Issue 126

1st March
to
1st June 2015

Please click a heading or just scroll down to read the articles, click the Up arrow to return here


Front Cover by Micky Thompson

Well, you can’t say that we haven’t had a proper British Winter, which makes the coming of Spring so greatly appreciated. The cover picture this issue is of cherry blossom, that welcome display that bursts forth during March but which sadly lasts so little time.

You may notice that I have tweaked the photo a bit making it a little more graphic. Many of my friends say that I take a perfectly good photo and then proceed to mess it up. Well, as in all things there will always be differences of opinion and as a trained graphic designer turned photographer I really enjoy the opportunities that the digital age has afforded me to take control of how a suitable image may be manipulated and presented. Presenting an image not necessarily exactly as it was, is today debated in the same way that the French Impressionists work was derided before gaining acceptance


 


Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

We have been very lucky this winter so far but as I write this report we are in the middle of our first real cold spell. Please take care when it’s icy and check on your elderly neighbours.

Christmas in Hungerford was as magical as ever thanks to Rod Desmoules and his team of helpers. The Christmas Lights were amazing and I was told by many people that they came to Hungerford specially to see the lights.

Chain continues to help the people of Hungerford thanks to our wonderful volunteers. We have a new Handybus Co-ordinator, Ted Angell, who has taken over from Gary Moore and I would like to thank Gary for all his hard work over the past 3 years. David Thorpe and Neale Marney have taken over from George Russell to do the Handybus Training and again I would like to thank George for all he has done for Chain over many years.

We are looking for new volunteers to either drive their own cars, the Chairman vehicle or the Handybus so if you have an hour or two to spare please contact the Chain Office on 683727 (9.00-11.00am Mon-Fri) or myself on janette.kersey@hotmail.co.uk or 683302. The Chain Office is also staffed by volunteers and if you would be interested in helping once a week or fortnight then please contact the Office.

There have been considerable pressures put on our volunteers by the new developments at The Priory (Redwood House and Lindley Lodge) as it is on the edge of town and too far for many of the residents to either walk to the Surgery or the shops. Chain want to continue to help as many people as possible but will need more volunteers to achieve this aim.

There may be some changes taking place over the next year or so as to how the Handybus is funded so please look out for the Chain AGM (Monday June 8th at 7.30pm in the Town Hall) when this will be discussed in full.

Janette Kersey


Editor

Hello,

Well a belated Happy New Year to you all, I wonder what sort of year its going to turn out to be? Having toed the established voting line all my life, except once, when I voted Liberal, I am wondering now, in the limited time that I have left (for a general election vote) whether to be a ‘’rebel’’ and vote for Nigel. Nice man actually and very polite when last year he asked if he could go in front of me at the bar as he was running late for a meeting that was taking place in our hotel, we were on a Steam Train holiday.

Well what wonderful news about that eyesore in Bridge Street, (click Bridge Street on the left) , and at last, just because I have sold my narrow boat (Blue Gorton) it looks as though the Marina is finally going to come, how many years ago was permission first granted?

Well the change over to Plusnet just couldn’t have gone smoother for our phone and broadband. BT did try and fob me off with ‘’You won’t be able to take your existing phone number’’ a quick call to Plusnet soon said ‘’That was no problem’’. So set up an e-mail like Gmail, you can then take that with you wherever you go and get moving to a provider that cares.
I have smoothed the way for you with Plusnet and when you get onto them would you please quote davidpiper111 as I told them I would be singing their praises in CHAIN MAIL.

Please see our advert below for a rare request for a volunteer who would be able to do our accounts. Age overcomes a lot of our volunteers from time to time, and this is one specialist position that is now occurring.

As this is typed up some 3 weeks before you see it, I must say it was so nice to see in the Adviser (issue 30th Jan) so many articles about Hungerford whereas the NWN in the run up to Christmas went into decline!!! I can’t vouch for publications since then for we no longer buy it.

Do you know that Chain was founded in 1977 and that Chain Mail now enters its 37th year? Do you know what Chain does, if you want to find out more do visit our website, select Chain Help for You and also Volunteering for us. To read the History of Chain select Back Issues and there is the history link on that page.

For Steam Train lovers Tony has just updated last year’s pics (click Steam Update on the left), and we still have lots of previous albums there as well.

If a friend has moved away give them our website address because they can read CHAIN MAIL up there as well, and make them jealous of our Christmas lights in the Photo Gallery.

Thanks & Best Wishes David Piper 01488 683152 davidhpiper117@gmail.com

Letters, articles and adverts should be sent to me by the 7th of the month preceding
publication, i.e.7th May for the issue on June 1st. but don’t leave it until the
last minute, there might not be space.
If you send something to me I try to acknowledge
within 3 days. No reply from me, then I have not got it, so please re-send.

 



Hungerford Mayor

2015 is an important election year. In May we be playing our part in returning one MP to Westminster, two district councillors to Newbury’s Market Street and – far more importantly – up to 15 Hungerford Town Councillors to the Town Hall.

Hungerford Town Council is a very busy, proactive and effective voice for our community made up of volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds and ages.

Council is broken up into committees such as Environment & Planning which meets every fortnight and monthly meetings for Highways & Transport, Recreation & Amenities and Tourism & Economy. Meetings almost always begin at 7pm so it gives you a chance to put the kids to bed, walk the dog, have a bite to eat or do whatever you need to do before turning up at the town hall.
Full Council meetings (usually) take place on the first Monday of each month with other committees feeding their information into this.

The Town Council has found itself taking on more and more responsibility for the town over recent years and now has a sizeable number of facilities for which it is responsible.
To name a few:
The Library public toilets
The Croft Field and Building
The Triangle Field
The Bridge Street and Bulpit Lane War Memorials
Smitham Bridge and Bulpit Lane children’s playgrounds
Skate park

HTC makes comment to West Berkshire Council on planning issues and represents the town when it comes to the matter of highways.

Have you ever considered becoming a town councillor yourself? It may seem a daunting prospect for someone who has never been involved but, believe me, if I can do it, you can too!
And who better qualified to be a member for the town council than you? You live in the town, care about what sort of town it is in which we live and want to shape its future. Whatever your background it doesn’t matter. In fact it might be argued that the broader the range of councillor’s backgrounds the better. You can be from either end of the age spectrum and again that’s not important as people from whatever age bring their own unique life experiences to the green baized-tables of the committee rooms.

I am very keen get as many people interested in taking the plunge as possible to put their names forward for election. It would be fantastic to actually have a contested vote as this would give the council greater legitimacy and open it up to greater scope.

For those who read this and are not immediately filled with apathy and boredom, and I make no apology for sounding like Father Ted’s hyperactive housekeeper, Mrs Doyle, when I say to you, “Ah, go on! Go on, go on, go on, go on, go on!”

And you will enjoy a really fulfilling experience.

