Issue 120

1st September
1st December

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

Front Cover by Micky Thompson

The cover photograph this issue was taken on the 1st October last year, looking under the town bridge towards Denford. Let’s all hope that the sunshine stops with us again for as long this year, but that we don’t have such a dreadful winter.

September is with us, with the slow run up to Christmas. As the nights start to draw in again, it is the time when photographers start to spend more time in the darkroom or more probably these days, the digital darkroom. I know that I have a great deal of material taken in the Summer months that needs investigation. With the Camera Club annual exhibition at the Corn Exchange on the weekend of October 13-14th when all the best work is displayed, and with over 50 members now, it promises to be a really good show.

I do hope that those of you that do take photographs on your digital camera or phone don’t leave them in cyber space and only look at them on screen. Make a file of all the best ones and get them printed out. You may not attach a great deal of importance to them now, but in the years to come when the digital picture files are lost, some of those pictures will be really important to someone.

Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

Well here we are nearly at the end of the summer and what a beautiful display of flowers Rod Desmoules has kept going in the High Street and Bridge Street. As I walk to work in the morning there he is, dead heading and watering, and he is still busy when I walk home at night. He also puts up the flags in the town and takes them down. He is one of Hungerford’s unsung heroes.

Talking about my walk to work, I have to mention my pet hate, the state of the pavements in the High Street. Why can’t the Utilities put back the slabs instead of just putting in tarmac or broken bits of slabs, it looks awful and is really spoiling the High Street. If you agree with me please complain to West Berkshire Council.

CHAIN is, I am sure, going to get busier as autumn approaches, because of the new development on the old Priory site. Unless a mini bus service is provided I can’t see the new residents being able to walk to the shops or the surgery. So if you have a few hours to spare and would like to use your car to drive people to the surgery or hospitals, please contact myself on 683302 or the CHAIN Office on 683727 (9.00-11.00 Mon-Fri). We also need drivers for the Handybus and the Chairman Vehicle, so if you would rather not use your car there is an alternative.

I must congratulate the John O’Gaunt School on their 50 years celebration, what a lovely event they put on. It was wonderful to look at the old photos and see the changes made in the school.
Have a great autumn and keep enjoying our lovely town.

Best Wishes, Janette Kerse



Hello and how is your Summer going?

For the first time ever, CHAIN MAIL has added colour to an issue, the printed version that is. Paul Frances and a colleague of his, John Elliott, along with Hungerford Town Council, have taken the centre pages to produce a local bus map in the style of the London Underground (On the Buses). For the technically minded this was produced on a very old LOTUS 123 computer program, e-mailed to me as a ‘jpeg’, which was pasted into Microsoft’s Desktop ‘Publisher’ programme. It was then converted to a ‘pdf’ and e-mailed to our printer ahead of the rest of the magazine. Phew….sometimes I really have to work hard!!!

So you may have gathered that we can now include double sided centre colour, and also double sided inserts, (do please contact me for quotes). All the profit raised from adverts goes towards producing this magazine for free ,and to CHAIN to further their good works.

The only e-mail this time is from a lovely young lady called Rebecca, and is in Interesting Bits!. You will be able to meet her on November 2nd at the Christmas Fair at the Town Hall. If you didn’t already know, The Bruce Trust is my next favourite charity after CHAIN.

Fiona (she of the Tutti Pole) asks me to say that there will be ‘Cards for Good Causes’ at The United Reformed Church but dates & times will not be firmed up until after we have gone to press!

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 November for the issue on December 1st. 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

Me a Town Councillor? No thanks, because…….

1] I’m too busy. Really? Couldn’t you manage, on average, two meetings a month, each no longer than 2 hours? How many hours a week do you watch TV? Missing the occasional meeting is perfectly acceptable.

2] I am building a career Being a Councillor demonstrates that you can work in a team, make decisions and are community minded. It looks good on your CV.

3] I’m too young If you are old enough to vote, you are old enough to join the Council where you would be more than welcome representing the younger generation.

4] I’m too old Your experience in life in your many chapters could be invaluable when looking at many issues of the day.

5] I have not lived here long enough Times are changing and mobility is the name of the game. As an ‘incomer’ you could bring a fresh viewpoint to the table.

6] I don’t know the ropes and would look silly You would be eased in gently and perhaps if you had watched a meeting from time to time you would soon feel at home and able to express your opinion..

7] The Council is just a talking shop for old fogeys. Perhaps you have not looked at the make up of today’s Council and even if you still think that, come and join to change things.

8] I’d have to sign a Code of Conduct that the Press is always on about. The Code is no where near as onerous as the Press would have you believe. Out of some 80,000 councillors, only 300 have refused to sign.

9] Why should I let everyone know about my personal business? The declaration of interest asks you to declare business interests within the town to guard against bias when town issues are discussed. As for personal affairs, let’s face it in Hungerford everyone knows about these anyway.

10] I prefer to let others do the work and criticise from the side-lines. OK but do remember expounding your views in the pub will not change a thing in the town.

11] I don’t have a planning application in at the moment. Whatever happened years ago, if you have such an application in, you would have to leave the room while it was being discussed, to avoid the chances of corruption.”

12] I like to keep myself to myself and not bother about the community A perfectly valid if selfish ,reason for not joining and you are welcome to maintain such isolation from the town’s business.

I am sure that there are many other excuses for not even considering joining the Council but you live in the town and it is only through the Council that you can influence how things are done. At the moment we have a vacancy to fill but we would like to increase the number of councillors in future to provide an even better of balance of interests and opinions.

Why not come along to sit in on any of the normal meetings that are advertised under the bridge Notice Board and see for yourself how you might fit in ?

Cllr Martin Crane
Town Mayor of Hungerford

Bits 1

Also on this page…..Swap & Buy….Poppy Appeal………Snaps!……..A Poem

Letters or E-mails…and other things………..

Dear Ed.

Our Silver Anniversary Appeal to raise just over £100,000 for the refurbishment of The Rebecca (one of our wide beamed boats for disabled people to hire), is still going, we’re about halfway there.

