Issue 112

1st September
1st December 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

The cover photograph this issue is Autumn on the Croft, Hungerford.
Autumn for those of us in the Camera Club, and there are nearly fifty of us now, means the annual exhibition in the Hungerford Corn Exchange. If you would like to make a diary note, it is the weekend of the 8th and 9th of October. If any of you may consider joining the club, have a look at our website. Type Hungerford Camera Club into your web browser and it will come up.
It is remarkable to think, at least for many of us of senior years, that the internet until only a short time ago did not exist, and yet it is now so much part of everyday life. We used to wait for the post, now we check our emails and if there is anything you want to know, be it the closing time of a shop, or some obscure fact, it’s all there waiting to be discovered.
So to digital cameras. Very few of us now take film, and the ease of image making is such that nearly everyone, children included, have a camera. How much leaves cyber space and is printed out into a photograph that can be held, is another matter. It is worrying to think that the historic archive created by the everyday man just will not be there in the future. Fifty years from now who will be able to answer the call for photographs taken today.

Hungerford Camera Club Annual Exhibition
Sat8th& Sun9thOctober in the Town Hall
With over fifty club members this year’s Exhibition will be bursting at the seams with photographs covering a multitude of subjects.

Presentations include “The Judges Vote” best overall picture, “Cooks Crystal” for The Best Black & White, and “The Public Vote” when you can join in and vote for your favourite.

This year we have a new competition for “The Best Photograph depicting Hungerford” to be judged by “I Love Hungerford”, Mr Rod Desmeules, well known for the wonderful hanging baskets in the High Street during the Spring and Summer, for Flags depicting special days throughout the year and of course our fabulous Christmas Lights.
We look forward to seeing you.
Saturday 8th October 10am – : Sunday 9th October 11am – 5pm


Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

I hope you have all had a good summer and have enjoyed the holidays. The highlight of July was HADCAF and as usual it was a very successful festival, thanks to the hardworking committee and their helpers. So a special thank you to Elizabeth, Catherine and Beryl for a wonderful three weeks of entertainment by many varied artists.

Chain continues to help many vulnerable people get to their Doctor’s or Hospital Appointments or to take people on trips using the Handybus which does shopping trips, hydrotherapy trips , etc. We also take people out in the Chairman Vehicle with one of our drivers or with a family member who has been trained to drive the Chairman. If you are interested in helping Chain we are particularly keen to recruit more Handybus Drivers and this need only involve a few hours per week or per month. Please contact the Chain Office 683727 or myself 683302 if you are interested in helping, either as a Car Driver, Handybus Driver, Chairman Driver or helping in the Office.

I would just like to thank Ron Rowland who is writing a history of Chain, which I know will be of great interest to lots of people and is something which has been needed for a long time. It is so important that these details are remembered and a record is kept of all those volunteers who have helped to make Chain what it is today.

Hopefully by the time you read this the Gas Road Works will be over and the traders and residents of Hungerford can get back to normal until the Bridge Works start.

Thank you to all Chain’s many volunteers because without you there would be no Chain.

Janette Kersey



The BIG SOCIETY…………. Well CHAIN is the Volunteer organisation of Hungerford, as most of you know. Without volunteers our efforts could grind to a halt and that is why on page seven Gary is still appealing for help, and it’s not just for male drivers. Just ask Norma, it’s for ladies as well. The vehicle is not big, but you sit up higher than your car and of course it’s got power steering and all the mod cons of a car! So go on give him a call please.

Again I am so lucky to have so many varied articles sent in to make this local publication of ours so interesting. If you have a topic that you would like to see here in CHAIN MAIL please do contact me. Space is so tight this issue that I have cut myself to half a page, do contact me early for the December edition if you want to be included!

So as I like to rub it in at this time of the year, the next Bank holidays are not until Christmas. British Summer time ends Sunday 30th October then we look forward to the shortest day on December 22nd, when we shall all start to notice the days getting longer!

Thanks & Regards, David Piper

Tel: 01488-683152

Letters, articles and adverts should be sent to me by the 7th of the month preceeding publication, i.e.7th Nov for the issue on December 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

Polishing up our Civic Pride

2012 promises to be an exciting year. The anticipation of a successful staging of the London Olympics and the support given to our athletes should provide for some thrilling events to enjoy. But this is just one of the highlights of the year.

Our Queen will be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee in June and Hungerford has always risen to the challenge of marking such momentous occasions with style and enthusiasm. Your Town Council has set some funds aside for this purpose but needs your help to establish what we should do this time. Let me have your views to help us focus on what we could do. You can put them on a postcard and drop them into the council office, or phone the Town Clerk on 686195 or e-mail me directly at

Hungerford will also have another cause for celebration when the Canal pedestrian bridge is opened in the Spring – just over 60 years since the idea was first mooted. Although new, it should blend in with the eclectic mix of architecture that abounds in Hungerford. But whilst I am delighted to see a number of commercial buildings being given a facelift, sadly there are many that could do with a lot more TLC. I am hopeful that with some co-operation from retailers and others, we could achieve a Diamond finish. Such treatment also needs to be given to some of our street furniture such as lights, railings and the like and this is where I would like to see some volunteer groups formed to tackle some of these tasks- see above for contact details!

Our railway bridge looks tired and dreary and your council is encouraging Network Rail to repaint it in time for the 150 year anniversary of steam trains in the town also in 2012. Their initial response is predictably negative citing budget restraints but we believe they have a special relationship with that bridge for they inherited certain Town and Manor rights that were acquired by their predecessors when three cottages in the High Street were knocked down to build it. In my opinion, with rights come responsibilities.

