Issue number 104

1st September
1st December

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



Following the successful Public Meeting, on 21 May, about a design for the proposed footbridge over the Canal, the District Council is now able to move to the next stage of consultation.

Utilising ideas and feedback from the Public Meeting, the Council’s design consultants, Turley Associates, are completing a draft design for public consideration.

This will be presented at a meeting, organised by the District Council, at:-

1900 hours Thursday 3rd September at the
Corn Exchange

It will be followed by an exhibition at the Hungerford Library, with plenty of time for comment, before a final design is produced and a planning application submitted.

Paul Hewer and I hope that Town Councillors will be able to attend this event and that organisations and local media will encourage a good attendance.

The District Council will produce posters and flyers for display and distribution around the town.

David Holtby






Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

I hope you have all had a good summer and managed to enjoy some outdoor events despite the rain. HADCAF was as usual a triumph and many thanks go to Elizabeth, Catherine and Beryl, together with their hardworking team of helpers, for a wonderful three weeks.

As many of you know Hungerford Primary School is very special to me and next year it will celebrate its centenary. The school will be holding various events to celebrate their 100 years and these will be advertised in due course. My reason for mentioning this now is that the head teacher, Karen Sawyer, would like to trace some of the oldest surviving former pupils of the school. I would be grateful for any names or contact details and you can contact me on 683302 or write to me at 8 Hillside Road, Hungerford.

Chain continues to operate with the help of many volunteers and if you feel you have an hour or two spare then please contact me or the Chain Office (683727). We are always looking for new drivers who can use their own cars or drive the Chairman Vehicle or the Handybus, so if you do feel you can spare a few hours we would be very grateful.

I hope some of you are able to help me with my search and I will keep you updated in the next issue of Chain Mail.

Janette Kersey



Well you couldn’t have failed to notice that our front cover is radically different, I have apologised to Micky (our photographer) for not using his beautiful photo that he sent for this issue, but I felt that CHAIN MAIL could really get the message to you all, about the CANAL BRIDGE DESIGN MEETING. Micky replied back that he hadn’t yet finished the photo write up / technical details at that moment, as he was packing his suitcase to go off on holiday to MEXICO! I think that he has heard about Swine Flu, so we all look forward to the Christmas cover photo.

The long unoccupied building in Bridge Street does look quite pristine with it’s fresh white paint, but for how long, and did it really cost £12,000.00 to do? Will it ever be restored to a building of use? Well, see below, look what I found on the web (29.7.09)!

West Berks Council have just announced that there are over 400 properties across the district that are currently recorded as having been vacant for more than six months. The Council is keen to see these properties utilised and aims to bring as many properties as possible back into use this year. Alan Law, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Housing said, “The creation of two schemes (funding) highlights the Council’s commitment to addressing the problems that empty properties cause and to taking a practical measure to increase the supply of affordable housing for local people”.

If you are the owner of an empty property within West Berkshire and would be interested in working with the Council to bring the property back into use, contact Maureen Sheridan, tel: (01635) 519680 email

I draw your attention to a letter from Val Compton, click on Savernake Appeal. The battle has been lost for Savernake MIU as you probably all know, but now is the time for us to help Val, so all the fund raising organisations of Hungerford lets get behind her and help please. DO IT NOW, yes.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, do look at thriving Hungerford in ”Our Community”.

Nice to have the Police report back.

So another great year for HADCAF, roll on next year.

I am not always tied to my chair as editor, sometimes I get out and about and pop in to some of my advertisers to seek renewal of their advert. The other day I was chatting to Gill in Right Price Mobility, and having a really good look at all the helpful gadgets etc that help us in our older, stiffer, less mobile age. Another advertiser Paul of Webair (pg7) has introduced St Pancras Station for Eurostar in his list of journeys, that’s one that we will be using very soon.

Thanks & Regards David Piper.

Tel: 01488-683152

Letters, Articles and adverts should be sent to me by the 7th of the month proceeding publication, i.e.7th November for the December issue on December 1st. If you send something to me I will always acknowledge within 3 days. No reply from me then I have not got it, so please re-send.

Hungerford Mayor


This Mayorship has started off extremely busy with all the Mayors of Berkshire reporting an increase in events they are being asked to attend. I have been delighted to represent the Town at 60th Birthday of Newbury College, The launch of the Berkshire Gardens Trust and the Thatcham family fun day to name a few and was delighted to support the home events such as St Lawrence Church fete, Chain AGM, Hungerford Carnival and Round Table organised Wild West Event and numerous HADCAF Events. One of the highlights of my year will be attending WINGS (The Windsor International Guides and Scouts) where over 5300 participants lived for one week in Windsor Great Park in total harmony and came from 35 different countries. I was able to meet up with 1st Hungerford Scouts in the evening where I helped them prepare their evening meal. The events laid on for the children attending were tremendous and our troop represented the Town with pride. I had one son (Patrick) attending for the week and the other (Thomas aged11) came with me as my Consort for the day.

We have been very sorry that the Skate Park has had to be closed for most of the school holidays however this has been necessary due to the failing wooden structure and not meeting the required Health and Safety to allow it to be open without fear of people hurting themselves or the structure collapsing. A grant is being sought to enable a new park to be constructed in due course and we wish the SOS (Save our skate park) team well in obtaining the required funds.

We are continuing to look into placing a proper memorial for the paupers buried at St. Saviours and in this light have had 3 large Sarsen stones delivered to the cemetery. They have not yet been positioned as required and an appropriately worded plaque will follow but we are still researching the history. I would like to thank June Prictor for her helpful information regarding James Dean’s gravestone and even a copy of a newspaper article from NWN 1930’S. We will now be able to get a suitable plaque arranged for future generations to read the fascinating story engraved on the stone but being lost to the elements.

