Issue 113

1st December
1st March 2012

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


Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

Well here we are in December with Christmas just around the corner. There are lots of events to look forward to including the Victorian Extravaganza on Friday 9th December and the Mayor’s Carol Service on Sunday 18th December at 6.30pm in St. Lawrence’s. I am sure that our Christmas lights will once again be one of the best in the South of England thanks to Rod Desmoules and his team.

CHAIN is very lucky to have such a wonderful group of volunteers and we have been very lucky to recruit some new car drivers and Handybus drivers over the last couple of months.

We are looking to replace our ‘Chairman’ vehicle and if anyone would like to make a donation towards the cost we would be very grateful. The new vehicle will be a Renault Kangoo which will cost £17,250.00 plus VAT and we will be using £5,000 from our reserves.

The ‘Chairman’ is used to take people who are in wheelchairs to hospital appointments, stroke clubs, family visits, etc. Sometimes our own drivers are used or family members drive the vehicle (after training).

Please make your kind donation through this enables Greenham Common trust to collate all the donations, attract 22% gift aid, and the Trust will then possibly contribute up to £5000 towards our project to replace our ageing vehicle.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Best Wishes, Janette Kersey


Did you know that your big society organisation CHAIN will be 35 years old in 2012?

Did you know that your Editor just loves to hear ,and possibly publicise for free about any events that are to take place? We also put events/happenings etc. up on the web to Hungerford’s What’s On pages! You do of course have to think a bit in advance though.

Did you know that up to a half page could be yours for free to promote your organisation (not businesses) Club, Group, etc

Did you know that CHAIN, because we ask for Volunteers in this mag, do attract new people to our cause. To those that have joined us this year, thank you, and to others who are thinking about it, please ring the office Mon to Fri 9-11 683727 thanks. By the way, see our advert click on ‘Please Help’.
New Years resolution, just don’t sit there, DO IT.

Did you know that for club’s, organisations, group’s etc. that if you need funds to finance or part finance a project, you can apply to the Greenham Common trust?
Full details click on ‘Findmeagrant’.

Click on ‘The Old Codger’ for some info on Home insulation. Not everyone is successful for a free grant, if you are 83, and have 2 1/2” insulation already, and it is 55% efficient, then you won’t qualify for the 7inch stuff, but surely that would have made it more efficient, or is that too ridiculous. Perhaps the 2 1/2 inch should have been ripped out, or is that too dishonest of me?

The letters page is devoted to an article printed in September’s issue about benefits paid to illegal immigrants, headed…Is This Really True…well, turned out it wasn’t, emails apparently had been going round the world with various versions. I think maybe there is no smoke without fire, or is it the other way round? And why are the OAP’s paid so little? Makes me sick to see the Public gold plated pensions, as against what we from the private sector get as a pension.

We need your help again please see Very Important Notice click on ‘Please Help’, The story of CHAIN, dust off the cobwebs!

Such lovely people and generous as well, please see the Poppy appeal article click on ‘Our Community’

My special thanks to all our advertisers who make this magazine free to all of you, and of course my thanks for all the lovely people who walk the streets posting CHAIN MAIL through your door. Thank you all so very much.

Would any of you out there care to write a page for CHAIN MAIL, it could be just a one off, or a series, I would love to hear from you! We do get read, with our 2900 copies distributed locally.
I hope you all have the Christmas and New Year that you wish for.

Thanks & Regards, David Piper
Tel: 01488-683152
Letters, articles and adverts should be sent to me by the 7th of the month preceding
publication, i.e.7th Feb for the issue on March1st. 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

From Gateway to Heart

In the romantic era of horse drawn coaches, Hungerford became known as the Crossroads of Southern England providing weary travellers with a place to rest and for their team of horses to be changed. Inns and hostelries, shops and traders in the town all benefitted greatly from this transit business.

For most of the 20th Century this source of income continued with the growth of travel by car, motor coach and lorry. When the planners in Government drew up regional areas, Hungerford was designated to be on the fringe of South East England and almost overnight became regarded as the Gateway to the South West maintaining that passing trade. However with the advent of the M4, that gateway was swung open and the traffic flow through the town dropped immediately with an inevitable dip in commercial activity.

It is a strange fact that when considering places to visit, today’s vacationers can immediately recognise areas known by their generic title such as The Cotswolds, Lake District or East Anglia. Yet Hungerford sits squarely in the middle of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty [AONB] that stretches from Pangbourne in the East to Devizes in the West, from Wantage in the North to Andover in the South. In 1972 this area was designated The North Wessex Downs, an area of nearly 700 square miles that harbours a wealth of ancient woodlands, chalk streams, river valleys, historic settlements and monuments plus Sites of Special Scientific Interest [SSSI] including our own Freeman’s Marsh.

The highly successful “I love Hungerford” campaign organised by the Chamber of Commerce has the ubiquitous heart as its symbol and it seems to me that we could also adopt it to broadcast Hungerford as The Heart of the North Wessex Downs. By doing so we could enhance our reputation as a friendly welcoming town with an eclectic mix of independent shops and offer hospitality to encourage visitors to consider Hungerford as the epicentre of an area worthy of further exploration and stay for longer than one day. Perhaps this might see a revival of the atmosphere of those romantic days of travel and trade.

The Hungerford Christmas lights [switched on 26th November] have now become an established ‘must see’ feature for thousands and the Victorian Extravaganza [December 9th ] is a unique event that continues to build upon the festive scene bringing with it yet more visitors. It is now a task for your council and others to ensure as we enter the Year of the London Olympics and celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, we can convert those visitors into tourists to the benefit of the economy of our town.

