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Ah well, the summer is nearly over, the nights are drawing in and some mornings you get that autumnal feel, but hey we still live in a great little town. This month I thought I would talk a little about a subject that is close to my heart – looking out for your neighbours, especially the older ones. I have recently gone through what in my mind is an extremely traumatic time for which you get no warning or training. We constantly hear on the news about the plight of the elderly who live alone, maybe with a visiting carer to help with their day to day living. The worst thing is the loneliness, especially if you are not able to get out to enjoy the many activities and clubs that our town has on offer for older residents. It becomes increasingly difficult if dementia sets in, causing confusion and disorientation.

Just spend a little time imagining what this type of day would be for you. Wake up, probably early, and wait for your morning carer to come and help you wash and dress, and do your breakfast – normally this would take 30-60 minutes dependent on the care package. You are then left on your own until maybe you have another 15 or 30-minute care visit to give you lunch. Again you are left on your own until you may have a 30-minute evening care visit to assist in getting ready for bed and maybe giving you a snack. If there is a trace of dementia you may wake up in the night not knowing where you are and panic because there is no one to ask or reassure you. You may even ring 999 in desperation. On a normal day that would mean being alone for at least 22 out of 24 hours, every day and every week of the year. OK perhaps if you like being alone.

So my message is this. I know we all live busy lives but if you live next to an elderly person, give them a knock, ask if everything is OK, have a cup of tea and a 20-minute chat. I know from experience how much difference this can make to a person's life.

A brief update on the Planning situation: The decision by the Secretary of State on the appeals for Areas 2 & 3 South of Hare Street Road and Aspenden Road East has been delayed until November. Wheatley Homes have yet to start on Area 1 South of Hare Street Road but Taylor Wimpey are progressing with their development. Fairview have finished demolition of the Sainsbury Depot and what a difference it makes to the landscape, especially approaching it from the south. We have no news on the Bovis application and still await news of the progress on the 'Pigeon Land' north of the town. For those of you who use our footpath network, I recently guided a party from the Hertfordshire Local Access Forum around the town, pointing out how the landscape is or will be changing on all sides of the town. I am working with HCC Rights of Way with a view to increasing the number of footpaths around the town and linking the existing ones.

Our Civic Day in June was quite a success with 56 people in all joining Robin Webb, Ken Durrant and myself on an historical walk around the town. Our thanks to Robin for his time and effort and to Gillian Johnson and family for allowing our groups of walkers to view the cells and exercise yard in Peel House, the Old Police Station and Magistrates Court. We would also like to thank Mandy and Martin for opening St Bartholomew's Church to the public. We understand they had over 300 visitors!

Finally, our best wishes for a successful Classic Car Show go to the organisers who work so hard both before and on the day. I for one will be there, hope you will be too.

Graham Waite, BCS Chairman

If you have any queries about Buntingford Civic Society or issues you would like to raise, you can email the Chairman direct at chairman@buntingfordcivic.org.uk.

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