And what would those forefathers think of our railway station now? Instead of being a welcoming characterful transport hub it is little more than a Halt from which incoming travellers struggle to find their way to the town centre. Surely not the best first impression to provide for our visitors.

So challenges abound but your Council will be rising to these with Olympian-like efforts. Watch this space.

Martin Crane O.B.E.
Mayor of Hungerford

Chain’s Page

Also on this page……..Wanted…….Someone Special…..Excel Help..


Christmas may be almost four months ahead,
but it’s time to start getting things organised.
If you have celebrated your 80th birthday this year
or will be celebrating it by the end of the year,
please let us know. Similarly, if you know of any over

80’s who have moved away or who are no longer with us for whatever reason, again please let us know.     David & Janet Long 01488 682931

Wanted ‘A’ Driver

The Handybus Needs You
‘ Give Something Back’ to the Elderly
and Infirm in Hungerford’

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

Handybus Drivers

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

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

Interested? To have an exploratory chat about either of these roles please contact Gary Moore on 01488 683988.




Are you Special


This will involve taking minutes at 6 Trustee Meetings a year and dealing with correspondence and the Charity Commissioners.

You will need to be computer literate.
Our present Secretary will be leaving Hungerford next year and
so the position will need filling from May 2012

If you are interested please contact Janette Kersey on 01488 68330
or Email


Get involved with your local community and give a little back to Hungerford. CHAIN needs someone who enjoys working with figures and can use a computer to coordinate contributions from users of the Handybus. The work takes just a few hours a month, can mostly be done from home and easily moulded around your other work and home commitments. CHAIN can provide templates for your computer.

please contact Janette Kersey on 01488 68330
or Email

A letter

Dear Editor,
So it’s over for another year and HADCAF 2011 has left us with some great memories: Michael Lunts’s light-hearted look at the English character….the youthful Shadwell Opera’s vivid performance of Albert Herring…. Rebecca Vaughan’s passionate portrayal of Queen Elizabeth 1….Andrew Motion’s moving war poems…. Kausikan Rajeshkumar’s stunning piano recital….Mozart’s favourite wine, savoured while listening to his piano sonatas….the irresistible dance music of King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys.

There were lessons in how to dress for less at the Eco-Chic Fashion Show; extraordinary discoveries about the life of bees; helpful hints for greener gardening; new skills acquired in workshops; talented locals as well as the best professional theatre and music. There were colourful exhibitions and gardens, entertaining films, fascinating authors, and our beautiful countryside, explored on river, marsh, meadow and farm walks.

All in all a super Festival, made possible by grants from the Town Council, the Town and Manor of Hungerford, Greenham Common Trust and West Berkshire Council, and through the generosity of many local sponsors to all of whom we are immensely grateful. We are also indebted to the staff of Newbury Building Society for managing the Festival box office so brilliantly, to Hungerford Rugby Club for facilitating planning meetings, and to the very helpful staff of John O’Gaunt School.

A big thank-you to all who supported events and all who helped organise and run them. We hope you enjoyed the programme and look forward to seeing you again next year. If you are interested to be involved in planning the 2012 HADCAF programme, do please come to the AGM which will be held in the first week of November (date and venue to be confirmed and posted on the website:

Beryl Fowler
Chairman, HADCAF

Hungerford Surgery

The Croft, Hungerford RG17 0HY

01488 682507

Flu Immunisation Campaign 2011/12

The importance of a seasonal flu vaccination cannot be underestimated and you are entitled to a free flu jab if you fit into one of the following ‘at risk’ groups.
Over 65 years old
Aged between 6 months and 65 years of age and in a clinical risk group.
All pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy – please discuss with your midwife.
Frontline health and social care workers
Those in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow the introduction of infection.
Those in receipt of carer’s allowance or who are the main carer of an older or disabled person.
Our four ‘Flu Saturday’s’ will take place at the surgery on the
1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd October 2011 and we would ask that you attend as follows:

Sat 1st Oct – patients with the surname A – D
Sat 8th Oct – patients with the surname E – L
Sat 15th Oct – patients with the surname M – R
Sat 22nd Oct – patients with the surname S – Z

Please note:
We will not be sending letters of invitation to those patients
aged over 65’s years old this year. Just turn up and be jabbed.
Patients in all other ‘at risk’ groups should receive a letter of invitation.

Your Surgery Needs You …..
IF you are a patient of Hungerford Surgery ….
IF you think the doctors and nurses in Hungerford Surgery are fantastic, or not ….
IF you think the receptionists in Hungerford Surgery are the most efficient and kindest you have ever known, or not ….
IF you think the appointment system is the best thing since ‘sliced bread’, or not ….

Then you could be the very person we are looking for to join our Patient Participation Group (PPG). We are looking for patients to give us their views and to become involved in helping the practice to improve services and shape the way in which healthcare is delivered to Hungerford and the wider community.

We encourage you to pick up an information leaflet from the surgery today or to go on line – – to join our new Patient Participation Group. We look forward to hearing your views.

The Old Codger

Go on, hurry up and take advantage of the Cavity & Loft insulation scheme, unless of course you have money to burn! I am sure that you will, as I have just seen the latest gas & electricity increases. Why oh why were our Public Utility companies allowed to become foreign companies, who now have us over the (very expensive) barrel? I recall to mind that on opening the first Nuclear electricity power station the claim was made that it was going to be ‘’so cheap’’, that if we had a few more it might even become free. For Great Britain, please read ‘’Cloud Cuckoo Land’’!

