Issue 110

1st March
1st June 2011

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Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

Hungerford looked beautiful over the Christmas period and Rod Desmeules and his team deserve a huge vote of thanks from everyone. I hope you all survived the bad weather and by the time you read this Spring should be on its way. I can already see the bulbs shooting through.

The Chain Committee would like to thank George Russell for all his hard work as Handybus Co-ordinator and to welcome Gary Moore as his replacement. Gary is working with George over the next few months before taking over the job.

The Chain AGM will be held on Monday 13th June at 7.30pm in the Town Hall and everyone is welcome. I am sure that finances will be difficult for all Charities over the next few years and the Chain Committee will be working hard to keep Chain drivers available for all our vulnerable clients. Hospital transport is getting harder to obtain and our journeys will inevitably increase. We are looking at replacing our ‘Chairman’ vehicle and will report further on this at the AGM.

Can I remind you all that the ‘Chairman’ wheelchair vehicle is available to use either with a driver or after training it can be driven by a family member. If you want to book the ‘Chairman’ please contact the Chain Office (weekdays 9 – 11am) on 683727

We are always looking for volunteers so if you would like to be a Chain Driver using your own car or drive the ‘Chairman’ or Handybus and you have a few hours to spare then please contact the Chain Office on 683727 or Janette Kersey on 683302. The Chain Office is run by volunteers and so if you feel you can help out for a couple of hours a week or month then contact the Office on 683727.

Janette Kersey



This must be the best quarter of the year! The second month of no Council tax, then British Summer time starts on the 27th March, and before June comes, at five Bank Holidays. Mind you as I have said before, for us old uns it’s a week of Sundays anyway!

So with ever increasing trepidation, as no one had responded to our appeals for a Handybus organiser, suddenly four of you responded. George’s successor has been chosen, so finally he can retire! Our thanks to the other three, and at the same time I wish Gary ‘Good Luck ‘ in his new role.

Volunteering is always on CHAIN’s mind, if its not for ourselves it is sometimes for others, and CHAIN MAIL is pleased to be able to help and promote The Bruce Trust appeal, and you will see them on pages 20 & 21. Rebecca tells me you can be up to 75 years young, possibly even older if their insurance company accepts you, so there, go on and respond!

An appeal for help from Friends of St Lawrence, on the letters page

Quite a few articles about the Marsh, and my request to you is, keep the poo in a bag NOT on the paths, and please, please keep your dogs on a lead in the fenced off area, the birds are nesting and breeding!

Page 8 Don’t think the Old Codger could stop typing this time!
Page 11 Poppy appeal, didn’t you all do well
Page 18 An appeal from CHAIN (well what do you expect!) Kathy needs some volunteers!

It’s nearly HADCAF again, please see Elizabeth’s appeal on page 24.

You young people wanting a house in Hungerford, look on the Mayor’s page(32) about Affordable Housing in Smitham Bridge Road,. Go on jump at the chance, this is the first decent scheme in over 20 years, Don’t delay’ Don’t let it slide away to others that Don’t live in Hungerford

Page 33 It’s CARNIVAL time.See for details of who to contact please.

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 May for the June issue on June 1st. If you send something to me I try to acknowledge within 3 days. No reply from me then I have not got it, so please re-send.

Hungerford Mayor


Thank you for letting me indulge myself again as I again take up valuable space in CHAINMAIL. However, before doing so, I recognise Affordable Housing is an important matter for Hungerford residents of all ages. If not of immediate relevance to all your readers, it may be to those with whom they are in contact or are related.

After several years of lobbying and progressing the due processes by erstwhile and current town councillors, the Affordable Housing Project in North Standen Road, comprising 14 houses and 2 flats, will shortly be completed. The Town Council hopes locally connected applicants to the West Berkshire Common Housing List will be in the vanguard of occupants. In order to access social housing and shared ownership properties, you need to be on the Common Housing Register.

You can register on-line by going to and follow the link to ‘Register’. Otherwise, you can call 01635 519959. The criteria we originally hoped would still be relevant included a demonstrable connection to Hungerford such as already living here or locally resident parents/ siblings. etc. Current living conditions should also be taken into account; examples are overcrowding [e.g. due to living with parents] or an inadequate standard of accommodation.

My last missive to CHAINMAIL had an alphabetical theme so it is appropriate that in this, the final letter in my term of office, we should tackle the last three components of our alphabet.

” X” is vitally important on 5th May, a date when eligible Hungerford residents can vote on diverse aspects united by their impact on our future. The Referendum will be something that, as this piece is written, we have yet to become bored with; it is however important. So are the votes I urge you to use, thereby choosing your next generation of Town Councillors and of course, your WBC representatives. If you anticipate not liking the choice available, I would exhort you to consider standing yourself.

The advent of localism means that more decisions may be delegated to Unitary and Town/Parish Councils. We have little clue as to the specifics; these may not be clarified until next year. However, I should like to see an active participation by the public in this voting round, whether or not our past efforts are laudable. It is vital that your Town Council continues to ensure every penny of our residents’ contribution to the public purse is carefully protected and then spent wisely. I am comforted by the current council’s record over the past four years: the committees are well run; they are mindful of the need to provide the proper engine room and so deliver recommendations for filtering, debate and refining at Full Council level.

” Y” stands for YOU. The future really is [as it should be] in your hands. Do not moan or let others winge; get involved. You, the residents of Hungerford who have shown to me and Henrietta your kindness and forbearance [for which we are most grateful] deserve the best; demand it.
Nine months ago, the council elected me as mayor. I thank my fellow councillors [and the staff] for the support that every one has subsequently given me. Collectively, they have achieved much and it has been a pleasure to participate as a mere cog in the process. I hope that many Councillors will continue with their voluntary commitment and so form the skeleton for your next administration albeit a framework clothed with new ideas, ambitions and enthusiasm to act in your best interest.

