Issue 107

1st June
1st September 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 picture this issue is of Cobblers Lock. Walking from the canal bridge in Hungerford along the tow path towards Hungerford Lock is a wonderful stroll, which I am sure many of you have enjoyed. Walking on to Marsh Lock you can see Cobblers Lock at the end of the meadow.

In the warm summer evenings walking quietly along this stretch of the Kennet and Avon Canal, can be enthralling. Many times I have seen the electric blue flash of a kingfisher,on its headlong dash along the canal bank. The now endangered water vole heading like a small motor boat for the far bank, swimming on the surface, unless disturbed, when they dive with a plop to swim under water.

Tread softly on a summer evening and you can sometimes see the large carp, some weighing over twenty pounds grazing the bank with their broad bronze backs out of the water. There are always the Canada geese, mallards, coots and moorhens, and sometimes swans, heron and very occasionally snipe. All this just a stroll from Hungerford High Street.

Micky Thompson


Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

Spring has well and truly arrived and hopefully May will be as gorgeous as April, although the first few days have been quite chilly. By the time you read this we will be into Summer and looking forward to a month of fetes and of course HADCAF which has, as ever, a varied and interesting programme with something for everyone to enjoy. The small committee who organise this event are amazing and we are so lucky to have three weeks of Arts, Drama, Music, etc which is affordable for the whole community.

Chain continues to thrive and provide a much needed service for the people of Hungerford and the surrounding area. We could not do this without the help and support of our many volunteers and I thank you all for doing what Hungerford does best, “helping others”. If you feel you have a few hours a week or month to spare and could drive, help in the office or in any other way please contact the Chain Office on 683727 or Janette Kersey on 683302.

The celebrations for the Centenary of Hungerford Primary School are now agreed and I have written to lots of organisations in Hungerford to see if they can help with a donation or some practical help on the weekend of the celebrations (September 25/26th) . Unfortunately as at the beginning of May no-one has replied, but I know that the town will not let us down and some of you will come forward to help. The Staff, Governors and Parents are all helping to make this a wonderful weekend for everyone to enjoy so please look out for posters nearer the time.

By the time this article is published we will not only have a new government but also a new Mayor in Hungerford and I would like to thank Elizabeth Cardwell for all her hard work during her year of office and wish the new incumbent all the best for their coming year.

The Chain AGM is being held on Monday 14th June at 7.30pm in the Magistrates Room and everyone is welcome to come along and find out what we do, or to ask any questions.

Janette Kers


Hello again.

HADCAF has the centre pages again this year, so if you carefully pull out you will have a ‘short form’ programme. The What’s On page advises about the rest!

Well did you all look at the Bridge Designs in the Library, did you attend the meeting and give your point of view, did we get the design we were hoping for? The Old Codger makes comment (as usual), but I do recommend to you a new Web site in Hungerford addressing some local issues so visit . At the moment of writing, two projects , The Footbridge & New Hotel on the A4 are prominently featured, although it appears that it will be too late regarding the Hotel.

In May CHAIN MAIL was thirty years old, with only a ‘few’ missed quarterly issues. Again this issue sees it at it’s maximum 44 pages, so my thanks go to all the kind people who deliver it to you, as now it is at it’s heaviest!

The swing bridge (near the Church) over the Canal has finally been renewed, so as long as it keeps it’s balance the boaters will love it, and I am sure the walkers to and from the Marsh will really appreciate it as well.

Hawkeye is unwell but we hope to see him back next issue, hope you are better 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 August for the September issue on the 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


Early in May the Councillors chose me as Mayor. I am honoured, apprehensive and intent on doing my best for Hungerford’s residents.

Berkshire born, I have lived within a few miles since 1981 [moving here in 2006]. Fully aware of the value of CHAIN to local residents – family members have been appreciative beneficiaries – I hope I can reinforce relationships between the Council and institutions such as CHAIN, the Town & Manor, the Chamber of Commerce, without ignoring the schools, Rotary, Round Table, British Legion and other keystones. My predecessor, Elizabeth Cardwell, worked tirelessly for many [particularly the young]. Different mayoral emphasis should result in a fair spread of support.

This is a difficult economic period. Your Council tries to combine responsible management of all residents’ Council tax contributions without disproportionate favour. Councillors’ backgrounds are in fields such as education, commerce, agriculture, finance and local government. We must use that experience. Recent breakthroughs in allotment provision represents an example we should replicate.

I am Mayor for a year. Next May, Hungerford residents vote for a new Town Council. In 2007 there were not sufficient candidates to trigger a vote; a depressing reflection on the Council’s engagement of the community. I shall return to this theme and how we might remedy such apparent apathy. Others struggle too: Marlborough, a significantly larger community, reportedly attracted four electors to its recent Parish Assembly.