We have set up a new online giving page with Find Me A Grant which is run by Greenham Common Trust. This is a fantastic scheme as they match any donation given and organise the gift aid if applicable to that donation. Their minimum donation amount is £10 and I have just donated this and with their top up and gift aid my £10 has been turned into £22.50 which is brilliant.

If you have not yet supported our appeal and would like to, perhaps you might by visiting, selecting the West Berkshire area, clicking on Donate and then searching for Bruce Trust and going to our Silver Anniversary Appeal (we have a motorhome appeal on there also so please do ensure you select the correct appeal for us).

If you could forward this information to anyone else you know that might be keen to help us with this appeal then that would be wonderful too please.

Best regards, Rebecca Bruce,

Swap Shop & Buy!

Organised by HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team).

Have a good clear out…bring stuff along and/or take stuff away – all for free! You’re welcome to take items even if you don’t bring any (the aim is to find new homes for stuff that otherwise might end up in landfill) We can accept clean items in good working order:

CDs, DVDs, games • books • toys • small items of furniture • household items • furnishings garden equipment • tools & DIY • craft materials • clothes & shoes • linen & fabric • small mains electric appliances (which will be PAT tested for safety on the day) We cannot accept food/drink, baby/child car seats, knives, paint/chemicals, opened toiletries.

Items can be brought to the Croft Hall from 11am on Sat 7 Sept

For further information please contact Tony Drewer-Trump on 01488 684108





Once again a big thank you to everybody for the support that Hungerford have given to the Royal British Legion (RBL) Poppy Appeal for 2012/13. A4 Hire based in Bath Road, Hungerford donated £5,000, the net earnings for a year from one of their diggers to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. The cheque was presented by the owner Paul Bolland and Denise Gaines of A4, who organised the collection for the Poppy Appeal, to Shelagh Parry, Hungerford Poppy Appeal Organiser and Jack Williams, President Hungerford RBL Branch.

The total for the Hungerford Poppy Appeal for 2012/2013 is now £25,420.08. The 2013/14 collections for the Poppy Appeal will start on Saturday 26th October 2013 and will end on Remembrance Sunday, 10th November 2013. If anyone would like to help with collecting for an hour either in the High Street or outside the Tesco Store, please let me know on

01488 681492 or
Shelagh Parry

Back from holiday and………

….You’ve travelled abroad, or in the UK, explored the countryside with camera and guide books and returned home to excitedly tell family and friends about your adventures. They are busy at the moment, maybe in a few weeks’ time, but they do sound just a little disinterested. Is this what you experience?

If so, why don’t we form an informal Travel Group within the Hungerford area, dividing into small groups of no more than10 people, in a different member’s house each month; that member to provide light refreshment and some kind of photo-viewing arrangement .. projector, computer, or ???

I’ve had experience of this abroad and it works well. If you would like to
discuss this idea please phone me – Diana – at 01488686613 and we can talk further……

Childhood Ways

The games we invented children just don’t do now
Today’s children simply don’t know how
We tied ropes to trees, broke farmer’s bales,
Made wooden things with planks and rusty nails.

We’d awake early every weekend morning
What adventure would await this dewy dawning
Logs to be sawn and kindling done
After that task we would look for more fun.

Mother’s birthday arrived-no money for a gift
So off to the spinney for wild flowers to lift
Miles we would tramp, my brother and I
Great buddies then, but that’s lost now ,I cry.

In our garden was a giant cedar tree, we’d scramble to the top
Then slide down the branches and eventually flop
Onto the ground in a tumble of mirth
With scratches and bruised there was never a dearth.

A swing he would make me with wood from the shed
“Hold this tight Ju “ he would patiently say,
With twine stolen from a baling machine
My swing was complete-my absolute dream.




Bits 2

Also on this page….Food Bank …..Food Fest…..Help Rod! ……..Coffee Morning

Rotary Club of Hungerford – 2012/2013

At the end of my year as President of this great club I would like to share with CHAIN MAIL readers our achievements during the past year.

The club today has 33 members and three honorary members. Our aim is to help others,through fun, fellowship and fundraising involving members of our community at our events.

We hope that others have enjoyed our events, including a St George’s Day dinner and an evening of Music and Movies both at our wonderful Corn Exchange, A day of metal detecting at a farm near Lambourn, Quiz and Games nights at the Royal British Legion, to name but a few of the events held, which has enabled our club to raise and distribute about £12,000 in charitable funds this year. We are grateful to the community of this beautiful town and surrounding villages, and Tesco, for its generosity in many ways.

Our donations this year whilst supporting International and National charities have had an emphasis on local charities and causes.
These include:- The Rotary Foundation Annual Programme.
End Polio Now campaign………….Helen and Douglas Hospice
Hungerford Resource Centre – funding for “sensory room” equipment
Riding for the Disabled at Lambourn
Newbury and District Stroke Care Association
Prostate Cancer research……Chestnut Walk Care Home
Lambourn First Aid Responders
Hungerford Nursery School, Brownies, junior rugby and youth club cricket coaching

I am most grateful for the support from our club Council and members through the year and wish my successor Annabel King well for the coming year.

Nick Fritz, Past President -2012/2013


THANK YOU SO MUCH to people in Hungerford who have given food to the West Berkshire Foodbank. In June alone, the total weight of food left at the collection points in St Lawrence’s, Methodist & United Reformed Churches was 104kg.
We are always grateful to receive long life foods such as dried milk, tinned soup, meat, fish, vegetables, fruit & fruit juice, pasta, rice pudding. These foods are given out in nutritionally balanced parcels to provide 3 days emergency food supply to local people in crisis. 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.

In it’s first three months of operation, West Berkshire Foodbank provided food for 187 adults and 66 children through its three distribution centres in Hungerford, Thatcham and Newbury.

For more information about the West Berkshire Foodbank in Hungerford please visit, or contact


With over 40 stalls, sizzling street food, apple pressing and the buzz of live cooking demonstrations, this year’s Hungerford Food Festival 11am – 3.30pm Sunday 29 September promises to be another inspiring celebration of local and seasonal fayre.

