Issue number 105

1st December
1st March 2010

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

Front Cover by Micky Thompson

The cover photograph this issue, shows Parsonage Farm in The Croft. Taken in the last days of October before the rain and winds of November took the last of the beautiful autumnal leaves.

With the ever shortening daylight hours the Winter festivals are upon us. Halloween and bonfire night are behind us and the Victorian Evening and Christmas draw near.

From a photographic point of view, there is no need to put the camera away, and the camera flash doesn’t have to be on all the time either. If your camera allows you to switch it off, try resting the camera on or against something that doesn’t move and take photographs, with the flash off. The shutter will stay open for long enough to blur the picture if the camera moves, so steady the camera against a wall, lamp post or tree and see what is recorded. The now famous Hungerford Christmas lights and big Christmas tree, or the funfair on the Victorian evening would both make wonderful evening photographs, but do turn the flash to off, and lock the camera steady. If you own a tripod, then do use it, but improvising works too.

You will find that things in motion, during a long exposure will blur, but sometimes this adds to the effect. Car head and tail lights leave trails, a distinguishing feature of long exposures. Be bold, try it, and you may get something really good.


Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

Well by the time you read this the Christmas Lights will be on and the December celebrations will be in full swing. The Victorian Extravaganza is on Friday 11th December and the Mayor’s Carol Service is Sunday 20th December. There are lots of other clubs and organisations who will be having Christmas parties for their members and I hope you all have an enjoyable time.

Following on from my piece in the last Chain Mail regarding the centenary celebrations at the Primary School I am pleased to report that a sub-committee has been set up and is being chaired by Mark Martin. The first meeting has taken place and the weekend of September 25/26th has been agreed as the celebration weekend. The plan at the moment is to have the Saturday as an open day for tours around the school and time for former pupils to meet up. On the Sunday it is hoped to have a big fete but these plans are in the early stages and I will keep you informed once they are finalised. Former pupils have contacted me from Hungerford and even someone who read Chain Mail in Devon and there seems to be lots of interest. I will keep you all updated in the next issue.

Chain has always been very lucky to have such loyal volunteers and I cannot speak highly enough of not only the drivers but also the willing band of ladies who keep the office running smoothly . If you have any spare time, even an hour or two a week, Chain would welcome you as a volunteer driver or a helper in the office so please contact the Office on 683727 or myself on 683302.

It will be time to distribute the Over 80’s Christmas Parcels soon and Janet and David Long will be organising this with help from Chain and Rotary Volunteer Drivers. If you know anyone who is 80 or over and they haven’t had a parcel before then please, let Janet or David know on 682931.

I hope you all have a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Janette Kersey



May you all have a peaceful Christmas, and the New Year that you wish for.

Contributions of the Word type as articles and letters for CHAIN MAIL are always welcome, and I’ll do my very best to print them, (see my contact details at the bottom). It is great that in this town of ours, CHAIN MAIL has a varied and growing number of Advertisers that enable your ‘’truly local’’ quarterly issues to come to you, with no costs to CHAIN. All of the CHAIN people involved in it’s distribution are volunteers, and if you would like to help please get in touch with me. It can involve as little as 15 minutes four times a year, but it means so much to us.

My thanks go to Streetcare for responding to my various e-mails about ‘’Pigeon poo’’, road markings or rather the lack of them especially SLOW on the bridge, and other road type items. I must say that other WBC departments could take a leaf out of Streetcare’s response time and get round to doing something about the other matters. The Railway Bridge pigeon netting has now been completed in wire, rather than plastic, so it should last!

Contributions of the ‘’money’’ kind are also welcomed by CHAIN. We are a Charity and our income is severely limited, especially since West Berks Council no longer issue ‘’tokens to all over 60’s’’. The unused ones were often donated to us to enable us to help run some of our services.. Please see ‘’Have you made a Will ‘’ article on page 28

I mentioned last time that I do get out to see our advertisers at times, and one unexpected place that was not on my list to visit ( I am the nervous type) was my dentists Williams Dental Practise. I suffered a tooth abscess (pain was relieved) and then the subsequent root canal work (that finished just before we set off for 12 days in New England in the Fall) was perfect. Thank you all. I do intend to ‘’pop’’ in to Caviste though ! (see page 19).

Do you remember the photo on page 24 of the last CHAIN MAIL? Well no-one knew what they were! Small Articles for the answers.

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 February for the March issue on March 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


Following the resignation of Matthew Nesbitt and Tanya Werrell from the Town Council I am pleased to welcome two new councillors namely Martin Crane and David Ravenshill. Both have been attending Council meetings for some time before being co-opted and have shown an all round interest in council matters.

We have also been without Margaret Wilson, due to illness, since the summer and our best wishes have been with her. I know she has been very touched with the number of people who have enquired after her and sent cards.

We are very pleased that one of the identified allotment garden sites has now been opened and thanks go to Peter Harries, who started negotiations at a Mayoral function and Lorraine Adams of Sovereign for all the work she did behind the scenes. We still hope to acquire further sites should land be made available.

The new Skate Park, thanks to a grant from Playbuilder funding, is also nearing completion and will soon be opened.

Town Council Christmas Cards are available for sale, of local winter scenes, thanks to a competition organised by Denise Gaines; a pack of 6 costing £3.50.

Please also make a diary note of the Mayors Carol service on Sunday 20th December in St Lawrence’s Church at 6.30, all are welcome.

On behalf of the Town Council I would like to wish everyone a Happy Festive Season and healthy and safe 2010.

Elizabeth Cardwell. Mayor of Hungerford

Letters & e-mails

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank all the local people who supported us in our application for planning permission which has now been granted and hope that when our new church and the houses are complete every one will feel that the whole area is enhanced by the development. I would also like to add that we will continue to try to park responsibly and thank the members of our congregation who have made such efforts to improve their bad habits and are now parking with more care and consideration for the local residents.

Best wishes, M.A.

