Issue 118

1st March
1st June 2013

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

Front Cover by Micky Thompson

Is it just me, or did this last Winter drag on a bit. Spring, with the lengthening of the days affords us all the opportunity to make the most of any fine days that present themselves. For me that will be the opportunity to get the fly rods out or to take some long country walks. Then there are trips out to National Trust destinations and similar. Naturally the camera always comes too.

It was on a visit to the RHS Garden at Wisley in March last year that I took this issue’s cover picture of the Daffodil. With all of the exotic blooms available today, the humble daffodil still does it for me. Their blooming each Spring lifts the spirit and helps to banish the Winter blues.

Before the next June issue is published I will be involved with the Newbury Open studios event, so if any of you out there would like to see more of my work, find your way to Cherry Grove during any of the first three weekends in May, and look for the red Open Studio flag.


Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

I hope you have all had a good Christmas and a peaceful New Year. The lights in Hungerford were amazing this year as always, and I’m sure they encouraged more visitors to our lovely town. Our congratulations and thanks must go to Rod Desmoules and his team who each year produce such a stunning display.

Chain are lucky to have some wonderful volunteers and we are always looking for more drivers so if you have a few hours to spare then please contact the Chain Office (Mon – Fri 9-11am) on 683727 or myself on 683302. You can give as much or as little time as you can spare and drive your own car, the Handybus or the ‘Chairman’ vehicle.

Many of our volunteers have been driving for Chain for many years and before Christmas we said goodbye to George Halliday who has retired from Chain driving after over 20 years. We would like to say a big public thank you to George and wish him a happy retirement.

Every Wednesday the Handybus takes people to the Hydrotherapy Pool in Swindon. If you are interested in going please contact Betty Grant on 682607. This is a wonderful service that gives people the chance to get some exercise in a warm pool and is very beneficial for everyone, especially those who have had hip or knee replacements.

Best Wishes, Janette Kersey



Hello and a Happy New Year to you all.

Well the last CHAIN MAIL was in December three months ago, and this is the first opportunity to give you those wishes, not long to Easter now.

I am not sure that I will be happy with God’s Wonderful colours disappearing from our Railway Bridge in the High Street!

Do I see, or is it my imagination that the Co-oP are breaking their promise to our Mayor about keeping their Rubbish Bins indoors, they do seem to be outside a long time and they are definitely a disgusting blot on the landscape.

My thanks as ever to our wonderful advertisers whose contributions keep this magazine in circulation, and to Town & Manor for ‘sponsorship’ of four pages.

My thanks as always to the ever growing band of article contributors, it is you that make it such an interesting read.

I am not going to say I’m sorry for the poor amount of events in ‘What’s On’, just why don’t you event organisers bother to contact Margaret Wilson, the Hungerford Webmaster or myself Are all of your events that well attended that you don’t need free publicity?

Hungerford Rotary are having a great fund raising effort for Polio and The Bruce Trust. It set me to thinking now my MG is running well, about driving to our Twin Town via the back roads in France (just a pipe dream at the moment).

Really important Surgery News see the index on the left

If you have a computer do visit Hungerford’s website, where besides being able to read this issue again (having thrown it away) there is a vast array of information , and, if you look down the left hand side and click on ‘Steam’ you will be treated to a large amount of gorgeous photo’s of steam railway engines, and as a special treat a ’Local Timetable’ of steam trains. A double header (2 engines) The Mayflower on Saturday 16th March passes through Hungerford about 8.45am and comes back through about 8pm, get there earlier just in case they are running spot on time!

Three local charities that I know of are seeking volunteers. As usual our own


The Bruce Trust at Great Bedwyn (the season has started), contact or call 01264 356451,

and last but not least the

Canal and River Trust. Who, I hear you ask, well they used to be known as BW (British Waterways), who last year became a charitable trust, and are actively seeking volunteers for our area

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 May for the issue on June1st. but don’t leave it until the last minute, there might not be space. 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

Plugging the Gaps

With talk of Double or Triple dip recession and rising prices you could be forgiven for thinking that we are living on a roller coaster. In that case you may believe that we would come to a halt where we started. Unfortunately life isn’t like that and with inflation eating into reserves , it is a time when even more careful financial planning is called for.

The South of England may have escaped the worst of the recession and there are even signs of a small recovery but the real impact of the squeeze on budgets throughout the land is now beginning to be felt. Witness the effort that West Berks Council (WBC) is taking to reduce, cut or even stop providing some of their established services sometimes offloading them to others. In the last year, your Council has with others, saved the Youth Community Centre. At the other end of the age scale, negotiations are continuing to ensure that the highly valued Resource/Day centre can continue to operate. Time and effort plus finding fresh funding sources, will tell as to whether we succeed.

In the meantime long term projects such as essential upgrading of the changing rooms in the Triangle Pavilion, maintaining children’s play areas, supporting the Leisure centre and other on-going commitments, have been exercising the Finance committee to find the best route to take. The careful management of our funds in the past provides some measure of confidence that much of our planned expenditure can be met without drastic cut backs. However it will mean a certain amount of dipping into our reserves as you might expect.

Nevertheless, following a Government instigated new system for calculating the local i.e. Hungerford contribution to WBC and despite a small one-off payment to compensate, the effect would be to reduce the funds available to your Council. Accordingly we have taken the unusual decision to raise our Precept (Budget) from WBC by 5%. This will mean that a Band D household will be paying about £4pa. more this year. This step was not taken lightly but we regard it as a prudent measure to protect future streams of funding from WBC when no such compensatory funds are forthcoming.