Pigeon poo remains a problem in the High Street and West Berks have been having extensive conversations with Railtrack regarding this issue. The latter have agreed to carry out works in September, which will probably be overnight as it will involve traffic management and the erecting of scaffolding. In the mean time West Berkshire will arrange for the pavements to be cleaned and we would like to encourage shop owners to do what they can to deter this vermin.

West Berkshire has taken a fresh look at The Priory Road Salisbury Road roundabout and agrees that the visibility could be improved by addressing the bank obscuring reasonable vision. This work is due to commence shortly.

Thinking ahead we have set a date for the switch on of the Christmas lights being Saturday 28th November at 4.30pm. The Town Band has agreed to support the event as usual and Bear Grylls has agreed to be the local celebrity performing the switch on! I have to thank my husband for organising this and the constant pestering of my children as this was the person they wanted.

We would like to thank the District council for their Wednesday free parking during June and July and would encourage them to again run this venture in the run up to Christmas to help support our shops and Market. In the mean time we wish the Chamber well with their refund parking fee strategy.

Elizabeth Cardwell,     Mayor of Hungerford

Chain’s Page

Could you be a volunteer driver?

If you could be, or even if you would just like some more information please contact the CHAIN OFFICE at Unit 9 (back of Russell Marshall), 19 High Street, Hungerford. Just up Church Road and turn in past the Toy Shop. If you are reading this between 9 am & 10.45 Monday to Friday, go on, call into the office now. It only costs you your time!
Or else telephone 01488 683727

We are just one of the eleven Volunteer car schemes in West Berkshire, and CHAIN covers our Hungerford area.
We need drivers like you to help those people who are unable to use public transport to get to appointments of all kinds such as to the Doctors, clinics, the opticians, dentists, hospitals, day centre or to a Care home to visit their loved ones. We also have a special vehicle for wheelchair users.

FAQ’s……………made SIMPLE

I’m only free on certain days, can I still volunteer?
Of course you can, and even then if something crops up you just say ‘’Sorry not able to do that day.’’ SIMPLE!

Will I have to drive to places I don’t like?
Of course not, you just say that you can do this or that journey, or say ‘’Sorry don’t want to go there.’’ SIMPLE!

Am I too old (or young) to drive?
Of course not, although you might want to call it a day when you reach say 80 years young! SIMPLE!

What about the extra fuel I’m using?
Our car scheme offers out of pocket petrol or diesel expenses. We use an easy claim form. SIMPLE!

Arrh! What about my insurance?
Most insurance companies when you tell them that you are ‘not driving for gain’ do not charge. SIMPLE!

Will my bad back mean I can’t help?
CHAIN’s volunteers are not allowed to lift their passengers, they might need a supportive arm though.
If the passengers use / need a wheelchair then we have a special vehicle for their transportation. SIMPLE!

So all the questions you had are so SIMPLE to answer, why don’t you SIMPLY go and offer your help? I did for two very SIMPLE reasons.

ONE day I might need the services of a
CHAIN VOLUNTEER (like you), and
TWO I am giving back to our HUNGERFORD a little something that costs me NOTHING but a bit of TIME.

Go on you can do it too. SIMPLY call CHAIN today.

A. Driver

You can now find out even more about volunteering for us on the web. Go to
Google, type in hungerford in west berkshire , press enter. When the page opens at the top click on Hungerford in West Berkshire, and there, if you have never seen it before is Hungerford’s Web site.

On the left hand side is the index, click on Community, this will show the latest CHAIN MAIL. Just to the left of the CHAIN logo is the place to click for much more Volunteering information.

Or you can type this into your browser
And you are at the magazine, then click on Volunteers on the left.

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In partnership with the Volunteer Centre West Berkshire

Regular and reliable supermarket shopping from your home.

Easy shop is for older people who find it difficult or unable to do their own shopping.

We use local major supermarkets and the internet to get the shopping you need.

Easy shop provides a regular and flexible grocery shopping service, giving home delivery of essential shopping , and access to supermarket shopping. We use Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Ocado and Asda.

You do NOT need a computer, but you DO need, a bank account, a telephone, and you or someone else to take delivery of the shopping.

Easy Shop………how it works, Age Concern will visit you at home to:-
Register you to the scheme ( FREE )
Help decide which shopping service is best for you
Set up how you will pay for your shopping
Answer any questions

Easy Shop will………….
Arrange to contact you for your first order, weekly, fortnightly or monthly
Open an account for you at your chosen supermarket (s)
Telephone you at a pre-arranged time to chat and take your order
Place the order and arrange the delivery at a convenient pre-arranged time
Will ring you to make sure you are happy with the delivery
Answer any questions

Please note that Supermarkets may make a delivery charge, you will be told the amount before you place your order. If your shopping is delivered by an Easy Shop volunteer you will be asked to make a contribution to their mileage, again you will be told the cost

Easy Shop is based in Newbury at the Volunteer Centre Northbrook Street.

Please telephone 01635 522 255 for more details or to register


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Hungerford Surgery

                                     (As at 11th August 2009)

The key information to note is that although numbers of swine flu cases continue to rise nationally, the actual infection remains mild in the large majority of cases.
At the time of writing, the number of confirmed cases in the Hungerford area remains relatively low although it is anticipated that the number of cases could well rise during the autumn.

The Surgery team has been busy putting together our contingency plans since the spring and we are well prepared should the need arise.
If patients believe they have the symptoms of Swine Flu, they should contact the National Pandemic Flu Service in the first instance via the Internet and / or telephone:    or      0800 1 513 100

Patients who follow the instructions and are diagnosed with having contracted Swine Flu will be given a unique reference number for their nominated representative (flu friend) to collect anti-viral medication on their behalf. The anti-viral collection point (ACP) for West Berkshire is currently the West Berkshire Community Hospital, London Road, Thatcham, RG18 3AS.

