Issue number 109

1st December
1st March 2011

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

Front Cover by Micky Thompson

Christmas is upon us once more. The cover picture this issue was taken on Christmas Day last year. As you can see from the Town Hall clock It is 4.35 and the light is fading. From a photographic point of view, dusk is a much better time to take nightime pictures, than in the pitch black. There is still some light around to record some detail, while the lowered light level allow the lights to show up well.

It would have been good for the picture if there had been some snow, but the first fall we had was the day after they took all of the Christmas decorations down. Isn’t that just the way of it.

If you want to try taking evening photographs, turn the flash off. This will mean that it will be a long exposure, so to make sure the picture isn’t blurred through camera shake, either use a tripod, or steady the camera against a lamppost or some other solid object. For the cover picture, I think I steadied the camera against a pole thoughtfully erected by the council. Lots of opportunities to take photographs this Christmas, so happy clicking.

Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

Here we are in the run up to Christmas already, where did the last year go. It will be the Victorian Extravaganza on Friday 10th December and the Mayor’s Carol Service on Sunday 19th December at 6.30pm in St Lawrence’s. The Town Christmas Lights are up and as always they are the best in the area.

The Primary School would like to thank everyone who turned up to help them celebrate their centenary. The whole weekend was a great success and a credit to the staff, pupils, parents and governors who worked so hard to make it happen.

The Chain Committee would like to thank David and Janet Long for their many years as co-ordinators for the delivery of Chain Mail. We are most grateful to Tyrell and Kathy Bossom for volunteering to take over this job.

Chain would like to thank all the families who arrange for Chain to receive donations from collections at funerals of their loved ones. This money helps us to keep Chain running and we are most grateful to everyone.

As usual I would like to add a plea for anyone who has a few hours to spare to think about volunteering as a driver for Chain or to help in the Chain Office. It doesn’t matter if you can only manage a couple of hours a week or a month, it will make a difference to Chain. Please contact the Chain Office (9-11am each morning) on 683727 or me on 683302

Janette Kersey


I know you will join me in thanking all the article contributors that make our little publication so interesting, and to all our advertisers who actually make it possible for us to distribute free to you and at no cost to CHAIN whatsoever.

There are so many interesting articles again this time, that it does seem a little unfair to point out just four or five, but I am going to do it anyway, so here goes:-

The Ladies are not going round on a clothes line!          see Rotary News
That so very interesting and diverse ‘Legal Spot’.          see Legal Spot
Our Footbridge, some interesting points for you.          see Canal Footbridge
A very important invitation.                                              see Events
Just as we enter the Kennet & Avon’s 200th year Gloriana recalls her canal travels.
and there’s more………………..                                       see Gloriana

As a boater I am really looking forward to the completion of bank restoration works on our canal locally, from Cobblers to Wyre. The lock at Dunmill closes January 11th for brickwork and chamber repairs and new gates, it’s just a real pity that work is not going to happen with the Town lock. Parts of the bank have been screened off for about five years, the steps coming down on the ‘offside’ have missing bricks, and the bottom gates are leaking like a sieve! I see that the gates are well past their ‘Best By’ date (1990).

On the far side of the Marsh there is a fantastic improvement due to the fencing ‘off’’ and I would like to remind dog owners that leads must be used within the gated section, Swing bridge to almost the ‘Whirly pool’. As well as the lead please do pick up the ‘poo’ (it’s a legal requirement I believe), and we non-dog owners are then so delighted when we walk along the path looking at all the scenery and birds etc. and ‘don’t’ step in it, because you have been so thoughtful and picked it up. Actually the real reason for the ‘lead’ is so that your dogs don’t run off and disturb the wildlife. A running free dog really does STOP the nesting, and not just for this year, you could actually drive them away for years! So please be extra careful from 1st March to 31st July. Many thanks.

Please click Handybus on the index and have a good look, Nobody but nobody responded to our plea from the last issue. George really does want to retire (he is getting older after all), and I am sure he would still be available for a few months to help as you settle in. Minimum requirement just twelve Excel spreadsheets a year, probably no more than four simple single page newsletter/update to the drivers, and a little bit of liaising with the West Berks Handybus people. So come on somebody PLEASE VOLUNTEER.

May I wish you all a Happy Christmas & New Year.

Thanks & Regards David Piper.
Tel: 01488-683152

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

Hungerford Mayor

When the town councillors chose me as Mayor last May, one of my peers mentioned to me that “I would have to mind my p’s and q’s”. I have remembered, and indeed have tried, to follow this advice even if counting to ten [or, more often, to one hundred] before reacting has been similarly valuable. Anyway, I have stumbled across a few p’s along the way:

Hungerford’s Primary School celebrated its centenary this year. Hugh Pihlens gave a fascinating talk to complement the outstanding displays that had been mounted within the classrooms by the pupils, two of whom gave me an enthusiastic tour of a school in which they had evident and justified pride . Certainly putting the displays together must have made it an interesting term; the staff and pupils of this keystone in our community deserve congratulations.

The Pedestrian Bridge over the Canal has taken an important step forward as a project. Of course it is a long-standing and contentious issue but I am content that the community has been properly consulted and had the opportunity to express its opinion.

The Parking issue has been addressed with research on potential longer term solutions by a working party drawn from several elements of Hungerford’s residential and commercial fabric. It is now for the Council to consider where we go from here, as well as to help those involved in the Station zone’s regeneration. I see both of these as major projects for 2011.

Pigeons remain a problem but the efforts of John who works on keeping our streets clean should not go unacknowledged. The costs of providing a solution under the railway bridge have been found to be disproportionate to what the Town Council can reasonably spend of residents’ money, particularly when the health and safety aspects of the problem should [as found in other towns in the UK] mean the local authority [if not the railway] addresses the matter.

