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Friday, Aug 26th

Last update:24 Aug 14:54 GMT

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Arson on the increase in Banburyshire

volaire_vesuvius_erupting_at_night_c_cv_photo_by_p.c_scanned_at_cvCherwell residents are urged to be on their guard as incidents of arson are on the rise across the district.
  And those involved in this type of crime are being warned of the possible consequences which can be anything up to a life sentence.
  There is always an increase in arson cases throughout the summer, many of which involve domestic bins left out for collection.
  Advice to householders is, where possible, to keep their bins secured for as long as possible before putting them out.
  They should be accessible to bin crews any time from 7am on the day of collection and retrieved at the earliest opportunity.
  Councillor George Reynolds, Cherwell District Council deputy leader, said: “The people who set these fires often view it as a prank.
  “In future I’d like them to consider the possible consequences before they act. If the bin is close to a home a fire can easily spread, endangering the lives of everyone inside.
“Even if this is not the case, people can sometimes be injured trying to tackle bin fires near their homes.
“Fires set at business premises can wreck people’s livelihoods and cost huge amounts in repairs and replacement of equipment.
“And those responsible, when caught, rarely avoid a prison term.”
  Since the beginning of June this year there have been 69 suspected arson reports. This compares with a figure of 79 between the start of June and end of August last year.
  Inspector Neville Clayton, of Thames Valley Police, said: “Cherwell police are aware of an increase in the number of arsons across the area.
“These have been mostly bin and hedge fires which, although they appear minor, could easily have got out of hand and spread to adjacent premises with catastrophic consequences.
“A full investigation is always conducted at the scene of any fire in order to identify those responsible.
“Individuals who are arrested and charged with the offence of arson can expect to be treated severely by the courts and anticipate a custodial sentence.”
Anyone who has any information about individuals who are engaging in this type of activity should contact the police on 08458 505505.


Over 5000 spent last Sunday (21st) in Banbury Market Place enjoying events, flowers, food and drink at the fourth annual Four Shires Show. The event, sponsored by Smiths of Bloxham, Banbury's SH Jones wine merchants, Hook Norton Brewery and Bloxham School is held in conjunction with Banbury Town Council's Flower and Produce Show.
 More stall holders than ever plied visitors with the very best food and drink Banburyshire (and beyond) has to offer.
 Banbury Cakes, spotted dick and lardy cake proved popular as did artisan breads, spices and curries. Traditional ice cream, coffee and baked puddings sold out quickly as did the more exotic African stews and Spanish paellas.
  For the first time ever, the show hosted a beer and wine village, where Hook Norton brewery and SH Jones fronted a hot afternoon's al fresco refreshment. Cider from the Compass Brewery, the North Cotswolds 10% IPA and Hook Norton's Harvest beers were enjoyed by all, as were some gorgeous red wines from SH Jones.
  Whilst enjoying all the food and drink on offer, Banbury Town Council again provided a fantastic day's horticultural spectacular. Hosting the flower and produce show, green fingered exhibitors from around north Oxfordshire displayed the very best flowers, fruit and vegetables as well as cakes, children's art and jams.
  Both Katharine House Hospice and Cancer Research benefitted from charity aunt sally and guess the weight competitions.

Show guide published as e-zine

showguide1Four Shires Show is almost upon us and the guide to the 2011 event is published and out on the streets. We have published the guide as an E-zine here and by clicking on the image you can read it!

Cherwell sports' people recognised

Winners of the 2011 Cherwell Sports Awards were presented with their awards on Saturday night at the Spiceball Leisure Centre, Banbury.

The MC for the evening was BBC Oxford's sports presenter, Jerome Sale. He said: "I think the event has shown that there's a wealth of sporting talent in north Oxfordshire - and some great stories that I hope we'll be telling on BBC Radio Oxford in the coming months. I think we all know what a great part of the world this is and it's been wonderful to celebrate its sporting achievements."

Cherwell District Council's lead member for environment, Cllr James Macnamara, added: "Cherwell District Council has always been keen to support sports activities, and in the run up to the Olympics it's a good time to recognise the talent is being developed in our area. I want to congratulate all those who won awards on Saturday night as well as the runners up."
The results:
* Club of the Year: Banbury Water Polo Club. Runner up: Kidlington Forum Table Tennis Club
* Coach of the Year: Richard Hobley. Runner up: Louise Tustian
* Junior Sports Team of the Year: Banbury RUFC U10's. Runner up: Bloxham FC U14'S
* Sports Team of the Year: Banbury Ladies Hockey 1st Team. Runner up Banbury Cricket Club U17's
* Unsung Hero: Aubrey Hughes. Runner up: Dave and Pam Aitchison
* Sportsperson of the Year: Dan Spencer. Runner up: Luke Ryan
* Leader/Volunteer of the Year: Ryan Whitehead. Runner up: Martin Phillips
* Sports Teacher of the Year: Amanda Gill. Runner up: James Oldfield
* School Team of the Year: Bicester 6th Form Football Team Runner up: Banbury School U13's Football Team
* Active Inspiration Award: Alan Roach.
* Junior Sportsperson of the Year: Lloyd Sabin                                       
* Developing Young People: Dean Buckland
* Go Active Person of the Year: Christina Blaser
* Youth Activator of the Year: Jacob Ibbotson

Hobby Horse festival a great success

Banbury's Hobby Horse Festival held on Sunday was a great success - visitors flocked in their thousands to the event which saw the Banbury Fire Service winning the annual Hobby Horse racing event.