That brings me to “Z”….…methinks it is time for a ziz, after closing this letter by wishing my successor well in his or her works.

Yours sincerely, Anthony Buckwell

Micky’s Special

On the Marsh


Since before Christmas droves of visitors have come to see the Hungerford Glossy Ibis. It is completely un-phased by dog walkers and paparazzi alike. It gets on with the serious business of probing for small fish, of which it is quite successful at catching, and water shrimp, which are bountiful in the River Dun, on which it has made it’s home, at least for now.

Living only five minutes walk away, Freeman’s Marsh is a frequently visited spot throughout the seasons. On the stretch of the Dun just above Ash Pool, which is where the Glossy Ibis has made it’s home, there is also quite an impressive number of other water birds. Most common are the Coots, Moorhen and Mallard. Then there is the Grey Heron, Little Grebe and Water Rail, A pair of Swans with a juvenile, and the Kingfisher. A little further over, but before the canal, a little Egret often makes an appearance. There were three, but recently, I have seen only the one.

There was quite a commotion on Boxing day when the Heron caught a little Grebe by the wing and held it fast. The Heron appeared somewhat bewildered by its catch, and after about 45 seconds after much shrieking and flapping the little Grebe was either dropped or shook itself free. It seemed to be unharmed, and swam under water out of harm’s way.

Country File were filming on the Canal bordering Freeman’s Marsh the other day. I think that they were covering the reinforcement of the canal banks, with booms and dredged infill. It is in the water vole stretch, so I hope they haven’t buried them all in their holes?

Micky Thompson        


Dear Editor

An exciting new development has taken place in adult learning with the formation of a branch of the WEA (Workers Educational Association) in West Berkshire. Founded in 1903 to support the educational needs of working men and women, the WEA is the UK’s largest adult education charity. A committee of volunteers has been formed in West Berkshire with the aim of running a programme of courses in partnership with the West Berkshire Council ACL team.

The Committee has tried to provide a varied and interesting programme for Spring and Summer 2011 and we welcome anyone interested to contact or call 0800 328 1060 for further information and course bookings.

Best wishes WEA West Berkshire Branch

Dear David,

Just a little update on the FRIENDS OF ST. LAWRENCE’S CHURCH, and our CHEESE AND WINE EVENING – held on the 21st January.

We are very grateful to Gwynneth Bullock, who opened her home to The Friends and provided a splendid buffet meal for us to enjoy along with congenial company and music on keyboard provided by Chris Buck. Thanks also to all who came along and made the evening such a success. We are especially grateful as Gwynneth wasn’t feeling on top form and next day was taken to the Great Western Hospital, Swindon for tests and treatment. Our thoughts and prayers are with her at this difficult time.

The Friends now have about £1,000. in the bank, available to be spent on a church project – perhaps to contribute towards new lighting to make us more energy efficient and decrease ongoing costs. The small committee is looking for a Membership Secretary and a Publicity Officer and would be grateful for anyone interested to make himself or herself known.
(tel. 01488 686372/684287/684121/686312).

Preliminary notice of our next event: GENERAL KNOWLEDGE QUIZ Friday, 8th April, The Croft Hall, 8 p.m. Bar available. Do come with your friends and colleagues in teams of no more than six members, £20. per team. Good Prizes for the Champions.

Regards, Iris

Dear Editor,

Please could you announce:-


‘ The Trial of Penn and Mead’. A dramatised lecture by Nigel Pascoe QC. This trial for breach of the peace took place at The Old Bailey in 1670 and established the independence of a jury to return a true verdict without fear of the consequences. The performance takes place at St. Peter’s Church, Marlborough at 7.30pm Thursday 31 March.

Tickets: £12 (£10 MH Friends) available from The Merchant’s House Shop,
132 High Street, Marlborough.

In aid of The Merchant’s House Appeal. Sponsored by Brewin Dolphin.

Best regards , G-W

Bits 1

Also on this page……Camburn Trust…….Poppy News…….St. Cassians…




Hungerford Town Band

Annual Concert

Town Hall

9th April 7.30pm.







(Regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commission)


Mrs. Sylvia Breadmore, Clerk, Telephone 01488 685081

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

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


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POPPY APPEAL 2010 …………….an update

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 just over £17.5k.

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.

A special thank you evening is to be arranged at the RBL Club with a provisional date of 16th March 2011. I will be contacting everyone who took part with more information at a later date.

Shelagh Parry Tel: 01488 681492

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Mothering Sunday Lunch

April 3rd at

St. Cassians Centre, Kintbury.

Choice of menu, ” course Roast Dinner
Adults £ 12,50, Children under 12, £6

01488 658267, OR


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Hungerford Surgery

The Christmas and New Year period was a very challenging time for the surgery with our doctors and nurses seeing over 6,500 patients during December and January, including 200 home visits and over 300 telephone consultations with many people suffering flu like symptoms. We kept pace with demand for flu jabs and vaccinated over 1650 over 65’s, or in the ‘ at risk ’ category as defined by the government.

Our reception team also did a tremendous job in handling over 6,500 calls for appointments, test results and a range of other enquiries. A high percentage of those calls came between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m.. Whilst we acknowledge that it is frustrating when you find it difficult to get through, we do ask for your help by calling us later in the morning for routine appointments and general enquiries, and after 2:30 pm for test results.

Changes in the NHS This Practice continues to be closely involved in developments around the coalition government’s NHS White Paper which has recently received extensive media coverage. We are members of the Newbury & District Commissioning Consortium and are working closely with ten other local practices to ensure that the healthcare needs of patients in this area are well represented.

Extended Hours
A reminder that we continue to offer additional routine appointments during extended opening hours and 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.

Mike Hall – Practice Manager

The Old Codger

Now this column is always written a few weeks before you see it, so sometimes events have moved on and I appear out of date!