My telephone number is 01488-681933           Anthony Buckwell Mayor


Also on this page……..CHAIN AGM………..The Jazz Man………Cromwell Singers


local resource – national treasure


12 Gardens open to visitors      (including a number of new gardens)

Sunday 6th June 2pm – 6 pm Tickets: £4.50 (accompanied children under 14 free)

from The Merchant’s House, 132 High Street
or £5 on the day from the Merchant’s House & Marlborough College
Teas 3pm – 6pm £3.00 In aid of The Merchant’s House Appeal
The Merchant’s House (Marlborough) Trust

Registered Charity No 1010902 Supporters of the Merchant’s House since 2007

By the way
there are always volunteering opportunities at the Merchant’s House as guides, serving in the shop or working on the Turkeywork chairs project.
Call Sophie on 01672 511491 for more details


The Chain Management Committee invite you to theirAGM,
to be held in the Magistrates Room, Corn Exchange,Hungerford




please reply to:-

Mrs Carolyn Hawkins
Secretary, CHAIN
6 Combe View, Hungerford, RG17 0BZ
Tel No: 01488 682420


Celebrated jazz musician Pete Allen and his wife Chrissie have moved into Kennedy Meadow Hungerford. Although born in Newbury Pete has been living in the West Country for the past thirty years but has now returned to the area to be with his Dad Bernie who sadly lost his wife Jean last August after a short battle against cancer.

Many of our readers will know of Pete’s reputation as a clarinettist and leader of the Pete Allen Jazz Band with whom he constantly tours Worldwide and has appeared on many TV and Radio Shows since 1978. It has not taken him long to settle into the town and already Pete has lined up a number of forthcoming events which include a ‘Fish ‘ n ‘ Chip jazz supper evening at the Croft Hall on Saturday the 5th June from 7.30pm.

That’s followed with a series of Canal Barge Cruises aboard the ‘Rose of Hungerford’ from 6pm which begin the next day on Sunday 6th June. Future cruises along the Kennet & Avon will be on Sunday 4th July and Sunday the 1st August.

These events feature Pete’s unique solo music show, however two charity concerts with donations to ‘Save the Children’ have been arranged for the 8th and 9th October at the Herongate Theatre, Leisure Centre in Charnham Park with his full International Jazz Band The concerts will be filmed for a DVD production and for television broadcast.

Tickets for all the mentioned events can be reserved by calling Geoff or Sue Mason on 01635 44806,

So book yourself seats for a swinging musical treat NOW!






THE CROMWELL SINGERS will be singing a varied concert of excerpts from musicals, as well as other well known music, all perfectly suited for a Summer Evening
on Saturday, 5th June.

The Choir is now 55 in total and under the direction of the Musical Director Rosemary
Evans, has received many praises from appreciative audiences, raising much needed funds for churches and charities in the Newbury and Hungerford area.

Please do make a note of the date in your diary, and as well as helping to raise much needed funds for St. Lawrence’s, enjoy an evening of beautiful music makin

Letters & E-mails

Dear Editor…………An open invitation

If you have retired recently to Hungerford or the surrounding area, have you considered joining the local Probus Group for anyone from a Professional or Business background?
We are a mixed group (men and women) who come from a variety of work backgrounds, and who meet for lunch on the last Thursday of each month at the British Legion Hall in Church Way , followed by a short talk from a variety of speakers.

It’s a good way to meet local folk and find out what goes on in the area, and at present we have some vacancies, so would welcome inquiries. Give us a ring and come as a guest on the first visit to see what goes on.

Please ring either:-
                            Brian Hawkins(682839), Pat Smalley(684127) or Jan Beard(682236).

Dear Editor,

Do you, your family, your friends, your employees, your colleagues, your pupils, know someone with dementia in West Berkshire and beyond? Do you like to dance? If so, would you like to join us in a week of ‘Dancing for Dementia’ in West Berkshire to raise awareness and funds to support local people with dementia?

Annually, the Alzheimer’s Society runs a nationwide week long campaign, the Dementia Awareness Week. The campaign aims to raise awareness of dementia and how to reduce your risk, and to raise vital funds to support people with dementia and their carers. This year Dementia Awareness Week will run from the 5th to the 11th of July.
We decided to use the ‘Dance for Dementia’ theme at the Newbury Branch because dancing is an activity that everyone can take part in, across generations and in all communities. It is joyful and inclusive.

Dementia affects 700,000 people in the UK and that number is rising as the population ages & diagnosis improves. With your help we can help to spread understanding of dementia and raise much needed funds for local activities.

If you feel you or your organisation would like to be involved in Dementia Awareness Week, please call us on 01635-500870.

Best Regards Margaret McDonnell

Dear Ed,

Could you please insert this in your next publication………

I would like to pass on the following advice to the elderly and vulnerable members in their community. Should anyone come to your door claiming to be Police: ask the officer to show his/her warrant card, (through the letter box if needs be), to allow identity verification. If they are genuine they will have no problem with handing it over for inspection. They should also be in a position to give the TVP general enquiry phone number of 08458 505505 to allow verification of the warrant card. You should not open the door until you are satisfied that the person is a genuine Police officer.

If necessary call a neighbour, or anyone that you trust, to assist in establishing who exactly is at your door.

Kind regards, Thames Valley Police – Community Messa

Bits 2

Also on this page……Mystery Object……..Grow Food!……Growers……Hypnotherapy!

Hungerford Town Band

Sunday June 27th Eastrop Park, Basingstoke 3pm

Sunday 25th July HADCAF Festival Concert,
Hungerford Corn Exchange, 7pm


Hungerford Town Training Band are playing in St. Lawrence’s Church

in aid of

Children In Distress on Saturday 26th June at 7pm.

There will be performances by the full Training Band
and also solo items by local young musicians.

So, what is it?

Following on from the hugely successful last mystery object (Organ Tuners brasses)
here is another one and the clue is ….could be seen in America, or anywhere really!

