December Edition...

As 2023 draws to a close, we’ve brought you a nice Christmassy edition full of festive cheer. Join Ben Stanley “Down on the Farm” as he tells us what farmers are up to over the festive period - his normal highly entertaining read.

Thanks to Rev Sally Ratcliffe of Melbourne Methodist Church for providing us with this year’s yuletide message, which is right next to some more Christmassy news: the winner of the first ever Melbourne Parish Council organised Christmas best dressed window competition.

This month we are pleased to be able to bring you two excellent business stories which have an interesting common theme.

Katie Lavis is pictured with her family on the front page having scored a major triumph with her ‘Little Starts’ gift cards, which enable families to buy activities for preschoolers rather than more of the endless plastic that just ends up in landfill.

Not only has Little Starts won some prestigious national awards, the gift cards have also been rolled out in hundreds of Sainsbury’s stores nationwide.
Village Voice was there when Katie first started out with her idea back in 2018, and it’s great to see her pursue her vision and achieve such success.
Meanwhile, on page 4, we bring you another great business success from the entrepreneurial and scientific skills of two brothers: Sam Penhaul and Joe Penhaul Smith, who have won an engineering prize for their start-up: Sustainable Sailing.

Sam and Joe wanted to find a way of recycled the enormous amount of plastic that is used in sails – and they have succeeded.
It’s great to be able to write about these two businesses who are, in very different ways, doing something positive to try and combat the enormous problem we humans have created with plastic.

Not such great news on page 2 where it is with a lot of sadness we report that graffiti has once more been daubed on the walls of the ancient Anchor Church near Foremark, which was painstakingly cleaned by ASBC Heritage & Conservation just months ago. How to keep the vandals away from this monument of significant national importance?

The achievements of the Staley family are also featured on page 7 – they have donated an absolutely huge amount, over £22,000, to the Fetal Medicine and NICU at Royal Derby Hospital in memory of baby daughter Lyra Grace. We are sure the money will benefit many, many families going through tough times.

There was a touch of fame about Kings Newton just before BBC Children in Need day as radio presenter Vernon Kay stopped off at The Hardinge Arms for a well-earned re-fuel on day one of his incredible ultramarathon for the charity. Members of Melbourne Joggers joined Vernon for a stint of his run and we’re sure he appreciated the company. Vernon was so friendly and warm as he chatted to a big crowd of people outside the pub before being cheered off on the next stage of his run to Derby.

Frank Hughes has been out and about on some very different visits, going down to the Artisan Show at Staunton Harold, looking glorious all decked out for Christmas, and then catching up with South Derbyshire Labour candidate Samantha Niblett who visited Melbourne with Shadow Work and Pensions secretary Liz Kendall – their observations make interesting reading.

Merry Christmas from all of us at the Village Voice. 


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News: Lucy Stephens, Frank Hughes
Editor: David Finn
Advertising, Artwork and Distribution:
Anthony Freeman