Issue 123

1st June
1st September 2014

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 English Summer is upon us with all the expectation that warmer weather brings. The uncertainty of good weather heightening the enjoyment when the sun does shine, but hey, we’re British. Remember the rhyme,

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

People sometimes ask me, what is the best camera? The answer can sometimes be, ‘the one that you have with you’ It’s no good left at home. That is why so many people take pictures on their phone, because it is the camera they have with them. So when you are out and about whatever the weather, take your camera. The Hungerford Camera Club which now has over 50 members, including some newly joined, have just started their new year, with basic instruction evenings. Why not come along and find out how to take good pictures even if the sun isn’t shining.

Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

I would like to thank the people of Hungerford for all their support. The donations we receive help to keep Chain running and we are very grateful to everyone. I would particularly like to thank Mr and Mrs James Weir, Hungerford Round Table, Hungerford Town Council, West Berkshire Council and Greenham Common Trust who have all given us donations or grants. Chain also receive donations from families who nominate us as a charity for people to donate to in memory of a loved one, for this we are extremely grateful.

Now I need to thank our wonderful volunteers who keep the Chain Office running, driving their cars, the Handybus, the Chairman Vehicle and delivering Chain Mail. Without our volunteers we would not be able to offer the people of Hungerford the help that they need to get to the Surgery or Hospital. If you have any spare time and would like to volunteer for Chain please contact the Office on 683727 or myself on 683302 even if it is only a few hours a month.

To thank our volunteers we are holding a Tea Party at Herongate Leisure on Thursday 26th June from 2.30 – 4.30 (Thank you to Richard Curtis at Herongate for donating the room)

I look forward to seeing you all at the AGM on Monday 16th June at 7.30pm in the Magistrates Room.

Finally I would like to say a big thank you to the Chain Trustees who help to run Chain and organise the Handybus Drivers, collecting donations, running the Chain Lunches and the Pub Lunches, training drivers for the Handybus and the Chairman, and organising the distribution of Chain Mail. Also a huge thank you to David Piper, the editor of Chain Mail, who has made every issue a great read, enjoyable and informative.

I hope you all enjoy the summer months and please try to support HADCAF which is always full of wonderful events so I am sure you can find something in the programme which you will enjoy.

Best Wishes, Janette Kersey



First of all I must apologise to my wonderful article contributors who rallied round with a really urgent appeal to get their copy in early, as at the beginning of May I suddenly realised that we would be away in Ghent.. For the first time since I became Editor my brain failed to get it all together about the overlap of sending CHAIN MAIL copy to the printers, and the fact that we would be away at the same time. My brain has of course failed me on many many other things, but never this deadline, so thank you one and all.

This edition of CHAIN MAIL is the largest ever, 52 pages with four and a half of those taken to promote HADCAF, which has grown this year as I have also had to reduce the font size from our normal 11 to 10. So from June 21st we are really going to be spoilt for choice on entertainment..In this electronic version of CHAIN MAIL I have given HADCAF its own pages , click on HADCAF 2014 on the left hand index. Here I really must thank the printers for geting CHAIN MAIL out to you on time, I went away to Ghent for a few days and forgot to click ”send” the e-mail with all the magazine in it, yet another senior moment!!! Many thanks Lonsdale…..

Entertainment on the 13th of July will be of a very different kind. Please see what Neale Marney is up to in Interesting Bits!. Since the closing down of Hungerford Round Table, Hungerford has not had a Carnival. So go on please respond to Neale’s request.

Congratulations from me to the latest Freemen of Hungerford, my choices didn’t succeed this year (not that I wouldn’t have chosen the winners of course), but hopefully next year!!!!!!!!! Did you know that this year was the best response for Freemen nominees? I wonder if it was CHAIN MAIL’s announcement that stirred a few more of you to respond, I do hope so.

Please remember that the What’s On Diary pages are available through our website, and indeed most of those that appear there are from Margaret Wilson and myself. So if you have an event that wants posting up, please e-mail me with details.
This is the modern version of Ivy Wells’ Town Diary started many many years ago..

Thanks & regards, David Piper


Letters, articles and adverts should be sent to me by the 7th of the month preceding
publication, i.e.7th August for the issue on Sept 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


By the time this edition of CHAIN Mail is published, I shall have stepped down as Mayor of this wonderful characterful town. To say that the three years have been interesting would be a massive understatement.

When Virginia and I moved to Hungerford in 2007, it was after a careful search of a place to enjoy our retirement. The thought of serving on the Council did not feature on our agenda until I discovered that the No 13 bus from Newbury terminated at Totterdown some 2 miles from town for some bizarre reason. After negotiations through our District Councillor David Holtby and Reading buses, this anomaly in their timetable, was corrected. In his words, we put the “us into bus”. But it still came as a shock to find myself as Mayor of a Council of 5 members after the Local election of 2011.

Funnily enough, I think being a newcomer has been an advantage – it is certainly a fine way to get to know and make friends with many of our fellow residents. But it was also an opportunity to view the town with a fresh set of eyes. Some things that are familiar to long term residents are often taken for granted. For example, everyone would know that the River Kennet flowed through the town but only by placing name signs on the railings, did visitors appreciate this. Similarly, the state of The Cuttings was seemingly overlooked until the Community Payback team transformed them into a pleasurable entrance to the town centre. I must admit, it was not quite as simple to have the rail bridge repainted to properly reflect some of our history.

