Fairford news by Chris Roberts

A US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing was just one of the aircraft that landed at RAF Fairford during the Baltic Trident Exercise, which took place at RAF Fairford and across several Baltic countries from March 15-19.

The primary goal of the exercise is to strengthen the Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept.

ACE enables US forces in Europe to operate from locations with varying levels of capacity and support, ensuring airmen and aircrews are postured to deliver lethal combat power across the full spectrum of military operations.

Approximately 150 active duty personnel, civilians and local nationals are supporting this exercise at RAF Fairford. 420th EABS Airmen are deployed from around the world.

They have all joined together to support the 100th Air Refueling Wing during this exercise.

Exercises and deployments that utilise ACE concepts ensure forces in Europe are ready to protect and defend partners, allies and US interests at a moment’s notice, and generate lethal combat power should deterrence fail.

LECHLADE’S community singing group, led by Jay Mathews, has been singing together via Zoom during the latest lockdown.

They have been focussing on sea shanties.

While Jay leads the singing, with accompaniment from Geoff Holmes, the singers give it their all from the comfort of their own homes.

If you would like to join, please contact Jay on jaymathews124@mac.com.

The group meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month.

You do not need to be a brilliant singer – just keen to join in and have some fun!

Jay provides all the words and music as well.

STONE stiles are found in many areas of the country.

There are examples throughout Gloucestershire including the area in and around Fairford.

For centuries they have provided access to locals walking along pathways as they went about their business whilst preventing sheep and cattle from straying further afield.

Despite the historic value of these stone stiles, scores of them have been abandoned and some now lost forever.

In 2020 Peter Wilson, launched ‘The Stile Project’.

Working in association with CPRE and the Cotteswold Naturalists Field Club, Peter’s aim is to produce a record of every remaining stone stile in Gloucestershire before they are lost forever, but he needs your help.

When you are out walking, if you spot a stone stile, or if you know of an existing stile, please photograph it, if possible from both sides.

Download a Stile Recording Form by going to the CPRE website.Please give as much information as possible before emailing the form to: peter.wilson@woodchestervalleyvillage.co.uk.

Any ‘duplicate’ stiles recorded are welcome as you may take a better picture than the one already on file.

In addition, Peter is looking for background notes, history, geology and the landscape setting of each stone as well as its precise OS location.

Don’t worry if you’re not able to give all that information, but he would like to know exactly where you came across the stile.

It’s heartening to report that since the project was launched just a year ago, over 500 stiles have been recorded.

Peter believes however there are up to 100 stiles in the county as yet unidentified.

The stile you come across may be one of those!

So if you come across a stone stile, please take a picture, download the form and send it to Peter with as much information as you can.

AT the beginning of the first lockdown last year, the Friends of Fairford & Lechlade Communities (FFLC) received a generous donation of £131,584 from The Lakes by yoo – the 800 acre private estate between Fairford and Lechlade.

The Lakes had raised this magnificent sum from donations by residents and The Lakes by yoo company to help those who had been impacted by the Covid-19 crises.

FFLC, a local charity and formerly known as The League of Friends of Fairford Hospital, are using this generous donation to provide urgent financial support to those in need in Fairford, Lechlade and surrounding villages during the Covid-19 crisis.

Graham Hewitt, chair of FFLC said: “It is an outstanding achievement and we are absolutely amazed at the level of support being provided. It shows there is a tremendous level of care and concern for our local community.”

Lechlade Community Library was one of the recipients and said: “This is fabulous news for Lechlade Community Library, so a BIG thank you to all that have made this possible.”

One of the individual recipients exclaimed: “I am at a loss for words with your kindness. I would like to thank you on behalf of my wife, my family and myself from the depths of our hearts for the kind hand extended to us in this manner. We were not expecting this. We are touched beyond words.”

To date, the trustees of the fund have provided grants exceeding £64,000 to local individuals, organisations and charities including donations of: Over £32,000 to support local families to cover rent and household bills, transport, school uniforms and counselling services; over £15,000 to local charities and groups to assist with maintaining their facilities and operations during the pandemic; over £9,000 to local schools for laptops and software to support home learning; over £4,000 supporting local food banks and provision of hot food to local families and over £3,000 to provide three months of financial cover for a mobile cancer unit.

The grant is specifically for our local area of Fairford, Lechlade and the surrounding villages and is still open for applications.

To find out more information about the grant and how to apply, please visit: www.friendsoffairford.org.uk/covid19.htm.