The Parish Meeting is scheduled for 7.30pm on Thursday 17th March 2011. I hope that we shall have a good turn-out in this, an election year. Hungerford’s residents deserve the opportunity to discuss openly with their councillors what has been achieved and what has not, particularly as soon thereafter they are invited to vote on those standing again, as well as any new [and welcome] candidates on May 5th. I would welcome hearing in advance what the Public would like to discuss.

In the meantime we have the Mayor’s Carol service at St Lawrence Church at 6.30pm on Sunday 19th December 2010. All are welcome.

I could go on with Piscatorial pursuits which gave me time over the summer and autumn to reflect on Hungerford’s public-spiritedness [exemplified by CHAIN], new residents’ comments on the politeness of people they meet in the street, and the need for us all to prefer principles to personalities. However, that is enough p’s……perhaps I can tackle the q’s in your next edition.

A happy Christmas to all your readers.

Yours sincerely,    Anthony Buckwell

Chain’s Page

Handybus Co-ordinator

…… .you do not need to be a driver !

This role is mainly ‘behind the scenes’, in a planning role that organises the schedules for the drivers. Word processing and spreadsheet knowledge is useful but not critical.

The schedules come out four times a year, (three months at a time), they rarely change except of course for the dates, and occasional driver change due to holidays etc.

The schedule is produced on an A4 Excel spreadsheet, and of course that is so easy to replicate month by month. You can have the existing layout transferred to your computer so saving any need for formatting.

Most of the schedules are e-mailed to the Drivers.

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 shopping, excursions and even essential Hydrotherapy. It offers a wide range of services
and includes wheelchair and motorised wheelchair transport.

To have an exploratory chat please contact :-
George Russell on 01488 683304


Also on this page……..Round Table………..Town Show………Have your say……..

The Queen

The Queen will be celebrating 60 years on the throne on Tuesday, 5th June 2012 (after the bank holiday).

She will be only the third monarch to reach this milestone in more than one thousand years. In 1897 Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, Hungerford was be-flagged with floral arches down the High Street and three thousand people (the whole town) sat down to a meal in the Croft, when there were fewer houses then!

To ascertain the level of support from local organisations of all types, varieties and interests who would like to see Hungerford celebrate this event, we are asking for interested parties who have ideas or who wish for information to contact Hungerford Town Council offices.

The Town and Manor of Hungerford and Rotary are both identified with this celebration. Please indicate your organisation, e.g. Scouts, Round Table, Sports Clubs, Schools, etc, and a contact address. We can then call a meeting in the Corn Exchange to share ideas when, hopefully, responses are in after the New Year.

Responses please requested by 1st February 2011.

All enquiries please through:
Hungerford Town Council
The Library
Church Street
Berkshire RG17 0JG
Tel: 01488 686195

Email: and / or

Hungerford Round Table

Santa Float:-

November 28th. Shalbourne ,

               29th & 30th Inkpen ,

                             1st Dec. Great Shefford,

                                          2nd 3rd 7th & 8th Hungerford

                                                     9th. Chilton Foliat,

                                                                        11th & 12th Kintbury

Hungerford Round Table Christmas tree shredding:-

9th January 9.30 to 12.30 outside the Town Hall

Town Show

Theatre-goers can enjoy an undiscovered musical gem

The life and times of Dr Thomas Barnardo, founder of one of the UK’s most loved children’s charities, was celebrated in music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

The Likes of Us – was the first ever Webber /Rice collaboration when they were aged just 17 and 21, but the show, by the then unknown musical duo, never saw the light of day.

However, theatre-lovers in Hungerford will have a chance to catch a performance of this undiscovered gem when the Community of Hungerford Theatre Company stage the The Likes of Us for 5 performances between 23rd and 26th Feb 2011 at the John O`Gaunt Community Technology College.

The show tells the story of how Barnardo, moved by the plight of the destitute young children living in the East End of London, set about opening his first Ever Open Door children’s home. Though the charity no longer runs orphanages, it has stayed true to the philosophy of its founder who worked to ensure that every child would have a chance in life, no matter what their background or circumstances.

The tale of Barnardo is told through rousing and romping ensembles, heart breaking and moving ballads, and an enchanting children’s chorus. The catchy tunes and melodies are almost certain to have you humming along.

Rehearsals are well underway, costumes being stitched and sets built by the multi talented cast and crew across the town. Don’t miss the chance to see it.!

More details to be found on the web site

Tickets for the show are available at the theatre box office in Crown Needlework from mid December or by calling 01488 684011

Part of the proceeds from the show will go to support Barnardo’s modern day work.

The group are grateful to have Herongate Leisure as sponsors for this production, and to CHAIN MAIL for this publicity.

Have your say

Hungerford Police invite you to raise any issues or concerns that you have / had in the area at the ‘have your say’ meetings which are on:-

Monday 6th December 2010 –1900—1930 hours – Hungerford Town Council

Tuesday 4th January 2011 – 1900—1930 hours – Hungerford Town Council

Monday 7th February 2011 – 1900—1930 hours – Hungerford Town Council

In the Town Hall. All with PC Claire Drewitt

Letters and e-mails……….

Dear Mr Piper,

I am writing to ask if you could include information regarding the Hungerford Variety Show taking place on 11th Dec in next month’s edition of CHAIN MAIL. This is an opportunity to see the many hidden talents of Hungerford residents and an entertaining evening of music and dance is guaranteed. By holding this event we hope to raise valuable funds for Hungerford Playgroup. The event will take place at John O’Gaunt school from 7.15pm. For tickets contact Claire Scott on 01488 683900.

Thank you very much for your time. Yours sincerely. Claire Scott.

Hello David,
Can you pop this in for me please?
To everyone involved in the delivery of Chain Mail

After a number of years organising the distribution of Chain Mail, we are pleased that Tyrell and Kath Bossom have volunteered to take over effective this issue.
May we take this opportunity to thank you all for your valued help and cooperation and wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas.                                David & Janet Long

Ed’s comment Please see outer back cover for the latest Distribution contact details.