After a long struggle, we now have a full complement of Councillors who give up their free time to deliver on individual issues that matter and to protect the best interests of our residents. But the fulcrum of activities is the small team in the office lead by Town Clerk, Claire Barnes and the town has every reason to be proud of the devotion and success that they have produced. It remains disappointing that that it is rare for the public to take advantage of the time allocated for a Public Forum at each full council meeting each month. It also seems that few do not know that there are very few meetings where the public cannot attend.

However the huge public reaction to the ill-judged WBC plan for an All Through school at John O’Gaunt demonstrates that there is a wide appreciation of matters that impact upon life in Hungerford and no Council or Local Authority must ever lose sight of maintaining the well–being of our town.

It has been a real privilege to have served as Mayor for the past three years and I wish my successor as much support as I have enjoyed over this time.

Cllr Martin Crane
Ex-Town Mayor of Hungerford

Hungerford Youth and Community Centre

A bronze Olympic medal’s recent outing to our own Hungerford Youth and Community Centre for a Sports taster day along with its winner Hannah Macleod seem to spark enthusiasm in both the young members present as well as the adult attendees. (pictures below)

The Youth club held at the centre on two nights a week now boast over two hundred and forty members which amazingly is the largest youth club in Berkshire. The facilities at the centre are constantly being updated and whilst we don’t have the charm and elegance of some venues in Hungerford it is a great place for groups to meet. We are also in the process of upgrading the tennis court play area adjacent to the centre for outside recreation.

Our next project is to have training/conference/meeting rooms in the upper floor one of which can also be used as an internet café. We are looking for local help to achieve this. We need office equipment such as projector, whiteboards, office style tables and old laptops of any age. We have already secured some very nice chairs so they are not needed.

We have decorated the centre now with some invaluable help from our volunteers but some replacement carpet would also be appreciated. I think that is probably enough begging.

I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all the local organisations for their generosity over the past two years.

Volunteers run the centre but without funding we could not continue. So thank you to Hungerford Town Council, Hungerford Town and Manor, Greenham Common Trust and the Gerald Ward trust for having faith in the centre and its team. Smaller donations have been received from others including CHAIN so thank to those groups too.


Denise Gaines – Chairman Hungerford Youth and Community centre

Bits 1

Also on this page…..Camburn……CCB Oil …..MotorHome……Local Author

Hungerford Carnival 13th July 1p.m. to – 5p.m
attractions in the town

Carnival Procession

starting from
John O Gaunt School,
moving down Priory Road,




through The High Street, and ending up on Charnham Street.

Any organisation who would like a stall, or
Anyone wanting to take part in the carnival procession (no theme)

please ring Neale Marney on 07712767547


(all ex-mayor’s are acceptable!)



If you and your parents or guardians have lived in Hungerford for the past three years and you are going on to further education or an apprenticeship, you can apply for financial help from the




TUESDAY 24th JUNE 2014




The Clerk to the Trustees
The Town Hall, High Street
Hungerford Berkshire


Next Hungerford Literary Festival is on October 18th&19th
– save these dates, you won’t want to miss it.

CCB Oil Club – Membership increasing!

Launched in March 2012, the CCB Oil Club has now attracted 180 members – and is successfully negotiating savings by bulk buying oil fuel for heating homes in off-grid areas.

Tim Parry, CCB Chief Operating Officer explained: “It’s fantastic that so many people have joined the CCB Oil Club and benefited from a reduced fuel bill. Through successful negotiation the club has managed to buy April’s delivery of oil at 7p less per litre than the average market price. A great result for all our members!”

The CCB Oil Club is administered by Oil Poverty Fuel Solutions (OFPS) on behalf of CCB. OFPS manage memberships and negotiate the excellent rates that members receive.

Anyone with oil fuel central heating in Berkshire can sign-up and joining is easy; simply go online at , call OFPS on 01993 225011or email OFPS on

The CCB Oil club also benefits the environment by cutting down the number of tanker journeys made. By planning deliveries to minimise the use of tankers, especially in rural areas, the CCB Oil Club brings oil to many addresses in the same area at the same time.

Oil clubs are groups of people, mainly in rural areas, who are off the mains grid for energy and have chosen to combine their orders for domestic heating oil. Although there are a number of oil clubs established in parts of Berkshire, there are many neighbourhoods and villages without a club and the CCB Oil Club aims to provide coverage to all areas.

Community buildings and rural businesses can also benefit from joining the CCB Oil Club, with the opportunity of making savings on oil fuel purchased for village halls, public buildings and business premises.

Motorhome Home

The Bruce Foundation – sister charity to The Bruce Trust – has been created to provide motorhome holidays for disabled, disadvantaged or elderly people along with their families, friends and carers. The Foundation has designed and built a wheelchair-accessible motorhome available for hire with special facilities including a hydraulic lift to enter the vehicle, a scissor-action hospital bed, ceiling hoist and wet room.

The vehicle is 32 feet long, 11 feet high and 8 feet wide and the Foundation is looking for a new home for her. The Foundation is happy to cover insurance, water and electricity costs where required and can assist warehouse owners as with a charity using the space they then only have to pay 20% business rates. If you have a warehouse or farm building which is enclosed that she could be stored in please contact Rebecca Bruce on 01264 356451
or email

annual fundraising summer fete
on Sunday 6th July 2014
for Hungerford Playgroup (a registered charity)
At The Croft Field, Further details 01488 684561

Local Author Launches First Novel

The Stantons of Helland Hall

Hungerford author Stephen Rayner has just published his first novel at the age of 73 and says that retirement is the ideal time to start writing.