I liked the bit in the paper that said ‘all utility companies that have increased their prices by more than inflation should not be allowed to award themselves increased pay or bonuses in that year’. Fat chance of that happening, they are just too greedy!

Oh I do hope the local High Street businesses get compensated for loss of earnings due to the terrible traffic conditions caused by the (high speed) gas works. I heard (I think this is true!) that it was taking longer because of the ‘Victorian’ gas pipes! Well excuse me, but did it matter what they were, they were after all renewing them because they were old. Did they actually put any more men on the job? ABSOLUTLEY DISGUSTING.

A few editions ago I told (advised) you not to buy DAB portable radios without home testing them, I have just read that the DAB switchover is likely to be delayed as sales of FM/AM radios are outstripping DAB. The signal, like the Broadband here in Hungerford is awful. It’s all gone quiet on BT giving us faster Broadband hasn’t it? Perhaps our local MP can stir them up for us all?

Talking about quiet, I never heard anything more about the Bridge Street (dirty) white elephant (shop), nor about closing Fairfields, so perhaps nothing is going to happen to either!

After all these years is it going to be a benefit to me for Thames Water to grab some of my sewer pipe?

I write this early August as the unrest and wanton destruction is taking place in some of our cities, I cannot understand why these yobs believe it is their right to destroy other people’s property and to attack the police, but then I am from a generation that scrumped apples, and ran away from the local bobby before he clipped my ear!

Please contact me, as always, 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

Going Potty

The pressure for space versus the need for housing in this country means that gardens are a valuable commodity. Many newly built houses have tiny or awkwardly shaped gardens but it is possible to create a miniature Eden in the smallest of plots.

Modern plant breeding has tapped into this market with the introduction of dwarf varieties of our favourite plants which can be grown in a small bed or even in pots.

The English garden in summer is not complete without bees and butterflies and both Lavender and Buddleia which encourage them can spread quite a bit. However Lavender “Little Lady” has all the qualities of its grown up counterpart but it is daintier even than “Munstead”. It has lighter purple flowers and grows to a height and spread of 45cm. It is now possible to grow Buddleia in a pot. The “Buzz” series of Buddleia grows to just over 1m high and comes in three colours- Lavender, Magenta and Ivory – so there should be something for every colour theme.

For Spring colour there is a small Forsythia- F. Mini Gold- which will reach an eventual height of 1.5m. Grown in a pot and under planted with Spring bulbs such a Tulip Red Riding Hood or the elegant Tulip praestans Moondance.

One plant which was much admired when my garden was open for Hadcaf was the Hypericum androsaemum. It does have the wow factor as it produces buttery yellow flowers in summer and at the same time deep red berries, plus it has been swarming with hoverflies. (These little friends are always welcome in the garden as they munch the aphids). It looks lovely when cut and brought indoors. For pots try H. androsaemum Orange Flair which will grow to 90cm.

Another of my favourites, which is ideal for a sunny but sheltered patio is the Convulvulus cneorum. It has silvery leaves and white flowers. Although Mediterranean in origin, it will overwinter happily in this country, provided it is sited well, in well drained soil away from cold winds.

Lack of space need not exclude trees- ornamental or fruit. For spring blossom the flowering Almond Prunus triloba has beautiful double pale pink flowers followed by bronze coloured autumn foliage.

The development of minaret column fruit trees means that you could have a virtual orchard in a series of pots. Varieties include pear Commice du Doyenne, Apple red spur or more exotically the dwarf nectarine Prunus persica Nectarella.

Finally to complete the feast a number of vegetables can be grown in containers so you could have a harvest of potatoes, salad crops, carrots or parsnips in a deep pot while Aubergine is an attractive plant with purple flowers and looks well amongst flowering annuals.

The main key to success with containers is siting them correctly and most importantly keeping them well irrigated.

Stacy Tuttle

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Owls and Conservation in the Hungerford area,….. Barn Owls

Several volunteers have been looking after Barn Owls in the Hungerford area. They have been organised into groups by the Farmers and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG phone number 0118 930 5336). The groups correspond to three of the local valleys – Kennet, Lambourn and Pang. The volunteers find suitable habitat and put up Barn Owl boxes after consulting the landowner. The Lambourn Valley Volunteers have designed their own light weight Barn Owl Box with the aid of a computer. They think the standard “A” Frame is too heavy and too expensive to buy. The computer assisted design enables four boxes to be built from a single sheet of 12 x 8 plywood.

The nest boxes are put up throughout the year and checked in Spring to see if they have been used by Barn Owls. Unfortunately the boxes are often used by Jackdaws, Kestrels and Stockdoves or are empty. Volunteers who monitor the boxes have to be trained and placed on the licence from Natural England. It is illegal to disturb an owl box.

If Barn Owl chicks (owlets) are found, then the information is passed onto a Ringer. The Ringer travels out to the box and rings the owlets and mother. The “Dad” has been evicted from the family home and must find his own roosting chamber. It was thought that this contributed to the massive decline in numbers. Many males simply perished in the cold nights and Spring rain. Loss of roosting sites is compounded by the destruction of habitat. Barn Owls, like Kestrels, need voles to feed upon and voles need rough grassland to live in.