Everyone can join in the fun and show off their culinary talents. Share your secrets for using up leftovers by entering the new Lovely Leftovers Recipe Competition. Your recipe will be judged by the Love Food, Hate Waste chef and finalists will have the chance to demonstrate their recipes live on the day! Or enter your homemade baked delights, preserves and beverages in the HFF Cookery Competition. There will also be a small produce competition run by Growing Together. All competitions details and entry forms can be found on

On the day, local and award-winning food and drink producers will offer a tempting array of fresh produce, local meat, pies & quiches, beer, cider and wine, rapeseed oil, apple juice, honey, mushrooms, artisan bread and preserves with many offering free tasters and samples. You can even bring a bag of your own apples to juice on the day.

Live demonstrations by local experts will include how to hot-smoke food at home and make home-made wine. Gert Pienaar, head chef at Inglewood’s Walmesley Restaurant will demonstrate how to make his gorgeous canapes and Laura O’Brien from Cocochoux will be sharing her top cake decorating tips.

Homemade cakes & teas will be served by Hungerford Scouts in the Town Hall or the more energetic can whip up their very own smoothies on a smoothie bike. Other children’s entertainment will include face-painting, vegetable sculptures and food quizzes. Entry only £1 for adults (children free).

For more details see

This year’s event is kindly sponsored by Doves Farm, Cobbs Farmshop & Kitchen and Greene King’s Old English Inns (new owners of The Bear Hotel).


Hungerford Surgery

Flu Immunisation Campaign 2013/14

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:
Aged 65 and over / Aged between 6 months and 65 years of age and in a clinical risk group / All pregnant women / Frontline health and social care workers / Those in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay facilities / Those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person

Our four ‘Flu Saturdays’ will take place at the Surgery in October and we ask that you attend as follows:
Sat 5th Oct patients with the surname A – D / Sat 12th Oct patients with the surname E – L
Sat 19th Oct patients with the surname M – R / Sat 26th Oct patients with the surname S – Z

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

“You can never get an appointment at the Surgery”
This is a comment that we sometimes hear mentioned around the town and one which obviously gives us cause for concern. Whilst we acknowledge that we don’t always meet the expectations of all of our patients all of the time, we are constantly striving to do our best for patients in the Hungerford area and despite ever increasing demand our waiting times, compare extremely well with the average for GP surgeries in England.

Our clinical team of doctors and nurses see an average of 150 patients per day and we are fast approaching the figure of 38,000 patients being seen at this Surgery every year. We offer at least 25 ‘same day’ appointments every day to those patients with a more urgent need to see a doctor and also provide additional ‘routine appointments’ during extended opening hours on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.

Facts and figures are useful but what matters most is your individual experience as patients. If you feel that you consistently have too wait too long to see your doctor I would urge you to contact me and we will do our best to address any concerns you have.

Mike Hall Practice Manager

Virtual Museum

The Great Fire of Hungerford, 1566

The Great Fire of Hungerford took place in 1566. In the early 1980s, whilst researching medieval records of Hungerford, the late Hungerford historian Norman Hidden came across a set of 28 Latin poems written by Daniel Rogers. One of the set was called “Urbes”, and included the text (in Latin) “Hungerford was almost totally destroyed by a vast conflagration”. The poem was not dated, but further detailed research unearthed various local records referring to properties “decayed by fire”, or “one void plot of ground late burned”, or “a decayed piece of ground late burned”.

The great fire started in (or near) Queen’s mill in present-day Bridge Street, and spread south on both sides of the street as far as present-day Three Swans Hotel.

A law case in 1570 involved the town miller, John Yowle, who “by misfortune and the negligence of his neighbours, the said mills were burned and utterly consumed with fire”.

A survey of 1574 listed six properties destroyed by fire, whilst the mill “is now in good reparation”. The rebuilding had cost John Yowle £100.

A large number of properties between Queen’s Mill and the Three Swans were completely destroyed by the fire, and no doubt many others were partly damaged. Those destroyed include:- Queen’s Mill (and some adjacent properties), 1 High Street, 7 & 8 High Street (now Martin the Newsagent, and Hidden River), 14 High Street (north end of Co-op Stores), 115 High Street (Luna Too), 117 High Street (The Three Swans), 118 High Street (Lloyds TSB), 128 High Street and 129 High Street (now Prospect Charity Shop and Hungerford Jewellers).

The main street of Hungerford would have looked a sorry sight for many years after 1566. Rebuilding took a variable amount of time. Queen’s Mill had been rebuilt at least by 1574, but others took longer. 1 High Street was still “decayed by fire” in 1591, although it was probably rebuilt by 1609.

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

Hugh Pihlens

The Old Codger

The Old Codger’s Column…….

Who wound me up with the wrong colours for the railway bridge, doesn’t it look fantastic?

I think congratulations are in order to the Co-op for taking in their bins quicker, and even better news in the NWN the other week, that shows a planning application to do up their old building next door to them. Please keep it up and get a move on.

So what we still need, amongst other things are:-
The new shop owner to move his car from the pavement please!
A pedestrian crossing in Bridge Street (as the survey found it wanting). Perhaps the new District Councillor Team will really thump the table at West Berks Council meetings!
A medal of shame to the Gas contractors Wales & West who have never re-instated the cracked paving slabs in the High Street!
In honour of David Holtby who struggled to get the front of the decrepit building in Bridge Street painted, perhaps ‘The Team’ can get it done again.

Do you know what, I never received any comments about the suggestion to move the War Memorial to the Croft, I wonder why? There are usually objectors, so may be the idea is a goer?

I see that there are lots of 20mph areas being created in Newbury/Thatcham, what about us? Our schools are certainly prime 20 mph areas, and the High Street as well, although I find most drivers are real courteous in stopping for the pedestrian crossings.

If you do have feelings on the above or any other ‘Hungerford’ matter do drop me an e-mail and together we will see what we can do.

