Aerial view from the church around the Wiltshire village of Bromham in Wiltshire, near to the towns of Calne, Melksham, Devizes and Chippenham

By Bromham Webmaster, Mar 22 2018 08:19PM

OLD soldier Vic Reed from Bromham, near Devizes, celebrated his 99th birthday with his lifelong friend and comrade Ivor Gardner, who will in turn be 99 in December.

Mr Reed, on the left in our picture, happily shared a drop of the 'good ole mountain dew' with his friend.

The two men joined the army together in 1937 and three years ago were honoured by the French government for their part in the Normandy landings in 1944 when they were made Chevaliers de la Legion d' honneur.

Having joined the local T.A. before the war, they disembarked on Gold Beach on June 6, 1944 as members of the mortar platoon of The Wiltshire Regiment.

They were inseparable until Mr Reed received leg wounds at Else, near Nijmegen, and was repatriated. He nearly lost his legs, but finally made a full recovery.

Mr Gardner fought on, to be a member of the relief party at Belsen. Since the war, they have remained close friends.

Peter Holt the standard Bearer from Bromham branch of the Royal British Legion said: "Good luck and many happy returns to this gallant gentleman."

The two men first became friends at Bromham Primary School and were together in The Bell at Bromham, which later became the Oliver Cromwell and is now an Indian restaurant, on the first Sunday evening following the outbreak of war in September, 1939.

A sergeant arrived and told them to meet in Devizes the next morning to join the Wiltshire Regiment.

Mr Gardner said a the time of them receiving their French honour: "We managed to stay together and were in the same platoon. I think we were just lucky that it worked out that way."

During the immediate months after landing on the beaches, they were engaged in many of the key battles to liberate France from the Germans. Both men attained the rank Sergeant.

They then took part in the liberation of Belgium before carrying on into Holland. It was near the Dutch town of Nijmegen that the two were finally separated when Mr Reed was seriously wounded in battle and had to return to England, where he spent many months in hospital.

The two men were helped to get their medals by friend Ray Cargill after French President Francoise Hollands announced in 2014 all surviving veterans who had fought in the liberation of France would be given France's highest award for bravery.

Gazette and Herald - 16 March 2018

By Bromham Webmaster, Jul 13 2017 08:23PM

MARK Wilkinson, a designer and inventor from Bromham, died on Wednesday 5th July aged 66 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

Tributes have been paid to an ‘incredible’, ‘passionate’ and ‘generous’ visionary who will likely be best remembered for his furniture design and the creation of the tradition English country kitchen style. He is survived by his wife, Cynthia, and adult children Gregory and Victoria.

Mark, who was awarded an OBE in the 2010 New Year Honours for his services to the furniture industry, founded Mark Wilkinson Furniture 36 years ago and ran the company with his wife, Cynthia until it was bought out in 2005. He returned as creative director in 2009 when the company was taken over by Canburg Ltd.

Mark and Cynthia also formed the Mark Wilkinson Foundation for Innovation and Employment charity to help people with dyslexia, a condition that affected Mark so badly that he could not read or write when he left school.

Cynthia, who was married to Mark for 37 years, said this week: “In his death Mark has left a cavern that cannot be filled. There will never be another Mark Wilkinson. He was a true individualist with an enquiring mind, delicate soul and a wicked sense of humour.

“He was so inventive and there was nothing he couldn’t do. His dyslexia meant he really had to make his own way in the world so he invented and created whatever he needed.

“While Mark was a busy man he was only too happy to help people, and since he died we’ve been inundated with people saying what a difference he made to their lives. He is very well respected and would be very proud of the legacy he’s left – I know I am.”

Mark’s friend of 30 years, Graham Morrison said: “Mark was really an artist and wood was one of his main mediums. Out of that came beautiful, beautiful furniture and other objects for the home. This was a guy who was told by his school teachers to go and stand in a bin because ‘that’s where you belong’.”

Ingrid Sidmouth, headteacher of local special needs school, Rowdeford added: “Mark has been a very enthusiastic and generous supporter of the school over many years and whenever he visited Rowdeford he was always so deeply interested in the children, the staff and our work.

“He will be a very great loss to Rowdeford Charity Trust and the school. We send our love and best wishes to Cynthia and their family at this very difficult time.”

When quoted in a group of famous dyslexics with Erin Brokovich, Mark said: “Dyslexia brings more gifts than glitches. If you have it, flaunt it. When you stumble hold out a hand. Help will come. When you achieve, stand proud and then lend a hand with humility.”

Mark’s funeral will be held at 1.30pm on Wednesday 19th July at St Nicholas Church, Bromham.

Gazette and Herald - 12 July 2017

By Bromham Webmaster, Jul 13 2017 08:19PM

BROMHAM Wednesday Club took inspiration from American President Donald Trump to triumph at the village carnival on Saturday with their own version of the Mexican Wall.