On behalf of your Town Council,
I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and an even Happier New Year.

Cllr Martin Crane O.B.E.
Mayor of Hungerford

St. Lawrence’s Church, December. 18th. Mayor’s Ca

Chain’s Page

Also on this page…..Digital Switchover …..etc


CHAIN is 35 years old next year and Ron Rowland is producing:-

The story of CHAIN

We need your help please for additions, errors, etc.

There is a copy in the Library and you can download a pdf version of this and save it to your computer for reading later…Don’t print it as it is 45 pages long.

For Internet Explorer Browser, Right Click here to download to your computer, in the pop up panel choose ‘Save Target as ‘ choose where you want it on your computer. I always save to the Desktop and then move it later if needed          For Firefox browsers Left click, when open go top left,click on FILE and then choose ‘Save Page As’.

Please send your bits quoting the page number to Ron at :-

cc it as well to:-


      Click to e-mail me


Your local contact has written the article below.

David Thorpe is a key member of CHAIN


In West Berkshire we receive our terrestrial television signals via the main transmitter at Hannington. The ANALOGUE signals from this transmitter will be switching over to DIGITAL in a two stage process on the 8th and 22nd FEBRUARY 2012.

There is an important BBC “SWITCHOVER HELP SCHEME” which has been well-publicised but there will still be many people who do not understand what Switchover is about and these are likely to be people who need help from their community. The “SWITCHOVER HELP SCHEME” will include installation and support for one year and will cost £40.00 or will be free of charge depending on the individual circumstances.

The Community Council for Berkshire is supporting the local roll-out of the Switchover Help Scheme and your volunteer for Hungerford is DAVID THORPE who will coordinate the recruitment of SUPPORTERS in the local community, in order to spread this message and ensure no-one gets missed out.

SUPPORTERS will ideally come from the local Hungerford organisations that are most likely to be in a position to recognise those in the local community who may need support. People such as local postmen, shopkeepers, publicans, priests, as well as employees at doctors surgeries, dentists, clinics and members of organisations such as W.I. Royal British Legion, Probus, Tuesday Club and the many other clubs and leisure facilities that play an active part in Hungerford’s community life. A full range of leaflets and posters will be available.

Those most at risk will likely be:-
Older people
People with sensory, mobility and/or dexterity impairments
People who have a learning disability
People who have experienced mental health conditions
People who do not have English as a first language
People who are socially isolated

David will be coordinating, performing and supporting local presentations, discussions and “question and answer” sessions to those organisations in the town who would have contact with the people from the groups who are most at risk. This is primarily a communications exercise to ensure that 100% of our population in the local community are able to achieve a trouble free switchover to this new digital technology.

If you feel you could help in identifying these people at risk and would be prepared to become a SUPPORTER please contact DAVID THORPE on:-
Tel: 01488 685080 or by email at:

Letters & E-mails

Hi David, Regarding Is this Really true? in the last issue

I don’t know if you are the correct person to contact in regards to the article on page 15 of issue 112 of Chain but here I go anyway.

I’m 42 years old and I always find the Chain magazine an interesting read. The latest issue came through my door the other day and I set about reading it. I was dismayed to read the article on page 15 about OAP’s versus Illegal Immigrants which left my blood boiling. I was even in the Croft Club earlier today (01/09/11) showing a pensioner the article. We were both shocked but all in all not surprised. “GREAT” Britain, only if you are here illegally!!!

However, after eating my tea this night and having remembered my earlier discussion with the pensioner in the Croft Club I decided to investigate these claims using the internet. To my massive relief it appears the article is based on a hoax that had earlier circulated both the United States and Australia.

Like I said my relief was immense now believing we live in a country where only the deserved get help from us tax payers. In my dreams, but at least it appears that it doesn’t pay to be illegal, for the foreseeable future anyway.

Keep up the good work with Chain as it’s probably the best free publication that comes through our doors in Hungerford. Kind regards, Terry.

P.S. If anyone wonders how I managed to be in the Croft Club on a Thursday afternoon, I am currently on annual leave from work this week celebrating a daughters 18th birthday.

Ed’s comment…..The article was … Is this Really true? So thanks Terry for your research.

Ed’s further comment….Another gentleman contacted me by e-mail telling me off, but when I offered to publish his criticism, he said it wasn’t for publication !
So much for the strength of conviction!

Good Morning,
I refer to the half page in your Autumn issue no. 112 page 15, devoted to a comparison between support payments paid to Old Age Pensioners compared to Illegal Immigrants and Refugees living in Britain. This was given to me by my father in law who resides in your area and who was disgusted, as no doubt many of your readers would have been when the ‘facts’ that pensioners total benefit is £6000 compared with Illegal Immigrants who it is claimed can benefit to the tune of £29,900.

So I decided to write to a number of prominent cabinet ministers, including Theresa May, Philip Hammond and the Prime Minister. 10 Downing Street and one other Minister referred my letter to the Department for Work and Pensions. I received letters and supportive documentation from John Herron (Ministerial Correspondence Manager) and from Goff Daft (Head of the correspondence team).

In their respective letters, these two absolute statements are made “the information in the magazine you received just is not true” and “I can confirm that all the figures cited in the article are incorrect”.

Yes we have a major problems in the UK as a result of immigrants flooding our NHS system, for example. However any negative comments ought to be factual and not fictitious.

Best wishes to you and to your magazine. I hope my comments will help you produce a better product in the future.  