Want to Grow Food ?
If you’re keen to start growing your own food but haven’t got a garden or allotment here are some ideas on finding a place to get planting.

Start with a Pot Garden Organic’s One Pot Pledge has lots of info and advice at     Veggies can be grown in all kinds of containers and there’s no need to spend a lot of money to get started. Old black Biffa recycling baskets do a great job – come and see what you could grow in a Grub Tub on the HEAT stall at the Farmer’s Market.

Garden Sharing….Perhaps a neighbour or friend has some unused garden that could be used in exchange for some produce. If your garden’s too big then why not share it.
Landshare……Web site to connect growers with landowners. Have a look; there might be land near you.

Food Up Front…..Use your front garden for vegetable growing, it can be beautiful and productive. Or maybe there are small areas of unused land along your street, forgotten corners that could be made into funky food forests…

Food at Work…….Industrial estates and business parks often have areas of unused land, grassy banks or low maintenance beds. How convenient to be able to tend your veggies in your lunch break.

Join in the HEAT community allotment Thursday evenings 7pm Marsh Lane site Plot 72.
No gardening experience necessary, just turn up.

Suz M.       Food Group


Growers still needed for the Marsh Lane Allotments…………

Fairfields is full and there is a waiting list………….

Please contact Geoff Greenland who is the secretary of the Hungerford Allotments Holders’ Association (HAHA) on 681975 and talk to him about a plot in MARSH LANE.

We understand that a pole of ground is just £12 per year.

Just think of all the veg that you could produce from a Pole

What is Hypnotherapy?

There are many misconceptions surrounding Hypnotherapy making it seem mysterious and strange. In reality Hypnotherapy is a talking therapy combined with the added tool of hypnosis. A usual session would consist of 30-40 minutes undergoing solution focused talking therapy before spending 20 to 30 minutes relaxing and solidifying work with hypnosis.

Hypnosis (or trance) is something you already experience regularly – think of a time when you have driven a familiar route only to suddenly arrive at your destination without having noticed getting there. Trance is a natural state of focused concentration and hypnotherapy uses this powerful state to activate the subconscious part of the mind that contains our imaginations, instincts, emotions and our permanent memory. By accessing this part of the mind directly we can alter perception and negative behaviour templates.

Hypnotherapy cannot make you do something against your will but it can help you become the person you would like to be or achieve the things you would like to achieve.

Hypnotherapy can help a wide range of issues such as anxiety disorders, fertility problems, phobias, depression, confidence, smoking, childbirth and weight control.

For more information or to book a free hour consultation go to

or call 07789 648918.

Maddy Boardman Clinical Hypnotherapist
BA(hons), DHP, HPD, CBT (Hyp), LHS, LNCP, MNCH (lic), LAPHP

Hungerford Surgery

The Hungerford Surgery Extended Opening Hours

Our patients are telling us, via the NHS surveys, that they would like to see the surgery extend its opening hours to offer additional routine appointments for those patients who commute to work and can’t always get here during normal opening hours. However, despite offering additional early appointments on Tuesday mornings, additional late appointments on one Monday evening each month and a Saturday morning surgery once a month we are seeing very little take up of these appointments. So next time you call us for a routine appointment, and you would rather see a doctor at a time to better suit your working arrangements, please ask the receptionist to enquire as to the availability of an appointment during extended hours and we will endeavour to arrange.

Full details of the dates and times of these appointments can be found on our website – – by contacting the surgery reception in person, or by calling us 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. The telephone number for WestCall is: 0118 978 7811

Spring Newsletter
Our spring patient newsletter has just been issued and a copy can be picked up from the surgery reception or downloaded from our website. Included in this edition are features on the Summary Care Record, your NHS number, the new ‘fit for work’ note, information for Carers, a brief history of the surgery and some top tips for coping with hayfever.

Mike Hall Practice Manager

Recipe……………………………by Angela

Put some sunscreen on, and a pair of sunglasses, grab a big flat basket and off you go foraging for the wonders that Nature has to offer us during this summer season. Spot elderflowers, wild thyme, raspberries, red currants, wild rose flowers, and wild marjoram among others.
For this issue I’ve chosen wild marjoram which is from the oregano family: a very versatile herb to use in the kitchen. Here is a very simple recipe to enjoy wild marjoram in many different ways.

Marjoram scented olive oil
Add a handful of wild marjoram to a bottle of olive oil; leave it in there for a few days before using it; voila!-you’ve just made “oregano” scented oil. This delicately flavored oil is great for salad dressings or drizzled over toasted slices of French bread rubbed with a fresh garlic clove.

The Old Codger

The Old Codger’s Column…….

Well the ‘poo’ is back, pigeon poo that is, under the Railway Bridge, not as bad as before, but I’ve got my friend David firing off e-mails not to STREETCARE but to the re-named As always, he tells me that their response is excellent in forwarding my requests to the correct department. So back to the ‘poo’, West Berks say that they can’t do anything else to keep it clean, I think that we should ask our hardworking Town Council to help us before somebody falls and breaks a hip or whatever, don’t you?