Dennis Benneyworth
Mayor of Hungerford


Bridge Street

Visitors to Hungerford approaching the Town centre from any direction other than the South arrive from Charnham Street and turn into Bridge Street, so what is their first impression of the Town? Perhaps a glimpse of the River Dun as it branches around the ‘island’ on which stands the war memorial. Maybe the interesting selection of independent specialist shops for which Bridge Street has become famous? Possibly it is the John O’Gaunt Inn or the canal bridge and sight of the attractive High Street beyond.

However, for the last three decades many first time visitors have gone away with the lasting memory of the derelict unkempt building at 6 Bridge Street, one of the most prominent spots in the town. For almost 30 years, apart from one or two half-hearted attempts at renovation, the building has been neglected and is now in a pitiful state. A few years ago the late David Holtby, District Councillor, persuaded West Berkshire Council to do what they could to tidy the building under the Civic amenities Act but, without the co-operation of the then owner, this was limited to fairly cosmetic work and the building continued to deteriorate.
For many years, Furr & Co., concerned about the effect it was having on the town and also about the structural integrity of their own adjoining listed building, have been quietly trying to either persuade the owner to improve the building or to acquire it themselves.

We eventually succeeded in buying it last August and as I write we are waiting for the outcome of our planning application which was submitted just before Christmas.

Although the building is old and has for many years been known as the ‘rooms over the river’ as it literally spans the River Dun, it is not listed. On the advice of our architects and structural engineers it is no longer viable to carry out any renovation. We plan to demolish and replace it with a traditional style building, sympathetic to the street and reintroducing features such as a first floor bay window which old photographs show once graced the original. It will have a retail shop with views of the mill stream at the rear and a self-contained two bedroom flat.

We do have one favour to ask of the good people of Hungerford. When the work eventually commences, it will almost certainly cause some disruption. The site has no storage, it is in a very awkward location and will be a very difficult build. We therefore ask for your understanding and patience whilst we improve this part of Hungerford with as little disruption as possible.

Greg & Rachel Furr. 7 Bridge Stre


Bits 1

Also on this page…Rouges……Camburn………HandyBus……

Volunteer Village Agents

Hungerford now has two volunteer village agents, who are here to help local people, especially those senior or isolated, or new to the area, with concerns regarding health, housing, benefits, personal safety, leisure, transport….in fact anything. We work with the local volunteer agencies and services to support local people by providing information or, if we don’t know the answer, referring enquiries to those organisations that can help.

If you know someone who might need our help, or if you have a problem but don’t know who to contact, we may be able to provide the answer.

Call or text: Catherine on 07840921873 or Penny on 07547205983
and we’ll do our best to help.


 

Thames Valley Police would like to ask residents in West Berkshire for their help in protecting the vulnerable and elderly in the area from rogue traders.

The elderly and vulnerable are often targeted by uninvited doorstep traders; especially in the home improvement section, such as builders, gardeners and tarmac gangs; in an attempt to trick them into paying for unnecessary work.

Please remain vigilant and if you have concerns that an elderly or vulnerable resident may be being targeted by such traders call the police on 101 in a non-emergency or if a crime is in progress, or they become threatening, dial 999. You can also report suspicious persons to Trading Standards on 01635 519930 or e-mail tsadvice@westberks.gov.uk

You may wish to pass this advice onto any vulnerable members of your community:-
Lock – keep the front and back doors locked, even if you are at home
Stop – Before they answer the door stop and think if they are expecting anyone. Check that the front and back doors are locked and look through a window or spy hole to see who it is.
Check – Even if they have a pre-arranged appointment, check their identity card carefully. Close the door whilst they do this. If they are still unsure look up a phone number in the phone book and ring to verify their identity. Do not ring the number on an identity card – it might be fake!
If they have any doubts, do not let them into their homes!

If they do think the work being offered needs to be done get at least two quotes from reputable, local companies. You should never agree to have work done by someone who is just passing by.

 

 


 

IMPORTANT PUBLIC NOTICE

If you and your parents or guardians have lived in Hungerford for the past three years and you are going on to further education or an apprenticeship,
you can apply for financial help from the

HUNGERFORD & CAMBURN EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION

THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE TRUSTEES

WILL BE HELD ON TUESDAY 23rd JUNE 2015


WHEN APPLICATIONS FROM ELIGIBLE STUDENTS FOR

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE WILL BE CONSIDERED

DETAILS AND APPLICATION FORMS CAN BE OBTAINED, MORNINGS ONLY FROM

The Clerk to the Trustees, The Town Hall, High Street, Hungerford

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS 8th JUNE 2015


CHAIN HANDYBUS
CONTRIBUTING TO THE COMMUNITY
FOR 20 YEARS
, VOLUNTEER DRIVERS NEEDED!

 

The Handybus provides an essential service to those in our community who are less mobile and may have difficulty accessing essential services, community or social events. The ‘bus relies on volunteers to provide the services that it offers.

If you have one (or two!) half days a month to spare, come and talk to us about becoming a volunteer driver. If you have a car driving licence, you may be able to drive our ‘bus. We provide training in the driving and operation of the Handybus. It is good fun and very rewarding. You will soon realise what a contribution you are making to Hungerford.

Give Ted Angell (the Handybus Co-ordinator) a ring on 01488 682610 to chat it over. The CHAIN Office, which is situated between Russell Marshall and McAuley’s the solicitors, in Church Street (open 9.00 to 11.00 am Monday to Friday), also has an information sheet about being a voluntary Handybus driver


John o’Gaunt School

Building an Outstanding Learning Community – Literally!

I was watching early evening television last Friday with my children and we happened upon Room 101, where a comedian and journalist I really like put into Room 101, ‘People who use the word literally in the wrong context.’
So, here I am using it correctly; our building work has literally begun!

About 6 years ago John O’Gaunt School was promised a building project to improve the facilities at our school. The money never appeared as a result of a more desperate need elsewhere and we were left to manage as best we could. This sort of let-down can be very damaging for a school community; the children and staff can feel second rate and as if they are not worth investing in. Add to this large building projects at other local schools and the feeling resonates a little longer. But, here we are, diggers on site, hi-viz jackets and hard hats at the ready; West Berkshire have invested in our school and it feels great.

Our vision as a school is to be an outstanding learning community and our new build will help us to be just that. It will house a huge library, with up to date ICT, funky reading areas and classroom teaching space; an internet café with modern sofas and gallery area, where the community can relax or study; a refurbished hall and serving area with modern furniture and cutting edge ICT facilities and finally, a revitalised and welcoming front to the school itself. In addition, we have already refurbished all of the student toilets, installed two outdoor classrooms, put new furniture in every classroom and are resurfacing the netball courts – just fantastic for our young people and our community.

The funding has come from West Berkshire Local Authority for the main building projects; the content of the library is being kitted out through fund raising, including the Senior Leadership Challenges, which will see Mr. Davies taking to the stage for X Factor (make sure you get a ticket for THAT one), Mrs. Bunston rowing from Lands’ End to John O’Gaunt (see what she did there?), Mrs. Walker jumping out of an aeroplane and Mrs. Setter and Mrs. Thorne taking up the 100km Thames Challenge from London to Brighton – on foot! I will be running the Brighton marathon in April too, so please try and help us out with a few pounds if you can, the details are on our website.

