Issue 115

1st June
1st Sept 2012

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 picture this edition is of a major section of the new Hungerford Canal
footbridge being lowered into place under floodlighting, in the wee small hours recently. I was one of several photographers who didn’t get to bed, I got home 3ish. After all of the consultation and debate, I think that It looks quite stylish. It has certainly made the crossing of the bridge safe for pedestrians.

As someone who walked to and from work using the very narrow pavement every day it has taken away a major hazard. I regularly witnessed multi wheeled heavy transports, mount the kerb with their back wheels as they steered around the twist in the bridge.

Talking of things watery, the hosepipe ban should not be affecting anyone much at the moment, with the constant deluge falling from the skies. It will take a very long time for the water to reach the aquifers, but at least there is some serious rain falling which we all desperately need. It is good to have it now rather than during all of the Summer activities that are planned.

Talking of which, do check out all of the events planned for HADCAF in July, including my own photographic exhibition in Cherry Grove. It is the same show that is on at the Gallery in Pewsey during May, as part of the Greenham Arts Newbury Open Studios event.


Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

Well Spring is apparently here but as I write this at the beginning of May the log burner is still alight, but hopefully by the time you read this, summer will have arrived.

The new Pedestrian Bridge over the Canal has been completed and I think most people agree it is a great success. The new Railway Bridge in Croft Road has also been completed and this was done very swiftly after a lot a preparation work.

The plea for help with purchasing a new ‘Chairman Vehicle’ has been successful and we are all very grateful to everyone who has contributed. Some of the Chain Trustees are looking at new vehicles and hopefully we will launch a new ‘Chairman’ in the next few months. If anyone is still interested in helping then please donate through

The ‘Chairman’ can be booked through the Chain Office on 683727 and we can either provide a driver or a family member can be trained to drive the vehicle so that wheelchair bound clients can get out to visit family, hospital appointments, stroke clubs, etc.

If you have a few hours a week or month to spare and are interested in helping Chain to either drive the ‘Chairman’, the Handybus or your own car then please contact the Chain Office on 683727 or myself on 683302.

Chain are very lucky to have such a wonderful group of volunteers who help a great number of people in Hungerford and the surrounding area and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all.

Best Wishes, Janette Kersey


So many things happening, in the next three months including HADCAF as well, I counted on our What’s On pages over 150 events taking place. The HADCAF short form programme are on the middle pages.

Celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will start at 11:00am on Saturday 2 June with the official Opening of our new pedestrian bridge . The day’s timetable is in Jubilee Celebrations..

As I was in the last stages of putting this issue to bed, an article appeared in the Newbury Weekly News about Hungerford’s broadband improvements! Well three weeks before that, George was helping me to try and understand it all so do please see Faster Broadband.

Less time in Swindon!!!….Don’t get stranded there! Bus timetable changes…………….
Swindon to Hungerford now departs..13.20 10 minutes earlier
Going to Swindon most times will be 2 or 3 minutes later!
Except the 7.26 will be 7.25 and the 14.32 will be 14.27
So get it wrong by a minute or two and you will be well and truly left behind.
The new timetable are available in the Library.

I saw a sign in the Royal Berks the other week…
If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.

Wonderful articles from our regular contributors (again) and I would like to welcome Dr Hugh Pihlens to our band, with something so topically out of date in Times Past.

Please see Chain’s Appeal left hand index, I am still trying to twist your arms for a donation. It probably will be for the last time though, as the project is fast nearing the point that we just need to go and get another vehicle within the next month or so, as the existing 9 year old one is suffering. We will not be able to reach our objective of a NEW one, but will settle for the best we can. So to any well off philanthropists (charity donor) out there, it’s not too late, thank you!

The usual rantings from The Old Codger, but is he that far from the truth?
Please let me know what you think by e-mail and I will pass them on (he’s not got e-mail!).

I don’t know about you but I thought the photo (in the NWN ) of most of our surviving Mayor’s on the new Canal Footbridge was quite fantastic

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 Aug for the issue on Sept 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

The Traditional Character of Hungerford

As we trawl through the completed Town Survey forms (nearly 50% were returned for analysis) we find that yet again the main theme that emerges is that most residents wish to retain “The traditional character of the town”.

But just what is this character? Is it a small market town with lots of lovely buildings or a magical place where visitors say that it has the “WOW” factor? How do you define such an asset? Does it just happen or has it grown into being a characterful town?

When you look back at some old photographs or even those taken in the 1960’s and compare the High Street with what we have today, you can still see the fabric of the town still exists but with different names attached. We still have three rivers, the Common and Freemans Marsh. Did the building of the canal and then the coming of the railway change the character or more recently the redesign of the High Street? The town clearly absorbed such major developments without seemingly affecting the intrinsic values attached to it.

Few would disagree with the opinion that Hungerford is a charming place but might argue over whether it is beautiful; well take a look at the railway station. The original picturesque station buildings have long since been demolished and with it employment for some 50 people and we are left with little more than a railway Halt without even a proper shelter for paying travellers. When we talk about a characterful town, do we conveniently forget this blot on the landscape? Be assured though that your council is working with others to address this issue and seek some regeneration of the whole of the station area.

Historically, Hungerford evolved over time rather than by some master plan but in the face of new pressures we must have a defined plan if we are to expand in a way that protects our environment as the Heart of the North Wessex Down. Your Council will continue to act as the catalyst for ideas for the most suitable housing developments and associated infrastructure.

As a relatively new resident, I believe that the traditional character of the town lies not just in the buildings but in the people who live here and who respect its setting and that intangible element of a welcoming ambience that abounds here. As the town continues to grow, as is inevitable, it will be those attributes that ensure that Hungerford remains a truly characterful town.

Cllr Martin Crane

Chain’s Page

An ongoing appeal from CHAIN

We are still looking to replace our ‘Chairman’ vehicle and if anyone would like to make a donation towards the cost we would be very grateful.

Many thanks do those who have donated a total of £5040 so far, so with our £5000 (from our reserves) we just need another £7210 to enable us to replace our ageing and well used vehicle.
The new vehicle will be a Renault Kangoo which will cost £17,250.00 plus VAT, we are hoping that there will be no vat to pay once all the forms are completed.

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 £1000 towards our project to replace our vehicle.

For cheques please contact Janette Kersey on 01488 683022 and make them payable to Greenham Common Community Trust Ltd

PLEASE, (urgently).

Are you recently retired (or part-time) and find that you need
to occupy just some of your time, then we really need you.

To take Hungerford people to the Doctors, Dentists,
Chiropodists and Hospitals etc.

We need you (well about 10 of you actually) to give us
a few hours a month (or more).

We can give you in return, a small mileage allowance that will
more than cover the latest petrol increases.

We also give you the choice of car journeys,
you only do the ones you want!

To see more of Volunteering for CHAIN

near the top left, you will see ‘’Volunteering’’ , click here and you will find an
awful lot more information, and a downloadable form to start Volunteering!

So please don’t delay, and at least ten of you. Volunteer!

To drive your Car, please call         Janette Kersey 683302
our Wheelchair vehicle, call           David Thorpe 685080,
for the Handy bus please call     Gary Moore 683988

There is nothing to stop you from volunteering for all three!!

Give to Hungerford people what you yourself might need one day.

Thank you


A DOUBLE DIAMOND OCCASION…..Also printed in Open Door

Our civic celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will start at 11:00am on Saturday 2 June with the official Opening of our new pedestrian bridge which itself has taken 60 years since first proposed. This will be conducted by the Lord Lieutenant of the County Mary Bayliss who will also make the presentations of the 2012 Freedom of the Town Awards.

Our festivities will then kick off at 12:30 on the Croft and Croft Field with a programme of events including live music (Jazz, Rock and Blues), BBQ, Hog Roast; Punch and Judy; Maypole and Morris Dancing, competitions for children and some for adults (Tug-o-war plus a Suspension bridge exercise). The Hungerford Club will be serving drinks in and outside their premises all day. At 5pm a BIG TEA PARTY is planned on a bring- your -own -picnic basis, with entertainment from local card magician Guy Portlock whilst being serenaded by the Town Band.

The Band will play a further session from 6:45pm of rousing music for all, including our visiting guests from our twin-town Ligueil, to join in and enjoy a suitable close to the proceedings at about 7:30pm

A full programme will be published prior to the day copies of which will be posted on the town notice board and broadcast elsewhere.
Sunday has been given over to local neighbourhoods to hold their own street/green parties though it is hoped to have some steam powered music in the High Street.
To complete the national celebrations, Hungerford will be lighting its Beacon on Monday 4 June on Folly Dog Field at 10:00pm with gates opening at 7:30pm. Road Diversions will apply via A4 and Upper Denford to avoid the dangerous turning on the A338.


Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will start at 11:00am on Saturday 2 June with the official Opening of our new pedestrian bridge .

Jubilee celebrations in The Croft & Croft Field
Croft Field Activities 12.30 – 5.00pm.

12.30 HTC welcome Ligueil (Twinning) visitors & set up base for afternoon.
13.00 Jammy Dodgers jazz band thro’ till 13.45hrs.
14.00 Junior Maypole dance demonstration.
14.15 Wired Rock Band
15.00 Morris dancing demonstration (and tuition!).
16.00 Jazz & Blues band concert.
Other frivolous activities e.g. Splat the Rat etc.
will take place around the field.

The Croft – 14.00 hrs. onward:
The following activities are planned but not
yet timed for this area with exception of
THE BIG TEA and Hungerford Town Band concerts.
Young children’s games (egg & spoon etc.)
Tag Rugby demonstration (or similar).

17.00hrs. BIG TEA, organised by the Rotary Club, plus local card magician Guy Portlock and serenaded by the Hungerford Town Band (17.00 – 17.45hrs.)
17.45 – 18.45 Break for finals of competitions
18.45 – 1930 Hungerford Town Band concert – with vocal crescendos for all!
On going activities on The Croft:
Coffee/tea and other consumables from commercial vans around the site.
Alcoholic beverages etc. from The Hungerford Club – open to all.
Children’s musical merry-go-round (not free).
Punch & Judy (free).
Carnival King & Queen to make an appearance.

To complete the national celebrations, Hungerford will be lighting its
Beacon on Monday 4 June on Folly Dog Field at 10:00pm
with gates opening at 7:30pm.

Bits 1

Also on this page…Library….Heating Oil …H.E.A.T………Ramsbury Organ

Hungerford Town Band

 Saturday 2nd June – Jubilee Celebration Concert
Sunday 17th June – Open Day – Snap Farm Albourne
Saturday 23rd June – Childrey Manor Fete – 3pm
Sunday 22nd July – HADCAF concert – Town Hall – 7pm
Sunday 26th August – Open Air Concert – John Coles Park Bandstand Chippenham – 3pm

Hungerford Library Appeal

Volunteering at Hungerford Library – Fun with Children, Books and Songs!

Since November 2011 Hungerford library has been very fortunate to have had local volunteer Nina Pugh running their weekly ‘Rhyme times’ for children up to the age of 5 years. Nina’s generous gifts of time and experience have turned the weekly sessions into a roaring success with over 30 parents and children turning up for the sessions some weeks! Sadly however Nina is leaving us at the end of May to embark on some work experience prior to starting a primary school teaching qualification in September. The library’s loss is the school’s gain!

As we don’t want to lose this brilliant local service as well as Nina, Hungerford library is appealing for anyone who would like to volunteer their services as Nina’s replacement. It is a brilliant and fun way to give your time and with all the happy children smiling in the library a very rewarding one too! It is also a brilliant way to make new friends as the parents are all a very friendly bunch. No qualifications are needed, apart from enjoying working with children, and you would be given full support both by library staff and also West Berkshire’s library volunteer co-ordinator. Rhyme time is at 11.00 on Wednesdays during term time and if anyone is interested in finding out more,
please contact Hungerford library on 01488 682 660 or
email us at       Graham White

Heating Oil

CCB Oil Club Launched March 2012 –
Serving West Berkshire’s Rural Communities

Do you use fuel oil for your heating? If so, the CCB Oil Club could save you time and money, by bulk buying fuel oil and negotiating the best price from a range of suppliers.

The CCB Oil Club was launched in March as a service to the rural communities of West Berkshire – and harnesses the power of many individual households to get the best possible price for members.

CCB is a charity.

You can order fuel oil as often as you choose, on the monthly ordering dates.

You can also join the CCB Oil Club if you are a community building – like a village hall – or a local business.

We look forward to welcoming you to the CCB Oil Club! Gemma OilClub Coordinator
Tel: 0118 961 2000

The H.E.A.T. bit…………

Recycling Galore
……….Recycling in Hungerford includes : batteries – Tesco, egg boxes – Hungerford Butchers, aluminium foil (washed) – Pet shop, (to raise money for Cats Protection League), jam jars – M &P Hardware (sold to raise money for charity), mobile phones – HEAT stall at Farmers Market, 4th Sun of month, clothing & shoes – container in Tesco car park, water filter cartridges – Waitrose in Marlborough.
Hungerford charity shops can take these to be reused or recycled :
Books and material not good enough to sell – Prospect Hospice, Blue Cross, Red Cross
Metal (e.g. spoons) & used stamps – Prospect Hospice
Plastic milk bottle tops – Blue Cross……………Reading glasses – Red Cross

Cool Homes , The thermal imaging camera has been lent out many times this winter to help local people find out where heat is being lost from their homes. It’s even easier to use than a digital camera and you can save your images on your computer. If you’d like to borrow it to check out your home e mail

Grub Tubs, If you are part of a community group and would like to receive a delivery of Grub Tubs to start growing food with your group contact 07590 555877 We provide tub, compost and seeds free of charge. If you’d like to help out with the distribution of the Grub Tubs, or any other HEAT activities, please do get in touch.

Vegetable Garden Cycling Tour Sat 21 July meet 10am outside Town Hall. Visit several local vegetable gardens by bike, c15 miles in total. Bring a picnic and make a day of it. 07791 155084
           e mail


This summer Holy Cross Church in Ramsbury is launching a project to restore their 200 year old historic pipe organ. It has provided wonderful music over the years but is in need of some TLC. To help raise the £120,000 needed, a series of concerts featuring a wide variety of instrumental and sung music is planned.
The Organ Project will be officially launched on Saturday 9th June at 7-30, with an organ recital by Ian Crabbe of Marlborough College with the Bella Voce Choir. This concert will have a Jubilee theme.

On the 14th July there will be a 12 hour Sponsored Organ Marathon. Please drop into the Church anytime between 7 am and 7 pm for refreshments and music.

On 15th Sept. The organist, Dr Christopher Kent will play with a cellist and oboist, and on 13th October the Avebury Vocal Ensemble will sing, conducted by Sir Peter Beale.

Tickets are available at £15 reserved, £10 unreserved, (under 16s are free) from Ramsbury Post Office or Midway stores.

For tickets and information,         please email
tel. 01488 682921 or       or    01672 520783

Bits 2

Letters & E-mails

Dear Chain Mail Editor,

I would like to thank you for supporting The Bruce Trust once again and finding a space in the last Chain Mail to help us advertise for more volunteers. As we begin our 23rd season providing holidays for disabled, disadvantaged or elderly people, we would be happy to continue to welcome many more pairs of hands to our friendly team and do thank you for your help with this. With best wishes, The Bruce Trust.

Rebecca Bruce

Dear Ed,

Grateful thanks go to the John O’Gaunt Lodge of the RAOB and Dick Mildenhall in particular, for choosing CHAIN as his supported charity during his year as Provincial Grand Primo. Activities to raise money are already under way with some £500+ raised to date. I would ask for all those members of the Croft Club to support Dick in his endeavours.

Huge thanks also go to Ellie Dickens Shoes for including CHAIN in her list of supported Charities during her current “Shoe Amnesty” which will provide refurbished shoes for the poorest people in Africa, for whom the ownership of a pair of shoe can be life changing. It appears to be going very well indeed so please give her your support.

Many thanks also to the Chain Office staff and drivers, and the people in organisations all over the town, who kept eyes and ears alert for anybody who could have been challenged by the recent Digital Television Switchover. Also for those CHAIN staff who helped with advice and retuning. We were able to help some 47 people within the town, either to contact the help line to upgrade their sets, or with retuning issues.

David Thorpe


(Regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commission)


Mrs. Sylvia Breadmore, Clerk, Telephone 01488 685081

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

The closing date for applications this year is the 15th June. Application forms are available from the Clerk’s Office in the Town Hall from May and the informal interviews take place in July. Applications for the annual grants are generally restricted to three per person and are a welcome help towards costs.


Hungerford Surgery

Make sure you’re registered with the Hungerford Surgery
Everyone should be registered with a GP practice. If you are new to the area, you should register with a local GP as soon as possible. We sometimes find that individual family members are not registered with this practice until they come to access the services and whilst the registration process is relatively straightforward, we do suggest that you register all family members in advance as this makes the process of booking appointments even easier. Please ask at reception for a registration form.
New text messaging service
We have introduced a new text messaging service to help patients. Once you have given your consent and registered your mobile phone number, you should start to receive automated text messages confirming and / or reminding you of your appointment.
Travel Vaccinations
A reminder for those of you planning a trip abroad in 2012 that Hungerford Surgery can help with travel advice and vaccinations appropriate to the country you plan to visit. It is simply not worth taking the risk of skipping your travel vaccinations as infectious diseases can spoil your holiday and have long term health consequences. It is always best to plan this at least 6 – 8 weeks ahead of your expected travel date so don’t delay and contact the surgery on 01488 682507 today.

Mike Hall Practice Manager

Virtual Museum

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, 1897

With our minds on Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, it is interesting to read (in the Parish Magazine) how Hungerford celebrated Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897: Great festivities were arranged on 22nd June, a day of glorious weather:

“The day was ushered in by a joyful peel on the church bells from
6-7am. At seven o’clock the Hungerford detachment of the Royal Berkshire Volunteers fired a feu de joie from the balcony of the Town Hall. The band played “God Save the Queen” and those present gave three hearty cheers for Her Majesty.

At ten o’clock the Hungerford Band played in the market place. At half past ten a procession was formed consisting of the Band, the Volunteers, the Constable and Feoffees, the Fire Brigade, the Foresters, the Oddfellows, the Church Lads’ Brigade and the National School children, and was marshalled by Mr G Cottrell, to the church for the special service. It lasted half an hour. The musical portion of the service was admirably rendered by the combined choirs of St Lawrence’s and St Saviour’s, Mr Wren playing the organ with his usual skill and taste. The church was densely crowded, every available space being occupied, numbers standing in the porch and church yard, unable to get in.

After the service the procession was reformed and proceeded to the market place, where, as the clock struck twelve, the assembled inhabitants joined in heartily saying “God Save the Queen”.

At three o’clock, all the children in the parish under sixteen and the old people over sixty years of age, and many besides had a capital meat tea. Four long rows of tables, eighteen in number, were arranged under the shade of the avenue of trees in the Mall, and it is computed that about 1000 adults and children sat down to tea. The fare consisted of sandwiches, cake and bread and butter for the children, while there were a large number of joints of cold boiled beef and ham for the adults.

At half past four the sports on the Downs commenced and consisted of races for boys, girls, adults, hurdle and bicycle races, and concluded with the Hungerford Grand National Steeplechase, from the Newbury road through the two rivers and the canal to the winning post on the Downs. The day’s arrangements were ended by a torchlight procession through the town and a bonfire and fireworks on the Downs.”

For more on this or any other aspect of Hungerford’s fascinating history, visit the Hungerford Virtual Museum –

Hugh Pihlens

The Old Codger

 Granny Tax? Watch out Mr Prime Minister we are fast losing our cool. Whilst we are getting older and our minds wander a bit, we will NOT forget what your Coalition is doing to us with limited income and no chance of boosting it with overtime! I read somewhere that us pensioners have been allowed this paltry extra money since 1925!

20% tax on our savings should be abolished, if our savings total less than Bob Diamond’s salary.

Increased Gas & Electricity costs? Well as you and the lot before you allowed foreigners to buy / have control over our utility supplies what can we expect?

Increased Fuel tax? So thanks again, just when we have retired and if we are still lucky to afford a car you lot keep slapping on the tax. I for one, now use mine less, so I bet you now lose out in revenue.

What do you think about fracking? That’s using precious water under high pressure to extract gas from underground? Some say it causes earth quakes, and some say what a waste of water. Records show that the tremors are slight, and surely they can suck the water back again and re-use it?

So they suck water out of underground holes to give us water don’t they? Well when we get torrential rain why don’t they suck the surplus out of the rivers and shove it back down the same pipes? After less than a week of rain I received an alert from British Waterways to say that the River Avon was in flood, and that boating should cease between Bath & Bristol. Where was this surplus water going? Well, straight out to the Bristol Channel and the sea! So of course this must have been happening all over the country, probably 90% of the Heaven sent rain running straight to waste. Talking of waste, isn’t that absolutely disgusting of Thames Water to delay seriously tackling, on a major scale, their terrible record of leaks? In the meantime the bosses award themselves disgusting pay and bonus increases.

So the lovely footbridge is being well used and, the pigeons underneath will be treated every year to a non-landing gel. Just how much will that cost to supply and buy every year? Why oh why didn’t they (as they were asked to during design) build in cheap simple, on a one off cost basis, preventative pigeon poo measures? Why, well it’s not their money they keep spending is it?

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


In this special year of 2012, the country is coming together to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. There is a vast array of merchandise in reds, whites and blues for homes or street parties to show that we are proud to be British.
Gardeners can join in with the festivities as there are several annual plant collections- Petunias, Verbenas etc, in patriotic colours to add a splash of Jubilee celebration to your hanging baskets or displays.

For a more subtle commemoration, I have spotted a new Sweet Pea introduction called Lathyrus odoratus “Diamond Jubilee”. This is a highly scented annual with pure white flowers from June- just in time for the anniversary of the Coronation. The Sweet Pea is a very apt plant as it has been a firm favourite of British gardeners for generations- yet it is not a British native.

There are several stories of the origins of the Sweet Pea but the general consensus is that it was discovered by Sicilian Franscisco Cupani, possibly in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) or just growing wild in Sicily. Cupani was curator of botanic gardens near Palermo. He cultivated the plant and collected the seeds which in 1699 he sent to Dr Caspar Commelin, a botanist from Amsterdam. The new plant then found its way to a British plant collector Dr Robert Uvedale in Middlesex around 1700. The original pea was not so showy as the modern day version- it had two small flowers per stem. However the potential was spotted by plant breeders and many cultivars evolved.

By 1900 there was so many different sweet peas- known as Grandifloras- that they were regularly exhibited. At one of the plant shows a new cultivar named “Countess of Spencer” bred by the head gardener at Althorp Park took the plant world by storm. It was a beautiful pink colour, had all the attributes of the Grandifloras but had exceptionally pretty, ruffled petals. In Britain the Spencer sweet pea became prevalent and is now the origin of many new varieties, including the new “Diamond jubilee” pea.

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Hungerford Marshes

The two marshes that lie side by side and next to the canal are a haven for wild life. Hungerford Marsh is a nature reserve and Freemans Marsh belongs to the Town and Manor. They are full of wild flowers and birds. A walk around them can take as little as an hour.

Spring is probably the best time of year to visit the marshes for birds and early summer is probably the best time for flowers. In the spring you can hear resident birds and summer visitors such as the warblers and swallows. On the flower front, the fairly scarce Southern Marsh Orchid should flower in June.

Regular visitors to the Marsh will have noticed the fencing off of the river. In my view it has improved the quantity and quality of the wild flowers. The flowers have been further improved by the extra fencing along the canal bank. Here Comfrey and Balsam proliferate as does Meadow Sweet and Lady’s Bonnet. Although I think June is the best month for flowers I confess I’m quite keen to walk over the marshes in May to look for signs of flowers. There are always Marsh Marigold and Creeping Buttercup to admire. To me they appear to be the same shade of yellow as Dandelions.

Dandelions are ignored nowadays and treated as weeds but I was told my Grandmother made dandelion wine and I always promise myself I will try and make some. When I see a dandelion clock I sometimes think of my Biology classes. I was taught that dandelions reproduce, without pollination, by wind dispersal, and the name comes from the French “dent de lion” – lion’s tooth – which describes the leaf. It is strange what one remembers from one’s schooldays.

Marsh Marigold is often called King Cup and it always grows in damp ground. They are abundant on the marshes but I have never heard of anyone making wine from them. Nor have I heard of wine being made from Cow Parsley which is just coming into bloom now and should flower well into June. Although they grow on the marshes I think of them as plants of the hedgerow and dry ground.

Luckily over 30 different birds can be seen when you walk over the marshes. Unfortunately this number is unusually high for a walk in the countryside around Hungerford where I would count 20 as a good day. The higher than average number of birds here reflects the habitat and the way the marshes have been managed. The figure includes birds that can be seen in the church yard. In my opinion church yards are becoming a haven for wild birds and are unique English nature reserves. There are always Gold Finches and Chaffinches in St Lawrence’s church yard and very often a Song Thrush. Song Thrushes are on the conservation red list.

I don’t know why but I always think of wonderful old Yew trees when I think of church yards. The one place where it is guaranteed to see the English Yew – Taxus Baccata – with its red berries in autumn and poisonous leaves all year round. For this reason I always start my meander over the marshes with a walk through the church yard to admire the Yew and Holly trees which often contain a few birds.


Also on this page

……..Hungerford Theatre ………Food Fest…..

Royal County of Berkshire Show

Royal County of Berkshire Show, 15-16 September 2012

This year’s Show promises a lively mix of spectacular new attractions coupled with favourites from previous years. Appropriately top of the bill in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year will be a fly-past and salute from Britain’s favourite wartime aircraft, the heroic Spitfire. At ground level, visitors will have plenty to choose from, including a nail-biting scurry racing competition and an amazing sheep shearing demonstration, capped off by the sheep dancing!
The Show remains a firm highlight of the UK’s agricultural calendar. This year, it will host the National Aberdeen-Angus Show, while its livestock parade is guaranteed to impress everyone – from farmers to families. With an ever popular outdoor shopping experience offered by 500 stands plus a gastronomer’s delight of more than 70 food stalls, and 80 craft stalls, this year’s Show should live up to its name as Berkshire’s biggest and best annual event. Kids won’t get bored either with a packed programme of entertainment and music, including a dedicated sports zone.
Reduced rate tickets will be available online from June and from local outlets in late July. Even on the day, it’s just £18 for adults for a great day out. More information from      

The Community of Hungerford Children’s Theatre Presents


Book, music & lyrics by David Wood.
Based on the book by HRH The Prince of Wales
For Children aged 8-13
Performances on June 22nd and 23rd
Signing on and read through- Monday 30th April – 6pm – 8pm
at Herongate Lesuire Centre
Rehearsals on Mondays and Fridays 6pm- 8pm

Hungerford Food Festival

This year sees the return of the Hungerford Food Festival on Sunday 23rd September, kindly sponsored by Greenham Common Trust.”We’re excited about staging this year’s festival in the Town Hall” says festival cjhair Penny Locke, “as it allows us to bring cooking demonstrations, street food & live music to the town centre as an extension of the September Farmer’s Market”

The festival will be a celebration of local food and an inspiration for people of all ages to cook. There will be lots to do for all the family with competiotions, demonstrations, stalla, games, raffle and of course, plenty of delicious food to eat. This year all cooking competitors and demonstrators will be asked to submit recipes with their dishes so that they can be published on the Hungerford Food Festival website.

Stallholders. There are a few stalls still available for local food producers. Please contact Stephanie Lambourn on       
to book

Health by Liz

Insect bites – time to fight back!
Most of us love travel, whether it’s abroad to an exotic island or closer to home on a canal barge. Unfortunately, there is one common factor with both types of summer holiday, and that is mosquito bites. Liz Chandler from Natures Corner recommends prevention, rather than cure, with a simple B1 vitamin.

Becky Yates loves to travel abroad, especially to the Greek islands, but she has a problem – every time she goes there, she is bitten by mosquitoes – not just a few but dozens. In fact, at the last count 2 years ago, she had 56 bites all over her body!

‘They swell up like golf balls and become infected’, she explains. ‘I look and feel terrible. If I am bitten around my ankles, they swell up so badly, I can’t get my trainers on’.

Eventually a friend came to her rescue with some very sound advice. She recommended a vitamin B1 supplement, which Becky duly bought from her independent health store. She took one capsule daily for 2 weeks before travelling to Zante and continued taking them all through the holiday. She returned from holiday with just 6 very small bites. ‘I was delighted! The thing that really convinced me was that everybody else in the hotel was complaining about the mosquitoes. I was the only one that didn’t suffer’!

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is a very safe, non toxic vitamin that produces a skin odour that is not detectable by humans, but is disagreeable to mosquitoes. It seems to be particularly effective for hypersensitive allergic individuals. Thiamine takes about 2 weeks before the odour fully saturates the skin.

Vitamin B1 is a simple and safe natural remedy that really worked for Becky, so now she enjoys bite-free holidays. For more advice on natural travel call Natures Corner on 01635 33007, or email      or please call in and see us

Our Community


Update for May
Hungerford has had an exceptionally quiet Month with as few as 26 jobs recorded at the time of this report. When I did a check for the same time last year we had 50. One of the jobs was a theft of cable from a premise in Station Road Hungerford which was of high value. This happened overnight on the 04/04/12 if you have any information regarding this please quote URN 244 05/04/12.

I have been made aware that the sign on the Marshes has been vandalised. The sign is reminding people about keeping their dogs on a lead during the season of bird nesting. I have also been informed that people are allowing their dogs to run freely in this area. I will be patrolling to ensure people abide by the rules during this time and I will speak to members of the public allowing dogs to be off their leads. Anyone with information about this criminal damage to signage can call me in confidence on 07970 145703.

Although Hungerford has had a quiet month, Inkpen has had several thefts of heating oil. If you happen to be out in this area and feel suspicious about any vehicles seen, please do not be afraid to call the 101 non-emergency number and pass a registration number if possible.

Two people have been arrested throughout April for being in possession of Cannabis. Both have received a police caution in Police Custody. Another female was also found in possession of cannabis and received an ‘on the street’ cannabis caution. We have re-introduced drugs as a priority within Hungerford. We do not tolerate drug activity within the town. Please let me know if you have any information regarding drugs. Your information will be dealt with in complete confidence.

My main topic for this month is about Crime Prevention as the summer is fast approaching us and it is the time of year we like to keep open our windows and doors. A simple action plan to follow will help keep valuables safe.
Ensure that windows and doors are closed and locked when you are out. Don’t leave small windows open believing them to be safe.
If you want to leave windows open while you sleep, fit window restrictors so they cannot be fully opened, or make sure they are not large enough to allow access to a burglar.
When out in your garden ensure that windows and doors to the front of the house are secure. It only takes a second for someone to get into your home and take things without you noticing.
Do not leave valuables on display in front of windows or in reach of open windows or doors.
Ensure that all barbecue and garden equipment and tools are securely locked up in a shed and out of sight. Tools can be used by the potential offender to break in to your home.
Consider fitting outside security lighting or a visible alarm to help deter burglars. Even using pea shingle or gravel on a driveway and spiky plants in garden beds can help.
Are you going on Holiday?
Make your home look occupied.
If you’re out or going away, ask a trusted neighbour to open and close your curtains for you.
Ask a neighbour if they don’t mind parking their car on your driveway and trimming your garden to make your home look occupied.
Cut the front and back lawns before you go away and trim any plants that burglars could hide behind.
Cancel milk and newspaper deliveries.
Before your holiday, don’t advertise that you are going away on Facebook, Twitter etc.
Register for the Royal Mail ‘Keepsafe’ service Leave important documents and valuable personal items with other family members or a bank.
Double-check that you’ve locked all outside windows and doors.
Set your burglar alarm.

Hungerford Freedom Awards

Faster Broadband in Hungerford! from some e-mails……….

Just seen the grumpy old git bit (or whatever it’s called) in Chain Mail. We have fibre optic in Hungerford. I’m with Talk Talk and today I’m getting 19.2mb from a max of 24.

Hello George, You have restored my faith that CHAIN MAIL is read sometimes….How do I test for BT, I don’t have any idea whatsoever. Is 19.2mb a second, minute, hour or what , and is that a good speed?

From George, Re: Broadband….thanks but how do I test my BT………….
Try this It will check your speed and show you what you could get. Go here (

to check what speed BT can provide you with. 19mb a second, from a maximum of 24mbs, the old system would provide a max of 8mb but in reality be probably about 2 or 3mbs. Let me know how you get on with BT, Talk Talk have been fine – so far!
You may need to change your package with BT to increase the speed, otherwise although you may be connected to the fibre optic cables they may well restrict your speed to 8mbs as per your current contract. I might be wrong but worth a phone call to them.

Hello George, BT says up to 20mb….Speed checker gives it at 6.3 download and 0.354 upload… So BT is truly Bloody Terrible!

George replies, If you are getting 6.3mbs from a standard 8mbs connection you are doing well! To be honest the difference between your 6mbs (which is about what I used to get) and this new fangdangle fibre optic at 19mbs isn’t all that great. Yes I can download video files quicker, but for general surfing it’s not that noticeable. Remember when www. stood for Wide World Wait on dial up, perhaps we are just too impatient these days? And keep in mind your upload speed will increase marginally as it’s always waaaaay slower to upload than download, example, my upload speed is currently 0.324mbs compared to now 17.24mbs download (just tested to see!). Your upload will probably be about 0.20mbs.
The man down the hole in the High Street reckoned that only if you have BT’s Infinity will you notice the speed!
So are we getting it I ask, or do we have to pay through the nose to get it? HELP!

Message from BT… This is to let you know that we’ve now upgraded your line and you should now have an improved, more consistent broadband connection, and maybe a speed increase. You can find out more at
Remember your line needs time to settle down
For the next ten days, your broadband might slow down or even stop now and again. That’s normal and it’ll soon settle down. You can help it along by leaving your BT Home Hub on, and using your broadband as much as you can for this time.
…end of message……

So I hope you understood all this……………………

Blasts from the Past

From the Parish Magazine dated September 1876.

“We regret to have to announce the removal of Miss Turner, who resigns the charge of the Girls National School at Michaelmas, having presided over it for the last five years. Miss Turner has carried on the School with great zeal, ability and success: the Reports of H.M.Inspector have always been most satisfactory, and the Managers have highly valued her services; while she has maintained a high standard of teaching and discipline, and has endeared herself to the children and their parents, and has gained the affection and respect of all who have come under her influence. Before the Harvest Holiday the scholars and assistant teachers presented Miss Turner with a handsome cruet stand and set of silver salt-spoons, as a testimony of their gratitude for her past care and their good wishes for her future welfare.”

From the Parish Magazine dated September 1881.

“Our annual Sheep Fair was held on the Downs on Wednesday, August 17. The supply was unusually good, and the number of sheep brought to the Fair being not much short of seven thousand. Most of the sheep were of excellent quality and fetched better prices than at previous fairs. Lambs sold at 30s to 40s per head; one lot at 48s. Sheep generally fetched 40s to 50s per head.”

From the Parish Magazine dated September 1888.

“The delightfully unconventional concert held at Hungerford Newtown in May last, in a barn kindly lent by Mrs West, has been followed by a still more successful one on August 1. The barn was well filled by a most appreciative audience, and the gross receipts exceed £2. After paying expenses, the surplus will be given to the Newtown Reading Room. The gratitude of the Newtown people was due and heartily given, to those kind friends who faced an inclement evening to give great pleasure to those who cannot often have it; also to Mrs West, not only for the loan of the barn, but also for her hospitality towards the performers, and her kind interest in the whole affair.”

I wonder what the unconventional concert consisted of, but unfortunately I think we will never know. My thanks also to all those who contributed advice on the “Cambridge Wranglers”. My education is now complete.

More from the Archives next issue. Fred Bailey.

Legal Spot


I have found there has been a lot of talk recently about “asset protection” or “property protection” trusts. If you have not come across them before, there are a number of companies out there who claim to be able to protect your assets from Local Authorities when it comes to care home fees in the future, by setting up a trust for you.

The representatives of these companies seem very reasonable and knowledgeable in what they call a niche area. They hold seminars around the country, they will come to your home and answer your questions. They will tell you that a flexible trust can be set up, which will ring-fence your assets. They will tell you that you will retain full control of the assets and are free to change the trust or close it completely at any time. With this trust in place, your property and savings and any other asset you wish to place into the trust will be saved from being used up in care home fees in your old age, or from being taken into account as part of your taxable estate on your death. The assets would also be protected from your bankruptcy and relationship failure.

Does it sound too good to be true? I’m afraid to say it is. If you put your assets into a trust deliberately designed to avoid care home fees, then the Local Authority will treat you as though you still own the assets. The basic elements of a trust include the fact that the person creating the trust (the “Settlor”) gives away ownership and control of their assets to a third party, the trustees. If the Settlor retains too much control over the trust, it may be set aside as a sham.

This is not to say that trusts do not have their uses, particularly when it comes to estate planning, and the minimisation of tax liability. They are also useful if you have vulnerable or perhaps mentally incapacitated relatives whom you wish to benefit. There are also methods available for reducing your capital during your retirement by making lifetime gifts directly to your children or into a trust.

All I would ask is that you seek advice from a properly regulated and insured professional, with appropriate expertise. Your local solicitors are always happy to help!

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

Church Bells

Bell ringing at St Lawrence

Over the past 3 months, we have continued at St Lawrence with our usual Wednesday evening practices, service ringing on Sunday mornings and, most Sundays, a quarter peal before evensong. We have also rung for 2 weddings. In addition a peal was rung on 8 bells, by local ringers, on Tuttiday, Tuesday 17th April, and a quarter peal on St George’s Day, Monday, 23rd April. We had visiting ringers from Bath Abbey on Saturday, 28th April.

A peal on 10 bells was rung at St Nicholas Church in Newbury on Saturday, 5th May. The band included St Lawrence Tower Captain, Mark Robins and took 3¼ hours to ring.

On 12th May, a quarter-peal will be rung at St Michael’s Church in the centre of Bath. The band will include 3 Hungerford ringers, 3 ringers from other towers in the Newbury Branch and 2 ringers from Bath Abbey. This will be rung before the wedding of Mark Robins’ son, at The Guildhall in Bath. The method will be Union Triples, selected because of it’s appropriateness to the occasion and also because a peal of this was first rung in Bath by Union Scholars in the late 17th century in a church which is no longer in existence.

Forthcoming events will include ringing for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a quarter peal on Sunday, 3rd June and another on Tuesday, 5th June.

You may have heard that, on the opening day of the 2012 Olympics (27th July) church bells will be rung as fast as possible for 3 minutes at 8.00 in the morning. It has been decided by most towers that this is not practicable and it is unlikely that we will be ringing in the morning in Hungerford, however, a quarter-peal will be rung in the evening to mark the occasion.

S Chatters