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News - History Of The Chronicle - 7
The 1999 fete was blessed with temperatures soaring into the 80s and the first appearance of the Four Fat Blokes burger stand. In his editorial Andi reported, "The fete is a fine example of villagers coming together to help out others whilst having a good time, and is the result of a lot of organisation and hard work. David and Barbara have organised the day to great effect for a number of years but it's now time for someone else to take the helm". £2,139 was raised. Safety on the A418 was causing concern. The Chronicle reported, "At the recent Parish Council meeting the latest fatal accident on the A418 was discussed. This tragedy brings the total number of fatalities on this dangerous stretch of road to ten in the past three years". Andy Bystra reported on June's 630 Club canal cruise organised by Ray Wilkinson and Captain Bob Bean, "A brief stop was made at the White Lion, Marsworth so that the hot meal could be brought on board and the boat manoeuvred up through the lock. The opportunity was not wasted by most members who promptly jumped ship and disappeared into The Lion". When issue 183 appeared in October 1999 Andi Swain was warning about the increase in aircraft as Luton airport expanded, the millennium party plans were nearing completion and Clare Shorrock welcomed Gordon Smith to the Aston Abbotts History group as they moved their millennium book project towards production. The now legendary millennium party clearly left all the Chronicle reporters with such vicious hangovers that the party report did not appear until issue 187 in February when Andy Bystra wrote, "It was exceptionally nice to be able to celebrate this once in a lifetime event in such a stylish and pleasant way. What made it particularly nice was being able to do so with so many of our family, friends and fellow villagers". Controversy struck following a letter in the previous issue about the village kids playing in the streets. So full was the postbag that Andi was unable to print all of the letters. Opinions varied, but Margaret Kent summed up the feelings of many, "I think the youngsters in this village are a good bunch - there's no malicious damage, only high spirits. Most of them must be bored, there isn't much for them to do, and kicking a ball about seems harmless". The Castle Hill bridge in Wing was finally re-opened in March, affording an alternative route for heavy goods traffic other than through Aston Abbotts. Also that month the first of a series of Village Interviews conduced by yours truly appeared, with Andy Bystra the vict… err… subject. In April Rita retired from the Peoples page, which she had compiled for 5 years. May's cover sported a picture of Clare and Peter Shorrock receiving a large millennium Oak as a gift from grateful partygoers for letting their house and garden be used for the millennium party. This cover was the best ever photo reproduction in the Chronicle - a result of printing each cover individually on a laser printer before the rest of the magazine was duplicated. And yet more controversy, with the announcement that the Church Room was to be renamed the Parish Hall. The Abbey gardens were opened to the public as part of the Open
Gardens in June and proved hugely popular, as did Vic Scott's garden with its 400 species of plants. September saw a report on the Astonbury music event held at Norduck farm "We are fortunate in Aston Abbotts in having people of all ages who have considerable musical talent". But there was a serious plea from Andi, "I am now into my third year as Editor of this wonderful magazine and the time has come for me to hand the Editor's cap to somebody new - maybe you? Alas, an ever increasing work-load has somewhat forced the issue and so a new editor is needed rather urgently". Two months later Andi was able to gleefully report that some fool had been found for the job. The fool's protestations that his cry of "I'll do it" was actually referring to a bet over drinking a pint of beer whilst standing on ones head went unheeded, and as Andy bowed out with the final issue of 2000 - number 196 - the Chronicle was passed over your current editor. And so ends my little rummage through the archive box of 200 Chronicles, each issue representing a little labour of love at the hands of the editor of the day and the dozens of people who have contributed to it over the last 18 years. Without doubt I have missed someone, or something, important. So, I apologise now if I have caused any offence. It's impossible to thank everybody personally, so I will just say a big Thank You to every one who has contributed in the past, whether it be a single letter or a long stint as editor; to our advertisers; to the people who have made donations or worked so hard to raise funds; to the Parish Council for its support; and to the distribution team. But, most importantly, thank you to You the readers. You are the reason we do this. This is your magazine and it is produced for you. So please write in with letters, articles, news or adverts. We are always pleased to hear from you. The Chronicle has changed in its 200 editions. It started as a typed news-sheet with handwritten headlines and articles cut and glued into place and has now become a Publisher 2000 document printing neatly out of a laser printer at a tap on a keyboard. But this change is only superficial; underneath it The Chronicle hasn't changed one jot. It still includes the village news and gossip, the What's On items, the Church reports and news, the jokes and leg-pulls, the cryptic comments and stories, the Parish Council news - and it still tries to uphold Graham Parker's original aims as stated in his first editorial reproduced here. It still tries to inform, entertain and amuse. It still tries to have something for everyone. It's still the same magazine - and I hope it remains just as relevant and important today as it was when issue number 1 first dropped through Aston Abbotts letterboxes back in September 1983.
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