Every Parish will have to make some hard decisions in these difficult times. I am confident though that Hungerford can weather this economic storm but not just through diligent management of our assets alone. The true resilience of our town lies more in the strength of our community spirit as demonstrated through the depth and scope of the voluntary groups. Each and every member plays a vital, albeit largely hidden role that will provide the mortar that fills those gaps that would otherwise damage our wellbeing.

A great big Thank You to all of you. Martin Crane OBE
Town Mayor of Hungerford

Bits 1

Also on this page……..Bell Ringing ……….CCB Oil Club……..

Hungerford Marina Update

Lakeland Leisure Estates Limited have acquired land at Hungerford with planning permission to develop an inshore marina.

Lakeland Leisure Estates Limited is a family owned company with 30 years experience developing and operating holiday and leisure parks. We entered the inshore marina market in 2010 with 3 marinas in Cheshire, Staffordshire and Gloucestershire which sit alongside our portfolio of 2 residential and holiday parks in North Yorkshire and the Costa del Sol, Spain.
We are pleased to have acquired the site at Hungerford as it complements our portfolio of modern, leading edge marinas in prime locations.

We are currently in the process of amending the original design; modernising the marina to a superior standard with emphasis on the marina basin. By removing the non-marina elements from the original design which included a hotel, restaurant and bar; spend from the marina clients will benefit the town and small local businesses.

We are currently in dialogue with the local planning authority and subject to planning and negotiations with the Canal and River Trust, we hope to be able to develop the site as soon as possible.

For further information about Lakeland Leisure Estates Limited, please visit our website at


The St Lawrence Bell Ringers are looking to recruit new members. Hungerford is fortunate to have a lovely ring of 8 bells which are relatively new, having been recast and hung in 1978. Our practices (every Wednesday evening) are often attended by ringers from other towers, partly because our bells are such pleasure to ring, but also because we are a sociable bunch who welcome visitors and newcomers.

Bell ringing is an engaging hobby that can provide a lifetime of enjoyment but which is very inexpensive. There is an annual subscription fee of £6.00 and no purchase of special equipment is required. In fact, we get paid for ringing at weddings.

People can learn to ring at any age from about 11. Everyone learns at their own pace.
We organise occasional outings to ring at other towers and most years a weekend away is also arranged. There are other social events throughout the year and Wednesday evenings usually end with a visit to The Hungerford Club for all who would like a post-practice drink.
Ringers are not required to be regular churchgoers. Although we make a commitment to ring the bells on Sunday mornings, there is no obligation to attend services.

So, if you are a lapsed ringer, or a non-ringer who might be interested in joining our community to preserve this uniquely British, centuries-old tradition, please contact our Tower Captain, Mark Robins, tel. 01488 644616, email:
We look forward to meeting you!

Bits 2

Also on this page….Penny Post …Poem….Tuesday Club ….A Towpath Taskforce

West Berks Foodbank

Many of us have friends and family to turn to when the going gets tough. What if your family could no longer help and you had nowhere else to go? What if the children were hungry, the cupboards bare and you’re not sure where the next meal is coming from?

That’s where Foodbanks can help by giving people food and support when they need it most – helping to avert greater disaster and greater poverty. Or to put it another way – 1 in 6 adults live close to the edge of their finances. When crisis hits – such as sudden illness, relationship breakdown, redundancy, or perhaps the effects of the recession – such people have no financial safety net, and that can lead to a struggle to put food on the table.

There is a network of foodbanks across the country supported by Trussell Trust   the West Berkshire Foodbank is the 290th such project. It is a joint venture between churches is Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford. The aim is that the Foodbank will be up and running by the end of March 2013. Warehousing at Greenham has been obtained and will be funded by the Greenham Common Trust.

Distribution points will be established at Hungerford Methodist Church, Newbury Salvation Army Hall and Thatcham Baptist Church. It is hoped to have one of the sites open each weekday. Hungerford will be open on Wednesdays from 1-3pm. Clients are referred to the Foodbank by a recognised professional who is helping them to address their needs, such as a debt counsellor or family support worker.

Donations of food may be left at St Lawrence Church, the United Reformed Church and Hungerford Methodist Church. We would be very pleased to hear of other possible collection points around the Town. Donations of long–life tinned or dried foods are always welcome, such as soup, breakfast cereal, pasta, fruit juice etc.

The West Berkshire Foodbank website is being developed, in the meantime, for more information about Food banks generally, including a shopping list of suitable foods, please visit, or for more information about the West Berkshire Foodbank in Hungerford please contact

Chain Mail readers……………

might also be interested in Penny Post, a similar community-minded newsletter that is sent by weekly email to nearly 1,500 people from Lambourn to Thatcham and also Marlborough, Swindon and Wantage (approx 15 mile radius from Junction 14 of the M4!).

The newsletter is compiled by Penny Locke in East Garston and if you contact her on she will put you on her mailing list. Penny Post includes local news, events, job offers, items for sale/wanted, recommendations, seasonal recipes and local classifieds.
The new website should also be ready around about now.


The Mood Swings.

We all have these, though some more than others,
When the going gets tough they lurk and hover
Ready to pounce and do their dirty deed
And then disappear, but the havoc does not recede.

I wish they’d re-appear to clear up the mess
They hide, plot and plan and stir up more stress
The devastation that they’ve left behind
We have to sort out, It’s all so unkind.


The Tuesday Club, Hungerford

For the disabled and elderly people.

If you enjoy meeting other people and wish to get out of the House for a while, why not come along and join us at our meeting on the second Tuesday of every month at the
Corn Exchange Hungerford at 2pm. You will be picked up from home if wished and takenback afterwards.