Surprisingly the results for this year were very encouraging. Quite a number of owlets were found in the nest boxes. Partially due to the volunteers’ work, the Barn Owl is now off the Red List. It has risen onto the Amber Conservation List. Hopefully it will make the Green List. Ringers are volunteers and have to pass tests before they are allowed to place metal rings on birds’ legs. They keep detailed records which helps to monitor the birds. If someone finds a ringed bird they are asked to inform the British Museum of the numbers on the metal ring.

Of course it would be more effective to fit radio tags to the owlets and have their movements monitored continuously. The current theory is that Barn Owls are sedentary and do not migrate. However a dark phased Barn Owl was seen in the area and it was said to have come from Europe.

Little Owls ( Athene Nocturna)
Incidentally I found a Little Owl nesting in a Barn Owl box this year
andI suggest all gardeners read about this amazing bird.

It was named after the Goddess of Wisdom.

Recently our knowledge of Cuckoos has improved.
Five cuckoos were radio tagged for the BBC Springwatch Program in Norfolk and their movements tracked. One Cuckoo flew to Morocco during the course of the programme and stayed there.



Our Mayor, Martin Crane, recently learnt that a friend of his from Aldbourne, Alison Delorie, was Trustee of a charity (TOP) which he felt might be of great help to some of our local people. Alison has therefore enlisted the help of their Chief Executive, Graham Sherburn, to explain how TOP can help you.

Many of us have little to do with our own tax affairs during our working (or non-working) life. However, as we approach our retirement years unexpected tax problems can start to emerge, for instance:
Whilst working, our employer deals with the calculation and payment of tax for us through the PAYE system and when we retire, our pension provider will do the same. However, increasingly, those in retirement have more than one pension, or continue to work part time and then the stretched system can lead to over or underpayment of tax.

Regarding our state pension, although this counts towards our taxable income, it is not taxed at source, which can lead to tax under payments and unfortunately the two departments responsible between them for pensions and tax don’t always sort this out.

We all receive personal tax free allowances which increase in our 65th year and again in our 75th year? However, HMRC don’t necessarily apply these for you.

Finally a recent House of Commons report indentified serious concerns with HMRC. These were “unacceptable difficulties contacting HMRC by phone during peak periods”; “endemic delays in responding to post”; and “an increasing focus on online communication that may exclude those without reliable internet access”.

All these impact disproportionally on older people so where do they turn for help?
Fortunately, there is the appropriately named charity TaxHelp for Older People (TOP).
TOP has its roots in rural Dorset, where its telephone advice service is based. But thanks to a large number of tax professionals who offer up their time and skills for free it is also able to offer face-to-face help on a nationwide basis in both local tax surgeries and, in some cases, in people’s own home.

Because of the way in which TaxHelp for Older People is funded, partially though the generosity of individual donations, it is able to offer this valuable service to eligible clients for free.

So, if you are approaching 60, or over, have a net income of less than £17,000 a year and need help with, or are worried about, a tax problem, ring TOP on 0845 6013321, or 01308 488066, send them an email at or just log on to its website at

P.S. Alison would be grateful if, when you contact TOP, you can let them know where you obtained this information so she can decide whether to bring this to the attention of others in our area.


As this copy is being prepared, Gloriana has cruised on the Great River Ouse, visiting Cambridge, Ely, and St Ives, and has travelled on to the Grand Union Canal dropping down the Foxton flight. By the time you are reading this we expect to be back in the Peak District. As you are able to catch up with our present activities on-line at, my thoughts for now go back to this time last year when Gloriana finally motored past the Houses of Parliament

Sunday 8th August 2010
It was great, finally to be leaving Limehouse Lock and moving out onto the Thames. Warnings regarding the tidal flow as one entered the river, for this morning at any rate, were overstated: the exit from Savick Brook back in April had been, in my opinion, ten times as severe. However as we approached Tower Bridge, a very sizeable catamaran trip boat came up from the rear, necessitating my holding back to allow it to pass before I followed it through the centre arch of the bridge. The wash created caused significant rolling though this was minimised as I turned into it, changing roll to bow/stern ‘seesaw’. This was a manoeuvre required several times in the subsequent hour, one of them being due to a wash of such magnitude that we shipped some water in the cratch, wet bottoms all round!

The run from Limehouse to Westminster was exhilarating, though at no time concerning; thereafter it was pretty ‘quiet’. After Tower Bridge our first notable landmark was The Prospect of Whitby, a dockside pub we used to frequent in our late teens/early twenties (living as I did then in north London) and which I last remember visiting with my brother, Greg (you may know him), when he was on shore leave during his time in the Merchant Navy. I do remember that as being the only occasion I have ever won money on a fruit machine, indeed the only time I ever played a fruit machine: the proceeds paid for our beer all evening!

The passage past the Houses of Parliament reminded me of my vision three years earlier, as I stood with a friend on the opposite bank and contemplated that day. Once we were past Westminster the river traffic seemed to disappear; passing MI6 HQ, Chelsea Bridge, and Battersea Power Station (woefully derelict), we and our companion narrowboat, Our One, were the only boats under way. Other recognisable landmarks included Fuller’s Brewery (oft’ passed on its road side), the boat race course, and, of course, Kew Gardens. Our One, shortly afterwards, left us at Brentford Lock, and the last hour up to Teddington was completed in solitary splendour.

Having moored just above Teddington Lock, we retired to The Anglers, where Alan and Suzie, our guests on board for the day, treated us to lunch.

A truly memorable day!