Ed’s comment, Oh dear, but at least somebody is reading CHAIN MAIL!


Bits 2

Little extras

Anna & Robin Dunn are looking for people to join them in German conversation lessons, with some grammar, which are presently held in their house at Inkpen (venue could be changed), the German teacher charges £7.50 for each hour and a half on a Wednesday evening. Anyone interested contact Anna Dunn 01488 668310

Bach in Context.…….On the second Sunday in Advent, 4th December, The Revd. David Bunney is holding an evening service at 6.30pm in the United Reform Church—one with a difference. Centred on music by Bach, the Cantata no. 140 Wake awake for night is flying will provide the focus.
A newly-formed Early Music Group conducted by Joe Paxton will form the small choir, supported by instrumental and vocal soloists, some from the Kennet Opera. The music will be sung in the context of a service of evening prayer, making use of the delightful little organ. There will be a retiring offering for expenses.

Thursday 8th December
Last day for Cards for Good Causes (closes at 1 p.m)

Hungerford Round Table Santa Float:-

December, 3rd Froxfield & Chilton Foliat
4th Shalbourne, 5th & 6th Inkpen,
7th Great Shefford,
8th Hungerford,
10th & 11th Kintbury,
12th to 16th Hungerford

Hungerford Round Table Christmas tree shredding:-

8th January 9a.m. to 1p.m. outside the Town Hall



Hungerford Surgery

ew Doctor Appointed. Hungerford Surgery is very pleased to announce the appointment of a new GP Partner. Dr. Ellora Evans (MBBS, MRCP, MRCGP, DRCOG) will be joining the practice in mid January 2012 from the Waterfield Practice in Bracknell. Dr Evans replaces Dr. Sarah Bruen who left the practice in October and will assume responsibility for Dr. Bruen’s patient list. We are delighted to have secured the services of Dr. Evans and look forward to welcoming her to the practice in the New Year.

Don’t Forget Your Flu Jab
A reminder that you can still have a free flu jab if you fit into one of the following ‘at risk’ groups. Just call the appointment line on 01488 682507 for more information and / or to make an appointment, or better still mention it to the doctor or nurse when you next attend the surgery for a routine appointment. Over 65 years old. Aged between 6 months and 65 years of age and in a clinical risk group i.e. diagnosed with diabetes, chronic respiratory disease (COPD or Asthma), chronic heart, kidney, liver or neurological disease or you are immunosupressed through disease or treatment. 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.

Let’s Get Moving
Promoting active lifestyles is a simple answer to many of the big health challenges facing our country today and Hungerford Surgery is introducing a new physical activity care pathway called Let’s Get Moving. Research and common sense tells us all that we can significantly improve the health of the nation, reduce deaths and improve life expectancy if people lead a more active lifestyle.

We can also help save the NHS money and significantly ease the burden of chronic disease on the acute sector and public services.
It is not necessarily about going to a gym or formal exercise groups which aren’t for everyone. Simple measures like taking regular walks, dancing, swimming or a gentle cycle ride can make significant differences to your well being.

Please ask for more information from your doctor or nurse or by calling the surgery on 01488 682507 and let’s all get moving!

Mike Hall      Practice Manager

Virtual Museum

Hungerford Rotary Club and the Loyal Toast

At all its meetings, Hungerford Rotary Club always uses the Loyal Toast “The Queen, Duke of Lancaster” rather than simply “The Queen”. Why is this; what is the history behind it?

For more on this topic, look at The Hungerford Virtual Museum
(, under Themes / Loyal Toast.

When King William I invaded England in 1066, he rapidly established his authority over his new Kingdom by distributing the various manors and lands between his many Norman relatives and close friends.
In 1108, Hungerford was in the ownership of a distant relative of King William I – Robert de Beaumont, Count of Meulan. The manor of Hungerford remained in his family for several generations. Eventually, in 1232 it came into the hands of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, who created a deer park on the east side of Hungerford (now Hungerford Park).
When Simon de Montfort was killed at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, King Henry III granted Simon’s lands to the King’s younger son, Edmund. More land was added, and in 1267 the estate was formally granted as the “County, Honour and Castle of Lancaster”. The House of Lancaster was established.
In 1351 King Edward III raised Lancashire into a county palatine, whereby its lord had autonomy from the rest of the Kingdom; whilst he swore allegiance to the King, he had the power to rule the county largely independently of the King. The Duchy of Lancaster became one of the biggest landed estates in the country.

At the same time, 6 March 1351, Edward III made Henry of Grosmont the First Duke of Lancaster. Henry of Grosmont (great-grandson of Henry III), married Isabel de Beaumont (a descendant of the de Beaumont family who had held Hungerford right back in 1108). Henry and Isabel had two daughters, Maud and Blanche, but importantly, no son. When Henry died in 1361, the Duke of Lancaster creation became extinct (with no son available to become a 2nd Duke of Lancaster). However, the vast Lancastrian estates did pass to his elder daughter, Maud.
Maud died childless the following year (10 April 1362), and the manor of Hungerford, along with the other Lancastrian estates, passed to her younger sister Blanche. Three years earlier, in 1359, Blanche had married (at Reading Abbey) John of Gaunt, the third (surviving) son of King Edward III. John of Gaunt (at the tender age of 22 years) thus became the owner of the massive inherited Lancastrian estates – which included Hungerford.