We also provide monthly outings for those who are able to get onto a Coach, whilst we are able to cater for the more disabled with our own tail-lift vehicle. We also arrange holidays and monthly Pub Lunches.

If any of this should interest you please send your details to:-

John Hollister (chairman) at, 4, Coldharbour Road,
Hungerford RG17 OAZ or Phone: 01488 682037


Towpath Taskforce

There are lots of ways to get involved with the Kennet & Avon Canal through Hungerford. Join the Towpath Taskforce or volunteer as a lock keeper at Crofton. If you’re part of a community group, why not adopt a stretch of canal to work more closely with the Trust to look after it for local people’s enjoyment.

You can find opportunities visiting where you can use the search function on the right hand side of the page to find opportunity’s near you. To maximise your search, please filter opportunities starting within next three months. Alternatively contact Rob Labus, Volunteers’ Coordinator
or on01380 722859

Hungerford Surgery

New Computer System for Hungerford Surgery

The GP Surgery will be replacing its clinical computer system in early March 2013. Our current software provider announced its intention to withdraw from the Primary Care market by the end of October 2013 and the surgery had no choice but to look for a replacement system.

The doctors at Hungerford, in keeping with both Lambourn and Ramsbury surgeries, have opted to switch to TPP SystmOne and we are all looking forward to the benefits this will bring to both patients and staff alike.

There will be a short period of disruption whilst the surgery transfers over to the new system but we trust that patients will bear with us as our doctors, nurses and administration staff quickly come to terms with the new ways of working. As I write this in early February, our plans to transfer over to SystmOne and train the surgery staff are well advanced and it is our principal aim to keep the impact on patients to an absolute minimum.

The key dates for patients to be aware of are:

Friday 1st March
Monday 4th March
Tuesday 5th March (urgent appointments only)
Wednesday 6th March

We are requesting that patients do not pre-book routine appointments, wherever possible, between Monday 25th February and Friday 8th March 2013. This is so that we can transfer over to our new appointment system as smoothly as possible. By all means call us if you have an urgent need to see a doctor or nurse but we ask for your cooperation and understanding should you wish to make a non-urgent appointment.

We will also be unable to process repeat prescriptions during the four days above and we are therefore asking patients to let us have their requests for repeat medication as early as possible prior to the switch over.

More information is available from the surgery and please free to ask any of the staff questions or email us at: –

Mike Hall – Practice Manager

Virtual Museum

Bare Knuckle Fights on the Common – 1821 & 1827

Bare knuckle prize fights, like cock-fighting and bull and badger baiting, were very much sports of the age, brutal by comparison with more enlightened times today.
We know of two great fights on Hungerford Common. That on 11 Dec 1821 was reputedly one of the great fight events of the age. It is said that 22,000 people gathered to witness the bare knuckle prize bout between one of the “Bristol Boys”, one Bill Neat, a butcher of that city, and Tom Hickman (“The Gas Man”). Neat weighed 13½ stone and at 5’ 11½” he was 2″ taller and 10lbs heavier than his opponent. However, among the betting fraternity, Neat was the favourite at 5 to 4 against. Some £200,000 is said to have been wagered on the outcome.

William Hazlitt, the critic and essayist, came down from London especially for “The Fight”, which was subsequently to feature in one of his essays of the same name which was published 3 months later. Hazlitt describes the journey down from the metropolis, first by the Brentford coach, and then on the Bath Mail to what he calls the Crown Inn (but is believed to be The Dower House) at Newbury.

After an early shave at a local barber’s shop, he and a friend then walked the 9 miles to Hungerford Common, where they found a multitude of people, carts, gigs and carriages surrounding the ring.

The rules of the contest were according to the Pugilistic Club, which allowed wrestling, throwing, tripping, holding, butting and hair pulling as part of the contest. Rounds only ended when a man was knocked or thrown to the ground. Half a minute was allowed as a break between rounds.

The contest lasted for 18 bloody rounds before Neat reduced Hickman to senselessness and won the bout. He shook his beaten opponent by the hand and carrier pigeons were released to take the good news to Mrs Neat in Bristol.

Records have now been found of another, less well-known fight that took place on the Common in April 1827 – reported as “The Battle between Marten and Gybletts”. The bout was described blow by blow in “Bell’s Life in London, and Sporting Chronicle”. The description is graphic and detailed, and gives a wonderful insight into the bare-knuckle sport.

As a spectator sport, it was deemed illegal in 1831 by a decision at Oxford Assizes which held that persons attending such an event were principals in a breach of the peace and indictable for assault. Hugh Pihlens

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

The Old Codger’s column

Poor Mrs P, paying out for what is a free service from the Telephone Preference Service to stop unwanted telephone calls! Of course it doesn’t stop them all by a long chalk and British based companies are getting round it by call centres all over the world. I have found that if you can actually understand them, they often respond to my request to remove me from their database as I have the ‘TPS’, I think it works, but it doesn’t if you just slam the phone down as their computer will keep you on it’s call list.

Unwanted TEXT spam can also be dealt with in the first instance by telling your phone provider. There is also the ‘official’ contact called the IOC on 03031231113 or

Do you know my current pet hate? Music playing when steam railway engines are working. There have been lots of programmes featuring steam in January and virtually all of the engines have been drowned out by the Producer putting on a sound track of Musak. There was some wonderful archive footage of the Welsh engines ruined by the musak. Of course so many things just HAVE to have Musak.I love old Narrow boats with old slow revving engines, and what do we get MUSAK!

