It was as everyone agreed one of the best ever rose days with a procession of floats that wouldn't have looked out place in the Lord Mayor's show - made all the more a great Goostrey spectacle because for once the heavens took pity and the rain stayed away! The sunniest festival for several years was also one of the biggest turnouts for the crowning of the Rose queen, 13-year-old Anna DeSouza, as part of a village tradition founded in 1905! I don't recall seeing so many attractions and events on the fIeld - even a tug of war won with some mighty muscle by the Crown Inn - and the high standard of the floats must have given the judges a hard time!The Goostrey Gooseberry Society in which I must declare an interest had James Bond as its theme this year but in the event 007 was left shaken and stirred like the hero's vodka and martini - a magnificent Vesu float built by the Viking Explorer Scout Unit won the silver trophy. The gooseberry men put up a good show though but they were no match for their nearest rivals dressed to kill with swords and fierce-some looking horns!
Gooseberry Society's float
Sue Mottershead, the Rose Day chairman, was delighted at the success of the festival and said it was due in no small part not only to the patrons for their financial support but to the scores of volunteers helping to make the event run smoothly, as well as the hard work behind the scenes of the organising committee. *Watch out for more pictures from the day!
It seems these days we are on an endless moving belt fighting to protect the environment or defending our villages from the mass assault of the developers. Now after ongoing fears in Goostrey over housing, still an unresolved issue, the latest battle ahead I guess will be shale gas. Or as still shaken parts of earthquake-hit Lancashire knows only too well - fracking. How can this be of concern to us, it might be asked. Well, if you Google it, as they say, you will rapidly discover that Goostrey is possibly part of a large chunk of east Cheshire where it appears trillions of cubic feet of the oil bearing rock might lurk beneath our feet! If you doubt what I say you will find a map on a new site devoted to the issue in our part of the county on Facebook I came across by chance. Of course, should our village be earmarked for a fracking well it could bring untold riches if the dash for gas went on unhindered. In return for a promised handsome pot of £100,000 plus one per cent of the revenue I have no doubt our Cheshire East council is already counting the gas dollars in the bank! I will say nothing more on the subject until I have some hard facts. Instead I will switch to the village event of the year, the Rose Festival this week-end. There have been more wet years than fine years, I seem to think, but I could be wrong. Until the other day the forecast appeared to favour, if not wall to wall sunshine, at least a fine day for once. Now with rain in the offing for the next couple of days who knows what it will be like on the day - although my long-range forecast tells me it should not rain! I still have memories of last year when all was set fair until the procession set off from Booth Bed Lane and then the heavens opened just in time for the festivities. One of the features of the festival is the friendly (?) competition between the float-makers. Many of their themes are now an open secret at the bars of the Crown Inn and the Red Lion, but there are some entries still to spring a surprise on the day.Whatever happens, I am sure all the village will have a great day, rain or fine.
DOCTORS PLEA FOR CASH INJECTION Assurances by the government that despite the present age of austerity-led slash and burn, the NHS is ring-fenced are just weasel words it seems. I picked up a leaflet at Holmes Chapel Health Centre the other day that presents a far different picture in this corner of Cheshire. Since April local health services have been managed by a new Eastern Cheshire Clincial Commisioning Group. The Holmes Chapel practice is one of 23 in the group which has a budget of £221.5 million to buy all medications and medical care for the population of East Cheshire. Sounds a lot of lolly but already the practices fear that they will have overspent by £12.5 million by the end of the financial year. The group's gripe - quite rightly - is that it is receiving the smallest amount of cash in the North West despite having one of the largest populations of elderly patients, many in nursing homes, requiring a high use of medical and social services. And the government has totally ignored this in allocating the cash in spite of promises that handing over control of the budget to local doctors and patients healthcare services would improve. In what doctors say is "grossly unfair" other groups in areas like Chester, Stockport, Manchester and Liverpool have some 50 per cent more to spend on patients. So far pleas from the medicos for a further injection of cash have fallen on deaf ears in Whitehall, and now they are turning to patients to front up their local MP - including the chief of slash and burn Chancellor George Osborne - to explain why the government is spending less on their healthcare when they pay the same income tax, national insurance and VAT as everyone else. Doctors say to balance the budget at the end of the year is a tall order and very serious with the only option a major change in the way GP and hospital services operate. Of course, another option would be to give two fingers to the health mandarins and overspend, but the prognosis then is the arrival of accountants to axe services - no doubt on fat salaries - to balance the books! +Fiona Bruce MP (Congleton) email: fiona.bruce.@parliament.uk George Osborne MP (Tatton) email: email@example.com David Rutley MP (Macclesfield) email: firstname.lastname@example.org