Issue 108

1st September
1st December 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

he cover picture this issue is, as everyone will recognise, the Town Bridge in Hungerford. This photograph was taken on a warm sunny day, at the tail end of September last year. Lets hope that the weather is as pleasant again, through to the end of October. I don’t suppose that we can wish for fine weather beyond that.

This Summer, once the fine weather finally arrived, has been a glorious opportunity for getting out and about. A few weeks ago now the Hungerford Camera Club, which regular readers will know, I am a member of, organised a photographic excursion down to Kimmeridge Bay. In all, seventeen met up in the car park, and had a terrific day.

Some of the work created that day may well be on display at our annual exhibition, held in the Corn Exchange in Hungerford on the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of October. Last year there were nearly 200 large mounted photographs on display, and with the availability of refreshments, it does make a very nice local outing. I know that many of you do come, but if you haven’t been for a while, and if you are interested in photography, or just enjoy looking at pictures, we all look forward to seeing you there.

Earlier this year I was up in Scotland on a short tour. Our guide had a very good observation to make about the different nationalities and their cameras. He said that the Americans photograph anything old, The Italians photograph each other, The Japanese photograph the sheep and the British photograph absolutely anything. So take your cameras out with you, and get clicking.




Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

Hope you have all enjoyed the summer especially the wonderful three weeks of HADCAF which I think you will all agree was of the highest quality and had something for everyone to enjoy. Can I take this opportunity to thank the hardworking committee and all their helpers without whom there would be no festival.

The Centenary Celebrations for the Primary School are now in place and on Saturday 25th September the school will be open from 10 – 2pm. Everyone will be most welcome to pop in and take a tour, talk to teachers and chat over refreshments in the school hall. There will be a display of old photographs and artefacts (including copies of the punishment book!) and we are very pleased that Dr Hugh Pihlens will give a 15 minute talk about education in Hungerford at 11.00am and again at 1.00pm. On Sunday 26th September we will be celebrating in the school grounds. We would like families past and present to join us. There will be tombolas, Punch and Judy, bouncy castles and a variety of stalls. Food and drink will be on sale (barbeque, cakes, etc) but you are most welcome to bring a picnic. There will also be a fantastic classic car display and we hope there will be enough space left on the field for some tug of war. Please join in and say Happy Birthday to a wonderful Primary School.

Chain volunteers give so much time to our organisation and we are very grateful to everyone but we can always use some more drivers, helpers in the office and Links to deliver Chain Mail. If you can spare a few hours a week or month then please contact me on 683302 or the Chain Office on 683727

Janette Kersey


Hello again.

I feel that I must draw your attention to our Situation Vacant article on page 6. Some of us do get older and wearier and married and move or even pass away, and just have to give up the volunteering work that we have thoroughly enjoyed over the past years, but sometimes we really do have to stop.

Give to Hungerford’s local people that which you yourself might need one day!
Please please help us out.

Page 4 also features an appeal for the POPPY APPEAL.
Page 33 Pete doing his bit for charity

Sometimes Clubs & Organisations ask me to print things for them (with pleasure if space permits) and you might think that it’s a bit out of date, but not everybody takes the NWN, and we do reach every home in Hungerford and some outlying areas!

Are you a Club or Organisation in Hungerford with a shrinking membership or even one that you would like to increase. Then CHAIN MAIL could print a line or two (free of charge) for you. Next issue December 1st., see bottom of the page for contact & deadline. I had no sooner typed this and an e-mail came in from WOW, please see letters page.

I write this on the afternoon 12th of August…..So what has happened or is happening to our New Canal Footbridge, no comment from West Berks, or our WBC Councillor, and I think the Mayor is in the dark. Have we lost it? Will somebody please let us know?  Of course since we went off to print the magazine, I heard (too late to stop the press) that it was just going off to start the planning application proceedure, and indeed on the afternoon of 23rd August the test core drilling machinery has been set up by the bridge!

Hungerford Historical Association (HHA) meetings now start at 7.30pm NOT 8 o’clock. Dr Hugh Pihlens opens the season 7.30pm 22nd September.

No more Bank Holidays now till Christmas, and the shortest day is December 22nd!
Clocks go back on (Halloween ) October 31st, best to do it before you go to bed on the Saturday night!, then when you look at the clock in the morning your brain can relax as you would have changed it the night before!

Thanks & Regards David Piper.

Tel: 01488-683152

Letters, Articles and adverts should be sent to me by the 7th of the month proceeding
publication, i.e.7th November for the December issue on December 1st.
If you send something to me I will always acknowledge within 3 days.

Back to the Top

Hungerford Mayor


In the last issue of CHAIN-MAIL, my letter mentioned that I would revert to my hope that we can reverse local voter apathy.

Maybe the Coalition’s declared intention to coincide a National Referendum on voting reform with the 5th May 2011 elections will provide stimulus for a proper plebiscite for Local Government rather than the weedy turn-out that has at times prevailed and so resulted in a diminished resource for the common good. Please will Hungerford not only vote in force in 2011 but also encourage sufficient aspirant Town Councillors to put their names forward, so making it a contest rather than a “shoe-in”.

Yes, my comment is contentious; intentionally so. Just as I read of members of parliament acting like leeches, so I read in the national and regional press of councillors across the country and their behaviour as nimbies, barrack-room-lawyers, sanctimoniously self-interested or bogus philanthropists. Despite occasional lapses, I am comforted that Hungerford, like most other towns, continues to benefit overall from genuine volunteers: community-minded individuals without whose efforts local government at our borough’s level realistically cannot function.

You may ask the point of broadcasting this message so far in advance of the elections: simply that those who might consider being councillors should come forward over the remaining months in 2010 and observe at Council or Committee meetings what we do…this might encourage some of you to think you can do better [excellent news]. At least those who decide otherwise can make a diary date to register their views on 5th May 2011. One way or another, you will be helping to determine what you get.

My telephone number is 01488 681933 Anthony Buckwell Mayor

P.s. a date for your diary..
5pm Saturday 27th November for the Hungerford Christmas Lights Switch-on

Chain’s Page

CHAIN Situations Vacant,
our Charity organisation needs You.

