News from across Buckinghamshire this March 2014

PUBLISHED: 11:33 21 March 2014 | UPDATED: 11:33 21 March 2014

Geoffrey Palmer has supported many anti-HS2 campaign events

Geoffrey Palmer has supported many anti-HS2 campaign events


A round-up of fascinating stories from across Buckinghamshire

A moment to treasure outside the Guildhall: Suzanne Brown with supporters who watched the ceremony, including our editor, far leftA moment to treasure outside the Guildhall: Suzanne Brown with supporters who watched the ceremony, including our editor, far left

Suzanne joins some very famous names

If you see busy Suzanne Brown, Marlow’s Mayor, chasing sheep across the town’s bridge this spring, don’t blink as it will probably be a practice run for a prestigious event later this year, rather than an effort too catch some woolly escapees.

Suzanne, who’s never been one to ‘run with the herd’, has received the Freedom of the City of London, which includes the historic entitlement to drive sheep across London Bridge. The honour was bestowed in a ceremony overseen at London’s Guildhall by Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court, Murray Craig.

As Suzanne took the oath acknowledging her new status she was supported by a crowd of friends who had travelled up to the City, including Buckinghamshire Life editor Jan Raycroft and photographer Maureen McLean.

It all came about after Suzanne met Alderman Andrew Parmley last year when the Swan Upping Festival on the Thames reached Marlow. They discussed charity work – as mayor Suzanne has been supporting Marlow Age Concern and the efforts of Marlow Rowing Club to rebuild their headquarters.

“These days being a freeman is very much about charity and when Andrew said he was going to propose me to receive it I thought he might be joking,” says Suzanne. But then a letter arrived inviting her to a ceremony to receive the honour.

Now she is looking forward to Sunday, 5 October and another trip to London to actually herd sheep across that famous bridge. Suzanne will turn this into a charitable fund raiser and it’s hoped that local people will come to watch on the day or support her endeavours with a donation.

We’ll be there as well – particularly to see whether the immaculate mayor, with her suits and heels, will stick to form when it comes to shifting some not necessarily compliant sheep across London Bridge!

Freedom of the City

The first Freedom is believed to have been awarded in 1237 and in those days conveyed the right to earn money and own land, rather than be the property of a feudal lord.

It later became seen as a right to trade in the square mile through a Livery or Guild and is still strongly associated with the City Livery Companies.

Who has it?

Suzanne Brown joins a list including some of the most well known names in England, from history right up to the present day. And they include people from all walks of life, and many women. Among those who have received the honour are Lord Nelson, Florence Nightingale, Winston Churchill, Michael Caine, Jimmy Choo, Dame Judi

Dench, Princess Diana, Margaret Thatcher and JK Rowling.


So are you listening to us yet, Dave?

Actor Geoffrey Palmer, who lives at Lee Common, close to the proposed HS2 route, has continued to help front the battle against the high speed rail route which opponents say is a waste of money which will devastate our countryside.

He can now be seen on youtube reading a poem written by Wendover HS2 action group member Antony Chapman. The poem is addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron who, as we’ve said before, can hardly miss the direct messages to him on protest banners along the route to Chequers.

See Geoffrey’s youtube entry on And if you haven’t seen it yet, also take a look at the BBC ‘soapbox’ piece he produced at He concludes: “So Mr Cameron, stop this vanity project and leave our countryside alone.”

Meanwhile, we’re hoping to be glued to the television screen for one of those live House of Commons and House of Lords Select Committee hearings, after Buckinghamshire County Council’s defiant members once again sent their own message to government, voting unanimously to oppose the HS2 hybrid Bill at the next stage of the process.

This decisions means they will petition against the Bill and hopefully be able to present their case to select committees after its second reading. We reckon county council leader Martin Tett and his team will put up a good show, given the chance.

And when it comes to ‘reading’ this is a whopper, with the Environmental Statement for HS2 running to 48,000 pages, the longest ever Bill document presented to Parliament.

And with hundreds of missing pages now identified, opponents were given an extra 17 days to scrutinise it. How can it ever be enough?

Why not tell us your views on HS2. Email our editor: You’re also welcome to select another topic from Buckinghamshire Life, or one of your own choice.


Beverley’s Buckinghamshire Bake-Off

What’s going on here, you may ask? Well that’s TV cook and food writer Beverley Glock deep in her rhubarb patch, gathering stalks for your delight. See page XX for her treats and tips for making the most of spring produce.

But we also need you to support Beverley’s Buckinghamshire Bake-Off in aid of Sports Relief on Saturday, 22 March at The Potting Shed, Askett Nurseries, Aylesbury Road, Askett, just outside Princes Risborough.

An entry form is online at There are four categories:

there are four categories: cupcakes, biscuits, large or celebration cake, and healthy cake, muffin or biscuit. Each category us split into age groups, from under seven right up to the adult entries. There’s even a category for Bloke’s Biscuits.

All are to be sports themed and there will be some lovely prizes and medals for the winners. BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell will be giving out the prizes and there will be some surprise celebrity judges too.

Entries for adult are £5 each per category, for the under 16 categories it’s £3 each. At the end of the bake-off there will be a bake sale of all the entries to be donated to Sports Relief too.

The Potting Shed is a lovely country cafe on the edge of the Chiltern Hills serving homemade cakes, scones and biscuits, fabulous breakfasts and delicious lunches, so it’s the ideal venue and will be open on the day for refreshments.


Sounding dandy in Wendover

When you’re shopping in Wendover make sure to find your way to Dandy Kid, which has just opened in The Barnyard Courtyard. It’s the first retail outlet of Becks Clarke and Sarah Beattie (go on ladies, build an empire!) with an aim of bringing the best childrenswear brands to Buckinghamshire.

Becks and Sarah have handpicked a first collection for Spring/Summer 2014, aimed at boys and girls from babies up to age eight, together with accessories and all the bits and bobs children seem to need these days.

Sarah says: The focus is on fun, bold and contemporary design of excellent quality that children will enjoy wearing and using. The initial collection features some of the best up and coming homegrown British independent designers, as well as products from Scandinavia, France and the US.” Becks explained: “Our aim is simple really, to bring diverse and interesting children’s products that we love, together under one roof. We hope people like what they see as much as we do.”

They see this venture as a first challenge and will also work on an online offering to be launched later this year. The Dandy Kid is open from Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and on Sundays from 11am to 4pm.


Why do they do it?

You have to wonder why the word hasn’t got around yet that Bucks is the worst place to be if you have a penchant for dumping your rubbish in woodlands, tracks and gateways.

An Aylesbury man is the latest person up before the courts, this time facing fines and costs totalling £1,845 for dumping waste wood off Green Lane, Owlswick, near Princes Risborough. He did it after dark, but his vehicle details were captured on a covert ‘low light’ camera system placed there due to regular fly-tipping.

There have now been 406 convictions – around one a week – since the Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire began a campaign which they believe has saved council taxpayers over £1 million.

Report fly-tipping in Bucks on 0845 330 1856 or report it online at

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