Dear Editor,

I would like to join your Old Codgers column again to advise of a problem we have been having with the Thames Water Authority in relation to their land behind part of Salisbury Road, Sanden Close and Bourne Vale.
We have lived in Bourne Vale for over thirty years and during that time the gentleman my wife was in contact with regarding the cutting of the hedges and grass was extremely helpful and mindful of the wildlife in this area. The hedges for instance, were only cut in October, the grass in the field only cut twice a year, consequently, wild life was able to flourish without disturbance.
There were skylarks, quite a few, and unlike the R.S.P.B. want us to believe, there were definitely more than two families (they advised me that only two pairs would ever be together in a field), but suddenly two years ago the Water Board started cutting grass in April, just at the worst time you could imagine for wildlife and to top it all there were nine people from Essex on site to do this small task!
Unfortunately the R.S.P.B. were not particularly interested and suggested I contact the Thames Valley Police Dept that dealt with this type of problem, who I am pleased to say, immediately stopped the operation, but of course it was too late for last year for certain birds. Regretfully, this year they started cutting the grass again in April and I was unable to contact anyone who could help. I did manage to collect fifty signatures for a petition, but it never arrived at it’s necessary destination.
Eventually I met the gentleman who is the General Manager at the Water Board and he was going to try and assist. He came up with an excellent suggestion that should suit all parties, unfortunately I have not heard if he was successful as yet.
If his suggestion has been taken on board it will, no doubt, be a little while before the wildlife returns to its original status. I would like to add that the main wildlife that disappeared was as mentioned Skylarks, plus two Owl families, Shrews, Field mice, Yellow Hammers, some wrens and many others. I was able to get together another fifty plus signatories for a petition and this was passed to Mr John Terry and I will be contacting a Mr Wilkinson who is the Regional Planning Officer. I am still waiting for a reply from the Midlands office of the R.S.P.B. regarding my questions about this wildlife.
May I take this opportunity to thank all the people who signed the petitions to assist in this matter.

Yours Sincerely C.S.

Dear David,

A good old fashioned “Day Out” for Hungerford Rotarians and Friends was enjoyed recently to Buckingham Palace…and therefore a message for your readership.

Does anybody want us to arrange any other “day Trips” Let us know!!!!!!!!!

They had a wonderful trip to Buckingham Palace over the weekend visiting the Royal mews, the Queen’s Gallery, and, in the afternoon, the State Rooms and garden. Excellent. The weather was awesome! The community is well knitted.

Please contact James Brown

Dear David,

Further to our telephone conversation, I give below details of the Luncheon Club.

I am the new secretary: Mrs. Iris Lloyd, 13 Bridge Street, Hungerford, RG17 0EH, tel. 01488 686372. Marlborough and Hungerford Ladies’ Luncheon Club for ladies of all ages in the area. Promotes friendships, listens to speakers/illustrated talks.

Meets second Monday of the month October to June at The Bear, Hungerford, noon for 12.30 p.m. We operate a small waiting list.

Regards, Iris.

Dear Editor,

I have just been given a copy of your magazine “Chain Mail”. I have been working on a book over the past five years reference the history of Fire Fighting in Berkshire over the last 250 years.I have visited many people and shared their collections and reflections , am now getting towards the end. I would like any readers who have any thing ,paper cuttings or old pics which I could look at, [I don’t want to take them away], My real interest in the steamfire engines that Hungerford had, “Dreadnought”.If any kind persons can help me with any stories etc I would be most grateful.I am an Ex fireman and the book is not for profit, part going towards the benevolent fund of the firemen.

I can be contacted on or phone 01189 416246

Thank you for your time . Dave Doe

Bits 1

Also on this page……..Xmas Parcels………..Defibs………How, What & Why……..Rotary…………….Poppy Appeal

Hungerford Town Band

11th December                Victorian Extravaganza

Christmas Concert in Hungerford Corn Exchange on 19th December at 7.30pm.

In addition the band will be performing throughout the area during December entertaining shoppers as usual.

On Sunday 27th September Hungerford Town Band appeared in the finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, held in the International Conference Centre, Harrogate. Competing with the 17 best Section Three bands in the country the band performed Oceans by Goff Richards. The band was placed 11th and Musical Director Tim Crouter said “The band gave me everything I asked for and the performance was very competitive in an exceptionally high standard of competition and can be very proud of their achievement”.



We are so very fortunate to receive Christmas parcels for the over 80’s from the Newbury Weekly News.

These will be distributed to all listed Over 80’s on Saturday 12th December, and our grateful thanks go to the CHAIN drivers who undertake the delivery .

Please contact me, David or Janet (Betty has finally nearly retired from this)! So if in 2009 or 2010 you become 80 years young then please ring 682931 when your names will be included in that year’s delivery.

With sincere best wishes to you all , do enjoy your parcels and have a truly blissful

David & Janet Long 682931


We now have several Defibs placed around the town with three more to be placed.

Parkwood Leisure, Priory Road, Hungerford
Three Swans Hotel, High Street, Hungerford
Herongate, Charnham Park, Hungerford

Ambulance control has a list of where the Defibs are and on receipt of a 999 call for someone who is not breathing they will inform the caller of the nearest machine.

If members of the public come across someone who is in trouble and possibly not breathing, they are to call 999 and start basic life support if they are able to.

Enlist the help of others if offered, but YOU take charge.

If someone is breathing but unresponsive, they need to be put on their side in what is known as the recovery position. This will stop them causing problems when they vomit.

Please remember that you look after your own SAFETY first, and get HELP immediately.



They are:-

Church Organ tuners brasses, with a set of 4 tuning forks of different middle C pitches.

So wasn’t that something you always wanted to know?

The three larger cones are probably over 100 years old, and the 3 double ended brasses are just over 45 years old

Hungerford Rotary

President, Hugh Pihlens together with Annabel King, Chairman of his Youth Committee are seen at the presentation of a cheque for £250.00 to Linda Saunders ( 01488 683929 ), leader of the Hungerford 3rd Brownie Pack. Brownies are a self supporting team and Linda was “excited to confirm that this donation will help tremendously to pay the way this year towards the purchase of activity materials such as painting and other creative items of equipment”……21.9.2009

Poppy Appeal

A big thank you to everybody for the wonderful support that you gave to Hungerford Royal British Legion Appeal this year. Last year our Town of 5,500 people raised in excess of £15,000 which is an amazing amount. All credit must go to Stella and John North for this achievement.