Disgusting bonuses, how many of us have been sickened by the amounts? Well we shouldn’t be really because that’s the way of the rich! When I had a shop, donkey’s years ago, we took a bonus only if we had made a profit, and the money was actually in the bank, ensuring at least the same amount or more was still left as ‘ready (solvent) money’ . Any of the Banks and Businesses of today should be entitled to reward themselves, IF they made that profit and still have adequate reserves.
Why? Well they get taxed on profit and the bonuses are taxed as well, so that helps the Government debt. Those Banks that were bailed out with taxpayers money however, should be under a different set of rules. Why? We the people, in effect, have given them money (a loan) and they kept their jobs, so they have to pay back each year.
Bonuses for them should only be paid after profit and the money is actually in their bank, their bonuses should be calculated in the normal way, then they should only be given 25% of it, with 25% going back to the government (decreasing their loan earlier) and the other 50% kept in reserve. They have proved that they really were not capable of running a profitable business, hence the bail-out!

Do you get the feeling that America were blaming the British when BP had that disastrous oil spill, (even though it is part American owned)? Do you get the feeling that the Americans are now keeping their heads down, now that American companies are also blamed for the Rig and the Well Head failures. I do!

Do we have a truly impotent coalition government in power? They introduce austere economic measures (because they had to) but allow Rail, Gas & Electric companies and any other monopolistic company, such as British Waterways (Richard Benyon MP please take note), and no doubt others to increase their charges at more than double the rate of inflation!
They too should be capped in their increases in these hard times!

Hope you all kept reasonably warm and safe in the past winter, the potholes are going to put a strain on West Berkshire Council’s finances again this year.

2012 is nearly here, and then we will all have to have digital TV.
Now the trouble with digital from Hannington (or anywhere else for that matter) is that when the signal is poor, you don’t get a ‘snowy’ picture, it just disappears in great big square chunks, or it goes all together.
Wind (moving the aerial) , rain/snow (lowers the signal) or ‘bounces it off the trees or buildings in a different way. Depending where you live in Hungerford we can get (better or worse) TV pictures from the following, Hannington (near Kingsclere), Crystal Palace (London), Oxford (Headington), Rowridge (Isle of Wight) and even dear old Great Bedwyn (very low power).

Then there is Satellite as an alternative. Now I have Freesat (BBC & ITV venture), because after buying the box and the dish it is FREE ! Sky I think did do their version, but David can’t see it on their website, and I surely can’t afford their packages.

When the switchover starts, your VHS video recorder will possibly become obsolete (for recording) as well! Maybe it might still work with it’s own digital box?

Freeview could be the cheaper option and it actually has more channels than Freesat, but in a poor signal area Freesat comes up trumps on quality! On the web the other day Freesat boxes were from £30 (not high definition),£80 with High Definition, and £220 for the Humax HD box + recorder (320gb,that’s a lot of recording) no more tapes.
Freeview basic box from £15, £50 with HD, £99 with 320gb & SD, and £150 with HD + 320gb recorder.

Now don’t rush out and buy a new TV until you know which Aerial system (Freeview or Freesat) you are going to choose/need. If you have a larger aerial fitted, make sure the pole doesn’t move in the wind. If you have a satellite dish fitted try and get it near a bedroom window so that you can brush the snow off when the picture disappears (its happened to me) If you have freesat and a recorder box then you need a twin lead version on your dish.

As the Meerkat said ‘seemple’.

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


“Lupins had run wild, all gay colours faded back to their pristine blue; peonies crouched sullenly under the strangling bushes of fuchsia and flowering currant, and everywhere ivy, bindweed, and rose-bay willow-herb..” The Ivy Tree- Mary Stewart

I only discovered gardening when I married- it was a case of needs must. I knew very few plant names apart from the obvious suspects such as Roses and Daffodils. I remember when I was around fourteen years old I loved novels by Mary Stewart. The adventure stories were gripping but the writing was so descriptive of the landscape. I pictured in my mind the “heartsease” and “yellow cinquefoil”, although I had no idea at that point what they actually looked like. Rose-bay Willow-herb conjured up a picture of romance and faded elegance whereas now I know it is a particularly nasty weed which seeds everywhere. Incidentally Heartsease is to me as enchanting as the name. I love it for its simple prettiness and delicacy.

It is true to say that if we bought plants solely by their names, we could end up with a bizarre garden. Latin names serve the purpose of being universal, thus avoiding confusing- although this in itself is not quite the case. I know that a few plants labelled “sibirica” (from Siberia) or “orientalis” (from the Orient) are imposters, as , much in the same way that a turkey is so called because merchants believed it came from that country, the origin of new plants brought back by plant hunters was not always accurately pinpointed.

The names given to cultivars can be so misleading. Plant breeders can have a tendency to “big a plant up”, giving it attributes which it doesn’t deserve. However more commonly, they seem to lose the plot completely ( no pun intended). There are of course the plants named after their granny/aunt/daughter/mother etc which obviously have a personal significance and conceal their innate beauty. Narcissus Uncle Duncan Dianthus Gran’s favourite

Some names go from the amusing- (Pelargonium Baby Bird’s Egg?) to the downright bizarre which could mean you would give them a miss. The following examples prove that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and not necessarily on the label.
Iris “Baboon Bottom”               Hosta Elvis Lives                Juniper Spott Spreader
 I know which of                     one for the die-hard              variegated ground cover
the two I’d rather              fan,and not as flamboyant             plant which ironically
       look at!                               as its name-sake                      could be used to
                                                                                                    conceal an eyesore

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Rare Birds visit Hungerford

A Glossy Ibis, shown opposite, visited Freeman’s Marsh in December. The description in the Bridge magazine fitted it perfectly, “it has the beak of a Curlew, the body of a Heron, and should be in Africa”. It was wading along the small tributary of the Dun, opposite Marsh Lock for several days. The name “glossy” comes from the sheen of its body which I thought was a muddy brown tapering to purple with dark green feathers shining through.

