WEEKLY COLUMN of Fairford and Lechlade News by Chris Roberts MBE

1. Fairford Steam Show has Lego and Magic 

As well as the Ken Fox Wall of Death that is new for 2024, there will also be two more exciting new events at the Fairford Steam Show this year. 

A new Lego area run by Fairford Primary and Pre School. Called The Brick, there will be lots of Lego for children in these age groups to play with and there’ll also be changing and feeding areas to make life easier for parents.

If you have any Lego that you or your child no longer wants, would you please consider donating the bricks to Fairford Steam Show? Please contact Brian Wells: 01295 710076 or Chris on: 01285 712150.

Jacko and Nunkie the monkey appearing on both Saturday and Sunday with comedy, balloon twisting, balloon giveaways and a Magic Show.

The Fairford Steam Show’s popularity has sky-rocketed since returning to Fairford last year after nearly 10 years away. The numbers of exhibits and traders wishing to be part of the show are already way above last year’s numbers.

The organisers are working with the landowner to improve access points, widen gateways, laying hardcore and creating bigger car parks, more water points and 50% more toilets.

People coming to the show can expect to see full-size engines, classic organs, miniature engines, a huge selection of tractors, motor bikes, classic and modern commercial vehicles of all shapes and sizes, over 100 classic cars and a selection of motor sport vehicles. There will also be static displays, a fantastic selection of stationary engines, trade pitches, some fantastic food vendors and the beer tent provided by Fairford Cricket Club.

Go online for your Early Bird tickets at: www.fairfordsteamshow.co.uk.

2. Another funding win for Lechlade Library 

There’s more good news for Lechlade Community Library.

To help with the annual operating costs of the Library, the Gloucestershire County Councillor for Fairford and Lechlade-on-Thames, Dom Morris has announced that a one-off grant of £2,000 will be paid to the Library alongside the existing annual £10,000 at the start of this financial year and is to be used at the discretion of the Library volunteers to assist with any increased costs.

Cllr Morris said: “The extra funding has come from a Conservative and Green budget amendment.

"The funding settlement for community libraries is set every four years and is due for review in 2025.

"Any permanent change to the annual grant will be made as part of this review process next year.

"However, it was identified recently that some funding was needed now – hence we brought forward this amendment to help Lechlade and other community libraries in Gloucestershire.”

John Watkins, one of the volunteers coordinating fundraising for the Library, said: “We are very pleased that Gloucestershire County Council has announced a discretionary grant of £2,000 for this year to each of the Gloucestershire community libraries. It is greatly appreciated by Lechlade Library.”

3. Flowers for Easter

Easter is not far away and St Mary’s Church flower arrangers’ thoughts are on decorating the Church for Easter Sunday.

Every year, there is a large urn of Madonna lilies and each flower arrangement also has lilies. If you would like to donate towards the cost of the lilies, it would be very much appreciated.

Like everything else the cost of flowers has increased enormously. Please drop an envelope marked LILIES off in the Parish Office, Fairford Community Centre.

4. Local election in May for Fairford Town Council 

A local election will be held in May to fill the two vacancies on Fairford Town Council. Would you like to help make decisions that shape the future of Fairford?

Why not choose to be a town councillor and take an active positive step towards creating the community you want to live in now and in the future.

The Notice of Election will be published on Friday March 22; nominations can be submitted from Monday March 25 up to the deadline of 4pm on Friday April 5; nomination papers will be on the website or contact the Town Clerk for paper copies to be posted.

Make sure you can vote. Anyone who is not already registered, can do so before the deadline of Tuesday April 16 (register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote). If anyone would like a postal vote, they can register online at www.gov.uk/apply-postal-vote by 5pm on Wednesday April 17.

5. Volunteer with group which provides 'much needed services'

With your help, the Friends of Fairford & Lechlade Communities can provide much needed services in the local community. If you are able to volunteer in the Lechlade charity shop, at the Lunch Club, as a driver, or at any event, please get in touch. Call 07938 244335 or email admin@friendsoffairford.org.uk.

6. Next meeting of Fairford History Society 

The next meeting of Fairford History Society (FHS) will be on Thursday March 21 at 7.30pm in Fairford Community Centre. David Aldred will talk on ‘Hailes Abbey and the Mystery of the Holy Blood’. FHS membership remains at £5 a year and visitors are welcome at £3 per meeting.

New members will be very welcome. For further information, contact Alison on 01285 711768, enquiry@fairfordhistory.org.uk or visit www.fairfordhistory.org.uk.

7. Driving residents to and from medical appointments

The Friends of Fairford & Lechlade Communities’ team of volunteer drivers take people to and from their medical appointments. Please get in touch with the Transport Coordinator to arrange a drive.

There is a fixed rate fare for each journey to cover fuel costs – you will be informed of the rate on booking. If you also have trouble collecting your monthly prescriptions, the Patient Transport Team may be able to assist.

Please note this service can only be provided for people receiving free prescriptions. Please book either service via the Transport Coordinator, Val Harvey giving as much notice as possible.

Phone: 07540 798226. Email: transport@friendsoffairford.org.uk.

8. Bereavement Café on first Friday of every month

The Bereavement Café runs on the first Friday of every month for people who have suffered a loss and would like to talk.

The nursing team are there to welcome you with a hot drink and always plenty of cakes.

Drop in between 10a.m. and 12 noon to Fairford Community Centre, Barker Room. If you have any questions, please call 07938 244335 or email admin@friendsoffairford.org.uk.

9. Indian Buffet feast with community group 

Why not join the Friends of Fairford & Lechlade Communities for an Indian Buffet Feast on Tuesday March 26 at 7pm at Kushi restaurant in Lechlade? The cost is £20 per head without drinks. You can buy soft drinks but, should you want any alcoholic drinks, please bring your own. There is a small charge for this. To book a place, please contact 01285 707300, admin@friendsoffairford.co.uk.

10. Easter activities at Lechlade Library

There will be free children’s Easter activities being held at Lechlade Library on Tuesday March 26 from 10.30am-12 noon. For more details, visit www.lechladelibrary.co.uk.