Nick Furr

 Click to E-mail us      

Self build with a twist – my Gap Experience

Somewhat late in life, I felt I wanted a different experience – to help people in a practical way in a different environment. I love my life, work and home in Hungerford but was there some way I could use my good fortune to help someone in a very different situation?

The answer I found was to volunteer in Mwandi, Zambia and help to build a mud hut to re-house a family. Yes, very different.

Mwandi is a traditional mud hut village on the banks of the Zambezi about two hours upriver from Victoria Falls. It is in a very traditional part of Zambia where life mostly consists of subsistence farming and fishing but which is sadly blighted by Aids. There is a Mission hospital in Mwandi and a lot is being done to treat and educate the local population. I had no expertise in those areas but I was ready willing and able to do something and I found my chance in a project run alongside the Mission.

Run by Dan and Paula, the volunteers literally build mud huts to re-house children and their families. In this part of Zambia there are no orphanages as local custom is that every orphan is taken in by their family. Sadly, many middle aged people are dying of Aids so the burden often falls on grandparents. These families simply do not have the wherewithal to repair and rebuild their homes so some of them are living in dreadful conditions.

Anyone can help build a mud hut. Two young English volunteers lead the practical work. The materials, sticks and termite mound sand, come from the bush and off you go. On my first visit there were five of us and with minimum instruction we built a hut. On my return a year later the family in it were barely recognisable they were so much happier and healthier. This year I helped build two huts transforming the lives of ten women previously living, or should I say existing, in awful conditions.

I have spent February this year and last year in Mwandi so you can guess what I’ll be doing next February. I am hoping that I will be able to persuade some of you to come with me and enjoy (it really is enjoyable) the experience too. For the price of a holiday you can do so much more and I can’t believe that for anyone it would be anything other than a great eye-opening experience. Could we build a Hungerford hut? There is so much more I could tell you but too little space – do get in touch with me if you are interested in this project in any way.

Amanda May Tel: 681004 or email

Winter Warmth

Winter Fuel Payment, is an annual payment made to households with someone over minimum Pension Credit age to help with heating costs.
Over 3.5 million people are in FUEL POVERTY !

Can I claim it? If you are born before 6 January 1951, you will be eligible for a payment for the 2011/12 winter. You should receive £200 under 80, and £300 if over 80. You could get less if you live with other people who also qualify. You only need to claim once. After this you should get it automatically each year. To ask about your payment, or make a claim, phone the Winter Fuel Helpline on 0845 915 1515.
Cold Weather Payment Extra payments are made when the weather is very cold in your area. You should get an additional £25 a week.
Can I claim it? You will automatically receive a payment if you are receiving Pension Credit or certain other means-tested benefits.
Warm Front . Grants are available to improve your heating system and home insulation. In England these are called Warm Front grants. This is a government -funded scheme which offers grants to make your home warmer and more energy efficient. It includes a package of insulation and heating improvements‚ up to the value of £3‚500 (or grant of £6000 in areas without gas supply).
Can I apply? The Warm Front grant is available to householders who receive certain means-tested benefits and live in properties that are poorly insulated or do not have a working central heating system. You must own your home or rent it from a private landlord. The Warm Front Programme is run by the Eaga Group.
To apply for a grant‚ phone 0800 316 6011

Do you have to go without other comforts to make your money last ?

Money-saving measures. Here are some examples:
installing cavity wall insulation can save you up to £320 per year
increasing loft insulation to 250mm can save up to £120 per year
an ‘A’ rated fridge/freezer can cost £37 less per year to run than a less efficient model
draught proofing can save up to £20 per year
insulating your hot-water tank can save up to £20 per year
one low-energy light bulb can save up to £4.50 less a year
These savings are the equivalent of an extra £10 in your pocket every week. The savings listed above are based on information issued by the Energy Saving Trust. The amount you save may vary depending upon the size and age of your home and how you use energy.

Energy suppliers have sharply increased their charges, but you may be able to save some money by changing your energy supplier. You still use the same gas pipes and electric cables. The change will be which company sells you fuel and sends you bills.
Prices are not the only reason to switch. Check which energy suppliers offer special discounts‚ such as dual-fuel discounts‚ or other services‚ such as cheaper telephone charges.

Age UK advice 0800 169 6565

Down Under

Your Editor received this early in August and felt that CHAIN MAIL really does reach around the world….!
Press Release
A conspiracy that will end alternative energy research; an organisation killing to protect its interests – and a bomb that will change eco-terrorism forever.

I am Rachel Amphlett a Brisbane-based author and this book I hope will draw you into the shadowy world of corporate terrorism, my debut thriller ‘White Gold’. Having lived in Kent for a number of years, I now live in Australia.

When Sarah Edgewater’s ex-husband is murdered by a radical organisation hell-bent on protecting their assets, she turns to Dan Taylor – geologist, ex-soldier, and lost cause. Together, they must unravel the research notes that Sarah’s ex-husband left behind to locate an explosive device that is circumnavigating the globe towards the London 2012 Olympics – and time is running out. In a fast-paced ecological thriller that spans the globe, from London to Brisbane and back via the Arctic Circle, Dan and Sarah aren’t just chasing the truth – they’re chasing a bomb that will change the future of alternative energy research and the centre of England’s capital forever.

‘ White Gold’ has been released via Amazon, iBookstore, Diesel and other eReader distribution outlets. Electronic publishing is gaining ground every month, rather than approach agents who often only take on 5-10 new clients every year, the effort was better spent publishing and promoting the book myself. I don’t think eBooks will ever replace traditional books, but it’s a way for me to get to a bigger audience with ‘White Gold’.’

