Review of the Year: April
December 29, 2011
A popular free summer festival bit the dust as a result of the shock funding cut to Bracknell’s arts centre.
Ron McAllister, chief executive of South Hill Park in Ringmead, Birch Hill, confirmed in April the Big Day Out festival, attended by 4,960 people last year, had been called off. Shortly before the decision about the Big Day Out was made the board at the arts centre was told the Arts Council was pulling its funding to the centre from 2014.
The Arts Council has guaranteed the centre its funding of £216,745 for 2011/12, but that will be reduced to £100,000 for 2012/2013 and then removed altogether from 2014.
Tributes were paid to a Charters School pupil who died at Ascot train station in April.
Emergency services were called to the train station at around 6.45am on Friday, April 15, after a train hit 16-year-old Tom Martin.
Paying tribute at the time, Tom’s parents Maggie and Peter from North Ascot said: “He was a happy, lively, clever boy, doing well at school and achieving top grades in his A-levels. He was lucky enough to have many close friends from his school, Windsor Rugby Club and the local area.”
Charters School co-headteachers Martyn Parker and Richard Pilgrim added: “The school is proud of the young man he was developing into and he leaves a huge hole in our school community.
As final preparations were made for the Royal Wedding, Bracknell’s very own royal couple were getting ready to tie the knot on the same day.
Birch Hill couple Wayne Ayer and his fiancée Katie Balestri were the only couple having a civil ceremony in Bracknell Forest to share their wedding day with Prince William and Kate Middleton.
They won a competition run by the Bracknell Forest Standard, Bracknell Forest Council and The Grange Bracknell Hotel to have a free wedding on the same day as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The couple tied the knot at Bracknell Forest Council’s Syrett Suite before enjoying a fabulous reception at the Grange Bracknell Hotel. Of being the only couple in Bracknell to be having a civil ceremony on the same day as the royal couple, Katie said: “It’s quite unique. It’s quite exciting to be getting married on the same day as them.”
Schoolboys who tried to imitate the work of Banksy in Birch Hill were caught daubing graffiti and ordered to clean up their ‘artwork’.
Birch Hill PCSO Hilary Hyslop found the two 11-year-olds responsible for copying the work of notorious graffiti artist Banksy and organised for them to clean up the play area using the Restorative Action in the Neighbourhood (RAiN) initative. PCSO Hyslop said: “It was mainly at the play park but then I noticed it further afield.
“I worked with the local school and they have just had a lesson on Banksy and two boys have gone round doing it.
“I have spoken to both boys and their parents and because they haven’t been in trouble before, and they have a good school record, I said I will deal with it in this way.”