By 14th November this year we have banked just over £15,800 and hope that this will eventually match last years total.

This considerable achievement would not have been possible without the support of a dedicated group of poppy sellers and the 100% co-operation of organisations, shops and offices in the town. Thank you for all your support.

But, most of all, once again to the people of the Town for their support.

Shelagh Parry

Bits 2

Also on this page……..Newbury Choral………..Time Out……………..

Action For All is managed by the Community Council for Berkshire and provides an online community for individuals, community organisations, voluntary organisations, small businesses and public bodies dedicated to supporting the needs of their local community.

Action For All has information about events and activities run by voluntary groups, parish and town councils, pubs and village shops, and details of volunteering opportunities and vacancies.
Local organisations can register to:
• receive an E-Bulletin for news and information
• enter the contact details and information on the Free Directory
• create their own Free Community Website to market themselves and increase membership
• access our Resource Centre providing information on funding, managing personnel, legislation, health & safety and environmental issues
become members of other community websites to Develop Partnerships.

Don’t delay. Join today!!

Newbury Choral Society……

Newbury Choral Society launches its 125th anniversary season with two performances of Handel’s Messiah on 11th and 12th December at 7.30pm in St Nicolas Church, Newbury. We are also celebrating the arrival of a new Musical Director, Cathal Garvey, an experienced orchestral and choral conductor brimming with enthusiasm and ideas. Cathal, who conducted Messiah every year with his previous choral society in Dublin in honour of its premiere in that city, has declared himself impressed with Newbury Choral Society’s ‘large positive sound’. This new partnership heralds an exciting phase for the choir.

Tickets are £15 for adults and £2 for children under 16, It is sure to be a popular event so book early to avoid disappointment!

Messiah needs no introduction, but even though the music may be well known, each live performance is a unique experience. The choir will be accompanied as always by a professional orchestra and some of our most popular soloists of recent years, ensuring that we continue to fulfil the hopes of the Newbury Weekly News reviewer of the first concert in 1885, who wrote: ‘it may now confidently be anticipated that both as regards the vocal and instrumental branches of the art, the town of Newbury will in future be worthily represented’.
For more information visit our website on



We are trying to set up a place for our teenagers –
somewhere warm, dry and safe for them to hang out.

We plan to have a public meeting in January to seek local support to make this happen.

We need you…….
• to help set things up – IT, DIY, interior design, organising skills
• to keep things going – helping at The Place once it’s opened (basic training available)

What could you do? What should you do? What will you do?

Please help – this is our chance to do something constructive for our teenagers
and help our community at the same time.

Please register your interest – ring Karen Smart 01488 684416

Thank you.




Hungerford Surgery

(As at 13th November 2009)



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 winter.

By the time you read this we will have vaccinated up to 500 ‘at risk’ patients against the H1N1 virus. It is anticipated that we will be receiving more vaccine at some point and so please watch out for further information from the surgery or on our website:

If patients believe they have the symptoms of Swine Flu, they should still contact the National Pandemic Flu Service in the first instance via the Internet or telephone: or 0800 1 513 100

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 treatment room in order to minimise the risk of cross contamination.


Waiting Room Blood Pressure Monitor

Thanks to a donation from our Patient Group, the ‘Friends of Hungerford’, we have recently purchased and installed this new facility which allows patients to check their own blood pressure prior to an appointment with their GP or Practice Nurse.

Readings can be taken using either arm which is especially convenient for pregnant women, patients with back problems and patients in wheelchairs.

It is quick and straightforward to use with clear instructions provided. Results are automatically printed on thermal paper which the patient can then hand to the GP, Nurse or into Reception for recording into their notes. Please ask at Reception for further details.
We are looking for more patients to become involved in the ‘Friends of Hungerford’ and would ask interested volunteers to contact the surgery for more information.

Extended Hours
A reminder that Hungerford Surgery continues to offer additional appointments on specific days of the month. Early appointments are available on Tuesday mornings whilst late evening appointments are available on one Monday evening every month. We also provide a Saturday morning surgery once a month.

These appointments are subject to availability and for pre-booked, routine problems only but we hope that these additional appointments will help patients who find it difficult to attend during normal opening hours.

Full details of the dates and times of these appointments can be found on our website or by contacting the surgery reception in person or on 01488 682507.

A reminder also that during extended opening hours, and outside of normal opening hours, all medical emergencies are attended to by the WestCall out of hours emergency service. 0118 978 7811

Mike Hall Practice Manager

Quite Simply Massage

How often have you thought that your neck really needs a ‘something’ to get rid of those aches and pains? Or that your shoulders just need a good massage to relieve the tension? Or that your knee really hurts after that run yesterday and you can’t work out why?..

Massage may be the answer you are looking for. The object of massage is to relax, stimulate and rehabilitate soft tissues of the body.

Massage has been used for thousands of years. For example, we instinctively rub a pain or ache and stroke a bruise. We have used touch in healing without thinking about it for as long as humans have walked the earth.

Massage has been used historically by the Chinese to promote and restore health and relaxation; the Japanese applied pressure to certain parts of the body to improve circulation, neural efficiency and general health; India used, and still uses Ayurvedic medicinal knowledge for healing and prolonging life. The Greeks used massage as a central part of their regular bathing ritual, treating stiff and sore muscles and joints, curing disease and improving circulation. Julius Caesar had a daily massage to help his neuralgia and epileptic seizures.

More recently, massage mechanical methods was used to treat nerve injury and rehabilitation. Swedish is based on techniques developed by Per Henrik Ling, a physiologist from Sweden. The aim of this technique was to improve health and maintain physical condition. Sports massage uses techniques such as deep tissue, remedial massage, (which you may have heard of), and many other techniques. The benefits of sport massage are never ending:

In my experience, I have seen improvements in mobility of joints (including the neck),
strength of the muscles, injury prevention and cure, sleep deprivation, back, shoulder,
knee, postural and neural problems I could go on…

However, I would like to mention some of the specific physiological and psychological benefits that massage will give you in general.

Sleep enhancement – relaxes the mind and gives you a ‘feel good’ feeling. Deeper breathing is adopted, therefore relaxes the body and mind, reducing sleep deprivation, anxiety and anger and improving self esteem and energy levels.