I previously worked in the legal and economic publishing industry in the UK, and undertook several publishing-specific courses at Oxford John Brookes University. I moved to Australia from the United Kingdom in 2005 and now live in Brisbane with my partner, Nick.

I am a member of Queensland Writer’s Centre since 2009, and have had publication success both in Australia and the United Kingdom with my short stories.
Albany Creek, Queensland, Australia, 4035

Ed’s comments,
I e-mailed Rachel as I was intrigued as to how I received her invitation. Her reply answered it in one, so I reveal why below :-

I grew up in Hungerford and in fact, my dad, Richard Amphlett, was on the ambulances for a number of years However, he is actually probably more well-known for his research of the WWII losses recorded on the War Memorial, which is now published by the Hungerford Historial Association by Hugh Pihlens (who I have known since I was a child). The finished article is available on the Association’s website archives.

I attended John O’ Gaunt school between 1984 – 1989 and of course, Hungerford Primary School before that. I remember Chain Mail being delivered to our door once a quarter at the time.

Health by Liz

Natures Corner

ACAI – the Supercharged Berry from Brazil
Acai is a new superfood that really does deserve attention. Liz Chandler of Natures Corner explains why.
Indigenous to the flood plains of the Amazon estuary in Brazil, the acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) fruit has been used for centuries by the local inhabitants as a dietary staple. The fruit is harvested from the acaizerio palm tree, which produces large clusters of hundreds of dark violet berries about the size of a grape.

Traditionally Brazilians have used acai berries to treat digestive disorders and skin conditions but today it is commonly referred to as the top anti-ageing food and when you consider its nutritional profile you can see why:
Acai berries have been found to contain 30 times more anthocyanin antioxidants than red wine. They are also one of the few fruits to contain vitamins C and E meaning they help protect the skin against sun and pollution damage.
Fatty Acids
Acai fruit has a similar essential fatty acid profile to olive oil, improving brain function, immunity, cholesterol levels and muscle repair.
Phytosterols may actively help lower cholesterol and are similar to the compounds found in cholesterol lowering yogurts.
Protein & Fibre
Proteins originating from the acai fruit are processed and transported in the body more easily than proteins found in milk and meat. Acai berries also provide a valuable source of fibre and many minerals including calcium and iron.

This little berry is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world and is usually found in the form of a capsule or juice. The nutritional content of the acai makes other fruits blush with inadequacy.

For further support, advice and information please call into Natures Corner,
or tel. 01635 33007 or email

Our Community

Neighbourhood Police Team

Update from PCSO Debbie Randall

As August fast approaches it’s my favourite time of the year, the kids have broken up from School for 6 weeks, I love it! I will be spending time in the skate park, not on the boards but with the kids, as I don’t believe an old dog can always learn new tricks but I do enjoy getting to know them all a little better. So if you see me up there, please pop over for a chat.

We have had two arrests this month for being in possession of drugs. If anyone has any information on drug activity then call the Non emergency number 0845 8 505505 or my mobile 07970 145703.

We have had another theft from an insecure vehicle on Hungerford Common, where a handbag was taken from under the car seat. Insecure vehicles are an easy target for criminals which led to work tools being taken from a van. I cannot stress enough about leaving valuables in vehicles, DON’T make it easy for criminals.

Another vehicle crime job was in Ramsbury Drive. A vehicle was damaged after the door frame was levered but luckily they did not gain entry. We believe this was a possible attempt to steal the vehicle.

The team have been working alongside the John O’Gaunt School this month to assist in ‘Truancy Sweeps’ within the area. We enjoy working with the pupils at the school and they always seem to be keen and helpful.

The Carnival came and went without any problems. It was great to see so many families enjoying the sunshine. The sun came out just in time and the procession was enthusiastic and cheerful. Well done to everyone who entered the event as it does take up so much time and effort.

“ Have Your Say”, meetings were held on the 17th and 20th at the Town Hall.

On checking how many crimes we have had this month in Hungerford, I found 47. These were mostly making off without payment of fuel, domestic related incidents and child protection issues. When checking the database against this same time last year it is showing just one less, at 46.

Community Messaging is a free service which 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.

More information can be obtained via our website, and you can sign up by following this link:

Contact us

If you want any advice or would like to contact the neighbourhood team you can call us on the police non emergency number 0845 8 505505 but if your call is an emergency then dial 999.

You can also contact us via email: – please note this email address cannot be used to contact Thames Valley Police to report crimes or for any urgent matters.

If you have information about crime or Anti Social Behaviour in your area but you do not want to speak to the police, please call the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555111.

To view information on your neighbourhood team you can visit the force website at:

Robin Tubb

In Living Memory

Country Road and “Old Cuff-Cuff”

It was a chance meeting in the High Street with a long time acquaintance, who now resides in Aldbourne, that into our conversation, road works became a topic.(As I write, the gas main contract is causing mayhem and MUCH conversation).

It was then that Ronald made the questioning statement “You remember my Granddad don’t you”, to which I replied, “Indeed I do, Old Cuff-Cuff”.