I also asked him to report that the SLOW painted on the road on Canal Bridge had virtually disappeared, and please fill in all the pot holes and indentations at the same time. The third and final request was, couldn’t they please paint some ‘Wheelchair Symbols’ on the cobbles in the 2 Bay Disabled spot down near Sugar Mouse. They were asked over a year ago so within 3 weeks this time, it’s worked! Able bodied motorists will have no excuse if they are booked when parking illegally in these well signed places. So complete success to my requests, and as a bonus they have repainted ‘Disabled’ by the Railway Bridge disabled bays. If you bother to contact them it does work!

Well, have we been done proud with the final choice of
Canal Footbridge designs?

I came away from the third and final Public meeting still wondering as to what we are really going to get, with no real showing of different railings, certainly no colouring other than black. I know blue & brown have also been proposed and we definitely don’t want white, do we.? There were one or two very good suggestions but it was not evident at the meeting as to whether they would be adopted. No plans for the widened footpath, only that they might gain 350mm, no mention about better access off of the cobbles, and what about a new pedestrian crossing down in Bridge Street? I am told that if the pedestrian crossing does get installed that it will be by the Memorial. I do hope it will be set to one side, and not completely opposite it!

Something new………..
I have been asked to choose some ‘home aid gadgets’ for the less able of us with stiff & weak limbs etc., so please see page 37 for my first choices, and more next issue!

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


If you have visited my own garden, you will know that I am a great fan of natural gardens. When I design a garden I always include plants which will appeal to birds, bees and butterflies with habitats to encourage a good ecological balance. One of my latest projects has been a wildlife garden at Kintbury St Mary’s primary school which has been really fun to create with the children. I was really impressed with their gardening knowledge in general and of garden friends and foes in the animal world.

It’s a bit of a dichotomy isn’t it that we want to create a natural organic garden yet to do so we inevitably have to interfere with nature by preventing some creatures from thriving in our beautiful space.

I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but there seem to be lots of moles around this year. These furry creatures don’t actually harm plants in the garden but can be destructive with their tunnelling in their search for earthworms. Some people opt for traps but this doesn’t really remove the problem as other moles can move in. On the other hand, sound devices such as sonic probes act on the fact that moles dislike vibration or noise and so will be less likely to make a home in your garden.

Many gardens in our area have problems with deer or rabbits, who can strip plants overnight. I have been working at a cottage in Oxenwood whose garden enjoys a stunning setting, surrounded by rolling hills, sheep and both buzzards and kites soaring above. Imagine my surprise when I arrived one day to find two large deer happily sniffing around by the garage. They seemed quite unfazed by my presence and I stopped to watch them in awe, which slowly turned to dread as I though about the Roses and the soon to be planted vegetable garden. So far no damage, but I wait to see what happens as time goes on and the blooms appear. I have created gardens specifically for this type of problem. It is interesting to note that both deer and rabbits are repelled by plants with aromatic oils such as Lavender, spiky plants or bad tasting/poisonous plants. I have a (surprisingly) quite long list of supposedly deer/ rabbit proof plants which includes trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and climbers.
So your garden need not look like a specially created fortress- however it is a case of gardener beware!- the rabbits and deer haven’t read the list.

Deer proof plants?-
Ceanothus               Dicentra                   Wisteria.

Stacy Tuttl

Ladies who latte

Calling all business women, new and experienced

An Opportunity to find out how local support can help your business

The Newbury branch of the networking organisation Ladies Who Latte is issuing an open invitation to women in the area to attend its June meeting. Taking place on Thursday June 24th at the Carnarvon Arms, Highclere, starting at 10am, this will be an open meeting where anyone interested in either promoting their business, learning more about the business opportunities that exist locally or even considering setting up a similar business support group in their own village can come along and meet like minded individuals.

The Group offers a friendly and understanding forum for women to discuss and obtain valuable advice on the challenges they are facing within their businesses, whilst also offering the opportunity to build new relationships that may lead to other commercial opportunities.

Anyone interested in coming along to the June meeting or finding out more about Ladies Who Latte should contact Fiona Grindrod, Director of Just Wills Ridgeway on tel 01635 31540 or email:

Rotary Club of Hungerford

As I near the end of my year as President of this great club, I would like to share with CHAIN MAIL readers what we have done during the past year.

The club has 36 members, having grown by four during the year.
We aim to help others through fun, fellowship and fund-raising, and we have certainly had all three in the past year. We hope that others have enjoyed the events we have organised, including a Russian Evening in Croft Hall, a Quiz Night at The Bear, a “Safari Supper” around members homes, a Games and Social Evening at the Royal British Legion, the St George’s Day Dinner in the Corn Exchange, and we shall round off the Rotary year with an Evening of Magic in the Croft Hall on 29th June.
Other highlights include organising a day of Metal Detecting at a farm near Ramsbury (with lots of interesting finds), and a coach trip to Buckingham Palace. I was delighted to attend the Annual Prize-giving at John o’Gaunt School, where the Hungerford Rotary Shield was presented.

The club has been able to collect and distribute about £10,000 in charitable funds through the year. We are very grateful to the community of this wonderful town for its generosity. We are especially grateful to one anonymous member of the Hungerford community who has donated £1,000.