Later that year, on 13 November 1362, King Edward III (John of Gaunt’s father) conferred the dukedom of Lancaster on John of Gaunt “and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten for ever”. John of Gaunt was therefore the First Duke of Lancaster of the second creation. He was one of the richest and most powerful men in the country.
When Edward III died in 1377, the crown passed to his grandson, a 10-year old boy, who became King Richard II. During Richard II’s reign (1377-1399), John of Gaunt virtually ran the country as Protector.
Tradition has it that it was John of Gaunt who granted the rights of free fishing and the rights of the market and trade to the people of Hungerford, freeing them from paying taxes to the Duchy of Lancaster.

The problem is that we do not have a Charter confirming this liberty. The Duchy of Lancaster’s copy was said to have been lost when the Savoy Palace was destroyed in the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. Hungerford’s own copy was lost or stolen around 1573 (during the reign of Elizabeth I).
In 1573, the Duchy of Lancaster was in dispute with the people of Hungerford. The Duchy wanted us to pay our taxes – but Hungerford said John of Gaunt had granted liberty. Queen Elizabeth I herself was involved as things came to a head.
In 1612, after about 40 more years of dispute with the Duchy, and at a time when the then King James I was urgently seeking any money he could get his hands on, the Manor of Hungerford was sold by James I to two London men (for £285), John Eldred and William Whitmore. Over the next five years there were a number of further transactions.
Finally, on 16 June, 1617, the Manor of Hungerford was conveyed to Ralph Mackerell (Constable), and 13 other local men ‘in trust for the inhabitants’. These 14 men thus became the first feoffees or trustees of the Town and Manor of Hungerford.

Hungerford was finally and legally independent of the Duchy of Lancaster. However, it continued to remember and support the Lancastrian cause, acknowledging its important historic connection with John of Gaunt.
This has explained the connection of Hungerford with John of Gaunt and the Duchy of Lancaster – and suggested why we might indeed toast “the Duke of Lancaster”.
But why is the Loyal Toast “The Queen, Duke of Lancaster”?
When John of Gaunt died on 4 February 1399, his son Henry Bolingbroke became 2nd Duke of Lancaster. Later that same year, Henry usurped the throne of England from his cousin Richard II, ascending the throne as Henry IV. All of his peerages merged with the Crown.
The first act of King Henry IV was to declare that the Lancastrian inheritance be held separately from the other possessions of the Crown, and should descend to his male heirs.
This separation of identities was confirmed in 1461 by Edward IV when he incorporated the inheritance and the palatinate responsibilities under the title of the Duchy of Lancaster, and stipulated that it be held separate from other inheritances by him and his heirs, Kings of England. The Duchy of Lancaster continued to pass to the reigning monarch right into the 18th century.
In 1760 George III became King. All the Crown Estates were surrendered by the King in exchange for a regular annual allowance in the form of the Civil List. However, the historic separate identity of the Duchy of Lancaster preserved it in the hands of the King, and it has remained in the personal ownership of each reigning monarch since.

The Duchy of Lancaster is therefore primarily a landed inheritance belonging to the reigning sovereign. It is not the property of The Crown, but is instead the personal (inherited) property of the monarch – as it has been ever since 1399. The monarch is correctly styled “Duke of Lancaster”, regardless of gender.
Hungerford Rotary Club will continue to use the Loyal Toast, “The Queen, the Duke of Lancaster” which is still widely said within the Duchy, and in Hungerford.

(Rotarian Hugh Pihlens Hungerford Virtual Museum)

The Old Codger

Efficiency or Inefficiency, that beggars belief!
Have you been insulated yet? I know I keep on about it, but it is really going to save you money, what with last winter’s hike on Gas & Electricity, the same or worse is happening this year and the next. Well thank you past governments for letting our Public Utilities go abroad, they couldn’t care less about us could they? See the next page under Talmage’s advert for some contact phone and website details. Be warned though, if you have more than 6.5cm (2.5inches) of insulation in your loft you will not qualify for the cheap or free (over 70) grant, even though it falls well short of the 170cm (virtually 7inches) that would have been put down. Now I reckon that is an absolute STUPID bit of red tape, don’t you? Don’t forget your cavity wall insulation as well.

Went to France the other week, I was so impressed with their driving manners, the slower speed limits in town = to 20mph, so much safer, and the wonderful lane discipline on the motorways, they do their overtaking and get back in. Isn’t that speed limit sign great 130kph or with the cloud & rain symbol reduce to 110kph for safer driving, and on a bit of a hill the lorries are banned from overtaking! Back into dear old Blighty, on the M3 an inconsiderate (during the rush hour) motorist drove for miles in the middle lane at 60mph, cars then going down the inside lane at 70mph and undertaking him through the sheer frustration of being severely held up. Mind you we had just spent an extra 2 hours on the M25 (long delays J8 –J12), no accident just sheer traffic volume. Somebody said get a Sat Nav, but I still use a pencil !

So the footbridge is finally here/started. I do hope that when they switch on the traffic lights that they get on with the job, and actually WORK, so that they can be removed quickly. There is nothing worse than being delayed when NOBODY is there, let alone working ! Please don’t take a leaf out of our non-working Road Works on our motorways, and the recent Gas works!

Digital TV soon, see the article, click on ‘Please Help’. If you have a satellite dish or cable TV then as far as I know you will not be affected.

Now that WBC have withdrawn some services I see that CHAIN’s wheelchair vehicle’s use has nearly doubled. It is getting on in years and they are appealing for donations towards a new one. You did see the Chairman’s (Janette’s) didn’t you?