Have you seen this caterpillar?


copy_of_scn0001716The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) are calling on gardeners to help the RHS map the whereabouts of box tree caterpillar (Cydalima perspectalis).

This native of East Asia eats the leaves of box plants (Buxus species) and has been reported for the first time in British private gardens. Adult moths have been recorded in Southern England since 2008, but its caterpillars had only been found at one commercial nursery in Surrey in 2009 and 2010. In May 2011 the RHS received the first specimens from private gardens in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

Box tree caterpillars were first detected in Europe in 2007 and are now widespread on the European mainland. FERA concluded that, given the pest’s rapid spread and the possibility of adult moths reaching the UK naturally, no statutory action would be taken on further occurrences in the UK.

“Box plants can be totally defoliated by this moth’s caterpillars and there is also a threat to our uncommon native box plants such as those on Box Hill in Surrey. This is yet another problem for box in the UK which is already suffering from diseases such as box blight (Cylindrocladium buxicola),” says Dr Andrew Salisbury, RHS Senior Entomologist. “It is important for us to monitor this caterpillar’s movement. Knowing how quickly it is spreading and what plants it has been found on could help us develop ways of managing this pest.”

“There is little published information on the control of Box Tree Caterpillar,” says FERA Entomologist Anastasia Korysinska. “The silk webbing around the caterpillars can make control difficult. However, insecticides available to gardeners for controlling moth caterpillars, such as pyrethrum, deltamethrin or lambda-cyhalothrin, should be effective. Physical control by cutting off infested material or picking off caterpillars could also help.”

In Germany, complete defoliation of ornamental box plants have occurred but in the Netherlands the damage has been less severe. In Europe the caterpillar has only been found feeding on species of box. However, in Asia other host plants include llex purpurea (purple-leaved holly) and Euonymus alatus (winged spindle tree).

The RHS asks gardeners finding this pest in their garden to let it know by sending samples or photographs to Entomology, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey GU23 6QB or sending images to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Box is not usually damaged by other caterpillars, so extensive defoliation and webbing on this plant is likely to be due to box tree caterpillar

Shire Horses unveiled near Witney


horse_unveiling_1_webTwo life-size sculptures of Shire horses created from welded metal rods have been unveiled at Kilkenny Lane Country Park, between Brize Norton and Carterton.

 The Rt Hon David Cameron, Prime Minister and MP for Witney, ceremoniously ‘untethered’ the horses at an event recently celebrate their installation.

 Shire horses were once used on this former farmland and the sculptures reflect this history at the park, which has been created for free public use as part of the development of Carterton’s nearby Shilton Park housing estate.

 The sculptures are a public art project commissioned by West Oxfordshire District Council and fully funded by the estate’s developers.

 They have been created by artist Sophie Thompson, of Milton-under-Wychwood, and stand together in the 21 hectare (50 acre) park, which has a bridleway and 2.5km of footpaths as well as a children’s adventure play area.

 Mr Cameron was among civic leaders, members of local riding clubs and other park users at the event on Friday.

horses_web2 He described the sculptures as “beautiful” and commented that West Oxfordshire now had its own version of Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North.

 Mr Cameron said the horses were a “great example” of public art and congratulated everyone involved in the project, adding: “In West Oxfordshire, while we build new houses we also understand the history and character that shapes this beautiful part of the country that I am so proud to represent.”

 He said the public art added to the country park and felt that it was “fantastic to remember one of the great beasts of farming from days gone by.”

 Ms Thompson’s Shire horse design was picked from submissions from 22 artists as part of the commissioning process by the District Council. Each sculpture took about five months to create, has been carefully welded from 1,200 concrete reinforcing rods and weighs around one tonne.

 The horses cost £32,000 and are part of the largest public art programme co-ordinated by the Council to date. The first part of the programme was a 4m tall stainless steel sculpture, named ‘Evolve’, by artist Richard Thornton. It was unveiled near Carterton Community Centre in Marigold Square, on Shilton Park, last September.

 Cllr Warwick Robinson, the District Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Planning, said: “The Council’s aim is to use public art, funded by developers, to help create special places for the future that complement the local area. We were impressed with the artist’s idea of capturing the farming history of the area with the Shire horse sculptures for the country park.

 “We are delighted with the end result and think that the sculptures will become something of a landmark. It is amazing how an unusual material that is so raw and industrial has been transformed to create such a realistic image of these beautiful horses, to which our rural heritage owes much.”

horses_web_3 As part of the public art project, artist Ms Thompson ran workshops for pupils at Brize Norton Primary School and at St John’s School in Carterton. They were given the chance to create their own miniature horse sculptures which have been on public display. The project has also included workshops for local residents to create paper lanterns for a Winter Lights procession around the Shilton Park estate.

 Ms Thompson grew up in the Oxfordshire countryside and has always had a love for animals. She keeps a horse of her own in stables at her home.

 She said: “I’ve worked as a groom before and loved watching the horses playing and moving around. I’ve been welding since a young age and have tried different sculptures, but animals are my favourite and particularly horses. These are my first Shire horses and my biggest sculpture so far. It has been a huge project for me and I’m very proud to see them at the country park.”        

 David Wilson Homes Southern was among developers of Shilton Park and contributed to the public art programme. Managing Director Paul Crispin said: “As a builder of new communities, we are delighted to have been able to contribute towards this very impressive piece of public art. The fantastic design is particularly relevant to the local area and I’m sure that local residents and visitors to the park will enjoy the horses for many years to come.”

 Kilkenny Lane Country Park is managed by the Council and provides a free public amenity for all. For more information about the Country Park, visit


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