Could you please be our next CHAIN MAIL distributor, it entails 4 days per year to take 2900 copies to approx 15 sub-distributors in the Hungerford area, who then do the leg work.
Mileage allowance available. For more details please contact :-

David Long 01488 682931 or


The Handybus Needs You

‘Give Something Back’ to the Elderly and Infirm in Hungerford’

The big red Handybus you see around Hungerford is run purely by volunteers. It carries the elderly and infirm and is deemed by many of them to be a lifeline for essential shopping, excursions and even essential Hydrotherapy. It offers a wide range of services to the elderly and includes wheelchair and motorised wheelchair services. These people need your help as a volunteer in any of these roles ….

Handybus Drivers

If you can drive a car then we can train you to drive the Handybus – it’s easier than you think as half our drivers started as car drivers. We need a commitment of at least a half-day per month to drive the elderly on shopping trips and excursions.

Handybus Passenger Assistants

This key role is all about helping the elderly to and from their door with shopping, helping the driver plan the pick-ups, first aid and helping with safe evacuation in emergencies. If you have a caring attitude and are able to help, then this is worth exploring. Again we need a commitment of at least a half-day each month.

Handybus Co-ordinator

This role is mainly a ‘behind the scenes’ and planning role that sorts out the schedules for the drivers and works with key passenger contacts as well as West Berks. Council. The role is open to both existing drivers and suitable people who do not drive the bus. Requires good planning skills and diplomacy. Word processing and spreadsheet skills are also very useful but not critical.

Interested? To have an exploratory chat about any of these roles please contact
George Russell on 01488 683304


New Handybus Service for Motorised Wheelchair Users

The new Handybus has a heavy duty tail lift that can carry motorised wheelchairs. This is something that the existing Chairman and taxis do not have. So if you or someone you know uses a large or motorised wheelchair and wants a shopping trip or other trip then phone George Russell on 01488 683304 to explore how we can help.


As you may know, Chain Mail is delivered to every house and business in Hungerford. To achieve this it requires a small army of volunteers, not least those who actually pop the Mail through letter boxes, and the “Links”. We never seem to have enough of these kind people.

Specifically, Links (2) are currently needed for Lancaster Square and a small part of the High Street, but also needed are some reserves for when regulars are on holiday or unwell.

If you would like to help, please contact Janet or David Long on

01488 682931 for more details

Bits 1

Also on this page….Hungerford Town Band……Police Open Day…… Mystery Object …..Natures Freebies!


Once again a big thank you to everybody for the wonderful support that you gave to Hungerford Royal British Legion (RBL) Poppy Appeal for 2009/10. In 2008/9 our Town of around 5,500 people raised in excess of £15,000 which was in itself an amazing amount, but this year, so far, the total is just over £18,000.

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 and the people of the Town.

The money raised by the appeal has been used to help local veterans and their dependants with mobility needs, respite care, and with minor adaptions to their homes.
In addition a significant amount of that money is used nationally by RBL for rehabilitation services for seriously wounded servicemen and women returning from Afghanistan.

Poppy appeal volunteers form the backbone of the Legion’s work and as the charity moves towards its 90th anniversary more volunteers are being sought in Hungerford. If you can offer an hour or so to help sell poppies any time between 30th October and 13th November please let me know.

Shelagh Parry 01488 681492

Hungerford Town Band

Saturday November 20th,
Poppy Concert with Royal British Legion.

7.30pm Hungerford Corn Exchange

Tickets will be available from
Crown Needlework or British Legion Club

Police Force Open Day……

You tube video:

An open day is being held on Saturday 4 September 2010 between 10.00am and 4.00pm, at Thames Valley Police Training Centre in Sulhamstead near Reading.
The open day aims to help promote greater understanding of the work of the various departments and specialist roles within the Force. You will have the opportunity to look around the Force Museum, which is packed with the history of Thames Valley Police, and get to meet some of the officers from the Force’s specialist departments.

Admission is £2.50 per adult and under 16s go free. No dogs, except guide dogs, are allowed on site. Parking at the site is limited and will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. Disabled access is available. Officers will be on hand to give a personal insight into their role and work; the majority of which the public might not be aware of because it goes on behind-the-scenes.

One of the main attractions of the day is the police helicopter which will be manned by the Chiltern Air Support Unit. The Roads Policing department will also be present with various vehicles. Also in attendance will be the mounted and dog sections. Displays will also be taking place throughout the day.

Crime reduction literature will be available, as well as information about joining Thames Valley Police either as a police officer, police community support officer (PCSO), special constable or volunteer.

Mystery Object (s)

Last issues mystery object was a Cork Squeezer
Original, quality, 19th Century, cast iron, chemists’ cork squeezer, in the original paintwork and mounted on a wooden plinth. Embossed with the details for the manufacturer, ‘Enterprise Manufacturing Co, Philadelphia USA’ and ‘No 1 patented August 7 1867’. Complete and in good and working order. Plinth 9.5” x 2.75” and total 5” tall.
When filling medicine bottles in the pharmacy, the corks were squeezed and compressed when dry and put into the top of the medicine bottles. Within a second or two they would swell out again, to ensure a tight fit inside the bottle neck………………….So please try harder this time!

& The Mystery Object is…………

It’s cast in pink brass or bronze, it’s approximately 6″ in diameter externally and it has four roller wheels turned in lignum vitae; a very hard and heavy wood. Although I do not know what it is, it is complete and I feel it is probably nautical and used on a yacht or a larger ship.

So do please contact me…..Editor

Making the Most of Nature’s Freebies

End of summer is the perfect time for gathering nature’s abundance to store for winter. Forage in the hedgerows to collect fruit for hedgerow jam, chutney, for freezing or bottling. Sloe gin is very easy to make; use also wild cherries, damsons, hazelnuts and blackberries to make delicious fruit liqueurs. You’ll find hazelnuts and walnuts around Hungerford too. Check out the foraging map on the HEAT website to share foraging tips.

If you’ve more apples than you can handle, bring some to the apple pressing at the Hungerford Food Festival Sun 3 Oct or pop them on your doorstep for passers-by to help themselves.