Men Only, do you wet shave? If you do read on, if not skip to the next paragraph. Do you realise that blades by Gillette are nearly £2 a time? I think I have found a bargain wet shave, Aldi do a 3 bladed shaver for £2.99 including 4 blades, spare blades are £2.99 for 10, that’s just 29p each. Being macho I think I have a ‘tough’ beard and they are lasting me 3 to 4 weeks. You can’t get much cheaper than that!

Why is it that some people that I send e-mails to asking ‘this or that ‘will not give just a quick reply, even if it is only just to say No. It is so easy to click ‘Reply’ and be polite. To ignore shows ignorance don’t you think.

When Fairfields and Northview Heights close for re-development I do hope and trust that all those lovely people who are able to walk into Town as they do now will be re-housed centrally, and not on the outskirts of town. Surely do one at a time, say Fairfields first and have MORE housing/apartments for us elderly folk, NOT LESS or even another type of housing there. Then do the same at Northview please. Yes I agree that we want low cost building to get young people onto the housing ladder because Hungerford failed dismally with the Smitham Bridge Road project, but build them out of the centre please.

Please contact me, through my e-mail

Bye Bye & keep safe.

Gardening by Stacy


At this time of year, thoughts often turn to “putting the garden to bed”. But wait – the garden still has more to offer. There are a variety of garden plants which put on their best display in the autumn.

If you are looking for shrubs, there are many options. Some shrubs put on a wonderful display in the autumn with beautiful, glowing leaves. One of the most notable is the Acer (a tree really, but small enough to grow in a container). Acer palmatum “Sango-kaku” or Coral Bark Maple has amazing yellow leaves that contrast beautifully with its orange/yellow stems, while Acer palmatum “Osakazuki”’s dark green leaves become a vivid scarlet at this time of year. Note that the more acidic the soil and the sunnier the situation the better the display. Also, ensure that they do not dry out if grown in a container as this will cause them to lose their leaves prematurely.

Other shrubs for planting in the ground are the Ceratostigma willmottiana “Forest Blue”( the Chinese Plumbago). Good for a small garden as it grows to only 1 metre high and wide, it produces vivid blue flowers late summer to autumn followed by scarlet leaves. Or the Caryopteris “Heavenly Blue” which has nectar rich blue flowers to feed the bees at the end of the season; it is a deciduous shrub which is slow to return to growth in the spring. So be aware of this and don’t hastily give up on it the following year thinking it hasn’t survived the winter.

If perennials are more your thing, then there are the Asters. Michaelmas daisy is famous for its autumn colour but there are many more on offer. Aster x frikartii “Monch” has a long flowering period and will do well in a sunny spot. However, I like Aster divaricatus which grows to around 90cm tall but, unlike its common relative, it has very delicate white flowers atop wiry red tinged stems. Plus it likes to grow in shade!

Speaking of delicate, they don’t come daintier than the Gaura lindheimeri which starts flowering in the summer but keeps going well into November. Another such plant is the Penstemon which, once established (and if dead-headed), will go on till the first frosts. I like using Sedum “Purple Emperor” in my designs as the deep purple stems and foliage work so well in both contemporary and traditional planting and as a good foil to its pink flowers which again attract bees and butterflies.

Another of my favourites is the Anemone “Honorine Jobert”- a beautiful name for a beautiful specimen. Simple, elegant white flowers on a plant which grows to 1.2m tall, giving impact in a shady area. I could go on and on, mentioning bulbs such as Crocus speciosum, Colchicum, Cyclamen hederifolium with its silvered leaves or the larger Nerine bowdenii. And where do I start with the Dahlias?


Jumbo oil change

‘Could you help oil the elephants this afternoon?’ This was a question I was asked one day. Now it’s not quite as strange as it sounds since at the time I was living in a zoo – but oiling elephants – that sounded odd to say the least.

Hastily dismissing the mental image of a gigantic oilcan, I happily agreed to meet the keeper at the Elephant House. ‘Wear old clothes’ he was heard to say as he walked away.

Actually oiling the zoo’s Indian elephants was, I found, a serious but enjoyable task. At the time the zoo did not have as many elephant facilities as they would have liked (such as mud-bath etc) so to protect their skins from cracking in the winter months, pig-oil was massaged on to them each autumn.

The keeper said he’d do Marge the larger of the two and my two young (as they were then) sons and I could oil the smaller one – Bella. So out came a step-ladder, a stool, a broom, numerous cloths and large containers of oil. Their keeper took up his position on the ladder, complete with broom, so that he could reach right up on to the top of the elephant’s back. I, in my inimitable style, climbed on to the stool and with oiled cloth in hand, liberally rubbed the rough grey skin firmly, but gently, whilst two happy lads worked away on her enormous legs.

Both elephants squeaked (yes, they do make a type of squeaking noise) with sheer delight. They love company and attention and liked nothing better than to have the area behind their large floppy ears rubbed. A glazed expression creeps into their eyes and they stand as if hypnotised. Incidentally they were also very partial to their keeper’s packet of Polos!

Oiling their trunks was quite a work of art as they kept waving them around and I’m sure were enjoying a game of ‘catch my trunk if you can’

During the afternoon their keeper was called away to see another animal and we were left alone with two elephants in a confined space – quite an experience. The heat from their bodies and the distinctive ‘elly perfume’ is something you never forget.

Once finished they looked a lovely dark metallic grey and to complete their beauty treatment their ‘toenails’ were manicured with a sanding machine.

At the end of the afternoon there were two smart elephants and two very happy but mucky youngsters. The only thing left to do was to remove the oil from the three of us which took nearly as long as putting it on.

As you can imagine many amusing things happen in a zoo, for instance there was the day we walked a camel down the main road to open a pub – but that’s another story.

Mary Rayner –

Hungerford Library

Hungerford Library News

We are continuing to offer our very popular IT Lessons for beginners of any age. The course consists of a series of 6 one hour, weekly sessions. Each session is one to one and is tailored for the needs of the individual student. Don’t be afraid if you know nothing about computers! Our excellent volunteers will take you through whatever you would like to know. Please contact the library on 682660 for further information or to book a place.