Our wonderful PSA are also holding a fund raising evening, ‘An Evening with Jon Snow’ – yes the REAL Jon Snow, on Friday 6th March at 7.30pm, tickets are £10 for adults, free for children and available from the school or Hungerford Bookshop. Our target is £10,000 – so please help if you can.

This building work represents so much more than a few bricks and mortar; it means we are working together, we are supported in our future endeavours and it means we are raising standards on firm foundations and for future generations. Literally, brilliant.

Sarah Brinkley
Headteacher

 



Hungerford Surgery

STAFF UPDATE – I thought it would be helpful for me to give you all an update on any changes in staff: –
Dr Helen Dace is leaving the partnership at the end of March after 13 years, but we may well see her back from time to time as a Locum GP. We would all like to wish Dr Dace well and thank her for her hard work at the Surgery.

Margaret Ainge is retiring at the end of March after 27 years of loyal service to the Surgery, we would all like to wish her well in her retirement and thank her for all her hard work over the last 27 years.

Loren Franklin is on Maternity Leave after giving birth to a beautiful baby girl (Phoebe) at the beginning of December and we all send her our good wishes.

Liz O’Donnell has joined us to cover Loren’s Maternity Leave.

Debbie Savin has joined us as a new Receptionist/Administrator

Kay Walker has joined us as a new Receptionist.

Dr Amelie Heidelberg (GP Registrar) has now finished her 6 months with us and we wish her well in the next stage of her career.

Dr Charlotte Bee joined us on the 5th February as our new GP Registrar and she will be with us for 6 months.

CQC (Care Quality Commission) – As part of our work for CQC the surgery needs to produce a Mission Statement and there is a draft in the waiting room or on the Surgery Website (www.hungerfordsurgery.co.uk) for patients to feedback on. Please take a look and let us have any feedback either by letter or email (janette.kersey@nhs.net).

BOOTS
– We are aware of the ongoing problems with Boots in Hungerford and would recommend that if you have any problems you speak or write to the Store Manager (Kat Wesolowska) in the first instance then contact the Commissioners of Pharmacy Services at NHS England (marian.basra@nhs.net).

OUT OF HOURS
– When the Surgery is closed please contact 111 who will direct you to Westcall, A&E, Minor Injuries or give some advice. Our closest A&E is at Great Western Hospital but there is also A&E at Royal Berkshire Hospital. The nearest Minor Injuries Unit is at West Berkshire Community Hospital and they are open every day between 8.00am and 10.00pm.

ELECTRONIC PRESCRIBING
– This will have started during February and will mean that Repeat Prescriptions will go down a link electronically to a Pharmacy of your choice. This means the chosen Pharmacy can then download the prescription and make it up for you without there being a paper prescription.

PATIENT PARTICIPATION GROUP (PPG)
– Following my report in the last Chainmail I have only had 2 patients contact me who would like to be part of a committee so would really appreciate some more patients coming forward to run a PPG. If you are interested please contact me on janette.kersey@nhs.net or on 01488 682507.

Janette Kersey Patient Services Co-ordinator

 



Virtual Museum

 It is exactly 100 years since the VAD Hospital opened in Hungerford. The Voluntary Aid Detachment had been established in 1909 by the Red Cross and St. John’s as a voluntary unit providing nursing and hospital services across the country.

At the outbreak of the war in August 1914, there was no Ministry of Health and no one had overall control of the hospitals. However, the VAD stepped in to support the military hospitals, caring for convalescing soldiers, and those less severely injured or unwell. VAD hospitals were set up in most towns across the UK.

On 1 February 1915, Miss Wooldridge, (of the well-known family at The Wharf, 13 Bridge Street), who was the local VAD Commandant, was called on to set up a hospital in Hungerford. Within a few days, the old National School building (42 High Street, now Dickins, Hopgood, Chidley, solicitors) and used at the time as a Technical Institute, was commissioned for use. It was rapidly turned into a hospital with a kitchen and a ward of ten beds. The first patients arrived on 3 Feb! Two additional wards were added at a later date, bringing the total number of beds to 40.

The official name of the VAD hospital was “The Technical Institute Auxiliary Red Cross Hospital, Hungerford”. The medical officer was Dr Starkey-Smith. There were plenty of local volunteer nurses, including Barbara Astley (later Hope).

Some of the patients came from the various Army Service Corps Motor Transport Companies that were based in the town during the war, whilst others came from the Military Hospital at Tidworth.

There were several other VAD hospitals set up in the nearby area, including at Barton Court Kintbury, Benham Vallance, West Woodhay House, two at Newbury, The Vicarage at Ramsbury and the Wesley Hall at Marlborough.

More information is available in Roger Day’s excellent “The Western Kennet Valley in the Great War”,

For more on this or any other aspect of Hungerford’s fascinating history, visit the Hungerford Virtual Museum – www.hungerfordvirtualmuseum.co.uk

Hugh Pihlens

 



The Old Codger

……..I think I have done this at least once before but instead of a moan (and I am not Grumpy ) I want to pass on an enjoyable experience late last Autumn ……

For the last few years we have been going to Calais on what I call a booze cruise but my friend (who is more knowledgeable) calls it a Sommeliers’ soiree!! This time we went with My Ferry Link which started up in 2012. They do use older ships but were much cheaper. On the outward journey we picked up a leaflet and one of the things that caught our eye was a free bottle of wine with our meal in a Calais Restaurant.

So on the second evening there, we looked up the ‘’Histoire Ancienne’’ restaurant, number 20 on the Rue Royale (High Street on the left ) going up to ward the railway station but before the park on the left. Now I don’t know about you but some places just seem to attract you in, this place didn’t at first seem that inviting although over the last few years we must have walked past it more than 10 times,. However this time we studied the menu a little closer and clutching the leaflet (free bottle) in we went to be greeted by a nice chap who wanted to seat us in the window right by the door.. Oh not again I said, don’t you have somewhere nicer to sit. With that he lead us to the inner sanctum, really delightful close to where he cooked (with charcoal) partially in the seating area and partially hidden. We have to say the free wine was not bad but the first cheapest on the wine list was even better, the food superb and the attention more than superb.

I am going to give you their website and e-mail because if you want a table where the ambience is, you do need to book so:- www.histoire-ancienne.com & e-mail P.comte@histoire-ancienne.com. If you go on the website the manager/chef was the stern looking chap but is really friendly and has a great sense of humour. Tell him you have come from Hungerford and we said we could recommend his cooking. No he is not going to give us a free meal!!!

Patrick’s manager also had a recommendation for us when he learnt that we were on our wine buying trip and that wasn’t Carrefour, but to go to Auchan, the selection perhaps not quite so large but value/quality for money he said was far far better. Auchan is not much further than Cite Europe so from the ferry port take A16 motorway towards Boulogne, exit at Sortie 41 and follow the Auchan signs. Very near by is a large petrol station whose prices compare well with Carrefour.


