Fairford news with Chris Roberts

BECAUSE of the Covid lockdown restrictions, the new Stedy Chefs Learning Centre Open Day will now be held virtually on Monday, February 1, from 12noon till 4pm.

The Stedy Chefs team will be hosting the open day online to showcase their new learning centre in Lechlade for adults with disabilities and additional needs.

To receive an invitation to the virtual open day or to find out more, contact 0151 936 1968, 07400 897397 or info@stedy-chefs.co.uk.

THE Community Wellbeing Action Group, that started in Fairford in October 2019, before anyone had even heard of Covid-19, a pandemic or a lockdown, is now looking for a volunteer coordinator to actively promote the health and happiness of our communities and to work closely with local government and local, county and nationwide charities.

The objective of the group is to help coordinate in and around Fairford the efforts of support groups, their volunteers and individuals.

What has been seen over the past year during the pandemic is that there are large numbers of people in the community who are prepared to give their time to voluntarily provide support and would most likely also be happy to continue to do so after the Covid crisis.

Local resident, coordinator and member of the PPG (Patients Participation Group), John Read said: “Looking back on Covid-19, three things will stand out – the extraordinarily fast development of vaccines, the restrictions on our lives and the quite remarkable efforts within our communities to help the vulnerable.”

If you would like to become involved in this work or would like copies of the group’s reports on the impact of Covid-19 and the organisation of support by Fairford Town Council, please email John Read: robertjohnread@me.com.

THE process for requesting a driver for transport to and from appointments has changed.

Bookings should now be done directly through Friends of Fairford & Lechlade Communities.

You will no longer need to request a driver through either Hilary Cottage or Lechlade Medical Centre receptionists.

If you require transport to and from your hospital/doctor/dental appointments, please contact Friends of Fairford & Lechlade Communities direct by phoning 07540 798226 between 10am-1pm Monday to Friday.

If the line is busy, you will be able to leave a message and a member of the patient transport team will call you back.

Alternatively, email: voluntarycarservicelof@gmail.com.

FOLLOWING its cancellation last year due to the Covid pandemic, the popular Fairford Festival is now being planned for the weekend of June 11-13.

The 2021 Fairford Festival will still have a Tudor theme and will retain its much-loved events such as the 3k Fun Run, dog show, baking competition, Festival parade and the Fairford Festival of Fiction.

Also retained for 2021 will be the 10k Road Race organised by Running Somewhere Else.

Last month, the running club organised a virtual 10k Road Race that could be walked or run from any location as long as the 10k distance was covered in one session.

The club received 139 entries, not only from local runners, but also from as far afield as Chester, Nottingham and Plymouth.

Some of the entrants chose to run the virtual 10k around the actual Fairford 10k course; others ran or walked it closer to their home.

The winners were: Rosie Oates in 42:29 and Dave Witnall in 40.12. Approximately £750 was raised, which will be split between funding for the 2021 event and a donation to the charity Cotswold Counselling.

IN line with Government restrictions, the Friends of Fairford & Lechlade Communities’ Charity Shop in Lechlade is closed until further notice.

The Community Friends’ Covid-19 Support Fund donated by the Lakes by yoo and established to provide financial support to local organisations, charities, volunteer groups, families and individuals, who have been impacted by Covid-19 remains open for applications.

To date from 57 applications, grants of approximately £55,424 have been made providing financial support to 39 different charities, organisations, families and individuals within our area of benefit.

Please refer to the website for details of how to apply and the criteria used to assess applications: www.friendsoffairford.org.uk.

JUST before Christmas, Phil Stevens from Fairford, who is well known for his video film of the town that he produced in 2015, lent a helping hand and his filming skills to neighbouring Lechlade, writes Chris Roberts.

When the Government said ‘yes’ to Nativity plays in early December, Kathy Newton, who usually helps St Lawrence Church, Lechlade, with their Crib Service on Christmas Eve, decided to change the venue and have the nativity play filmed outdoors for online viewing from December 24.

She asked the Harris family of Pennyswick Farm, Coleshill, if the church could use their land and barn as a film set and also asked Phil, who runs the local building firm, Burnett Stevens Build (BSB), to film the whole event.

Kathy was delighted that they both agreed and Phil said: “I hadn’t got a clue what I was going to be asked to do but, if I can help someone, then I will.”

On a very chilly Saturday morning just before Christmas, filming went ahead with social distancing and no rehearsals!

There were 15 children taking part, who either belong to the Sunday School, the church choir or are friends of Lechlade Church.

Phil managed to record and skilfully add carol singing from the church music group accompanied by Geoff Holmes with the ‘heavenly host’ choral music sung by the St Lawrence Church Youth Choir led by Rachel Bath, the music director.

Everyone had a part to play either in front of the camera or behind it!

Tia McBain of Farmor’s School was a confident and clear narrator and the baby Jesus was a beautiful newly-born baby, Evie, who was filmed with clever use of a green screen cinema technique by Phil in the comfort and safety of her grandparents’ home in Lechlade.

Little Jen, the donkey borrowed from the Porter family, had not been ridden in a while but, luckily, she liked Mary and Joseph and behaved impeccably!

The Revd Andrew Cinnamond was dressed as a film director and gave out the message of God becoming a human being, which he said is the greatest story ever told!

For those interested in filming, videos or photography, Phil used three HC-X920 full HD cameras, audio mics, tripods, a hand-held stabiliser and a mask!

There were 154 clips to edit and slice together.

The Bethlehem night scenes were a challenge on a crisp, sunny December morning but, if you watch the video, you will see what an amazing job Phil did.

This was the first Nativity play that Phil has recorded, as he usually films weddings, baptisms and parties.

You can watch the Nativity video at https://vimeo.com/493290903 and watch the video of Fairford at https://vimeo.com/136254527.

If you would like Phil to do any filming for your event or next year’s Nativity play, you can contact him on: 07814 963148.