Saturday, 29 December 2007

Ron receives MBE for services to air force veterans

A WEST Somerset man has received the MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours for his services to the Royal Air Forces Association.
Ron Storey, who lives with his wife Joan in Spring Gardens, Minehead, was the only local resident to receive an honour this year.
Mr Storey (pictured), aged 86, was nominated for his work in fund-raising with RAFA throughout Somerset.
He has supported RAFA for 58 years since joining it in 1949, a year after it was formed.
During the Second World War, he was a wireless operator on bomber aircraft and on one raid he was shot down over France.
However, Flt Sgt Storey managed to evade the Germans with the help of French farmers and the Maquis - French resistance fighters - and returned to England unharmed.
Elsewhere, there was also an MBE for Timothey Dallimore, who is the project co-ordinator of the Somerset Vernacular Building Research Group, which is currently undertaking a three-year study of about 100 houses in Stogursey.
Mr Dallimore received his honour for services to heritage in Somerset.
Somerset’s top fireman, Paul Young - Chief Fire Oficer of the combined Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service - was made a CBE in the honours list for his services to local government.
A Queen’s Fire Service Medal was also given to Robert Fyfe, the brigade’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer, for distinguished service.
Mr Young said: “I am pleased and proud to receive this honour. Having spent 34 enjoyable years serving in the fire and rescue service, it is gratifying to be so honoured.
“However, I believe that this honour reflects the good work achieved by the service in general and not just by me personally.”
Mr Fyfe said: “I also am proud to receive this honour and I have no doubt that it is largely due to the support of my colleagues in the service and to them I am eternally grateful.”
Robert Beckley, the Deputy Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police, was awarded a Queen’s Police Medal for his distinguished service.
DCC Beckley is responsible for the day-to-day performance of the constabulary and delivery of strategic change in the force.
His award from the Queen particularly recognises his work with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) race and diversity committee and terrorism and allied matters committee.
He set up and led the National Community Tension Team in its work in respect of community cohesion, public disorder, and the community strand of the national prevention of terrorism strategy.
DCC Beckley also has wide command experience, having been the police commander for the Potters Bar train crash in 2002, leading the national police service response to community tensions and concerns after the 7/7 London bombings, and helping to co-ordinate the response to the Buncefield oil depot fire.
DCC Beckley said: “It is with pride and a sense of achievement that I receive this honour, but it also reflects the professionalism and commitment of many people who have supported my work.”
Chief Constable Colin Port said: “I am absolutely delighted with this honour bestowed upon Rob.
“It is thoroughly deserved as he has made an outstanding contribution to policing for 21 years, demonstrated in particular in his leadership after the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005.”

Monday, 24 December 2007

Grant scheme aids homeowners on low incomes

HOMEOWNERS in West Somerset who need essential home improvements but who are on low incomes and/or benefits are being urged to apply for low-cost loans from a district council-backed scheme.
The scheme’s interest rate is fixed at three per cent, and monthly repayments are low and will not rise for the entire lifetime of the loan.
West Somerset Council’s health and well-being portfolio holder, Councillor Kate Kravis, said: “Homeowners of all ages can borrow up to £15,000 for essential home improvements, and all applications are treated in confidence.
“The cost of borrowing is far less than you will find from high street lenders and I cannot recommend the scheme highly enough.
“Projects we can consider include repairs to leaky roofs, replacing boilers and radiators, installing central heating, replacing rotten windows or doors, and updating bathrooms or kitchens over 20 years old.
“In fact, we will consider any improvements that help local homes meet the decent homes standard.”
Trustworthy, experienced advisers ensure that homeowners receive the right financial package for their circumstances.
Council environmental health manager Ian Timms said: “The adviser will support applicants throughout the whole application process and the council will inspect the work to make sure it has been completed to a good standard.
“We work with the Wessex Reinvestment Trust, who co-ordinate the scheme and remove as much of the worry as possible from applicants.
“We have invested funds to offer people this great opportunity to improve their homes, and we sincerely hope they will make use of it.”
For more information, contact Julie Payne at West Somerset Council on 01643 703704 or log on to the Wessex Home Improvement Loans website at

New Year 'WISH' from council for warmer homes in 2008

WEST Somerset Council is ‘WISHing’ residents a warm, happy, and healthy New Year by supporting a free scheme to help local people over the age of 60 stay warm and well, and financially independent.
The council is backing Warmer Improved Somerset Homes (WISH), which helps people with the process of applying for grants to improve their homes and ensures any work is undertaken by trusted local traders.
Samples of the work are also inspected by the WISH team to make sure it has been completed to a good standard.
The council’s health and well-being portfolio holder, Councillor Kate Kravis, said: “Homeowners and privately renting tenants over 60 years of age may be able to get help with insulation, heating systems, household repairs, and adaptations to their homes to make their lives easier.
“This is a great scheme and I hope people will use this free, confidential service to find out exactly what they are entitled to, and what help is available.
“All homeowners over the age of 70 are eligible for free cavity wall or loft insulation.
“Our friendly team of specialist advisers can also help with sound advice on benefits.”
People who are not entitled to free help may still find they are eligible for grants, or a substantial discount.
WISH is run jointly by the Bristol and Somerset Energy Efficiency Advice Centre and the Somerset Coast Home Improvement Agency (SCHIP), which is supported by West Somerset Council and Sedgemoor District Council and funded by the Big Lottery Fund.
More information is available by calling the WISH team free on 0800 512 012.