Issue 116

1st September
1st December 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 August is upon us. At the time of writing in late July, the Summer heat wave is in full swing. After the extremely wet weather, it’s all a bit of a shock. Does this mean that we are finally going to get some prolonged good weather? The farmers could certainly do with it. Time will tell.

This issues cover picture has a very definite English seaside holidays flavour. Next time you go out for the day, or maybe longer, take the camera and use it. One of the modern day issues, is that far too many memories remain in cyber space and never get printed out or find their way into albums or onto the fridge door. The next generation will have so much family history lost to them, so get your best ones printed.

Did any of you catch my exhibition at The Emporium, in the High Street, as part of the HADCAF programme of events? I certainly enjoyed putting it together.

October seems a long way away, but the weekend of the 6th and 7th is the time for the Hungerford Camera Club exhibition. I know that many of you are faithful supporters and come every year or when you can. It certainly is part of the rich programme of events that our town has to offer and well worth a visit, with on average over 400 exhibition quality photographs displayed.

Enjoy your Summer Micky Thompson


Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

Well I hope you have all had a good summer (if we ever had any). I am writing this on the 1st August and apart from a few days we have had no decent summer yet.

I must say the town has looked great this summer with all the flowers and flags on display, a big thank you is due to Rod Desmoules who puts so much into making the town look fantastic.

Many people think that all Chain does is take people to surgery or hospital appointments but we do much more. There is, of course, Chain Mail which is delivered to every house in
Hungerford, then there are the Chain Lunches which are held bi-monthly in the Croft Hall and organised by Amanda and her team. Also on the first Monday of each month there is a Pub Lunch which is organised by Alan Pollitt, where the handybus takes people out to local pubs for a 2 course lunch. If anyone is interested in either of these Lunches please contact the Chain Office for details.

The new Chairman vehicle is now being used very successfully and we will be having an official launch in September to thank our sponsors without whom it would have been impossible to have purchased a new vehicle.

Thank you to all our volunteers, without you Chain would not be able to continue to help so many people in the Hungerford area. If you would like to join our volunteering team please contact the Chain Office on 683727 or myself on 683302.

Best Wishes, Janette Kersey


Well I missed the Steam Train in Hungerford Station the other month, but I did see it at Great Bedwyn as I helped a Bruce Trust boat on its journey with the new hirers. I think another train is due to stop at Hungerford soon, and it might be Britain’s newly built ‘Tornado’. With Steam Trains in mind I am appealing to a steam / computer buff to become a CHAIN MAIL contributor feeding me with dates and times please, as I feel there are lots of us who would like to go to stare and sniff!

Use it or lose it, Town bus service, free with a bus pass Page 6
The Mayor on page 14 explains about the ‘re-generation’ of the Railway Station area!
A Tribute to Ted on Page 21
CHAIN’s thanks Page31
and lots more throughout this issue

Do you want to promote your club / activity with things happening? If so please get in touch with me early October and let’s see how CHAIN MAIL can help, probably for free!

Hungerford has such a wide range of activities, clubs and associations that it is sad when one goes under. I’m referring to The Round Table, but in their demise, once again they thought of CHAIN, this time it was paying for and applying to our newly replaced special wheelchair vehicle, (which we call the ‘CHAIRMAN’), all of the sign writing graphics, the last time was gifting us thousands of pounds to help toward the purchase of the now defunct vehicle. I suppose we will no longer have the Santa float? But well done chaps for all your past efforts.

So what an uplift with our successes in the Olympics. Now if our politicians would only shut up about doom and gloom with the economy, we might just enjoy ourselves! Years ago when I had a business we used to say, If you talk doom and gloom you will get doom and gloom. Please support our LOCAL shops, they deserve it.

How are you enjoying Hungerford’s improved fast BT Broadband?

October 28th British summer time ends, clocks back one hour

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 Nov for the issue on Dec1st. 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 Big Society – Localism and Hungerford

Whilst there remain many aspects of the West Berks Core strategy that we may not like, your Council breathed a sigh of relief that it was, at last, given the Green Light by the Planning Inspector. Without such a Planning document in place, property developers would have been given a much easier path to further their ambitions on the basis of providing growth alone.

However, at the same time, we are beginning to recognise that “Localism” is not the opportunity to devise small ‘local’ community projects we might have thought it meant and that “The Big Society” is more of a call for more volunteers to take on costly work that District Councils can no longer afford.

Nevertheless Hungerford is well placed to pursue our own interests by drawing upon the results of the Town Survey conducted last year. We propose to sketch out a series of projects that would meet our customised needs whilst delivering under the mantra of growth.

The regeneration of the station area is regarded as a prime example of where the interests of developers of both housing and employment could be drawn together to provide a meaningful and attractive Gateway to Hungerford. There is no denying that this is a major challenge as there are several tracts of land involved whose owners include Fullers, Network Rail, First Great Western and even the residual body of British Rail plus several private owners all of whom will need to be convinced that the final plan is in their interests too. Then, of course, there is the little matter of finance but whilst purse strings are very tight today, we must plan for tomorrow when funding becomes a little more relaxed and produce a carefully researched and economically viable plan.