Gardening Leave by Stacy


If you are looking for inspiration for a holiday this year and you are a keen gardener, why not combine the two? There are many interesting and exciting gardens to visit in exotic locations around the world.

One of the most iconic images is the Japanese garden. I was particularly envious of my daughter last year as she spent 3 weeks in Japan, during which time she visited many amazing sights including temples and gardens. Horticulture in Japan is an art form in itself with gardeners studying the art of pruning for up to seven years to achieve perfection and this is apparent in the clipped forms within a naturalistic landscape. In Kyoto there are so many gardens to see from the Silver Pavilion (Gingkaku-ji), the Katsura Imperial Pavilion (Katsura Rikyu) or the Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho
)
The tranquil gardens of the Imperial Palace, Kyoto

I have several friends who originate from South Africa and they have each told me that I should explore The Garden Route there. You can combine the beauty of the natural landscape, the fynbos, and its proteas and restios, the botanic gardens including the Kirtenbosch with some private gardens. Perhaps I shall get there one day.

If you are looking for a bit of luxury, then Bali might be the place for you. Known locally as the “Garden of the Gods” due to its fertile soil, it has much to offer the garden-loving tourist. There are flowers everywhere as they are used in rituals. The jungle landscape sits side by side with palaces and temples, while the most luxurious resorts have gardens designed by well-known landscape architects.



Rome has long been a magnet for those seeking culture for the last 300 years. There are also quite a few classic Italian gardens close to Rome- gardens which I read about as a student of Garden History including the Villa D’Este and Bomarzo. These gardens were to prove very influential to the Garden makers of the 18th century in this country and they still have merit today.

Of course if you are unable to get away this year, our own country has a vast array of gardens, public, RHS, National Trust or in private ownership to enjoy. Why not pick a copy of this year’s National Garden Scheme Yellow Book from Hungerford library and plan your days out?

 


 

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

 Voles Otters Mink and a Pike

The stretch of canal between the Town Lock and Cobblers Lock used to be a stronghold for “ratty” the famous water vole, as written about in The Wind in the Willows. There used to be dozens of furry little “rats” swimming across the “cut”. Now there are none!

To see a Water Vole you have to walk along the canal and look around Lower Denford Mill.
This makes a mockery of the information boards dotted around the marshes. A proud empty boast to the poor unsuspecting tourist and narrow boat user!

Perhaps it would have been better to show an otter on these display boards or a line drawing of one . A pair of otters has been seen regularly along this stretch of the canal for quite a while. One regularly sits underneath the willow tree just past the swing bridge. I bet the otters upset the fishermen because they are renowned “fishermen”. In fact voles are vegetarians and otters are mainly piscatorians. Thus they will live harmoniously in close proximity to each.

Not like the mink which was introduced into this country and bred in captivity for its fur. It is well known that mink kill voles for fun. They are very similar to our native fox in that respect – psychopaths. Several caring nature lovers released this notorious killer into the wild and ironically several caring nature lovers trap them and kill them. Mink predate water voles but I think otters are too big for them. The female mink is exceptionally ruthless and will kill all the water voles in a nest or burrow in one hit. She will probably eat one and leave the rest to rot.

Voles start breeding in March and usually use burrows by slow moving water but they have been known to build nests in reeds. Thus this stretch of the canal is a perfect habitat for this very rare mammal. Sadly water voles have declined by 95% in the UK since 1960 and now there are only 220,000 in the whole of the country.

Recently one fisherman showed me a picture (on his mobile phone) of a pike he had just caught and put back. It must have weighed about 10 lbs. I could not understand this. Pike are predatory fish and kill more skimmers – baby bream – than otters. It’s probably part of the anglers’ contract that all fish have to be put back. If so then the law ought to be changed. In the past there used to be packs of otter hounds but now one never sees them.

Fishermen are usually good Naturalists and one fisherman told me about the kingfisher which nested here last year. He said that he saw kingfishers regularly fly over the canal in winter. Most bird books state kingfishers migrate to the coast in winter but I have also seen them in Berkshire in the winter.

It is with amusement and great interest that I must conclude with the hottest news in nature. Ironically and controversially a species that became extinct in England has now been allowed to breed here. The EU want all extinct animals back in their native lands……wolves and lynx etcetera!? But in a little part of Devon and nobody knows how or why we have Beavers breeding on the river Otter!

Hawkeye


Hungerford Library

West Berkshire will be running a Library Fest again this year with libraries across all of West Berkshire taking part. We will be hosting events from 6 March to 23 April and brochures are available at the library. Events were very popular last year so book early to avoid disappointment!

We are now a collection point for the Food Bank. You can collect a ‘shopping list’ and drop off your donations at the library.

We offer several FREE courses and events at the library:

IT Lessons for beginners of any age. Six weekly 1:1 sessions tailored for the needs of the individual student. Don’t be afraid if you know nothing about computers! Our excellent volunteers will take you through whatever you would like to know. Please contact the library on 01488 682660 for further information or to book a place.

RhymeTime sessions are on Wednesday mornings at 11:00 for children under 4.

Craft and Chat takes place every Friday morning from 10-12. Come along to this free session and bring your knitting or other crafts, enjoy a chat and a cup of tea while sharing your interests with others.

Art Group meets every Tuesday, 2-4pm. If you are interested in art and would like to share your skill or learn something new come along. It is not teacher led, but it is a good opportunity to enjoy your hobby in the company of others.

Book Groups – our book groups were so successful that we now have two! One meets on the first Friday of the month at 5:30, and the other meets on the third Friday at 5:30.
If you are interested in any of these activities please contact Hungerford Library on 01488 682660, hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk

WiFi is free to library members.

We have regular half term activities for children and other events for grown-ups too! Check our website or watch for posters in the window.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Library Services please contact the library. We are particularly interested in volunteers for our At Home service providing a valuable link to readers unable to get to their own branch.


Do you find it difficult to visit your local library because of age, disability or other special circumstances? You might benefit from our At Home library service where a library volunteer will choose and deliver books or audiobooks to your home. Contact the At Home Library Service on 01635 519827 or email newburylibrary@westberks.gov.uk

Check out our on-line services for access to audiobooks, ebooks and emagazines, as well as ordering and renewing books. www.westberks.gov.uk/elibrary

Grumpy too (2)

On “Death” and its practicalities.

Relax, I haven’t put on a dog-collar. The Editor has kindly granted me some extra space in this edition. I appreciate I am neither equipped nor qualified to give a sermon but, just like Andrew, our eloquent Vicar here in Hungerford, I can at least contribute my pennyworth, even if it provokes a counter-blast from your readers.

“”If I should die, think only this of me….”” is a quotation (from Brooke’s poem) that many of us learnt at school, if not subsequently.

Every time I read these words or (preferably) hear them spoken, I feel a shudder of emotion. I am not just proud to be British, but am also conscious of the millions of people from these Isles who, together with and not forgetting those from further afield, have given their lives for causes, both military and civil, over the past millennium or two to which our leaders have committed us. Whether or not the causes in which they have engaged have been lawful, bigoted or other, the fact is that they had volunteered or were simply enrolled ……and then made the ultimate sacrifice.