This prompted the memory of the road from Lower Green Inkpen to the Inkpen Gate onto Hungerford Common, during the late 1940’s when I was still at school. This “length” was in the daily care of “lengthman” Jack Hitchens, who neatly trimmed the verges, dug out the gulleys, swept loose gravel (commonly called puncture seed) etc. and slowly worked his length, and once at the end, went back to start all over again. Jack’s bicycle could often be seen laid against bank or hedge, maybe a jacket and lunch bag, and perhaps his rip hook or hoe secured to its crossbar, Jack could be many yards away, well out of sight, working steadily with his shovel. Traffic was sparse, so always got a wave from Jack.

It was at times of resurfacing that caused most interest to young boys, and annoyance to others. The first signs that activity was about to take place was the appearance of large heaps of gravel dumped on wide parts of the verge, then a shed on wheels with a little window and a chimney, was to be seen parked in Lower Green, some fire wood and bags of coal underneath. This was the Living Van, close by a number of 40 gallon steel drums containing solid tar were placed. Maybe next day, the coal fired Tar Boiler, with its chain hoist for lifting the drums of tar into itself to be liquefied for spraying onto the road, was in place.

Best of all was the sight of the mighty Steam Roller that had not only hauled the Living Van the Tar Boiler and Water Cart to the site. It would with its forward then reverse motion, roll in the gravel that had to be spread onto the sprayed hot tar by men using wheel barrows and shovels; the men’s legs up to the knees were shiny black from tar splash and their boots had soles of tar and grit.

Although we did not see the roller often, we did see its driver, he worked for the Oxford firm of John Allen and Ford. He lived at Inkpen Lower Green, but during the week he stayed in the Living Van, along side his roller, where ever the job happened to be.

At weekends he was at home which included a visit to the Swan Inn where he became “merry” and would walk home, his right arm bent to right angle moving back and forth, uttering cuff-cuff…..cuff-cuff… cuff-cuff, imitating the sound of his beloved well steamed roller.

Hence he acquired the nick-name Cuff-Cuff from his peers as a young man, a name to which he always amiably responded, much nicer than some of the names given to some of his contemporaries. His name was George, by the way.


Seasonal Recipe

British apples are in season now till the end of the year. Look out for traditional British varieties which will have better flavour than those grown for appearance which most supermarkets seem to favour. Best of all grow your own or look out for freebies – someone else’s surplus or growing wild.

Apples are not just great for crumble; try them stewed mixed with yogurt and honey for breakfast or in a crunchy salad with grated carrot, raisins & cheese for lunch or with cider & onions to casserole a rabbit or pork or pulses.

On Hungerford Apple Day, Hungerford grown apples will be pressed, baked and chutnied. If you can’t make it here’s something to try at home; great with cheese, meat or to rev up a baked potato.

Hot Spicy Apple Chutney
900g apples 2 tbsp salt 1 whole head garlic 15 peppercorns
100ml cooking oil 2 tbsp mustard seed 1tsp fenugreek seeds 2cm fresh ginger 2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp chilli powder 1 tsp turmeric 4 fresh green chillis seeded & chopped 100ml vinegar 125 g sugar

Peel core and slice apples, sprinkle with salt. Grate ginger & garlic & fry in oil. Add all spices, cook for 2 minutes then add apples, vinegar & sugar. Stir and cook for 30 mins.
Put in sterilized warm jars, cover with plastic film & lid to seal.


Lots more seasonal recipes & foraging map on the Food pages of the HEAT web site

The Origin of The Internet …..

You might have thought that you knew how the internet started, but here’s the TRUE story ….

In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband: “Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?” And Abraham did look at her – as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said: “How, dear?”

And Dot replied: “I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price.
And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah’s Pony Stable (UPS).”
Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums.
And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.

To prevent neighbouring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was called Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures – Hebrew To The People (HTTP)

But this success did arouse envy. A man named Maccabia did secrete himself inside Abraham’s drum and began to siphon off some of Abraham’s business. But he was soon discovered, arrested and prosecuted – for insider trading.

And the young men did take to Dot Com’s trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. And indeed did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates’ drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say: “Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others.” And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or eBay as it came to be known. He said: “We need a name that reflects what we are.”

And Dot replied: “Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators.” “YAHOO,” said Abraham. And because it was Dot’s idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com. Abraham’s cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot’s drums to locate things around the countryside. It soon became known as God’s Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE)

And that is how it all began.

Del Boy !

Blasts from the Past

The following items appeared in the issue of the Parish magazine in December 1895.

“ The services on Christmas Day will be as follows:- Holy Communion at St Lawrence’s at 7 am, 9 am and after 11 o’clock Matins; at St Saviour’s at 8 am and choral at 11 am: at Newtown at 9 am. Evensong at St Lawrence’s at 6.30 pm, and at Newtown at 3 pm.
There will be a special service of preparation for the Christmas Communion at St Saviour’s on Monday December 23rd, at 8 pm, to which all intending to communicate on Christmas Day are earnestly invited.”

“ It is contemplated to give the aged poor of the Town a Tea soon after Christmas, as has been done for the last two years. A meeting of the Committee will be held shortly to make the necessary arrangements.”

“ A Reading Room in connection with the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Society was opened on Tuesday evening October 29th. By kind permission of the Constable and Feoffees it is held in the Magistrate’s Room. It is open to all men and youths above 16 who are inhabitants of Hungerford, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings, from 7.30 till 10 p.m. Smoking is allowed after 8.30. The subscription is 2d per week. A plentiful supply of paper and periodicals has been kindly promised by many friends as well as games of chess, draughts, dominoes and Halma. Cards, betting and gambling are prohibited. A propitious start has been made, and it is hoped that it will meet a want in the Town and have a successful Career.”

