The prospect of a slow descent into ill health prompted 92-year-old Shirley Brown to take her own life, an inquest has decided.
The wartime Wren and retired civil servant was found floating in a pond at Clackers Brook Farm, Bromham, by her son, David, on May 25 last year. A post-mortem examination found she had drowned.
David Brown told assistant deputy coroner Ian Singleton at the inquest in Salisbury last Thursday that his mother was “nothing less than a wonderful lady who valued her independence extremely”.
Mrs Brown, who lived in Corsham, frequently visited her son and his family in Bromham. She had been in good health until early last year when she started sleeping badly and her eyesight began to fail. As a result, she was unable to enjoy her love of the arts.
Mr Brown said: “She read avidly and used to do the Daily Telegraph crossword, but that was lost to her.”
Mrs Brown had made a previous attempt to take her life, the inquest heard.
Two days before her death, Mr Brown visited her at Corsham and found her lying on the floor, having taken an overdose of sleeping tablets.
She had scribbled on both arms in ballpoint ink ‘DNR’ – do not resuscitate.
On the day of her death, Mrs Brown was visiting Clackers Brook Farm with her family. She seemed in good spirits when Mr Brown left to take his grandsons home to Bradford on Avon.
He said she had agreed to talk that evening about going to Dignitas, the Swiss clinic where terminally ill patients can self-administer a lethal cocktail of drugs.
He told Mr Singleton: “From that conversation I did not expect to find what I did when I got home. I looked around the house and there was no sign of her. Then I had a premonition and I walked down to the lake. She was lying face up about three or four feet from the bank.”
Although the emergency services were called, it was clear Mrs Brown had died.
Mr Singleton said he was satisfied Mrs Brown had taken her own life. Mr Brown thanked the emergency services for their kindness and professionalism.
Gazette and Herald - Saturday 11 May 2013
Gardener Alan Wiltshire has been awarded a prestigious long-service medal by the Royal Horticultural Society, after 50 years’ service at a private estate.
Mr Wiltshire, 65, was presented with the medal last week, at Bowden Park Estate, near Lacock, where he spent his entire career.
He said: “I started off as an under-gardener, and was then made up to head gardener, which is very rare these days, as they tend to get someone in from outside.
“I was brought up in Bromham, which is a market garden area, and I used to help my father and uncle on the allotments. My father was a lorry driver. He used to make deliveries to the estate and heard there was a gardening job going.”
When he started working on the estate the grounds were used for growing produce which would be sold at local markets.
Mr Wiltshire said: “I used to take cauliflowers and lettuces to the market, before the supermarkets came in. Now I just tend to the garden. Last summer was so wet, I’d never known anything like it, the worst summer I have ever worked in.”
He still lives in a cottage on the estate with his wife Denise, a retired childminder, who he met when she worked on the estate.
Society president Elizabeth Banks said: “I would like to thank Alan for all his years of hard work. You are a inspiration to us all.”
Gazette and Herald - Friday 10 May 2013
ONE of the county’s top gardening events, the Rowdeford Garden Fair, takes place on Sunday, May 19.
The fair, held in the grounds of Rowdeford School at Rowde, near Devizes, offers everything for the gardening enthusiast.
Leading growers will be selling a range of plants, including some more unusual varieties, as well as garden furniture and ornaments.
There is also plenty to keep younger members of the family amused, including shows with Bromham magician Jack Stephens, a bug hunt, face painting, cuddly ferrets to hold and even a visit to the piglets that now live at the school.
Refreshments will be provided by Vaughan’s Kitchen and the Bromham WI café, and there will be a Pimms tent and soft drinks and ices from Yeo Valley organic dairy, while The Terry Veale Jazz Trio provides the music.
Gates open at 11am, entrance is £4, with children under 16 free, and there’s plenty of free parking.
As the site is on school grounds, no dogs are permitted.
The event is run in aid of Rowdeford Charity Trust, which raises funds to further enhance the facilities at Rowdeford School.