Toxins and swelling – will aid the body in removing those unwanted swollen areas, along with toxins and waste products that may normally ‘hang around’ and cause tension in the body.

If you need to stimulate the muscles, for example, doing sporting activities or physical work; or if your body should need relaxing, the right techniques can do either.

Improves circulation, therefore, improves nutrients deposited and the waste removal from cells. This will enhance energy levels and improve the body systems, for example, digestion.

Overall, massage will definitely release tension, aches and pains in soft tissue. It is important to remember that massage is for soft tissue problems only. You should advise the therapist of your situation medically. You must not assume that a medical issue you may have is not relevant. All medical conditions are relevant.

If you would like further information about Swedish and Sports massage and injuries, please contact Janet Gray, Grays Therapies on 07980 974333

or email on


The Old Codger

A new pair of eyes seeing us differently!

Good evening Mr Codger, I have read your column in the autumn issue of Chainmail with interest and enjoyment. I am all in favour of putting the SLOW back into SLOW, but also of putting the white back into all other white lines and signs, and while we are at it wiping down and cleaning up, straightening up and sometimes repainting many other tired signs, public and private, about the place. The posts at the Canal Bridge need a lick of paint too.

Some shopkeepers might be persuaded to smarten up their fascias and reduce the vertical litter in their windows.

And who takes care of bus-stops, visually prominent, as they should be ? The timetables are disorderly and unsightly – and while being tidied up the information they convey, or ought to convey, could certainly be clarified and brought up to date. And not just outside the Town Hall either.

I have only recently moved to Hungerford and look about me with a fresh eye. I am indeed pleased to be here, and wish my new town well. May it just be a little more spruce.


Many thanks to the Hungerford Town councillor who agrees with increasing the Car Parking charges!

Would the partly considerate dog owner that throws his poo bags in the verge down Marsh Lane, go a little bit further and become completely considerate, and take the bags HOME!

on the disabled bay (2) just down the High street from the CO-OP (towards the Canal) unless you have a Blue Badge, I saw yet another ordinary motorist getting booked the other Friday morning. My friend David (again), has asked WBC to mark the bays with the ‘’wheelchair’’ symbol !

PETROL WATCH……………….Have you noticed since Somerfield’s closed as a supermarket, that both of the petrol stations in Hungerford are consistently dearer than Newbury. Half term saw us being 4p a litre dearer! Costers at Speen is not so far away!

Still no news then on the date for the next Canal Bridge meeting! Just how long does it take on a computer to offer up 3 or 4 metal railing designs, and to alter the pavement ideas as discussed at the last meeting 3 months ago?

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.


Back to the Top

Gardening by Stacy

… These are a few of my favourite things…….
by Stacy Tuttle

New Year and a new start- and if you are in the fortunate position of contemplating a “blank canvas” garden, then I am truly envious. My own garden is fairly well established after 15 years of work and there are still so many ideas I would like to incorporate, so many plants which I would like to squeeze in.

Of course the beauty of gardening is that the garden is an ever-changing canvas as it grows and matures from year to year, helped along by the absolute necessity (as I explain it to my husband) that a large specimen simply must be relocated to make room for X, Y and/or Z.

So here is my definitive list of must –haves for the garden to give you inspiration.
I would love a Magnolia grandiflora- a beautiful tree but I would grow it as I have sometimes seen, trained against a wall, with its beautiful glossy green leaves and dinner plate size white flowers in the late Summer to Autumn.

Shrubs are the back bone of a garden for year round interest. Although it is a fairly small version, I have been unable to find a space for the dainty Lilac Syringa meyeri Palibin. Growing to 1.5m, it is scented and will often flower intermittently through Spring and Summer, giving a longer period of interest than its larger cousins.

We all love the typical English cottage garden with its summer perennials but this can be extended with plants such as the bulbous perennial Nerine bowdenii for its Autumn flowers, Iris unguicularis- a Winter flowering Iris ! and Bergenia Ballawley- an Elephant’s ears with bronze foliage in winter as well as red flowers in the spring.

At the moment catalogues of spring flowering bulbs are making me drool. Its funny how my taste has changed as I have grown older. The blousy, frilly and fringed parrot Tulips now appear on my list. I can’t quite cope with the red/yellow ones yet but Tulipa Blue Parrot or Tulipa Super Parrot (Ivory white and green) are amazing. But the ultimate tulip for me is the peony flowered Tulipa Carnaval de Nice-described in the catalogue as sparkling white, feathered with raspberry red, which just doesn’t do it justice.

Finally I would need a climber and it would have to be Akebia quinata, the Chocolate Vine. This climber has semi-evergreen leaves which take on a purple tinge in the winter. The purple brown flowers in early Spring have a spicy scent.

Oh but there is still a Rose which I would like- “Zepherine Drouhin”, an old- fashioned Bourbin Rose,and now that I have got to the end of this list, where can I put the Lilies, Alliums, Salvia Scarlet Pineapple and a long gravel walk with Nasturtiums creeping from the sides as seen at Giverny…?

Stacy Tuttle

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Autumnal Walks

There is a strange pleasure to be derived from donning your wellies on a bright autumnal day and going for a walk in the countryside. There is usually a slightly cold but bracing feel about autumnal days.

The main attraction for me is the trees and in particular the colour of their leaves. Birds are scarce, Butterflies are even rarer, and only a few Wildflowers are blooming. Strangely there are nearly always some summer flowers in bloom in sheltered spots. Some white dead nettle seem to get a second flush and are thriving when they should be dormant. Although I am not an expert I think this is not too bad for plants which exist in a small micro climate on their own.

There is also an abundance of berries this year. We should all be able to obtain a piece of holly with berries for our Xmas pud.

I like to walk everyday in autumn just to enjoy the changing colours of the leaves and the improving views of the countryside.

There are so many different species of trees around the town that I have had to buy a book to identify them. Leaves are the main diagnostic feature but the bark, shape and size are also important. My book stated that a tree could be aged by measuring its girth, five feet from the ground, in inches, and that is its age.