Did you all enjoy the snow? Those cheap snow shovels from Tesco really worked well, pity more people don’t buy one and get out and do some clearing. The exercise and the fresh air will do you some good. The most stupid thing I saw on the morning when we had about 4inches of snow, was two council litter pickers in Hungerford, looking for rubbish! Duh! What half asleep WBC official didn’t think to divert them and employ them with a shovel or two and clear the High Street quicker, and then deploy them to other ‘needy’ places?

Well Nigel Farage seems to be coming to the forefront, is that a good thing or will it really put the mockers on who governs (rips us off) after the next election?

Sewerage…If you or I or the shop in the High Street allowed our sewers to overflow we would be jumped on by the authorities in no uncertain terms. Please how are Thames Water allowed to get away with all of this pollution. So many local incidents, Lambourn and the worst one that I heard of recently is at the old people’s bungalows near Great Bedwyn station. Next year I believe they celebrate (if that’s the right word) the effluent spill all over their gardens and pathways, which of course eventually flows down to the stream. Surely the great government department of the ‘Environment Agency’ should be hounding Thames Water and the rest of the companies in this country that charge a small fortune for supply and removal of our water. Are the local planning authorities shirking their duty to us for failing to insist on adequate sewerage systems? The problem is not just the wet, it’s all the extra houses built with no expansion in the drains!

Please contact me, through my new e-mail
Don’t forget the dots after the and old

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

Weed Them Out

There is a saying that a weed is just a plant in the wrong place so why worry about them? Well, allowing them space in your garden means that they are depriving your garden varieties of water and valuable nutrients, not to mention space and in some cases light. Weeds, as with all plants, fall into several categories good identification is key to controlling them.

Annual Weeds…As the name says, these plants complete their life cycle in one year. They emerge in the Spring, flower and set seed before dying down in the Winter. Being able to deal with them before they produce their seeds is a bonus as they can lie dormant in the soil to grow many years in the future. Due to the nature of their growth, they are usually not deep-rooted and are fairly easy to deal with by hand-weeding or a hoe. This group includes Groundsel, Chickweed, Hairy Bittercress and Speedwell (although this latter I call a little wildflower, as it is the emblem on my Norland College badge).

Biennial Weeds…All biennials work on a two year cycle so, in their first year they put on a lot of growth and establish themselves. Then in their second year, they flower and seed. Biennial weeds include Evening Primrose, Thistles and Ragwort. Interestingly Ragwort, which is toxic to grazing cattle and horses, can produce up to 75,000 seeds. However, although a landowner can be forced to remove it, it is not a statutory obligation to control it. Indeed as the plant is a source of food for around 77 species (including the Cinnabar Moth, which is declining in numbers), there is an argument for allowing Ragwort to grow where it will not be a danger to animals

Biennial weeds can be controlled by digging out, preferably before they begin to set seed. Although I prefer not to employ the use of herbicides, in highly populated areas, this may be a better option. A Glyphosate weedkiller is best applied when the plant is young, at the rosette stage of growth, and if applied carefully, should have no adverse effect on soil or surrounding vegetation.

Perennial Weeds…These really are the thugs of the weed world, as they can last for many years and propagate by several methods (seeds, root growth, layering). In this group too are the creeping perennials, such as Ground Elder or Bindweed, which can reproduce from the smallest piece left in the soil. If left unchecked some perennials may develop into large woody plants e.g. Bramble. For plants such as Dandelion, it is best to prevent them from setting seed. Dig them out carefully taking care to remove the whole of the long tap root, otherwise it will be able to regenerate. In lawns, regular repeated cutting will weaken the plant and could eliminate it over time.

In borders the use of a mulch such as bark will help to smother weeds; however it is most effective with annual weeds, especially when applied to a depth of 15cm. For areas with predominantly perennial weeds, it may be more effective. to use a weed suppressing fabric, although this has limitations aesthetically. I prefer, where possible to combine a mulch with a variety of ground cover herbaceous plants for year round interest.



Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Winter Weather
The unusual weather this winter must have been very confusing for our birds, mammals and flowers, let alone us. On the South Coast Daffodils were flowering in January and then there was snow in February in the Midlands.

I was on holiday in Rye in January and decided to visit Spike Milligan’s grave. I wanted to see the famous epitaph (if that is the correct word) “I told them I was ill.” Spike is buried in Winchelsea, that well known medieval town in East Sussex. I found his grave and was amused that the “inscription” was in Gaelic. I could not understand it. The churchwarden said the Bishop of Chichester would only allow the famous wording on the gravestone if it was not written in English!?.

This famous Irishman always made me think and laugh. And now he has gone he left me with another surprise, Daffodils were flowering near his grave on January 31st. If I had not seen this with my own eyes I would not have believed it. Snowdrops were not even flowering at Welford Park and Aconites were not out in the Hungerford Area in the last week of January.

Snowdrops and Aconites are winter flowers and Daffodils are spring flowers. People flock to see the winter display of Snowdrops at Welford Park in the Lambourn Valley.

Perhaps the explanation for the early flowering Daffodil is that it was planted next to a south facing wall and enjoyed full sunshine. There were no obstacles in the path of the Sun’s rays on the top of the hill and the wall protected the flowers from frost.

Sometimes Snowdrops and Daffodils bloom together in the Hungerford churchyard in March. I think this is because the Snowdrops are a variety that flowers late and the Daffodils are cultivars, that is to say they are not our native breed of wild flower. Maybe I’m totally wrong and these flowers were planted by an expert gardener who has a keen sense of humour.

Feeding Birds

In order to help the birds and to bring himself some pleasure my retired neighbour tells me he now feeds them all year round.