We will start our Rhyme Time sessions again in September on Wednesday mornings at 11:00 for children under 4.

Our weekly Craft and Chat sessions are proving to be very popular. These take place every Friday morning from 10-12. Come along to this free session and bring your knitting or other crafts, enjoy a chat and a cup of tea while sharing your interests with others.

Our monthly book group meets the first Tuesday of the month. If you are interested in this or any other our other activities please contact Hungerford Library on 01488 682660,

Dyslexia We are holding a free help and advice session on 14th September in the morning, Please see the advert on page 17.

WiFi is coming to Hungerford Library!!!!!!! Watch this space!!!

We have regular half term activities for children and other events for grown-ups too! Check our website or watch for posters in the window.

Do you find it difficult to visit your local library because of age, disability or other special circumstances? You might benefit from our At Home library service where a library volunteer will choose and deliver books or audiobooks to your home.

Contact the At Home Library Service on 01635 519827 or

Check out our on-line services for access to audiobooks, ebooks and emagazines, as well as ordering and renewing books.


Steam by Tony Bartlett

Steam railways update

Your correspondent finds himself this time with very little activity in the area to report on as steam excursions continue to be scheduled away from routes which pass through Reading. There have been a couple of sightings of ‘Tornado’ on the Basingstoke-Salisbury section of track, but even these are unlikely to continue as, at the time of writing, we have the longest, hottest, driest spell of weather for years and Network Rail has imposed a precautionary ban on steam operation. So while I was on holiday last week in Swanage and expecting to see Tornado with an excursion from Waterloo, I was treated instead to the unusual sight of the Cathedrals Express being brought in ‘top-and-tailed’ by two ‘royal’ Class 67 diesels, passing the Swanage Railways’ own steam locos in use on the day as usual!

It occurs to me that it is now 45 years since the routine use of steam locomotives came to an end on British Railways, so it perhaps worth talking about the nature of the fire risk involved. The clever thing about the design of steam locomotives, pioneered by George Stephenson in the early 19thC, is the way the exhaust steam from the cylinders is directed up the chimney, drawing with it more air across the hot coals in the firebox and increasing the heat energy produced. The harder the engine works, the more vigorous the rush of air – with the danger of picking up red hot coal embers in the firebox, shooting them out of the chimney and distributing them over the tinder dry countryside.

After representation from the steam tour operators it appears that a compromise is being reached whereby the use of a diesel loco ‘inside’ (immediately behind) the steamer will be allowed, so that the latter can be worked at a safely low level of power output.

The recent repainting of the railway bridge over the High St into an authentic-looking Great Western livery reminds me that it is now over 65 years since that august company ceased to exist as a result of railway nationalisation. Until then railway services were provided by four independent companies, or more correctly ‘groups’ of former railway undertakings, organised on a part-historical, part-geographic basis. So the majority of the population will never have travelled on a genuine Great Western or Southern Railway train (if you lived in this area), or a London & North Eastern Railways train if like me you grew up in East Anglia.

In case I seem to be going misty-eyed with nostalgia, my point here is that it is good that people who never experienced railway ‘in the days of steam’ are interested enough to go out to see steam trains passing – but you can only really appreciate the spectacle if you understand something about how we got to where we are now. In the same vein, it is now over 90 years since those early railway companies – many born out of local concern not to miss out on the railway boom in the 19thC – lost their separate identities by being merged into the 4 regional conglomerates. I would imagine that few of my readers will have travelled with a pre-grouping railway company – in pre-grouping days!

Please refer to my introductory article on railway history (on the Chain Mail web-site) as a starting point for further study of the rise of the railway network; its contribution to wealth, prosperity and social mobility; and its subsequent decline as other modes of transport began to rival it for comfort, convenience and cost-effectiveness.

Tony Bartlett

Roger Day

Hungerford and the Zeppelin Menace

The first recorded air attack against Britain was conducted by a German FF29 floatplane, which dropped two bombs harmlessly into the sea near Dover’s Admiralty Pier on the 21st December 1914. Three days later the town was visited by another FF29 floatplane that dropped a bomb near the castle – this was the first German aerial bomb to hit British soil – fortunately it caused little damage and there were no casualties. However, it was not the aeroplane that would mount Germany’s principle air assaults against Britain, but the airship.

Most British people thought that all airships were ‘Zeppelins’, but there were in fact two companies producing these enormous craft – Zeppelin and Schütte-Lanz (the two types differed in construction – Zeppelins had a framework made from an aluminium alloy while Schütte-Lanz used laminated plywood). The first successful airship raid directed at Britain took place on the night of 19 – 20th January 1915 when two Zeppelins dropped bombs on Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn.

The majority of early raids were confined to London and the eastern counties of England, but at the beginning of 1916 two new larger types of airship entered service that had a greatly increased range, could fly higher and carry more bombs. These new designs were capable of reaching some of Britain’s western towns and cities, which had previously been considered safely out of range, and on the night of 31st January – 1st February 1916 they made their first appearance.

Nine Zeppelins set off to bomb Liverpool, the largest raid of the war so far, but a combination of bad weather, poor navigation and mechanical difficulties scattered the airships across the west midlands and several towns, including Tipton, Wednesbury and Walsall were bombed – a total of 70 people lost their lives and 113 were injured.

This raid brought home to people just how vulnerable inland districts such as Hungerford were to air attack, and that if a warning was given it should be taken very seriously. Two months later, on the night of 31st March – 1st April, Hungerford’s alarm was sounded following news that 10 Zeppelins were raiding parts of London and East Anglia (the raid killed 48 people and injured a further 64). The Special Police and the Fire Brigade were called out and remained on duty for about three hours checking that all properties in the town were in total darkness. This blackout requirement also included all railway stations and as a consequence train services were disrupted for several hours.

Many of Hungerford’s inhabitants managed to sleep soundly throughout the night’s events whilst others went outside and gazed skyward in the vain hope of spotting a ‘Zepp’. Fortunately no Zeppelin managed to get any further west than London and the only inconvenience suffered by the people of the town was the late arrival of the following morning’s newspapers!