Remember to harvest your pumpkins and squashes before the first frost and store them in a cool dry place. Saving their seeds will give you plenty for next year and some to swap at the seeds swaps at the Farmers Market.

Autumn Gardening – Tips from the Lazy Gardener

When tidying the garden create homes for beneficial insects over winter by leaving some hollow stalks standing. They not only look great in the frost but can increase the number of aphid eaters you’ll have next year. If you prefer, stack them in a flower pot and leave in a sheltered corner.

To feed and insulate your bare soil over winter cover it with compost from your heap of rotted manure. Just spread on the top and let the worms do all the work.
Collect leaves in a black plastic bag to make your own leaf mould. Make holes in the bottom, dampen with water, tie up and leave till this time next year when you’ll have some nicely rotted leaf mulch soil improver to spread on your bed.

Some useful websites :   how to preserve your harvest, chutney & jam recipes gardening for wildlife

HEAT Autumn Events
Grand Opening of the WOW Community Garden, Priory Road, Sun 12 Sept 11-3 everyone welcome
Green Kids outdoor toddler group , nature based activities Tuesdays 9-11 Contact Angela on 680644
Guided walks 1st Sunday of each month. Meet Town Hall Steps 10am
Skills Sharing Workshops Thurs eves starting 7 Oct United Reformed Church Hall wide variety of topics

Contact us    See What’s On at
HEAT Food Group S.M.

a Letter

Dear Ed,

Would you please be so kind as to print our appeal?

WOW Netball Academy – Volunteer Coaches Needed.

The WOW Netball Academy for children and young people in Years 6 to 11 was started in April 2010 by a group of volunteer netball coaches and the WOW Extended Services Partnership. This is the first netball club for juniors in the Hungerford area, before players would have to travel to Newbury to join a club. Over 30 girls attend every Thursday and we are looking forward to starting the new season in September.

Due to the popularity of the Academy we now need more netball players who would be willing to volunteer up to 2 hours every Thursday to coach the girls and a volunteer Academy Secretary to support the coaches. The Academy offers two sessions 5pm to 6pm for Years 6 and 7 and 6pm to 7pm for Years 8 to 11.

If you are interested please contact Nicola Davies, Partnership Manager on 0754 657 2669 or email

The WOW Extended Services Partnership was formed by eight local schools to deliver a wide range of activities, adult and family learning and parenting support in the west of West Berkshire.

Best regards Nicol

Hungerford Surgery

The Hungerford Surgery

Flu Immunisations
No sooner are the summer holidays over when our thoughts will be turning to helping patients stay well during the winter months and in particular planning and preparing for the flu season when we will be aiming to immunise approximately 1,600 people inside just four weeks.

Those patients entitled to a free flu jab should start receiving their letters of invitation in September but please make a note of the following four ‘flu Saturdays’ in your diary:

Saturday 2nd October / Saturday 9th October / Saturday 16th October & Saturday 23rd October

Summer Newsletter

The most recent edition of our patient newsletter is still available and a copy can be picked up from the surgery reception or downloaded from our website – Included in this edition are features on the NHS Choose and Book system, the new Government White Paper on healthcare, Stroke Care in West Berkshire, Chlamydia screening, our Stop Smoking service, advice on what to do if you are stung or bitten by an insect and information on Juice, a brand new NHS health and advice service for young people.

Mike Hall Practice Manager

Rotary Activities

Some Rotary Activities this last quarter

Dee Anderson, Deputy Head of Hungerford Primary School received a cheque for £200, from the President of the Hungerford Rotary Club, Dr. Hugh Pihlens, towards the cost of a “weighted blanket” for an Autistic child who is a pupil at the school. These special blankets have weights attached to them and offer great comfort to a child who is either experiencing sleep disorders or who suffers from acute anxiety.

The Future’s Secure.

Dr Hugh Pihlens has finished his year in office as the President of the Rotary Club of Hungerford and handed over his jewel to Graeme Sleeman, his successor. The Vice President is David Wallis and Junior Vice President, Nick Fritz enabling a secure future for the next three years. During his annual term in office Dr. Pihlens has been able to donate over £10000 to charitable causes both Internationally and Nationally and in addition to no fewer than 11 local concerns and Associations around Hungerford.

Baby Milk Riders to the fore

The established UK Association of Milk Banks give sick and premature babies a helping hand with the provision of donor breast milk. However, transport from the donor to the Milk Bank, especially in times of an emergency, has proved a problem, until now because the Hungerford Rotary Club has donated £1,100 for the purchase of 20 specialised containers to transport the milk by Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers (SERV); the volunteer organisation of motorcyclists who already provide emergency, out of hours, services for the transport of blood and blood products. Hungerford Rotary President, Graeme Sleeman said in presenting the cheque to John Stepney from SERV, “that the Hungerford Club was delighted to be able to help in this way and that many sick infants will have a better chance in life.”

John O’Gaunt’s Global Awareness………

The Hungerford Rotary Club have enabled the pupils of John O’Gaunt School to become more Globally Aware by presenting them with a cheque for £400 to purchase a large wall mounted Television Screen for their Main Hall. This provision will give them access to the 24 hour News and Current Affairs Programmes which is an excellent way of getting them to engage with the world around them.
Hungerford Rotary President, Graham Sleeman, with Annabel King, Chairman of Rotary’s Youth Committee and Neil Spurdell, Head of School, commented “such a good idea needs to be supported and we are happy to do so in helping the school develop in the way that it is”………….

With the Olympics in Mind………..

Hungerford Rotary Club’s Vice President, local farmer David Wallis, presented The Rotary Sports Cup to Cara Brincat at the Welford & Wickham Primary School’s Annual Awards Ceremony. Florence Rostron, Head Teacher, commented, “she was so grateful for the additional Trophy which was one of some 18 Awards which we present each year”……..What a busy school!!!!!!                                                                     J.B.

Back to the Top

Some Rotary Activities this last quarter

Dee Anderson, Deputy Head of Hungerford Primary School received a cheque for £200, from the President of the Hungerford Rotary Club, Dr. Hugh Pihlens, towards the cost of a “weighted blanket” for an Autistic child who is a pupil at the school. These special blankets have weights attached to them and offer great comfort to a child who is either experiencing sleep disorders or who suffers from acute anxiety.