The same book stated that Lime and Wild Cherry are native British trees which I find hard to believe. It also stated that the Sycamore was a Maple tree which I thought made sense after looking at the leaf.

This year, most trees have retained their leaves for longer than normal and some of the leaves have remained green until November. Only a few trees, like the Willow and Poplar, have shed their leaves before the end of October. In one sense they have become picturesque and stark. The branches have added a new colour to the skyline.

Nowadays there are so many hybrids or different types of Willow and Poplar and cross pollination that it is impossible to accurately identify a tree. Further, what I know as Goat and Crack Willows may have different names in the South.

And what I call a White Poplar did not exist in the county where I was brought up. I was told White Poplars used to be grown in this area for Bryant and May to make matchsticks and now farmers grow Willows to make electricity.

Most of the common native British trees can be found around the town. There is no need to visit an Arboretum like Westonbirt to see wonderful mature trees in splendid autumnal colours. Although rare trees and trees from other countries can be seen in Arboretums – and the colours are particularly splendid because of the groupings or specialisation by the foresters.
I know there are some rare trees in the area – there is a Black Poplar near Lambourn but most of the trees are common and therefore easy to identify. Perhaps parents should take their children on a tree survey of the area. I don’t think this has been done and it would be interesting to know all the trees in Hungerford.

My favourite walks in the town are on the marshes and the common. The marsh walk takes in the church yard with all its splendid trees.

Unfortunately, I am only confident that I can recognise common trees and confess that each autumn I visit the arboretum at Westonbirt, a few miles north of junction 18 on the M4, just to learn about trees and have a good lunch at the Hare and Hounds pub near the entrance. On the last visit, on October 25th, I learnt that leaves change colour before dropping off because the chlorophyll degenerates through lack of sunshine. Most people know that Trees cope with a temperate climate by shedding their leaves and closing down in anticipation of cold weather, but I was surprised that a conifer, the Larch, also sheds its needles in winter for the same reason. Also we only have one native Pine tree, the Scots Pine, all the others have been introduced.


‘Hungerford Town Show in the Making’

Hungerford is fortunate to have a thriving theatre company dedicated to fostering interest and participation in amateur live theatre in the town and surrounding area. All age groups are catered for from 6 to 60 but with a particular emphasis on giving the youth of the town the opportunity to act, sing, dance and get involved in a variety of productions throughout the every year. The confidence this gives them is amazing and many have gone on to join prestigious stage schools and perform on far bigger stages around the country and in the West End.

Next year from 17th to 20th February sees a significant milestone as the company takes to the boards for the 30th Anniversary Town Show at John O` Gaunt Community and Technology College.
The show is the wonderful musical `Carousel` by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The poignant story of the faithful Julie and her brutish husband Billy is one of the most powerful books of the musical theatre and perfectly matches its extraordinary score including such classics as ‘You`ll Never Walk Alone’ and ‘June is Bustin’ Out all Over’.

The 60 strong cast are well into rehearsals at facilities kindly provided by Herongate Leisure who are this years sponsor, and combined with fantastic costumes in preparation by Norma Thompson and her team, set building by Michael Thurgood and marshalling of singers and musicians by Giulia Rowland this should be a terrific evenings entertainment.

Not quite sure yet how the working Carousel will be moved on and off the stage but that is very much a part of the plan !!

To mark this special event on the Saturday evening there will be a reception for some of those responsible for setting up the Theatre Company in the first place and significant contributors over the years. This will be hosted by David Clayton who has directed the vast majority of Town Shows and the Patron David Liddiard.

It would be great to see full houses throughout the run so do please try and get along for at least one of the performances. More details on the website at

Box Office is provided by Crown Needlework in the High Street or on 01488 684011.

Tickets also available at the Victorian Evening on December 11th

Hope to see you there Barry Waddell The Community of Hungerford Theatre Company




There is an acknowledged need for a safe, pedestrian crossing over the Canal at Hungerford and has been for some 70 years. Doing nothing is no longer an option and employing traffic lights is judged too disruptive. Consequently, the problem was aired at the Town Meeting held on 19 March 2009, when it was resolved to push the matter forward.

There was general agreement at the first Public Meeting held on 21 May 2009, at which many ideas were considered, that the most likely solution would be centred around a footbridge:

• Affording easy transit for all – including wheelchairs and pushchairs.
• That would be permanently open.
• Situated to the West of the existing bridge.
• At high-level.
• Adjacent, but separate from the existing bridge.
• That would be unobtrusive. Built in sympathy, with the existing bridge, townscape and countryside.

Feedback from this Meeting enabled the concept to be further developed and, at a second Public Meeting held on 3 September 2009, outline design options were considered, with the public overwhelmingly favouring a footbridge:

• Closely following the horizontal and vertical paths of the existing bridge.
• Simple in design.
• Blending, with the existing bridge and not detracting from it, constructed of metal.
The latter two points represented a hardening of views from the first Meeting, at which the notion of reflecting the transition between town and country had met with some approval. Consequent to this second Meeting, use of decorated, glass side panels was rejected.

For those unable to attend the second Meeting, a small display, including a summary of views from that Meeting, was mounted in the Library, with the opportunity for further comment.

Concepts endorsed at the two Meetings, together, with ongoing comments, are now being blended to produce detailed design options for presentation to the town. These will incorporate, in addition to architectural input:
• Construction engineering to ensure the bridge is sound.
Highway engineering to ensure a smooth transition between the existing footway and the bridge.
The final stages will be to:
• Determine the preferred design.
Submit a Planning Application for which English Heritage will be statutory consultees.

This is an important public project that will impinge on both the history and future of our town. It is complicated and the dynamic of idea and counter-idea is healthy and necessary if we are to provide a safe crossing, without destroying a much-loved vista. Importantly, the bridge needs to please as many people as possible and we are striving to achieve this by ensuring everyone has a fair say in the development process.

That said, because we are dealing with a live road safety issue, we can’t afford to dawdle and must make best speed. The cost of the project can only be estimated until the final design is agreed, but something in the region of £700,000.00 would be realistic. Such funding would be available, but nothing can be guaranteed in these difficult economic times and an early start would be in the town’s best interest.