Only those with potential swine flu complications i.e. pregnant women, children under one year old and those with long term conditions should contact the surgery to be assessed by a doctor.

If you are asked to attend the surgery for an appointment, please follow the specific instructions given by the Receptionist who will show you to a separate waiting and treatment room in order to minimise the risk of cross contamination.


Extended Opening Hours
We continue to offer additional appointments on specific days of the month. Early appointments are on Tuesday mornings. Late evening Monday once a month. Saturday morning also once a month. These are subject to availability and pre-booked, routine problems only. We are hoping that these additional appointments will help patients who find it difficult to attend during normal opening hours. Full details can be found on our website or by contacting the surgery reception in person or on 01488 682507.
Remember: If you cannot keep your appointment, please let
us know so that it can be offered to someone else.

During extended opening hours and outside of normal opening hours, all medical emergencies are attended to by the WestCall out of hours emergency service. Telephone number for WestCall is: 0118 978 7811

Mike Hall Practice Manager


It is with heavy heart that I write. You will know by now, we lost our legal battle to save the Day Hospital and MIU at Savernake Hospital when the Judge decided the PCT decisions were not unlawful. However, we can take comfort from some of the Judge’s comments and how impressed he was with the community support. He recognised how galling it must have been to see newly built or refurbished departments closed so soon after opening.

The awarding of the Protective Costs Order (PCO) has changed law and is a huge step forward for other campaigners, who are already quoting Compton v Wiltshire PCT. This was entirely thanks to our lawyers.

Following representations from my lawyers, who once again went to the High Court to argue my case, the Judge halved my costs to £10,000 despite the PCT lawyers seeking the maximum amount. Public interest was again recognised.

I would now like to do two things. Firstly, I need to raise £10,000 to pay my costs. This will hopefully be funded by those who have pledged money and by others who have offered to contribute. Secondly, I would like to give tangible recognition and an expression of gratitude for the huge and impressive amount of work that the lawyers have done for us all, over the last two years. Not only have they acted pro bono (for free), but also minus a solicitor, which added a considerable amount to the workload.

I do not want their efforts to slip by unrecognised and many supporters have asked how we can thank them. Their free work is done through the Bar Pro Bono Unit, a charity through which altruistic lawyers gift their time. The expectation is, I believe, a couple of days work a year. We attempted to add up the days of full time work committed to this legal battle and stopped when the figure reached a rather alarming 180 days. That is the magnitude of the lawyers’ gift to our community.

I would therefore like to put something back into the Pro Bono system, in recognition of our lawyers’ amazing work. I would like to enable other campaigners to benefit and other lawyers to be encouraged to take up causes such as ours.

I suggest this as a way forward: With the agreement of the Friends of Savernake Hospital, (whose bank account will be used), I ask that you send a cheque, which will be put into a ring fenced fund to be used primarily to pay the £10,000 costs. There is a time limit, so as soon as possible would be appreciated!

Any funds in excess of £10,000 will be put, with your permission, toward a Bar Pro Bono Unit (BPBU) fund. We will ask the lawyers, to advise us on how best to assist or recognise such work. There will also be some events over the coming year to raise further funds to show our appreciation of the lawyers.

If you would like to contribute, please enclose the following information (this can be put on the back of your cheque): Your address, State your donation is for Legal Costs & BPBU Fund and if you are a UK tax payer (so we can Gift Aid)

Cheque should made payable to: Friends of Savernake Hospital and the Community and sent to Mrs Kate Way, Treasurer FoS, Field Cottage, Bottlesford, Pewsey, Wilts, SN9 6LU

Alternatively there is an online donation button on

With very grateful thanks for this as well as the fantastic support over the past two years and really touching support following the Judgment. Thank you for picking me up and setting me back on my feet – to fight another day!

With warmest wishes Val Compton

Nb. You can read the Judgement on

Ed’s comment, So the fight is over, now it’s our turn to help Val and the lawyers..

The Old Codger

The Old Codger’s Column…….

On the day of delivery of the last CHAIN MAIL, having grumbled about the invisibility of our mini roundabouts, we were treated to seeing them being re-painted. Well done! So 3 weeks before this edition comes out I have got my friend David to e-mail Streetcare about the state of pointing of the cobbles outside the Co-Op area, and asking them to make the disabled bay down by the Zebra crossing more obvious with amber/yellow paint and a disabled sign, and last but not least, to put the SLOW back in SLOW on Canal bridge. Talking of which I hope to see you at the ‘’Canal Bridge’’ meeting.

David tells me that he sent the e-mails on Sunday 27th July and by 10am on the Monday morning had had replies to both! Wow! He also added a chase up on the pigeon poo underneath the Railway bridge in the High Street that has been going on since before November last year. It’s not the Council’s fault but Railtrack. Will they put up metal netting this time or the stuff that only lasts a couple of years?

I reckon that the Americans should be paying Gary for hi-lighting the poor security in their defence computer systems, not trying to extradite him! Just think if that had been a foreign power, no don’t, the aftermath doesn’t bear thinking about does it. The day after I typed this Boris Johnson agreed with me in the Daily Mail!

Excuse me but why should the Roman Catholic Church have to provide car park spaces? C of E, URC and Methodists don’t! Church on the Rock does in Herongate’s car park. Do the people in the Croft & Parsonage Lane grumble when services are on? They (the Catholics) deserve a purpose built Church after all these years surely? The footprint of the new building is hardly any bigger than the old pre-fab, and I bet their congregation doesn’t grow by that much either. I suppose it’s all down to the NIMBY’s!

So the councils are thinking of putting up our council tax to cover the final salary council pension schemes, great isn’t it! Who’s going to be hit the hardest again, yes the OAP of course. Just shows what you can do in a monopoly service.