The Future’s Secure.

Dr Hugh Pihlens has finished his year in office as the President of the Rotary Club of Hungerford and handed over his jewel to Graeme Sleeman, his successor. The Vice President is David Wallis and Junior Vice President, Nick Fritz enabling a secure future for the next three years. During his annual term in office Dr. Pihlens has been able to donate over £10000 to charitable causes both Internationally and Nationally and in addition to no fewer than 11 local concerns and Associations around Hungerford.

Baby Milk Riders to the fore

The established UK Association of Milk Banks give sick and premature babies a helping hand with the provision of donor breast milk. However, transport from the donor to the Milk Bank, especially in times of an emergency, has proved a problem, until now because the Hungerford Rotary Club has donated £1,100 for the purchase of 20 specialised containers to transport the milk by Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers (SERV); the volunteer organisation of motorcyclists who already provide emergency, out of hours, services for the transport of blood and blood products. Hungerford Rotary President, Graeme Sleeman said in presenting the cheque to John Stepney from SERV, “that the Hungerford Club was delighted to be able to help in this way and that many sick infants will have a better chance in life.”

John O’Gaunt’s Global Awareness………

The Hungerford Rotary Club have enabled the pupils of John O’Gaunt School to become more Globally Aware by presenting them with a cheque for £400 to purchase a large wall mounted Television Screen for their Main Hall. This provision will give them access to the 24 hour News and Current Affairs Programmes which is an excellent way of getting them to engage with the world around them.
Hungerford Rotary President, Graham Sleeman, with Annabel King, Chairman of Rotary’s Youth Committee and Neil Spurdell, Head of School, commented “such a good idea needs to be supported and we are happy to do so in helping the school develop in the way that it is”………….

With the Olympics in Mind………..

Hungerford Rotary Club’s Vice President, local farmer David Wallis, presented The Rotary Sports Cup to Cara Brincat at the Welford & Wickham Primary School’s Annual Awards Ceremony. Florence Rostron, Head Teacher, commented, “she was so grateful for the additional Trophy which was one of some 18 Awards which we present each year”……..What a busy school!!!!!!                                                                     J.B.

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The Old Codger

DON’T BUY a DAB Radio on the Scrappage Scheme until you know it will work where you live. Hungerford is a notorious black spot for radio reception and DAB is no better! It is also a fact that unless a large percentage of the population have the DAB (digital audio broadcast) system, then the FM/VHF broadcasts will have to continue for many more years to come. So be careful, if you really have to have a new DAB radio then get the shop to keep your old one for a week while you test the new one. The best testing weather is when it’s windy & raining hard, the reception will usually deteriorate in these conditions, don’t test in the dry!

Petrol price rip-off! This year we have managed to get away for two short breaks, one in Torquay and just the other week in Buxton. Petrol prices in Hungerford (as per usual) were 2p dearer than Costers in Speen, but EIGHT pence dearer per litre than both of the two towns that I mentioned before. Just please tell me why they price it at 121.9 a litre, you can’t put just that exact amount in to your tank, and there is no such currency as 9/10ths of a penny is there? So we are not stupid or that gullible , just price it as £1.22p a litre, or better still reward the ‘locals’ and make our petrol costs the same as Newbury please.

Pensioners are missing out on £5 billion of Benefits……….

More than £5 billion of means-tested benefits go unclaimed by older people every year
For Pension Credit, there is no upper limit of capital above which you cannot claim the benefit. Savings or capital up to £10,000, and any income generated by those savings, are ignored. You will be treated as having ‘assumed income’ of £1 for every £500 (or part of £500) of capital you have above £10,000.

The lower capital limit for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit is £10,000. If you have savings or capital of up to £10,000 these, and any income you receive from these savings, are ignored. You will be treated as having assumed income on capital above £10,000 as set out above.

Unlike Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit also have an upper capital limit, which is £16,000. If you have more than this capital limit you will not be entitled to any Housing Benefit orCouncil Tax Benefit, unless you qualify for Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.

Age UK Advice line 0800 1696565 (free from a landline) open daily 8am—7pm

Don’t forget to talk to your gas and electricity supplier, they might to be able to give you a 20% reduction i.e. if your Bill was £80 a month it might go down to £64 that’s a saving of £192 a year, what would that buy you?

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……. Bye Bye & keep safe.

Gardening by Stacy


It seems that no sooner am I preparing for summer than it is drawing to a close. As with every year there have been some disappointments and some triumphs. The vegetable garden has been quite productive this year with my over wintered cabbages doing really well. This was the first year that I had planted them in the Autumn for the following year and I was a bit doubtful, especially when we experienced such cold weather at the beginning of the year. The large 5 litre water bottles we had stored came in very useful as individual cloches which, I believe, made all the difference. I always struggle slightly with Legumes (peas, beans etc) as they are very slow to get going but we usually achieve something in the end. The lovely bowl of golden and green beans I picked as their first harvest were worth persevering for, but I still needed to mollycoddle the Sweet Peas to get a half decent result.

Fruit of all kinds has been abundant this year too, partly due to the prolonged winter which meant that Spring was delayed. Too often the blossom on fruit trees can develop, only to be checked by a severe frost. I am now searching out my extremely inventive apple recipes to cope with the bumper harvest. On the other hand, our policy of actively encouraging birds into the garden has its own consequences. We have had so many birds nesting in the garden and producing a little brood- Blue Tits, Robin, Blackbird and Sparrows. Mr Blackbird quickly discovered the redcurrant branches heavy with berries and began to strip them. We fished the netting out of the potting shed and covered all the fruit bushes. At this point we discovered his nest plus three babies in a hedge at the top of the garden. I felt so guilty then as he sat on the rotary airer gazing longingly at the now inaccessible fruits. However, just on cue the large crop of Raspberries started to ripen and he had found a new target! We managed to keep apace with his foraging and did our own foraging- not many of our Raspberries made it into the freezer. There’s nothing better than fruit straight off the cane !

