MEMORIES of LORD JOFFE
A true friend of Liddington and Swindon
It was more than 45 years ago that I first met Joel Joffe. His newly established company, Hambro Life (later known as Allied Dunbar) was setting up its main offices in Swindon, and Joel was the most senior of the directors and executives who were re-locating to the area.
His reputation had preceded his arrival. He had become well known for being part of the legal team that defended Nelson Mandela and other members of the African National Congress who had been put on trial in Pretoria on charges of sabotage. Following the “Rivonia Trial”, Joel and his wife Vanetta had left South Africa and come to England. Mr. Mandela and the others had been sentenced to life imprisonment, and were suffering under the harsh regime of Robben Island, but they lived on to inspire future generations.
This put me, as a newly qualified lawyer, in great awe of Joel. However, a little later, when Ruth and I moved to Liddington we found that Joel and Vanetta, and their family, were already established here. It soon became clear that he was the most modest, reasonable, and approachable person. His fame in legal and humanitarian circles, and his success in business, did not impinge on his character. In the Village he generally kept in the background, not interfering in village affairs. But quietly, and without outward show, he supported local projects, attended meetings, and could be relied upon to give help and advice when it was needed. It is well known, of course, that he supported numerous local and national charities, including being chairman of Oxfam.
When in 2000 he became a life peer, Joel took the title of Baron Joffe, of Liddington in the County of Wilts. In that way he recognised the village in which he and his family had lived for so long. As a village community we were proud of his achievements. As he wound down his other activities, he continued to be seen frequently at local functions and events. Last December he and Vanetta hosted the unveiling of the sculpture of an African elephant (executed by local sculptor David Lomax) in the grounds of the Manor. It was a bitterly cold day, despite which Joel was wearing no overcoat, only a light jacket. My last meeting with him was at a lunch party earlier this year at the home of a mutual friend. He seemed to be on good form and recounted some reminiscences of many years ago.
It was shortly after that we heard that he had been taken ill. He died as he had lived, without fuss or ceremony. He leaves a big gap in our village community. We shall miss his tall, slightly stooping figure, the gentle South African accented voice, the warm smile, and his delightfully casual demeanour- which masked the sharp brain and keen intellect.
Joel’s second given name was Goodman. It has only struck me recently how appropriate this is. He was truly a Good Man. And one much mourned by our community.
Parish Council Annual Report 2016-2017
11 meetings were held during the year on the 1st Wednesday of the month except for August. We now have a full quota of Councillors after co-opting Fiona Spillane in June 2016 and Lorraine Brown in April this year. Sarah Hill is our www.liddington.org webmaster and Fiona Spillane has taken on responsibility for the village Community Speed Watch team.
As you will have seen from my letter distributed in March to all houses in Liddington the Parish Council has had to take on some of the ground maintenance services formerly the responsibility of the Borough Council. This was a fait accompli and has required a large percentage increase in the Parish Precept. However we expect to provide an improved service using our contractors.
Again our main concern over the year has been road safety.
Transfer of Services
Mainly due to the Transfer of Services from the Borough to the Parish Council the Precept for 2017-18 was set to £8,350, or £49.12 for a Band D property. This represents an increase of 43% over the last 2 years. The contract to provide the transferred service has been placed with Adams and Watt Ltd who will be maintaining the grassed areas around the village at fortnightly intervals during the growing season. We hope you will see a significant improvement but please let us know of any concerns you may have.
SBC will continue to be responsible for the main through routes as regards street cleaning and fly tipping
Medbourne Lane: still an issue especially due to narrow roads, horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians combined with peak hour traffic due to congestion at junction 15 of the M4, and drivers looking for a short cut. It is hoped that there will be observable benefits following next year’s planned improvements for Jn 15. Some signage changes are proposed to restrict access.
B4192/Purley Rd speeding: A traffic manager from SBC attended our June 2016 meeting when this issue was discussed in detail and at which 7 members of the public signed up to support the Community Speed Watch team. Unfortunately there has been little progress except for monitoring traffic speeds using rubber strips over a 5 day period in September where 20% of vehicles passing Church Rd were observed to have exceeded 35mph increasing to over 65% at the 30mph signs into the village.