As I write this at the beginning of August the banks are booming again and so are the bonuses and the government is ***** scared to cap them. The bailed out banks are dammed lucky to have jobs, lots of others have lost theirs because of them!

So in a few years time, us ‘oldies’ are going to be hit badly in our pockets and purses again if we want to listen to the radio. I don’t know about you, but as I’ve got older the radio is turned on more and more as the television programmes get worse and worse. Why are we going to be hit? Well FM / VHF radio transmissions are going to cease, in favour of DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast). This means that when you pick up the portable and slope off to another room to listen to the Archers or whatever, the signal in a lot of Hungerford will be non-existent. I tried a £140 Roberts radio a few years ago and even with this quality radio had a very poor reception on it.

Your main Stereo / Hi-Fi will also be defunct, so this will mean a new system along with a 3 or 4 element external DAB aerial. Please don’t settle for a smaller aerial as the signal strength will be low, and when the bad weather comes around it gets even worse! I’ve got both DAB & FM so I know.

The other thing is that there are very few compact / mini systems around with a ‘’proper’’ aerial socket under £130, and the wire dipole types are really worse than useless in our area, especially if you are tucked under a hill the wrong side to the transmitter. Oh yes you might be able to get some local radio stations , but just you try and get Radio 1,2,3,4 etc! So thanks again to this Government, what!

Hopefully W.B.C. are going to listen to our comments and suggestions on the Bridge, (but will they actually use any) before a final design (singular) goes forward for planning permission. Sounds to me like NO say on this final design, be careful.

Please contact me through David’s e-mail,
or to CHAIN Office…..address on outside back page and title your words/thoughts as …….Old Codger column please ……. Bye Bye & keep safe.

Gardening by Stacy


One of the romantic visions of the English summer is sitting in the garden listening to the drone of the bees. However, unless we act now this could become a distant memory with untold consequences.
Although there are over 250 species of bees in the UK, only 6 of these are commonplace with numbers declining. This has been attributed to a number of factors, including lack of habitat possibly due to modern farming methods, and the prevalence of the Varroa mite, a parasite which attacks both adult bees and the brood and eventually wipes out the whole colony if left untreated.
Worryingly, bees help to pollinate a large percentage of our garden plants and of course our crops which means that the situation has serious ecological and environmental issues.
It was heartening to see recently, as I was planting a garden in Lambourn that the bees were immediately attracted to what had previously been a very bare area. The brief for the design was to include plants which attract wildlife but I feel that no matter the style or size of your garden you can provide nectar rich plants to encourage bees.
Ideally native plants such as Greater Knapweed or Comfrey will attract the greatest number or variety of bee species. However the use of ornamental garden plants will provide a good source of food. I was planting Lavender and Foxgloves in Lambourn but Penstemons, Geraniums, Hyssop, Borage and herbs to name but a few, will have the bees queuing up. The greater the variance in planting the more bee species you will encounter. Did you know for example that different species of bees prefer different flower shapes? Some bees have long tongues and can reach into the deep Foxglove flowers while others will find it easier to feed from a more open flower such as Echinacea. Look also at prolonging the availability of bee food by using a succession of plants which flower from Spring through to Autumn.
For more information the BBC’s Breathing Places is very helpful and provides activities for children to get the whole family involved, and “The Beekeeper’s Garden” by Ted Hooper & Mike Taylor is invaluable.

Stacy Tuttle

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Nature Notes A Circular Walk in the Countryside

On Sunday July 26th I decided to go for a quick walk in the countryside. There is a great little walk in Great Shefford which takes about an hour. There are no hills and the going is very easy. You can park your car in the village hall car park or even at the Swan Pub and go for lunch afterwards.

The walk starts alongside the village hall and is part of the Lambourn Valley Way. It is signposted by one of those little green council signs.
At first you walk along a narrow “alley” between the hall and a hedge but soon you enter a field where someone has planted several garden flowers. I’m not sure whether this is right or wrong. At first I thought garden flowers on a river bank is unnatural.
In front and a little bit to the right is “Black Barn” which was built by the Tate family (of Tate and Lyle fame). It is now almost derelict but there are signs of it being used to rear cattle
Just past the barn there are several views of the gentle rolling Berkshire Downs and a terrific view of Great Shefford Church. The area to the left of the footpath is usually covered in wild flowers – presumably it is too wet to plough.

On this Sunday there was a flock of about 40 Lapwings wheeling about in the sky just on the brow of the hill. Most Field Guides state these birds form flocks in winter. However I had forgotten that Lapwings only have one brood and the chicks can usually fly within a fortnight. Therefore it’s quite logical to see flocks in summer and winter, in my opinion.
Lapwings look black and white in the distance but they are really green and white. Also it is impossible to see the crest or cinnamon vent at a distance but close up this bird is beautiful.

The rounded wings were the reason naturalists named them Lapwings but most country folk call them Pee Wits because of their flight call. However I have heard them referred to as Green Plover. The scientific name is Vallenus Vallenus which amuses and intrigues me. In the same way the Wren’s name of Troglodytes troglodytes brings a smile to my face. Perhaps the Victorian Scientists who named most of our birds were not very inventive.

Sadly the Lapwing is on the RSPB’s red list which means it is endangered and sadly the Cuckoo was placed on this list this month.

Along the stretch of the river which leads to Maidencourt farm there are always Sedge Warblers – in the summer. They return to Africa in the autumn, usually in September or October. So an autumnal walk may pick them up but there are always one or two special birds along this walk. Sedge Warblers have a fabulous song which is easy to recognise.As is the bird with its streaky back, cream under parts and broad eye stripe.
The walk continues to Maidencourt Farm where you turn left and cross the river to return along the south bank of the Lambourn. The footpath officially starts half way along the tree lined lane but there were no stock in the field so I just walked through the gate by the bridge.