This, the first novel in a series, is set in the seventeenth century, immediately after the Civil War and follows the story of Major Guy Stanton as he returns from the war to the many problems created by his quarrelsome family.

This and future novels set out not only to highlight the enormous differences between the lives of the undeservingly rich and the desperately poor, but to show just how little our attitudes to life have changed over the centuries.

I think that this quote from Stephen sets his stories in context. As he says ‘History books are there to tell us what we believe happened, while my novels tell us what might have happened.

Even more tails from the zoo

Whilst in the zoo we sometimes had orphaned animals and one that readily springs to mind was an adorable baby baboon. He spent most of his time in the apartment of a friend so when visiting one went very carefully into her lounge never knowing when suddenly a baboon would be flying through the air and landing on your back.

Another orphan was a Californian sealion who was patiently reared by the keepers who fed him regularly every 4 hours day and night. He grew up into a fine specimen and even appeared on Blue Peter.

A polar bear was one of the last animals with which I would have thought of coming into close contact. However one was born and his mother rejected him so it was up to the staff to try to rear him. They hired a baby’s incubator from the local hospital and decided I should have him in my office during the daytime, with of course regular attendance from his keeper. Watching him was fascinating and hard to imagine this bundle of fur, so small and fragile could grow up into a large ferocious animal. Baby polar bears are very difficult to raise and unfortunately he sadly died.

April 1st always brings back memories to me of my zoo days. At that time in our main office we had a switchboard with four outside telephone lines. On this particular day we had to take turns to ‘man’ the phones as from nine in the morning until well into the afternoon the board would be jammed with calls. Various people would be fooled by their colleagues and have messages left on desks to phone, for example – Mr G. Raffe, Mr C. Lion, Mr Fish, Mr E Phant etc.. We did our best to explain to the callers that it was April 1st and we were a zoo. Some took it well, others were quite upset at being ‘caught’. Nowadays I understand the zoo has all calls intercepted by BT.

Another fascinating aspect of living and working in a zoo was listening to the remarks made by some members of the public, especially the ‘know-alls’ For instance one lady was heard to say ‘look at those beautiful swans’ whilst staring at a flock of pelicans.

There was a man who said to his son ‘look at those horses’ as he pointed to the ankole cattle. For those of you who do not know what ankole look like they are large cattle-like animals with six feet long horns!

Probably the conversation I most liked was between two little boys. One saying to the other he was sorry to see the animals in enclosures and his friend said ‘don’t worry when the visitors have left they let all the animals out into the big field to play together.’ What an interesting thought!

Hungerford Surgery

                            There are now only three health numbers you need to know:

• Your GP surgery for routine health conditions – 01488 682507
• NHS 111 for urgent / unplanned health conditions or when you are unsure of which service you need
999 for life-threatening emergencies

Out of Hours Service
WestCall NHS is the local out-of-hours primary care medical service for the Berkshire West area. The service provides appropriate medical care to treat conditions that require urgent attention and cannot wait until your own GP’s surgery is open.

How to contact WestCall NHS
If you think you or a member of your family may need urgent medical advice or attention after normal working hours you should simply dial 111. You will be answered by an NHS 111 call handler who will usually ask a series of health screening questions. If the replies to these indicate that you need help from the GP service your details will be sent at once to the WestCall operations room. A WestCall doctor will then ring back within a short time to discuss the problem in detail and advise you further.
Patients must not attend a Primary Care Centre without telephoning NHS 111 and arranging a call-back from a WestCall doctor.

Patient Participation Group
We would like to know how we can improve our service to you, our registered patients, and how you perceive our surgery and staff. To help us with this we have set up a virtual on-line patient participation group (PPG) for patients to have their say on health care services in and around Hungerford. We are aiming to gather at least a hundred patients from a broad spectrum as possible to get a truly representative sample of opinions. We need young people, workers, retirees, people with long term conditions and people from non-British ethnic groups. Two members of the group, David and Valerie Worsfold, have set up a PPG website to enable you to join the group, obtain more information or email the PPG with any queries or comments.
Email –

Mike Hall Practice Manager

Virtual Museum

The National School, 1814                

In addition to St Lawrence’s Church (see CHAIN Mail Issue 122), another important Hungerford building to celebrate its 200 years anniversary is The National School, now 42 High Street. It opened in 1814.

The National Society was established 1811 by Andrew Bell, an Anglican Chaplain, and it was supported by the Church of England. The aim was to provide education for children of poor families, and the movement was supported by wealthy individuals. Teaching was based on the monitorial system – a clever way of providing cheap education to a large number of children! Only the master was paid, and he was able to teach a few “monitors” – senior boys who could pass on knowledge to their juniors. Reading, writing and arithmetic were taught in this way.

Hungerford’s National School was built in 1814 – and although it was built of brick (under a tile roof), the adjacent master’s house (now 41 High Street) was clad in Bath stone, transported on the Kennet and Avon canal, which had opened in 1810.

Initially children had to pay a penny per week, but some parents could not afford the pennies, and gave rise to the problem of absenteeism – always made worse when children were required to work as cheap labour on local farms. The full school register (including over 2,000 names) still exists, as well as the register of teachers, many of whom have portrait pictures too.

The school ran for nearly 100 years – closing in 1910 when the new All-Age Council School opened in Fairview Road.