I thought that the birds should be fed in winter and left to fend for themselves in spring. My friend says that feeding birds with meal worms and specially prepared finch food provides protein and does not affect the young nestlings. In his view mankind has altered their habitat and we now need to look after them.

However he then said the theory of putting out peanuts for the birds only until spring arrives is still good practice because the young can choke on whole nuts.

Most people that feed the birds in winter usually see Blue Tits and Great Tits but my friend is rewarded by seeing a pair of Coal Tits all year round. He also said he sees Nuthatches and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers nearly every day of the year.

Birds to look out for in Spring

Warblers are a speciality of the Hungerford Marshes. They should arrive in March and flit around the banks of the Dun for several days before setting up territories and nesting.

Sedge and Reed Warblers tend to stay around the reed beds but Willow Warblers and Chiff chaffs use the Hawthorn Bushes.

Identification of these tiny little birds is relatively easy. The diagnostic features are listed in most bird books and on the inter net. They can give everyone a lot of pleasure when they sing.

The Spring dawn chorus is something to cherish and test your identification skills. Last year I was told the Blackbirds start the ball rolling at 5 a.m. and different species tune in at different times. Although I am a keen naturalist and love birds I have never wanted to test this theory. In my opinion, getting up at 7 am in March and April is sufficient for anyone to enjoy bird song.


Steam by Tony Bartlett

Steam railways update

As predicted, the last three months have been a barren period for steam train activity. Not all the trains previously scheduled were able to operate due to the weather and shortage of engine crew; and none of the ones which did were routed through Hungerford.

The 2013 season bursts into life again in March with no less than 3 steam-hauled excursions passing our way. They feature a return visit of the blue Tornado on 9th March, an Orient Express on 13th March, and on 16th March The Mayflower (Paddington- Plymouth) headed by two Bulleid Pacifics! A fourth train, a Cathedrals Express to Canterbury on 26th March starting from Newbury, provides us with the opportunity to travel on a stream train, rather than having to watch it speeding past non-stop As usual more information can be obtained from our reference site UKsteam Info at or from the Hungerford Steam section from the home page of Hungerford’s web.

Looking further ahead, the schedule is still firming–up but there should be several trains passing through the region each month, although we may need to travel further from home to see them. Of particular note is the Great Britain VI – a nine day (!!) railway cruise touring throughout England, Wales and Scotland – which possibly passes through here on 20th April, on day 1 of its itinerary.

Talking of travelling further afield, there are a number of privately preserved steam railways which you can visit on a day trip from here which may provide a rather more satisfying experience of steam locomotives at work. They can’t compete with the spectacle of a Tornado hauling 12 coaches at express speeds, but they do give you the chance to wallow in steam nostalgia in more intimate and authentic surroundings.

The most convenient of these is the Mid Hants Railway at Alresford near Winchester – a restored section of a through route closed in the Beeching era. Depending on the time of year, there will generally be two or more trains in steam giving you a variety of travel and photographic options. Preserved railways are run mostly by volunteers, with professional staff in key positions – they survive as tourist attractions and can, hopefully for them, be very busy at the height of the season. It is best to take note of special operating days in the railway timetable – see to help plan your visit.

A little further away is the Swanage Railway on the Isle of Purbeck – a similar set-up to the MHR but with considerable scenic advantages, travelling through Corfe Castle village to a terminus at a seaside resort – with something for both the older and younger generations. Linking in with the coastal theme, why not consider a holiday stay at say Minehead for the West Somerset Railway, or Torbay for the Dartmouth Railway, both of which would give ardent Great Western Railway fans their fill of Brunswick Green, and copper-capped chimneys.

More information on these and other possibilities can be found in the Hungerford Steam section of this web site. together with sample images of some preserved railways in the Steam Photo Gallery. Click on    Steam trains     on far left index.

Enjoy your enthusiasm, but stay safe!
Tony Bartlett

Roger Day

Fatal Air Disaster at Hungerford

Britain’s first military airfield was founded at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain in 1910, but by the outbreak of World War One it had closed and two new sites had been established nearby at Upavon and Netheravon. In flying terms these airfields were relatively near to the towns and villages of the Kennet valley and it was not long before areoplanes were seen operating over the area. Their appearance attracted a great deal of interest and reports appeared regularly in local newspapers. This may seem strange when viewed through modern eyes, but in 1914 flying was still a very new and exciting concept.

The first recorded sighting of a military aircraft flying over Hungerford occurred during the latter half of October 1914 when a biplane approached the town at low altitude from the west. It made one circuit of the borough before heading off towards Marlborough. However, three years later it was a more serious flying event, with tragic consequences, that made the headlines.

At about 8:15pm on Saturday 26th May 1917 the people of Hungerford became aware of an aircraft approaching the town from the west. Its engine sounded rough and it was flying very slowly. As it passed over the town it appeared to climb suddenly and then stand on its tail before turning over. The High Street was crowded with onlookers and most thought the pilot was giving an aerobatic display and showed their appreciation by clapping. However, their delight soon turned to horror when they realised the plane was out of control and floating like an autumn leaf to the ground. It passed over the Market Place and nose-dived into the garden of Mr Thomas Alexander’s house and grocery store (26 High Street, now the antiques arcade). Those close by rushed to the crash site and managed to pull the pilot free from the wreckage, but sadly nothing could be done to save him and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The pilot was identified as 2nd Lieutenant John Douglas Price Scholfield, a 23 year-old Canadian stationed at the Central Flying School, Upavon. The plane was immediately placed under guard and the following afternoon officers from Upavon arrived to hold a military enquiry. Lieutenant Scholfield was in the process of qualifying for his wings and had left Upavon at about 7:30pm in an Avro 504A (serial number 4061). Although originally designed as a front-line aircraft the Avro 504 was soon replaced by newer designs and relegated to the training role. However, it quickly earned a first class reputation as a trainer and by the end of the war 8,340 had been produced. The wreckage was examined by an officer from the Central Flying School who reported that, in his opinion, the controls and wires appeared to be in perfect working order and the plane had crashed as the result of a stall.

