Miniature Shetland pony Mr Fuddles will delight his fans when he trots out to highlight the up-coming Oxfordshire Young Farmers County Show & Rally. The pint-sized pony, and star of his own Facebook and Instagram pages, will make a special appearance under the clock tower of Witney’s Woolgate Shopping Centre on April 14 when local shoppers can find out more about the young farmers’ main event of the year.
Planning for the 2018 Oxfordshire Young Farmers County Show & Rally is well underway. This year’s annual showcase of farming and rural skills comes to Ducklington in West Oxfordshire with a day of live entertainment, displays, competitions and crafts for the whole family.
More than 7,000 people are expected to attend the bank holiday weekend event on Saturday, May 26, organised by Witney Young Farmers Club. It promises plenty of fun with main arena events of sheep dog trials, terrier racing, Suffolk Punch heavy horse display and a daring demonstration of motorcycle skills and stunts.
There will be craft, trade and food stalls, with local farmers’ markets, and a countryside area with livestock.
Visitors will be able to take part in activities including clay pigeon shooting and a climbing wall, and learn about aspects of farming life with a ‘live’ chick hatching area and how to milk a cow.
For those who like big machines, a fascinating display of the very latest agricultural machinery will showcase today’s farming in action, as well as a nostalgic look at tractors and farm vehicles of yesteryear with a parade of vintage machinery.
Witney’s Woolgate Shopping Centre has provided significant support to three local charities over November and December as they raised more than £1,619.16 in just three days.
Medical Detection Dogs, Witney Lions and The Barn Owl Centre, Gloucester, all spent a day in the Centre with Woolgate providing support to help them raise money for their worthwhile causes.
Woolgate Shopping Centre has worked with a number of its partners this year to help support them with their causes and raise awareness about the work that they do. On top of these charities, Woolgate has also worked with the local Windrush Bike Project throughout the year to provide free bicycle health checks in the centre and get people interested in cycling.
Adam Highmore-Talbot, Centre Manager for Woolgate Shopping Centre, said: “We are absolutely delighted that these three brilliant charities raised such a substantial sum in such a short space of time. We aim to develop strong relationships with causes and organisations that make a difference to our community and raise awareness about some serious issues. Thank you to all who donated.”
The Lost Words
Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris
The Lost Words is a vital compendium of language slipping from the grasp of young people – bluebell, lark, newt, kingfisher – presented as a series of acrostic spells that engage both mind and eye. The work of artist Jackie Morris and acclaimed writer Robert Macfarlane (the author of The Old Ways and Landmarks), this is a glorious celebration of the natural world to be both loved and heeded.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
A global phenomenon, Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo’s project to seek out and celebrate exceptional female role models struck an instant, powerful chord. Few books have had such immediate success in opening up a dialogue between boys and girls of all ages, combining striking portrait illustration with life stories of genuine inspiration and achievement.
Lincoln in the Bardo
A grieving president hurtles headlong into the afterlife, to save the soul of his dead child. In Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders seizes this singular concept and delivers a pyrotechnic, Man Booker Prize-winning performance that manages to be both beguiling and humane. The story of Lincoln’s grief, at the time when the nation he led was in such peril, achieves in Saunders’ hands an almost mythic status.
Representatives from the Woolgate Shopping Centre collected the Gold Award in the Property and Estate Management Energy Saving category at the Green Apple Awards, an initiative which recognises the environmentally-friendly efforts of businesses and organisations to make a difference and reduce carbon footprint.
The Centre Management team is delighted to receive this accolade and will continue to focus on ways to reduce its carbon footprint further.
A RETAILING success story in the heart of Witney is this week marking 30 years since it first opened its doors to the public. With the new Westgate Centre drawing thousands into the centre of Oxford, Witney has been celebrating the birthday of its own Woolgate Shopping Centre, which officially opened on October 30, 1987.
The centre in High Street, which is visited by more than four million people a year, boasts a wide range of shops, combining big names with independent retailers in a building that has received accolades for its quality.
Adam Highmore Talbot, centre manager, said: “We are proud to be celebrating the 30th anniversary of a shopping centre which many local residents continue to enjoy, whether for the free parking, green space, customer service, retailer line-up or its convenience for click and collect.
“Our retail line-up, along with the free parking offer, has continued to ensure that we are first choice outside of the busier and bigger retail destinations such as Banbury Gateway, Bicester Village, Swindon Outlet Village or the Orchard Centre in Didcot.”
The centre has fought down the years to keep a strong line-up of traders, and has benefited from free car parking, which helps it to attract about 4.5 million visitors each year. It has worked with West Oxfordshire District Council to protect the three hours of free parking that it is able to offer to customers.
Staff at the Woolgate Centre marked the 30th anniversary on Monday with a tree-planting ceremony near the complex, attended by pupils from Wood Green School in the town. It came after a recent 1980s-themed party night brought back memories of the centre’s early days.
West Oxfordshire District Council leader James Mills said he was delighted to celebrate the centre’s special birthday and was keen to see it continue to grow in the future.
He said: “The Woolgate Centre proves that a combination of good planning and sound management can be a lasting success even in a challenging and highly competitive retail environment. “I look forward to seeing it continue to flourish in the coming years.”
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