“ The Vicar’s Concert was held in the Corn Exchange on Thursday November 28th, and was unanimously pronounced a success. Notwithstanding the bad weather there was a full house, and the numerous encores which were demanded, showed that the varied programme was thoroughly appreciated. Our old favourites Miss Appach, Rev G.G. Brown, and Mr J Stuart Higgs kindly helped us once again; and among the other performers were Miss Brown, Mrs Ponsonby, Miss Dunn, Miss Florence Thornton, the Misses Willes, Mr E.C. Wren, and Messrs Jessett, Hawkes and Lewis.

The following novelties proved very attractive: Harp and Piano duet, the Misses Willes; Violin Solos, Miss F Thornton; and a Toy Symphony, the Misses Willes Thornton and Gray. The Platform was very tastefully decorated by Mrs Gray and her friends with foliage plants and flowers kindly lent by Mrs G.E. Platt, Mrs Astley, and Mrs Ponsonby.

The proceeds will be devoted to pay off the debt on the Coal and Clothing Clubs for 1894, and when the expenses are paid it is hoped a good sum will remain for this purpose. The Vicar wishes to tender his most cordial thanks to the different performers and other helpers to whose kind efforts the success of the Concert is due.”

‘ Oh for the days before Television.’

Legal Spot

What is a Living Will?

Simon Mee, a wills and estate planning specialist with
solicitors, Charles Lucas & Marshall explains why
people may want to consider a ‘living will.’

When a person is unwell they will usually talk with their doctors to agree a course of treatment. However, if, for example, a person is unconscious following an accident or unable to communicate their wishes during the later stages of an illness, doctors must act in the patient’s ‘best interests’.

A person may have made an advance decision to refuse medical treatment which the medical team must follow whether or not they believe it is in the ‘best interests’ of their patient.

The term Living Will has no legal meaning, but is often used to refer to these advance decisions or sometimes, advance statements. These are not binding decisions to refuse treatment but provide an indication of the patient’s wishes which healthcare staff should take into account.

How do I make an advance decision?

An advance decision to refuse treatment is binding and must be followed, provided it is valid and applicable. An advance decision can be made invalid by withdrawing the decision, appointing one or more attorneys under a Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney or by acting in a way clearly inconsistent with the decision.

An advance decision must also be applicable, that is, it must state precisely what treatment is to be refused ie a statement giving a general desire not to be treated is not sufficient. Therefore, an advance decision is usually most appropriate where a person has been diagnosed with a particular illness and the course of that illness can be defined, or if a person has strong feelings or beliefs about a particular treatment, such as blood transfusions.

While an advance decision need not be in writing and may be verbal, a written record should be kept, either in a person’s healthcare record or by preparation of a specific document. However, an advance decision which refuses life sustaining treatment must be in writing and signed and witnessed.

Only if a healthcare professional is satisfied an advance decision exists, is valid and is applicable must they follow it and not carry out the relevant treatment.

Are there any alternatives?

Following the Mental Capacity Act 2005 it is possible to appoint a person, called an attorney, to make health and welfare decisions if you are incapable of making them yourself. This could include the ability to refuse or give consent to life sustaining treatment. This Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can provide greater flexibility than an advance directive.

For further information contact Simon Mee on 01488 682506 or

Church Bells

Bell ringing at St Lawrence

Each July, the Newbury Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild holds the local heat of the national 6-bell striking competition. Member towers are invited to enter and the winner is the band which rings with the least faults. The occasion is also an opportunity for us to have a social. This year we met at Peasemore where the old gravestones in the churchyard were interspersed with giant versions of jenga, chess and pick-up sticks. People played quoits and children released giant bubbles into the air. There was even a young man giving a juggling masterclass. “Juggling is a bit like bell ringing” he said. “It’s all about rhythm”. This seemed to entice almost everyone to have a go. Afterwards we enjoyed a fabulous home-made tea provided by the host band, in the village hall.

The Hungerford band (pictured here) won The Marshall Shield – awarded to the highest scoring band which includes a novice ringer. That was Jacob, the youngest member of our band. Jacob’s mother, Melanie (4th from the left) learned to ring as a young teenager in the late 1970’s, on St Lawrence’s brand new ring of 8 bells. She returned to ringing about a year ago, bringing Jacob and his grandmother, Patricia. Both have been enthusiastic participants and are now ringing regularly for Sunday services. Jacob has progressed more quickly (as youngsters tend to do, if they are interested enough). He has not only learned to handle a bell confidently but can ring as part of a 6-bell method band.

Recently, Mel, Pat and Jacob joined a small party of Hungerford ringers to visit some of the towers in Oxford as part of the Guild Festival, which occurs every 10 years. The first tower was Oxford Cathedral, where we rang rounds on 12 bells. This was a first for Jacob and a test of his bell handling skills. Since 11 bells have to ring between each strike of the tenor bell, a ringer is required to ring very closely after the bell he’s following, but then hold the bell on the balance and wait for his turn to ring again. Split seconds make all the difference here and good bell control is necessary for perfect striking.

Along with Pat and Jacob, Hungerford tower has been fortunate to have a steady stream of novices in recent years, at a time of general decline in the number of bell ringers (and only 10% of ringers are aged under 20). This is a trend we all hope will be reversed. Bell ringers are part of a community maintaining a unique tradition – and sharing a challenging and rewarding interest too.

Sarah Chatters