Music to the Ears

Written by Kate Wilton on .

DSC 0046Music to the ears
Young people in Banbury have been getting creative and learning how to produce their own sounds using music software and other technology. It's part of a project called Talent Revival developed by Cherwell District Council in partnership with BYHP (Supporting Young People in Housing Need).

Now they've achieved the nationally recognised AQA Audio sequencing using a computer - music technology qualification. They were presented with their certificates by Cllr John Donaldson, Cherwell's Brighter Futures champion on 9 July.

The recipients, aged between 16 and 25, are all in housing need and access services provided by BYHP. They worked with professional musician Simon Hill from Community Albums, based in Hook Norton. Community Albums is a UK registered charity that aims to build better communities through music and media. Simon said: "We believe that music can empower, inspire, unite, heal and effect change; so it's been a privilege to work with young people from BYHP and to see them develop their talents and grow in confidence."

One of the young people involved in the project, April Priestly, said: "Talent Revival has given me the opportunity to find out what it's like to make my own music. It's also given me the confidence to create music in a group; something that I would never have done before.

"Because of my age and the situation that I'm in these opportunities don't come around often - if at all. But taking part in these sessions has given me the opportunity to do something that I love - music."
 Cllr Donaldson added: "The district council knows that young peoples' life chances are greatly reduced when they face issues like homelessness. So together with BYHP we've determined that music would be a good way to reach and engage with them.

"Arts projects are effective in helping people learn skills, develop opportunities, grow in confidence and take on new challenges. Through this music project these young people have learned about communication, commitment and co-operation as well as building self-esteem. They're all skills that will take them into the next stage of their lives, improving their employability prospects.

Justin Donovan, BYHP project worker, explained: "These sessions help to structure a young persons' day and give them a feeling of success, which from time to time we need to experience in order to feel like we are progressing."

Celebrity Exhibition

Written by Kate Wilton on .

images copyCelebrity is a major exhibition at Banbury Museum this summer from 20 July - 7 September

What do Marilyn Monroe’s little black dress, a Hollywood makeup mirror used by Madonna and a script from the movie ‘Titanic’ signed by Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio have in common? They are all going to be on show in Banbury this summer as part of Banbury Museum’s star-studded Celebrity exhibition.

This remarkable one-off exhibition brings together some of the most iconic showbiz items ever to grace the town. Normally kept locked away from public view, the immediately recognisable items will be on show for all to see. 

Fans of the golden days of Hollywood can see Fred Astaire's shoes and Doris Day's exquisite rhinestone bracelet, while younger fans of TV and film might prefer the golden stage jacket of Graham Norton or the fabulous Becky Granger wedding dress from Coronation Street.  Sci-Fi items include the electro-magnetic boots from Face Off starring John Travolta and Nicholas Cage and adding a local flavour is a pair of handcuffs used by John Thaw as Inspector Morse.

For fans of Hollywood cult movies there’s even the “most excellent” iconic coat worn by Bill (Alex Winter) in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. But it’s not just film fans who are in for a thrill. For music fans there are signed items by Chuck Berry and Oasis. There is even a "Dangerous Tour" jacket worn by Michael Jackson.

Cherwell District Council deputy leader Cllr George Reynolds, said: “This exhibition and its contents have created a huge wave of interest wherever it’s been and we’re delighted to be bringing it to Banbury.  This exhibition has something for everybody to enjoy; a real feel-good exhibition for the summer.”  

The exhibition is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm until 7 September. Entry is free. For further details phone 01295 753752 or visit

Queens Road Street Party 2013

Written by Kate Wilton on .

IMG 7744 4Vive le difference!          
Residents of Queens Road Banbury celebrated Bastille Day with a street party on Sunday.

Party goers turned up and sampled French food and drink and enjoyed temperatures that soared into the 30's.

We doubt Parisienes enjoyed such could weather!

Gloucester Quays Food Festival 2013

Written by Kate Wilton on .


As Mary Berry is announced to launch its annual Food Festival!
19-21 July 2013, Gloucester Quays Food Festival 2013
Gloucester Quays Outlet Shopping is bringing an array of celebrity chefs and exciting attractions to the historic Gloucester Docks this summer with its annual Food Festival. Spanning the Quay’s waterside area, the Gloucester Quays Food Festival 2013 will transform the Outlet’s outdoor spaces into a bustling feast of live cooking, entertainment, food, drink and music. Kicking off the weekend in style is the queen of British baking herself, Mary Berry.

Celebrity chefs Gino D’Acampo and James Martin will also be wowing fans in the Aga Rangemaster Cookery Theatre. All three chefs will host a series of hands-on live cookery demonstrations in the Cookery Theatre across the three-day event. Pick up insider tips and recipe ideas to take away with you. What’s more, all chefs will also host a book signing, at 3pm each day of the event in the Outlet’s East Mall.

With over 80 tempting food and drink stalls, boasting the finest seasonal produce from around the country and even further afield. From artisan breads to hand-made chocolates, local cheeses, homemade chutneys, olive oils and award-winning sausages, the Gloucester Quays Food Festival offers handpicked producers and the most extraordinary food experiences.

The festival will also fuse food and drink with music, with its Lawn Music Stage showcasing the region’s best live bands and acts across the weekend. Viewers can sit back, relax and enjoy great live performances, sitting on the lawn area surrounded by the Docks’ iconic Victorian warehouses.

Gloucester Quays Food Festival is a great place to visit for foodie lovers and shoppers alike; for those who want a fun filled family day out or for those who want to browse the food market stalls and relax at the music stage – there’s something for everyone this summer at Gloucester Quays Outlet Shopping.