I bought my husband a dwarf Stella cherry tree about 5 years ago as a birthday present and we have been gradually building up to mega harvest. In the Spring the tree was bountiful with blossom and we thought- this is it! I watched the fruit avidly waiting for ripeness but, yes you’ve guessed it- Mr Blackbird gets up earlier than me so we shared the crop.



There are now just 2 or 3 plots left (might have gone in the last 2 weeks).

So if you want to stand a chance or to get your name down on the inevitable waiting list. Do contact Geoff Greenland who is the secretary of the Hungerford Allotment Holders Association (HAHA) on 01488 681975


Nature Notes by Hawkeye

A Summer’s Walk in the Countryside

In summer the birds are difficult to see because of the leaves on the trees but the wild flowers are at their best. These perennial thoughts make me think of my favourite walk – “The Hungerford Marshes”. There is always something worth seeing here and the flowers along the tow path are always beautiful in summer. I particularly like Comfrey, Great Willow Herb and Meadow Sweet. One flower here was new to me and I had to look it up, my research could be wrong but I think it is Himalayan Balsam. It was growing next to Hemp Agrimony and Hogweed. I was thinking Hogweed grows everywhere and is becoming pernicious when I spotted this orange flower of the Balsam.

On August 1st I realised I had not seen Southern Marsh Orchid this year so I spent a good part of Sunday afternoon looking for it on Freeman’s Marsh. I was most disappointed not to find any. But there were compensations! The bird life at the corner of the marsh near the Morecombe and Wise statues was brilliant. There were Linnets, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Blackbirds amongst others but the stars were a family of Moorhen. A mother was feeding a day old chick and two other chicks were walking on the floating vegetation. I could be wrong but I think the fencing off of the river has improved the flowers in it.

Just as I was starting my return I noticed a pair of Whitethroats feeding in the Hawthorn bushes. One was trying to swallow a huge black caterpillar. Underneath the Whitethroats was a Chiffchaff foraging for food. These are summer visitors from Africa and could be starting their long journey home.

In the Hungerford area there are a number of great walks and a lot of them are advertised in the Library but I must confess I am beginning to choose walks for the views and flowers as well as the time of year. In July I am always attracted to the Lambourn Valley Way where it rolls through Great Shefford. I always like to see the old Church with its round tower framed by a swathe of pink and white flowers. Although the white Meadow Sweets are now dominated by Hogweed there is still a preponderance of pink Great Willow Herbs.

Near the church Swallows and House Martins were using the overhead cables to rest and preen. They even stayed on the wires when I walked underneath them. This is the area where I was first shown Southern Marsh Orchid by my doctor who was a keen naturalist. Sadly the land is now privately owned so I will have to wait until next year to see this beautiful flower.



A Recipe and ideas……The summer is nearly over for another year and autumn is on its way. This means a wonderful spectrum of colours in the kitchen garden and our local shops, from the yellows of pumpkins to the deep reds of the apples and plums. Just a few of the fruit and vegetables in season in our shops at this time of year are pumpkins, squash, sprouts, marrows, peppers, sweetcorn, beetroot, celeriac, apples, blackberries, plums, pears and quinces.

Celeriac is probably not used as widely as it should be, maybe as many are not sure what to do with it. It has a lovely sweet nutty flavour and can be used in the same way as the humble potato. Look for ones that are as smooth as possible, to cut down on waste when peeling, and it should be heavy and firm. Any softness at the top means it is past its best. The following recipe is a lovely meal in itself or as an accompaniment to roast lamb.

Celeriac, Potato and Rosemary gratin serves 4-6

6 rashers of bacon (optional)
420ml/3/4pt double cream
350ml/12floz milk
2 garlic cloves sliced
1 tbsp rosemary finely chopped
1 red chilli deseeded and sliced
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 celeriac peeled quartered and thinly sliced
1lb 2oz potatoes thinly sliced

Heat oven to 180/gas mark 4……………….Grill bacon, cut up and set aside

In medium saucepan bring the cream, milk garlic, rosemary, chilli and mustard to the boil then remove from heat.

Pour a little of this mixture into a gratin dish and place over a layer of celeriac and bacon. Continue to layer up alternating the potato and celeriac, finishing with potato. Cover with the remaining cream mixture and bake in the oven for 1-11/4 hours until golden and tender.

Recipe provided by HEAT food group (Hungerford Environmental Action Team). For more information visit our website   or come and see us at the Farmers Market on the 4th Sunday of every month…………..Regards Jo W.

Hungerford-Ligueil Twinning

The Hungerford-Ligueil Twinning will reach its 30th birthday in December. We signed charters in France in 1980 on a cold snowy day, and then carried out a similar ceremony on St. Valentine’s Day February 14th 1981 in Hungerford. There was so much European / Brussels emphasis on the importance of International relationships at that time, and the E.U. parliament gave generous funding to support the idea. This is no longer true, and much hard work in fundraising must be carried out to enable it to continue. Hungerford’s total community support was readily forthcoming in my early days, but today somehow ‘Twinning’ seems to have been directed into a minority interest column.

The original charter signing was attended by MP’s from both countries and by all levels of Local Government and the general enthusiasm of all Hungerford organisations in those early days has never been surpassed.

I wonder how many people remember the ‘’Hungerford Crusader’’. It was a Tony Williams (no relation) promotion. He was a man of original ideas and had much to do with the Football Club’s success in the 1980’s. The paper dated March 1981 gave me great scope to elaborate on the Twinning and my leading article had a huge list of thanks to townspeople that now, thirty years later, I have some problem in remembering them all. However let me remind you of some of the names. The original four people who visited Ligueil to explore the possibility of an exchange was myself as Mayor, Robert James the Constable, and Den Simmonds and Mansil Morgan. This took place in May 1980, and the charter signing in Ligueil was attended by thirty people from Hungerford. It was December 1980 and was very cold with snow falling as I cut the ribbon naming the ‘Rue de Hungerford’. We now look at February 1981 which was a brilliantly sunny weekend and over six hundred people attended the signing ceremony outside the Town Hall.