If any reader has further information or photographs regarding the above incident Roger Day would be delighted to hear from you, as he is currently researching the history of Hungerford during the First World War.

Telephone 01488 682377 or email

Seasonal Recipes

What’s in season?

Vegetables: Artichoke, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, leeks, parsnips, Swede, turnips, horseradish, truffles. Fruit: blood oranges, forced rhubarb, Fish: Clams, Cockles, muscles, oyster, sea bass, winkles Meat: Goose, venison

Stuffed butternut squash
Makes a great accompaniment to grilled chicken or sausages.
For the Squash: 2 butternut squash, thick slices butter, salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the stuffing: 30g butter, 2-3 large onions, peeled and sliced, 5 cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks, 3 pinches ground cinnamon, 3 pinches cumin seeds, pinch or so paprika, 100 g sultanas
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. 2. Cut the squash in half, spoon out the seeds. Using a sharp knife, score the flesh of the squash in a criss-cross pattern, so that the heat can get to the interior. Place the squash halves, cut sides facing upwards, into an ovenproof dish, dot with the butter and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in the oven for one hour.3. In the meantime, make the stuffing. Heat the butter in a large shallow pan, add the onions, cover and cook gently until softened, about 15 minutes. Add the ginger, cinnamon, cumin seeds, paprika and sultanas and continue to cook until the onions are starting to caramelise. 4. Place equal amounts of the stuffing mixture where the seeds were and then return to the oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately with some of the pan juices spooned over. 1 to 2 hours cooking time Serves 4

More seasonal recipes on the HEAT web site

Swap Shop – but you need nothing to exchange – just turn up and save money and reduce waste. We held a very successful 1st Swap Shop in East Garston on Saturday 26th January . It was a free event buzzing with lots of the local community and visitors from further afield. A great range of goods were donated, from furniture to dog collars to whole computers, weighing over a whopping 1 tonne in weight. Swap shoppers took away 585 kilos (over half a tonne) for reuse, and the Community Recycling Project took the remaining half tonne away to sell in their shops. Thanks to everyone who took part. They’ll be another Swap Shop event in Hungerford on the 9th March 2.00 – 3.30 at the Croft Hall .

Did You Know 7 million tonnes of food is thrown away from homes every year, it is estimated that this costs the average household £480 a year
If this quantity of food was not wasted, the energy saving in its production, packaging and transport, would be the equivalent of taking 20% of cars off the road in the UK.
What can we do? Shop more carefully, make a list and plan meals, Portion control, get to know how much rice, pasta etc is required, Learn to use left overs and store food well
Compost or recycle any unavoidable waste.

Veolia shopping lists, measures and recipes sheets are available on the HEAT stall at the Farmers Market, and there is plenty of advice on

at Herongate Leisure

Treat yourself to a hot bistro meal, garden salad, a freshly made sandwich or homemade soup for lunch at the Fairplay Café, located within Herongate Leisure, Hungerford.
Open from 8am until 2:30pm on weekdays, the Fairplay Café offers restaurant dishes at competitive prices and is open to all.
Heading a team of four in the kitchen is chef manager, Sharon Allen, whose 25 years catering experience includes weddings and private parties as well as corporate functions.

‘We take the time to find the best and freshest ingredients consistently, often locally sourced.
We devise menus that are seasonal and
thoughtful. Lunch menus are printed out every Friday and can be viewed at Herongate to tempt you for the week ahead.’
Alternatively, pop along for a morning coffee with friends sitting on a comfortable sofa and enjoy a latte or cup of tea with a naughty slice of delicious homemade chocolate cake!
A sample menu would be:
Griddled boneless Pork loin on roasted
Mediterranean Vegetables and potatoes
dauphanoise £5.25
Macaroni Cheese topped with Mozzarella and drizzled with pesto with garlic bread £4.25
A typical Friday fish special would be:
Deep fried Battered Haddock with Homemade tartare sauce and chips £4.25
‘Having lived in Hungerford for over 12 years,
I have recently discovered the Fairplay Café and I was amazed at the quality and presentation of the food. I will definitely be back with more of my friends’, said local resident Mr. John Richards.

For more information about the FairPlay Café,
please contact us on 01488 682000 and ask for FairPlay Café.

We look forward to welcoming you soon!

Health by Liz

More than Skin Deep

Radiant clear skin is something we all long for, but can be difficult to achieve, especially when emerging from a long dreary winter, spent mainly in our centrally heated homes and offices. Liz Chandler from Natures Corner looks at a particularly common skin complaint –
eczema – and gives some suggestions on helping with this dry, itchy, problem.

Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition characterised by dry thickened skin which flakes and forms blisters and is extremely itchy. Atopic eczema is the most common form of eczema and is largely confined to childhood, although it can reoccur in later life. Seborrhoeic eczema affects the scalp and face and can develop at any age.

No one treatment is likely to be effective on its own, as eczema can be triggered by many situations including food sensitivities (such as dairy, wheat, red meat, sugar, tea, coffee and alcohol), high levels of stress and an imbalance in the gut bacteria.

A diet rich in oily fish, seed oils such as flax or hemp, nuts, seeds and soya based foods can be helpful as the omega 3 and omega 6 essential fats are known to reduce inflammation and have hydrating properties which are highly effective at reducing itching and dryness.