This has enabled us to give donations to a variety of organisations, international, national and local. These include:-
• The Rotary Foundation Annual Programme – Rotary International’s central charity which distributes money to large world-wide causes,
• End Polio Now Campaign – This Rotary initiative started in 1985 and is very close to achieving total irradication worldwide.
• ShelterBoxes – we have sent three ShelterBoxes, following the Sumatra and the Haiti earthquakes.
• Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
• Cumbrian Flood Relief.
• Brendoncare Froxfield, Chestnut Walk Care Home and Morley Lunches.
• Royal British Legion.
• Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust
• John o’Gaunt School and Croft Nursery School
• Hungerford Primary School – for aids for children with special needs.
• Hungerford Cricket Club – for their wonderful effort in helping youngsters learn the skills and pleasures of cricket.

I have been hugely grateful to the support I have had from the excellent Council (committee), and all the club members through the year. I wish my successor Graeme Sleeman well for the coming year – the programme looks very exciting.

We have had such support from Tesco, who have allowed us to collect at their doors on several occasions this year, and, of course, from CHAIN and CHAIN MAIL – whose readers have contributed in so many ways. Thank you all, and thank you David Piper.

Hugh Pihlens



On Mothers Day Sunday the 14th March I had the honour of joining 15,000 ? plus others, on a motorcycle ride through the town of Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, to thank the town for all their support and grieving for our fallen heroes that they have so willing shown.
This was also an opportunity to help the Charity, organized by three mothers, who so willingly gave up their time, and the blonde lady in leathers, whose name I do not know unfortunately, that I was initially told to give my cheque to, who gave her time to organize the event. I understand that initially it was hoped to get around 2000 to 4000 bikers to do the ride, but after 10,399 had registered, the Wiltshire Police told the Charity that no more riders could take part, basically I presume because of traffic worries.

My colleague and I arrived at approx 8.30 am on Hullaving Airdrome main runway, and approximately 200 bikers had already arrived. As we were paying our dues to do the ride, bikers were already lining up behind us in their hundreds to enter, many of whom were doing the same as my friend and I by paying double the £5.00 fee, to help the Charity as much as possible.

I cannot put into words the superb feeling created by the sight of all these Guys and Gals on their motorcycles who were arriving throughout the whole day, and before we left to start our journey to Wootton Bassett. The whole of the runway was a mass of bikes and people, everyone of whom was having a great time, especially over such a tremendous spectacle.

I personally collected £1000-30 from friends and people who live near me in Hungerford and various businesses and family, all of who were just tremendous in their donations. I was told to give the cheque to the lovely Blonde in leathers, ha, ha, that could have been any of hundreds that were there. However I am pleased to say she directed me to the three mothers of the Charity organization.











We left Hullaving at approx. 11.15 and followed the A429 to Burton Hill, the B4042 to Callows Cross, to Callow Hill, White Hill Lane, then the A3102 to Wootton Bassett.
Along the whole of the route the feeling was fantastic, as wherever you looked, people, whole families, at every house, lay-by, field entrance, road junction, were lining the route, waving and cheering to all of us, and Wootton Bassett itself was overcrowded with people again just cheering and waving to us, having something to be cheerful about for a change, instead of our poor heroes returning. I would like to thank all the people near where I live and others plus the businesses listed for their support in raising £1000-30 for this Charity. My daughter also opened a web-site to the charity in my name through which a further £79.92 was collected. The feeling to give this money over was absolutely wonderful, so to :-

Hungerford Service Station,       Hungerford Butchers,            Lloyds Bank Hungerford, Aldbourne Butchers,     Arthur (Friday Fresh Fish),    Chain Mail,    M.G.Dodds Electrical, The Veterinary Hospital Hungerford,                 Peter Sands Dentistry Abingdon,  Kaleidoscope,                   Staff at Fischer Fixings Wallingford,

Many, many thanks once again for all the support.

Christopher Ston

Bits 1

Also on this page………Rotary Shield……CHAIN sits vac !…………….Fostering………..Hungerford Camburn Foundation

A fond (but sad) farewell………

CHAIN was very sorry to learn that shortly we would lose the considerable help and support from Ruth and Eileen Barnes due to their retirement. Ruth and Eileen have been volunteer drivers for CHAIN for many years and became ‘Good Samaritans’ of numerous residents in Hungerford who needed reassurance and a sympathetic ear whilst being taken to, and collected from hospital and clinic.

We shall miss their driving ability, their readiness to help at all times and mostly their enormous capacity for caring.

Enjoy many happy future years Ladies, you will always be remembered with much appreciation and affection, and the Hungerford community will miss two very conscientious and loyal CHAIN members.

Well done girls — our good wishes and many, many thanks go with you. Enjoy your future years with happiness and the knowledge that CHAIN will always remember your admirable support.



Hungerford Rotary Club

President, Dr. Hugh Pihlens, is seen together with Kay Woolford who won the Rotary Shield at the John O’Gaunt School’s prize-giving ceremony for this year. The Shield is presented annually to selected Year 9 pupils who are trained as Peer Mentors to set examples and help more junior pupils. The training includes sessions on “What a Peer Mentor is (and is not)”, “Communication Skills”, “Difference, Values and Assumptions”, “How Peer Mentors can help”, and “Confidentiality, Record-Keeping and boundaries”.

Dr. Pihlens commented that he was, “delighted to meet Kay who exemplified many other pupils at the school who were confident and successful teenagers giving service to others”.