Telephone 01488 682377 or email

HAHA by Belinda

Grow your own…..

In my last article I recall I was lamenting the slow arrival of Spring. As I write this the sun is beaming through the window and we’re in the middle of a hot, hot Summer. Since becoming an allotmenteer I’ve found that I’m rarely happy with the weather!

Thank goodness for the borehole, part-funded by a West Berkshire Council grant. We would have been struggling with such an extended period of dry weather without this water system which is looked after by the plotholders and HAHA.

We’ve been eating broad beans, turnips, salad and new potatoes for a few weeks and we’ve enjoyed bumper crops of delicious strawberries this year. One plot holder was providing his neighbours with strawberries for a month – what luxury!

Now the courgettes are dominating our lunches and dinner menus – people are going home laden with them. We’re looking forward to our first crops of Runner beans and tomatoes very soon and our garlic is nearly ready.

Another lovely aspect of the allotment is the wildlife. This year we’ve had the pleasure of sharing the plot with a robin. We were feeding him through the cold Winter and by Spring he was willing to eat from my hand and brought up his young in the hedge. When Robbie went off to recuperate, we were joined by a blackbird with her growing family and we now have a pheasant with six fluffy chicks. To be honest, the pheasants are rather less welcome because we know they enjoy sweet corn as much as we do! But the first rule of having an allotment is Protect, protect, protect – there’s always something that wants to eat our produce before us!

Recently I’ve been helping with a couple of communal plots at Marsh Lane:
The Hungerford Guides have planted sweet corn and pumpkin plants. We expect to see them back to enjoy the fruits of their labour in a couple of months and should have some pumpkins to carve and eat for Halloween.

A HAHA plot has been stocked with unusual seeds and plants from plotholders. The aim is to grow veg. that we don’t generally see in supermarkets. Hopefully we’ll have some produce to show at the Hungerford Food Festival at the end of September.
Do come and visit the HAHA stand!

At the end of June we were told that the Marsh Lane site lease will be extended for two more years, to Spring 2016. This happy news made the Hungerford Allotment Holders Association AGM our best attended meeting to date. It’s not the ideal solution but at least it gives the Council time to work on getting a permanent allotment site for Hungerford.

If you fancy the idea of growing your own contact HAHA on 0754 118 7274 Our Marsh Lane allotment life is recorded online through my blogs:


J & B




The map below shows all bus services in the local area. Hungerford residents enjoy a reasonably comprehensive selection of services when compared with other towns of similar size. These days almost all rural routes are funded by local councils (in our case West Berkshire Council and Wiltshire Council) who, in turn, receive money from central government. Unfortunately, perhaps to be expected, there is not enough money available to operate all the services to be desired and recently the service to Swindon (46) was cut back from seven each way to four and those to Marlborough (20, etc) from eleven each way to six. The point to bear in mind is that if a service is well used it will continue, whereas, if not, a reduction is the likely outcome.

Timetables are obtainable from the Hungerford Town Council office in the Library building as well as the Library itself. In Newbury they are available from the West Berkshire Council offices in Market Street and the Tourist Information office in The Wharf.

If you are a car owner, you may consider you have no use for buses, but bear in mind that one day, perhaps because of old age, you may no longer be able to drive and then bus services could be your lifeline. For this reason, if you use them just occasionally now they are more likely to still be around when you need them. Also children usually love a bus trip.

Some of the services ply through lovely countryside and enable you to enjoy it whereas if driving you cannot. Service 3 from Hungerford to Newbury passes though Inkpen (both Lower and Upper Green), Kintbury and Hamstead Marshall and some Marlborough services pass through Little Bedwyn and Savernake Forest and you can return by a service that travels through Shalbourne and Ham. Also Service 90 to Lambourn crosses the downs between Hungerford and the Lambourn Valley which are in the North Wessex AONB.

If you are a rambler then bus services enable linear walks to be undertaken (rather than walking in a circle). County pubs can be reached by bus, this avoiding being affected by the drink & drive rules.

All services accept bus passes.

Enjoy your travels

Paul Frances, compiler Hungerford Town Council
John Elliott, technician August 2013




Health by Liz

Natures Corner Coconut –

Nutritious Snacks for Health & Vitality
Snacking between meals has almost become a national pastime, with many of us looking to satisfy a sugar craving or revitalise ourselves midway through the morning or afternoon. So what sort of snack is both good for us and provides all the necessary nutrients to nourish our bodies and our minds? Liz Chandler from Natures Corner reviews three popular brands.

For sustained energy firm favourites are Bounce Energy Balls. They are great tasting, energising and nutrient-dense foods that can be eaten at any time of day. There are no nasties, no fillers, nothing artificial – just delicious natural and beneficial ingredients throughout.

Here are the top three:
Coconut & Macadamia Protein Bliss – packed with macadamias, cashews, agave syrup and coconut, high in protein (9g per ball) and fibre.
Peanut Protein Blast – a delicious chewy powerhouse of protein, packed with peanuts. It combines 14g of high quality protein with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats and is particularly high in niacin to support the nervous system and reduce tiredness and fatigue.
Spirulina and Ginseng Defence Boost – it may look weird but tastes wonderful. It gives you an energy lift at any time of day and the chewy mix of almonds, oats and sesame seeds provide vitamins E and B12 to support heart health and reduce oxidative stress in our cells.

Another popular range is Pulsin Bars, once again containing 100% natural ingredients and suitable for those people on special diets such as gluten and dairy free and no added sugar. They are also perfect for athletic training and are currently used by marathon runners, cyclists and premiership football clubs. Whilst most of us are content with slightly less energetic lives, the bars are still delicious, rich in protein and will boost physical and mental activity.

A further recommendation is to try snacks that are made from raw ingredients. If chocolate is your craving and nothing else will do, then ‘superfood’ chocolate Ombars are the answer. Rich in unroasted (raw) Ecuadorian cocoa sweetened with organic coconut sugar (low GI) and infused with friendly bacteria, these can be enjoyed as part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. A simply scrumptious experience!