During WWI the building was used as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Hospital, and during WWII it became the HQ of the Air Raid Precautions (ARP).

In peacetime the building was again used for educational purposes, as the Technical Institute, for cooking, laundry and woodwork. It was only in the 1960s (with the opening of the John o’ Gaunt School), that all educational use ceased. Initially it was let for commercial use but in 1973 it was sold (along with 41 High Street) by the Church for £52,000. Since 2003 it has been the headquarters of Dickins, Hopgood, Chidley solicitors.

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…….

Well just where do I start grumbling in this issue. I think of so many things before I put fingers to keyboard (typing that is), but when it comes to writing something, the brain freezes, and it happens all too often these days though.

I just keep thinking that although Nigel’s lot do tend to let him down a bit (weirdo’s etc), he does seem to convince me when he admits that things do slip past and they are trying to get a grip on the situation. Do I hear a scoff or two? Well this government and their predecessors have let an awful lot of things slide past them, corruption, fiddling expenses etc, and morals just seem to be non-existent in all their walks of life. If it was one of us normal people I bet we would get locked up quickly enough.

Talking of being locked up, just what does thirteen life sentences mean when you are in an open prison and allowed out for rehabilitation purposes and then you abscond. Good lord, 13 LIFE SENTENCES! and he is not banged up in solitary. Just like that prisoner in America that took a long time to die by lethal injection. What did his victim suffer when they buried her alive. No I will not say sorry, or feel sorry for that. I have always tried through my life to do unto others etc etc. I don’t go to church but I am nowhere near as terrible as these thugs we keep reading about.

I’m thinking of changing my e-mail address as I am getting absolutely cheesed off with BT. All these special cheap offers for newcomers, and we are paying through the nose for Broadband etc.. I’ve been with them for 51 years. I think I am off to Gmail or Hotmail and then to Plusnet (reputably owned by BT) then when the contract runs out, move perhaps back to BT as a new customer and get all the cheap things and special offers, and then in 12 or 18 months time move on again. Apparently Gmail etc. can go with you. Please anybody out there correct and advise me if I am wrong, or if there is a better way of doing it, thanks.

Another plea for help, why is £75 of my government pension subject to 20% tax? (£15) why oh why didn’t they increase the personal allowance by that amount and save all the cost in collecting it? Will they dangle a vote catching ‘’We will raise the threshold in 5 years time to correct this stupidity, so please vote for us again’’ FAT CHANCE I say.

Please contact me, through my e-mail
maybe soon be changed to watch this space!

Bye Bye & keep safe.

Gardening by Stacy

Bad Taste Plants by Stacy Tuttle

I was lucky enough to listen to Stephen Rayner’s very entertaining talk recently on Wildlife gardening, something which, as you may know, I aim to include in my garden designs. I am encouraged that many of my clients are keen to attract wildlife to their gardens- or rather some wildlife! It is rather ironic that we can often be planting shrubs with berries for the birds, herbaceous perennials for bees and yet spend a lot of time puzzling how to stop slugs munching their way through our Hostas, keep cats off a newly dug patch or protect plants from deer or rabbits.

I do not have the definitive answer to the cat or slug problem (I use copper pipe and tape for slugs which works fairly well). If you are plagued by deer or rabbits all is not completely lost. Of course you can install rabbit proof fencing, which is part buried under the ground but unless you have a walled garden, boundaries are no problem for deer who will happily jump a fence. However there are plants you can use which are repellent to them.

Deer are notorious for loving Roses yet this is not the case for all Roses. Among those varieties which are not usually eaten are Rosa rugosa (hedging Rose) and Rosa Wichuraiana (ground cover Rose). If you need a low maintenance garden there are plenty of shrubs to choose from. As a rule of thumb choose shrubs with spikes or prickles such as Berberis (although not the purple leaved variety) or those with aromatic foliage like Lavender, Rosemary or Perovskia (Russian Sage) as these taste bad to them. There are also a number of pretty flowering cottage garden-like shrubs- Buddleia, Deutzia, Philadelphus, Daphne to name but a few. For a true cottage garden, try Aquilegias, campanulas, Foxgloves, hardy Geraniums and Scabious. There are even plants which will do well in shade on the list like Tiarella, Hellebore, Hemerocallis (Day lily), Brunnera and all Ferns.

Perhaps your garden has a theme such as a Japanese garden. The Pieris-beautiful in Spring- is immune from nibbling, although you may have to grow it in a pot due to its need for ericaceous (acid) compost. Phyllostachys aurea- the Golden or Fishpole bamboo also is a good choice perhaps grown with Fatsia japonica and Acer palmatum.

Indeed when you read the list it is a surprise to see that there is such a wide variety to choose from with something to suit all tastes. It is rather long which is the reason why I have not reproduced it here but if you need a copy, let me know. It comes with a warning though- the rabbits and deer haven’t read it so may not follow the list rigidly!       Stacy

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Gorse Hedge

The only gorse hedge I have ever seen lies next to the Ermin Way (B4000) between Wickham and Wickham Heath. The Landowner has continuously cut the gorse until it has formed a hedge. It seems to bear beautiful yellow flowers all year round but it is at its best in the spring and summer.

The scientific or botanical name for gorse is ulex europaeus which I think indicates it grows well on the Continent. Strangely it is also known as Furze in the North of England. Gorse flourishes on heath land and poor soil – on land too poor to grow crops.
A naturalist friend told me Gorse has been reclassified as a member of the pea family.