Situations Vacant…


  ……Salary..Nil…..……Satisfaction 100%…….
Drivers needed for the Handy Bus….Minimum run once a month
Please apply to George Russell…01488 683304
Person needed to look after our Renault Wheelchair vehicle, arranging for servicing / cleaning and once a month changing the log sheets.
Please contact David Piper 01488 683152 or
3 or 4 drivers for Doctors and Hospital runs urgently required due to retirement and marriage and moving away…Mileage allowance given ..
Please contact June Tubb on 01488 683727 or
Are you able to take over the CHAIN MAIL editorship? …Ongoing help would be available.
Full details from David Piper 01488 683 152 or
See more on the web  when the page opens, on left hand side click on ‘’Community’’, then at the near left top of page click on Volunteering.


Have YOU ever thought about FOSTERING?

There is a recognised shortage of 10,000 Foster Carers in the UK. PACT, founded in 1911, is also known as the Oxford Diocesan Council for Social Work inc. We are a registered charity working to improve life chances for children. The focus of our work is within Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and aims to build and strengthen families.

We are an approved Adoption and Fostering Agency. We have a history of finding safe, loving families for children in care. Here are a few facts about Fostering:

1. Did you know you don’t have to be married to become a Foster Carer?

2. You don’t have to have children already although you do need to have experience of caring for children.

3. Did you know you get paid a Fostering Allowance of £335.70 a week to be a Foster Carer which is tax free and won’t affect any other benefits?

Most of the children who need fostering are known as ‘hard to place’ children, they will usually be 8+ years of age.

Fostering is a hard but very rewarding job. If you think you might have what it takes to become a Permanent Foster Carer or you want to find out more then contact PACT
now on 0800 731 1845   e-mail



(Regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commission)


Mrs. Sylvia Breadmore, Clerk, Telephone 01488 685081


This is Charity set up to help young people between the ages of 16 and 25 who wish to pursue their education beyond the school leaving age and whose parents or guardians have resided within the old Parish of Hungerford for the last three years. The grant can be used towards the cost of their courses, books, equipment or tools. It is not restricted to University or college but can be used towards an apprenticeship.

Application forms are available from the Clerk’s Office in the Town Hall from the end of May and the informal interviews take place in July. Applications for the annual grants which are not means tested, are generally restricted to three per person and are a welcome help towards costs.


Health by Liz

Conker Varicose Veins

For those of us who suffer varicose veins, it can be an unsightly
and uncomfortable problem. Liz Chandler from Natures Corner, looks at possible lifestyle changes and a variety of natural remedies that may relieve the symptoms.

Tired heavy legs? Aching calves? Leg cramps? Swollen ankles? Only one fifth of the population have healthy veins. All of these are symptoms associated with chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins and have a tendency to be more acute during the summer months.

Disturbances in the venous circulation occur mainly in the lower extremities due to the greater pressure exerted on those veins. Varicose veins and haemorrhoids develop when normal circulation becomes impaired and blood gathers in veins, thus causing the vein walls to stretch and weaken until they eventually push outwards, creating a swelling (varicose). Fluid is then forced into the surrounding tissue giving rise to oedema. This can impede the circulation further and if this process is prolonged varicose eczema results.

This area of devitalised tissue can become prone to damage, and if trauma does occur, the healing process is protracted giving rise to varicose ulcers. Tiny thread veins can also become visible on the legs, face and other parts of the body.
Contributory factors include:- obesity….constipation ….pregnancy….nutrient deficiencies
a diet high in saturated fat and sugar and low in fibre…lack of exercise….smoking
a commonly inherited tendency

Conkers from the horse chestnut tree has been used for many years to reduce the swelling caused by varicose veins. The horse chestnut tree came to Britain from the Mediterranean during Elizabethan times. Its seeds or conkers, as they are more commonly called, contain many constituents, including aescin, flavonoids and tannins. These constituents reduce oedema, capillary permeability and inflammation, and exert venotonic effects by helping the contraction of the elastic fibres in the vein wall. If possible, the following lifestyle changes would be helpful:- try to put your feet up regularly
try gentle, regular exercise….if you smoke, try to cut down or give up altogether.

Horse chestnut is available in tincture, tablet or capsule form and the effect may be enhanced by applying to the skin in the form of a gel. This external application is suitable during pregnancy. Long term use is advisable for best results. Horse chestnut ointment may also be used for haemorrhoids. Other potential applications include prophylactic use to decrease the incidence of deep vein thrombosis following surgery (DVT), long haul airline travel and tissue injury.

Although effective in isolation, horse chestnut may be used alongside other vascular protective agents such as grapeseed, pygnogenol, bromelain and anti-oxidants. For the treatment of haemorrhoids, bowel essence and Frangula complex are also helpful.

For tissue and water balance, good blood circulation and healthy looking legs and skin, ‘conkers’ are more than just a childhood game.

Due to its coumarin content, horse chestnut may interfere with anticoagulant therapy.
Diabetics should never self medicate for any conditions of the leg or foot.

For more information on these nutrients and suggested daily doses and dietary changes, call into Natures Corner or email

Our Community

 Neighbourhood Police Team

From Neighbourhood Specialist Officer PC Claire Drewitt:


Our three current priorities in Hungerford are burglary, drugs and hare-coursing.

Firstly some information on burglaries in Hungerford. On Sunday 11 April, thousands of pounds worth of fishing tackle was stolen from a garage in Priory Avenue, Hungerford. The fishing tackle is quite distinctive as it was purchased in Canada. Some of the items have been recovered by police from a derelict garage in Cold Harbour Road but we still have a KORUM bag outstanding which contains fishing rods and keep nets.
Anyone with information please contact a member of the Hungerford policing team via the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre on 0845 8 505 505.