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

A Fruitful Quest

Apples, Plums, Pears- this year seems to have been a good year for fruit and many of us were inundated. I managed to pick most of the plums before the wasps took them. I was very creative   (I think) with my cooking to make use of them, although many of my dishes had a common ingredient! The freezer is full of beans, spinach, gooseberries, red, white and blackcurrants but I managed to squeeze a few bags of plums in too.

Even the “condemned” pear tree
which has been on its last legs for a couple of years has produced the
most beautiful fruit. I bought a replacement for the tree but didn’t manage to dig the old tree out, partly due to a “discussion” about the necessity of doing so between my husband and myself. It looks awful as the trunk is crumbling away and full of woodlice. I presume that the abundance of pears is its death throes attempt to reproduce. So I may yet get my way and have the new tree in place before long.

Pears are tricky, I find, as they are rock hard, yet very quickly start to rot once picked so will only keep for some time if cooked and frozen or bottled. I do have some lovely recipes for pears, including savouries such as Pear and Brie tart. Great for lunch with a salad. I also adapted my mum’s Eve’s pudding for pears with a chocolate sponge.

The bizarre late summer weather followed by a couple of windy days affected our Bramley apple crop so that most of them dropped overnight. Apples do store well if in good condition kept in a cool, dry place, spaced out on trays but the ones we salvaged have been cooked and eaten!

Around now, bare root fruit trees are available to buy and if you would like to start your own mini orchard, prepare the ground and get planting.

However it was with great interest that I have just read about a new sharing website called FRUITSHARE

This website aims to promote eating local while using up available resources. Users register as a Fruitsharer or alternatively if you haven’t got trees, a Fruitseeker. You will then be able to find a match in your own area. Fruitshare is not a large commercial site and has no budget for publicizing itself. It is relying on people to spread the word so have a look and if your neighbour is complaining about mountains of apples, pass the word on.

Stacy Tuttle

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Winter Thrushes
Redwings and Fieldfares should have arrived in the Hungerford area in the last week of October and should stay until the end of March. They can be seen in flocks in the countryside usually in open fields or in hedgerows. Large flocks of winter thrushes can descend on hawthorn bushes and strip them bare of their red berries.

The British Trust for Ornithology has decided to conduct a survey of winter thrushes. Probably because they now appear on the Conservation Red List.
The BTO are asking for help from the public to find out how these birds use the countryside. If you want to help then you can contact them on their website, and go into birdtrack. Birdtrack is a partnership project run by the BTO, RSPB, Birdwatch Ireland and the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club which researches bird migration and distribution of birds.

The Redwing is the U.K‘s smallest thrush but it still
manages to reach our shores all the way from Scandinavia, where it breeds. It is slightly smaller than the Song Thrush we see in our gardens.The bird is very easy to identify. It has a prominent creamy eye stripe and red shoulder patches and is similar to a Song Thrush. Interestingly it roosts in the tops of hawthorn scrub, laurel and similar bushes at night time. Consequently bird lovers have been able to trap large numbers of them and ring them. Ringing helps to establish movement patterns and aids research.
Fieldfares are larger than Redwing and have grey heads and
rumps, and are approximately the same size as a Mistle Thrush.
They breed in Central Europe and in Scandinavia. Although they appear in large flocks with Redwings they prefer to roost on the ground. Both Redwings and Fieldfares will visit gardens if there is snow on the ground and there is an apple tree with fruit on it.

Partridges: I have recently driven around the byways of the Hungerford area and been amazed how many Red Legged Partridges are around. This bird seems to be everywhere, in fields and on tracks. It appears to have ousted the Grey Partridge, our native species. The Red Legged Partridge is also called the French Partridge and was introduced from France and Spain for shoots. The Grey Partridge is often called the English Partridge and is obviously not favoured by the shooting estates. I suspect this is part of the reason for its appearance on the Conservation Red List.The Grey Partridge has an orange head whereas the French Partridge has a black and white head.

So when you take a drive into the countryside this autumn look out for Thrushes and Partridges in the fields. I bet nobody will see an English Partridge.


Seasonal Recipe Winter Warmers from HEAT

As the nights are getting colder, you might be interested to find out how well your house retains the heat. Daniel has possession of an infra red camera and is willing to pop round and show you where your house is leaking heat. Contact him at

Seasonal Recipe – Chilli Sauce
I first got the chilli habit about 10 years ago when I was given a piri-piri plant. This habit grew into an obsession & about 4 years ago we moved into a house with a large south facing greenhouse. This meant I could experiment with different varieties of chillies (from the meek to the mind-blowing!). Many people think that it’s just about the heat, but different types of chillies have very distinctive flavours, particularly notable with the scotch bonnets, habanero and nagas. Chillies are relatively easy to grow and as a beginner you don’t even need a greenhouse, as long as you have a warm windowsill. I usually sow my chillies in March, pick the earlier varieties at the end of summer and the larger hotter varieties later in the Autumn. Select your crops on the basis of the space you’ve available – the hotter varieties (scotch bonnets, habanero and nagas) can take up a lot of room and grow up to about 1m in height.

Don’t be daunted if you get a glut of chillies, they freeze well or you can dry them in a low oven for a couple of hours. I also cold smoke my dried chillies over oak or apple wood as this gives an amazing flavour. Alternatively you can make a great chilli jam (which I sell in the Hungerford butchers shop – Wham-Bam Chilli Jam) or chilli relish (recipe below).

For those of you who would like to learn more about all things chilli, sample some recipes or get some free seeds, I’ll be at the Hungerford Farmers Market on Sunday 18 Dec on the HEAT stall.