In the wood behind Rivermead House were a pair of Buzzards calling to each other. In the past I had no difficulty recognising a Buzzard’s call but today I mistook it for a Red Kite.

The successful reintroduction of this bird means we have to learn its call properly.
The walk continues past the church where you join a lane which leads back to Black Barn. On the left is Shefford Marshes where Southern Marsh Orchids thrive. Of course you have to retrace your steps to your car when you rejoin the Lambourn Valley Way.


Police Update

Our two current neighbourhood priorities are speeding, and anti-social behaviour encompassing criminal damage and vandalism.

In a bid to tackle speeding, Speed Indication Strips were placed across Bulpit Lane to enable West Berkshire Council to monitor speed across this particular stretch of road. Unfortunately, once again they have been ripped up and have therefore been removed. Traffic Officers have recently conducted a speed check on Hungerford Hill, and tickets have been issued to drivers found exceeding the limit.

With regard to our priority of anti-social behaviour, damage valued at around £2,000 has recently been caused to Hungerford Cricket Club. Three juveniles have been arrested and questioned in relation to these incidents, and bailed pending further investigation.

On 18 July we had a report of a male exposing himself on Hungerford Common. To date this is the only report, but if he is sighted again, please do report this or if you have any further information, please call us on 0845 8 505 505.

We have had an incident recently of arson involving a car on Everland Road. Again we would urge you to contact us if you have any information relating to this.

The Hungerford Carnival was held last month. We are pleased to advise that it passed peacefully with no problems, and an enjoyable afternoon was spent by our officers. There was only one report of anti-social behaviour, but when police arrived the male had left and all was in order.

The latest crime statistics, which are available on the Thames Valley Police website show that we have had some success in tackling anti-social behaviour, with 74 incidents reported in the three month period between April and June this year, compared to 87 incidents in the same period last year. This can be attributed in part to our increased patrols.

However, overall crime was up, largely due to an increase in domestic burglaries, with nine reports in this three-month period as opposed to three during the same time last year. Please ensure you secure your property when it is unoccupied and when you go to bed. If you would like crime prevention advice, please contact us and we will be more than happy to assist.

We are pleased to see that the number of thefts from vehicles is down by five reports compared to the same period last year. However, there have been two reports recently of criminal damage to vehicles in Priory Road, Hungerford, where windows have been smashed in an attempt to steal property. Please make sure any belongings left in the cars are kept out of sight in the glove compartment or a locked boot to deter these would-be thieves.

In the last month, offenders brought to justice include a 57-year-old Hungerford woman for public order offences in Coldharbour Road on July 17. She was given an £80 Fixed Penalty Notice.
We have been working with the Fire Service after reports of arson at Firgrove Court. The Fire Service’s anti-social behaviour co-ordinator has attended and distributed leaflets to local residents.
We have now completed the school surveys within the Hungerford area, which were carried out in conjunction with West Berkshire Council. These have now been forwarded to the council for attention. The surveys were conducted to recognise any crime prevention measures which could be put in place to make the schools more secure.
Finally, we would like to recognise all the hard work put in by local organisations and the community in making the carnival such a success. We certainly enjoyed patrolling it and it was very good-natured.

All that remains is to keep your eyes peeled, and wish you a peaceful summer.
You can contact any member of the Hungerford team by calling 0845 8 505 505 or to find out more about them visit their page on the Thames Valley Police website by following the neighbourhood policing links.

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Small Articles

Also on this page……..Heat Wave………..Hear Ye, Hear Ye………How, What & Why……..

Hungerford Town Band

The band will be competing in the finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain on the 27th September in Harrogate.
May we, through CHAIN MAIL, thank the people of Hungerford for their generous support which enables us to attend this event.


14th November 7.30pm         Poppy Concert, Corn Exchange
28th November 4.30pm        Christmas Lights Switch-on
11th December                   Victorian Extravaganza


The heat of summer stultifies all human energy
There is little movement in the shimmering distant heat.
Animals instinctively seek shade in a common lethargy
And children splash in paddling pools with tiny podgy feet.


The slightest breeze is caught as it ripples through loose hair
But soon it sinks away and the afternoon is hotter still.
A summer fly drones sonorously as it cleaves the heavy air
Whilst winged ants on hot earth roam around at will.

Only plants can stand this debilitating heat
Flowers open wide to soak up the golden lustre of the sun.
Evening shade and humid night distils their fragrance sweet;
A brief respite for all before another searing day’s begun.

Freya Basson


Sybil Clayton discusses the ear and benefits of Hopi Ear Candling
The ear has 3 principal regions – the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. The outer ear consists of the Auricle (flap) and the auditory canal which is the passage which leads to the ear drum or tympanic membrane. The middle ear lies immediately behind the ear drum where you find the 3 smallest bones in the body – the ossicles. The middle ear also contains the all important Eustachian Tube which leads from here to the nasal pharynx. This tube equalises the pressure in the middle ear with the atmospheric pressure. If the ET is not working properly it can cause intense pain, ringing in the ears and vertigo. The inner ear or labyrinth, consists of a complicated series of canals, the organs concerned with balance and the cochlea which is a curly tube full of fluid containing receptors for hearing which hold thousands of hair cells which detect the tiniest of vibrations. When these hair cells become damaged, deafness can occur.
Hopi Ear Candling (Thermo Auricular Therapy) has been used by many cultures as an effective natural therapy since ancient times. It was originally an Indian Relaxation Ceremony. Since that time the Hopi, the oldest tribe of Native American Pueblo people, with their great medicinal knowledge and high degree of spirituality, brought this knowledge to Europe. Today, the candling is used to calm nerves, encourage the removal of wax from the ears, relieve sinusitis, headaches, tinnitus, loss of hearing, poor balance, insomnia and a range of head related problems. It also massages the all important Eustachian Tube to encourage efficiency.
Sybil is happy to discuss this unusual and effective therapy further on 01488 683845


How old are they?
What are they?
Why might they still be used in this day and age?
Are they Antique?
What are they worth?
Who would use them?