A property in Smitham Bridge Road was entered overnight on Monday 19 April and a laptop and car keys were stolen. Cars at the property were also entered and satellite navigation systems were stolen.

We have had no drug related issues this month which is positive. We are always vigilant when dealing with drug related offences and we continue to gather intelligence on activity in the town.

Since Christmas we have received low levels of hare-coursing. The weather has helped due to the very cold winter and then the quick change of temperature we are enjoying now.

The Hungerford neighbourhood team had an input this month from the environment agency in relation to poaching at fisheries. This is another offence which we want to reduce in our rural crime work.

We are successfully using a new text alert system to help tackle rural crime. This system works by sending landowners and farmers text messages to alert them to suspicious people or vehicles used in crime. If you would like to be added to this system then please email   with your details.

Anti-social behaviour is still low and has fallen by 11 per cent. Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Matthew Midwinter is undertaking foot and cycle patrols in the area of Hungerford which has helped keep anti-social behaviour to a minimum.

We have had some vehicle crime in Hungerford this week; two men were disturbed after setting off a car alarm in Hillside Road on Monday 12 April at 4.05am. The men were seen running away from the property, on this occasion nothing was taken from the vehicle as the offenders did not manage to gain entry.

There have been other reports where car doors have been forced open damaging the frame work. This is mainly due to property being left in the vehicle. It is important that you do not leave property in your vehicles as it makes it an easy target for thieves.

Regular patrols are being conducted by the neighbourhood team but we ask that people report any suspicious activity in the area.

We attended the mayoral reception in Hungerford on Sunday 11 April. It was a lovely tea party to celebrate Councillor Cardwell’s year in post. A local band made up of pupils from John O’Gaunt played their own music, and it was a very enjoyable event.

We are pleased to announce that the Hungerford neighbourhood team has not had to make any arrests this month in Hungerford.

For more information about your local neighbourhood team visit Thames Valley Police website at and follow the neighbourhood policing links.

Ball point pen

I have never been proud of my handwriting, indeed there have been times when I have been unable to decipher notes that I have written.

It really is hard to believe that there was a time before the Ball Point Pen though.
Going through my desk drawer a day or two ago, I felt the need to have a tidy up, and maybe a clear out of some of the items that had become pushed out of sight, and indeed out of mind after a short time.

Well, taking every thing out, stapler, hole punch, pins paper clips, stamps etc. by far the most numerous were ballpoint pens; some were substantially barrelled renewable cartridge to barrels of rolled paper with very little ink capacity, and every type in between. You know what I mean. Half of them did not function, some are old friends.

It was during this exercise that my memory took me back to an incident at school. An English lesson was in progress, and our form teacher Mr. Jim Chislett indicated that a visit was expected from some of the governing body. Sure enough, before long, into the room came the Headmaster Mr. Jeal accompanied by the Reverend Miss Irene Robbins (who was the Minister of the Congregational Church.) There were the usual introductions, then Miss Robbins looked at some of the work being undertaken, she was kind enough to say how neat our writing was, and how few ink blots appeared on the work: of course we were all using “dip in the ink pens” with stiff steel nibs.

Before leaving, the Reverend Robbins held up in front of the class an item that looked just like a slightly fat pencil, she told us it was a pen that held a new kind of ink that had been developed, that enables it to be distributed by means of a tiny ball and socket, at the end of a tube containing it..

Now what sticks in my memory is this: Miss Robbins saying that she felt that by the very nature of the rolling ball leaving an even line in any direction in which it is moved, it will form letters, but a varying pressure, and the making of strokes is required, in the use of a steel nib, to do the same. The good lady also assured us that if this new item was widely adopted, it would be the ruination of beautiful handwriting: “but as these pens are so expensive, they will not become popular in the future, therefore, spare the degradation of handwriting skills”. So! You be the judge on both counts.



We meet on the first Wednesday of every month at 7.30pm in the Croft Hall.

In addition to the monthly meeting , when a speaker is often invited there are two Reading Groups, a Craft, a Singing and a Walking Group. There are small group outings each month.

More details are available on the W.I. Notice board under the railway bridge or from    01488 682632  /  686794.

At present there is a membership of 50 and in 2011, we will celebrate our 80th birthday.
Visitors and new members are always welcome— why not pay us a visit?

Blasts from the Past

From the Parish Magazine dated August 1880.

” The works at the Parish Church have made good progress during the past month. The new pillars, arcades, and clerestory walls have been completed, so that the building is again weather-tight; and the ceiling of the aisles nearly finished. Altogether there seems a good prospect of the Church being re-opened at Michaelmas, and it is hoped that every exertion will be used to raise funds to defray the expenses incurred before the re-opening takes place. It will be remembered that on the completion of St. Saviour’s Church and of Newtown School-Chapel the respective committees found themselves not only free from debt but with money in hand; and it is much wished that the Parish Church Committee may be in so good a case: but to ensure this it will be necessary to raise a sum of between £400 and £500 within the next two months. Since the list published in June further subscriptions have been received, together with a contribution of £100, the proceeds of the Sale of Work, Offertory, and Tea at St Saviour’s Dedication Festival on July 4. Making a total amount subscribed to the present date £2,290 3s 0d.”
From the Parish Magazine dated August 1882.