Gorse smells like almond and is very spiky which makes me wonder why it only grows on heath land and is not grown commercially.

Long-tailed Tits often nest in gorse bushes. But I doubt whether it’s worth looking for birds from your car on this old Roman Road.

Woodcock used to rode in the woods behind this gorse hedge in Wickham. Roding is the display flight of male birds in spring. An attempt to attract females.

Hedges are important habitats for nature. They are havens for flowers, birds, insects, butterflies and small mammals. Perhaps a self-set gorse hedge, lying on top of a ditch, next to a wood and a road can help birds etcetera but I think it is unique.

Just past Wickham Heath there is a wood, probably in Stockcross, which had several mature pine trees in it. They were blown down in the recent storms. Obviously the trees did not have tap roots. Clearing the pine trees will make the wood lighter and attractive to woodland birds. Perhaps Woodlark will be attracted back to this area.


A Brambling has been seen on several days on Sheepdrove Organic Farm this winter and spring. It was using the corn normally put out for the English Partridges and other birds. This solitary bird is expected to stay until May and then return to Scandinavia.

However Brambling are usually found in flocks in winter so this bird may stay for our summer.

Bramblings are almost identical to Chaffinches. The diagnostic feature is their orange breast .

Barn Owls

It has been predicted that 2014 will be a bumper year for Barn Owls. It is thought that many Owls will raise two broods this year.
So look out for them hunting over farm land.


Hungerford Library

Library Fest was a great success this spring. Many of you managed to come to the library to take part in our exciting events. Over the summer we will be installing the art work that we made: our Hungerford poster and mosaic. Thank you all for you support.

Dates for your diary:
On 9 July at 7:30 HADCAF will host a gardening talk by Kit Strange on Floral treasures of Eastern Turkey. Tickets will be available from the library and Newbury Building Society.

16 July at 7:30 ‘Taking Mesopotamia’, a talk by Jenny Lewis. Jenny talks about her discoveries as she investigated her father’s time in the forces during WW1. Tickets FREE from Hungerford Library.

We offer several courses and events at the library:

IT Lessons for beginners of any age. Six weekly 1:1 sessions tailored for the needs of the individual student. Please contact the library on 01488 682660 for further information.

RhymeTime sessions are on Wednesday mornings at 11:00 for children under 4.

Craft and Chat takes 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.

Art Group meets every Tuesday, 2-4pm. If you are interested in art and would like to share your skill or learn something new come along. It is not teacher led, but it is a good opportunity to enjoy your hobby in the company of others.

Book Group meets first Friday of the month at 5:30.

Creative Writing Group meets third Friday of the month.

Watch for information on the Summer Reading Challenge. This year’s topic is Mythical Maze.

WiFi has arrived! It is free to library members.

All of our sessions are FREE. If you are interested in any of these activities please contact Hungerford Library on 01488 682660,

If you are interested in volunteering for the Library Services please contact the library. We are particularly interested in volunteers for our At Home service providing a valuable link to readers unable to get to their own branch.

Steam by Tony Bartlett

The new season kicked off spectacularly with LMS ‘Black Five’ no. 44932 stopping at Andover to pick up passengers for the Cathedrals Express to Cardiff on St. David’s Day 1st March. On a bitterly cold morning the steam exhaust from the engine as it pulled away, accompanied by a controlled amount of slipping from its driving wheels, produced a memorable image of steam days, which the Andover Advertiser used to promote a new steam project just getting established there. A fortnight later no. 70000 ‘Britannia’ was almost inconspicuous running through non-stop with another Cathex on a warm morning.

Steam specials are beginning to use the Berks & Hants route through Hungerford again, but frustratingly there were two cases already of a steam engine running through ‘light engine’ to join up with a train further west from here. Both cases involved LNER A4 Pacific (‘streak’) no. 60007 ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’ (its designer) which startled some commuters on the station when it emerged out of the early morning mist! The sun was shining when I saw it a week later coming off the Common over an hour ahead of its Dartmouth Express.

However we did have the real thing when Vintage Trains’ ‘Aquae Sulis’ excursion passed through here outbound to Bath and Bristol. The GWR Castle class locomotive paired with more modern ‘chocolate & cream’ coaches would have made a fine sight on our GWR-liveried bridge, but I opted to see it west of here working hard on the climb to Savernake summit.

SR West Country Pacific no. 34046 ‘Braunton’ is a recent addition to the stable of mainline locos and has been active on the Salisbury and Vale of White Horse routes, notably in heading the 9-day ‘Great Britain VII’ rail cruise on its first leg through Andover.

Looking ahead, much the same situation will continue to apply with no steam excursions firmly scheduled for our line. However, we are conveniently located between the Southall steam-base and points to the west of here where steam sectors will be commencing so we might expect to see a number of ‘light engine’ movements where the loco is usually accompanied by a support coach or two (forming a ‘toy train’). This particularly applies to sectors in the schedule which start at Westbury and the web-based Timing Sheet will generally indicate how and when the loco is routed to meet up with its train.

Otherwise there certainly should be many opportunities to see steam hard at work on the Basingstoke-Salisbury line, and to a lesser extent on Didcot-Swindon. The former is due to see a series of Cathedrals Expresses to a variety of destinations and the ACE (Atlantic Coast Express) is being revived for a number of through excursions to South West resorts, both these fittingly using Bulleid Pacifics which would have worked on the line originally. If you are prepared to travel slightly further afield there are a number of trips to the Dorset Coast which turn left out of Basingstoke and travel though Winchester and Southampton.