E-mail to the editor or an envelope to CHAIN’s Office
if you can answer all six questions.

                                                  Ps. Sorry there is no prize!

Our Recipe page by Angela.

The season of colours has arrived; the streets, the parks, and the canal are covered with limes, yellows, ochre’s and oranges: a rainbow of leaves marking the beginning of Autumn. All these colours inspire me in the kitchen; so many scrumptious dishes to choose from.

For this issue, I’ve chosen apples and pumpkins, this season’s staples. All throughout September and October you can forage for apples. Look out for them on Wantage Road (A338) or on the A4 and you’ll find trees which have grown from pips of apple cores people have thrown out of their car windows, or whilst walking.

Spiced Baked Apples (serves 4)

A pinch of nutmeg, 1tbsp sugar, 50gr butter, 4 cloves, 4 apples, 1tbsp orange juice, 1tbsp raisins, 2tbsp ground almonds.

Preheat oven to 190C /375F/Gas 5, with half the butter, grease oven proof dish. Mix the almonds, raisins, and orange juice. Core the apples and spoon the mixture in. Put a clove on top of each one. Take the rest of the butter and smear it onto the apples’ skins. Place the apples on the dish, sprinkle with the sugar and nutmeg. Bake for approx 25 minutes.

To heat your family up on some of October’s chilly nights try this pumpkin recipe.
Pumpkin Stew (serves 4)

Half a pumpkin or squash cut in squares, 5 potatoes peeled and cut in squares, 5 carrots peeled and cut in squares, 2 handfuls of runner beans cut in small pieces, 1 clove of garlic, 200gr of diced beef, 1 litre of stock .
Throw all the ingredients into a pot and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste, adding herbs or your choice. Serve hot with homemade bread.

Recipes supplied by HEAT Food Group (Hungerford Environmental Action Team), meet us 4th Sunday of every month at the Farmer’s Market for a taste of a seasonal food, free recipes, kids workshops and more. To see what’s in season each month and for seasonal recipes go to the food pages at                                                                                 AMQ

Health by Liz

Swine Flu Pandemic

The best defence against viral infections is a healthy immune system. Liz Chandler from Natures Corner, looks at some natural remedies to promote healthy immune function.

Flu pandemics occur approximately every 30 years, when a virus mutates to such an extent that people no longer have any immunity to these new forms. The swine flu virus, first identified in Mexico, can no longer be contained and we are beginning to see the effects of the economic and social impact of such a virus. On a personal level, swine flu can make us feel mildly unwell in the best instance and can have the most serious consequences for those who are more vulnerable.

Whilst I would not like to profess that any of the natural remedies mentioned in this article are in any way specific in the prevention of swine flu, by strengthening our immune systems, we empower ourselves to be more resilient to contracting any disease. It’s a case of being responsible for our own health and wellbeing.
Diet, of course, plays the lead role in the prevention of many health problems. To maintain a strong immune system, foods rich in anti-oxidant properties offer the necessary nutrients. These include, carrots, watercress, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, kiwi, cherries, shitake mushrooms, tomatoes and garlic.

Green and jasmine teas also offer great anti-oxidant properties, being rich in polyphenols that have a high anti-viral capacity. Just by gargling with green and jasmine teas can help protect against colds and other diseases.

Probably the best known traditional herbal remedy is Echinacea.
This plant supports immune function encouraging the better recognition and destruction of invading pathogens. As it strengthens the immune system generally, rather than working on a specific pathogen, it is ideal for prophylactic use. Echinacea enhances the action of T-cells, which are responsible for identifying unfriendly molecules in the body, thus improving the body’s ability to recognise pathogens. Another benefit of Echinacea is that it encourages interferon, which prevents viruses from replicating, thus defending the body against all type of microbial attack.

Echinacea can safely be taken by children from two years upwards. Many children these days have weakened immune systems, causing them to succumb to infection after infection. This is particularly noticeable when they start a new school term. Whilst it is important that children’s immune systems are exposed to some challenges to allow them to mature, an immune system that is already weak will not benefit from repeated infections. Echinacea is available in small, pleasant tasting chewable tablets or in tincture form, and both are free from synthetic preservatives, flavouring and colouring. The herb offers ant-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiviral and antiseptic effects and can be used for children’s ailments such as colds, flu, chicken pox and recurrent infections. Contrary to the perception of many people, there are no restrictions to long term use of Echinacea.

Another natural remedy that offers great benefits is the appropriately named Immune+ (vitamin C and blackcurrant immune support). This high potency formula provides 1000mg vitamin C, with blackcurrant, black elderberry and bilberry, plus
zinc for added immune support. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and supports healthy immune function. It is easily destroyed on exposure to air, so despite eating a balanced diet, we may not always be getting enough of this vital nutrient in our diets, as we think we are. Emerging research has found that the anthocyanidins and procyanidins found in blackcurrant outperform those found in other fruit, and help to support the body’s defence systems.

If you are at all concerned about aspects of your health and would like to speak to a Healthcare professional in more detail, please contact Natures Corner on 01635 33007 or email

Always advise us of any other medication or health issues.

Our Community

Also on this page………..Hungerford Rotary………..Hungerford Chamber of Commerce

Poppy Appeal.
The total for last year was an incredible £14,912.88.
Our thanks to everyone.
After 16 years as the driving force of the Poppy Appeal in Hungerford, Stella North (ably assisted by husband John) has decided to step down. Our thanks go to them both.

If anyone requires a wreath, and for Remembrance Sunday wreath laying, people should still contact John North, on 01488 683591.

The new Poppy Appeal Organiser is

Shelagh Parry, who will no doubt also be ably assisted by her husband John. Shelagh will be in place for this years appeal, which starts on October 24th, and can be contacted 01488 681492.

