Woman steals for her sick mother

A Bournemouth woman stole food, clothes, flowers and beauty products to help her sick mother, a court heard today. Ms Fitzgerald, 39, appeared in the Magistrates Court on Monday on various accounts of theft, for possession of morphine and for failure to surrender to bail.
The defendant was supposed to appear in court on November 8th for theft charges, but failed to turn up, and was found guilty in her absence. Her defence attorney, Mr Elliot, argued that she had not been able to attend the hearing because she was at the time “all over the place and suffering a nervous breakdown”. Concerning the thefts, he added that Ms Fitzgerald’s father had just died from a long illness and her mother diagnosed with cancer. “She wanted to get her flowers but had no money”. She was also seven months pregnant at the time, and moved into her mother’s house with her twelve year old son. The defence accepted her record was not good and that she was guilty of not turning up in court, but added that since November, she “hadn’t further offended”.
The case has been adjourned until the 26th February, date at which the court will have received the defendant’s Drug Rehabilitation Requirement assessment. The chairman of the Court, Mr Larshley asked Ms Fitzgerald to “clean up her drug problem” until then. She has meanwhile been released on conditional bail, providing she report to Winton police station daily.

"Unlucky" man charged for driving without a licence

A Kinston man who was charged for driving without a licence claims he wasn’t aware of the situation. Mr Nicholas Gollop, aged 48, appeared in front of Bournemouth Magistrates Court on Monday for driving without a licence or insurance, and with defective tires. He chose to represent himself, and pleaded guilty for driving with defective tires, but not guilty for driving without insurance.

The chairman of the court, Christopher Larshley, asked Mr Gollop if he had tried to contact his insurance company to shed light on the situation, the defendant replied “I did try to find the files, I looked in my house”. He added he didn’t investigate further because he didn't know who his insurer was “I lost everything to do with insurance company”.

The defendant also said he was unaware that he was driving without a licence. The prosecutor, Mr Griffin, said his licence had been revoked because he had not passed medical exams in 1993. When questioned about it, Mr Gollop said that as far as he was concerned, he wasn’t banned from driving: “As far as I understood, I had passed these tests”. When asked if he had anything to add, the defendant said : “I’m just one of those persons who’s unlucky a lot of the time”.

Mr Gallop had first appeared in Wimborne before Christmas on these charges, and was found guilty of driving with no insurance, decision which he appealed.
The Magistrates Court decided to fine Mr Griffin £260 pounds and added six points to his drivers licence.


Bournemouth, shopping haven for Europeans

One man’s sorrow is another man’s joy. That could not better explain the current economic situation in Bournemouth, as Europeans flock to Britain to spend their cash.
While the pound’s value is continuing to decrease, the euro is staying steady, permitting Europeans to have a more advantageous exchange rate. And Bournemouth being a popular destination, it is enjoying the effects of tourists’ spending spree.
Eurozone shoppers are particularly interested by fashion bargains, as Claire Jones, manager for Ann Summers in Bournemouth, notices: “Foreigners represent 20% of our clientele. And because of the current situation, our clients, who are mostly from eastern Europe, can buy our luxury products at better value”.
While the British are trying to refrain on spending, Europeans are thinking the opposite way. Jean-Pierre Foray, a retired head teacher from France, often travels to Bournemouth, and is particularly appreciative of the current situation. “If think I have spend a bit more this year than usual, especially with my credit card as they don’t charge transactions. I would definitely consider coming more often to England this year because of the prices.”
Lee Watkiss, employee of Eurochange in Bournemouth admits that there has been no better time for Europeans to spend money in England : “Currently 1 euro buys 84 pence, whereas 12 months ago it was only 71 pence. The pound has hit its lowest point in five years, and it will probably get worse before it gets better”.
But most of European customers are undeniably students, therefore aren’t necessarily the biggest clients. Alex Falkiewicz, a Polish floor manager at Monsoon, says : “We have loads of German people on school trips who buy a lot of small things”.
Allyson Farnes, manager at Miss Selfridge, agrees that there is a high population of international students in Bournemouth, and that it affects her sales. She particularly noticed an increase in September.With this positive income from across the channel, it is no wonder most shop managers in Bournemouth aren’t too worried about the credit crunch. “We have no concern about it” says Miss Jones, “and we expect as much Christmas shopping as last year”.