Now it can be quite difficult to keep up with this – for web-users we publish a quarterly schedule with the advice to keep up to date from the source UK Steam Info web-site. To help further, your Editor and I have introduced new pages in the Steam Special section of the Chain Mail web-site with reminders of Upcoming steam events.

Tony Bartlett

Roger Day

Friendly Invaders

This year marks a number of very significant wartime anniversaries. In June tens of thousands of people from all across the world will descend on the Normandy coast of northern France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Two months later, on 4th August, the people of Britain will remember, via services and displays, the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War and the following month sees the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two (3rd September).

These events will undoubtedly generate a great deal of renewed interest in both world wars and I am sure various aspects of each conflict will be looked at through fresh eyes and re-evaluated. The following is an example of how I have been forced to reconsider one or two long held beliefs about WW2. I had always thought that up until the war’s outbreak the day-to-day lives of local people had, for centuries, remained basically unchanged and the sudden arrival of thousands of troops in the region was unprecedented – how wrong I was.

Having recently completed a book about the Great War’s impact on the western Kennet valley I have discovered that literally thousands of troops were billeted in the region for varying periods of time and for nearly three years Hungerford and Marlborough effectively became garrison towns. Just like WW2 the arrival of so many ‘foreigners’ brought with it excitement for some and problems for others, as is nicely illustrated by the following account:

On most Saturday and Sunday evenings throughout May 1915 Marlborough had experienced unacceptable levels of drunkenness with the Police struggling to keep the situation under control. As a result Superintendent Alexander Mackie, Marlborough’s Chief Police Officer, made an application to the Borough Magistrates for an order closing public houses in the town at 9pm instead of 10pm. This was already common practice in other towns throughout the district and the Magistrates gladly granted the application, which came into force on Saturday 26th June. The ‘foreigners’ came from every part of the United Kingdom and Ireland, whilst others were from Australia, New Zealand and Canada and their arrival in the area must have significantly livened up local events.

Another of my misconceptions was the belief that the so called ‘friendly invasion’ of the region’s camps and airfields by American servicemen during WW2 was unparalleled. Once again I was proved wrong, as during 1918 hundreds of mechanics from a number of US Aero Squadrons were sent to the aerodromes at Yatesbury near Calne. In November, to help the people of Marlborough celebrate victory, personnel from some of the squadrons were invited to an American themed dance held in the Town Hall.

In conclusion I like to think that these friendly invaders have helped shape and enrich the communities in which we live and have left us with a positive legacy of conflict.

Telephone 01488 682377 or email

HAHA by Belinda

An Allotment in Hungerford…………

We’ve had a slow start, but think that every year so aren’t panicking! We’ve harvested our lovely rhubarb for the first time and it is delicious (with a lot of sugar). We like to grow some new vegetables each year and this year they include Cucumelons, flavoured like cucumber and lime and looking like tiny watermelons these should climb and produce lots of fruit, and Callaloo, I’m looking forward to eating the tips of this psychedelic-coloured spinach flavoured plant originating in India.

Of course, we’re also growing the usual favourites and essentials. Hopefully the wet winter won’t have caused too many issues and we’ll get some bumper crops as we have previous years.

The Big Allotment Challenge on TV sparked plenty of conversation amongst plotholders. We thought it may inspire some new interest for allotmenteering but perhaps the challenge part got in the way of the allotment aspect. We would have liked to see a bit more of the actual growing rather than the showing!
What amazing plots the gardeners created in just 16 weeks. There seemed to be many more flowers grown than we see on the Marsh Lane plots.

How easy it would be for new plotholders if they were handed a clear, well-prepared allotment plot. Very appealing, but the reality is usually very different. Available plots have often been left for months and are overgrown with weeds – not inviting for a newcomer, but it’s so rewarding to get through it (honestly!). We encourage new growers to dig a bit and then get something sown or planted as soon as possible; the sooner you start harvesting the more likely you’ll get the bug for growing your own. Now that all the plots at Marsh Lane have had some kind of cultivation over the last 5 years there’s a chance of inheriting a fruit bush or rhubarb to get you started, which is always a bonus!

In Hungerford we’re lucky that the allotment waiting list is relatively short. I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to get geared up for growing your own only to be told there’s a waiting list of years!

As frustrating as not knowing what the future holds for your allotment once you do get one? Hmm, perhaps I can almost imagine…

It’s strongly considered that the current interest in allotments isn’t just a fad and, with gardens shrinking and disappearing it’s expected that the requirement for allotments will increase in the future. Let’s hope Hungerford is ahead of the game and has a permanent site sorted out soon, but no news yet unfortunately

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:

Grumpy’s page

Hungerford is a curio’s place; no not peculiar, just rather curious. Of course you wouldn’t know that if you were still trying to find it.

Benefit from improved (but still deficient) signing if you happen to be travelling from the local tourist hotspots nearby in the Cotswolds or even from Stonehenge. Then penetrate more inconsistent signage as one closes-in, eagerly searching for The Town Centre ( e.g. why does it, atypically, appear below the sign to Salisbury at The Bear?). Of course, in Europe, there are even unobtrusive signs showing which way to find named hotels.

