A brief roundup of local news from Harry Mottram on Thursday, April 2, 2020.

With the coronavirus crisis gripping the nation it is hard to find much real news other than the press releases from the Government, the NHS and local authorities in the local press this week.

The Cheddar Valley Gazette and the Weston Mercury are struggling to give any news that we don’t know already. So much so that the editor of the Mercury Vicky Angear takes a spot on page three to plead with readers to email in photos and news since the reporters are restricted and so many meetings and events have been cancelled.

The Mercury leads on the crisis for care homes who have to work without the protection of PPEs or Personal Protection Equipment when treating their charges. It’s a tale of woe in both papers as shops are shut and business grinds to a halt although the Thursday clapping for the NHS and the public displays of rainbow drawings posted in windows raises some cheer. The Mercury also have a nice piece and photo on Draycott’s community shop that’s looking for volunteers to keep it running.

Merv Colenutt continues to entertain readers with several excellent pieces in the Gazette on local sport as he attempts to fill the pages with stories – since all sport has been axed for the duration. It is an impossible time for the local press as there is so little going on.

Away from the press there is news that the car parks at Cheddar Reservoir have been closed although pedestrians and cyclists are permitted to use the circular path. Why this should be the case is wrapped up in the conflicting rules and announcements from the Government during the virus crisis. Workers at Hinkley Point C are continued to be crammed onto buses to take them to work while The Lamb Inn’s beer garden and Cheddar’s Garden centre are forced to close. Common sense has taken a back seat. We all need exercise more than once a day.

An American laughing gull. Library picture.

One anguished adult complained on Facebook that young people were still using the skateboard park at Sharpham Road in Cheddar and suggested parents were to blame as they were not two metres apart. But Sharon Sobey replied to add some sanity to the situation on Facebook: “Let’s not get so paranoid that we stay indoors only for the foreseeable few months. I think we’ll see a rise in many other illnesses, especially mental illnesses if we do this. Let’s practice social distancing and good hygiene, and find some balance.”

Thieves have been in active in Axbridge according to Facebook with Cross Moor Drove targeted where items were stolen from a field while thieves in a white Corsa van were alleged to have attempted to take wire mesh from the bridge at Shipham Rhyne. Sadly the press cannot cover these problems at the moment but at least we can keep an eye out and inform the police via 101.

Down at the Reservoir you may have noticed a number of birdwatchers out in force. The reason was a rare American laughing gull had taken up residence as the lake. It must had been blown off course from the other side of the Atlantic. The name is inspired from its call: ‘hahaha.’ True.

Talking of the Force there was a somewhat dull video from the Avon and Somerset Police online to explain they will not be arresting anyone for walking their dog twice a day. The message was to use common sense and not to call 999 if you see your neighbours setting off for another walk around the block.

A positive note is that Cheddar Foodbank is in operation Saturday and Monday from 10.30am to 12.30pm at the container behind VADO. If you need any advice please call 07922 309369.

It’s not all dullness. On the Axbridge Connected Facebook there was news of a rescue of a sheep at Sharpham Road who had become entangled in a fence. After an appeal by Gill Bishop the ewe was liberated.

And on that note let’s hope there’s more news next week.

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