04:00PM, Friday 15 October 2021
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Fond farewell to Windsor and its wonderful people
When I shared the news that our family was moving to Windsor from a small village on the east coast of South Africa, the response was: “It must be super posh and privileged, full of cliques and cachet. There’s a reason the Queen of England lives there.”
This was just shy of nine years ago, and we’ve been weaving our family into the fabric of local life in this royal town ever since.
Windsor is a visually spectacular place, steeped in history and culture at every turn.
We’ve explored its (Great) park, (Bachelors) acre and (Long) walk.
We’ve meandered the (Thames) river path and my husband has run up considerable mileage on the trails from Eton and Dorney to Burnham, Virginia Water – all the way to Marlow.
Windsor is breathtakingly beautiful. This we know.
What we didn’t know was just how warm the Windsor community is.
And this perhaps is where its true beauty lies.
Hilltop First School, led by Lynn Bima and her nurturing team, is a child-led school on Clewer Hill Road that has become such an integral part of our family and through it, we’ve cultivated lifelong friendships.
This is not your average first school, it’s outstanding in every way.
Nina Adamson, Jamie Miles, Jo Bruce-Carter and the staff at St Edward's Royal Free Ecumenical Middle School foster a positive and caring ethos to learning that has made all the difference for our children.
We’ve swum our hearts out with Aquazone at The Windsor Leisure Centre, my daughter has danced with joy at Hawthorne School of Dance under the tutelage of the lovely ‘Miss’ Lucy, we’ve kicked a ball about with Windsor FC and we’ve enjoyed many innings with the Windsor Cricket Club at Home Park with the stately Castle as the most magnificent backdrop.
I’ve loaned hundreds of books from the Windsor Library and read many in the garden under a plane tracked sky.
Nick and Ian and the team at Cinnamon Cafe have played host to countless coffee get togethers with their infectious energy and commitment to serving and celebrating the best of local.
The inimitable Simon, Sue and ‘the boys’ from Gennaro on St Leonards have looked after our brood’s locks and tolerated my penchant for inane chit chat with medal-worthy grace.
The Windsor Farm Shop has sourced locally-grown fare for our family and offered me generous deals on (literally) hundreds of burgers for umpteen school fundraising events.
Very shortly, we'll be relocating to the hamlet of Bowden, just outside of Dartmouth in Devon.
We’re heading to a little house on a hill where our neighbour farms cows and Blackpool Sands is a winding stroll away, via the hedgerows.
We’d like to bid a fond farewell to Windsor and its warm-hearted community.
We’d like to thank you for taking a South African family under your wing and making us feel warm and welcome as we built a home away from our homeland. It has been a privilege and a pleasure.
And to those naysayers who couldn’t have been more wrong all those years ago, I’d like to say… Of course the Queen of England would choose to live in Windsor.
It’s a magical, majestic town – rich in heritage, richer in kindness.
Thank you for the memories, Windsor.
TIM, SALLY, OLIVER, GABRIELLA AND ALEXANDER COOK
Windsor (for now)
Time for a change to a better, fairer system
As Prime Minister Johnson closed the Tory Party conference with a series of so-called jokes he offered no real solutions to the many problems facing our country, including the critical shortage of staff in care homes in Berkshire (Slough Express, October 1).
But Slough Labour Party voted to retain the system that allows the Prime Minister to have so much power, but take no responsibility for dealing with the series of crises. This needs explaining.
First, why does Prime Minister Johnson think joking is the answer to the repeated supply-chain crises hitting petrol stations, supermarkets, farmers and many others?
At the same time as he saw fit to joke, millions of citizens and their children are facing cuts of £20 a week in their Universal Credit, and most public sector workers like the police, care staff and teachers will have a zero pay rise.
Everyone is facing massive increases in energy prices which are already in the pipelines, and most of us will face increases in council tax and also national insurance, or, for some older people, income tax.
Interestingly, the majority of the British people did not vote for Mr Johnson to have all this irresponsible power.
He only gained a majority because the UK uses an unfair electoral system under which he gained over 56 per cent of the seats in Parliament but less than 44 per cent of the votes.
Supporters of this system claim it gives us, so called, ‘strong one-party Government’.
The one-party Johnson Government is showing no strength in dealing with the many crises.
This national picture is tragically mirrored here in Slough. The same voting system has led to arrogant one-party rule of Slough Council by Slough Labour party who have created such a financial crisis that councillors recently had to vote to ‘stop funding many services.’
Despite all this, at the recent Labour conference Slough Labour Party sided with Keir Starmer and voted to reject calls to introduce Fair Votes in the UK.
Under proportional representation all voters would be treated equally, and each party would receive a share of seats in parliament that much more accurately reflects the proportion of votes they receive.
Such a system usually means one party does not have complete power, but instead parties have to work together to find solutions to problems.
It seems Slough Labour Party agree with Prime Minister Johnson in wanting to put their own respective party interests ahead of the good of the country.
They might both find the people have decided it’s time for a change to a better, fairer system.
Chair, Slough Lib Dems
There will be displays at Windsor Racecourse and Legoland, local fireworks in Burnham and Twyford and smaller displays at schools in the Royal Borough.