Dear Mr. Piper,

I had the privilege of holding an afternoon of Poetry from the Second World War in the URC back in July as part of HADCAF. As a result, £142 was raised for ‘Help for Heroes’. I would like through CHAIN MAIL to publicly acknowledge this, and to thank all of those who supported this event.

My main legacy to the town & community during my previous time here ( I have retired to Hungerford), was to have initiated the restoration of the little organ in the URC in the mid-1990s. Anticipating some more work on the organ soon, I have written and published a booklet about it with the title Hungerford’s Little Gem. This is available from the Church for £2.00, or it can be ordered from me and posted for £2.50. Cheques made out to Hungerford United Reform Church. I might add that all money received will be used for the organ fund.

Kennet Opera are giving a concert on the 5th December 7.30pm at the URC . The programme embraces Love at the Opera , given by members of the company, to raise money for Kennet Opera funds.

Tickets £5, are available from Newbury Building Society, Crown Needlework & The Tutti-Pole. Refreshments will be available.

Yours sincerely, David Bunney,
34 Shalbourne Close, Hungerford, RG17 0QH

Ed’s comment:-
Always a pleasure to print letters like this. The original letter has been ‘edited’

Bits 2

Also on this page…..Poppy Apeal…….Charity Cards……Handybus……Mystery Object

Hungerford Town Band

11th December

Christmas Concert in the Town Hall….Start time 7pm

Tickets from Crown Needlework


10th December      after 5pm             Victorian Extravaganza




I would like to thank everyone who supported this years Poppy Appeal, especially all the volunteers for all their hard work and commitment both in the High Street, Membury Services and outside Tesco and to the people of the Town for their kind donations. I would also like to thank all the shops, hotels, clubs for their support, with special thanks to the Hungerford Arcade for their excellent window display and John O’ Gaunt sixth formers for all their help outside the Town Hall.

The March of Honour on 9th November was well supported with special thanks to the Town Band and £468.41 was raised.

The total amount raised so far is £16,013.00.   (16.11.2010)   There are still some monies to be counted.

The money raised by the appeal will be 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.

Shelagh Parry
Tel: 01488 681492

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Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm
Saturday & Sunday 10am to 1pm



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And The Handybus Needs You …

On a Wednesday morning mainly!

Handybus Passenger Assistants………

two and a half hours (that’s all)

This is all about helping the elderly to their door with some shopping. Every Wednesday morning the Handybus collects about 20 people from home and takes them down to the town to do their shopping, Market, Tesco etc. There might also be some other runs as well!

Once a month or more would be great! Interested? …..…….

Then please contact George Russell on 01488 683304


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Mystery Object………

Last issues mystery object was:-

and we never were able to find it out!




So here is the new one:


13″ long, cast brass, hollow, spherical shape with a top corner opening, mounted on a turned wooden handle with a brass neck and ferrule to one end and a brass spout to the other. Embossed ‘Burdocks Patent’.

What is it ?

Hungerford Surgery


Normal Day Wed 22nd :Thurs 23rd : Friday 24th Dec

Closed 25th, 26th, 27th & 28th

Normal Day Wed 29th :Thurs 30th : Fri 31st Dec:

Closed 1st , 2nd & 3rd Jan

Normal Day Tues 4th Jan

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

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

Our patients tell us that they would like the surgery to be open at additional times to suit them and yet we are seeing very few appointments being booked during extended hours. If you commute to work and / or you have difficulty getting time off to see your doctor, please ask the receptionist about the availability of an appointment during extended opening hours.

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

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

The telephone number for WestCall is: 0118 978 7811

Don’t forget our website for repeat prescription requests, appointment requests,
general information and much more.

Mike Hall – Practice Manager

One Family’s Journey –

Going Green, an Energy Diet, Saving Money, Enjoying Life
It started 3 years ago when I heard of global warming and the need to cut our CO2 emissions. It got me thinking; we weren’t about to radically change our lifestyles but what could one family do? The four things that use the most energy are our travel, heating, electricity and food. We worked out from the last 2 year’s bills how much energy our family consumes per year. The numbers were a little unnerving –time for an Energy Diet !

An Energy Diet is much like a diet to lose weight; it won’t work unless you change your energy habits. Two things have helped me make the transition.
Changing one habit every 3 months. This may sound like slow going, but it takes at least a couple of months for a habit to become ingrained.

Using the mantra Economise, Localise, Produce. It would be great if we could all switch to renewable energy but until that’s possible lets get our lifestyles in shape first and shrink our energy needs.

Pain or Gain ? Our family of 4 has been on an energy diet for three years now, saving £3,500 a year. I’m fitter and healthier than I’ve been for a long time, found a new hobby (growing food) and have met many wonderful people by socialising locally. There’s more to do but so far the changes have been fairly pain free and very rewarding.
What worked for us : Sweaters and slippers in winter – 17ºC is quite comfortable with enough warm clothes.

Ban the tumble drier – we’ve saved about £250 a year by setting up a clothes line in the garage for drying in winter.

Turn lights off, & convert to low energy bulbs – an eighth of our electricity bill is lighting
Put in a low flow showerhead, take shorter showers – Oxygenics shower heads reduce hot water use by 60 to 80% Hot water is nearly a third of our heating bill.

Travel – downsize the car, commute by train, get involved in local events, cycle on local journeys – save money on petrol and gym membership too, get to know more people in your community, get fit – free !