A Great White Egret in Great Shefford has been entertaining birders from all over the county. It has given pleasure to numerous enthusiasts and seems quite oblivious to the number of photographers shooting it. The bird is the same size as a heron and about twice the size of the Little Egret which has now taken on the role of an English resident species. I think the description, “a large white heron” summarises the Great Egret. It has a yellow beak outside the breeding season whereas the Little Egret has a black beak and is much smaller. Both are completely white and easily recognised when they wade in rivers. It is thought that climate change or global warming is one of the reasons we are seeing these exotic birds but the weather recently has been so cold.

Yet it is warmer than Scandinavia and just right for Waxwings
to visit. Several “pink punks” have visited the Hungerford area this winter. The bird is about the size of a starling and is pinkish brown with a head tuft. It has yellow and black wing panels. If any bushes in the area have red berries left on them they may be visited by this bird and used as larder trees.

One of the twitchers that came to see our rare birds found a Dipper on the river Lambourn at Welford Park. If you take a trip to see the snowdrop display you may see it. A Dipper could be described as a dumpy blackbird, shaped like a wren with a white breast. Dippers are always found on fast flowing shallow water. They have a third eyelid which enables them to walk on the river bed, under water. One was last seen in Great Shefford in 1987 and a pair bred near Hungerford in 1977.

What will visit us next? Spoonbills and Cattle Egrets are always seen with Great and Little Egrets abroad. So if you see a white heron-type bird, check it’s bill and put it on the web if it’s a Spoonbill or Cattle Egret.       


Food – Going Seasonal and Local

Why eat locally and seasonally? Because food tastes so much better and is more nutritious when it’s fresh. It’s cheaper, less resources have been used to grow, store, package and transport local food (less CO2 emissions) and buying local produce supports our local economy too. If you’re eating something in it’s season then it’s in its prime !
Trying to buy locally produced food and eating what’s in season was a challenge I set myself 3 years ago. Being accustomed to seeing an enormous array of world produce in the supermarkets, I’d lost touch with what was in season here, so decided to use the produce on sale at the farmers market as my guide. It’s been an enjoyable and inexpensive way to shop. Inspired by seasonal recipes on the internet my repertoire of cheap meals is growing and I’ve become a more adventurous cook. Vegetable waste gets composted to nourish my garden.

Deciding to go local has meant changing a few habits – no more once a week big shop at the supermarket but once a month for fresh veg at the farmers market, veg from the garden & allotment and eggs from my neighbour’s chickens or the fruit shop. I’ve discovered game (rabbit and muntjac are favourites), fur free and ready for the pot at local butchers and Hamstead Marshall village market. These give lots of flavour for your money and the bones make great stock for soup or risotto. Several local butchers and markets sell locally reared meat too.

Gradually swapping items I usually buy with a local or British equivalent has made it a manageable project and shopkeepers are usually helpful if you ask what’s local or what’s in season now.

Some of my favourite local finds are Beechwood Farm eggs (from the fruit shop), rapeseed oil (in place of olive oil from Bastable’s), Dove’s Farm flour, Prosperous Farm cream, Polly’s honey and that irresistible Ramsbury Gold beer.

Produce from the garden is of course the ultimate local food and incredibly cheap when you consider you can get a whole packet of seeds for the cost of a lettuce. So I aim to grow my own salads plus some potatoes and squash to store and eat over winter. Free foraged fruits for jam making and outsized courgettes converted to chutney add to my winter store cupboard.

On reflection, I realise by going local and seasonal I’ve eaten better quality food for my modest budget and really enjoyed cooking more creatively than previously.

For what’s in season and recipes:                        

If you know of locally produced food available in Hungerford please let us know as we’re hoping to put together a local food directory later this year.
E mail to

NEW : Seasonal cookery demonstrations at the Farmers Market 4th Sunday of the month. Want to start growing food ? Join in the HEAT Community Allotment Plot Thurs eves starting April. Check for details.

GLORIANA…………part 2

As I write this in early February (2011), the weather is seasonal, and we’ve all come through (we hope!) yet another very cold winter. Jackie and I have now been landlubbers for four months and are planning to be away again in the Spring. Naturally, one has become involved again in local commitments, one or two of which were never quite relinquished, and, though we’ll be off again to the freedom on the waterways for another six months, the depth of involvement will mean that I’ll be back periodically from wherever we might be. Constantly my mind returns to our journeying and the late winter last year is recorded, for one day, as follows:

Saturday 20th February: Garstang We did very little worthy of report on Thursday, though I did empty the bilges, and I well remember the superb lamb shank Jackie served for dinner which was accompanied by a very acceptable Bordeaux (Lussac St Emilion) and preceded by G&T with smoked salmon: I would endorse my brother’s quotation of my mother’s tenet that one “feeds a cold” though I hope to be able to foreshorten the 9-day cycle. The weather for the day had been as poor as we’ve had it for several weeks, grey and wet without let-up, but Friday was brilliant. It had been a cold night and ice had re-established itself on the cut (canal) though not to such a thickness that would cause a problem travelling. Jackie was planning to go to Northwich for the weekend so we decided to make our way into Garstang where she could catch a bus with less hassle.

I had offered Gilly the loan of our Aquavac, a five-pint vacuum device, superb for removing the last millimetre of water from the bilge, so after leaving it in her cratch (the front of her boat). As there was no sign of life aboard, we set off south. I have navigated up and down between Bilsborrow and Carnforth so many times now that the novelty has worn off (though I still find it delightful), so recording the journey in snapshots adds another perspective for me which I hope may add interest to our ramblings for others.

The journey proceeded with little of the remarkable: no comment could be as comprehensive as you looking at the slide show on , . We arrived in Garstang soon after midday having stopped twice; once to pick up our friend Angela who had walked out from the town to meet us, and a second time for a coffee break. Indeed, we had our coffee break only five minutes out of Garstang, by the marina, so that I could try the internet connection – there was a mast in direct line of sight and only a couple of hundred yards away. But despite this, the signal was useless! I later learned that Vodafone are having problems with their transmitter in this area at the moment, and not for the first time (it’s not good at the best of times), so I resorted to the Th’Auld Tithebarne’s wifi later in the day.