The current range of snacks available in the market place is diverse and sometimes interpreting the ingredients list requires a culinary qualification. A top tip is not to indulge in any snack that includes an ingredient, where the origins are unclear, or simply contact the team at Natures Corner on 01635 33007.

Liz C

Our Community


On the 21st July PC Miller was at the Hamstead Marshall Dogs Trust Open Day, and PCSO Bremner was at the Great Shefford County Fete. The weather was glorious and both events were well attended by the public.
Crime News:
• A padlock was broken to a farm outbuilding in Inkpen at the beginning of the month and over £3,000 worth of gardening equipment was stolen.
• Heating oil was stolen from a property in Newbury Street Kintbury between 28th June and 1st July.
• On the 5th July a male exposed himself at the Cricket Field in Lambourn. If you have any information regarding this male please contact Police.
• Sometime between the 29th June and 6th July gardening equipment was stolen from a garage in Inkpen. Investigations are ongoing at this time and a possible suspect has been identified.
• 7th July a vehicle was broken into whilst it was parked at Denford. A handbag, mobile phone and camera were stolen from within.
• Between the 13th and 17th July a container was broken into in Easton and a selection of power tools were taken.
• 15th July Criminal Damage was caused to fences and crops in an attempt to gain entry to outbuildings in East Shefford. £1,500 worth of damage was caused.
• 17th July a female from Northfields Lambourn was dealt with by Police for drug possession.
• Overnight on the 19th July a garden bench was stolen from the front garden of a property in Kintbury. The bench is stone and very heavy; we can’t imagine it’s very far away. If you saw anyone carrying a bench through the village, or know its whereabouts please let us know.
• 21st July a male was dealt with by way of an adult Dispersal Order for causing criminal damage to a tent on the Upper Lambourn Road.
• 22nd July at approximately 08:15 a male exposed himself on Hungerford Common. If you have any information regarding this incident please let us know.
• Further damage has been caused to a business premise in the Market Place Lambourn. The CCTV cameras covering this area are now fully up and running and the footage is of good quality. They will be viewed and used to gather evidence where necessary.

The Hungerford Neighbourhood Team has carried out various speeding operations in the area this month.
11th July: An ANPR operation was carried out on the A4 between Newbury and Hungerford. One driver was dealt with for no insurance.
12th July: Speed enforcement was carried out in Great Shefford. 10 tickets were issued with the highest speed recorded as 47mph in a 30mph zone.
13th July: Speed enforcement was carried out in East Garston. 5 tickets were issued with 41mph being the highest speed recorded in a 30mph zone.
29th July: Speed enforcement was carried out on the A4 near Wyevale. 14 tickets were issued with the highest speed being 44mph.
Theft from vehicles:
Thefts from vehicles are still an issue in West Berkshire. When leaving your vehicle unattended please ensure that it is locked and no valuables are left on display. It is advised that you empty all compartments of your vehicle, such as the glove-box, and leave it open so anyone who looks inside can see there is nothing of value left behind.

Lambourn Police Station Opening Times:
Mon & Fri 9am-1pm

Hungerford Police Station Opening Times:
Tues- Thurs 10am-2pm

Jack Williams

I am sure this is not a list!

Following on from my last article and considering the Town’s retail scene it is astonishing how many businesses have changed or totally disappeared from my list from the early 70’s. The changes I itemise are in Bridge Street, and the High Street only, and not meant to be a full and totally comprehensive detail, just something to make you think of the changes.

So from Bridge St. upwards:-
Clements Watchmaker, W.G.Razey, Beas Chemist, Arthur Chivers, Red Stores, Norah Smith, Fred Batt the barber, Miss Freeman, Vic Caswell Blacksmith, Barley Mow, Wooldridge’s Yard, over the Canal Bridge, Bushnell Registrar, Kerley Dentist, Dopsons, Newtons (Smiths), Thornes Grocers, Cash’s Shoes, Mills Butchers (Baxters), Bottom Harris, Pratts Butchers, International Stores, Thompson Eating House, Sis Norris Woolshop, Mills Radio, James & Co offices, Seeds & Cereals, A.G.Bartholomew, Barnards Papers, Barnards Fish, Nicols (& then Paul Good) Ironmongers, Spackman, Alexanders, Parsons photographer of great fame, Top Harris (Gerry Watson electrical and then Launderama), Harry Giles carrier, Batts (and then Luxtons) bakers and finally before Atherton Hill (Cinema Hill) known as ‘Old Man’ Wyatts greengrocers, over to Elliots (Coopers Stores) and down to Salisbury Arms at the entrance to School alley, Miss Gosling sweets, Peachey’s Flowers (also milk), Alf Macklin Dairy, Neates Offices, George Smith barber, Will Clifford Boots, shoes and all sorts of things but I have given you details before.

I pause here, because I am totally astonished at all these changes, my wife says it is just a “list” but from a small town with a long history it is difficult to believe the extent of differing names. I do hope people read the list and argue over the content, remember other changes and challenge my memory, so I will quickly go down to the Canal Bridge on the East side and provide more thought provocation in the next article. So below Uncle Wills shoes, Abbots sweets tobacco and ice cream tubs I remember so well, Bodman (Childs family and Cecil Hawkes), Quenby butchers, Three Swans Tap, Alexander Seeds & Corn, The Surgery (at the entrance to the Laundry Yard), The Laundry itself and its whistle which controlled our working day, also the Berks County Council yard. Simmonds Fish & Chips, later Wyatts Greengrocers and Fish, the Crown Post Office, the Wessex (Southern Electric) workshops and showroom, Dopsons baby shop, Hungerford Rural District Council offices (later Hungerford Wine shop), and Mr Mumfords Hungerford printing Works.

I do hope it makes you think and makes you recall originally familiar names, the people who worked in the shops, the grocers who all seemed to provide chairs so that you could sit down and contemplate your order, the very difficult war time years, and rationing with the necessity of registering with a shop for that supply.

