With Andy taking over The Chronicle, Rita took over The Peoples Page from Bridget Brandon who had produced it since September 1985 -just over ten years. . Also in November, the crossword made its first appearance.In December Ivor Cheek returned:Now Ivor sat in relaxationbrain had gone in meditation.Should he pen some foolish linesto entertain the village mindsShould he write, just for The Chroniclemore biting satire, diabolical.It's tricky now, with laws of liable (sic)His non-de-plume must be reliable."If you have any information which might lead to the identification of the scoundrel, please write to The Chronicle immediately" pleaded Andy.January 1996 started with the news that islands were being considered for Wingrave crossroads. In April Andy was able to report that March's questionnaire on the future of the Rec had attracted a total of four responses. Next month he reported, "At the end of April I attended a symposium run especially for editors of village magazines… Of the thirty-five or so magazines represented we have the smallest circulation at 174 (the largest was 6,500). We were the only one of a handful which is delivered completely free to every household and the only one which is totally financed by the efforts of villagers and advertising space".He also noted that relatively few were using computers to produce their magazine, something that Andy was pioneering with The Chronicle to create greater consistency, make a more attractive presentation, and to try to reduce the workload. In a more humorous moment much was made of the disappearance of Banner Homes' flags from their Nashs Farm development.Next month Banner Homes got their own back, as Caroline Lane reported in June 96's issue 149, "Parish councillors were dismayed and angry as everyone else when the two barns at the front of Nashs Farm were demolished. The Parish Council, our District Councillor Bryan Round, and (we think) AVDC Planning Department all assumed that they were to be converted. However…it is legal…."The same month Shirley Ford and family were still mourning the death of Shirley's husband John some weeks earlier, well-known villager Percy Rickard moved into a residential home and, on a happier note, Ruth and Don Bellingham celebrated their Golden wedding.Issue 150 passed without any comment upon this particular milestone in Chronicle publishing. The Parish Council minutes in issue 151 shows that the unexpected demolition of the Nashs Farm barns was still very much in people's minds, "The site appeared to be being deliberately developed by stealth, a piece at a time, whereas a development as large as this, in such a small village should be being considered [by] the village and Aylesbury Vale in it's entirety."The two barns which Aylesbury Vale and our P.C. had all understood were to be converted were deliberately removed in the early one morning by Banner Homes. These barns were a dominant feature of this corner of the village and should now be reproduced in some form as part of this latest application."The additional 5 houses requested under this application should be reduced to 2"
1996 drew to a close with Andy Bystra thanking the people who had contributed to The Chronicle during his first year as editor, and also extending thanks to treasurer John Whyte and all those, including the village show performers, who had raised sufficient funds to ensure publication continued. The show itself, with its Star Trek theme was warmly reviewed in February.March 1997 saw Rita's People Page welcoming Liz and Ivan to Nashs Farm. I doubt many Astonians knew what an Alpaca looked like back then, let alone thought that Aston Abbotts would become home to a small herd of them!Issue 158 in April reported that Frank and Louise McManus had raised around £1400 for the Macmillan Cancer Fund with their St Patrick's charity evening. This month, not for the first time, the issue of improvements to the Church Room was raised. Andy Bystra had drawn up plans for improvements, but "After a site meeting, AVDC had offered an 'informal view', to the effect that it was unlikely that the plans would be supported because of worries about detracting from the current, simple design, worries about bringing forward the front of the building, effect upon trees, worries about parking."By the time issue 159 appeared in May 1997, funding of The Chronicle had once again become a problem, as reported by Andy in his editorial, "Thanks largely to a donation from The Parish Council this month we have just enough finds to cover the printing of this issue. However, yet again we do not have enough money to publish the next issue hence the 'begging letter' in the next column. The level of help received will be a good indication as to whether The Chronicle is valued by the village in general or indeed required at all!!"And treasurer John Whyte appealed "URGENT! URGENT!! URGENT!!! We need you help for The Chronicle. Each issue costs about £75.00 to produce and we have run out of money. Please, please can you help?"Enough donations arrived for the following month's issue to be printed. On Rita's People Page a couple of items caught my eye: Andi and Becky were welcomed to their new home in Nashs Farm (Andi Swain is going to play a part in the later stages of our story, of course) and former Chronicle editor Caroline Lane stepped down from the Parish Council after many years of service. Also, planning permission for 5 more homes at Nashs Farm was refused.In July Andy reported upon a Parish Council donation of £200 to The Chronicle (in addition to a previous £50). He also announced that advertising rates would have to be increased as the amount charged per page was about half of what it was costing to print the page!August's editorial was sombre as Andy reflected upon the deep felt shock of everybody following the death of the Princess Of Wales. Bob Willmott reported that Siv Tunicliffe was to be ordained and would become our curate and a weight restriction was put on Castle Hill bridge in Wing, diverting more heavy goods vehicles through Aston Abbotts.