Grow your own food – the ultimate in localising. Start small and make it easy. I started with 100 sq ft of raised beds and have grown 350lb of food in the first year saving us around £500

If you’ve money sitting in the bank and are frustrated by the low returns, you might want to consider putting in Solar Hot Water and / or Solar PhotoVoltaics. We’ve installed both and are very pleased with the results. I expect payback within 9 years and a return of about 10-12%. Installation took 4 days, they’ve run trouble free since. See a picture of our photovoltaic installation at I’d recommend them, but as always you should do your own due diligence. Jeremy Dawes

If you’d like to talk to Jeremy about his experiences he’s usually at Green Drinks 1st Thursday of each month at The Plume of Feathers from 7.30pm

E mail

The Old Codger

So you get a letter or e-mail saying send £10 to register for your winnings, just what do you do? Thousands, literally thousands of elderly (& not so elderly) people send off their money or reply to the e-mail, time & time again. You are, or will be the victim of the SUCKER LIST. Don’t reply, don’t send the money, just cut up the letter and BIN IT, the same goes for the e-mail send it to the re-cycle bin (rubbish). You will lose your life savings.

Winter is coming and the gas & electric companies are about to increase their prices by at least 10%, and they will make a profit on that increase. Lets say the gas costs them £100 and they then used to sell it for 50% on to make a profit (i.e. £150) . Now that gas is going to cost 10% more (i.e. £10 on top of the £100), they will now call that £110 +50% (i.e. £165) , so they are now making a pure £5 profit on the increase, so if your winter bill is just £300 per quarter now it will be soon be £330 with the supply company pocketing an extra £10 profit minimum, possibly double that for the electric, multiply that by millions in the country, the figure is then mind boggling.

With the coalition government imposing severe cut backs on so many things, are they not bold enough to CAP these swingeing essential utilities increases? Why is it going to take years to implement the new scale of improved old age pensions? Why in this computer age does it take them so long? Due to world-wide disasters, floods and droughts, so many of our basic foodstuffs have already increased and will increase still further. Quick action needs to be enforced to help the elderly. We already have to survive on at least half of what the ‘Benefit workshy’ households are given, even though most of the current generation of OAP’s worked and contributed for most or even all of their working lives! I say SHAME.

Going back to heating bills, we recently took advantage of the West Berks scheme for new loft & wall cavity insulation (£198 the lot)), some schemes could even be free! Now I know it has been very mild but I am convinced that our house is getting warmer quicker, staying warmer longer, and the heat does not seem to drop away so far overnight. So if it really is working ( and its not my old brain playing tricks) I am hoping that our gas & electricity bills will not increase at all this winter.

Despite some last minute (misguided) objections I really hope that our Footbridge proceeds. Let me say that NO WAY is it a BOLT ON (the bridge is listed and can’t be touched) and for that reason the other pavement CANNOT be removed (and what do you think of a motorway style crash barrier to protect that brick parapet would look like anyway!). Where were you when the Swing/Lift bridge problems were highlighted? I wonder just how many objectors actually use the pavement and walk over (or do you always drive your car over it?). I bet none of you has to negotiate the bridge in an electric wheelchair / buggy, do you?

Anyway please do have a Happy Christmas and New Year.

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


Plants in our gardens have many roles to play- to give height, structure, conceal an eyesore and to add colour and beauty. But let’s not forget the part which scent has to play. The delight of visual experience is limited without the partnership of the assault on the nose from all around. Scent is very linked to memory too and can take us back in time to good (or sad ) times.
There are popular plants which are grown for their appealing scent such as Lavenders or Honeysuckles which evoke an English garden in a summer’s afternoon but scent is everywhere even during the Autumn and Winter. When I look at compost to assess its suitability, I not only run my fingers through it, but also have a good old sniff. Good compost smells rich and earthy but not smelly.

As far as nature is concerned, scented flowers are a means to attract pollinating insects and so are predominant throughout late spring and summer. However a few plants are exceptions to this, giving off a perfume in late winter to spring. Their perfume usually packs a punch as their pollinators are few and far between. The flowers themselves are usually fairly small and insignificant to protect them from the harsher environment which winter brings. But let’s face it, any sign of colour accompanied by a beautiful perfume is very welcome in the bleak winter months when the garden can look like an artful arrangement of dead plants. There are a number of plants which will take you through the long expanse of winter with a beauteous scent.

In December there are two plants in my garden which kick start this olfactory delight.
The Lonicera fragrantissima- a type of shrubby Honeysuckle- has had small buds forming along its branches for the last month or so. These will open up as small white flowers which peep out along the branches which often remain evergreen. To help it achieve its best, plant it against a wall in sun or part shade. Viburnum bodnantense Dawn on the other hand, produces its deep pink flowers on bare wood. As the flowers open and mature they change in colour to light pink/white. Violas are very popular in tubs or hanging baskets in the winter. I find that they do so much better than Pansies which can be rather short lived. Although a cold spell can knock the Viola back, it will spring up again and carry on producing flowers in bursts right through to March.

In January, look forward to the delights of the Sarcoccocca (Christmas Box) with its white flowers and glossy green leaves, The Chimonanthus praecox (Wintersweet) loves full sun and produces yellowy flowers with deep purple centres on bare branches, bucking the trend that winter flowers tend to be not so special to look at. The branches look beautiful in a vase on their own or in an arrangement.

Mahonia to me, often means that rather dull untidy plant in the supermarket car park but M. Lionel Fortescue is a cut above his commonplace cousins. Finally my favourites of this time of year are the Daphnes. They need careful siting in a sheltered position but once happily planted they are easy to grow. The site of my Daphne bohlua smothered in flowers was such an uplifting sight and very welcome last year in the midst of a long hard winter.

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Walks in the Countryside

The Swan at Great Shefford has a new landlord, so last Saturday I decided to combine two of my favourite pastimes – eating pub food and walking in the countryside. Incidentally most of the villages around Hungerford have nice pubs and one can soon work out a walk near it with the aid of an Ordnance Survey map.

I have worked out three good walks in Great Shefford where I reached the top of the rolling downs and found amazing views – without a house in sight. However one walk was to the trig point above Maidencourt Farm which the farmer told me was is in East Garston although the postal address was Great Shefford!