The people and organisations involved were both of our schools, in particular Michelle Pipe and Lindsay Day. They led school visits to France and Michelle became our secretary. The first visit was of necessity a hectic period of activity with visits to Arkells Brewery, to the late Ivor Gore’s farm, St Lawrence Church, the Fire Station and Ambulance Station. Also David Liddiard’s spectacular balloon launch, Harry Dodson and his flowers, the Antique Arcade, Roger Beard and Vic Lardner at the Hungerford Cricket Club arranged a ‘Race Night’, John O’Gaunt School, the Scout Fellowship and their humorous dancing, the Three Swans the Town Hall reception and the Bear Hotel for the lunch. From all three Banks who sponsored the reception, the Town Youth Band for wonderfully moving music at the Bridge Street War Memorial, Sally James and Barbara Barr for a beautifully embroidered cushion, Beryl Morgan for a splendid painting, you will realise the whole ambience at the occasion was Town wide.

So to return to 2010, please retain an interest in ‘Twinning’, whether you feel European or particularly British, remember our two nations have been allies in two World Wars, and that always on each exchange the most moving moments are when we lay wreaths on the War Memorials in each town. You will find the people in Ligueil very friendly, they enjoy our visits and I understand that almost fifty will be in Hungerford for our celebration in August.

Jack Williams

If you would like to know more about Twinning please do not hesitate to contact either Penny Brookman (Chairman) on 01488 683314
                                                 or Martyn Bright (Vice Chairman) on 01488 682065

Health by Liz

Joint Matters………………… By Liz

Many people think that joint pain is a winter ailment but, in fact, weak or inflamed joints affect a third of adults all year round.
Liz Chandler from Natures Corner looks at a variety of natural remedies that can alleviate pain, stiffness and swelling.

Maintaining healthy joints is easy when we’re young. After all, a balanced and varied diet is just about all we need to keep your ‘bendy bits’ creak-free. But as our metabolic rate changes with age, we may have additional nutritional requirements when it comes to maintaining healthy joints in later years.

Of course, joint pain is not necessarily an indication of old age – athletes and sports people are prone to various forms of joint problems and it is wise to pay special attention to reducing the levels of wear and tear in the joints.

In summary the factors influencing joint mobility are:-


The most common form of arthritis is degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) and affects an estimated 8.5 million Britons. It causes damage to cartilage – the strong smooth surface that lines the bones and allows joints to move easily and without friction. It results in bony growths developing around the edge of the joints, and it causes mild inflammation of the tissues around the joints (synovitis). Osteoarthritis mostly occurs in the knees, hips and small joints of the hands, but almost any joint can be affected.

So, which supplements can help? There are several natural remedies that can alleviate stiffness and pain. Glucosamine assists in the rebuilding of cartilage and the overall structure of the joint and can offer pain relief, if taken regularly and at a strength of 1500mg daily.

MSM has widely been used as an anti-inflammatory.

Celadrin is a blend of different fatty acids which decrease inflammation and lubricate cell membranes throughout the body, restoring fluids that cushion bones and joints to promote flexibility and mobility.

Fish Oils (Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids) can support cell membrane fluidity and help regulate inflammatory pathways which lead to greater mobility.

Hyaluronic Acid has been called the space filler of the body. It supports and provides scaffolding for all tissues and maintains healthy synovial fluid, inside the synovial membrane. This remedy is particularly helpful for active sports people.

……… .In addition to a healthy diet and maintaining an optimal body weight, natural remedies can prove very useful and effective whatever age we are.

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

Our Community

Also on this page……..Police Update………..Bus times changed……..
……………………………… .Food Festival……..Hungerford Extravaganza

Could you keep a small slightly overgrown jungle tidy?

Then please call in to Hungerford Library, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday.
It is planted but it wants weeding before the plants/shrubs are strangled to death!

Neighbourhood Police Team

Here is the latest neighbourhood update for Hungerford from Neighbourhood Specialist Officer (NSO) PC Claire Drewitt

Our three priorities for Hungerford are Burglary, drugs and hare-coursing.
During the month of July we are pleased to be able to say that we have had no reports of any house burglaries within Hungerford. During the summer periods we often find that levels of burglaries can rise slightly due to people having their windows and doors open, so this is all the more positive that this is not the case this month. However it is important that you don’t become complacent and ensure that your property is secure and you have closed ground floor windows and doors at night. Burglary has fallen by 25 per cent in the area compared with the same time last year.

The team have not made any arrests this month but we continue to patrol our hotspot areas and offenders will be dealt with.

The hare-coursing season is upon us and we have already had a number a calls relating to vehicles and people hare-coursing in the Hungerford area. Just a reminder that we are successfully using a new text alert system when to help tackle hare-coursing, rural breaks and poaching, landowners and farmers receive text messages from Thames Valley Police alerting 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.

Overall crime in Hungerford has reduced by 24.5 per cent in comparison to this time last year. Vehicle crime has risen by 28 per cent, this month we have seen an increase in theft from motor vehicles where people are leaving their vehicles insecure in very rural locations whilst they go walking. We are aware that people are still leaving their vehicles insecure overnight. In order to prevent more incidents and to deter the opportunist thieves, we urge you to lock all doors and windows when leaving your vehicle unattended even if it is parked on the driveway. Also ensure that you remove any belongings, or if that is not possible, at least lock items out of sight. Car crime is easy to prevent, do not give thieves the opportunity.

Anti-social behaviour in the town has reduced by a massive 43 per cent. This is a really great result, especially during the summer months as this is normally the time of the year that we receive the most reports. At 4.40am on Saturday 31 July, five-six vehicles were damaged in the High Street after a person was seen jumping on the bonnets of the vehicles. Anyone with any information regarding this incident then please contact me via the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre on 0845 8 505 505. If you do not wish to speak to police contact Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.

We have recently worked alongside the WOW partnership that provide childcare, activities and support to the community. A group of 14 teenagers attended a forensic science day at the John O’Gaunt School on Tuesday 27 July, two officers from the neighbourhood police team attended to speak to the group about the evidence that the police gather at crime scenes and what the public can do to help us secure and preserve that evidence.

We have also attended the bike ability courses which was held at Hungerford Leisure Centre, we attended to engrave bicycles with postcodes so there is more chance they can be identified if they were stolen. This is something that we can offer to anyone who would like this service. Please email me if you are interested.