Bournemouth town of literature

Bournemouth is renown for its beautiful historical buildings such as the Pier and the Old Opera House. But what few people seem to know is that it has a rich cultural heritage, having been the home and inspiration to many authors over the centuries.
According to John Walker, a Bournemouth guide, the most famous was Stevenson, who came here “because of his health, to a town which reminded him of his favourite Mediterranean cost”. During the three years he lived here, from 1884 to 1887, he wrote his most famous novel, “The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”, which would later inspire many filmmakers. Other residents included Tolkien, who spend his holidays at the Miramar hotel because his wife had fallen in love with the seaside resort. “He used to sit at the hotel terrasse to work on his novels, including the Silmarillion, published after his death”, Mr Walker says.
Victorian Bournemouth was a peaceful town, similar to the French Côte d’Azur, and this was the reason it inspired authors so much. Tomas Hardy, resident of the area in the 19th century, refers to Bournemouth in “Tess of the D’Uberville” as a “Mediterranean lounging place of the English Channel”, and in Roald Dahl’s “The Witches”, the main character finds himself surrounded by sorceresses in one of the town’s hotels!
But Bournemouth is however mostly known to the literary world as Mary Shelley’s final resting place. Frankenstein fans are drawn every year to St Peter’s church to see the novelist’s tomb. “She never lived here” says John Walker, “but her son did, and that’s why her wish in her deathbed was to be buried here, alongside her philosopher parents, and her husband’s heart”.
Bournemouth is not known as a “great town of literature”, but people will maybe now rush to libraries to learn a bit more about their past…

The Last Goodbye

Members of Bournemouth’s Jewish community inaugurated “The Last Goodbye” exhibition at the town library on Monday evening. The exposition retraces the steps of the thousands of children who were separated from their families in 1938-39 and brought to safety in Britain in Kindertransports. It is funded by the Jewish Community and is part of the Jewish Museum. Vicki Goldie, one of the organisers, said it was important for Bournemouth to house the exposition as “we have the oldest and largest Jewish community outside of London”.
The many photographs, letters and historical facts of the exposition are part of the Holocaust Remembrance Day which will take place on Monday 27th January. And this year’s commemoration of the Holocaust being focused on hate, it was chosen to represent the children’s’ suffering during the war. Vicki Goldie says she hopes local schools will come and visit, as it is important for children to understand what previous generations have been through. But it is also the opportunity for adults to relate to the hatred directed at Jewish children during the war. Miss Goldie declares “The Last Goodbye” has a much broader meaning: “Whether you are gay, disabled, muslim, it covers all those aspects”.

The exhibition will last until Friday 30th January.

Tesco's shows it's credit-proof

Despite opening during a time of economical crisis, the new Tesco Express, at the Bournemouth triangle, has had a satisfying first month of sales.
At first, it seemed the store, which opened on 8th December, would have trouble opening, as it was first refused an alcohol licence. But it was finally granted and Tesco’s opened four days ahead of schedule.
Although Bournemouth’s economy has been on a downturn, with small businesses closing everywhere, Jason Wignore, team leader at Tesco’s, says that there were never any worries the store wouldn’t do well. He adds there was no real competition from other stores, except Marks and Spencer, which in fact might not be doing too well: “Someone who works at Marks and Spencer told us their budget had dropped a bit since we opened”, he says.
According to Mr Wignore, the sales figures, which he wasn’t allowed to disclose, are above average for a small store, and even match the profit of rival stores and other Tescos.
The supermarket’s success is largely due to word of mouth, he thinks, and to “a lot of foreign students and business people on their lunch breaks”.As for the future of the business, Mr Wignore has no doubt the sales figures will stay the same, or maybe even grow.

An unusual policewoman

By Penelope Travers

As I walk into the Christchurch Police Station on this clear winter day, I ask for “Brenda”, as instructed, at the desk, and am told to wait, as she is just coming from a visit to Lapland. Moments later, a door to my right opens, and a woman in casual wear and a smile on her face appears, “Hi I’m Brenda”, she says as she ushers me into a small impersonal room, which I find out later is the room where people get arrested by appointment.
Brenda Traylen however quickly brightens the atmosphere of the room as we set down for the interview and she starts talking freely of her life.
A woman of slim built, and short ash blond hair, it is hard to believe that in just sixty years she has travelled around the world for charity, worked for the police force and the territorial army for two decades, met the Queen and managed to raise a daughter.
Although Brenda Traylen retired in July, she wasn’t yet prepared to become inactive, and loved her job on the Safer Neighbourhood Team so much, that she decided to return as a Special Constable. “As a special I have no paperwork, I can just go out and chat to people and make them feel safe”, says the woman who is averse to sitting at a computer desk all day.

