see a list of service providers at the following link: http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/at-home/buy-it-now.aspx
Note that not everyone in the parish will necessarily be able to receive the fibre service because of line length limitations. You can check availability using this link: https://www.btwholesale.com/includes/adsl/main.html. (The fibre service is labelled "WBC FTTC" in the list of services.)
Village Hall WiFi
WHOOPEE !!!!!!! we have Wi-Fi.
Grove Mill Restoration
Following a recent detailed study of the windmill, Mr Mayank Patel has engaged the services of leading millwrights to repair and restore the cap and sails. In September the sails were taken down by crane, the wooden cap lifted off and a temporary roof placed on the windmill.
A small number of History Group members were invited to view the restoration in progress and were interested to hear from the millwright, Paul Kemp (one of only 6 or 7 left in the country), about the difficulties of lifting off the sails and the cap and the meticulous repair that is being done (overseen by the Historic Buildings Officer of CDC) to put the mill in good stead for another 30 years or more. The windmill had been without sails for many years until Mr and Mrs Dawson put them back (without canvas) in the mid 80s. Whilst all the winding gear is intact, there is no longer any machinery inside the tower, so a return to milling is not an option (though nationally there has been a revival of flour production from working mills in recent years).
The mill was built to a Kentish design (see Herne Mill, Kent, for comparison) – not at all typical of Buckinghamshire. It was only working actively from the 1860s until about 1920. The cap might originally have been made of pitch pine but is being repaired with Douglas fir, which is lighter than oak. The cap weighed around 6 tons at the time of its recent removal by crane.
There are photos of Grove Mill in the Historic Photographs section of the website and Luke Borwick, one of the consulting millwrights, has directed us to the Mills Archive Trust which has several more.
New Christmas Lights
From Christingle to Twelfth Night the churchyard lights have been a long standing feature of the festive season, their erection and destruction in the hands of The Master of Lights. The Master had warned that their reliability and luminosity, not his, was failing. The Jubilee party was their final outing. In deference to the past Master the new, collective, Master foreswore colour. The spectrum of 'white' was one feature of the choice to be made by the new regime - bright white or cream. Visibility from Bottrell's Lane was a further criterion - a pandering to outlying villagers of rank.
Collective forces contrived a new Aufklärung for Christingle 2012. The past Master appraised: "You have passed muster" but none of it could have been done without Lamps & Tubes.
As part of the work to enhance the views of the common, work is continuing on the electricity sub-station at the northern end of Windmill Hill. The trees surrounding the sub-station have been removed and will be replaced by natural hedging when the soil has lost its toxicity caused by the tree roots. In the meantime 'hurdles' have been woven on site to screen the unsightly sub-station.
The screening work was carried out by Mike of Micksticks Wattle Fencing.
Pictures from Before and After the Work
The New Magpie Club
The New Magpie Club Toddler Group & Coffee Bar
Every Friday 9 – 11am
Coleshill Village Hall
Pictures From the First Meeting - 19th October
Best Kept Village Competition
Coleshill wins 'Highly Commended' Grade
The Buckinghamshire Association of Local Coubcils (BALC) have awarded Coleshill the Highly Commended grade in the Morris Cup in this year's Best Kept Village competition.
The judges state of Coleshill, "It is obvious that the community takes pride in this village. The overall appearance is very good".
Well Done all villagers who helped us achieve the certificate of merit which is displayed below:.
Walk4Life is a free website that promotes health and fitness through walking. The site allows you to find walking routes nearby and to share your own routes with others. You can also monitor your progress by recording the distance you walk and your average speed.
To visit Walk4Life, click on this link
Reporting Potholes and Blocked Rights of Way
Bucks County Council now have a web page where you can report problems with roads and rights of way (footpaths). The web page has a map that you can zoom to specifiy the precise location of a problem, and a simple form that allows you to describe the problem.
Please use the page to report potholes in roads, blocked footpaths, etc. You can find the page at this link
Stitch and Bitch Club
A new section of the website has been published that describes the gravestones and memorials in All Saints' churchyard, together with a location plan showing the position of each grave. To visit the section, click on this link.
Five Dexter cows arrived today (Tuesday 20th September) to graze the common for the next few weeks. A rota of villagers will regularly check the cows and the state of the electric fence.
About half of the grassy area of the common has been fenced off for the cows. When they have muched their way through that, the fence will be moved to the remaining area for the cows' second helpings!
'Beating the Bounds' Walk
On 15th May, Christian Aid organised a traditional 'Beating the Bounds' walk around the historic boundary of Coleshill.