Useful supplements include Starflower oil (higher in gamma linolenic acid than evening primrose oil), fish oils (containing high levels of EPA and DHA which have anti-inflammatory and immune strengthening properties) and a broad spectrum multivitamin and mineral formula (particularly with a good strength of zinc for its ability to heal). Aloe Vera juice and a high quality probiotic are also helpful as digestion can play a huge part in many health issues, especially eczema.

So when we think about skin problems, it really is more than skin deep. There are many factors within are amazing but complicated bodies that have an influence on how we look and how we feel.

For advice on the best regime for your individual skin health, please contact us on 01635 33007 or call into the store in Bartholomew Street, Newbury.

Our Community


Distraction Burglaries

We reported last month on properties in Kintbury and Hungerford being subject to distraction burglaries. A male was arrested and has been bailed pending further enquiries in relation to this.
Crime Update
• 6th Jan – Lambourn: At midnight a male was assaulted in the High Street Lambourn by a group of 4-5 males. His rucksack containing an Ipad was stolen. The offenders are still outstanding. Any information please contact us.
• 6th Jan – Lambourn: Overnight a barn in Upper Lambourn was broken into. Several tools were taken along with a high value ‘Dirt Driver Royale’ pressure washer.
• 7th Jan – Inkpen: A barn was broken into and tools were taken.
• 9th Jan – Lambourn – 1000 litres of heating oil was stolen from a residential property by siphoning.
• 10th Jan – Lambourn: Following a shoplifting at the CO-OP a female was arrested and cautioned for theft.
• 11th Jan Hungerford: A business premise in Charnham was broken into. Nothing was taken.
• 14th Jan – Lambourn: Offenders entered the yard of a business premise in Lambourn Woodlands causing damage to the main gate. Vehicles and portacabins were searched. 6 disc cutters were taken along with a hydraulic core drill, Sat Nav and camera.
• 15th Jan – Wickham: Heating oil was stolen. The cap was secured with a chain which was broken off.
• 17th Jan – Kintbury: A few garages were opened in Mill Bank but nothing was taken.
• 17th Jan – Kintbury: 3 vehicles parked on the same driveway in Blandy’s Hill had their windows smashed and items taken from within.
• 19th Jan – Hungerford: A vehicle parked near to Hungerford Primary School off of Fairview Road was stolen.
• 23/24th Jan – Lambourn: Overnight diesel was siphoned from a tractor on a farm in Woodland St Mary.
• 25th Jan – Lambourn: Between 11:45-12:30 a vehicle parked outside a cottage in Shefford Woodlands was broken into with an unknown instrument and handbag stolen.
• 24/25th Jan – Lambourn: A property in Great Shefford was subject to a burglary. Offenders used a crowbar on a wooden double door. A tidy search was made. High value silver cutlery was stolen.
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. You can also contact us via email:
This e-mail address should not be used to contact Thames Valley Police to report crimes or for any urgent

Fuel Thefts –
Unfortunately fuel theft is still a problem in the area so please remain vigilant, and report suspicious activity.
Below are some steps to consider:
• The position of your tank – Hiding the tank behind the garage, shed or some other type of outbuilding will add barriers and slow down and potentially put off a criminal.
• Padlocks – Close shackle padlocks are best as they offer most resistance to a bolt cropper. Try and make sure that the lock is to British Standard.
• Securing Your tank – Tank guard products are available which surround the existing storage tank with a metal enclosure. This sheet of metal enclosure has lockable access doors to allow filling and maintenance and has internal anchorage points to fix it to a concrete base. These products cost less than one tank full of oil and will last many years.
• Control Switches – The control of the flow of oil should be turned off and the electricity supply isolated when the tank is not in use.
• Oil Level Gauges – Remote electronic gauges are now available which will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below a quarter full. These gauges should be placed in areas, such as the kitchen or a utility room where the alarm will be heard. There are two or three different versions on the market at the moment and cost between £70 and £100.
Remain vigilant during delivery of your fuel, if you see vehicles following the tanker or people acting suspiciously please take any vehicle indexes and call the police immediately.


A Secret in the heart of Hungerford
Why not come and join the most active Club in Hungerford. The Hungerford Club provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere in beautiful surroundings on The Croft, with ample private parking.

We cater for all age groups, both in the Club and on our Sports grounds. Inside the Club are two high quality Snooker tables for Billiards, Snooker and Table Bowls. There is also a Dart Board, and of course a well stocked, award winning bar, renowned for its real ale. Our prices are some of the lowest in the area.

There is a refurbished function room upstairs for meetings, at competitive prices.
We have four LTA Tennis courts, two floodlit, a Tennis coach is available.
We hold special events throughout the year including:

Monthly Quiz night            Monthly Curry nights
Snooker Competitions              Indoor Table Bowls
Annual Real Ale Festival                   Giant Christmas Raffle
Regular Entertainment

Open every day at lunch time and in the evenings.

Average Social Membership £31.00. per annum
Discounts for Senior Citizens £20.00 and Students £11.00

Information on Membership for Tennis and Bowls, from Jim, the Club Steward.
The club is dog friendly for responsible owners.
Why not come down one day and check us out.


John O’ Gaunt School becomes a link in the Chain

The first few weeks of January have certainly been adventurous, with snow, as ever it seems, bringing life to a momentary standstill. At John O’Gaunt we never take closing the school lightly and on both of our ‘snow days’, it was a matter of assessing the site, the safe travel of staff and students and number of staff that we could get in. Needless to say, after the event, we have enough salt, grit and emergency procedures to conquer anything!

