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From Our Files: superfast firefighters, decimalisation decisions, and underage drinking

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New Milton Section of the National Fire Service were called out to a fire in Ashley Road on Saturday - and arrived even before the occupier knew that they were in the house!

The unusual fact was due to the prompt action of W.R. Constable Smith. He was returning home from the police station about 12.45, when he saw smoke coming from an upstairs room of the house, which is occupied by Dr and Mrs Willan, and he decided to telephone for the brigade before calling at the house.

The firemen caused a mild sensation with their clanging bell as they went on their journey, as fortunately there have been few calls on their services.

On their arrival they found that curtains, two chairs and the window frames were ablaze, but quickly extinguished the fire, Dr Willan was out at the time.

The prompt action of the constable and the equally prompt responses of the brigade undoubtedly averted a serious fire.


Sgt. Alan Bye, of the Reconnaissance Corps, has been wounded in both legs during the fighting in Italy, and, in a letter home, he says that both limbs are in plaster of Paris but he is still “whole”.

Sgt. Bye and his twin brother Eric, originally joined the 5th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Both were members of the British Legion Band, Alan playing the cornet and Eric the euphonium. The former used to work at Harvey’s joinery works in Old Milton Road and his brother for Hannam Bros.

Alan went right through the North African and Tunisian Campaign without “getting a scratch,” and his many pals will wish him a complete recovery from his wounds he has received in Italy.


At their monthly meeting on Wednesday, Lymington Town Council, the Mayor (Alderman E. Knight) presiding, adopted a recommendation of the Administration Committee, endorsed by the Finance Committee, to alter the method of granting a cost of living bonus to council employees, resulting in a net cost to the rates of £710 per annum.

The Administration Committee’s report stated that the change would cost £194 a year more for the administrative, technical, professional and clerical services, £135 more a year for the temporary staff, and £390 more a year for the manual staff.


A suggestion by Highcliffe Chamber of Trade president Mr F. W. Herring, that members should mark the price of articles they sold in decimal currency as well as the existing one, received no support at last week’s meeting.

Mr Herring said that as well as being a good publicity stunt, it would enable old people to have more time to familiarise themselves with the new prices, and would help the traders to get used to it.

Mr E. Duffy said she viewed the whole thing “with horror” and she did not think it would help people. Mrs Ambrose commented “It will confuse them.”

Coun. H. R. Bourke pointed out that it would take Mr Duffy, a chemist, a fortnight to put the prices on each of his articles, and that there could be a danger with a comparison of prices. The fact was that decimal currency was going to raise certain prices – were they going to advertise that ?


Support for a private members’ bill restricting export of ponies to those worth more than £100, thus making export for slaughter unprofitable, was given by Mr Patrick McNair-Wilson, MP for the New Forest, speaking during a Commons committee debate on the Ponies Bill on Wednesday.

Mr McNair-Wilson urged the rejection of an amendment reducing the minimum exportable value of ponies from £100 to £30. He said this would completely wreck the Bill. The amendment was defeated by eight votes to seven, and the committee adjourned until next Wednesday.

The Ponies Bill is sponsored by Sir Robert Cary, Conservative MP for Withington. Its aim is to price British ponies off the menus of Continental restaurants.


Under-age drinking in some parts of the New Forest continued to cause concern, said Superintendent Richard Stowe in the police’s annual report to the Forest’s licensing justices at Totton Court on Monday.

Twenty-one juveniles at Lymington had been dealt with for drink related offences, or where drink was a key element he said, while at Hythe 15 youngsters came to police notice. At New Milton nine children aged between 10 and 14 had been found drunk in and around the town centre.

The Supt. said that at Hythe it was frequently the case that the consumption of drugs or substance abuse, combined with drink, caused youngsters to indulge in offensive behaviour.

“Inevitably, police are concerned at the ease with which young people seem to be able to acquire drugs, and considerable time is devoted to trying to combat this problem,” Supt. Stowe said.

“Much of our activity in this area is centred on public houses.

“An example of our work is a man en-route to the Highlander public house being stopped by police officers and found to be in possession of 30 ‘deals’ of amphetamines. He subsequently received a six month prison sentence.”


A total of 3,155 homes had been sold to New Forest District Council tenants under right to buy legislation by the end of December, 1993, though this figure includes 37 which were subsequently repurchased by the authority.

The largest number of sales has occurred in Totton and Netley Marsh (644 homes), followed by Hythe and Dibden (595) and Lymington (359).


The scheme to wall off part of Minstead’s All Saints’ Church has been formally shelved by the Parochial Church Council, following the local outcry and resignation of the Rector, the Rev. Michael Delany.

The PCC held an open meeting last month to discuss dividing the south transept to create a Sunday club room/chapel, when villagers packed the church to protest against the principle. The gathering was preceded by a poster campaign and personal attacks against Mr Delany, and he and his wife, Bobbie, had already decided to leave Minstead by the time of the meeting, although they did not announce their decision until six days afterwards.

The PCC has always stressed that the initiative for the wall scheme came from the members not Mr Delany. On Monday the members met to decide whether or not to proceed with the proposal, and in view of the local hostility to it and Mr Delany’s resignation, they decided to put it in abeyance.

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