About 30 intrepid villagers and their friends set off from the Water Tower at 11.30am, of whom about 15 arrived back at the Water Tower nearly four hours later. The animation below from Google Earth shows the progress of their walk as recorded by a GPS receiver. The animation is speeded up 20 times so the circuit completes in about 10 minutes.
So whether or not you participated in the walk, please sit back and enjoy the action replay. It's almost as good as the real thing!
Beating the Bounds Photo Gallery
Rogation Day was traditionally on 25th April or, if this was at Easter, the following Tuesday. There were in addition three minor rogation days on the three days leading up to Ascension Day (this year 2nd June). Rogation derives from the Latin "rogare: to ask" and the day itself was an opportunity to ask God and the Saints for blessing on the Parish and its lands.
The Church took the festival over from earlier pagan rites, used for similar purposes, and indeed pagan elements remained in medieval English Christianity. The processions and the associated "beating of the bounds" were an opportunity to whip (with switches of willow) devils and evil spirits out of the Parish. For this reason and also the frequent invocation of the Saints which formed an important part of the festival, Rogation processions were frowned upon during and after the Reformation, though they were still permitted for secular reasons (i.e. establishing and confirming boundaries).
To remind ourselves of the importance attached to the occasion 500 years ago, however, the following extract from Eamon Duffy's "The Stripping of the Altars" sets the scene:Late medieval Rogationtide processions, with handbells, banners and the parish cross, were designed to drive out of the community the evil spirits who created divisions between neighbours and sickness in man and beast. They were also designed to bring good weather and blessing and fertility to the fields....The sense of unity on such occasions was very strong. Processions from neighbouring parishes which happened to converge might come to blows, in part because they believed that the rival procession was driving its demons over the boundary into their parish. Those who absented themselves from such processions...were seen as bad neighbours. George Herbert, writing in 1630, exactly captured this dimension: "Particularly [the country parson] loves procession, and maintains it, because there are contained therein 4 manifest advantages: first, a blessing of God for the fruits of the field; secondly, justice in the preservation of bounds; thirdly, charity and loving walking and neighbourly accompanying one another, with reconciling of differences at that time, if there be any; fourthly, mercy in releeving the poor by a >liberall distribution and largesse, which at that time is or ought to be used. Wherefore he exacts of all to bee present at the perambulation and those that withdraw and sever themselves from it he mislikes, and reproves as uncharitable and unneighbourly."
There we are then! What more encouragement do we need to join in this year's procession and beating of the bounds.
Chuchyard Tree Felling
On 3rd March, an old oak tree was felled in the churchyard. This was necessary because the tree had died and was becoming hazardous. The work was quite delicate because of the tree's proximity to the church, the road, and to overhead power lines. For this reason, the tree had to be felled in sections and the individual pieces carefully lowered to the ground. The work was expertly carried out by Jamie Dyer and his team.
The following photo gallery records the event. Photographs by kind permission of John Jefford.
Buses are Good for us!
|Clott's bus service in the 1930's - from Chesham to Beaconsfield and back, all day long|
Unless we make a conscious decision to do so, we rarely think about public transport when planning our travel. The default is simply to get in the car and drive. Fortunately, most of us in Coleshill have enough money to own and run a car and are not in that sense dependent on a public transport system. But this is by no means true of everyone in our local area and, from personal observation, it is quite clear to me that a large number of people in Amersham and around (many of them elderly or infirm in some way) rely entirely on the bus service to go shopping, visit their friends or whatever. They do not have the money to run a car or the ability to walk very far and, without a bus, would find themselves confined indoors a lot more. The bus, in a strange but heartening way, provides their social life.
I say all this because, in today's economic environment, local authorities find themselves having to make large budgetary cuts and the subsidy provided to bus companies for local bus services – a number of which will not pass a profitability test but still perform an essential social function – will undoubtedly be looked at extremely carefully. Routes carrying few passengers, which would include the 73 through the Village, may well disappear.
My plea, therefore, is for us all to consider using the service we have before it suffers the same fate as the local shop and Post Office and is forced to close for lack of custom. It is all very well to bemoan the loss of something previously valued but nevertheless not supported in any practical sense. Once the decision is taken to close something, it is usually too late to resurrect it. The 73 passes through Coleshill three/four times a day and the timetable allows a good hour's shopping time in top Amersham before returning. You can also go on to Chesham, though the timetabling for the return journey becomes slightly more complicated in that case. And venturing further afield (the world's your oyster), the A30 will pick you up once an hour from Amersham Station and you'll be at Heathrow in 50 minutes.
I haven't even mentioned the environmental benefits but this is probably enough of the polemic! It would just be good if we could all think more about the bus as a possibility when we want to go somewhere. Obviously, it will not always be a realistic option but, where it is, let's choose it more than we do at the moment. We might regret it if we don't.