Chilli Sauce
To reduce the heat just use milder chillies. Makes 6 jars
20 Scotch Bonnet chillies, chopped and de-seeded, 2 small onions, chopped,
400g tin plum tomatoes, a good squeeze of tomatoes puree, 4 cloves of garlic,
100mls red wine vinegar, 50g brown sugar, salt & black pepper.

Gently fry onions and garlic until translucent (don’t brown). Add chillies and cook for a couple more minutes until soft. Add sugar, vinegar, seasoning and tomatoes and simmer for 10mins.
Blitz in a food processor and pour into jars whist still hot.
Put the lids on loose and allow to cool.
This will keep in the fridge for about a month. Use as you would a relish with cold cuts or cheese or add to soups, stews or marinades to give a bit of a zing.
Simon Flanagan

More seasonal recipes & what’s on at
e mail


Health by Liz

Cherry Aid

With ‘superfoods’ being a hot topic at this cold time of year, Liz Chandler from Natures Corner looks at the reason why the Montmorency cherry, really is a super food that can aid us to a healthier life.

The Montmorency cherry is a variety of sour cherry, named after a valley in France from where it originated. This particular cherry contains the powerful antioxidant anthocyanins, which protects many of our bodies system.

• Pain & Inflammation
Recent research suggests that the anthocyanin compounds help support joint comfort and flexibility.
• Gout
The presence of the anthocyanins is believed to block pain and reduce levels of uric acid. This is key to easing symptoms of gout and flare ups.
• Sleep/Jet Lag
Scientists have discovered high levels of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency cherries. Melatonin is a hormone that controls our normal sleep patterns and reduces the time in which it takes to fall asleep. Melatonin also diminishes daytime fatigue following long haul flights.
• Muscle Recovery
Montmorency cherries help to speed up post exercise recovery from sore muscles and many national athletes and sportspeople are now taking the cherries as part of their training regime.

Your ‘cherry aid’ can be taken as a concentrated liquid which can be diluted with water, or as vegetarian capsules.

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

Our Community

Also on this page….Merrywood……Poppy Appeal ……Croft Films…..POLICE

Hungerford Town Band

10th December 


Town Hall 7.30pm


    Click to e-mail us


Once again a big thank you to everybody for the
wonderfulsupport that you gave to Hungerford Royal
British Legion (RBL) Poppy Appeal for 2011/12. I would like to thank all the volunteers for 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. There are still a large number of tins to be counted, but so far we have raised £16.5k.

A4 Hire based in Bath Road, Hungerford has generously offered to donate the net earnings for a year from one of their diggers to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

The money raised by the Appeal will be used nationally by RBL for rehabilitation services for seriously wounded servicemen and women returning from Afghanistan. In particular the Legion’s Battle Back Centre which will use sports training to help those injured to recover.

The money raised will also go to help local veterans and their dependants with mobility needs, respite care, and with minor adaptions to their homes.

Shelagh Parry Tel: 01488 681492

In Living Memory

The War Memorial, the Home Café and Bicycles.

In the days just before the M4 Motorway was in operation, a great volume of all types of traffic passed through Hungerford, East /West the A4 and North/South the A338, which meant that the short length between the junction of the A4 with Folly Hill and the junction with Bridge Street, was (and still is) both (A4 & A338), and carrying all of this traffic.
On the South side and near to the Western end was the Fire Station, its doors facing obliquely onto the highway. A fire call out was hazardous, due to the traffic volume and limited manoeuvre ability. This enforced the move to the present site in Church Street.

Opposite the Fire Station, between the Red Lion Inn and the Wesleyan Methodist Church was the Home Café; much more a sedate tea shop, when I knew it, than that of the busy Café serving the travelling public as in previous times. There was a nice little “pull in” at the side, for a few cars, but there were usually some bicycles leant against the walls, as it was well known by the Cyclist Touring Club as a convenient welcoming spot. It displayed their badge on the front of the building.

Turn South for a few yards into Bridge Street from here and you will see the Hungerford War Memorial, a dignified, fine crafted stone plinth, column and cross, a structure fitting to those whose names are recorded upon it.

The mason entrusted with the commission to make it, was Charles Davis, a local man whose work is in many a window sill, door step or corner stone within the district as well as many of the monuments and head stones in the Church Yards. Charley’s workshops were at the back of Home Café in old buildings that were possibly at one time stables. I now go back to the walls of the Café which the bikes were often leant against. There were no straight or level courses as one would expect to find, but a vertical crazy wall, perfectly upright, made up of triangles, quadrants, ogees, squares, rectangles and all of different sizes and of varying colour from off white to golden buff, fitting perfectly with the thinnest of lime mortar joints, all finished to high degree.

The Café was that of Mrs Gertrude Davis, wife of the stone mason, it was their home. I think most locals knew her as Gertie, her reputation for tea and cakes went far and wide, although the fare offered was not changed much in latter years, and fashion changes. Living on the premises must have been convenient to both Charley and Gertie.

I am sorry that I only knew Mr. Davis by reputation, and his existing work I came across, were indeed good.

The Café was eventually sold and operated on modern lines.

The Church became redundant and was sold for development as was the Café, in such close proximity.

I do not think we will see walls built as were the walls of this café, perhaps today it may have had a preservation order put upon it!


CHAIN is helping in our community.

  Please click to visit our website    


We provide transport to Doctors, Dentists, Chiropodists, Hospital appointments, and more. We ask clients to make a donation towards the cost (at least 40p per mile please). Our drivers collect their clients (from home) and escort them to the appropriate clinic, stay with them and then take them back home.

