Despite over 800 new cases of Foot and Mouth Disease being reported across the country since the end of March, Overton is thankfully still free of the disease.
This brings the end of April total to 1500 confirmed cases. However, the reduction in the number of daily outbreaks does seem to indicate that at last the disease is under control. Thankfully, Overton is still free of the disease, although with the nearest reported case being in Aldford, near Chester, some local farmers are, understandably, becoming increasingly concerned.
Shortly before the Easter Bank Holiday, Wrexham Council began a phased re-opening of its footpaths in the County Borough. The decision was taken in the light of veterinary advice on the risk of spreading Foot and Mouth Disease through the use of public footpaths and the Government's encouragement to resume visits to the countryside. It is reviewing the local Declaration made on March 1 this year preventing the use of public rights of way (other than those within urban areas) within the area.
Wrexham Council's Chief Public Protection Officer, Andy Lewis said: "This restriction was introduced as a precautionary measure. However, as Wrexham is currently disease free and in the light of recent advice from Central Government, I have decided to review the Declaration"
Most of the public footpaths still remain closed, and are signposted with the now familiar red and white "Footpath Closed" signs. Those that have been opened bear a green sign stating that the footpath is open together with an indication of the precautions to be taken by users of the footpath.
Mr Lewis said: "I can see no justification for totally lifting the declaration on all footpaths in the area bearing in mind the close proximity of the infected areas in Powys, Cheshire and Shropshire". He added: "I fully understand the needs of the local economy and local population, and where opening up footpaths presents no risk of potentially spreading the disease, then these footpaths will be opened up. However, I must stress that the public should obey all signs on footpaths and until such times as the footpath closed signs are replaced by footpath open signs, I would ask the public not to walk on these footpaths."
In Overton, the public footpath which drops down from the High Street to the sewage works and then rises up through the woods to Salop Road has been officially re-opened by Wrexham Council. This is the only path locally that doesn't cross agricultural land.
The Royal Horticultural Society advises against the movement of bulky organic manures and soil from agricultural areas; i.e. horse muck, cattle shed clean outs. However, there is no problem with bagged multi-purpose compost, bark and mushroom compost. Chemical fertilisers such as Growmore and organics should be safe to use because they are not derived from susceptible livestock and become safe during the manufacturing process: i.e. pelleted poultry manure and seaweed. Animal based fertilisers are heat treated and the virus is heat sensitive.
Garden Centres, they say, should be clear but they ask visitors to remember to take care, as it is possible to pick up and deposit the virus on one's vehicle and clothes. The same goes for visiting gardens under the National Gardens Scheme, as parking is often in a nearby field.
As Overton is disease free, Mr. & Mrs. C Billington will open their garden in Overton, in aid of the National Gardens Scheme, on Sunday May 20 from 2pm - 6pm. For further details e-mail the local NGS Press Secretary, Lesley Pugh . email@example.com
This one and three-quarter acre garden, which was featured on HTV last year, contains some very interesting trees and shrubs, including herbaceous beds, roses, a vegetable garden and a water feature. It is one of 3,500 private gardens normally open to the public each year. Admission will be £2 per adult. Children are admitted free of charge. Teas will be available, the proceeds of which will be in aid of the Rainbow Centre at Penley.
And as a final word on Foot and Mouth, in his book on the history of Penley, Derek Platt says: "The coming of the railways and the establishment of a rail-side auction mart at Overton, severely dented the profitability and the prospects of local hostelries, such as the Dymock Arms, Penley, the Hanmer Arms, Hanmer, and the Nags Head, Bettisfield, as ad hoc cattle marts, a role for which they were particularly suited when, as in September 1883, a ban on the movement of cattle outside the County boundary was imposed following the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease.
Livestock could only originate and be sold within the confines of the Hundred of Maelor at makeshift area centres - the local pubs - where farmers could commiserate with each other and drown their sorrows, whilst trying to maintain some semblance of order."
This month we feature Myra and Vince Worthington with Sir Patrick Moore in 1987. (They don't look any older do they!)