Why should Grumpy contribute today? Simply that I have a feeling that death is just that: death. It comes to us all. Should we not acknowledge the stark fact and use the word to express what has happened . On the relevant date, someone died. The individual may have passed-away, expired, popped-off, snuffed-it, kicked-the-bucket or exited, but the fact is that they died.

Whenever used, published obituaries and death announcements (despite their eye-watering cost) are a different matter. Therein lies the proper opportunity for those making the insertion to pass tacit messages. I believe this is appropriate; thereby we can gauge if the death was after long illness, accident, suicide….or just old age.

The procedure of funeral arrangements may even contribute to the recovery process for those traumatised. At the event, let us remember the subject is more important than the speaker; over-long eulogies are sadly becoming more common-place.

Then there is the question of the wake. It is inevitably at short notice. The arrangements must be made with seemingly indecent haste. How big a venue and for how many does one cater for? Thankfully there are the mutual friends, the undertakers and the venue managers to whom one can refer; my experience has been very satisfactory.

Mentioning mutual friends, I am indebted to one-such (yes, even Grumpies have them) for the referral to a book: The Swallow, The Owl and the Sandpiper. Words of Courage, Wisdom and Spirit. This anthology of sayings, poems and prose is very appropriate for someone suffering from bereavement; available at all good bookshops including Hungerford’s own.

To conclude, I recommend that anyone involved as, inescapably, we shall be at some stage, has no qualm in taking advice from those best equipped to provide it: the church, the undertakers, the venue managers. God speed.

Grumpy

 

Steam by Tony Bartlett

N.B. more details and illustrations of trains reported on in this article can be found in the Steam Special section of this web-site on the Sightings page wherever a reference of the form Sighting: dd/mm/yyyy is quoted. Also my pictorial review for the complete year 2014 can be found on the Photo Gallery page of the Steam Special section.

The first steam special of 2015 through our area – the St. David’s day excursion to Cardiff is due to be taking place as this magazine ‘hits the streets’, so it’s been a quiet time on the main line with just the pre-Christmas specials to keep the pot boiling!

I was at Didcot early on 29th November to see A4 Pacific ‘Union of South Africa’ with its excursion to the Worcester Christmas Market (Sighting: 29/11/2014). We are used to seeing these streamlined locomotives in the LNER garter blue like ‘Mallard’ and ‘Bittern’ so it was a surprise to find ‘no. 9’ (60009), recently down from York, in BR express green with more of a GWR hue.

We were lucky in Hungerford to have two chances to see the pairing of Black Five locomotives taking Cathedrals Expresses to Bristol. The first train on 2nd Dec passed by in gloomy weather (Sighting: 02/12/2014), but the sun shone brightly for the later run on the 16th Dec (Sighting: 16/12/2014), providing a fine aerial display of steam intermingling from the two chimneys in the freezing cold air as I watched the train approaching Hungerford from the edge of the Common.
I’d had a further steam sighting (See 2014 pictorial review) in the area a few days earlier when the ‘Old Timer’ traction engine passed over Denford Bridge (on its way to the Extravaganza) as I was shooting the yellow Network Rail track-recording HST on its fortnightly run coming back from Plymouth.

Looking ahead, the Summer 2015 schedule has fleshed out considerably since my previous update and now shows that we might expect to see up to 25 steam-hauled excursions travelling through our area. As usual it’s not clear at this stage how many will come through Hungerford, but one exciting development sees West Somerset Steam Expresses to Minehead running through here on the Berks & Hants route on 5 weekend days in July/August. The British Pullman may put in two appearances again, and there are numerous Cathedrals Expresses on their very varied point-to-point itineraries.

Haulage continues with the usual Pacific and 4-6-0 locomotives, although stalwart ‘Clan Line’ goes for major overhaul (to be replaced by ‘Tornado’ on the Belmond Pullmans) just as class-mate no. 35018 ‘British India Line’ comes back into service, pencilled in for the Dorset Coast Expresses through Winchester. Also newly available is LNER B1 4-6-0 no. 61306 ‘Mayflower’ (seen here in my photo on the GCR in Sept 1987) on a busy schedule of early-season Cathexs. Vintage Trains are missing from the schedule so ‘King’ Class no. 6024 is the best hope for fans of the GWR.

Much more detail is available from the Timetable (page 3) of the Steam Special section.

Tony Bartlett


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Roger Day

Hungerford High Street – Then and Now

People often ask me where I find photographs to illustrate my books and unfortunately there’s no simple answer to that question. Some of the images in my most recent publication (The Western Kennet Valley in the Great War) came from postcard fairs and eBay, but it’s important to be wary, as a card’s location is often incorrectly identified by the seller.

I therefore try and positively identify the location before making a purchase, but this is often easier said than done – the card reproduced below (together with its modern day comparison) is a good example of how difficult this can sometimes be. In this case the seller thought the image was taken in Hungerford simply because he’d bought it with other postcards of the town. However, I felt there was good reason to be optimistic, as the cobbles in the foreground reminded me of the gutters that once ran down either side of the High Street, but I needed to be certain.

The only other clue was the large door in the background (with the distinctive knocker) between the soldier and the policeman and I eventually found it by searching through archive pictures on the Hungerford Virtual Museum website – the door once occupied the entrance to the courtyard passageway that runs between the Hungerford Bookshop and Evelyn Coffee Shop.

Happy with the card’s provenance I made a successful bid.                ROGER DAY


HAHA by Belinda

An Allotment in Hungerford…………

We’re entering our 7th year as plotholders – doesn’t time fly? You may think that we should be expert growers by now, but it doesn’t work that way – our first year was one of our best, perhaps because we didn’t have any expectations!

Here are some lessons learned – if only we heeded them – each one could fill a page and be discussed at length, so I look forward to some feedback!

Little and Often: Organise your seeds to make successional sowings: salad crops and peas are particularly worth sowing fortnightly. So much produce can be stored, pickled and frozen, but there’s nothing like eating fresh from the plot, so try to extend the season if you can.

Check your spacing: Know how big your plants are going to get and plant accordingly but remember that you’re going to need access for weeding and picking throughout the season. Some plants are susceptible to moulds so they like space for the air to get through. Of course, the more earth on show; the more weeds will grow!

Don’t panic: If you plant late you’re likely to get a smaller harvest, but, you never know, if the weather’s on your side you may still get a long enough growing season.
If your seeds don’t germinate, ask around, one of your fellow allotmenteers may have some seedlings that they’re happy to give away or swap.

Use the correct netting: If mesh is too big it will allow butterflies in to lay their eggs and their caterpillars then have a free reign to scoff your veg where the predators are unable to reach them – a perfect butterfly farm! Similarly, if a plant isn’t self-pollinating, don’t cover with too fine mesh which prevents useful insects getting access.