My favourite walk, in this village, is along the river. The River Lambourn is regarded as the “quintessential English chalk stream”. It sustains numerous aquatic flowers, fish, mammals and birds. Even in autumn the colour of the leaves on the trees are interesting. However the main interest for me is the birds. Snipe, Egrets, Buzzards, Swans, Red Kites, Golden Plover, Fieldfare, Partridge and various Ducks can be seen. But as with all birding there is an element of luck as to what is seen on a particular outing.

The river walk takes about an hour, but it can take longer if you stop to enjoy the views, birds, trees or the church with its round tower. If you park in the pub car park and walk along Church Street there is some ten minutes of relative boredom until you turn into the lane by the Church. The footpath runs through the churchyard on my old map but I found it had been diverted a few yards further down the lane.

I usually head west and walk across the fields to the woods and on to Maidencourt Farm. At the farm one has to make a decision. You either walk along the Byway to the Trig Point or turn east and head along the Lambourn Valley Way on the north side of the river.

In the spring I always walk back along the river because I want to see Sedge Warblers and hopefully a Kingfisher. Last winter a Jack Snipe was seen along this stretch of the river. But last week I was feeling fit and walked uphill to the Trig Point. My efforts were rewarded by the sight of a Raven as well as the aforementioned fabled views. At first I thought I was looking at a massive Crow but then it called and I knew I had a Raven in my binoculars. Unfortunately I had left my digital camera at home and could not take any photographs. This was particularly irksome as I saw three Roe Deer running and jumping as I walked over the fields away from the trig point on my way back.

On the television last week I heard our MP, who is the Environment Minister, wax on about Otters in the rivers Pang and Kennet. I suspect they have reached the river Lambourn but alas I have not seen any evidence of them. Nor have I seen any evidence of Water Voles on the Lambourn.


In Living Memory

Advent and the Town Band

I always think that the Christmas edition of any regular publication is special, as it will be for Chain Mail, but then so are memories of Christmases past. it is the Advent period that comes to my mind, and how fast some things have changed, yet how static is the core of the event.

You will forgive me for giving my personal memories on this occasion, and hope that those of you who were in the Town, say fifty years ago will say “I remember it too” but more recent arrivals, will be able to equate with experiences in their past.
As a boy in the Band, the fist stirring towards Christmas for me was seeing the Carol books retrieved from the back of the music cupboard in the Church Street Band Room, in late November. There was not the long period of retail hype and glitz of today.

Rehearsals were on Friday evenings, and I think the band numbered about 16 regular players at this time, but as the Carol books were arranged so that complete harmony could be obtained using a Solo Cornet, 2nd Cornet, 2nd Horn and Bass Trombone parts, a quartet was often heard. The players, sometimes, not playing their usual instruments to affect this, but full band parts were available, and using any number of players the balance could be maintained as long as a Tuba was present.

Today, it is such a pleasure to hear the Town Band playing Carols in the High Street on a Saturday, using a static pitch. This was not the case in the ‘50s, most bandsmen worked on Saturdays, so evening only rounds were organised. I don’t recall going out on Sundays. By Christmas Eve all the Town had been perambulated, except the High Street. There being few TVs and no double glazing the band could be heard by the occupants of the houses. Some times we could see doors or windows being made ajar for clearer hearing inside. It was the form to play three Carols then move on. The Town lighting was not brilliant and an array of personal bicycle lamps were used in a variety ways, the music being held in a lyre. Important to our number, were the collectors who knocked at doors for offerings. The wooden collecting boxes becoming heavy with pennies (240 to the pound.)

On Christmas Morning, there was usually a good assembly, it was High Street only. Just before eight o’clock the Band master had told us which houses we had been invited into, this meant,” keep the box out of sight” as a good donation was anticipated. The Constable, being President, was always hospitable, and a cheque from the Trustees was accepted by the playing again of a favourite Carol. So it’s eight o’clock Christmas morning, the leader indicates the start, maybe not such a crisp first bar of “Christians Awake! Salute this happy morn”, but it is not long before all is going well and we remember that we intended to get to the War Memorial, then home, in four hours, but with a little “hospitality” here and a little “sustenance” there, and “I think we ought to play another one before we go on”, time began to mean little.

By three o’clock, those of the party who had not left for fear of domestic abrasiveness, decided that one more Carol would be enough, (they had their sharp tongues to face). Depart for home, some not walking too steadily, but happily.

Indeed MY Christmas was well under way! Christmas Greetings dear reader.


N.B. Gloriana…….part 1

On the first day of June 2008, Nick Furr and his wife, Jackie, together with their dog Caspar, left Hungerford in their narrowboat ‘Gloriana’. After two and a half years, cruising the inland waterways of England and Wales, and Nick aware of the necessity of his partner’s reduced mobility, are now back in their house in Canal Walk, and are already suffering withdrawal symptoms, and missing the freedoms of the itinerant life.

Early in 2007, the conclusion of a working contract had given Nick the opportunity to review his immediate plans and the outcome was the decision to take a sabbatical and take off in the boat “for a year or so.” Several months of work preparing the boat for permanent residence, and preparing their residence (Canal Walk) for letting followed: it was surprising that the most difficult aspect was disposing of many year’s accumulation of “possibly useful bits” (Nick) otherwise known as “junk” (Jackie).

Gloriana headed eastward though Newbury to Reading, and after a couple of weeks on the Thames, proceeded northwards from Oxford to Coventry on the Oxford canals; from Braunston to Kidsgrove on the Trent & Mersey; diverging East and West, on the Ashby, on the Caldon, on the Macclesfield, and on the Llangollen canals, and going further north to cruise the River Weaver and the Bridgewater Canal before returning south to travel back up the Macclesfield to spend the winter in the Peak District.

If you are interested in knowing more of our adventure, you can look at our full log on

At the beginning of December 2008 our log read as follows (we had been having serious trouble with the engine for a week or two).