“ The General meeting of the shareholders of the Hungerford Public Coffee House Company was held on the premises on Tuesday July 4. The working account for the past year shewed a balance to the Credit of the Company of £17 19s 9d, but the Directors did not recommend a dividend, as they considered that a reserve fund should be formed to meet future liabilities, repairs, etc. The report shewed that the business of the Company had been considerable, and the work carried on by it to be of much benefit to the town of Hungerford and its neighbourhood. The Directors hope that as the existence of the Coffee House becomes more known its business will be extended and developed without corresponding increase in outlay, so that although large dividends are not desired or expected, the promoters of the undertaking may have the satisfaction of co-operating towards a good work without pecuniary loss. The Directors desire to bring under the notice of the public the conveniences for lodging which are afforded at the Company’s premises. Three of the Directors Messrs. Alexander, Cherry, and Fidler retired in due course but were re-elected. Mr Henry Gibbons accepted the office of Managing Director for the ensuing year in place of Mr Fidler.”

(This follows on from the article in the June magazine which announced the opening of the Coffee House in June 1881. We are still trying to establish where this may have been located in the High Street, and if anyone has any ideas I would be pleased to hear from them. FB.)

From the Parish Magazine dated August 1892.

“ The great event of last month was the munificent entertainment at Chilton Lodge, to which Sir William Pearce invited all of the inhabitants of Hungerford and Chilton. An excellent and abundant dinner was served on an enormous tent and the guests were numbered by thousands. The weather was delightful and a most enjoyable afternoon was spent in the park, where amusements of every kind including two admirable bands were provided for the recreation of the crowds who had assembled to partake of Sir W. Pearce’s generous hospitality.” More from the past in the next issue.

Fred Bailey.

Legal Spot


Few people consider the difficulties they would encounter if they were to become incapable of managing their affairs through illness, accident or old age. The consequences of not planning for possible mental incapacity can be serious and can cause worry and be an unnecessary administrative burden to your family. Granting a Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) will ease this burden very considerably.

There are two types of LPAs, a Property and Financial Affairs LPA which allows your attorney to deal with your property and finances as you specify. Secondly, there is a Health and Welfare LPA which allows your attorney to make health and welfare decisions on your behalf as soon as you cease to have the mental capacity to do so. This could also extend, if you wish, to giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life sustaining treatment.

An LPA is a special type of document as it continues to be effective even in the event of mental incapacity, and often this is precisely the time at which an LPA is required.

It is worth noting that if you lack capacity to make an LPA someone (probably a relative) would need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your Deputy. That person would then be appointed by the Court to deal with those parts of your finances and affairs which you cannot deal with yourself. Applying for such an order can be both costly and time consuming.

Any Enduring Power of Attorney validly made before 1st October 2007 can continue to be used but only in respect of financial affairs.

Marie Verney Charles Lucas & Marshall,
28 High Street, Hungerford, 01488 682506      E-mail

Church Bells

Bell Ringing at St Lawrence – Part 9

In 17th Century church bell ringing (or “the Exercise” as it was known) became a popular pastime for gentlemen. Ringing societies, based on medieval guilds, were established. The members of such societies were all men, mostly aristocrats, wealthy professionals or students. Some societies still exist, the oldest being The Ancient Society of College Youths, whose members ring the bells of St Paul’s Cathedral.

In May the Newbury Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (of which Hungerford is a member) will host the Guild’s AGM at Speen Church. This will follow a familiar format: a church service, the meeting itself and a ringer’s tea (provided by the host branch). I like to think that this format is a remnant of the annual meetings of the earliest ringing societies which would have included a church service followed by a feast (although the feasts would undoubtedly have involved more drinking of alcohol than tea).

By the late 17th century bell ringers were widely regarded as having a greater affinity with the tavern than the Church. Notorious for drunken and rowdy behaviour they also defied the authority of the clergy, considering that they had the right to ring whenever they chose. It was not unknown for ringers to change the lock on a belfry to keep the parson out. Conversely, in Thurby, Leicestershire a churchwarden nailed up the belfry door to prevent ringing in honour of a meet of the local hunt. The ringers broke in to ring, were arrested and fined. They refused to pay the fine so were sent to jail. There they remained for five weeks until the fine was eventually paid – by the parson himself!

It would be unfair to brand all bell ringers of those times as antisocial delinquents and it must be stated that I can find no evidence of any such conflicts in Hungerford. Perusal of the Constable’s Accounts between 1658 and 1699 shows that ringers were called upon to ring for many occasions (and paid quite well for it). Most often their services were required when a member of royalty passed through the town en route to Bath (and again on their return journey to London) or to mark to important events such as the coronation of William of Orange.

However, by the second half of the 19th century the relationship between ringers and the clergy had generally deteriorated to such an extent that the situation was intolerable. Great efforts were made by churchmen to improve this relationship and restore the reputation of bell ringing as a pursuit worthy of the support of the Church. In.1891 the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers was established.

Today the CCCBR’s 40,000 members comprise not only men but women and children too. It took a number of social changes, including two world wars to make this possible. More about that in the next issue, where, incidentally, if you thought that no bells were rung during WWII, you will learn otherwise…

Sarah Chatt