Gloucester Quays Outlet Shopping is the perfect place to make your money go further this summer with savings of up to 70% off RRP! The Outlet boasts over 50 stores, including high street favourites M & S Outlet, Next Clearance, Gap Outlet and designer brands including The White Company, Calvin Klein, LK Bennett, Le Creuset and Osprey London, plus an onsite health and fitness Centre, The Gym, and current restaurant offerings include Nandos and Pizza Express.

Tickets for the celebrity chef demonstrations priced £7 can now be booked at or they can be purchased in person from Gloucester Quays’ customer services desk.

Banbury Rugby Festival for Young Players

Written by Kate Wilton on .

417108016Successfull Banbury Rugby Festival  for young players
Potential rugby stars of the future graced Bodicote Park on Sunday as an annual Mini Rugby Tournament saw teams travel from all parts of the country to take part.

The event was initially postponed due to poor weather in March, so the home of Banbury Bulls eventually catered for 1,200 players from under-7 to under-12 at the weekend.

Simon Grieve, who helped organise the event, said:“It is probably the biggest festival in the area and attracts a lot of clubs, some who took part for the first time on Sunday. We have the facilities up at Bodicote Park so that all teams had a pitch and with the main grandstand we could fit all the parents of the teams during the presentations. The event was a big success".

Rugby Football Union (RFU) president Paul Murphy was welcomed by Banbury Bulls on Friday at their annual dinner and awards evening. He was on hand to present this season’s awards to the club’s senior players and make two special awards.

Turn up and play farm park

Written by Jeremy Wilton on .

alpacaThe UK's first turn-up-and-play farm park, that is designed around the needs of children with varying disabilities but open to all, is to welcome its first visitors on the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend (Saturday 25 May).

Fairytale Farm, on the A44 just outside Chipping Norton, is the first family farm attraction where everything is designed around the needs of children with sensory, learning and physical disabilities, but which can be enjoyed by children without disabilities too. A truly inclusive experience.

For the first time in the UK, disabled children will have their own attraction that operates like any other tourist attraction which they can enjoy with the rest of their family - and with no pre-booking needed.

The park has been developed by husband and wife, Nick and Nicola Laister, who live on the Fairytale Farm site. Nick explains:

"There are very few rural facilities for disabled children and their families. As most parents of children with special needs know, much of the countryside is out of bounds. Although there are a number of centres for disabled children, these tend to be institutional and require advanced booking, and most mainstream attractions are not fully accessible, despite the efforts of owners.

"Our eldest daughter Olivia has cerebral palsy, so we decided a number of years ago to acquire some land and create a visitor attraction where disabled children and their families can spend a day out in the countryside enjoying various rural activities on a site where everything is primarily designed around their needs."

"Our vision was to create the sort of attraction that we would have liked to have visited with our own children, which Olivia could have enjoyed alongside her brothers and sister."

Fairytale Farm is an exciting mix of animals, play and sensory experiences. 'The Enchanted Walk' is a unique sensory trail with surprising features at every turn, many of which are interactive, and designed to appeal particularly to younger children. 'Huff and Puff' is our exciting playground, complete with a Fairytale Castle to explore, a combine harvester to climb on board, a special swing for wheelchair users and much more. 'Alfie and Friends' is our amazing collection of animals, including ponies, donkeys, alpacas, goats, chickens, rabbits, and from South America, our fantastic rheas.

Nick believes that Fairytale Farm's unique appeal should ensure it is a great day out for people with a wide range of visitors of all abilities:

"This facility is not a care facility or an institutional experience, but a family day out in the countryside, built around the needs of the family member whose needs are most difficult to cater for, but open to everybody. Just turn up and have fun - everything is accessible and everybody is welcome!"

Gates open at 10am on Saturday 25 May, and the park is open daily until 1 September 2013, then weekends only until 3 November 2013 for our Illuminated Weekends events (with the Cafe, Shop and Enchanted Walk staying open until 9pm every Saturday and Sunday evening).

Work for Four Shires

Written by Jeremy Wilton on .

We currently have a vacancy for an advertising sales executive at Four Shires Magazine. If you are interested, please get in touch - either via email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by telephone: (01295) 709999 and ask to speak to Jeremy WiltonJob June WEB

Rita Ora at Bicester Village

Written by Jeremy Wilton on .

DSC 0767Pop sensation Rita Ora appeared at Bicester Village to launch the British Designers Collection fashio event.
The launch attracted the national press as well as hundreds of Rita Ora fans.Rita is pictured here (centre) with designers who make up some of the collective.

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Festival of Cycling at Broughton Castle.

Written by Kate Wilton on .

Broughton Castle festival of cycling.


Banbury’s first ever festival of cycling is set to take place at Broughton Castle on Sunday, 14th July 2013.

The Broughton Castle Cycling Festival is a collaboration between The Rotary Club of Banbury Cherwell, the Banbury Star Cyclists’ Club and British Cycling.

There will be three routes available, a 70-mile ‘epic’ route, a 36-mile medium distance and a family fun ride.

All competitors will receive a medal to commemorate their efforts.

From noon there will be activities for the returning cyclists and fun for families in the grounds of Broughton Castle.

Events will include the BMX Bike Stunt Display Team, the British Cycling Off-Road Mountain Bike Circuit, bike clinics, Punch and Judy and children’s fairground rides.

Funds from the event will go towards stillbirth charity Sands and other Rotary causes. The Shires Royal Legion Youth Band will also parade and play during the afternoon and there will be music from Radio Horton, charity and craft stalls, refreshments and cream teas.

For more information about the festival go to To enter the cycling events go to

Railways Football team from the 1930s

Written by Jeremy Wilton on .

This fantastic picture was sent into the Four Shires by reader John Washburn. It features railway men from the Banbury yard and the football team that competed in the local cup! The full size picture (it covers a double page spread) is published in this month's magazine.

railways football black and white b