Pick it when you see it: A week is a long time in the life of a vegetable. If you’re growing your own veg you may as well eat it when it’s at its best and most flavoursome – often smaller than the offerings in the shops. Keep picking peas, beans, courgettes, etc. so that the plant knows to keep producing rather than going to seed. If you can’t face another bean and your family are fed up with finding courgettes in everything, from quiches to cakes, you’re sure to find someone who wants your fresh produce.

Get an allotment! An all-round positive experience: fresh air and exercise rewarded with your choice of fruit and vegetables. The Marsh Lane site can be very sociable but also offers the opportunity for a quiet time surrounded by nature.

HAHA is holding an Open Day on the Marsh Lane site on June 27th – Come and see what we’re growing this year.

Contact HAHA on 0754 118 7274
www.haha-hungerford.org.uk     https://twitter.com/MLAllotment


Our Marsh Lane allotment life is recorded online through my blogs:
http://www.plot7marshlane.blogspot.com/   

Belinda


Hungerford Football by Ron Tarry

Although Hungerford lost their unbeaten home record as a result of their 2-0 defeat by Dorchester Town on Saturday (31st Jan), we are doing well in the Southern :League Premier Division, lying in 5th. place at the moment. This is the highest level at which we have ever played, but we have to travel long distances to meet opponents with a catchment area often many times that of Hungerford. Our longest journeys to all points of the compass are to Corby, Weymouth, Cambridge City and Truro City. Nevertheless we are holding our own, whilst teams like Newbury and Thatcham are two divisions below us in the Hellenic League.

The club was founded in 1886 and in the early days competed in the Newbury and Swindon Leagues, before promotion to the Ryman (Isthmian) League in 1978. The club have played on the same ground at Bulpit Lane for well over 100 years and our best-ever result was winning the Berks. & Bucks Senior Cup in 1982, beating Wycombe Wanderers in the Final , the Wanderers now being near the top of the Football League Division 2.

There is, of course no comparison with earlier days when most of the players were local lads, who often cycled to games and had to pay half a crown if a bus was provided for longer trips like Kingsclere and Wantage. Nowadays they are paid to play, but have to come to training on Tuesdays and Thursdays and drive to away matches, except the longer journeys when a coach is provided

Although as a percentage of the population, our attendances are quite good, they are well below those of many larger clubs and we could do with more support .

Why not come along and support your local club ? We have a licensed bar and refreshment bar which is open on match days and you can watch all the Premiership games on a large screen in the bar.

Ron Tarry. President H.T.F.C


SIR ROBERT de HUNGERFORD

In the previous issue of “Chain Mail” (issue125 Winter), there was an article by Roy Morgan questioning whether the effigy which resides in the North West Corner of St Lawrence’s Church, is in fact the effigy of Sir Robert de Hungerford. Roy believes that this may be the effigy of Sir Robert de la Beche, which disappeared from St Mary’s Church at Aldworth many years ago when the Church was renovated, and was one of the Aldworth Giants, who were over seven feet tall.

When in 2007 it was decided to clean all of the monuments in St Lawrence’s, the effigy was examined by the Conservator and also by Professor Brian Kemp of Reading University to establish the correct age of both the effigy and the Indulgence Tablet, which now resides on the North Wall above the effigy. The Indulgence Tablet was dated as being carved in the mid 1320s because the form of Latin used in the inscription, was not used after about this date. This was 25 years before the death of Sir Robert in 1352.

The dating of the effigy was questioned by Dr Ellie Pridgeon in her article which appears on the Hungerford Virtual Museum Web site. This was due to the apparel which is still visible on the effigy and would date the statue considerably earlier than that worn at the time of his death in 1352. The reason for this could possibly be that the effigy was carved at the same time as the Tablet in the mid 1320s, when Sir Robert founded his Chantry Chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity, which was located in the South aisle of the Church. Roy Morgan believes that the Aldworth effigies were carved around the 1340s. In spite of extensive research I cannot find when the stated renovation of St Mary’s took place, which means there is no date available to place the possible loss of Sir Robert de la Beche.

As Roy Morgan states we can never be certain as to who the effigy is of, but my feeling is that Hungerford has the correct “Sir Robert.”

Fred Bailey.


Health by Liz

Natures Corner What’s your gut feeling?

It seems that poor digestive health is an issue for millions of people. In our modern lifestyles, we eat a lot more processed and fast foods for convenience and our sugar intake has increased considerably. Although digestive health is a complex subject, Liz Chandler, of Natures Corner, looks at some of the factors affecting our digestion and highlights a few helpful natural remedies.

Day in, day out, year after year, we put our digestive system through stress and offer it junk food, irregular meals and stimulants. Then we seem surprised when it doesn’t work properly. Our digestion is an amazing system. During an average lifetime we eat 45,000 kilos of food and drink 55,000 litres of fluid. Some of us may well have read that the small intestine is the length of a double decker bus, but the overall sophistication of the system is easily taken for granted – until it goes out of sync.

Chewing food kicks off the digestive process and when it arrives in the stomach it is mixed with acidic digestive juices into a liquid ‘chyme’. This gets moved on to the small intestine where digestive enzymes break the carbohydrates, proteins and fats into small particles, with the help of alkaline from the pancreas and bile from the gall bladder. The nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of the small intestine and those that can’t be absorbed at this point, or can’t be absorbed by the body at all, are passed on to the large intestine for a last chance of absorption through the colon – with the leftovers stored for excretion.

Aside from age there are many factors that affect our ability to digest and absorb food:-
• Stress………Overeating or eating too quickly……..Irregular eating or eating late at night

Food sensitivities..Poor nutrient absorption can initially be seen in subtle body warnings such as poor skin, bad breath, brittle or falling hair, white spots on the nails and low energy levels.

One of the best options to maintain healthy digestive function is a daily probiotic. As our gut flora status is affected on a daily basis by stress, bacteria and simple choices such as coffee or fizzy drink consumption, a probiotic powder, capsule or tablet will help balance the gut flora and support a healthy gut lining and a strong immune system.

A powerful anti-inflammatory and natural healer is Aloe Vera Juice, which works within the intestinal tract to help break down impacted food residues and cleanse the bowel. Ginger can be useful for nausea and dyspepsia and licorice for peptic ulcers. Manuka honey has anti-viral properties that fight bacterial viruses such as Helicobacter pylori and also soothe the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Finally a multivitamin and mineral supplement is a great foundation to maintain nutrient balance.

More than 2000 years ago Hippocrates said that ‘all disease begins in the gut’.
This is still relevant today and in order to achieve optimal health throughout our body we should begin with our gut.

Liz

 

Our Community

HUNGERFORD POLICE January 2015

I cannot believe that we already into February. The start of the year was a quiet one with little fallout from Christmas but we have been very busy for the last two weeks.
We have had 5 burglaries in the Lambourn Area . Namely;
•Tubbs Farm Close
•Rowdown
•Hungerford Hill
•Goose Green
•Malt Shovel Lane
We believe that they are linked. We have a period of 12th Jan to the 26th Jan when they could have occurred. Our local CID team are positively progressing with enquiries but will urge for people to contact us if they have any information that could assist us.
Between 11am on the 17th January and 11am on the 18th January a BMW parked in Tarrant’s Hill, Hungerford was vandalised. Two deep scratched were found on the bonnet of the vehicle. Between 16th – 19th Jan someone broke into a vehicle and stole a leaf blower, two shovels, chainsaw, helmet and trousers. This occurred in Atherton Crescent.