We duly arrived at Moss Lane and Jackie went off with Angela to catch her bus. I filled up with water, and took advantage of the arrival of Gooseander to hitch a lift (in their hired car) to top-up with diesel from the local distribution depot. Gloriana then proceeded to her usual Garstang mooring, and after a reasonable walk taking in Sainsbury’s, Caspar (the dog) and I settled down. A trip to the pub to upload data to the web, the cooking of a meal, the watching of TV for an hour or so (yes, a good signal here!), and the day was done.

Nick Furr

Recipe………….by JW

There are all sorts in season over the next few months with the first hint of warmth, hopefully, and the days getting longer. March and April will see the cabbages that have seen us through winter making way for spring greens come May. New potatoes are here again along with asparagus, peas, spinach, radishes and spring onions. Fresh herbs are also back in May with basil, chives, mint and parsley to name a few. Sweet British grown spring veg is not around for long so make the most of it.

Here is a lovely fresh simple supper to celebrate the return of spring

Spring Vegetable tagliatelle with lemon and chive sauce

450g mixed spring veg (green beans, asparagus, broad beans, peas)
400g tagliatelle
1 lemon
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1tbp olive oil
3tbsp snipped chives
grated parmesan.

Halve green beans and cut asparagus on the diagonal into 3 pieces. Cook the tagliatelle and add the vegetables for final 5 mins of cooking time. Grate zest from half the lemon and squeeze juice from whole lemon into a pan with mustard, olive oil and some black pepper. Warm through until smooth.

Drain pasta and veg and add some of the cooking water to the lemon sauce to thin it a little. Add most of the chives to the sauce and warm through then toss with the pasta and veg and serve topped with the parmesan and remaining chives

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.

Freeman’s Marsh and the Birds Nesting Season 2011.

It was in January 2009 that the Trustees of the Town and Manor of Hungerford launched a long term conservation programme to arrest rising problems of depleting bird numbers, damage to the water courses plants and vandalism.

There is now a Conservation Group of more than 50 people who lend a hand with projects and report the activities of visitors to the “Marsh” in addition to the members of the Commons and Fishery Committees. Surprisingly perhaps, in quite a short time, the changes in both management and the husbandry have made significant return of wildlife in many areas of the “Marsh”. At the public meeting we talked about the loss of bird populations and plants also of the fragile but important Water Voles that live in the rivers and canal. We noted the risk of losing the habitations in the rivers for the success of river life and other water plants and animals due to pollution. Also the damage of the river banks caused by the grazing cattle both treading and grazing the bankside vegetation which otherwise is the home of insect and fly life and shelter for the river.

We were very concerned and worried by the increasing numbers of dogs walking the area, many uncontrolled during critical seasons for the success of the wildlife. Spaniels and Labradors both are expert hunters and retrievers. One Spaniel could successfully quarter the whole of the “Marsh” in one outing causing real distress to all ground nesting birds. The same Spaniel on the next outing, will remember exactly the spot where that peewit, moorhen, coot, snipe, green piper or water rail would be nesting and will chase off the bird. If there are eggs then the birds will probably not return. Cattle and birds will happily live together as the birds are not threatened by the big heifer or steer.

Birds come to the” Marsh” and live here for shelter and security and of course a plentiful supply of food. Our recent visitors like the Glossy Ibis, the Great White Egret, Green Sandpipers and our resident two pairs of Egrets as examples, have enjoyed the wonderful supply of food here and no doubt they will return if they are hungry and feel safe. They will have feasted on bullheads, loach, cadis, snail, shrimp just to name a part of the food supply which is profuse in our rare chalk streams.

The K&A canal bank restoration work is now complete after 4 months work in some of the worst weather we have endured in many years. There is just fencing to complete the project to determine the BW boundary and to prevent further damage by the cattle.

The importance of Freeman’s Marsh as a unique place west of Hungerford was recognised by government 20 years ago when it was just about the first area designated as SSSI or a “Site of Special Scientific Interest” and has been supported by Agricultural Grants. Soon it will be 1st March and the beginning of the nesting season.

To everyone, please respect this fragile season, and dog owners please have you dogs on short leads north of the canal and give your dogs a run south of the canal.

Robert W. James, Trustee of the Town & Manor of Hungerford,
Hon Sec of the Commons Committee. Town Hall, Hungerford.


Health by Liz

CoQ10 – something to smile about

Bleeding and receding gums can happen unexpectedly
to any of us and can cause wobbly teeth, leading to feelings of low self esteem and a lack of confidence. Liz Chandler from Natures Corner looks at a simple solution in the form of a pill.

Sore, bleeding gums is an issue that can happen gradually to anyone. It’s easy to overlook the problem in the early days and just think it will sort itself out. But if left unchecked, the bleeding can lead to skin degeneration and eventually the loss of a tooth.

Co-enzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone, is a fat soluble nutrient, present virtually in all cells. However, the production of Q10 can be inhibited if there is a deficiency of other essential nutrients. Also, levels are known to decline with age and have been shown to be low in people with certain chronic diseases such as heart conditions, cancer and diabetes. CoQ10 is naturally present in small amounts in a wide variety of foods, in particular, offal such as heart, liver and kidney, poultry, beef, sardines, mackerel and peanuts. However, it would be difficult to boost levels dramatically with diet alone.

Gum disease (or periodontal disease to give it its proper name), can be helped by supplementation with 200mg of CoQ10 on a daily basis. 36 year old Sarah Ashdown tried this when her gums began to bleed and she lost a tooth. She explains, ‘I started to take 200mg a day and within 3 months I had a complete change. My gums were no longer bleeding and my teeth had stopped wobbling. This was a huge relief as before taking CoQ10, I’d practically lost hope with what on earth I could do with this hideous mouth issue’.