Volunteers for house to house and street collections are always welcome. Please contact Shelagh if you would like to help. If you get an ansaphone please leave your name and phone number, and she will call you back.

Hungerford Rotary is in good hands.

At the Presidential handover, outgoing President, Bob Gray (from L to R) is seen handing over to Hugh Pihlens, who in turn installed Graeme Sleeman as senior Vice President who also in turn installed David Wallis as Junior Vice President.
How many Clubs or Organisations can boast this?

Bob Gray stated how much he had enjoyed his year in office having donated some £10,000 to various charities and causes together with having worked much closer to other organisations in Hungerford with a great deal of success…………..


Officers of The Hungerford Rotary Club, Susan Hofgartner (L) and Annabel King are seen presenting a cheque for £250, to the new Headmaster of Hungerford’s John O’ Gaunt school, Neil Spurdell, to go towards the purchase of 2 Flip videos and the formulation of the School’s excellent Newsletter, for parents and the community as a whole, with a crowd of pupils looking on.

Hungerford Rotary’s new President, Hugh Pihlens, comments, “How important it is to work with local organisations, such as schools, as a means to occupying pupil’s time and involving them more with what’s going on in the community.”

Hungerford Chamber of Commerce

Some interesting statistics came by the Chamber of Commerce the other week showing that the average UK town has 12% of it shops standing empty, with many towns reaching 20% and Margate topping the league with a staggering 25% vacancy rate. Compare this to Hungerford’s 7% and it paints a pretty good picture of what is still very much a thriving town, despite the current economic climate. Even better still by the time you are reading this there will be at least two new shops open, with others in the hands of the solicitors etc and hopefully opening soon. Additional with the new parking refund scheme proving successful, and over 50 quality independent shops (if you’ve not tried the Fruit & Veg or Butchers shop yet, give them a go and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the quality and price) and a decent supermarket in the town, there is every reason to shop locally.

The Chamber of Commerce’s major event of the year is the Victorian Extravaganza, traditionally held on the second Friday in December. This years event will take place on the 11th December. All the usual attractions will be there, including the Big Wheel, and following on from last year’s successful inclusion of Bridge Street, there will be more attractions and stalls from the Bridge to the John O’Gaunt Inn. This will be the 18th year of the Extravaganza which not only provides locals and visitors with an excellent seasonal evening, but also gives many local charities the opportunity for major fund-raising. It’s worth remembering that this event is organised and funded solely through local businesses, and this year also the Town and Manor, and as such doesn’t put any strain on Council budgets. A genuinely free night out for the 10,000 plus people that attend each year.


The Hungerford Surgery

Part-Time Receptionist Vacancy
20-25 hours per week – 1:30pm – 6:30pm

We are a friendly 7,500 patient, 4 GP partner practice looking for a bright, motivated part time receptionist to join our team in October 2009. Flexibility, good communication skills and pleasing personality are essential, as is experience in working with the public in a service industry. We are very busy!

The successful applicant will have good computer skills and be responsible for all reception duties, providing a high standard of face to face and telephone care for patients, staff and visitors.

For more details (inc. a job description and practice profile) please call
01488 682507 or visit our website at

Applications with a CV and covering letter should be sent to:
Mike Hall, Practice Manager, Hungerford Surgery, The Croft, Hungerford
RG17 0HY – Tel 01488 682507 or

Living Memory……… H&D CC

Well that’s it then, Tesco is now trading in Everland Road. I have heard many differing opinions, (of all shades) expressed during the last few weeks as to what effect it will have on other traders, and the Town in general. The Chamber of Commerce may have a collective view, which I suspect would be favourable.

Now thinking of the Chamber of Commerce, in order to stimulate increased awareness of Hungerford businesses they very recently launched, The Quest for the Hungerford Jewel, a most handsome, apt and valuable prize, which can be won by solving the twelve clues.

At the launch ceremony of the Quest, my mind was taken back to the efforts of the forerunner of the present Chamber, when “only ninety minutes parking” was half a century into the future.

In 1956, The Hungerford and District Chamber of Commerce had over seventy members, all trades and professions were represented, and the committee dealt with many important items that concerned the Town and its trade.

This Chamber was formed in 1936, and exhibitions of wares or services had been held on several occasions, but now in ’56, twenty years from its inception and ten years from the end of WWII, a four day Exhibition and Trade Fair was held in the Corn Exchange and Town Hall. All the spaces were quickly taken, and some late applicants made arrangements nearby. A goodly flow of entrants was maintained from 10.00 am. ‘till 8.00pm. on November 14th, 15th & 16th.. closing at 9.00pm.  0n Saturday 17th.
five thousand large folded leaflets, to indicate the layout were offered for sale a week before at 3d. They were also a lottery entry and a draw was made each day of the event for a £5.00 voucher, which was cashable at an exhibitors stand or shop.

I am looking at the leaflet now, and some of the names are so familiar to the older residents of this community, but only two, are in existence now, as they would have been recognised in 1956; Roberta Ladies’ Hairdresser and the Three Swans Hotel.

The main Banks, through amalgamation, have but changed slightly, and the name Razey still exists, though now in the Cuttings. ( I have often wondered why the area is called cuttings, when the railway is on an embankment) Which although a digression, leads me to say British Railways was a member of the old H&D CC.

So do and try to claim the Hungerford Jewel, it is on display at the makers shop, Furr &Co. or visit for online information.                            



One of the most visually attractive suggestions that I have heard about, is to build a new wall facing, in an almost vertical attitude. I know the bridge is listed, but if it’s hidden then the listing is not worth a light, is it? The bricks would be matched to replicate all the age and variation that we can see now, and when it’s finished, provide spaces to allow a few plants / flowers to grow over as they do now.