Well there it is, with all its changes it is still the Town that I love so very dearly and which gives me such pleasure to think of and reflect on.



The Tally Ho pub – Sale Now Completed

We are delighted to announce that after months of negotiating, The Tally Ho Community Pub Ltd have purchased The Tally Ho pub in West Berkshire. It was previously owned by a developer who had sought to turn the pub into housing. However, we successfully exchanged contracts in May and completed on the purchase of the freehold in June.

While this is the culmination of a lot of effort and negotiation it is only the completion of the first stage. The Tally Ho will re-open as a free house and we plan to support local breweries and promote local produce. There is strong community support for the pub and our proximity to Junction 14 of the M4 has always ensured a reliable flow of passing trade.

Initial funding for the purchase was raised from within the community and further afield. However, we still need further funding in order to refit and stock the pub – both the bar and kitchen having been removed. Our aim is to re-open the pub in October.
We plan to spend the coming weeks on refitting and refurbishment to enable the Tally to once again become the traditional village pub we loved. Work to date has been done by a band of enthusiastic volunteers from within the community. However, we still need help, particular from plasterers, carpenters and plumbers. If anyone with these skills could spare a few hours to help us, it would be greatly appreciated.
We also need to replace the boilers and radiators and would be grateful to hear from anyone who would be able to supply these to us at cost price.

Our share scheme is still open, with the minimum investment being from £100. It is compliant with the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), so it is possible for shareholders to qualify for tax relief. There are also additional benefits for most tax payers in the form of capital gains and inheritance tax benefits.

For further information regarding the shares offer and an application form,
please go to

Alternatively, if you have any questions, you can email us at

Best wishes and thanks for your support The Tally Ho Community Pub Ltd

Blasts from the Past

From the Parish Magazine dated April 1877.

“Hungerford Brass Band. During the winter a subscription was made to provide the Instruments necessary for the formation of a Brass Band. Hungerford has hitherto been dependent on the musical talent of neighbouring villages for such enlivening strains as are thought indispensable at Club Anniversaries and other such festivities. In order to remedy this defect a certain number of young men, mechanics and artisans, were found willing to practice under the tuition of Mr F Winchcombe; but as the cost of the Instruments was considerably beyond their means, an appeal was made to their more affluent neighbours to provide funds.

This appeal was very generally responded to; Mr Cherry contributed £3, Mr Anstice £2, Col. Willes £1, Mr Coxe £1, Mr Michell £1, Mr Turner £1, and other smaller donations; in all amounting to £17. This sum has purchased 2 Cornets, a Tenor, an Euphonium, a Baritone, and a Bombardon. To these Instruments, the tones of which it is to be hoped. are more euphonious than their names, it is desired to add another Baritone, Euphonium, and Cornet at an additional cost of about £6; and in the process of time a Drum. Further subscriptions are earnestly solicited in order to complete the Band. The instruments are the property of the Vicar for the use of the Band, so that in case of any of the present members retiring, the vacancy may easily be supplied”.

From the Parish Magazine dated April 1888.

“The free Reading Room established at Newtown by Mrs Dawkins in 1886, for the benefit of farm labourers and others, has been carried on this winter by the Vicar, and has been very well attended by the villagers. Through the kindness of friends the Room has been well supplied with newspapers; and ninety dozen of lemonade and ginger ale have also been consumed during the winter. The Room was closed for the season on Saturday, March 17, and on that occasion the following Resolution was unanimously adopted and signed by the twenty-two members who were present:- We, the undersigned, members of the Newtown Reading Room, desire to return our thanks to our President for opening the above Room and providing us with the means of spending many a happy and comfortable evening during the past winter; and also to those kind friends who have sent papers, &c., for the same object. The expenses for the past season have been- Fire and light £3. 3s. 6d, Rent £1 14s 6d, Sundries 12s; in all £5 10s.
The vicar will be glad to receive contributions from any who are willing to share the expense of maintaining this useful little Institution”.

More from the Archives next issue. Fred Bailey.

Legal Spot


We have noticed that more and more regularly, clients are asking us to help with extending their leases. If you own a leasehold property in Wiltshire Close, Morley Place, Wessex Close, Foundry House or The Laurels for example, this will certainly affect you, particularly when you come to sell.

Generally, if you have a flat with a lease term of less than 90 years, you ought to think about applying for a lease extension. At that sort of length, mortgage companies and buyers become quite nervous and often ask for a lease to be extended before they buy. The process does take some time, so it is much better to deal with it before you plan to sell, so you can bring your property to the market with a shiny new lease to pass on to the buyer.

You have a right to extend your lease and the Landlord is obliged to grant an extension if you follow the correct procedure. You may be lucky enough to have an approachable Landlord, who will be willing to negotiate a price for the lease extension without going through the formal procedure. In that case, a solicitor will get straight to producing the new lease without any more fuss.

If the Landlord will not agree informally, or you cannot agree a fair premium, the more formal statutory procedure should be followed. Obviously, there is a cost. A surveyor will visit you and prepare a valuation of the likely “premium” (i.e. price) you should offer your Landlord for the lease extension. A solicitor will prepare a notice to serve on the Landlord, giving certain information and offering a set premium to them for extending the lease.

The Landlord serves a counter-notice within 2 months, giving its idea of the premium and it is then a matter of the surveyors negotiating a price. If they cannot agree, you may apply to the First Tier Property Tribunal for a determination.

When a price is agreed, your solicitor will agree a new form of lease, giving you an additional 90 years on top of the remaining term of your current lease, and your ground rent will reduce to zero. Completion will be agreed at which time the price will need to be handed over, together with some of the Landlord’s costs for their valuation and legal fees for preparing the lease, and you will then benefit from a new lease term, consequently making your property more saleable and more valuable.

Lease extensions can be more costly when the lease length goes below 80 years, so anyone owning a flat ought to look at the length of their remaining lease term, and talk to a solicitor about the possibility of extending if it is close to that length or if there are fewer years left to run.

Dickins Hopgood Chidley LLP
The Old School House, 42 High Street, Hungerford RG17 0NF