No technology fan

In fact, computers is what pushed her into joining the Police in the first place! She was 42 at the time, and was working as a data technician for Wessex Water, when she realised the job was more about staying in the office than going out to collect data. She decided there and then to change careers, and happened to stumble upon an ad in the paper for police officers.
While she admits she was quite half hearted about it at first, she soon changed her mind : “By the time the interview came I really wanted the job, I was stopping police officers in the street and asking them what it was like”. Although she had to go through extensive fitness test, “which at 42 is quite difficult”, she succeeded and became a Beat officer.
Brenda reveals one of the best sides of her job is seeing how people she has arrested in the past have become better behaved. She happily recalls a young lad, the “bane of her life” who she had dealt with on several occasions for public disorder. She came across him while she was on the watch at a nightclub on New Year’s eve, and she thought he was illegally trying to get in as he was only seventeen at the time. “He walked across the road as if he was going to go in, and he just came up to me and gave me a kiss and wished me a happy new year, and that was wonderful” she says proudly.
She has nonetheless had to deal with the sadder tasks her job entails, and recalls the day she had to wait for undertakers to come collect the body of a ten year old autistic girl who had died naturally. In these cases, she finds it hard to be like the detached police women she saw when she first arrived on the job “you need a release, if you become hard, there must be something inside that’s not right”.
"I cry for England"

Brenda says that officers often have this conversation, and that whilst some of them leave their feelings aside, she feels when an event changes someone’s life forever you cannot remain impassive, “having no husband at home I do think about these things and do indulge myself in a weep”.
Brenda doesn’t limit herself to her job however and, as Ian Frew, desk officer at the station puts it, she is “not your run of the mill officer, she does charity work and has a very caring attitude”. For as well as seeing to the safety of Christchurch people, she has been actively involved in charity for most of her life.
In 1998 and 1999, she cycled in the Israeli desert and rafted down the Zambezi to raise money foe Mind and Scope. Four years ago she was among the three out of seven who finished climbing mount Kilimandjaro, although it was no pleasure cruise “I’m quite proud I’ve done it now, but at the time I didn’t, I was like just take the photograph and let’s get out of here!”
And she readily admits that those extreme days are over, and now she’d rather go build schools in Africa, an activity she thinks is “very much appreciated and you feel good at the end of it, you don’t feel like death, like after Kilimandjaro”. She especially hopes to involve one of her three grandchildren in her trips, so they can teach African children to play rugby.
Going over her personal life, Brenda jokes that she had a good life because she was an independent woman, and that she was only married once but “ got rid of him a long time ago”. She can in fact be branded as a “free spirit”. Pregnant at sixteen, married at seventeen, and divorced just shy of her twentieth birthday, she managed to find a job and raise her child. “It was the bravest thing I’ve ever done, people didn’t do that in the sixties”, she realises. Although she had a little help from her parents, she remembers it “ being particularly hard, making a chicken last most of the week, but I did enjoy it”.
"The hardest thing ever"

And her daughter Jackee, now in her thirties, remembers she never missed on anything : “I think my mum did a fantastic job raising me in very difficult circumstances. Although money was extremely tight I can honestly say that I did not miss out on anything”.
But although Brenda prides herself on having a tight bond with her family, a shadow hovers over her. When she was just twenty-seven, she had to deal with the tragedy of losing her younger brother. He was only three years younger than her, and she admits it has hard: “Losing my brother was the worst thing ever, he committed suicide over a girl, it was the hardest thing ever . I do miss him, we were very close, we used to laugh and laugh”. Although she admits she felt very strange towards the girl in question, she has come to forgive her, and both women have remained in contact over the years.
However a happier mood was in order when Brenda took her family to London in 2004 when she received the Member of British Empire award for her services, by the Queen herself. And though Brenda relished the memory of meeting her Royal majesty, she has a particular moment she doesn’t want to forget “we had the most fantastic meal, and to see my mom get slightly inebriated was wonderful”.
But at the end of the day, the reward Brenda Traylen will no doubt treasure, is how her daughter sees her : “I am very proud of what my mother achieved in her life. She has done so much, and not just for herself, but an awful lot for others”.