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


Wilts & Dorset services 20,21,22,23 & X2 (Marlborough/Pewsey-Bedwyn-Hungerford
Now operated by Bodman Coaches in the Wiltshire Livery..Timings have changed

Thamesdown services 46 & 48 (Hungerford/Marlborough-Aldbourne-Swindon. Timings have changed

Tourist Coaches bus services 222 same time but operated by BARNES

Hungerford Food Festival events

around town starting 24 Sept with Food Fayre on Sunday 3 Oct at the Rugby Club
Celebrating local food and drink. Lots of local food to eat and to buy, cookery competitions, film, talks and cookery demonstrations too. Great fun for all the family. For more details see or ask in The Hungerford Bookshop.

Victorian Extravaganza

December Advance warning – Victorian Extravaganza 10th December

In Living Memory

Rabbit Stew

It was the cloud of dust rising from the field as I made my way home along the Inkpen road, and then seeing the combined harvester gathering the grain, which no doubt would need but little drying when it was tipped into the dryer in a matter of an hour or so, that in my mind’s eye I was taken back to harvest times of my teenage years. I could see, and indeed recall the bodily feelings of the harvest field.

The process of gathering in the grain was a long one, and much more dependant on a spell of good weather than today. The field to be cut would have been smaller than any in existence today, the wheat would have been much taller, with smaller heads. It was cut by a binder pulled by a standard Fordson tractor with all metal wheels. To prevent the tractor flattening any of the corn, a path was cut to just over the width of the tractor with scythes, the corn so cut, was bound into sheaves with straw bonds, then stooked to dry.

The binder could now set to work, slowly going round and round, spewing out twine bound sheaves from whirring cog wheels, slapping canvas and rattling chains, the majestic sails rotating into the stalks, bending them towards the reciprocating cutter bar.

As the area of uncut corn got smaller the many rabbits in the field retreated into it, until they had to make a run across the stubble for their burrows in the hedge rows. Now it was the delight of those men with their long hazel sticks, to be in the path of a running rabbit, knock it over, pick it up and with a weighted “priest’’, we all knew that a blow to the back of the head led to a quick despatch. There were so many rabbits at this time that many got away, damage to crops and grassland was considerable.

The ever ready “lambfoot” knife soon made paunching , and slitting one of the back legs to pass the other one through easy, this made an excellent loop so that bunny could hang comfortably from the handlebars of a bicycle.

The corn was cut then the sheaves made into stooks, left to dry for a few days, then carted to the rick yard. The ricks thatched, and left until the threshing box arrived to be powered by a portable engine that had to be well staked to keep it in position. The grains poured from the back of the box into West of England sacks until they held 2.25 cwt each, then they were taken to the farm granary, to await the big red lorry of James & Co to take it to the mill; harvesting of grain took a long time and much manpower.

Well! The combined harvester that I mentioned worked well into the night. I know, as the throb of the machine could be heard through our bedroom’s open window on this sultry night. …… but oh! Those rabbit stews.




The notion of the “Big Society”, articulated by our Coalition Government, where citizens take a measure of responsibility for their own destiny, is not new and certainly predates the concept of “Big Government”, where the state does more and more, while citizens just stand back and take it. What’s new is that, once again, it’s being championed as a virtue, rather than denigrated as a poor relation.

Predictably, as with anything new and particularly anything emanating from Government, the media are cynical, even about a suggestion to relax control from the centre and rollback of the over-bloated machinery of state.

True, the parlous state of the nation’s finances gives fresh impetuous to saving money, but genuine “localism”, trickling down from a “Big Society”, could be the route to ensuring scarce resources are better-spent by local people, who really understand their community, care about it and know what’s needed to make it tick and thrive. Central and Local Government will always play an important part in our lives, but, when it comes to Hungerford things, no one in Whitehall, or Newbury come to that, will ever have a better feel for what’s needed than its people.

If the Government was looking for somewhere to trial for its “Big Society”, it wouldn’t need to look much further than Hungerford. Our town is a brilliant example of a caring community, where people pull together, individually and in groups, to look out for one another. The spot of bad weather at the beginning of the year underlined a collective conscience, where the able rose up to care for the vulnerable – family, friends and acquaintances were visited, paths swept, shopping done and lifts given. CHAIN, alongside our many other organisations, both public and private, plays a pivotal rôle in Hungerford’s “Big Society” and we must hope that the Government will trust communities like ours to get on with the job by freeing them from unnecessary bureaucracy by providing them with necessary resources.

There will always be a fine line between caring and interfering and we must be robust enough to get it wrong occasionally, but, as St Paul told us, “We should never tire of doing good”. So, next time we pronounce that something must be done, perhaps it should be us that do it!

Don’t forget, if you need help with a problem or want to share an idea, you can telephone, e-mail, write or attend one of our “Surgeries” at 10 am – 12 noon on the first Saturday of each month at Hungerford Library in Church Street.

” Serving the Community”
Working closely with residents and the Town Council
Represent Hungerford in West Berkshire (07979) 257329 (07753) 635

West Berkshire goes Green!

I’m the Community Energy Efficiency Officer at West Berkshire Council.
My role is to support local sustainability/environmental groups, the communities who have embarked on a Greening Campaign and help people save money by reducing their energy consumption through a variety of technological and lifestyle choices. For those who are not yet aware, a Greening Hermitage campaign will be happening in Hungerford. For more information, please call Barry Flisher on 07776 100322 or email or see

The newly formed West Berkshire Green Exchange provides a forum for the above groups to network and share ideas (please see for more information or to join). It is a good starting point for any interested person or group to see what other green things are happening within the district. The Green Exchange meets quarterly and will be having its annual conference in September.

I am organising a Green Week that will run from the 11th -18th September 2010 across the whole of West Berkshire. Local groups, schools and voluntary organisations will be running their own green-themed events and activities over this time. Litter-picking, local food fairs and solar panel workshops are just a few examples of what will be happening.

As part of the week, there will be ecohouse or eco-renovation open days. This is where householders who’ve installed renewable energy technologies, super-insulation, rainwater harvesting systems, biomass boilers and the like open their doors to the public. The open days tie in with English Heritage’s ‘Heritage Open Days’ and similar schemes around the country have proved very successful.