Serving the community by working closely with the Town Council to represent Hungerford in West Berkshire   07979 257329  07753635296

Our Recipe page by Angela.

Tis the season to be jolly!!!

The sweet aroma of roasting chestnuts, Nan’s scrumptious mince pies, and of course our most indulgent home made Christmas pudding. Make this season a feast for the senses specially because the variety and contrasts that we get from our most traditional dishes is unique to December. For this issue, however, I’ve chosen a very basic cookie recipe to bring everybody together around the kitchen table while slowly warming up on mulled wine.

Typical Christmas cookies are easy to make and can be enjoyed by the eldest member of the family while the youngest member can help.

Makes 30
170gr, unsalted butter at room temperature, 285gr sugar, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 1tsp vanilla, grated rind of 1 lemon, 1/4 tsp salt, 285gr plain flour, coloured icing and small decorations. Preheat oven at 180 degrees/Gas 4
Beat the butter until smooth and then slowly mix in the sugar until mixture is light. Slowly mix in the egg and egg yolk, adding the vanilla, lemon rind and salt as well. Finally add the flour and mix until all is blended. Make the mixture into a ball, place on grease proof paper and refrigerate for half an hour. When ready, roll the mixture on a floured surface and stamp out shapes with Christmas cutters.
Bake for about 8 minutes or until lightly coloured. Transfer to rack and let it cool down, then proceed to decorate as wished.

Recipe provided by HEAT Food Group (Hungerford Environmental Action Team) For more information visit our website or come and meet us on the Farmer’s Market on the 4th Sunday of every month.


Health by Liz

Think Ginkgo…… 

With winter upon us, many of us will experience seasonal health issues that are simply not there in the warmer weather. Liz Chandler from Natures Corner looks at one particular herb, Ginkgo Biloba, that can alleviate a variety of symptoms, some of which are associated with a colder climate.

Ginkgo Biloba is probably one of the oldest medicinal herbs known to Man, and its use can be traced to the Chinese Materia Medica dating back to around 3,000 BC. In fact, it is the Gingko leaf from the Ginkgo tree that holds all the beneficial properties. Diseases and insects attack Ginkgo trees to no avail. Modern day atmospheric pollutants seem unable to deter them from strong growth and they genuinely appear able to weather all storms. I have found a Gingko leaf in Victoria Park, but as yet have not established where the tree is growing.

A.Vogel Ginkgoforce® Ginkgo biloba tablets is the first Ginkgo product to be registered in the UK under the Traditional Medicinal Herbal Directive. The licensed indication is for use in the relief of symptoms of Raynaud’s syndrome (cold hands and feet, and pain, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet) and Tinnitus (ringing, buzzing or swooshing in one or both ears), exclusively based upon long-standing use as a traditional remedy.

Tinnitus is a condition whereby the body’s auditory system creates sounds that are not actually there, so you hear ringing, buzzing or swooshing noises that are not audible to anyone else. They can occur in either or both ears, and may come and go at varying levels. Combined with loss of balance, tinnitus may be part of a condition called vertigo, in which case it will resolve with the condition. Try cutting out salt and caffeine and drinking plenty of water and dandelion tea to reduce fluid imbalance.

Raynaud’s syndrome, which affects more women than men, can occur quite early on in life. It causes the blood supply to the hands and feet (and sometimes other areas such as the nose) to be interrupted, causing those areas to turn white then blue as the oxygen supply runs out, and then red as the blood supply is finally resumed. During the white and blue stage, cold and numbness are the primary features, but the return of feeling can be exquisitely painful.

Gingko can in fact help with more than these two problems. By its direct action on the arterial circulation, it increases the blood flow through these vessels, thus stimulating blood flow to the brain and helping with poor memory and concentration. Thus it can be used very successfully as a study aid.

There can be many contributing factors to both Tinnitus and Raynaud’s syndrome, so for further support, advice and information please call into Natures Corner,
or tel. 01635 33007      or email

Advice should be sought if taking other medication, particularly blood-thinning medicines, such as low dose aspirin or anticoagulants such as warfarin. Ginger is a possible alternative in these circumstances.

Our Community

Neighbourhood Police Team

Here is November’s neighbourhood update for Hungerford from Neighbourhood Specialist Officer (NSO) PC Claire Drewitt:

I would like to start by inviting the community to attend an ‘open house’ at Hungerford Police Station on Thursday 10th December from 10am-1pm. Please come and enjoy coffee, tea and mince pies and meet your local neighbourhood police team and area crime reduction advisor. We will be delighted to discuss any local issues affecting you and to provide crime prevention advice.

Turning to our neighbourhood priorities, our top priority is speeding. The Community Speed Watch programme has been discussed recently with the parishes of Lambourn and Kintbury already, and a presentation is due to be given to Hungerford Parish Council in December. Speed Watch is a community led operation where residents will be trained to use the Speed Indication Device in areas of their community affected by speeding. This is in the early stages of planning in the area, but hopefully will be up and running in the New Year for Parishes that wish to participate.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is our second priority. Crime figures show that the number of anti-social behaviour incidents in the area has decreased by 18.3% in the three month period July to September as opposed to the same period last year, with 58 reports compared to 71 last year. This is very pleasing and is due to the increased effectiveness of patrols and engaging with local youths.

We are, however, still receiving reports of ASB in Ramsbury Drive, Hungerford, where young people are using the play park as a congregation area to smoke and drink alcohol. Regular Police patrols are in the area and any persons found at the location will be dealt with accordingly.

Turning our attention to the latest crime statistics, which are available on the Thames Valley Police website, it can be seen that overall crime in the area is up marginally (1.8%) at 113 reports; an increase of just 2 in the same three month period July to September last year.

Unfortunately, however, we have experienced an increase in the numbers of burglaries to both non-dwellings and dwellings with 11 reports in this three month period compared to 9 last year.

Rather disturbingly in October alone, we received 8 reports of burglaries in Hungerford, five of which were to dwellings (places of residence). These burglaries have taken place between 23rd and 28th October. We are currently looking at patterns to the offences and to date no persons have been arrested.

Can we please urge you all to keep your gates, sheds and outbuildings locked and secure as well as your homes and to report any suspicious activity immediately on 0845 8 505 505.