CHAIN own a ‘’Chairman Vehicle’’ (currently a Renault Kangoo estate), which will hold someone in a wheelchair plus a couple of passengers. The ”Chairman” can be booked through the Office and we will either provide a driver or train a family member to drive the vehicle themselves. We ask clients to make a donation towards the cost (at least 40p per mile please).

CHAIN runs the HANDYBUS which is owned by West Berkshire Council.
Our team of drivers take people on shopping trips, Hungerford Market day and to Newbury etc., to the Hydrotherapy Pool in Swindon, and trips to other clubs, also to the CHAIN Lunches in Croft Hall and the CHAIN Pub Lunches.

CHAIN organise Lunches in the Croft Hall bi-monthly, and with a team of helpers dish up a lovely hot meal to about 30 people every other month. Please contact the office or look out for notices in our notice board under the railway bridge, if you are interested in coming contact must be made to the Organiser. This information can be found in CHAIN MAIL.

There are organised monthly CHAIN Pub Lunches , the office can give you details, or look out for notices in our notice board under the railway bridge. We use the Handybus and give you a door to door service! Contact must be made to the Organiser

The CHAIN Office is open Monday – Friday 9 – 11am and the volunteers who man the office are there to help you with any bookings or other queries. 01488 683727

CHAIN produce a quarterly magazine (free) called CHAIN MAIL, packed with lots of useful (and useless) information! CHAIN MAIL is delivered to all houses in Hungerford and close area. Yet another dedicated band of CHAIN volunteers do the deliveries, please look on the back page for Distribution Details.

I hope this gives you all a flavour of what CHAIN does for you in our community. It is run as a charity by Trustees whose names and contact numbers are available on the notice board.

CHAIN always need volunteers, as car drivers, for our special wheelchair vehicle and the Handybus, or as a volunteer in the office. So if you have a few hours to spare then please contact the office on 683727 open 9 to 11am Monday to Friday, or click ‘Contacts’ for a full list.
Thank you


CHAIN was established in 1977 and has grown into an effective group of volunteers that cares and gives a variety of help to those in need. Membership is open to all Hungerford residents interested in furthering its objectives.
All CHAIN volunteers are automatically recorded as members.
In 2003 CHAIN was awarded one of the first QUEEN’S GOLDEN JUBILEE AWARDS for voluntary service in the community.

The group’s prime objective is to undertake voluntary work and related activities for the benefit of people who are sick or disabled or who are otherwise in need – be they young, middle aged or elderly – living in the town or rural district of Hungerford. As an extension of their primary aim, CHAIN offers advice and guidance to people willing to undertake voluntary service and assists them with the provision of voluntary work by putting them in touch with individuals or with voluntary or statutory organisations seeking help.

A small committee is elected at an annual meeting (open to all Hungerford residents) overseeing the policy and day-to-day management.


Greenham Common Trust has transformed the local Grant process.

What are the advantages of findmeagrant?

Avoids the need for multiple application forms
Simple one application can reach many grant makers and public donors
Trust Top-Up – the Trust will match public donations up to £5,000 per project application if the project meets our eligibility criteria. Gift Aid will be applied to donations where possible.
One-Stop-Shop for grant makers, seekers and public donors
Significantly improves internal administration and reduces costs
Improves the intelligence about grant applicants, public donors and grant makers – allowing you to see the bigger picture.

How does it work?

It works much like the UCAS university student clearing system where universities search for students who match their eligibility criteria and students search for universities with places to offer. We are replacing the students with grant applicants and the universities with grant making bodies.

Which funders have signed up?
Greenham Common Trust – Reactive Grants, Vibrant Villages/Parish Plan Grant
West Berkshire Council – West Berkshire Small Grants, Vibrant Villages/Parish Plan Grant
West Berkshire Partnership – WBP Grants
Greater Greenham Partnership

How Do I find out who has funded me?

Information about grant makers and donors with the amounts of grant aid will be posted live on to the portal and your personal application portal.

How do applicants receive grant funding?
Grant makers can either pay their grants directly to the applicants using their current payment methods or through the Trust using BACS or cheque.

How long will my application stay on findmeagrant?
Each application will remain on findmeagrant for 18 months long enough to cover at least two Trust, Council and Partnership reactive grant rounds.
Visit us at and make an application for funding or donations.

If you are a grant maker and want further information or would like to get involved please contact Trust Chief Executive Stuart Tagg on 01635 817444.

Blasts from the Past

From the Parish Magazine dated December 1874.

“At a Committee meeting of the Hungerford Institute, held on Tuesday, November 17, it was resolved to admit quarterly members by a payment of 3s in advance. The Committee hope by taking this step that many who have hitherto held aloof will join the Institute for the winter months. It is also agreed upon to furnish the Reading Room in a more comfortable manner by addition of some easy chairs, and make it as attractive as possible by the introduction of chess, backgammon, draughts, etc. This is a step in the right direction, and now that there is a chance of having a warm and comfortable room where one can smoke and read during the winter months it is to be hoped it will be well patronised. We are glad to hear that the financial state is favourable and the society is in a flourishing condition”.

From the Parish Magazine dated December 1880.

“The Vicar and Churchwardens intend to relay and level the turf on the triangular piece of ground in the Churchyard which lies between the two Church paths. If those whose relatives are buried in this part of the Churchyard have any objection to make, or any suggestion to offer, they are requested to signify the same to the Vicar before the end of the week.”
Note:- The second path in the Churchyard referred to was to the left of the row of lime trees at the east end of the Churchyard and ran up the door in the south east wall of the church.