We woke to an ice-covered canal which was soon embellished by a fall of snow. The priority for today was to establish how, where, and when, we would be able to get the head gasket replaced: a job which on dry land with a garage full of tools available is not an inconsiderable task for the amateur, but which on a boat with a very limited toolkit is a real challenge.

The first call was on the boatyard close to where we had moored overnight: the only suggestions they offered had already been investigated without success. Thornycroft were contacted to arrange for delivery of the necessary components to the Horseshoes (a local hostelry) for collection Tuesday, and Tony, a Baldric-like character whom we had previously met over the Eberspacher issue (central heating boiler) and who had not impressed; on the basis of ‘a bird in the hand….’ was commissioned to do the work starting on the following Wednesday. I hope he is able – he just doesn’t instil confidence, perhaps because he doesn’t display a confident attitude.

In the meantime the engine has to be started frequently, at no more than four-hour periods, to prevent water which is seeping into two cylinders from accumulating to the extent that the engine won’t start: it’ll be like nursing a sick person through the night!

So with a limit on where we can go for the following 72 hours, we decide to stay put at Higher Poynton for one more night. The agenda for tomorrow starts with a trip back to High Lane, the weather forecast suggests it will be snowing, followed by a bus trip again to Furness Vale because the Eberspacher (the central heating boiler) will be off the back burner! (pardon pun)

Nick Furr

Ladies in Rotary

by Annabel King

Rotary is a worldwide organisation with the motto; “Service before Self”. Traditionally an all male organisation, but within the last twenty years women have been joining in increasing numbers. This raises the question, “what can women give to Rotary?” and also the equally important question, “what can Rotary give to women?”

Women members in Hungerford Rotary come from different professions; personal finance, sales, antique dealing, law and travel. Each one is an entrepreneur and enjoys meeting with other professionals and helping others in the Community in which they run their businesses.

Rotary fits in well with these activities; we try to work closely with local charities and youth groups and identifying where the need is and how it can be addressed. We like to help both by raising money for both causes, and where necessary giving “hands on” help. On the wider world stage Rotary has been instrumental into raising funds and contributing manpower to end the scourge of Polio by a programme of worldwide vaccination. Rotary is also connected to Shelterbox, a charity which provides portable boxes which contain everything needed to sustain life after a major disaster like the earthquake in Haiti.

Now let’s turn to the second question, “what can rotary give to its female members?” Firstly we have the satisfaction that we are actively engaged with our local community, whether it is with the Brownies, the local school or care home for the Seniors. Even holding buckets to fundraise outside of Tesco’s can be fun and lead to interesting encounters. Then there is the social side, meeting fellow Rotarians from different backgrounds, who have all taken different paths through life, with a wealth of experience, stories to tell and talents to use. Finally there’s the fun to be had from all the varied social events. In the past year we have had a Russian evening, with Russian food and Balalaika music, a St. Georges Dinner with roast beef and the enjoyment of all things English and a Magic Evening of entertainment. For the coming year we have a Wine Tasting Quiz evening lined up together with a Medieval Banquet and a Viennese Evening.

I hope these few words have whetted the appetites of local women who might like to find out more about the Rotary Club of Hungerford.

To do this, either go to our website…….
or telephone our Secretary on 01672 540908

A Bridge for Hungerford

Update November 2010

Since the last public meeting in Hungerford Corn Exchange of April 2010, the proposed Hungerford Canal Footbridge has taken several steps toward becoming reality.

The bridge engineers have continued their work to take the conceptual designs presented at the public meetings and transform them into detailed designs, in order to fulfill the planning process and have the bridge manufactured.

In September, residents of Hungerford may have seen the arrival of a team of geotechnical engineers who spent three weeks working in the wharf area to survey the ground conditions in precise detail. Trial holes were dug to investigate the existing bridge foundations and deep boreholes were drilled to examine the type and quality of the soil and rock. The laboratory tests and report will provide crucial information to allow the bridge engineer to design appropriate foundations for the bridge piers and north abutment.

As the footbridge design progressed, further consultation was undertaken with English Heritage and British Waterways in preparation for the planning submission in September 2010. A response from the West Berkshire Council Planners is expected by mid-November 2010. In anticipation of planning permission being granted, West Berkshire Council is preparing a list of suitable contractors who will be invited to tender for the construction and installation of the footbridge at the appropriate time. The tender process usually takes up to a month after which the most competitive and suitable contractor will be awarded the works.

The footbridge is designed in steel with a timber deck. The steelwork for the bridge will be fabricated in a factory and transported to site in several sections. The sections will then be craned and fixed into position on location in the wharf. Owing to the complex three-dimensional curves to which the bridge is designed, initial estimates for fabrication of the bridge are thought to be about five months. During the fabrication process, the contractor will begin work on site to install the foundations and prepare for the arrival of the bridge.

An important part of the scheme is to improve the approaches to the newly installed footbridge. The improvements will comprise widening the southern approach footpath from the High Street and some realignment where the footpath divides between crossing the canal and descending into the wharf. In order to widen the footpath, it is proposed to install new approach fences to the outside of the existing bridge wing walls. The fences will be designed to match the parapets on the new footbridge.

The completion date for the new footbridge is expected to be early summer 2011.

For further information, please visit

Health by Liz

Herbal help for Hot Flushes

……………… . by Liz

Currently there are about 1.5 million women in the UK taking some form of HRT to ease symptoms such as hot flushes. Liz Chandler from Natures Corner looks at some natural alternatives that are both effective and safe.

Not all menopausal women suffer hot flushes, but those that do agree that they can ruin an otherwise healthy active life. Not only can they occur in the day, causing distress, discomfort and potential embarrassment, but they can occur at night leading to sleeplessness, exhaustion and physical deterioration. Most herbal remedies for menopausal hot flushes work by acting on the hormonal receptor sites in the body and are effective for many women but sometimes herbs that work differently can be more suitable. Two herbs to consider are peony and sage and here we concentrate on the benefits of peony.