We have recently been working in partnership with Surrey Police when a member of the police team here visited Dorking Police Station to get an insight into the way their officers deal with rural offences such as hare coursing and machinery thefts. As a result we have set up a ringmaster system for landowners and gamekeepers so that the Police can text them with current local information. We currently have 31 people on the system. If you would like to participate, please contact or call 0845 8 505 505.

Offenders brought to justice this month include a 37 year old male from Surrey, who was arrested and given a caution after poaching trout from a trout farm at Lower Denford on 18th October.

Our next Partnership Meeting will take place at Hungerford Police Station on 11th November at 1pm. This meeting is a multi-agency meeting combining social services, housing and young family services. These meetings are an opportunity to share information and problem solving.

On 6th October we attended a local Pubwatch meeting. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss any concerns with licensees. We can advise that at the most recent meeting no concerns or issues were raised.

On a final note, we can report that Halloween passed quietly with not one report of ASB in the Hungerford area. PCSO Randall was extremely happy with the outcome and said “ everyone was in high spirits but they were well behaved and we received no reports of any anti-social behaviour.”

All that remains is to say we look forward to meeting lots of you at our coffee morning on 10th December.

You can contact any member of the team by calling 0845 8 505 505.

To find out more about them please visit the Thames Valley Police website,   and follow the neighbourhood policing links.

In Living Memory………

It does not “tock” now.

It, has been looking down upon our community for 139 years in its present position, and for 4 years before that it looked to the North, South and East, above its first home, the Old Town Hall situated a few yards to the south east. Yes! The Town Hall, Tower Clock.

Therefore its early years from installation are not within the memory of anyone living today, but a few changes are.

Not many people have seen the actual movement of the clock (the works), which is a good solid and pleasing piece of functional Victorian Engineering, with a wooden shafted pendulum that gave a 2 second “tick” “tock”. It has three heavy weights, that maintained the “going”, and lifted the hammers for the “ting tang” and hour bells. These weights needed to be lifted each week, although on a full wind it would go for 9 days. It needed but little adjustment, by the clock keeper, ( I think in all of its life it has had five or maybe six) When it was fitted to the old building it was given three faces, but installation into the new building meant that the location had a good westerly aspect, and a new dial was made, which is slightly different to the other three. All have cast iron numerals and embellishments.

Hungerford residents were used to the bells being struck continuously, but some visitors staying in the Three Swans Hotel, were not complimentary in talk of the clock which struck every 15 minutes, so a silencing device was suggested by Clements, a clock maker and the keeper at the time, so a 7 hour period of silence was built in to each 24 hr cycle, and unless it was correctly adjusted it was not always during the night.

Have you seen the little hole in the East face?
During W.W.II , when blackout was the order, to have the clock lit up during the hours of darkness was a serious offence, as it would have identified the area to the enemy: well it certainly made a good target for one member of the Home Guard, during an exercise being held near the railway station.
Two faces were renewed during the 1950’s as the glass and cast iron frames had begun to fracture. The South facing was made of opaque plastic, and let little light through.

The clock was wound by hand until 1999 when the mobile ‘phone transmitters were installed, and with radio waves present the keeper did not want to spend needless time in the Tower. It was during this installation that three electric motors were mounted to take the place of winding, although this did not help as far timekeeping was concerned and adjustment had to be maintained, it did take away physical effort and the time spent in the Tower was only a few minutes. Also at this time all of the faces were replaced with acrylic, and the East face has had a neat little hole faithfully put into the same position as in the original; numerals and hands are now made of glass fibre, although they are really too light. All of the redundant parts taken off are carefully stored.

2009 Hocktide, and a new addition in the Tower, a piece of modern equipment that replaces the pendulum, (which now hangs upright and still) motors that keep the main body of the 1866 clock going, and regulate it by electrical impulse. It needs no local keeper, not even at the times in Spring with change to BST and in Autumn when GMT is back with us. Since April ‘till now it has been most reliable and it only makes a fast quiet tick itself. No ”tock”! Now that is within living memory!



Christmas Day dawned over the Common,
The grass was frosted and white.
A rising sun glinted on the workhouse door
And the windows were dazzling bright.
A single chimney exhaled thin smoke
And the fire gave little warmth within.
There was only a loaf on the kitchen shelf
And the occupants were pathetically thin.

A woman ran barefoot across the cold grass
In an uncomfortable and desperate gait.
She urgently needed somewhere to give birth
Knowing her child could not wait.
She was welcomed into that wretched abode,
The workhouse was basic and poor.
They’d not turn her away on Christmas Day
There was always room for one more.

There would be no gifts to welcome the child,
And only borrowed rags to keep out the cold.
But kindness and help from a complete stranger
Were more precious than money or gold.
There was also a comparable situation
Which took place many centuries ago,
When an expectant woman sought shelter –
But the rest, of course, you know.

Freya Basson

Blasts from the Past

From the Parish Magazine dated October 1872.

“ The great event of the past month has been the marching of the Troops forming the Northern Army at the Autumn Manoeuvres through our Town, and the encampment of a large portion of the upon the Down. Such a sight has not been seen in Hungerford during the present century, and it may well be imagined that it caused no little commotion in our quiet neighbourhood.

The Troops arrived in Hungerford on their way to Salisbury Plain, on Friday, August 30, and in spite of the drenching rain they found the inhabitants well prepared to receive them. From an early hour vehicles of every description were driven in, loaded with passengers from neighbouring villages, business was entirely suspended in the Town, and the whole population seemed to have adjourned to the Newbury road, to await the arrival of the soldiers. The whole extent of the road from Hungerford to Denford Lodge was thronged with people, the favourite spot being the cross roads by Denford Farm. The first to arrive was General Sir Charles Staveley’s Division, including the Household Troops who encamped Froxfield and Oakhill. They were followed by General Parke’s and General Sir R. Walpole’s Division, who were to encamp at Hungerford. The Troops turned off the high road at Denford Mill, and entered the Down at the eastern end, while General Walpole and his staff rode round by Charnham Street and up through the High Street, and Park Street to Hungerford Park. The Hussars encamped at the east end of the Down near the Kintbury Gate, between the Railway and Hungerford Park.