One must admire the recent winners of the Hungerford Quest; they found their way here from Cambridge, amply demonstrating the value of PhDs. Perhaps they have some bright ideas to reverse the impressions generated by the degenerate ‘gateway’ to the town that newcomers must traverse before reaching the “Main Drag”. Several months have passed since the Italian hostelry closed…I have forgotten, was it called the Marie Celeste? …….even today the place-settings remain laid-up on the tables. Then enter Bridge Street with, initially, shop after shop evidently abandoned; thank God the Government is striving to make weddings popular for all, otherwise the first 100 yards would be completely bereft.

Ah, the adventurer detects signs of vitality when reaching the chicane and spies the excellently reconstituted John O’Gaunt Inn beckoning to those planning their subsequent plundering of bespoke jewellers, silversmiths and outfitters for every taste and predeliction.

Ascend the bridge, in the absence of signage ( again) I would advise pedestrians to use the admirable new footbridge on the western side so avoiding the Eastern Col (not quite as busy as Everest, but here you may need to duck or you could be clipped by a wing mirror).

Well done; you have made the High Street. Browse and graze as you proceed. Of course, conundra abound here too; example: visiting the Wharf beyond the Tutti Pole, spot the sign directing you to call Wiltshire Police if you spot nefarious activity there…..peculiar as you are in Berkshire, supposedly a Thames Valley Police zone; maybe they have subcontracted.

Further on, see where ex-Mayor Crane triumphed over the COOP’s inertia; they own the tarnished gem of No. 16 which, thanks to his three-year persistence, could be restored by the summer. Proceeding, if you need to take shelter, you will now be safe under the refurbished railway bridge, scene of a Waterloo for the invading pigeons who overflew an earlier mayor.

You are now in legendary territory, which is the principle reason why so many already travel here from afar. Here you can appreciate why Hungerford is full of the curious (and not just inhabitants) seeking curios. Enjoy!




I have spoken to Geoff Charman in Sidmouth and he asked me to contact you direct.
I have just received a copy of the current Chain magazine from a friend in Hungerford with regard to Jack Williams item on the War Memorial.
He mentioned my research booklet, that a copy is available in the library. This is probably the original version.
Could I ask you if in the next issue of Chain, if you could mention that an up to date version is available via the Hungerford Virtual Museum.
I am in regular contact with Hugh Pihlens, who updates this as new evidence comes my way.

Regards and thanks Richard Amphlett, Wool, Dorset.

Hello David,

Can you print this appeal for us please………..
Volunteer Request The Bruce Trust and The Bruce Foundation provide canal boat and motorhome holidays for disabled, disadvantaged or elderly people along with their families, friends and carers. Each charity is run by a team of volunteers and is looking for more pairs of hands to help for just a couple of hours on occasional Friday or Saturday mornings near Hungerford and Newbury to prepare the boats and motorhome. The charities are looking for engineers, cleaners (internal and external), skippers, crew and drivers for the motorhome (previous experience of 7.5 tonne vehicles preferable).

If you would like to find out more please call Rebecca Bruce on 01264 356451 or

Ed’s comment. With pleasure Rebecca…………………

Hi David

Having just taken an evening walk around Freemans Marsh, the loop that starts by going across St Lawrence’s swing bridge, following the River Dun as far as the footpath allows and then cutting across to the canal crossing at Cobblers lock and following the tow path back to St Lawrence’s. This is a fairly regular walk for me. It struck me this evening that I haven’t spotted any water voles for a long time now. Has anyone else? Not even a plop of one diving for cover.

Could it be that when they dredged the canal and improved the banks they buried them all, or made it a less friendly habitat for them. I would be interested to know others views, there used to be a healthy colony, and one swimming across the canal or sitting up on its hind legs to feed, was a fairly common sight.

Micky Thompson
Ed’s Comment….Anyone else noticed this lack of ‘Ole Ratty’?

Health by Liz

Natures Corner

Krill – Where’s the catch?
For the film buffs amongst us, you will know the krill as Will and Bill in Happy Feet – the shrimp like critters bickering and biting seals’ butts in their search for enlightenment. So how can the ‘Wills and Bills’ of the Southern and Pacific Oceans help us to achieve good health? Liz Chandler from Natures Corner delves into the blue to find the answer.

Krill are ocean living shrimp-like crustaceans that are between 1 and 6cms long, thriving along the coasts of Canada and Japan. Krill is the catch- all name for 85 or so species and has probably the largest biomass on earth; hundreds of millions of tons. In other words all the krill in the sea weigh more than any other species.
Krill are an excellent source of omega 3 essential fatty acids as well as the antioxidant astaxanthin, the bright red pigment that gives many crustaceans their characteristic reddish pink colour. Astaxanthin is 300 times more powerful than the antioxidant vitamins A and E. Krill oil provides high levels of substances collectively known as marine phospholipids, which are a fundamental component of human cell membranes.
The health benefits of krill oil are:-
brain and eye health, such as maintaining memory, cognitive function,
ADD, ADHD (the phospholipids are preferentially transported to brain
tissue compared to fish oils)
cholesterol reduction
premenstrual syndrome (reduces uterine pain, breast tenderness and
emotional problems)
arthritis (reduces inflammation)
skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis

So it would appear that krill oil can tackle nearly every modern western ailment except boy bands, so where’s the catch? Well for most of us there isn’t one, but it should not be taken by those on blood thinning medication or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or people with an allergy to crustacean.

For more information on this amazing oil, call into Natures Corner or telephone 01635 33007.
By the way – there’s also no ‘fishy’ burp, as krill is easily digested!