Jenny Owen, a 57 year old shop worker had been suffering hot flushes for 6 months.
They were occurring 4 or 5 times a day and also at night. Being aware of herbal alternatives to HRT, Jenny began a course of Red Clover and also tried Black Cohosh and Soya. These herbs helped but the flushes remained. Then she learned about a tincture of Peony. Peony has a reputation for the treatment of female problems that stretches back thousands of years in Chinese medicine. It was used extensively to treat conditions associated with what the Chinese call ‘Hot Blood’, where a person suffers increased body temperature and sweating. We can see then, that Peony is perfectly placed to treat the hot flushes that often accompany the menopause. After just 2 weeks Jenny noticed a dramatic reduction in her symptoms and said, ‘I have been taking the peony tincture for just a fortnight and it seemed to work straight away. Relief came so quickly. The flushes are now reduced in number and severity. I call the Peony tincture my ‘miracle cure’’! Peony works by adjusting the body temperature control system in the brain.

This makes peony perfect for all women, but particularly those worried about affecting hormone levels or those taking medication that affects hormone levels or hormone receptors. Peony is supplied as a tincture (liquid extract) and 20 drops are taken 3 times daily added to a little cold water. It is a remarkably safe herb and can be taken alongside other medication for the menopause and the other conditions named above.

There are many options for relieving symptoms of the menopause so for friendly and knowledgeable advice please call us at:-

Natures Corner on 01635 33007 or email

Our Community

Neighbourhood Police Team

Update for November Here is the latest neighbourhood update for Hungerford from Neighbourhood Specialist Officer, PC Claire Drewitt

Our neighbourhood priorities in Hungerford are drugs and hare-coursing.

Firstly we would like to welcome a new Sergeant to our team; Sergeant Sue Aufiero has joined us from Newbury where she has been working as Acting Inspector. We are excited about working along side Sue and are looking forward to the time ahead.

This month we have given out three cannabis warnings and Sunday 31 October a man was arrested for public order and found to be in possession of cannabis.

Aaron Kernott, aged 29 from Warfield, Bracknell has been charged with being drunk and disorderly in a public place and possession of a controlled class B drug. He has been bailed to appear at West Berkshire Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 16 November.

This month we have seen a rise in hare-coursing and poaching incidents. Welford Park and Sheep Drove Farm have been two of the many areas affected. There have been reports of suspicious vehicles in the area in recent weeks including a silver 4 x 4 Landover, a maroon Mitsubishi shogun and a green Vauxhall Vectra, please remain vigilant and report any suspicious vehicles or people in the area, via the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre on 0845 8 505 505.

The Hungerford neighbourhood team have been working in partnership with Wiltshire officers to try and reduce rural crime and burglaries. Over the last weekend of October Hungerford officers worked night shifts in the local area. Stop checks were conducted and vehicles were stopped and checked. On Sunday 31 October three men were arrested in Wiltshire on suspicion of theft and handling stolen goods. We believe these men may also be active in the Hungerford and Lambourn area.

Overall crime in Hungerford has reduced by 11.3 per cent this month, violent crime has reduced by 35 per cent and anti-social behaviour has fallen by 25 per cent. However we have seen an increase in vehicle crime from approximately three reports per month to seven, please can we remind people to secure their vehicles, take all your valuables with you and report any suspicious behaviour in the area.

If you have had a pedal cycle stolen in the Hungerford area over the last two months can we ask that you report this via the 0845 number. 0845 8 505 505

Police Community Support Officer Deborah Randall held a ‘have your say’ meeting at Tesco’s on Saturday 20 November from 10am-11am so thanks to all that came along and raised any issues or concerns that you had in the area.

Community messaging is a free service that provides information to subscribers about crime and police activity in their area via phone or email. It also includes information on what we and our partner services are doing to bring offenders to justice or combat anti-social behaviour, and information on opportunities for local residents to raise concerns with their local policing teams. More information can be obtained via our website, and you can sign up here too:

You can now send non-emergency messages to us using the online form that is available on the Thames Valley Police website. A number of people have already sent their concerns using this method. To do this, please follow the link: Please allow some time for us to get back to you as we do check our mail box only at certain times of the day.

Blasts from the Past

From the Parish Magazine dated October 1875.

“ On Monday, September 13, the Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates of the Royal Berks Yeomanry Cavalry invited their Colonel to a Banquet in order to congratulate him on his promotion, and to present him with a testimonial. Quarter-Master Crook took the chair, and a goodly number of members of the Corps and leading inhabitants of the Town and neighbourhood assembled to do honour to the occasion. The testimonial is a very handsome silver and gold claret service consisting of a beautifully chased jug and six cups, each having the family crest and monogram engraved on it. The inscription on the jug is as follows; “Presented to Lieutenant -Colonel G.S.Willes by the Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates of the R.B.Y. Cavalry, as a token of respect and esteem on his promotion to the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of the Regiment, March 31, 1875.”

From the Parish Magazine dated October 1876.

“ The Managers of the National School have determined early in the next year to adopt a graduated scale of fees, according to which Tradespeople would pay Sixpence, Mechanics and Artisans threepence, and Labourers twopence for the education of their children in the Boys and Girls Schools. It is intended at the same time to make a reduction in favour of more than two scholars from the same family. Payments for children in the Infants School will remain as at present one penny per week. It is to be remembered that the cost of the education of each child in our National Schools is not much less than a shilling a week. About half of this is repaid by the Government to the Managers in the case of regular and industrious scholars who pass the H.M. Inspectors examinations satisfactorily; but it is not thought well that persons in an independent position should have the cost of their children’s education defrayed by the subscription of their neighbours. By the proposed arrangements parents of the middle class will be enabled to avail themselves, at a cheap rate, of an excellent elementary education for their children under Government regulation without compromising their independence.”