The open days are Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September. It’s a great opportunity to see the technology and systems in the flesh and ask about the issues surrounding installing and operating them. There will be a number of properties, including commercial sites across the whole of West Berkshire who’ll be taking part. For more information, please see for the latest developments of the open days.

If you are interested in taking part in the Green Week or to find out more about the ecohouse open days, please do not hesitate to contact
Anthony on 01635 503267 or email


Back to the Top

Blasts from the Past

From the Parish Magazine dated November 1877.

“ On Wednesday evening, November 7, at the Corn Exchange, Seyyid Mustafa Ben-Yusuf, a native of Algiers, will give his Illustrations of Arab Life with costumes, utensils, objects, and antiquities, elucidating the domestic and social life of the East. Such a Lecture must throw a flood of light on many scenes and incidents of the Holy Scriptures, which are sometimes not fully appreciated for want of acquaintance with local manners and customs; and the paramount interest of the Eastern question at the present moment renders the attempt to make Englishmen conversant with Oriental habits peculiarly opportune.”

From the Parish Magazine dated November 1881.

“ It is proposed that the Parishes of Hungerford, Chilton, and Shalbourne, which are partly in Berkshire and partly in Wiltshire, should have their boundaries altered, so that the parts of these Parishes which are in the one County should respectively be separated from the parts which are in the other County, and that each of such parts should be formed into a separate Parish., or be amalgamated with some adjoining Parish, or otherwise be dealt with under the divided Parishes and Poor Law Amendment Act of 1876. The Local Government Board have appointed one of their Inspectors to hold a Local enquiry in reference to the proposal, at the Hungerford Workhouse on Friday, November 11, at noon; and all persons interested may attend and state their objections, if any, to an order being made by the Local Government Board in conformity with the provisions of the Act.”

From the Parish Magazine dated November 1885.

“ Meteors are seen at various periods of the year, but those that appear in November are the largest as well as the most numerous and conspicuous. The near approach of the earth to the stream of meteors will take place this year on Saturday, November 14. The Meteors may therefore be expected to be visible after sunset, as there will be an absence of moonlight during the greater part of the night, they will be displayed to great advantage.”

More from the past next issue.

Fred Bailey

Legal Spot

Practical Tips and Traps
Property Buyers and Sellers

Apart from divorce the most stressful experience apparently is buying and selling a house. Even if that is an exaggeration buying or selling certainly can be stressful. But it does not have to induce a nervous breakdown..

You can prevent rising tension by putting in proportion some of the elements making up the big decision about moving.

The decision to move at all rightly comes first. Most people then start worrying about how long it will take. This is jumping the gun. Before setting a timescale, which will inevitably put you and everyone else under pressure, you need to know what has to be done and when. A typical period for a move is six to eight weeks, but every move is different. You and the other people involved need to work out what suits everyone.

A house move is not always for life but it is generally for the medium term at least. Ask yourself therefore whether or not there really is an absolutely crucial date for completion. If so, make sure that you tell everyone at the outset so that no-one is under any illusion about this date.

Choose your solicitor and estate agent carefully, and keep them informed. Can you get on with them? Are they easy to visit? Can you get them easily on the phone? Can they deal with things in time? Do they explain things clearly so that you completely understand?

Next, do not be afraid to ask your agent and solicitor for help: in fact, it will be better if you do so. That way you will be able to plan better, and to avoid late surprises. Even if you have moved once or twice before, they will have much more experience of what is involved. They can tell you what to expect and when, and who else can help if required. They can get information for you which will make it easier for you to make decisions.

Then you should start organising. There will be forms aplenty to fill in, and maybe papers to find. Deal with these promptly, and ask for help if required. Think about sorting out the removals – not just booking a remover, but calculating the time to throw away all those things carefully stored in the loft and the garage perhaps over many years which were always going to come in handy and never have. You may need a skip!

Try to keep a sense of proportion about the time required for different tasks and problems, and any expenses involved. If you do, you’ll keep your sense of humour and even your sanity.

And lastly, remember: the people you are buying from or selling to are probably going through exactly the same experiences as you. Buying and selling is not meant to be a competitive exercise, but rather an exercise in co-operation choreographed by all concerned.


Church Bells

Bell Ringing at St Lawrence – Part 10

The transition of bell ringing from male preserve to an all-inclusive activity was due in large part to the two world wars, when women stepped in to keep the tradition alive. Many ringers were lost during the Great War and in the flu epidemic which followed. During WWII women were taught to ring, even on silent bells (with the clappers tied) between 1940 and 1943, when ringing was banned. During this time the bells were only to be rung as warning of invasion.

In November 1942, ringing was allowed in celebration of the victory of El Alamein but it is a little known fact that church bells were rung on another occasion during that period. One night in September 1940, convinced that Hitler would take advantage of what was perceived as his last best opportunity for invasion, the authorities ordered that the alarm be raised. The next day a policy of “least said soonest mended” was adopted. Since the majority of churches would have had only one ringer on call, it is likely most people would have heard just a single bell. If anyone asked they were told they had heard a false alarm. The BBC, daily newspapers and regional publications were ordered not to report any incidences of bells ringing. However, no-one thought to tell the “Ringing World“, the next issue of which was full of accounts of bells being rung across the country!








In June 1943 all restrictions on ringing were lifted. At this time there was a national campaign to recruit novice bell ringers – men and women. These became known as “The 43’ers” and one of them is today a regular ringer at St Lawrence.

In 1945 the bells rang out all over Britain to mark the end of the war. Not so in Europe. In 1940, 40,000 (95%) of Germany’s bells were melted down to make weapons. As the Nazi war machine rolled across Europe, bells from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Austria and Hungary were also yielded up to the German arms industry. In total 80,000 bells were destroyed during the war, leaving most churches with only one, the smallest, the “passing bell“.

On 14th November 2010, when we ring the bells half-muffled to pay our respects those who sacrificed so much for their countrymen in war, I will also be reminded of the lost bells of Europe. Never again to ring out in celebration or warning, to summon or to mourn, their great voices, for centuries the loudest sound, silenced forever.

S Chatters