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Return Romany’s caravan to Wilmslow, says Terry Waite

Aug 16 2012 Posted by Laura Canning

Former hostage Terry Waite CBE has joined a campaign to plea for the return of Wilmslow’s smallest tourist attraction, a Romany caravan which has been in the town for over 70 years.

The Vardo originally belonged to wildlife broadcaster and writer Reverend George Bramwell Evans, who wrote in it and featured it in his books. His widow brought the caravan to Wilmslow after his death in 1943, and in 1950 it was sited in the new Romany Memorial Garden. It is now owned by Cheshire East Council, which sent it to Wales for restoration, but may not return to Wilmslow now that restoration is complete due to concerns about vandalism and weather damage.

Terry Waite, who is patron of the Romany Society, wrote to Cheshire East Council saying: ‘It is with some degree of alarm that I hear today that the East Cheshire Borough Council no longer wishes to act as custodian of the Romany Vardo.

‘As you will no doubt be aware, Romany was the first BBC Naturalist and one of the most distinguished residents of Wilmslow. Without a doubt, he is a part of Wilmslow's heritage. As I understand it, it was the express wish of Mrs Bramwell Evens that the Vardo be kept in Wilmslow and that she had confidence in the local authority of the day to properly care for it so that it could be an attraction to visitors and also a memorial to her husband.

‘If it is correct that the Council no longer wishes to meet this moral obligation, then I think it is a sad day for Wilmslow. With imagination, the Vardo could become a centre point of a feature which introduces a new generation to the wonder of nature as well as honouring a distinguished resident of the town. I sincerely hope that I have been misinformed and that the Vardo will remain in Wilmslow, which has been its real home for so many years.’

A Cheshire East Council spokesperson said: ‘Romany's caravan has now been restored and Cheshire East Council and the Romany Society are working together to try to find an alternative and appropriate indoor location that will safeguard the caravan's integrity.

 ‘A museum in Bradford has expressed an interest in taking it and displaying it as part of a wider Romany display. However, as it stands, nothing has been agreed.’