We invited 11 people, whose lives and careers are firmly rooted in Herefordshire in a wide variety of ways, from church and charity to gardens and the arts, to share their hopes for the coming year. 

Philippa Spens

CEO Hereford Community Foundation

The Herefordshire Community Foundation gives grants to individuals, groups and charities in the county which help keep us thriving and healthy. My wish for 2020 is that we support lots of new grassroots organisations with their work and that more donors come forward to help us achieve our aims. Many people in Herefordshire have been sending some or all of their winter fuel payment to our Surviving Winter Fund so we've been able support eligible families with £300 grants for fuel. We hope to support many more this year! Donations can be made via our website www.herefordshirecf.org or call 01432 272550

Bill Sewell, Cafe@All Saints

I hope for a properly cold winter with snow on the hills but not on the roads and a warm and fragrant summer for tennis; and to climb a dozen hills I’ve never climbed before.

I hope I get the chance to serve delicious food and drink in my new café in the sparkling new Assembly Rooms in Ludlow – which I hope will open in 2020.

I hope my children find happy and fulfilling dreams to follow in the next year of their lives. And I still with wild optimism hope that those dreams may happen in an England still in Europe!

Stephen Morgan, owner, Ralph Court Gardens

As each year passes, we work hard to learn from previous successes and of course mistakes to ensure the gardens continue to improve and bring a smile to the thousands of visitors every year.

For 2020 we are planning a new garden which will have a mix of horticulture and magic ensuring it dovetails into the existing themes. Our maintenance team has grown, enabling us to move forward and create memorable experiences throughout the seasons from Spring, Summer, Halloween and Christmas. Let’s hope we can all look forward to a happy and healthy 2020.

Ian Archer, chief executive and artistic director, The Courtyard Centre for the Arts

To consider what my hopes would be for 2020, I find myself reflecting on 2019 and looking back at the goals and achievements I had set myself, together with my memories and experiences of everything that was accomplished both personally and through my job. On reflection, there’s always something left underachieved or is no longer relevant.

So, in establishing my hopes for 2020, I will take a blank canvas to paint all my hopes and aspirations for a bright and healthy future in a world that has less hatred, prejudice, racism and greed. I will look to 2020 with anticipation and elation at the prospect of a new look Courtyard, giving new opportunities arising for the whole of the Herefordshire Community. My hope is for our community to dream big and to believe that dreams can be achieved. It is amazing to witness the impact a small idea has when it springboards into reality. Above all, in 2020, enjoy every moment and I hope this year is the year to remember.

George Vass, artistic director, Presteigne Festival

‘We are extremely fortunate to be able to programme a wide-range of contemporary classical music each year at the Presteigne Festival – my hope for the future is that we can sustain the level of financial support required to continue giving meaningful commissions to composers young and old and also to offer attractive performance opportunities to the many world-class artists who play and sing at the festival. The UK’s new political profile will doubtless ensure that Brexit is done – to say the very least, this is something that has divided Britain significantly. It is my sincere wish that these country-wide rifts can be healed in the New Year, enabling us to move forward in harmony.’

Kerry Lee, racehorse trainer

Allied to healthy, happy horses, owners, family and staff, my hopes for 2020 are the same as for each and every season: to maintain my stable's strike-rate above the 20% mark, to win with every horse in the yard, to improve the quality and calibre of the string I train, and if at all possible, bag a coveted success at one of the major spring festival meetings.

Competitive to the end, be it Cheltenham, Fairyhouse, Aintree, Punchestown or Ayr, for us racehorse trainers the really big end of season prizes matter!

Cllr David Hitchiner, Leader of Herefordshire Council and Ward Councillor for Stoney Street

Nationally, I hope that the talked about negative economic consequences of Brexit will not materialise and the farming community in particular will not be badly impacted.
Locally, my hopes are that the new (now not so new!) administration will continue to work in the cooperative way it has so far, that we will continue to do things differently and not revert to the ways of politics as they are played out at a national level.
Personally, I hope to find time to walk in the Herefordshire countryside with my wife and dog. I cannot explain how time consuming this role is. 

Peter Cooper, Principal, Hereford Sixth Form College

My big hope is for more optimism in 2020. I feel the last few years have felt somewhat frustrating with political stalemate and an atmosphere of austerity. The Sixth Form College with its sense of energy, youth and enthusiasm is a great antidote for me and I hope that this positivity infects the wider community and nation as we move forward into a new decade. We have so much to enjoy and appreciate within our wonderful county and country with increasing life expectancy and health, rising education standards in the PISA international league tables, rich cultural and historical heritage, complimented by contemporary artistic movements and a kaleidoscope of sports, music and drama which truly make life worth living. Sit back, appreciate what we have and raise a glass to the best age of life in which to live. Best wishes to all for 2020!

Bill Jackson, Jackson Property Co

I hope that the younger generation continue to insist that governments take meaningful action to counter climate change and remember that if they have a vote to use it!

More secure, well paid jobs in the county for future prosperity, especially for those more vulnerable in society and Herefordians embrace and support all the amazing projects such as the new university (NMiTE), Shell Store, Cyber Centre (Wolverhampton University), Tourism, Enterprise Zone, The Old Market and all the market towns that make this such a wonderful county.

Try and remember, if possible that everyone, especially businesses support a charity either with fundraising, time or expertise. This would go a long way to make a fairer society for 2020.

Happy New Year.

Rev Ruth Hulse, Team Vicar, West Hereford

Every morning, as he leaves for work, my husband calls to our two boys, “Two things!” They answer, “work hard and be kind”. That’s what we encourage them to be; people who work hard, doing the best they can, and people who are kind to others, even when these are the hardest things to be. I can’t help but think that we could do a lot worse in 2020 than to hope that more people work hard to do their best, and try to be kind (er) to others, even when it’s the tough option. And from this I hope that the light and love of God may shine a little brighter in our communities.

And personally, my hope is the same as every year; that THIS year, I will finally become really organised and get on top of everything. I think this one might just be a hope too far though.

Julian Vaughan of The Green Dragon Hotel

With a newly elected conservative leader and an answer to the inertia caused by Brexit on the horizon, 2020, looks to be a more positive year.

It would be good to see The Green Dragon Hotel, Hereford City and Herefordshire move into more prosperous times. I believe that with a strong focus and clear strategy on our county’s offering as a tourism destination, we can all achieve great things. As a destination, we offer experiences that current travellers demand - food and drink, adventure, scenery, heritage and culture.

By improving the infrastructure for visitors to our county, we will increase footfall and as a result we will see significant regional economic growth. I hope that all who live and work in our county collaborate to develop a thriving tourism based community in 2020.