Last week we had a follow up, and rather glowing, Ofsted monitoring visit. The focus is to see how we are working on the key areas identified previously in November, and to see if the school’s progress is quick enough. Our inspector was impressed with the ‘forensic’ way that we are analysing data and using it to move children forward in their learning. It was a very encouraging step on our journey to be becoming an outstanding school.

It has been fantastic to see the many successes of our sports’ teams recently, last week the Year 9 girls’ netball team were victorious in their match, and before Christmas the boys’ rugby team had several victories, as did the girls’ football team, who beat all local teams to win the indoor tournament. I am so proud of their attitude and team spirit; people think that because we are a small school we cannot possibly beat the larger schools, some of which are sports’ colleges! But John O’ Gaunt students are fiercely proud and fight hard to prove that the best things often do come in small packages. Never under estimate what we can achieve…..

Next term we will be launching our ‘Lads and Dads’ events, a series of evenings to get together, eat pizza, play Mankana and have an informal chat about some of the issues involved in parenting boys. It won’t be Dads only, as there are plenty of us Mums with sons that could do with sharing ideas about how to limit XBox play and keep communication going. The first date is February 28th – keep an eye out for the letter. This is the first of our Parent Forum sessions, and I look forward to hearing the sorts of things that you would like to discuss in future Forums – no topic is off limits!

Sarah Brinkley
Headteacher, John O’Gaunt


Blasts from the Past

From the Parish Magazine dated November 1875.
“An event, which may be thought to illustrate the salubrity of this district, occurred in the decease of a centurion at Chilton, on October 7. It seems to be ascertained, without doubt, that John Stocker who died at his son’s house on that day was upwards of 101 years old.”
From the Parish Magazine dated November 1878.

“Our readers will be glad to learn that the Rev. J.P. Farler, Chaplain to Bishop Steere of Zanzibar, has promised to give an address on mission work in Africa, in the Hungerford Corn Exchange, on the evening of Thursday, November 7. Mr Farler is well known in this neighbourhood as a former Curate of Lambourne; and lately his name has been more widely known as one of the most energetic small band of Missionaries who have devoted themselves to the evangelization of Central Africa under Bishop Steer.

Mr Farler returned only a short time ago from the African Mission field, and hopes to go back forthwith to Zanzibar with recovered health and increased resources to prosecute his important enterprise. Those who have read Mr Stanley’s “Through the Dark Continent”, will perhaps remember the terms in which that adventurous traveller speaks of Bishop Steer and his companions. Mr Stanley while preparing for his search after Dr Livingstone stayed some time at Zanzibar in order to collect men and materials for his march across Africa, and in describing the state of things in that barbarous region he says “Almost single-handed remains Dr Steere faithful to his post as Bishop and chief Pastor. He has visited Lake Nyasa, and established a Mission halfway. He keeps a watchful eye upon the operations of the Mission House established among the Shambulas; and at the head-quarters or home at Mbweeni, a few miles east of Shangani Point, he superintends and instructs lads and young men as printers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and in the practical knowledge of other useful trades.

His quarters represent almost every industrial trade useful in life as occupations for members of the lower classes; and are in the truest sense, an industrial and religious establishment for the moral and material welfare of those he has collected around him. This extraordinary man, endowed with piety as fervid as ever animated a martyr, looms grander and greater in the imagination as we think of him as the one man who appears to have possessed faculties and gifts necessary to lift this mission, with its gloomy history, into the new life upon which it has now entered. With all my heart I wish it and him success.” The chair will be taken at 7.30. A collection will be made in aid of the Central African Mission..

Footnote; The meeting was well attended and the collection amounted to
£4 14s 6d.

More from the Archives next issue. Fred Bailey.

Legal Spot

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Thinking and talking about what would happen if our faculties deserted us is uncomfortable. How much worse, for you and your family, if you became incapacitated through a stroke, accident, or dementia without sorting out your affairs first. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document whereby you (while you still have capacity) can nominate a trusted friend or relative to look after your affairs if you lose the ability to do so.

Why should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

If you have made a Will because you care about what happens to your assets after you die, you ought also care about keeping both them and yourself safe whilst alive.

Looking after them (your property, assets and associated affairs) is done by making a document called a Lasting Power of Attorney – Property and Financial Affairs. Looking after yourself (your personal welfare and healthcare) is achieved by making a Lasting Power of Attorney – Health and Welfare.

What happens if I do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney?

If you do not have an LPA and suddenly become unable to manage your affairs, decisions can only be made after an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputy Order. This can take up to 10 months and cost £1,000 or more. The person authorised to handle your affairs is unlikely to be someone you would have chosen, and may even be a Court Official who can (and will) charge every time s/he acts for you. Furthermore, whilst the Order is being applied for, your assets are at risk and/or those members of your family organising your care might be placed under an increased financial burden for doing so.

A Health and Welfare LPA allows you to appoint one or more Attorneys to make decisions on your behalf about your personal welfare and healthcare, including whether to give or refuse consent to medical treatment and deciding where you live when you cannot decide for yourself. Without an LPA in place, the Court-appointed deputy may be the person in charge of making these decisions, and s/he won’t even know you.

An LPA allows you to plan in advance:

• The decisions you want to be made if/when you lose capacity to make them yourself
• The people you want to make those decisions
• How you want those people to make those decisions.

Interested in learning more?

To make an LPA you must still have mental capacity so, like a Will, if you don’t have an LPA in place, by the time you need one, it’s too late!

Please contact Julie Lloyd at Lloyd Evans 01488 468100) for further information on the process and costs associated with LPA’s and what you need to do next to protect yourself and your assets in the event of incapacity.