Club chairman Ross Paget jokingly said: “It was my idea but I think Mr Trump would be very impressed. We hope he will come and see what we did.

“We were presented with two very nice rosettes but we are hoping he will bring us a trophy. It has given us the idea of creating our own wall between Bromham and Rowde. It was our first time back in the carnival after about five years so we were delighted to win. It was a really good day with lots of people taking part.”

President Trump said earlier this year that he wanted to create an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall between the US and Mexico.

But despite Mr Paget’s tongue in cheek comment about Bromham and Rowde everyone was welcome at the carnival which was the highlight of two weeks of events.

Carnival chairman Pete Davis said: “We want to thank everyone who came out to support the carnival. Floats were amazing. It was just like the old days.

“Walkers were fantastic and the costumes were fabulous. What a great atmosphere. It was great to see The Wednesday Club back in the procession carrying on with the huge float tradition.

“All the float entries made this a truly memorable day. Thanks must go also to all the children and village organisations taking part in the procession as well. It’s a long walk for small legs.

"Thanks to stall holders for all the time spent touting wares to raise funds for the village and good causes.

“All the clearing up is done so we can sit back and start planning 2018.”

Carnival events also included a bake-off, which was held for the first time. It was judged by the Rev Ruth Schofield and experts from The Farm Cookery School.

Gazette and Herald - 26 June 2017

By Bromham Webmaster, Jul 13 2017 08:15PM

CARNIVAL fun and frolics start in Bromham tomorrow (June 9) when young royalty are chosen ready for two weeks of celebrations.

A carnival prince and princess plus a fairy princess and a young prince will be chosen in the village social centre from 7pm. Children aged from seven to 11 can compete to be prince and princess while youngsters under seven are needed for the two other categories.

Winners and runners up will receive cash prizes. After the judging a junior quiz will be held with teams of six mixed age group children.

Next up with a horse race night at The Owl on Saturday (10) at 7.30pm and then a car boot sale in the social centre care park from 12.30pm. This will be followed by a pet show on the Millennium Field from 2pm.

On Monday (12) action will move back to The Owl at 7.30pm for a pubathlon which includes traditional games such as table skittles, shove halfpenny, curling, skittles, darts and speed pool.

On Tuesday there is junior housey housey at the social centre from 5pm followed by adult bingo at 8pm. A music quiz will be held at The Owl on Wednesday from 7.30pm.

Next Friday there will be a field events evening at Jubilee Field from 7pm which will include welly throwing, bale pushing and a mower race.

The carnival will culminate in the parade which will be held at Millennium Field on June 24 from 2pm to 9.30pm. Judging will be at Pound Field at 1pm and the procession will set off at 2pm. There will be live music from 6pm to 9.30pm.

Gazette and Herald - 7 June 2017

By Bromham Webmaster, Jul 13 2017 08:11PM

FARMER Jim Butler is about to resubmit plans for a large concrete platform and a track across an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which last year caused an outcry in Etchilhampton, near Devizes.

But Mr Butler, who owns 2,700 acres of land in villages surrounding Devizes, says this time he will go in person to Etchilhampton to speak to the parish council and villagers.

He said this week: “I should have gone before to explain what I want to do and why. But I was taken by surprise by the opposition and so decided to withdraw the plan.”

The project which affects Etchilhampton is part of a £8 million scheme for an an anaerobic digester at Mr Butler’s Bromham House Farm, Bromham.

The digester, which is due to go live by the end of July, will convert cattle waste into both gas and electricity as part of a project with Wales and West Utilities.

Mr Butler said: “It will be green energy. It will produce enough gas to power between 5,000 and 6,000 homes. A pipeline from the the digester out to main supply on the main road has already been laid and we are nearly ready to go live.”

Mr Butler, whose family have farmed in Bromham since the time of the English Civil War, explained that as part of the scheme he wanted to be able to store chopped up energy crops such as maize and rye grown on land in All Cannings and Etchilhampton on a large concrete pad at Manor Farm in All Cannings.

He said: “It would be surrounded by a lagoon which would take any run off to prevent contamination.

“At the moment our farm vehicles have to use the small lanes between All Cannings and Etchilhampton which are very dangerous for large vehicles. The track would allow us to move between the two farms without using the ordinary road.”

The crops stored in All Cannings at a farm run by John Curnick, who is related to Mr Butler, would then be taken to Bromham to fuel the digester.

In October villagers in Etchilhampton expressed their fears about the scheme and there were also concerns from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Sustainable Devizes, Kennet CPRE and North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty who all wrote to Wiltshire Council to object.

The wildlife trust pointed out worries about river contamination. It’s head of conservation Stephen Davis said: “It is most concerning to hear of the proposals to store such large volumes.”

Gazette and Herald - 6 June 2017

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View from the tower of SAt Nicholas Church, Bromham, Wiltshire