Funds have already been raised to restore the Victorian walled garden and apple store, as well as to create an arts centre.
This year’s funds will go towards the creation of an eco-learning centre.
A shelter, which serves as a woodland classroom, has already been created, where visitors can learn about woodland crafts or see the wildflower meadow.
This is Wiltshire - Wednesday 8 May 2013
A joint hunt master and a terrierman pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett today after they caused the "most severe" damage an RSPCA officer had seen in 25 years.
Stuart Radborne, 29, of Abbotswood Farm, Bromham, and Ben Pethers, 29, of Hoopers Pool, Southwick, were caught 'waist deep' in the sett after frantically excavating it to try and find a lost terrier called Jimmy.
Members of the public suspected them of illegal hunting and alerted the police and the RSPCA.
They were charged with the badger sett attack and jointly charged with breaching the Hunting Act along with Jonathon Seed, 54, the former master of the Avon Vale Hunt, and two other hunt staff, Paul Tylee-Hinder, 58, of Quemerford, Calne, and Josh Charlesworth, 18, of East Tytherton.
But today, at North Wiltshire Magistrates Court in Chippenham, the RSPCA dropped the hunt charges after Radborne and Pethers pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett.
Outside court Mr Seed, re-elected a Conservative Wiltshire Councillor for Seend in Friday’s elections, condemned the RSPCA prosecution as a "complete outrage" and a "disgrace".
Mr Seed, 54, of Chittoe Heath, Bromham, said: "It has been a complete outrage and I would hope that every single member of the public think as to whether they give their hard earned money to the society in order to waste it.
"The RSPCA has spent £50,000 pursuing this and they have been given £500 in costs. It is an absolute disgrace.
"The two members of our group who pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett is an unfortunate event but they were going after their dog and the sentence reflected the judge’s view."
District Judge Simon Cooper heard that on March 6 2012 the five men, who were out hunting, were alerted that their dogs had marked a fox in a nearby field.
Radbourne and Pethers, who were riding on a quad bike, reached the area first and began to assess the situation.
The court was told the inexperienced terrier, Jimmy, escaped, ran off and disappeared.
The huntsmen located the dog in the set after they heard barking from below the ground.
They tried to use a location collar to pull him out but when that failed they began digging at the ground to free him, the court was told.
Jeremy Cave, prosecuting, said: "An onlooker saw the men digging in the sett and describes the digging as furious with soiling flying.
"The police and the RSPCA turned up and the men were questioned.
"There had been considerable interference with the set, digging and filling in the entrances. In total there were 15 entrances to the sett, 11 of which had been blocked.
"RSPCA Inspector Ian Burns, who turned up at the site, described it as 'the worst find he has ever witnesses in his 25 years of being an inspector'."
He added that Radbourne had been seen by another onlooker waist deep in the sett digging.
The traumatised terrier eventually resurfaced two hours after it had first become stuck, suffering deep cuts and puncture wounds to his neck and face.
The RSPCA had originally brought charges against all five huntsman of breaking the Hunting Act ban, but decided to drop the cases after accepting Radbourne and Pethers guilty pleas.
Mr Seed, Mr Tylee-Hinder, and Mr Charlesworth, of East Tytherton, all denied any wrong-doing.
Clive Rees, defending Radbourne, told the court: "It was certainly a badger sett and it was accepted that he had been the one who was up to his waist in it and he took full responsibility for that.
"But it was out of concern for the terrier.
"Mr Radbourne accepted his responsibility from the beginning. Seeing it was an active badger sett made him even more concerned about Jimmy."
Janet Gedrych, for Mr Pethers, said her client had accepted that it was "reckless" to let Jimmy free.
"It was clear that Jimmy had escaped and it was reckless to allow the dog out of the cage before fully investigating," he said.
"He accepts that he was digging in an effort to find his dog, he didn't intentionally set out to damage the sett but he acted recklessly to find his lost dog."
District Judge Cooper handed the pair a £300 fine and ordered them to pay £250 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
He told them: "In my mind the main aspect of this case was a failure to control Jimmy.
