Thursday, 24 April 2014

Rain fails to dampen St George's day spirit

Rose and Castle squire Steve Bignall
receives a flag of St George from Rodney
Wardlaw of the Royal Society of St George
Hundreds turned out to watch the flag of St. George raised at a special ceremony at damp Stoke Bruerne despite grey skies and torrential rain - the first time a flag of any kind has flown on the canalside here for over twenty years. The last flag to fly was a a pair of ladies' outsize blue bloomers with a British Waterways logo on them hoisted as an April Fool’s day joke on April 1st 1992. Unsurprisingly, someone took umbrage and the halyards to the flagpole were cut and couldn’t be replaced because telephone lines across the canal prevented the pole from being lowered.

Recently local resident Kathryn Dodington contacted BT, Colin Richards and his team at BT’s local network business Openreach swung into action and earlier this month telephone cables were re-routed enabling local volunteers to drop the flagpole and replace the missing halyards under the auspices of the Canal & River Trust, successor to British Waterways.

The colourful St. George's day ceremony which featured local school children from Stoke Bruerne Primary School reciting the story of St. George and the Dragon, as well as dancing on the lockside from Stoke Bruerne based Rose & Castle Morris, saw a formal presentation of the flag by Rodney Wardlaw, member of The Royal Society of St. George before it was hoisted to pole position overlooking the canal. From now on the flag will be always flying in this corner of Northamptonshire!

Image: © James Rudd (About my area NN12)
Words: © Lynda Payton
More images here

Thursday, 3 April 2014

A flag on the flagpole - a bit of a flutter in Stoke Bruerne

The team lowering the
The flag flying proudly from the
flagpole - next project is to rid
Stoke Bruerne of all the cables that
cross the canal
A few weeks after I moved into my new (to me) house in Stoke Bruerne BT rang to ask if everything was OK with my landline and broadband service.  It was, but now, as is the custom, the caller asked if there was anything else BT could help with whilst they were in contact with me.  'Well as it happens' I said 'there's a flagpole opposite my house and the village cannot use it because of your BT cables which are in the way of the villagers maintaining the flagpole and it's got no halyard'.

The short answer to my statement was they would put me in touch with the right department; they did; and the longer version of the story is that on 2-April Openreach (a BT subsidiary company) came along (after all the Risk Assessments and Method Statements were completed) and moved the said cable quite some distance allowing the volunteer team to lower the flagpole, clean it, check it for damage and fit a new halyard.  Tonight we have a Union Flag flying proudly from the top of the flagpole.

A huge vote of thanks to Openreach for doing the work free of charge and to one of the volunteers for having the foresight to bring a bottle of champagne to celebrate the occasion.  For the record the last known item to be raised up the flagpole was a pair of ladies bloomers with the initials BW stamped on them and that was on 01-April-1991 - some 23 years ago.