The Royal Artillery occupied the south side. And the 22nd and 100th Regiment of Infantry pitched their tents between the roads leading to Kintbury and Hungerford Park. General Parke with whom was H.R.H. Prince Arthur, had his headquarters a little to the south, the Prince’s tent being distinguished by a purple flag. The operation of pitching tents was witnessed with great interest by the numerous spectators and the rapidity with which it was done seemed to astonish everyone. In the evening the bands played for an hour, much to the gratification of those assembled. Prince Arthur and the other Officers took luncheon at Hungerford Park, and dined at Inglewood in the evening. The Prince visited several shops in the Town, and purchased several souvenirs of Hungerford, in the course of the afternoon. About five o’clock on the Saturday morning the camp began to awake; fires were lighted; and breakfast prepared and eaten with wonderful expedition; and in a very short time every tent had fallen, and was packed up, and all was in marching order. The command was given, and the bands struck up, and all marched through the Town, preceded by General Walpole and Prince Arthur on their way to Pewsey.

W.H. Dunn . Esq., of Standen Manor, acted as Commissioner for the County of Berks. Lord Charles Bruce, M.P. T Chaloner Smith Esq., and H.R.Seymour, Esq., joined the forces as Commissioners on their entry into Wiltshire.
Great as was the excitement and interest shown on this occasion, it was far surpassed by that which was manifested at the arrival of the Troops on their return march on Monday, 16 September. The Town was thronged with people, and all business was made to give way to the engrossing occupation of receiving and welcoming the Northern Army. The first indication of the approach of the Army, was on Friday September 13, when a detachment of the 9th Lancers was billeted here until the following morning.
On Saturday, the 1st and 2nd Life Guards, and the Royal Horse Guards Blue passed through the Town on their way to Greenham. And on the same day the 13th Lancers entered the Town, and remained until Monday, when they left for York, via Wantage. No sooner had these left than the advanced guard of the great body of the Troops made its appearance. These consisted of General Maxwell’s Division, being the 22nd, 30th, 46th, and 90th Regiments of Foot, each being preceded by its band. The Royal Engineers arrived next with their Pontoons, Printing Office, Field Telegraph, and all their necessary tools and appliances. These were followed by the 10th and 19th Hussars; and several batteries of the Royal Artillery.

The whole passed through the principal streets of the Town, up Park Street, on to the Down. The march into the Town, on to the Down, was witnessed by thousands, in fact, Hungerford was never so full before. The pitching of tents was eagerly watched by the numerous sightseers, as was the process of making fires, and cooking the viands. There was nearly double the number encamped on Monday, that was there on the march down; and yet there was room on the spacious Common for as many again; its advantages as a camping ground were very highly spoken of by the Soldiers, many of whom said it was by far the best place they had had on the whole march. The tents were pitched on the furthest end from the Town, the Headquarters being in the Park. The scene on Monday night was most picturesque in the moonlight, the long lines of tents having a very pleasing effect, while the groups of Soldiers around their camp fires cooking their suppers were watched with interest by thousands of spectators. About five o’clock on the Tuesday morning the camp was astir, and about seven the Infantry marched off with their bands playing. The Engineers soon followed, and then the Artillery.

The Cavalry did not leave the Park until nine o’clock. No sooner had they left, than the inhabitants of Hungerford were apprised by the entry into the Town of the advance guard of the other column of the Army, which had encamped at Wilton and Crofton. The route taken by this column on the way down was by Inkpen, Ham, and Shalbourn, and hundreds of people and many carriages were gathered there on Tuesday to see them pass back, but in this they were disappointed, as they all came through Hungerford. This consisted of the 6th Dragoon Guards, with band, several Troops of the Royal Engineers, C and H batteries 14th Brigade, Royal Artillery, 1st Battalion 7th Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion 88th Foot, and the 2nd Battalion 95th Foot. At the cross roads, Denford, there was a continual stream of Troops passing from seven o’clock till about twelve. Between fourteen and fifteen thousand Troops marched through the Town during the week.

More from the past next month. Fred Bailey

Legal Spot


If you haven’t, you probably ought to – it’s only if you make a Will that you can control what happens to your estate after your death, and also who will be taking on the job of winding it up and distributing the proceeds. If you don’t make a Will, the Intestacy Rules will decide these issues for you – not always in the way you might have liked.

And even if you have, it may be time that its terms were reviewed – an old Will may have become invalid or ineffective, wholly or partly, for example if you have remarried or if one or more of the beneficiaries named in your Will have died. It therefore makes sense to revisit the terms of your Will from time to time, even if only to refresh your memory and make sure that its terms still accurately set out what you would like to achieve.

Making or revising your Will also gives you an opportunity to make provision for charities and other ‘good causes’ which you would like to help with a financial gift. Our own local charity, CHAIN, relies for most of its funding on grants, donations, legacies and contributions from those who use its services – all of them entirely voluntary. Leaving money in your Will to CHAIN will also benefit from Inheritance Tax relief – so the money will not be subject to tax after CHAIN receives it from your estate, and the amount of IHT your estate will pay will reduce too.

CHAIN does a fantastic job in the Hungerford area in providing help and activities for the sick and disabled and others in need, regardless of their age and financial circumstances. Run entirely by volunteers, it provides transport to hospitals, clinics and surgeries, a regular Lunch Club, wheelchairs for those who need them and the Handybus service for shopping trips and other benefits such as trips to the ‘swimming for disabled’ facility at the hydrotherapy pool in Swindon. Its expenses include the cost of publication of CHAIN MAIL, office expenditure, mileage allowance for volunteer drivers and the cost of maintaining the Handybus.

So if you are contemplating making or revising your Will, please consider CHAIN for a possible legacy – even the smallest amount is certain to be put to good use for the benefit of those who need and rely on its’ help.

The town’s solicitors who will provide the necessary help and advice are –
Charles Lucas & Marshall, 28 High Street – tel 01488 682506
Dickins Hopgood Chidley, 42 High Street – tel 01488 683555
David Small, Crown Passage, 23 High Street – tel 01488 680701
McAuley & Co, Merlin House, Church Street – tel 01488 682348

David Small