CoQ10 can also be found in certain toothpastes, further enhancing the beneficial effects of this versatile nutrient.

Other benefits of CoQ10 supplementation are cardiovascular health, brain health, immune support, enhanced energy levels and the stabilisation of blood sugar levels. CoQ10 comes in a variety of strengths from 30mg to 300mg. For relief from bleeding gums and to have ‘something to smile about’ a dose of 2 x 100mg daily is recommended.

For friendly and knowledgeable advice please call us at:-

Natures Corner on 01635 33007 or email

Our Community

Neighbourhood Police Team

We are currently receiving reports of drug taking on the by-way at Combe Gibbet, a man has been arrested and found to be in possession of cannabis, he received an eighty pound fine. We encourage any member of the public who sees anything they feel is suspicious to contact Thames Valley Police via the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre on 0845 8 505 505 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Combe Gibbet is a beauty spot area, and we have recently had vehicles broken in to, handbags and cash removed. We urge people to remove items of value from their cars and remove any navigation devices as well.

There is a decrease in hare-coursing offences over the last month. This is partly due to the weather and an increase in police activity in areas where hare coursers are known to frequent. We are currently looking at longer term measures to deal with offenders including the issue of anti-social behaviour orders. Landowners signing up to the rural text alert system continues to grow. We have had recent success through the system and four men were arrested in the East Ilsley area after reports of hare coursing from a gamekeeper. Officers attended , with help of the helicopter and dogs unit.

A 45-year-old man and a 26-year-old man from Staines, a 31-year-old man from Slough and a 23-year-old man from Maidenhead were arrested on suspicion of theft of a vehicle and hare-coursing. All four men have been bailed to attend Newbury police station on Monday 14 March. For further information, call 0845 8 505 505. We are urging the public to be our eyes and ears in relation to catching the people who are hare coursing. If you are out walking in the countryside and see something suspicious such as vehicles parked up in unusual circumstances or groups of men with lurcher dogs in fields off footpaths then please contact us, and if you see a crime happening then call 999.

We have recently carried out patrols with the Education Welfare Officers in Hungerford to look for school pupils who may have been playing truant .This was a success and we are pleased to report no pupils were found outside of school. We will be running another of these events in the near future.

You are now able to access a website which shows what street level crime and anti social behaviour is happening in the area. Visit , enter your postcode, which will give you street-level data and crime maps, neighbourhood policing teams, and details of future ‘have your say’ meetings. This new policing information will help you to find out what is happening in our area, and then to hold our local police and partners to account for the action being taken and how the issues are being tackled.

All levels of recorded crime have decreased over the last three months compared to the last three months of 2009; burglary has fallen by 59 per cent, vehicle crime by 53 per cent, violent crime by 26 per cent and anti-social behaviour by 17.5 per cent.

In Living Memory….by Robin Tubb


I was a little saddened recently when leaving the Port Down on my way to Kintbury, as I noticed the pristine new gate and posts at the Cattle Grid. No doubt the softwood from which it is made will serve well, as it has been treated with modern efficient preservatives. This is the third gate that I have known in this position, and by far the lightest; let us hope that it does not suffer the same fate as the two previous ones, by cars driving into them!

It was in May 1983 that the last one was demolished, and the Common Overseers had to replace it as soon as possible. After the end of a meeting of the Overseers next day, at which they discussed the situation of the Gate, by way of conversation the Secretary ( Dr. Humphrey Hope, a good hobby woodworker) remarked that: “A Victorian Village Carpenter, would be expected to make a field gate by hand in a single working day”( The Village Carpenter by Walter Rose). Well much discussion ensued, most of the company felt that at present, no modern carpenter would have the type of skills to achieve this. There being a carpenter within the company, when consulted was non committal, but before the evening departure, and after halves of beer all round again, a challenge had been accepted.

Before me on my desk I have a poster, which states; that “A Challenge has been accepted by a Local Carpenter to make a Special Field Gate, within ten working hours, entirely by hand, using genuine Victorian Tools, in the Corn Exchange” inviting the public to observe.
The tools used were authenticated, as all being pre 1900, the timber list was taken to Norman Barr who selected some very nice oak, and cut it most accurately. No metal was used in the gates manufacture, all the joints were mortise and tenon, the rails went right though the brace, calling for mortises to be cut at 45 degrees. all being secured by draw boring and dowels, (Trenails).

So as to create more interest at the event, exhibited was a scale wooden model of a Village Carpenters Shop, made by Aubrey Stafford, that had recently been awarded a silver medal at the Earls Court, National Model Engineering Exhibition. Designer and Craftsman, Dick Edwards, was demonstrating turning delicate lace bobbins.

The gate was completed successfully, and served for twenty eight years.

Why was I a little saddened? Well it was me who accepted the challenge, and apart from an old timber list and a poster, nothing is left of it.


Last issue’s mystery object was:-

a 1920’s, ‘Burdock’s’ patent blow lamp. The ball container would be stuffed with wadding and soaked with methelayted spirits. The nozzle at the other end of the wooden handle would be fitted to a fine air line and when in use the wadding would be lit, the meths vapour would flame up and the air line would blow a direct jet of air through the flames and send a controlled jet of flames to the object or area required.

And this magazines mystery object is

               So what is it?   

As usual there are no prizes if you get it right!

The Bruce Trust

The Bruce Trust was created in 1988 by Louise and David Bruce to provide self-catering holidays for disabled, disadvantaged or elderly people cruising on the Kennet & Avon Canal. The Trust currently has a fleet of four specially-designed, purpose-built, wide-beam boats, each one with the highest quality accommodation and the ultimate flexibility for people with special needs.