"Reliable or not, he should have been kept in his box. He got out and disappeared down the sett.
"Why he did it is speculation, but that he should have been allowed to do it was wrong. You are both responsible and you both could have prevented it."
Gazette and Herald - Tuesday 7 May 2013
Farmers had to contend with challenging conditions at the annual match of the White Horse Ploughing Society.
A deluge on Saturday afternoon resulted in the ground at St Edith’s Marsh Farm, Bromham, being extremely muddy for the event on Sunday.
Farmer Jim Butler, on whose land the match was held, said: “Some of the old trailers got stuck in the mud and couldn’t finish their plots, some people pulled out because they had valuable machines and didn’t want to get them muddy.
“It was some of the toughest conditions we have had due to the weather but the competitors persevered. It sorted the men from the boys.”
There was a new class this year for novices and Mr Butler was pleased by the number of entrants.
The competitors were from Wiltshire, Cornwall, Kent, Shropshire and Wales and used vintage machines dating from 1939 to 1979. Some took part in ploughing for the national championships on Saturday , which finished before the rain started. Sunday was dry and more than 500 spectators attended.
As well as the ploughing, there were static machines including bulldozers, crawlers and lorries.
The event is expected to have raised up to £2,000 for Dorothy House Hospice Care and a donation will be made to Jemima’s Gift, set up by the parents of ten-year-old Jemima Prees, of Colerne, who died in a skiing accident.
Gazette and Herald - Wednesday 17 April 2013
A gathering of Pagets is taking place at Bromham Social Centre on Saturday evening with some family members coming from the United States.
Members of the family are arriving from Baltimore to meet other Pagets. Dave Paget, who is helping organise the event, said: “They want to meet as many descendants of George Lewis Paget, born in 1849, as they can.
“George and his wife Harriet had 13 children but sadly they lost three of their sons in the First World War. However, the remaining ten children were most productive and so the hall at Bromham Social Centre should be thoroughly packed on the night.”
Gazette and Herald - Wednesday 10 April 2013
Bromham Parish Council
BECOME A PARISH COUNCILLOR
13 Parish Councillors required
Notice of Election – 15th March 13
Close of Nominations – noon Friday 5th April 13
Publication of Statement of Nominated Persons - noon Tuesday 9th April 13
Close of Withdrawals – noon Wednesday 10th April 13
Notice of Poll – Wednesday 24th April 13
Elections – Thursday May 2nd 13
NOMINATION PACKS AVAILABLE/DOWNLOADED FROM WILTSHIRE COUNCIL
ELECTION OF WILTSHIRE COUNCIL UNITARY COUNCILLOR
Nomination forms available as above
Bromham-based Raising the Baa has ended its full year of trading on a high by being nominated as finalist in three Wiltshire business awards initiatives.
The enterprise offers an alternative form of corporate team building activity involving the herding of sheep. Director of the company and life-long shepherd Chris Farnsworth said: “I came up with the idea when Swindon charity Inner Flame needed an outdoors exercise that would help bond a group of urban teenagers and enhance their levels of confidence”.
Whilst team building with sheep continues to be a part of Inner Flame’s regular courses, Raising the Baa has over the past year attracted large corporate clients including HSBC, Sainsbury’s and IKEA, numerous smaller companies as well as Championship football club Burnley.
Such is the originality of the concept that the company hit the headlines of several national newspapers in its infancy and appeared on BBC’s The One Show and Points South West.
“The coverage certainly helped to raise our awareness in our early days and it’s amazing what power the words ‘as seen on TV’ provides when talking with larger organisations” remarked Director of Raising the Baa, Caroline Palmer.
Farnsworth and Palmer, business as well as life partners, are excited about the future of the business, which they plan to expand through a network of associate trainers and shepherds.
“We’ve received much interest from overseas as well as the UK from sheep farmers wishing and needing to diversify their core business” said Farnsworth.
The results of the awards will be known next month.
Swindon Advertiser - Friday 22nd March 2013