Our existing bridge slopes dramatically in as it goes upwards, so this ‘’vertical build’’ would give more than enough pavement width. This new ‘’vertical wall’’ should extend all the way towards the Tutti Pole. In doing so, it would only lose approx 12” (30cm) at the passage way pavement level, but increase by more than enough at the ‘’bridge pavement’’ level.

The Metal Bridge to the old ‘’Fired Earth’’ shop just needs to be shortened, and the railings that run towards the Tutti Pole now, could be removed and repositioned on the outside of the new wall. The bridge pavement at the Tutti Pole end should be re-shaped in a curving way, taking away a few feet of the cobbled parking bay. The same ‘’vertical’’ bridge wall attitude can be carried through on the Bridge Street side of the Canal. Do it this way and we retain the character and the well loved view.

All of this new brickwork can be carried out without closing the pavement until the last moment, then I suppose pedestrian traffic lights would have to be installed, for the pavement to be completed.

So this is one idea, let’s hear yours on :- Thursday evening 7pm. 3rd September

Back to the Top

Blasts from the Past

From the Parish Magazine for January 1873.

“At the Smithfield Cattle Show, on December 11, there was a finer display of pigs than usual. For white pigs not exceeding nine months old, Her Majesty, the Queen was first with a pen of very great merit, and the Rev .J. O. Stephens of Savernake was second. For pigs of a white breed not exceeding 12 months, Her Majesty was again first, and W.H. Dunn Esq., of Standen Manor was second. In the next class, white pigs not exceeding 18 months old, Mr Dunn was first with animals of extraordinary fineness of offal, grand neck chines, rare backs and loins, and fine hair, whilst Her Majesty won second prize,”

From the Parish Magazine for January 1877.

“It is with great pain that we have to place on record the fact of a terrible murder which was committed in our immediate neighbourhood on the night of Monday December 11, and the victims being Inspector Drewatt who had charge of the Hungerford Division of the Berks Constabulary, and Police Constable Shorter who was stationed at Shefford. Shorters body was found on Monday night in a large pool of blood in the middle of the high road leading from Hungerford to Shefford, between Folly Farm and Denford Toll Bar. The body of the Inspector was found early Tuesday morning, laid against the bank by the side of Denford Lane, only a short distance from the Toll Bar. Inspector Drewatt was a man of singular modesty, courtesy, integrity, and self-command. He had discharged his duties in Hungerford so as to win universal respect and esteem. Police Constable Shorter was a young man of high character and a good officer. Deep sympathy has been felt and expressed for the widows and children, and it is hoped that it will at once take the substantial form of a liberal subscription for their benefit.”

Conclusion – Four local men were arrested and charged with their murders and put on trial at the Berkshire Assizes in Reading on 19th February 1877. All four pleaded not guilty, and after a trial that lasted a total of three days two were acquitted. Two brothers Henry and Francis Tidbury, were found guilty and hanged at Reading goal on 12th March 1877, exactly three months after the crime took place. Memorial crosses were placed on the spot where the bodies were found at Folly Crossroads and remain there to this day. FWB.

From the Parish magazine dated January 1885.

“It will be remembered that in October last a Carter, named Williams, risked his life and sustained very serious injury in attempting to stop a runaway team of horses with a wagon containing several young children. Some gentlemen of the Town have contributed a sum of £13.9.0d in order to testify their appreciation of his brave action and to make some provision for him and his family until he is able to go to work. The High Constable has undertaken the administration of the fund. There were more than sixty subscribers with sums ranging from a sovereign to sixpence.”

More from the Archives next quarter. Fred Bailey

Church Bells

Bell ringing at St Lawrence Church – Part 7

With the summer holidays in full swing (or is it splash!), we have been a bit thin on the ground lately, which has led to a few Sunday Evenings being ringing-free. However, this is “wedding season” and, although we get weddings all year round, we usually find ourselves ringing for them on most Saturdays during the summer. With other churches having weddings just as frequently and with people away on holiday, we tend to help each other out and Saturdays in particular are typically busy. Lately, we have had some weddings on Friday’s too, which, with work commitments, means raising a band of ringers is difficult. However, we do our best and I don’t think we have failed yet to ring for a wedding when asked.

Two articles ago, I explained the workings of “change” or “method” ringing with the path of a bell described as a “blue line” which the ringer learns and uses to navigate through the piece of ringing, starting with the sequence 12345678, which is known as rounds and ending with the same. The line shown to the right describes the simplest form of change ringing where it is possible to vary the sequence and change the whole pattern of what everyone does. The result can then be given a name of it’s own and is then known by that name whenever and wherever it is rung.
The most common way that a method is devised, is to have the treble remain in the “hunting” sequence and for all the other bells to use the treble as a “marker” or “signpost”. One or more other bells then, instead of moving at every blow, remain in the same position for two blows.

Using this simple principle of varying the order of changes, complex blue lines can be devised on any number of bells. The more bells, the more variations that are possible and there are now thousands of named methods that can be rung. In fact there is one known as “Hungerford Surprise Major” which is rung here occasionally, but not on Sunday mornings when we tend to stick to familiar ground to ensure nice even ringing and not too much stress for the grey cells! For interest sake anyway, the blue line for HUNGERFORD SURPRISE MAJOR is shown on the left.

The numbers across the top and bottom of the diagram show where each bell starts and ends the sequence. So the path of each bell can be followed through the others until it reaches its destination. From the end point, it returns to the top of the sequence in same position and continues through on its new path. This is repeated 7 times until it arrives back in it’s home position. Throughout the changes,. The treble does the same work and is used by the other bells as a guide.

The whole piece, seven times through is completed in 224 changes and would be rung in about 10 minutes. The numbers on the left of the diagram are a form of shorthand and I’ll explain them in a later article. Have a nice summer break and see you next edition.

Mark Robins