Between 9th – 12th Jan, Kintbury Surgery discovered that someone had attempted to remove lead from the roof. Overnight on 14th Jan, two vans were targeted in the Village, one in Queens Way and one in Laylands Green. The doors were forced open and tools were taken from inside. Two males were found in possession of Cannabis on the 27th Jan in The Haven whilst police were on patrol. Both have been issued police cautions.
A post-box was damaged in Inkpen on 31st Dec. 3-4 youths were witnessed running along Weavers Lane. We have had no reported crime in Inkpen, Shefford Woodlands, Welford and Wickham in the month of January.

I reported last month that we had been receiving reports of ASB on The Market Square in Lambourn again. On Friday 23rd Jan, police ran an operation to tackle the issues. We were gathering evidence on the individuals involved. We are also working closely with Sovereign Housing to look at long term resolutions.

Great Shefford have had a spate of theft from vehicle crimes in the village over the past few weeks. PCSO Bremner is conducting regular patrols and ran an operation on Saturday 4th Jan in the village to try and educate the residents in ensuring that their vehicles are secure and items are not left on view. Please make sure that you lock your doors. It will be one of the first questions that your insurance company will ask. We have had 2 reports of criminal damage and 1 report of a burglary in the village. The burglary occurred overnight on the 9th Jan to a house on the A338.

On Wednesday 21st Jan, local officers were on foot patrol in Hungerford. An uninsured and unlicensed driver was spotted driving on Church Street. The driver was reported to court for the offences and also had their car impounded.

Two Drugs warrants were conducted by local officers in Lambourn on Thursday 29th Jan. One male was arrested for a separate offence. We are very keen to hear from anyone who would like to speak to us about drug use and activity. The information that you provide us with is confidential.

We have noticed a slight increase in rural crime, it is still lower than past years but it is creeping up again and we are continuing to conduct our daily rural patrols, which incorporate burglaries, hare coursing, poaching and criminal damage. An estate in Lambourn Woodlands have reported that their deer fences have been damaged on two separate occasions. It appears to be the same suspect. Horse Blankets were reported stolen from horses in a field on 1st Jan in the same area and only ½ mile down the road, another estate reported damage had been caused to his trees after a vehicle had gone across his land.

COULD YOU GIVE A LITTLE TIME TO SUPPORT
THAMES VALLEY POLICE IN HUNGERFORD?
We are looking for residents of the Hungerford area to join the Thames Valley Police Volunteer Team and help to cover our new Police Information Point.

The purpose of the Police Information Point is to enhance public access to Thames Valley Police by dealing with enquiries from members of the public and promote community safety and crime reduction initiatives in Hungerford.

If you have a few hours a week to spare and are over 18 years old then please contact John BRAMHALL on 01189 536412 if you would like to hear more about this opportunity to become a Citizen in Policing.

Fond & Distant Memories by……………. Jack Williams

I would like to return to the pleasant nostalgia of the exploration of our main streets. I’ll take a short look at the North end of Bridge Street, as far East as Faulknor Square, in fact to the house next to the former Lamb Inn, still called by the name of the Manse. Margaret and I were married in 1951 and it was our first home, a bed-sitting room, courtesy of Rev. Donald and Mrs Isabel Collier. They were kindness itself and we were happy there until early 1952, when we moved to No.1 Canal Side (This is another story!) Opposite the Manse was a small shop selling items of grocery and the fact that it was one of the few shops open on Sundays made it very useful to many people. Next to Mrs Barnes was the bicycle repair shop of Eddie May. There were many bicycles at this time and as he was a skilful engineer it was a good business.

The two adjacent pubs, The Red Lion and The Lamb were thriving in the 50’s and were of considerable advantage to the local firemen. In fact as I was a member of the Brigade, I recall that the landlord of The Lamb, I believe called Mick Byrne, was a fire crew member for a short time. The Fire Station had moved from the former Brewery Yard, (later Laundry Yard, and now the site of Tesco’s car park), and was sited in a useful place on the Bath Road. Alas, sheer weight of the traffic prior to the M4 in 1971, meant that access from the Fire Station was very ,very difficult and of course it then moved to Church Street after the disastrous fire at James’s Mill in 1970.

Opposite the Fire Station was the Home Cafe owned by Alan Curtis .It was he who developed the Sports Centre at the back of the shop which was later transformed into the Herongate Sports Centre on it’s new site. Next to the Home Cafe stood the Wesleyan Methodist Church, a quite splendid building, able to accommodate a Town church gathering when Roy Alexander who was Constable and a Methodist, asked for a second Hocktide service.

Unfortunately the Church was closed due to the traffic problems on the A4, as the congregation found it almost impossible to cross the very busy road. Of local interest is the fact that my sister Sheila married Wally Palmer from Aldbourne and Margaret’s brother Terry married Dawn Jessett from Eddington in this Church. The Bear Hotel standing on the corner of Bridge Street and Charnham Street is very much the most historic building in the town .I like to think of it’s most famous event in 1688 when William of Orange marched through the town with 15,000 soldiers and negotiated to accept the Crown of our country, together with his wife Mary.

I have a handwritten copy of the 1901 Town Census, showing Clements, watchmaker; Wallace King, Auctioneers Clerk; and Frank Batt licensee of The Barley Mow Inn ( now Stirlands Garage), which are of interest today .In lower Bridge Street in the 50’s was a second chemist, Mr Taylor, followed by Mr Wickham and then better known, Mr Betts. Also a second cycle repair shop with Arthur Chivers, and next door was the Red Stores, a hardware shop. The present semi derelict shop was thriving tobacconists owned by the Miss Freemans, a butcher next, generally called “Bottom Mills” on the site now occupied to great advantage by Rachel and Greg Furr, one of our most successful recent Constables. Opposite to the commercial interests on the west side of Bridge Street is the Town War Memorial, a truly historic site as it stands between the two arms of the river Dun.

This is part of the site of the Hospital of St John the Baptist and we are now back in the 13th century. The area then was generally known as The Priory and the associated house was standing as late as 1753. The Prior or Warden was required to celebrate Divine Services three times a week and to relieve the poorer inhabitants of the town. Probably Simon De Montfort, like the Duke of Lancaster at a later date, was the patron. Our Town Memorial has come into focus this year (2014) as we have remembered the outbreak of the WW1 in 1914. The parade to the Memorial in Nov.2014 was attended by a great concourse of people including a parade of REME soldiers from Tidworth who have now adopted our town.

JW


Hungerford Primary School

Hungerford Primary School PTA
(registered charity 1027420) provides events and activities
for the children of Hungerford Primary school to contribute to their development and enables the community to get involved with the school through attending events or volunteering.