From the Parish Magazine dated October 1878.

“ The Cottage Garden Show on Tuesday, September 24, at the Town Hall, was very successful as regards the number of entries and the quality of the garden produce exhibited. The supply of fruit shewn for competition was not large, but the vegetables were remarkably fine and in great abundance. There was a splendid display of flowers from Denford and Barton Court, and elsewhere; but window plants shewn for competition were not what might be expected from the gay appearance of many cottage windows in Hungerford. The needlework was much admired, and the competition for the different prizes in their department was much better that in former years,”

More from the past next issue. Fred Bailey

Legal Spot

Neighbour disputes

– and how to deal with them

In my time as a solicitor I have, for my sins, dealt with a large number of neighbour disputes. I don’t like them very much, and I would have serious doubts about the sanity of any solicitor who might claim that he/she does. They are always difficult – sometimes because of legal issues, although in most cases these pale into insignificance when compared to the personal ones, and the same applies to the actual value in commercial terms of whatever it may be that the parties are arguing about. For example, a small
area of front garden that both of the disputing parties believe belongs to them, or whether having a right of way over a private driveway impliedly includes a right to park a car on it.

Neighbour disputes come in all shapes and sizes and cover a huge range of problems and issues – boundaries, rights of way, restrictive covenants, overhanging tree branches or guttering, hedges, weeds and pests, loud music, noisy animals and/or children to give some examples. There are very often underlying and unstated issues as well – age, social class, unresolved arguments about unrelated things that have happened in the past, and above all behavioural issues – most frequently of all an inability or unwillingness to give the other party the benefit of any doubt, coupled with a tendency to draw the worst possible conclusion from anything he/she/they might do or say. In some cases this
results in mutual disrespect and resentment which lasts for years, poisoning the lives of both of the parties and their respective families, and leading to internal relationship breakdowns as a result of arguments within families about what should be done to resolve the dispute.

Because of this I have learned to listen very carefully to clients who instruct me, focussing not just on what they are saying but on what they aren’t saying, and on what the underlying cause or motivation of the dispute may be. Undergoing community mediation training about ten years ago has proved to be very helpful in this connection and also in others, especially the difference between positions and interests (which I don’t have enough space in this article to explain fully). In so many cases the key to the problem lies in identifying what the parties don’t have in their personal relationship with each other that has allowed the dispute to develop and escalate to whatever stage it has reached – and then in trying to address that deficiency, and encouraging the parties to view the subject-matter of the dispute not as something that divides them, but as a problem that they share and which it is in both of their interests to sort out.

As I said at the start of this article I don’t like neighbour disputes much, but I am always glad when my involvement helps to sort them out. And even more so when my (always extremely reasonable) bill has been paid.

David Small, solicitor

Crown Passage, 23 High Street, Hungerford RG17 0NF
Tel 01488 680701

Church Bells

Bell Ringing at St Lawrence – Part 11

The bells of St Lawrence are regarded as a good ring and Hungerford tower is a popular venue for bands of experienced ringers seeking to challenge themselves by ringing different 8-bell methods. Most Sunday afternoons, during the hour before the evening service, a quarter peal is rung. There are several types of 8-bell ringing methods, one of which is the Surprise Major, and there are many different Surprise Major compositions. Recently, the Magic Roundabout methods have been rung, culminating in a spliced quarter peal with Mr Rusty, Dougal, Dylan, Florence and Zebedee included.

On 13th November, for Remembrance weekend, a band of local ringers rang a peal of Hungerford Surprise Major on muffled bells. A peal on 8 bells takes around 2 hours to ring. Not only must all the ringers have learned and remember the course of their bell, but the conductor must call “bob” at the right times, which is an instruction to ringers to change the order in which the bells are rung. If everyone plays their part correctly the peal will begin and end in rounds (when the bells ring in descending order: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8).

At this level, bell ringing is complex and challenging, requiring dedication, concentration and stamina. Such qualities would have been required of one Hungerford ringer, Brenda Abrahams, during her time as a young Wren involved in the wartime decoding operation at Bletchley Park. Brenda was stationed at nearby Stanmore from 1942 to 1944 and her job was to set up the Bombe machines, which were used to decode the Enigma messages. As one of the thousands of people involved in the project, Brenda was recently invited to a special event at Bletchley Park, during which she was somewhat surprised to be treated as a celebrity and asked to sign programmes and books . She met another Wren she had served with at Stanmore and hadn’t seen since the end of the war!

Brenda and her sons,
by Churchill’s Stone,
at Bletchley Park.

The highlights of the day were the remembrance service, the unveiling of the stone upon which a visiting Winston Churchill made an impromptu address to Bletchley staff, and the fly past
by a Lancaster Bomber.

S Chatters


We have now had our first annual general meeting and a full committee has been formed.

Objectives: To assist in the maintenance, upkeep and improvement of the Church building, its fittings and ornaments and its surrounding churchyard and to promote and enhance the profile of the Church in the community of Hungerford and its surrounding area.

The benefits of becoming a Friend, as well as knowing you are supporting this picturesque and historical parish church (which is always left open for visitors), will include the annual general meeting, a garden party, various outings, visits and trips, fund-raising events and two Newsletters a year.

The annual subscription rate is £10. p.a. per Friend, or £25. p.a. for corporate membership, e.g. a company or organisation.

Please send your cheque, made out to ‘Friends of St. Lawrence’s Church’, to the

Mr. David Small, 9 Salisbury Road, Hungerford, RG17 0LG
Tel. 01488 684287        Email:

Mr. Henry Jefferies, 12 Hamblin Meadow, Eddington, Hungerford , RG17 0HJ
Tel. 01488 686312       Email:

Mrs. Iris Lloyd, 13 Bridge Street, Hungerford, RG17 0EH
Tel. 01488 686372       Email: