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Angry villagers get night at the opera

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has tried to make it up with villagers sho organised a protest campaign when he became lord of the manor.

Lloyd Webber laid on a coach to take a party of residents on the estate - which he bought for a reputed £3 million - to the West End to see his smash hit Phantom of the Opera.

VIP treatment made it an evening for the villagers to remember and it has helped improve relations between the residents and the composer who completed the deal to buy the 1200-acre Sydmonton Court Estate, near Newbury.

Under the deal Lloyd Webber took control of virtually the entire village of Ecchinswell. Agents acting for the composer said the village store-cum-Post Office was "too small" to warrant the staff of three so popular postmaster Mr Reed had to go.

Dozens of villagers signed a petition begging for his reinstatement.

Some residents boycotted the village shop in protest after Mr Reed was sacked. He has now found another job.

The London trip seems to have lessened the tension. One villager said: "It was a decent gesture. Perhaps we can now let bygones be bygones".

Lloyd Webber

The Evening Standard


Copyright © 2002 M. Kniestedt. All rights reserved.