With further Community Speed Watch training in the village at the end of March there are only just sufficient volunteers for speed monitoring which began 2 weeks ago. More volunteers need to be trained to spread the load, so if you can spare the time then please volunteer.
Development at Badbury Park continues but we are still unclear as to when Dayhouse Lane (DHL) will be crossed. This continues to concern us as it may result in traffic flow from the development onto DHL and through Liddington and Badbury. This will continue to be monitored
We continue to monitor the NEV development, particularly Redlands Farms and Lotmead, and to support Wanborough in ensuring the infrastructure and the Southern Link Rd to/from the A419 are constructed at an early stage of the development thereby avoiding access via nearby villages particularly Wanborough.
On our 2 village clean-up days in the autumn and spring helpers cleared and cut back some of the trees and bushes alongside footpaths. Litter dropped by motorists and fly tipping are a big problem. The fruit and ornamental trees planted down from Jubilee Gardens 2 years ago have been a great success.
If you have a good idea for a village project now is the time to come and discuss it with us.
Village Hall: The Parish Council gave a grant of £1,109.28 to install new efficient LED Lighting in the main hall
Superfast Rural Broadband: The wireless 4G LTE mast in Wanborough is now expected to be operational at the end of May some 10 months
later than expected. This is being installed by UKB Networks and should provide a minimum speed of 28Mb/s.
Playing Field: Equipment is checked every 2 weeks and annually by external contractor. Our new contractor will be maintaining the grass and hedges. Some repairs have been done to the play equipment. Do let us know if you come across any faults.
Library Services: The Mobile Library service has been withdrawn. Swindon has also reduced the number of libraries to 5 and opening hours. I would like to thank all my fellow Councillors and especially our Clerk for all their support over the last year and hope we can make good
progress again in 2017-18.
I would also like to thank the residents of the village for supporting village activities and the village clean-ups. Remember that your support and your feedback to the Parish Council are essential in helping to improve our village.
Chairman, Liddington Parish Council Date: 3rd May 2017
On Dec 4th a truly wonderful addition to our village was unveiled, to a crowd of villagers, friends, family and helpers. Local Artist David Lomax created this plaster sculpture from the original casts which he used to make bronze statues of the Hoarsib bull elephant in 1992.
Lord Joffe of Liddington Manor made a place for the elephant on his land adjoining the Coombe. Our bull elephant seems to be just stepping out for a stroll in his new home. We hope his stay in Liddington will be long and happy.
Liddington Christmas Concert
This enchanting event, held on 9th December, featured the Madrigal Ensemble from Bristol University, who treated us with their wonderful singing. We also enjoyed a visit from Father Christmas, and a poetry reading by our village poet Maurice Spillane.
Mince pies and seasonal Gemütlichkeit!
The New Bells are HERE!!!
Liddington Bells Dedication Service
The Dedication of the new bells took place on Saturday 29 October. The choral service was conducted by the Rt Revd Mike Hill, Bishop of Bristol with the choir of Christ Church, Old Town, Swindon. The guest organist was Peter Eyles.
Summary Report of Speed Survey
A survey of traffic speeds on the B4192 through the village was conducted by Swindon Borough Council between the 18th and 25th of September 2016. Speed monitoring equipment was placed on the 30mph signs at both the Aldbourne and Commonhead (Swindon) ends of the village. A third measurement location was placed at the junction of Church Road. According to the traffic management department at SBC, the results of the survey at Church Road indicate average speeds are within the enforcement threshold for the posted speed limit. The speeds of traffic at both edges of the village are higher than desirable, particularly at the Commonhead end.
|Aldbourne end||5 Day Avg Speed||5 Day 85%ile Speed|
|North-westbound||36.2 mph||43.2 mph|
|South-eastbound||39 mph||45.3 mph|
|North-westbound||32.2 mph||37.8 mph|
|South-eastbound||33 mph||39.5 mph|
|North-westbound||39.4 mph||45.7 mph|
|South-eastbound||39.1 mph||47.1 mph|
Stunning video of Wiltshire from the air from Visit Wiltshire