The Public Consultation that commenced in July on the initial Design Plan will help shape the proposal and hopefully you have given your views, if not visit the Library and collect your Comment Sheet.

The outline plan will aim to provide for some affordable housing; improve and expand the employment area and provide a transport interchange location whilst retaining sufficient parking for cars, all “in the best possible taste”. Given the constraints of the area, you may agree with me that to execute such a challenging regeneration plan we may have to look for a Dr Who that could engineer a Tardis like scheme to fit them all in. But we are up to the challenge, are you?

Meanwhile the artificial ski slope aka the Oakes’ site will become a temporary car park that should alleviate some of the pressure for such facilities in town; a problem that continues to be on the Council Agenda for a solution in consultation with our District Councillors..

Cllr Martin Crane

Chain’s Page


Once again a big thank you to everybody for the wonderful support that you gave to Hungerford Royal British Legion (RBL) Poppy Appeal for 2011/12.

I would also 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.

The Poppy Appeal year does not officially end until 30th September 2012, but so far we have raised £22.5k.

The money raised will go to help local veterans and their dependants with mobility needs, respite care, and with minor adaptions to their homes and will also 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 2012/13 Poppy Appeal will start on Saturday, 27th October and end on Saturday, 10th November.
If you would like to help in any way with the collection please let me know.

Shelagh Parry Tel: 01488 681492

On the 29th of May 2012 CHAIN took delivery of a new Wheelchair Vehicle. The vehicle is a Blue Vauxhall Combo Tour, 1.3 diesel with an automatic gearbox. It comes with one rear seat and built in winch. The vehicle is an ex-demo, registered in 2011 with only some 4,000 miles on the clock. The vehicle was priced at £10,995, which with the value of the trade in made the total cost £9,495 which saved us a considerable sum compared to the cost of a brand new vehicle.

The benefits for CHAIN in this choice of vehicle are already being realised as the Road Tax is zero and the average fuel consumption is considerably lower with an increase of some 12 mpg against the old vehicle, (more on longer journeys). This more than justifies the extra 5% on the price of the fuel. Wheelchair space is much the same but with an extra 16”
going in and more space until you reach the rear seat.

The vehicle comes with 2 years of the manufacturer’s warranty left and 6 month warranty on the wheelchair conversion. The purchase was made earlier than originally planned due the availability of this vehicle through Gowrings Mobility at such a reduced cost and so ending up costing us much less than we were expecting to pay.

The vehicle graphics were completed and paid for by The Hungerford Round Table in order to complete the project. I must give very sincere thanks to Hungerford Town & Manor and New Greenham Trust for their very generous donations, to Celia Norrie, one of our regular users of the vehicle, and to everybody else who has donated towards this new vehicle. We are still short of the final figure by some £1,400 and so my thanks go also to those still raising funds to help us reach the final figure.

David Thorpe

Don’t Wait to Plan Ahead for Peace of Mind

A funeral plan can provide peace of mind for you and your family – and could save you money. The price of funerals, like everything else, keeps going up. A recent survey (Mintel 2011) shows that the average cost of a funeral in the UK has increased by 61% over the past 7 years. Taking out a funeral plan is a sensible and thoughtful way to protect you from these increases.

Golden Charter funeral plans are the UK’s largest independent funeral plan provider and we pride ourselves on our high quality service and flexible plans. One of the main benefits of a funeral plan is the importance of planning ahead.

With a funeral plan from Golden Charter you’ll benefit from:
• Protection against the rising funeral costs
• Reassurance for your family – no uncertainty or difficult decisions
• Complete flexibility to choose the funeral plan you want
• Guaranteed acceptance

By taking out a Golden Charter funeral plan with Camp Hopson Funerals your local Independent Funeral Director, you will receive a service which supports friends and family through the grieving process, as well as confidential bereavement advice and help with all areas of funeral arrangements, from what documentation is required, to placing a message in your local paper.

A pre-paid funeral plan covers every aspect of your funeral and allows you to set out all your personal wishes, including the type of flowers you want and the exact music that you want to be played, meaning that it takes the pressure from loved ones at an already stressful time, giving you peace of mind that everything is covered.

With a Golden Charter funeral plan you have peace of mind that regardless of the financial climate, your money will be safe within the Golden Charter trust, which is a separate entity, meaning no matter what happens your money is secure and your funeral plan will still be valid.

As well as a choice of quality plans which include additional benefits and a well-respected independent funeral director of your choice, Golden Charter also offers flexible payment options if you would prefer to spread the cost. If anything should happen, Golden Charter offers a service where you can switch your plan to another family member meaning that you will not lose your plan or any money.

Planning your funeral in advance with the UK’s leading funeral planners is thoughtful and considerate to loved ones at a difficult time and gives you the freedom of choice, giving you complete control over all aspects of your funeral.

To find out more today, email
or contact us Hungerford 01488 686511

Bits 1

Also on this page……..Town Bus H1………..Wired Rock………Alzheimer’s……..Literary

Hungerford Town Band

       Remembrance Day Parade
  Sunday 11th November 10.30am




Hungerford Town Bus service H1


This bus service, operated by Jacs Minicoach Travel, runs on Wednesday and Fridays around the residential streets of Hungerford. To ensure its continuance it needs more passengers

Various services operate to the Town Hall, for example Fairview Road, Priory Avenue, Priory Road; Church Street, Smitham Bridge Road, Church Way, Homefield Way, Sanden Close, Atherton Road; High Street, Bridge Street, Charnham Street, Charnham Park. Once each day of operation it goes to Wyevale Garden Centre where you have 30 minutes before the return journey.

Operated on a ‘hail and ride basis’ (i.e. get on and off anywhere), the fare is £1 per journey and bus passes are accepted.

A timetable is on display at the Town Hall bus stop (outside Rayner Optician) and included on pages 162/163 in the new West Berkshire Transport Guide (free) obtainable from the Hungerford Town Council office in the Library building.

Paul Frances

With the threat of closure after the withdrawal of youth services by West Berkshire Council in Hungerford last year, the over 3 year old resident club Wired Rock Café (a musical freestyle youth session which provides a place to practice with friends, peer to peer tuition, and somewhere to chill out listening to creative musical ideas) were determined to continue and extend the services provided to the youth of Hungerford and surrounding areas, by the creation of the Wired Youth Club. Running since March 2011 at the newly renamed ‘Wired Centre’ (formerly the John O’ Gaunt Youth and Community Centre), the club picked up where the existing youth club was left, and membership has been steadily increasing ever since. Average weekly attendance has already reached over 50 young people and shows no sign of slowing.

Through the use of grants and funding we have been able to purchase sports equipment, games consoles, and new furniture which have been met with great approval by the members. We strongly encourage new members to join, and Youth Club can found on a Wednesday evening from 6:30pm and Wired Rock Café on Thursdays from 6:00pm.

The centre also has a new dedicated management committee to breathe a new lease of life into the day to day running of the centre. The centre is available for use by the community and can be hired as a venue for parties, clubs and groups, training courses, meetings and functions.

If you want to know more contact us on 01488 685363,      or

Memory Walk

22 September 2012, 2pm

The Alzheimer’s Society West Berkshire invites you to join their Memory Walk 2012 at The Discovery Centre in Thatcham to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society (

Come and enjoy a walk around the lake at The Discovery Centre, Muddy Lane, off Lower Way, Thatcham, West Berkshire, RG19 3FU on 22 September 2012 at 2pm.

For more information contact Margaret Gould on 01635 500870

Hungerford Literary Festival 19th October 2012 – 22nd October 2012

Something for everyone including talks, workshops,
competitions and meet the authors events.

Programme and tickets available from 1st September 2012 at
The Hungerford Bookshop
24 High Street, Hungerford, Berks,RG17 0NF
01488 683480


No-one likes to think about Christmas in September, especially when the sun is shining, but it is time to start the getting lists up to date for the NWN over 80’s Christmas parcels. If you have, or know somebody who has, celebrated an 80th birthday this year or will be celebrating it by the end of year, please let us know.

Similarly, if you know of any over-80 who has has moved away or who is no longer with us for whatever reason, again please let us know.

David & Janet Long 01488 682931

Bits 2

Also on this page……Don’t Park Here……Reflections……Recipe……..

Bell Ringing at St Lawrence

During the last three months there have been several significant events which we marked by ringing the bells. In June, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was the first occasion to be commemorated, In July we rang a quarter peal to welcome Brenda Abraham’s new great-grandson, Cameron, into the world. Finally, to help get the nation into the Olympic spirit, we rang the bells for 3 minutes at 08:12 on the opening day, as encouraged by LOCOG.

We have rung, as usual, for Sunday morning and evensong services and also for three weddings during the summer months.

On Thursday 19th July, a peal was successfully rung over the course of some 3 hours. It was a fine evening and the weather and atmospheric conditions conspired favourably to allow the sound of the bells to carry particularly clearly all over the town. From the appreciative comments received It seems that many of you enjoyed hearing the bells that evening.



Here, is Northbrook Street on the Methodist Church side, just above the Broadway, NEWBURY.

There are about 4 or 5 spaces, there is a notice, but it is not glaringly obvious and I got caught to the tune of £35. The space is for lorries and vans to unload before 10am.

Do you know of a sneaky non-parking area, have you been caught elsewhere in
Newbury? If so please e-mail the Editor who will print them in the next issues


Reflections of a CHAIN Secretary

Who would have thought that when I took over as CHAIN Secretary in July 1995 that it would last 17 years!

I have served under three Chairmen; Bill Acworth, Ron Rowland, who took over from Bill in 2002 and Janette Kersey, who took over from Ron in 2008. Michael White took over from Bob Scott as Treasurer in 1997.

From left: Michael White, Ron Rowland,
Philip Wroughton and Carolyn Hawkins

On looking back at some previous Minutes I am reminded that CHAIN did not always meet at the Bear Hotel. Most of the meetings were held in the Croft Hall and even once in St Lawrence’s Parish Church! Meetings at the Bear Hotel started in November 1995 and have continued there ever since.

In 2003, Janette Kersey nominated CHAIN for a Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award. As a result of the nomination Trevor and I, together with Dennis and Barbara Simmonds, attended a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on a very hot day! The Award was presented to CHAIN in the Croft Hall on 16 September 2003 by the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, Mr Philip Wroughton.

Some of CHAIN’s initiatives to help the local community were more successful than others: a garden scheme did not really take off, but a Befrienders’ scheme is still going strong after many years.

I remember there being various get-togethers over the years to thank CHAIN volunteers and the latest was held in January at The Three Swans. Many people attended and the Cygnet Room was filled to bursting. It was very nice to see so many people there and I got to mingle with volunteers I had not met before.

I have enjoyed my time as CHAIN’s Secretary and now pass this responsibility to Jill Greenland. I hope that she enjoys her new role as much as I will enjoy my “retirement!”

Carolyn Hawkins

Seasonal Recipes

If you’re suffering from a glut of courgettes and have had enough of ratatouille here’s a recipe to consume courgettes without anyone noticing…

Courgette Cake 175 g brown sugar, 2 large eggs, 120ml vegetable oil, 200 g wholemeal self raising flour, 1 heaped teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, 3 heaped teaspoons mixed spice, grated zest of orange, 200g grated courgette, marrow or squash, 175g sultanas
Topping : 200g Mascarpone cheese, juice of one orange, 50g icing sugar
Whisk eggs, sugar and oil together. Sift in flour, bicarb and mixed spice. Mix then add orange zest, courgette and sultanas. Pour into oiled tin 10 x 6 inch and 1 inch deep tin (25.5 x 15 x 2.5cm). Bake at 170 C for 35 mins. Mix topping ingredients and spread over cake when cool.

Or try them raw, surprisingly tasty. Marinated Courgettes with Capers
3 large courgettes (mix of yellow & green) peeled into strips with potato peeler, extra virgin olive oil, 1 lemon zested & juiced, 1 clove garlic crushed, 2 tbsp capers drained & rinsed,
50 g parmesan shaved and a handful of rocket leaves.
Toss the courgette strips with 4 tbsp oil, lemon zest & juice, garlic and some seasoning. Pile up on serving platter with capers, cheese and rocket. Drizzle any extra dressing over. This recipe can be modified by adding fresh peas, spring onions, olives or herbs.

More seasonal recipes on the HEAT web site

Hungerford Surgery

Flu Immunisation Campaign 2012/13

The importance of a seasonal flu vaccination cannot be underestimated and you are entitled to a free flu jab if you fit into one of the following ‘at risk’ groups.

Over 65 years old OR aged between 6 months and 65 years of age and in a clinical risk group.
All pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy – please discuss with your midwife.
Frontline health and social care workers and 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 whom are the main carer of an older or disabled person.

Our four ‘Flu Saturday’s’ will take place at the surgery on the
13th, 20th and 27th October and the 3rd November 2012 and we would ask that you attend as follows:
Sat 13th Oct – with the surname A – D Sat 20th Oct – with the surname E – L
Sat 27th Oct – with the surname M – R Sat 3rd Nov – with the surname S – Z

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

Hungerford Surgery Patient Participation Group Interest in our newly formed PPG continues to develop and we have organised the next meeting at the surgery for 7.00 pm on Monday 24th September 2012. The meeting is open to any registered patients who are very welcome to come along and give their views, in a constructive manner, to help the practice improve its services and play a part in determining how healthcare is delivered in Hungerford and the surrounding areas. A guest speaker from a well established neighbouring PPG has also been invited to attend.

On-Line Services A reminder of the surgery website – – where you can access a number of on-line services and obtain other useful information.

Mike Hall Practice Manager

Virtual Museum

Agricultural “Swing” Riots, 1830

In the autumn of 1830, Hungerford and Kintbury saw outbreaks of serious agricultural “Swing” riots. Following years of war, high taxes and low wages, the widespread introduction of the threshing machine and the policy of enclosing fields, farm labourers finally snapped. The Swing Rioters smashed the threshing machines and threatened farmers who had them. On 22 November 1830 about 600-700 people rioted in Hungerford, causing about £260 damage at the Gibbons iron foundry in Bridge Street (now no. 16) and at the Tannery (now Great Grooms Antiques), where 170 panes of glass in the front of the building were smashed.
The following letter from Mr J Westall, Churchwarden of Hungerford, to the Reading Post master describes the riot in graphic detail (and rather poor punctuation!):

“Sir, these to inform you there was a riotous mob of the lowest class of poor assembled in the Town this day their object was to have the agriculture labour rose from 8/- to 12/- per week and to break up all the Farmer’s thrashing macheene in the Parish and neighbourhood which they accomplished and made a demand on the proprietor of every macheen they brok of 20/- for so doing and would not depart from the premises without food and Beer being given to them the Town was kept in great alarm from 12 o clock last night to this present time there was about 600 or 700 Men Women and Children they collected a good deal of Money and great numbers of them was in liquor – ,a Mr Anning, a tanner of this place, had all the windows in the front of his house broke by the mob – above 170 panes of glass – a Mr Gibbons Iron founder all his workshops. Moulds, furnice and all cast iron materials found on his premises quite destroid – the Gentlemen and Tanners promises to give the labourers 2/- pr day for their work – there have been a few fires near us one at Lamborne several at a greater distance, I hope we shall be quieter tomorrow – I think if we had a few horse soldiers they would have easy dispersed the mob – the greater part appearing to me to be young men and women but very desparate towards the middle of the day – 1am.

Sir, your Most obt. Servt- J. Westall, Hungerford”.                                                                       

The riots were dealt with very harshly at a Special Assize at Reading. Of the 24 Hungerford men, 11 were initially sentenced to death. However, Mr Justice Park eventually recommended sparing their lives, although with respect to some it was only after “deep and painful consideration”. In the end, five were deported to New South Wales, 14 were imprisoned, and five were acquitted.

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

Hugh Pihlens

The Old Codger

Now I’m over 70 and the list of ailments is getting longer, our travel insurance hit a high this year of £350 to cover both of us! For our car, UK & European breakdown and get us home cover, is approx £120.
So I bet you wonder where is this all leading, well………I became really uptight a month ago with the scandalous practices of my bank, and sought to change. The Co-op had been in the news with the acquisition of some Lloyds branches, so I made enquiries. They do a number of accounts and one of them (the best) took my eye, for a monthly payment of £13 ( £156 a year) I would have the Premier Plus account , coupled with a quick access savings account, which gave me 3 benefits, Travel cover, UK & European car breakdown cover, and an option of 4 (per year) exclusive Airport lounge passes (worth £60). So £530’s worth I now get for £156, what a change to not have a moan. I have also changed to their “oh so simple” gas and electricity tariffs, thanks to ‘Which’ and the Big Switch.

Went to the first meeting about the proposed Station re-development, a very very complex site, just hope it doesn’t take as long as the Canal Footbridge to come to fruition.
As the Mayor said that evening, he wants to encourage us to give our views, then they could be added to some ideas that a nice designer lady has formulated. The whole object is to make the area look attractive and not an eyesore as it now is and it’s only going to get worse if we do nothing. One rather bad suggestion re the parking problem, caused mainly by people driving from as far afield as Swindon (because the trains are cheaper to London ) was to limit the parking to 4 hours max. The suggestion is rubbish because it will penalise all the locals who want to park and commute, as well of those who drive and work in the town. One thing I didn’t like was a proposed bus turning area which would lose a great number of car parking spaces!

Did you see the front page of the NWN early August about Cobbs Farm Shop? Something seems wrong with the figures of 600 letters of support! Strange that other things locally like the Open meetings for the footbridge often attracted less than 100 people, and the recent introduction to proposed suggestions for the Station re-development had less than 20 attend. As for a 97% local independent survey that was in support, well you only have to interview 11 and have 10 agree to get a high percentage return! If this non Farm Shop development goes ahead, what will be next, living accommodation for the staff! It’s a SHOP isn’t it?

It’s just amazing how much it costs if you fill your tank with petrol and it should have been diesel. It happened to a near neighbour of mine and we reckon that, what with the vehicle being towed home, the tank drained, the cost to dispose of the contaminated fuel, the cost of the wrong fuel in the first place, and finally the cost of the right fuel, its going to cost something around £400 +. Luckily no engine damage took place!

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



“It’s a small world” is an often used expression and with world wide travel easily accessible, it is certainly true. It has been good to see our sporting heroes winning gold medals at the Olympics and I admire their achievements Yet watching the Olympic opening ceremony I was struck by my unfamiliarity with some of the countries’ names and their locations.

My heroes date from a previous era when the world was mysterious and exotic. They were the plant hunters, sent to the far corners of the world with instructions (in the case of E.H. Wilson) to “stick to the one thing you are after and don’t spend time and money wandering about”. I like to think of them as Indiana Jones figures, machete-ing their way through dense foliage for a beautiful flowering Rhododendron, although judging by available photographs of later plant hunters they were impeccably (and probably impractically) turned out for their adventures.

It all began when, in the late 18th century, Sir Joseph Banks sent men across the globe to bring back specimens for Kew gardens. He was no stranger to adventure himself, having sailed with Captain Cook and the large British Empire provided rich pickings. Joseph Hooker travelled to India and Nepal to bring back more than fifty different Rhododendrons. Transporting these specimens so that they arrived back in Britain alive was no mean feat but they succeeded.

Private sponsorship funded many trips- notably Veitch’s nursery in Cornwall. William Lobb’s discoveries (for Veitch’s) included Sequoiadendron (the giant Wellingtonia) and the now very common Berberis darwinii.

However the late 19th and early 20th centuries were the heyday of these expeditions. E.H. Wilson was responsible for the introduction of many plants including Lilium regale, David Douglas found many Conifers and Lupins and was killed in Hawaii aged 35. George Forrest perished in China after finding many (now common to us) plants such as Camellia.

An exhibition celebrating their achievements, The Plant Seekers, runs at the Garden Museum, London until 21 October 2012.

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Autumn Fall When America was colonised in the 17th century the settlers took with them our ancient language. Over the course of time certain words became extinct over here but flourished over there. Fall is one such word. In old English it referred to the end of the year or to the fall of leaves.

In America the Fall in New England is famous. It is said that everyone should see the spectacular coloured trees. The different deciduous trees shed their different coloured leaves in September and October.

In the UK we do not have a renowned area for this phenomenon instead we can visit arboretums or take a walk in the countryside. Indeed the National Arboretum is not far from us at Westonbirt. It is owned and managed by the forestry commission. They have organised a “Tree Fest” in late August and details can be found on their web site

Westonbirt is the place to visit if you want to photograph the splendid trees in their vibrant colours but I recently read in a nature magazine that autumn should be photographed in the Lake District – one of our 15 National Parks.

Autumn Migration September and October are the main months for the autumn bird migration. Our summer visitors leave the country and the winter visitors arrive. For many birdwatchers Autumn brings excitement. It is the last opportunity to see all the summer migrants, ensuring you have not missed out. And it is the first opportunity to see our winter migrants such as thrushes and ducks.

One of the best places to see winter wild fowl in our area is the Nature Discovery Centre in Thatcham. It is located on Lower Way and is a great place to take the grand children. Entrance is free as it is owned by West Berkshire Council. Also it is managed by the RSPB, see

Autumn is also the time to see Passage Migrants. Passage Migrants are birds that pass through this country en route to another country. In the Hungerford area there has been a sighting of a Wryneck in September for a number of years. A wryneck is a well camouflaged woodpecker which likes to winter in Scandanavia.

Birdwatchers who keep lists or log books are called “twitchers”. They tick off the birds they have seen. Some keep annual lists and they all keep life lists. Nowadays Birdwatchers who do not keep extensive lists are called “birders”.

You do not have to be a birder to enjoy the birds. But joining a club like the Newbury and District Ornithological Club (see would be beneficial. Their web site is exceptionally good. It lists all the nature reserves in the Hungerford area. Also the club organises a programme of trips to bird reserves each quarter. This autumn they have a trip to Titchfield Haven and Keyhaven Marshes. Their membership secretary is Karen Eggleton on 01635 269566. In the past they have had meetings for beginners.

Autumn migration is not as obvious Spring Migration. Summer visitors tend to disappear gradually. There is not a rush as in spring because there is not the urgency of the breeding season. Winter thrushes, ducks and geese arrive in dribs and drabs throughout autumn.

Summer Highlights For me the highlight of the year was seeing a Shorted-eared Owl chick on Sheepdrove Organic Farm, a first for Berkshire. The owners of Sheepdrove, Peter and Juliet Kindersley were highly commended by the RSPB for managing their 2000 acre farm for wildlife.

The farm organises many events for nature. My friend recently took his walking group on “a guided walk with lunch” around the farm. He saw numerous butterflies, flowers and birds. He recommended you visited their web site for details. Apparently they are looking for volunteers to help with nature conservation. The Short- eared owl nests on the ground in a simple scrape, normally in the North of England. It normally lays two eggs but there was only one young one in this family. It hunted on the farm near Red Barn for several weeks. There must have been a plentiful supply of voles – its staple diet.

Interestingly the scientific name is Asio Flammeus and it is one of the five species of owl regularly seen on the farm.

Finally I must say it was interesting to hear that a neighbour had a Spotted Flycatcher raise three broods this year in his garden.



Today I would prefer to write about sensible self sufficiency, after all none of us can yet produce tea or coffee. Gone are my “gung ho” days of goat herds, milk rounds, cheese and yoghurt making and lamb chop rearing. Now retired, our garden of a third of an acre is half given over to a fenced and rabbit proofed fruit and vegetable area. Gravel paths surround ten raised beds. We have a fruit cage for the soft fruit and a small orchard on our lawn. We have a polytunnel for early crops and tomatoes etc. and a greenhouse for beef tomatoes.

A large rain saver cistern is buried under our lawn, which collects all rain water from the house roof and ensures a constant supply of water in times of drought. Most vegetables are grown under hoops of fine mesh netting. This thwarts all caterpillars, pigeons, carrot root fly and asparagus beetle. In the winter our bantams and ducks roam the vegetable beds – then covered in homemade compost – and merrily churn it, eating all the bugs and slugs. A lot of thought has gone into this garden – one benefit of being older and retired!

I keep a record each year of what crop has been in which bed and I’ve made large markers for each vegetable so that I know what is where. Plants are grown close together, just touching, to prevent weeds germinating. As one crop comes out another goes in or the ground is covered with mulch for the winter.

Surprisingly there is no waste in my garden. Spent greens are given to the poultry. All else is dried and stored or salted, frozen, jammed, chutneyed or otherwise processed. Surplus fruit is made into wine or compote. Our grape vines, trained across the polytunnel roof, provide shade and also wine.

Such fun gardening! I enjoy the challenge of pitting my wits against the elements, bugs and viruses. A good year for one crop may be awful for another. There is always something to eat either fresh or from store. In the middle of May this year, from the polytunnel, we were eating new potatoes, hispi cabbage, broccoli, small round carrots, broad beans and strawberries. Outside were mange-tout, asparagus, lettuce, radish, sorrel and rocket for salads.
What a joy to eat freshly picked vegetables and fruit; what a sense of satisfaction and achievement and how nice it is to visit the local supermarket and calculate how much has been saved in monetary terms for my efforts. Especially as my attempts at self sufficiency are enjoyment – not work!

Unfortunately, this piece will be published after the HADCAF open garden vegetable day on July 21st. As I provide free homemade wine tasting as well as the garden tour, we are last on the gardening cyclists trail. However, do come along next year.

Jane Denholm

Roger Day

First World War Project – Can You Help?

After writing five books about the Second World War Roger Day is now turning his attention to the First World War and would like help from Chain Mail readers who may know the whereabouts of local photographs, postcards or documents on the subject. Roger is attempting to gather as much information as he can for a new book, which he hopes to publish during 2014 to mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the war. He intends to focus attention on the towns of Hungerford and Marlborough and their surrounding villages.

The First World War, or Great War as it is coming to be known again, started on 4th August 1914 and since that time a myriad of books have been written on the subject. However, the overwhelming majority of these publications concentrate almost exclusively on the British sector of the Western Front and particularly life in the trenches. This emphasis is understandable as large numbers of British soldiers fought and died in this relatively small area of northern France and Belgium, but it means activity on other fronts gets far less exposure and one area in particular – army training in the United Kingdom – is almost totally ignored.

Roger’s new project is an attempt to partially redress that balance by looking at the impact of the military on the towns and villages of the western Kennet valley from the Berkshire border to the Marlborough downs. The area was used extensively for training purposes and from the early days of the war various units (ranging from infantry to cavalry and horse drawn to mechanised transport) began regularly passing through – many stopped, some for just a few short hours and others for months.

During the early years of the war local photographers, particularly Parsons from Hungerford and Hunt from Marlborough, took advantage of the commercial opportunities presented by the arrival of hundreds of soldiers in their midst by taking photographs of the men and their equipment. These images were quickly produced as postcards that proved popular with soldiers and they were bought as souvenirs to send home to family and friends. As each new unit arrived in the area so more pictures were taken and the process continued until wartime censorship brought the activity to an end. Many of these high quality postcards have survived and if any reader knows the whereabouts of examples Roger would appreciate the opportunity to see and copy them. He can be contacted by email at or by telephone on 01488 682377 or by post at 77 Chilton Way, Hungerford, Berkshire, RG17 0JF.

The River Kennet

The river banks are losing their sheen
As summer recedes into Autumn
Amber and russet are replacing the green
Of the chestnut leaves brushing the water.

Grey and lifeless the river’s become
Not still that wonderful aquamarine
Another day fades into dark winter gloom
Then the Spring welcomes back the green.

Moorhens and coots in the water reeds potter
And the banks of the lake are home to the otter
“ Water voles are back “ we say with pride
And bats in abundance at eventide.

But the lure of the river is still the same
Whatever the season and time of the year
I can hear and see her from my nearby home
I’m never alone with my companion-so dear.


Health by Liz

Vitamin D – the ‘Sunshine’ Vitamin

Our bodies naturally produce vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. However, as our modern stressful lives increasing keep us indoors for longer, we may not produce the daily level of vitamin D to meet our physiological requirements. Liz Chandler from Natures Corner looks at why we need this important vitamin.

Think how much sun exposure you receive each day: probably for many months this year, not a great deal. We have less sun exposure in our modern lives for numerous reasons, including work pressure, lack of leisure time, internet shopping, computer games and use of sunscreens. Even kids tend to stay indoors more these days, and convalescence is unavoidable for the elderly and infirm.
Vitamin D is vital for many reasons, some of which are reviewed below.

Vitamin D is required by the body to make proper use of calcium – the basic building blocks of bones. Without it, calcium cannot be properly utilized in its essential biological functions, including bone health, blood clotting, nerve function and muscle function.

Immune Function and Cellular Protection
Vitamin D and calcium are metabolically interrelated and there is strong evidence that they may reduce the risk of some cancers due to their participation in regulating cell proliferation. However, it must be stressed that there are many other factors for consideration.

Muscular Pain
High dose vitamin D supplementation corrects a deficiency that is common in people with musculo-skeletal pain, as it provides an important anti-inflammatory benefit and alleviates muscle pain.

Vitamin D can lessen the severity of depression and enhance mood, sociability and overall sense of wellbeing.

Our national state of health with regards to vitamin D is a growing cause for concern. Although there are some good food sources of vitamin D, including mackerel, salmon, herring, butter, egg yolks and dark green leafy vegetables, the absorption into our bodies is mainly through sunlight. Supplementing with vitamin D in liquid or capsule form is the logical way of ensuring we have sufficient of the amazing ‘sunshine’ vitamin.

For more advice call Natures Corner on 01635 33007,

or email or please call in and see us.


Our Community

Hungerford has had another exceptionally quiet month with as few as 25 jobs recorded at the time of this report. This time last year we had 54.

I have dealt with another criminal damage to a vehicle in Ramsbury Drive where it appears the bodywork had been deliberately scratched. I am aware people are parking their vehicles and then going off to work and this has brought out frustrations in local residents, however they are not committing any traffic offences and it does not give anyone the right to damage them. Criminal Damage Act 1971 “When a person who without lawful excuse, destroys or damages any property belonging to another, intending to destroy or damage such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of the offence”. I will be leaflet dropping in the area to give advice to the local residents.

Two people have been arrested throughout July for being in possession of drugs. One has received a police caution. Another was also found in possession of drugs and was arrested on suspicion and later bailed pending the results. 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.

The hot weather can also make us do things we normally don’t do, as two people left their car windows open at the local vets in Bath Road, to come back and find valuable items had been taken.

Overnight on the 9th July a vehicle was stolen from Bourne Vale. The vehicle has since been found in Basingstoke. If anybody knows anything about this please give me a call on 07970 145703.

A female was arrested for shoplifting in Boots and is awaiting her day in court.

We have had 2 incidents in Kennedy Meadows. Firstly a theft of a push bike and also an insecure garage was entered and several valuable items taken.

Contact us
If you want any advice or would like to contact the neighbourhood team you can call us on the police non emergency number 101 but if your call is an emergency then dial 999. Contact us via email:
This e-mail address should not be used to contact Thames Valley Police to report crimes or for any urgent matters. If you have information about crime or Anti Social Behaviour in your area but you do not want to speak to the police, please call the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555111. To view information on your neighbourhood team visit the force website at: (opens new window)

For updates and news in your area follow us on Twitter @TV

Jack Williams

Ted’s Story

When I joined the Hungerford Fire Brigade in 1951 I was the youngest member amongst very experienced men, some like my father Charlie, Bert Wyatt and Eric Crame who had been full time firemen during the war. On the day that I joined there was another person, a man with vast fire service and engineering experience, this was Edward (TED) Stevens.

Ted’s story is fascinating, he first joined the Hungerford Brigade in 1928 as a lad of 16, largely because of his father’s insistence. His dad was the town fire chief at that time and special permission was given for Ted to join.

Ted was an apprentice water works engineer and his standards were such that when the need for a water works manager at Lambourn occurred in the mid 30’s Ted was appointed. Hungerford and Lambourn waterworks were both administered by the Hungerford Rural and District Council, and this meant continuity of employment. He served there until well after WW11. when an opportunity occurred to return to the Hungerford site as Manager, and he at this time re-joined the Hungerford Fire Brigade.

Ted was an excellent fireman in every way and he was part of a crew with great operational experience, but also with a great sense of community, and most importantly a great sense of humour. As a young fireman I listened intently to their stories which stretched back to the ending of WW1

To remind you of some of the great characters, Bill Wyatt O.I.C., Leading Firemen Charlie Williams and Bill Hiscock, plus Eddie Crame, Bob Watts, John Pike, Bob Norris, Bill Barnes, Tom & Pete Walter, and of course Uncle Ted Cox.

We await the arrival of Ted’s great day when he will reach his century , and upon its arrival it is intended to have an ”Open Day” (22nd. September) at our Hungerford Fire Station, there with the full co-operation of Station Officer Pete Rackham and his crew. The day will be funded by the ”Old Fire Station” charity and I am lucky to have been a member since we sold the old Bath Road Fire Station in 1972. I am joined by ex-Fire Chief Norman Barr, Pete Rackham and Ron Tarry who represent the community, plus Sue Burnell and Sylvia Breadmore who are joint clerks.

Jack Williams

Legal Spot

Lisa-Marie Keefe, a wills and estate lawyer at the
Hungerford office of Charles Lucas & Marshall looks at the growing issue of digital assets in the event of death.

Q. What will happen to my digital photographs, MP3s, MP4s and e-books, when I die?

Many people in today’s society have financially valuable digital music, video and e-book collections; yet very few have considered what will happen to their collection when they die and what information would be needed to access and transfer those digital assets.

Generally, these “digital assets” are the same as any other property you own and will pass to your heirs. However, some online service providers include “non-transferability” clauses in their terms and conditions which can make it more difficult to access data they hold.

If you haven’t made a Will, then the law (“intestacy rules”) decides who will receive any transferable digital assets – and it may not be the person you want. If you have made a Will, did you give sufficient thought to your digital assets and include specific provisions to deal with them?

Q. What do I need to do to make sure that my digital assets are inherited by the right people?

Your “executors” or “administrators” are responsible for collecting together all of your assets and distributing them to the correct people under your Will or the intestacy rules.

Will they know you have digital assets, where to look for them and how to access them? If not, your valuable files and memories could be lost forever.

You should consider:
• Creating a list of your online accounts, electronic devices, data storage devices and their associated passwords
• Store a copy of your digital asset and password list at your solicitors or at your bank
• Review your Will (or make a Will), to say who should receive your digital assets
Create backups of the most important assets and store them at your solicitors or at your bank

Q. Are there any risks I should be aware of?

The most important thing is not to compromise your security. If you create a list of usernames and passwords, make sure it is not openly accessible.

A digital list should be password protected and you should limit the people you give the password to. Ideally, keep your list on a device separate from your computer (e.g. a CD, USB memory stick, etc) and in a secure location away from your home.

For further information contact

Lisa-Marie Keefe on
or 01488 682506.