From the Parish Magazine dated April 1891.

“The Hungerford Parish Church Window Fund which has done so much for the adornment of our Parish Church is by no means as flourishing a condition as it ought to be. The number of 5s subscribers is only half that with which it began in 1884, and the income for the past year will not be enough to meet the expense of putting in the St Lawrence window. A faculty has been obtained for erecting three more windows, the proposed subjects being at the East end of the South aisle, our Lord with the Doctors in the Temple; opposite the door, Our Lord feeding the five thousand; at the East end of the North aisle, our Lord entering into Jerusalem. But funds are only provided for the last of these, which is the Memorial Window to the late Rev. T.H.Mitchell.

There must surely be a large number of parishioners who have sufficient interest in the Parish Church to be willing to subscribe five shillings a year for the decoration of the remaining windows, but unless additional subscriptions or donations are forthcoming the work must be indefinitely delayed.”

“The lease of the Hungerford Fly Fishing Club will expire on the first of September next, and it is understood that it will not be renewed. After that date the fishing will be at the disposal of the Constable and Feofees. It appears that there is plenty of fish in the river, though the absence of fly for the past year or two has caused some disappointment: and it is hoped that the authorities will make such arrangements as may conduce to the proper preservation of the river, and to the general advantage of the inhabitants.”

More from the Archives next month.        Fred Bailey.

Legal Spot

Food for Thought

For our first contribution to this magazine, we thought it might be useful to highlight a few recent legal cases and some legislation that may be of interest to Chainmail’s readership.

Personal Injury The historic position in measuring fault, where a pedestrian crossing the road is struck by a vehicle, imposes a high burden on car drivers as a vehicle is considered a “potentially dangerous weapon”. A recent decision by the Courts hints at a less sympathetic approach – a pedestrian who was drunk was held two-thirds to blame for the accident and injuries he received in crossing the road.
Our advice: Beware too much Christmas cheer!

Property and Wills If you own a property with another person under a Trust and the Trust Deed states that on death the property passes to the survivor of you both, but a different person is named as beneficiary of your assets in your Will, the terms of the Trust Deed will override the provisions of the Will.
Our advice: Where there’s a Will there’s not always a way!

Business Rates As from 1 April 2011 the rateable value threshold at which empty property became liable for business rates crashed from £18,000 to £2,600! If that wasn’t bad enough, empty commercial properties now only receive 100% relief for the first 3 months with full rates payable thereafter. (6 months for industrial or warehouse premises).If the arrangement is genuine, temporary occupation for six weeks or more will trigger a fresh three month (or six months) rate-free period.
Our advice: If a bearded man dressed in a red suit asks to rent your property on a short term licence – don’t look a gift reindeer in the mouth!

Landlord and Tenant – Commercial If a corporate Tenant goes into Compulsory liquidation or Administration, it is now clear that the Landlord cannot automatically forfeit the lease or sue for arrears or rent, despite the apparently clear terms of his Lease that say he can. He will have to obtain the permission of the court before embarking on either of those courses of action.
Our advice: Call us for help, rather than mull (wine anyone?) over the rules of Court yourself.

Please feel free to contact either Glenn Evans or Julie Lloyd on these or any other matters
Lloyd Evans LLP Solicitors Oak Suite, 10 High Street, Hungerford, Berkshire RG17 0DN
Tel: 01488 468100 Email: info

Church Bells

Bell ringing at St Lawrence

As the year races with seemingly ever-increasing
speed towards its close, we start to think about Christmas ringing. Although at the time of writing, the programme of Christmas services has not yet been announced, we know that it will be our busiest time of the year, as we try to ensure we have a band to ring
for all the special services that St Lawrence will hold
in the weeks before Christmas.

On Christmas Eve we will be in the bell tower at 11.00 pm, to ring for Midnight Mass and then back again on Christmas morning at 9.30.

Most clubs or associations organize some sort of social event at Christmas. Hungerford tower does hold an annual dinner, to which we invite partners, friends and guests from other towers but this is never held at Christmas (when would we fit it in?) Instead, we hold ours in “Holy Week” – between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, when traditionally all church bells are silent.

One of our ringers was recently asked “Are you busy practicing for Christmas?” Well, unlike choirs or brass bands, which plan their programme well in advance and practice each piece to perfection, we have to wait to see who turns up. There are less than 10 core members of the Hungerford band and, although ringers from other towers can often be called upon to ring at Hungerford if needed for special events, at Christmas they will invariably be busy in their home towers.

So, because of the wide range of experience amongst our ringers we have to ring to the highest level of the most inexperienced member of the band. This should not lessen the impact for anyone listening. Well-struck call changes are as pleasant to listen to as a complex method that might take years to master.

When you hear the bells, you will know we are ringing call changes if a sequence of notes is repeated several times. The order of the bells is determined by the conductor telling the ringers which bell should follow which. It is not possible to ring tunes as such, as bells must keep moving and in each sequence a bell can only swap places with the bell it has just rung before or after. However, the conductor can work the bells into sequences that sound particularly musical or tuneful.

In earlier centuries, bell ringers were sometimes paid in beer and a cask would be kept in the tower. Today, only wedding ringing is paid for and we prefer cash as we generally like to keep a clear head when ringing. However, if there are enough of us available to ring in the New Year on 31st December, this is one occasion when we will raise a glass in the tower (as much as anything to give thanks for having survived another festive season!).

Sarah Chatters