The extra width of the boats provides excellent manoeuvrability for wheelchair users. The boats have special built-in facilities, including hydraulic lifts, wide-access boarding ramps, low-level bunks, heating and specially fitted showers, toilets, etc.
Rebecca, Hannah and Diana have been designed to give wheelchair users the opportunity to steer the boat using the tiller and both Hannah and Rachel have been fitted with a remote steering device that enables someone with less
upper body mobility to steer from their wheelchair, using a joystick.

Each year around 600 disabled, disadvantaged or elderly people, together with their carers, friends or family, experience the tranquillity of the Kennet & Avon Canal and during the past 21 years over 11,000 people have enjoyed participative canal-cruising holidays on our boats.

They are helped on their way by the dedicated 70 or so voluntary helpers who are prepared to give up two hours either on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday morning to ensure the Trust can operate in the most economical fashion.

Some of our voluntary helpers also get involved with crewed day trips and last year we were able to offer over 500 people, from day centres or residential homes for the elderly, the opportunity of a peaceful day out on the canal.



Since 1990 over 11,000 disabled, disadvantaged and elderly people, together with their carers, have enjoyed holidays cruising on the Kennet & Avon Canal on our four specially-designed, purpose-built, wide-beam canal boats.

We need more Voluntary Helpers between March and October to join us for a couple of hours on occasional Friday or Saturday mornings at Great Bedwyn, near Marlborough, or Sunday mornings at Lower Foxhanger, near Devizes, to help prepare the boats. The roles include cleaning, maintenance and engineering for each boat.

We also need Voluntary Helpers to skipper and crew the boats for day trips and to assist us with our fundraising efforts.

It’s fun, anyone can do it and there’s always a cuppa and a piece of cake available, so why not come and join our friendly team?


Contact: Rebecca Bruce
The Bruce Trust, PO Box 21, Hungerford, Berkshire, RG17 9YY
Tel: 01264 356451


Registered Charity Number: 800402



Also on this page……Our Carnival…….Plant Sale……HAHA…..
British Waterways

Hungerford & District Community Arts Festival
(HADCAF) 1st – 24th July 2011

Firstly, a huge thank-you to everyone who supported HADCAF 2010 – participants, audiences, box office, helpers behind the scenes, the Town Council, the Town and Manor, Greenham Common Trust and West Berkshire Council, together with the many local businesses and individuals who sponsored events so generously. Thank you all for contributing to yet another very successful Festival.

Plans for HADCAF 2011 are now well under way with (appropriately enough for this year of the Royal Wedding) a right royal line-up of entertainment, from King Pleasure and his Biscuit Boys to Good Queen Bess, from queen bees to a May King, not to mention a royally-appointed Poet Laureate….

The programme will be updated regularly on the website (, and the printed Festival brochure and tickets will be available from the beginning of June. The June issue of CHAIN MAIL will also include a list of events.

Meanwhile, HADCAF needs YOU: –
To create something for the Art, Craft & Photography Exhibition which will be held in the Corn Exchange on the first weekend of the Festival (2nd & 3rd July). Please contact Catherine Hill on 01488 683719 or,
email her at

To sign up for the HADCAF Variety Show, to be held at John O’Gaunt School on Saturday 23rd July – the hunt is on for local acts! Don’t be shy, if you can sing, play an instrument, dance, juggle, perform a sketch, do magic – whatever your talent, even if you would like to take part but don’t know what to do, please contact Louise Marshall, tel: 01488 685031
or email her at  . She has plenty of ideas!

To offer to open your garden to appreciative visitors during the Festival (a good way to raise funds for your favourite charity!). Beryl Fowler would be delighted to hear from you on 01488 684901.

Elizabeth Davis

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The theme is

Hungerford Round Table want you to make
it better than Newbury this year, so do call.

Contact Roger Ballard

01488 682989 / 077865 40690


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Grand Rotary Plant Sale

16, The Croft on Saturday, 21st May,
2011 from 10.00am to2.00pm

If anyone wants to bring plants along for selling and/or come along on the day they will be particularly welcome.


All proceeds will be given over to local Rotary Charities.



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The Hungerford Allotment Holders Association (HAHA)

HAHA manages the Marsh Lane and Fairfields allotment sites on behalf of Hungerford Town Council. The sites, which between them have over 120 plots, are fully occupied at present. There are currently 16 people on the waiting lists for the sites.

If you require any information or would like to be added to either or both waiting lists please contact Belinda Robinson 01488 684182

or email

Priority is given to Hungerford residents and you must be over 18 to apply.
More information is available on the website


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Kennet & Avon Canal Friday 27 May 2011 – Monday 30 May 2011

British Waterways are organising an event called

‘The Vicky Strong Pedalo Challenge’

In aid of DOROTHY HOUSE. We will be riding a pedalo along the Kennet & Avon Canal over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, and aim to travel approximately 40 miles.

We will be starting at Great Bedwyn on Friday 27th May and will be finishing at Bathampton on Monday 30th May. Walkers & Supporters are ‘Very Welcome’… please come along and give us lots of encouragement!

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Blasts from the Past

From the Parish Magazine dated February 1875.

“ Our readers are most probably aware that the Right Rev. Bishop Steere, who has been placed at the head of the Central African Mission, takes out with him three Clergyman as Missionaries to the innumerable heathen of his diocese, from this immediate neighbourhood; one from Avington, one from Lambourn, and one from Abingdon. This seems to give the Mission a peculiar claim upon our interest and our prayers. It is certainly a singular honour to this Archdeaconry, that it should have supplied three Clergy to take part in this great Christian enterprise, perhaps the most arduous and adventurous undertaking which the Church has attempted in these latter days. Bishop Steere will attend Meetings in the course of the first week of February at Lambourn, Ramsbury, Kintbury, Marlborough, Newbury and Bradfield; and it is much to be regretted that circumstances have prevented his visiting Hungerford.”

From the Parish Magazine dated February 1878.