The school has identified two main funding objectives for this current school year which the PTA are charged with helping raise funds towards:-
1) A piano for the whole school to enjoy. Music plays a central part in the learning experience in the school, raising pupil’s confidence and emotional well-being.
2) New playground equipment. The PTA is extremely keen to help support the promotion of activity and the health benefits of spending time outside engaged in physical activity. This outside time and time spent engaging with outside play activity equipment is crucial in making sure the children are active, healthy and engaged (and ready to learn) when back in the classroom.

The PTA runs a number of events. Recently it ran a very successful Jumble Sale and Cafe at the school and a day where the school children went to school in their pyjamas coupled with a creative writing competition judged by Emma Milne-White, owner of the Hungerford Bookshop and Jamie Douglas, Head of English at John O’ Gaunt School.

We are now planning for our Summer Fete on 4th July – a date to be reserved in everyone’s diary. If you would be interested in holding a stall, or promoting your business at this event, please email hungerford.primary.pta@gmail.com with your enquiry.

We would be delighted if you could attend the summer fete and have a stall, or contribute in any way to the funding objectives of the PTA and the school for the year.


Grumpy

Not always..…………The passing of Christmas and entry of 2015 has only had a marginal but nevertheless positive effect on Grumpiness [despite the Chinese lantern launched shortly after midnight on New Years Day and seen drifting towards Eddington and Leverton where thatched houses are located]. Two major positive features stand out: the Hungerford Christmas Lights [static] once again proved indisputable winners when measured against every other display found on my travels; well done Rod and his team.


 

The other event guaranteed to warm the cockles was the long overdue New Year Honour, a B.E.M., for Jack Williams who has been tireless in his dedication to so many facets of Hungerford life and weal.

 

 

Jack in 2014

2015 starts as surely the most unpredictable year this Grumpy can ever recall. Whether it be political, financial, social or indeed any other category; there is little certainty as one looks forward to known (let alone the unexpected) “defining moments” occurring in the next 11 months.

Hungerford has much on its plate. Its limited ability to be master of its own destiny remains frustrating but it should not give up. The weekly Market is representational of this. It must produce more appeal to provoke more financial turnover; but support must be forthcoming to widen the selection of products on offer. The Town Hall needs to generate more bookings [at commercial rates] to avoid becoming a burden on the community; failure to do so will reduce funds available for tangible support of the many recipients of the grants made by the charity that owns it and which cannot justify a loss-making facility. Hungerford’s Parking needs a strategy, rather than short-term solutions. The undoubted need for more housing, with consequent implications for schooling and utilities, demands a decision rather than the prevarication we have seen over the past few years. Of course, 2015 is Election Year for the nation, the local authority and the township; can we hope for an improvement once the results are known?

Still on the High Street, grumpy feelings are prompted by and indeed are manifest within the queues inevitably found at the prescription counter in Boots. The staff are certainly doing their best but the shop layout is not ergonomical. Why are not the figures showing waiting times at surgeries, at A&E and elsewhere amplified to include picking up the medicines prescribed? Also, the Big Issue seller may not need a licence to sell his wares, but should we not encourage him to learn English so that he may understand that he is not meant vocally to importune potential customers every time they pass.

So, may I wish you all a character-forming year; such experiences are normally beneficial to all concerned.

Grumpy


Blasts from the Past

From the Parish magazine dated June 1871.

“CRICKET. The first match of the season was played on Hungerford Down, on Thursday May 25th, between Kintbury Village Club, and the Hungerford Working Man’s Club. Hungerford were victorious by nine wickets. There then follows the full scorecards with Kintbury making 32 and 34 runs, and Hungerford scoring 53 and 15 for one wicket. However something may have happened after this match because in the Parish magazine dated June 1874, it states that a Cricket Club has been formed in connection with the Working Men’s Club, open to all members, and has provided a healthy and pleasant amusement for the long evenings. What happened we may never know, but if anyone has a history of the Cricket Club, which can throw light on this I would be grateful if they could please let me know.”

From the Parish magazine dated June 1875.


“Our readers are aware that for some years past a Sunday afternoon Service has been provided by the Rev.T.H. Michell, in Bagshot Schoolroom for the inhabitants of that Hamlet, which lies a considerable distance from the Parish Church of Shalbourne. Mr Michell has lately added a Chancel to the Schoolroom, and the Bishop’s licence having been obtained for the celebration of Divine Service, it was opened on May 27, with two Services at 8 am and 7 pm. Miss G Michell played an American Organ, which has been provided for use in the School Chapel, and the musical part of the Service was nicely sung by the children of the Shalbourne Choir and the Bagshot School children. The little building was quite crowded with worshippers, and many who wished to come in were unable to find room. A tea was provided for the Bagshot Cottagers and other in Mr Michell’s Barn, while the younger children were entertained by Miss Michell. We heartily congratulate the people of the hamlet on the increased facilities for Divine Worship, which will henceforward be offered to them, and the Rev. T.H. Michell on the happy completion of the good work which he has been so long carrying out at Bagshot.”

Footnote. The memorial tablet to Rev. Michell and those of his family are located on the walls of the Chancel, and the window in the north east corner “Christ’s entry into Jerusalem” is dedicated to Rev. Michell and he is buried under this window in the Churchyard.


More from the Archives next month. Fred Baile


Legal Spot

Why Do People Treat Motoring Offences So Flippantly ? 

Having specialised in motoring and road traffic offences for 35 years, I am still bewildered as to why so many people treat motoring offences as if they will have little impact on their lives.

The initial laid back attitude of many clients when they come through the door soon turns to despair and fear once the implications of what they have done is explained to them.

The days when courts used to treat motoring offences as secondary to mainstream crime are long gone. Courts have become hardened to the offending motorist and penalties imposed nowadays are far reaching and can have a significant impact on the motorist’s continued employment and livelihood.

Below are a couple of examples I am faced with on an almost daily basis:

Example 1

A client has been summonsed for speeding on the motorway, driving at 110mph. He expects to receive a limited fine and three penalty points on his licence. I have to advise him that for such a high speed, the courts will be looking at not only a hefty fine, but more importantly, a discretionary period of disqualification of between 4-6 weeks.

Example 2

A client has been summonsed for speaking on a mobile phone whilst driving, not expecting it is any great crime. His licence shows he already has nine penalty points on his licence. He expects to get only three penalty points and a small fine.

I have to advise him that although mobile phone offences carry a fixed three penalty points, the fact he already has nine penalty points means he will become what is known as a ‘totter’ – a motorist who has totted up 12 or more points in any three year period. The court must, by law, disqualify him for a minimum period of six months. ie, it will affect not only him, his family – and he may face the prospect of losing his job.

While it is open to the driver to argue that such a period of disqualification will cause him and his family ‘exceptional hardship’, the threshold for persuading the court not to disqualify is quite a high one. Courts, who time and time again have heard all the arguments going in attempts to avoid such disqualification, are wise to the arguments and hardened to them.

For further information contact Paul Trincas on 01635 512121 or paul.trincas@clmlaw.co.uk