Review of the Year: JanuaryBy Laura Herbert
December 27, 2012
Elderly and disabled people were “outraged” after learning they could no longer use their bus passes to pay for a mobility service to take them to day centres.
Keep Mobile, which provides accessible transport for the elderly and disabled in Wokingham borough, was told its clients would no longer be able to pay for visits to day centres using the passes.
Instead they would have to pay for the transport, but many cancelled their trips with the service because they cannot afford to pay the travel costs.
Paul Hammond, who had been using Keep Mobile for a year to get from his home in Wokingham to a stroke club in Earley, said: “It means I will have to pay about £10 a week which is a lot of money when you are on a limited income. The awful thing is people who genuinely go to day centres are going to have to pay. It is outrageous.”
Wokingham folk folk were named the healthiest in the country, but the borough failed to reclaim the top spot as the best place to live in the UK.
The borough was ranked number three in Halifax’s Quality of Life Survey, which tracks where living standards are highest in the UK.
This year’s number one place was taken by Hart, in Hampshire, where good health, life expectancy, wealth, employment rates and climate combine to make the area the best, according to Halifax’s survey.
Wokingham was praised for having the best health, with more than 95 per cent of households rating themselves as in good or fairly good health.
Number two on the list was Elmbridge in Surrey, which had previously held the top spot for three years.
Football fans paid tribute to long-standing Wokingham & Emmbrook Football Club media man John Ansell, who died aged 65.
Mr Ansell, who was involved with the Hellenic Premier Division club as a supporter and press officer for more than 40 years, died on Friday, January 6, after a three-year battle with bowel cancer.
The father-of-two, who lived in Manor Park Drive, Finchampstead, compiled more than 1,000 match reports for The Wokingham Times.
A statement said the team would miss Mr Ansell’s sense of humour at future matches.
Mr Ansell was also a keen golfer and could often be found at Royal Ascot and Billingbear golf clubs.
In his younger years the former British Airways employee had trials with Middlesex County Cricket Club before enjoying spells with teams in Wokingham and St Sebastian’s.
A seriously ill boy had his wish granted by a children’s charity when it arranged for boy band One Direction to visit his Wokingham home.
The five-piece, who stormed to fame on The X Factor in 2010, took time out from their tour to visit five-year-old Ollie Young, below, as part of their role as ambassadors with charity Rays of Sunshine.
Band members Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson spent two hours with Ollie and his eight-year-old brother Alfie, the same day they learned they had a Brit Award nomination for hit single What Makes You Beautiful.
Ollie’s mum Sarah, said: “We can’t thank Rays of Sunshine and One Direction enough for making the wishes of two little boys come true.
“We were overwhelmed and never imagined they would give up so much of their time, particularly on Zayn’s birthday.”