“ The Trustees of the Hungerford Charities are willing to advance the sum of £15 for apprenticing a poor boy of the parish of Hungerford. Application stating the age and birth-place of the candidate, and the place of birth of his parents, must be sent to the Hungerford Charity Trustees under cover to H.E. Astley, on or before the 12th day of February instant.”
“ The Trustees of the Hungerford Grammar School will proceed to elect four boys to the Latin Foundation, and one boy to the Blue Coat Foundation, on Wednesday, February 13th instant. Applications in writing on behalf of the Candidates stating age and place of birth, also the place of birth of their parents, are to be sent on or before February 12, to H. E. Astley, Esq.”

From the Parish Magazine dated February 1879.

“ A Lecture was lately given at the School, Woodlands St Mary, by the Rev. J. P. Farler, Chaplain to Bishop Steere, relating to incidents of his life and experience as a Missionary in Central Africa. Mr Farler was accompanied by a young Native just landed from Zanzibar, who is to be educated and maintained in England at the sole cost of the Rural Deanery of Newbury in order that a beginning may be made towards organising a native ministry in a climate so deadly to Europeans. Contributions in aid of this important and interesting work will be thankfully received by the Rev. W. R. Dickson, Woodlands St Mary.”

More form the Archives next month. Fred Bailey

Legal Spot

Can’t Take It With You

The thought of making a Will is one which is uncomfortable for most people. Some feel they are simply too young to have to worry about that sort of thing, some have family issues such as children of a previous marriage or estranged relatives and feel overwhelmed with the thought of having to decide how to provide for them, and some, understandably, simply don’t like to think about it.

As the saying goes, live for today, plan for tomorrow. Your estate needs to be considered and provided for so that your hard-earned money is preserved as best as it can be and directed to those you want to benefit.

Take a recent example. I was approached by a lovely lady whose partner had sadly died before his time. He had not thought of making a Will and the couple were unmarried. There being no such thing in the eyes of the law as a “common-law partner”, his estate went entirely to his elderly mother. Not ideal and luckily the mother was happy to vary the intestacy to provide something for her daughter’s partner, but not all beneficiaries would be so generous!

These difficulties are simply solved by drawing a deep breath and having a chat with a solicitor about making a Will. It’s really not too painful, we would talk through your estate and your options and prepare a draft will for you. When you were happy with the will, a final version is prepared for signature and we could store the will for you free of charge. Once it’s done, it’s one less thing for you to worry about and you can sleep soundly in the knowledge that you are fully prepared if the worst were to happen.

Whilst thinking about these things, there is the other difficult scenario of losing mental capacity as you advance in years. With an ageing population, it is more likely that many of us will end up needing care of some description or becoming immobile or suffering from an illness such as dementia. Who would look after our property and deal with our day to day care?

To solve this, a power of attorney could be made. A general power of attorney is a very simple document allowing someone to act on your behalf while you are still mentally alert, but may have problems getting to the bank (or may have decided to go on an extended holiday!). A Lasting Power of Attorney is a little more complicated, but allows someone to look after your property and affairs, or personal welfare, when you are unable to do so. Failure to plan for this sort of situation would leave your relatives in the tricky position of having to apply to the Court of Protection for authority to act on your behalf.

I have lost count of the number of my clients who say “I’ve been meaning to do this for ages but keep putting it off…” They invariably leave after signing their wills and powers of attorney satisfied and relieved that they’ve ticked off another item on their to-do list.

Emily Payne
Dickins Hopgood Chidley LLP
The Old School House, 42 High Street, Hungerford
T: 01488 683555    E:

Church Bells

Bell Ringing at St Lawrence – Part 12

Bell ringers like having outings to ring at churches in other areas. A one-day outing usually includes 5 or 6 towers plus lunch in a pub somewhere along the way. Whilst being enjoyable, outings are also challenging. When ringing at other towers, visiting bands want to ring as well as possible. Whilst it is OK to – repeatedly sometimes – make mistakes on practice nights (bell ringing is a life-long learning experience) it is not good to have a crash-bang-wallop (technical term) when out. That is not to say that things never go wrong, especially when ringing a bell you have never encountered before (and they are all different). Ringing in unfamiliar towers evokes a little nervousness in most of us. However this is balanced by a sense of achievement when you have stood your bell after a good piece of ringing.

It has become something of a tradition in recent years for Hungerford tower to arrange a weekend outing in October. Last year’s, in the Canterbury district, included a visit to Canterbury Cathedral which has 12 bells. The heaviest is 36 cwt (Hungerford’s tenor is 13 cwt). Most of us in this area rarely have the opportunity to ring on 12 bells. The ringing was on Sunday morning immediately prior to a service, so particularly nerve-wracking. However, everyone seemed pleased afterwards.

I was disappointed to have missed that outing as ringing at a Cathedral is always very special, and the medieval ones are particularly interesting. Getting to the bells involves going through parts of the building not normally accessible to the public, such as crossing over the tops of arched ceilings. It is a rare insight into how these incredible structures were built.

A recent Newbury Branch outing included a visit to Worcester Cathedral. We were scheduled to ring late Saturday afternoon before Evensong. The cathedral Tower Captain met us and reminded us that “thousands of people will hear you – so no pressure.”

Worcester Cathedral houses the 5th heaviest ringing peal which is considered to be one of the finest rings of bells in the world. As well as having the privilege of ringing there we were also (after donning ear protectors) allowed admittance to the bell chamber, to see the bells ringing. It was an awesome experience. They are huge. The tenor, which alone weighs 48 cwt, is 5’ 4” in diameter. From the bell chamber we could go on up to the top of the tower which sways in quite an alarming circular motion when the bells are being rung. This is not surprising considering that when 12 bells are ringing there is about 10 tonnes of bell metal moving about.

The photo shows the ringing chamber at Worcester and includes two Hungerford ringers: Tower Captain Mark Robins (2nd from the left) is ringing the 11th bell and Cathy Bossom (6th from the left) is on the 2nd. At Hungerford we welcome anyone who would like to learn bell ringing.

If you think this might be for you, phone 644616 for more information.

S Chatters