Local Face: Michael Blundell

  |  Published: Nov 1st 1993

Michael Blundell has worked at Lower Farm, in Halton Village all his life. His contribution to village life is immense. Not only does he keep the fields in good trim, he is Chairman of the Parish Council and sits on the Parochial Church Council. In other words, in every sense, he is at the heart of Halton Village.

To newcomers, it seems that the Blundell family has very long roots in Halton. In fact, Michael's grandfather Percy Blundell settled here in September 1933 from Warwickshire. Apparently, Granny Eva Jane's family (Ives) had lived in Puttham, Hertfordshire since the 1600's and she had a hankering to get back to the Chilterns. Her wishes seem all to have come true as the family ethic of public service led to immersion in local life. Percy was elected to the Parish Council, eventually as Chairman, and their son Tom continued the tradition serving 52 years, 16 as Chairman. On Tom's retirement in 1987, he was presented with a seat which still has pride of place in the garden.

For the first part of Michael's life, being born and living in Halton Village meant having a strong connection with either the Ministry of Defence or the Rothschild family as the only building not owned by one or other of them was the Post Office! Since 1972, however, slow thoughtful change has come about. Small scale developments have been built by both Private and Council sectors. All this expansion has been so low key that the people of Halton have welcomed the gradual doubling in population. Michael's own contribution has been to convert some surplus farm buildings into dwellings including affordable homes for young people who do not want to leave the village.

This "infill" type of development is now coming to an end and the more definite plans for the RAF camp means that the immediate future of Halton Village is more stable.

These changes have benefitted the Blundell family. Originally tenants of the RAF, they were able to buy the farm in 1981. Their mixed fanning, sheep, beef and arable has not changed much on paper over the years but "modern methods" means that a fair proportion is now "set aside". During the past two years, Michael has been delighted with the increase in wild flowers and the diversity of birds is now incredible also a nest of wild partridges was born for the first time in many a long year. Two spinneys have been planted which are already encouraging the wild life.

A livestock farmer's life often revolves around showing and Michael did his fair share. Now he looks from the other side of the ring as a sheep judge, most recently at Winslow, Wycombe and the Chiltern Hills Flock Competition. Since the cattle market closed in Aylesbury, he has used Tring Market but remains loyal to Wendover for meat shopping and other services. His Halton born nephew, Kevin Stevens, left school in June and has joined the family business representing the fourth generation farming these fields.

Michael sees traffic calming as the priority for concern in Halton Village. The increasing numbers of bicyclists and horse riders add their pleas to those of villagers desperate for motorists to stop using the village as a speedy bypass.

Halton people have contributed generously to many good causes over the years and Michael's involvement with the PCC has inevitably led to much fund raising. Hearing that the Multiple Sclerosis Unit (ARMS) near Halton Hospital is at risk, they immediately lighted upon this local charity as the beneficiary of their Harvest Supper on 12th October. £240wasraised.

Michael is delighted that the' Village Association is flourishing to include the non-churchgoers.

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