The picture was taken by Sir Patrick's photographer for Mark Worthington who, at the time, was ill in Birmingham General Hospital. The photograph was evidence to show that Mark's 'Get Well' card was in fact signed by Sir Patrick.
We have one more photograph for next months issue, so now is the time to send some more in. They will be printed in the order they are received. All photographs will be returned in good condition. Just drop them through the letterbox of 1 St Mary's Court.
Dear, oh dear, oh dear. Out of a potential readership of 1000, we received only two responses to our quick quiz competition - and sadly they were both incorrect. The answers to the quiz are printed below, and the £5 prize money has gone back into the kitty.
What was the reason for the poor response, we wonder? Was it the huge prize money being offered, or was the competition just too difficult to work out? Dare we ask you to let us know what the reason was for not having a go? Or will we get the same poor response?
Neither did we receive any explanation as to why some people are buried facing North (see last issue).
Editor: Can anybody logging onto this site throw some light on why some people have been buried this way? E-mails please to Alan at:- firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Why are 1990 American dollar bills worth more than 1989 American dollar bills? 1990 dollars is 1 more than 1989 dollars
2. Where was Paul going on the way to Damascus. Damascus
3. Mr and Mrs Overton have five children. Half of them are boys. How is this possible? All are boys
4. How many of each species did Moses take aboard the Ark with him? Noah took the animals on the Ark, not Moses
5. A farmer had 19 sheep, all but ten died. How many does he have left? Ten
6. If you had one match and entered a dark, cold room in which there was a paraffin lamp and an oil heater, which would you light first? The Match
7. Is it legal in Scotland for a man to marry his widow's sister? If a man has a widow he must be dead
8. How many two pence stamps are in a dozen? 12
9. Why will natives in the Arctic never eat a penguins egg, even if they are starving? There are no penguins in the Arctic
10. Why can't a man living south of the Thames be buried in North London? He's still alive
Editor: We are always on the look out for teasers like this. We would welcome contributions from anybody logging onto this site. Please send an e-mail to Alan at:- email@example.com
A LOCAL HERO
It's 22 years since I first met Frank Wingett when he set out to raise money for diagnostic equipment for Wrexham Maelor Hospital. Frank had been suffering from throat cancer since 1976 and by the time of his untimely death in 1988 he had undergone 10 operations and countless hours of radiotherapy at Christies hospital in Manchester. He started by raising money for diagnostic equipment and by 1985 had raised over £93,000. Those of us who put in time and effort helping to raise money with Frank eventually ran out of steam, but not Frank. He was single minded and tireless in his efforts and could easily upset people such as Wrexham's florists with his continual exhortations to the bereaved to send donations to him rather than waste money on flowers which would soon die.
His high profile campaign was very effective and by 1988 when he was awarded the British Empire Medal, Frank had raised over £250,000. Sadly his long fight against cancer came to an end when he died at home here in Overton. Although the driving force had gone, his charity carried on and over £350,000 has been donated towards equipment and £270,000 in donations towards Nightingale House Hospice. Wrexham is closer today to having its own cancer facilities largely due to the inspiration of one man with a dream. Many people would think Frank might have been pleased with the efforts so far, but for those of us who knew him he would only have been satisfied if every patient came out cured!
Many of you will have seen the recent activity of Traffic officers in the village yet again enforcing the speed limits. Despite previous articles, it is disturbing to note that the majority of those caught driving at excess speed are residents of Overton! This initiative will continue until the message has been clearly hammered home. Please remember that if you are prosecuted for speeding you are in for a nasty shock when next year's insurance premium becomes due, as insurance companies are now taking a dim view of speeding convictions. You may be aware that we suffered thefts from motor vehicles during one evening last year. The offender has now been caught and is awaiting sentence at Court.
Reports of juvenile disturbance are still too high, vandalism has occurred recently at the Bowling Club, Tennis Centre, Public Toilets and Cricket pavilion. If you see any nuisance of this type occurring please telephone Police immediately. Finally, would parents recall my previous article "Do you know where your children are NOW". A firmer stance is now in place to deal with juvenile problems. Youngsters will be prosecuted for criminal damage and this could have dire consequences on future employment applications.