Our Community


The Team executed a drugs warrant in Lambourn on Tuesday 8th April. A male in his 40’s was arrested after drugs were found at his home address. The male has been placed on police bail whilst further enquires are made and due to return to Newbury Police Station in May.

On the 26th April offenders stole a blue Nissan Cabster from outside a property in Tarrant’s Hill, Hungerford. If you have any information about this incident please contact the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre on 101
Two men from Salisbury have been charged with trading related offences in Hungerford. They were both charged with trader engagement in a commercial practice which was aggressive under the Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The charges relate to an offence on 27th February in Park Way, Hungerford, where an elderly woman was targeted by two cold callers who requested money for unwanted work carried out in her garden. They were arrested on the same day and charged on the 3rd April.Both men have been bailed to Newbury Magistrates Court on 17th April. The case was jointly investigated with Trading Standards, West Berkshire and Wokingham, who are continuing to support the victim.

We are working with the devastated family in the Lambourn Area after losing their lovely dog Lottie. Lottie was last seen on the Inholmes Estate in Woodlands St Mary on the 18th April at around 2pm.

There has been activity overnight in the Lambourn Area. We believe that a 4×4 with a trailer is driving across fields to avoid the roads. This is causing damage to crops and to fields. The main areas this is occurring is farmland along the Wantage Road and also off of Ermin Street. Please report any sightings or information to PC Drewitt on or confidentially on 07870 665720.
We are going to be holding an open event at Herongate Leisure at Charnham Park on Sunday 8th June from 1000-1400. Please come along and say hello and raise any issues you may have or tell us information that might assist us in reducing crime.

We have been working with Hungerford Primary School this week in trying to deter parents from parking on double yellow lines outside the school. We have received numerous complaints about the ongoing parking issues on Fairview Road and Clarkes Gardens. We want to remind parents that they cannot park on double yellow lines or cause pedestrian or vehicle obstruction. Please allow enough time to park up in a suitable place and walk to the school gate.

We have certainly experienced April Showers this month. The severe downpours have caught many people out. On Monday 28th April 2014, PC DREWITT and PCSO Lee BREMNER spent the afternoon rescuing motorists from the sudden floods. The areas of Kintbury, Enborne and Marsh Benham were some of the worst affected areas.


Jack Williams

Memories recalled………………………JACK WILLIAMS

Since my last article in the March issue of Chain, details of our town’s commemoration of WW1 are still not definitely formed. Our very worthy Mayor, Martin Crane, has arranged meetings and we have a commitment for a religious service on Sunday Aug.3rd (WW1 was declared on Aug.4th 1914) and I was most grateful to Martin (Mac) McIntyre for a typeset of our townspeople who lost their lives in the 1914-18 war. The figure given is 76 names, but there is some confusion over who were resident in our town, like the names from the 500 + who are listed on the splendid scroll displayed on the half landing leading up to the Town Hall. My own family circumstance is quite clear. My mother Edith was the youngest of Charles and Jane Liddiard’s eleven children and I will detail for your interest, their part in the Great War. You must recognise that Chilton Foliat has a Hungerford postal address and while names may be on the lych-gate at Chilton Foliat Church, they are still part of our local scene.

The eldest, Charles Liddiard, joined up in early 1916 and is believed to have been a member of the newly formed Tank Corps. He was unfortunately called home from France in 1918, as his wife had died from the terrible influenza epidemic and there were two small children to care for. He married again after the war and two of his grandchildren are well known in Hungerford. One is David Liddiard, the most able motor mechanic at Peter Stirland ,and his grand-daughter Sandra is married to Roger Day, our very own ex- postman and now talented WW1 author, with a book on local involvement in the Great War due to be published in August.

Harold Liddiard had emigrated to Australia in 1913. He volunteered and joined the Australian Army, returned to the UK in June 1916 and was killed by shellfire on the Somme in Oct 1916. He has no grave, but is commemorated in that splendid memorial at Villers -Bretonneux in France.

Two brothers, Tom and Will Liddiard , were working on the railway in Cardiff and joined the Army in early 1916. Both survived the War, although Tom was taken prisoner but escaped to return to British lines, Will was gassed and suffered badly with after effects as he grew older.

Auntie Rose Liddiard married John Griffin from Park Street who was killed at Pozieres in 1916. Later she married Jacob Pike, a real Hungerford veteran. He had joined the Wilts. Regiment in 1900, served 13 years in India, came home and promptly joined the Berkshire Regiment and survived the war.

There is much more to learn about my mother’s family which will be disclosed in Roger Day’s book in August.


Hungerford Royal British Legion Women’s Section

The Royal British Legion Women’s Section came into being in 1921 and began welfare support following the devastating aftermath of the First World War. It was very much a case of women wanting to do their bit and to carry on and assist with a particular accent on widows, families and children. The RBL Women’s Section boasts over 40,000 members and 900 branches nationwide and overseas and remains one of the largest women’s organisations in existence and the only body of women organised for the specific purpose of caring and supporting the Armed Forces community. 

The Hungerford RBL Women’s Section currently have well over 100 members and meet at Hungerford RBL Club on the first Monday of the month at 7.30pm. We recently celebrated our 51st birthday in March and hold a birthday party every year. Most months we have a speaker and our talks have covered a large range of topics, including the Antarctic, Lives of Butterflies, and Antique and Contemporary Silver. We also learnt how to make our own Christmas cards.

We have a Harvest Supper of fish and chips or ploughman’s lunch every September, a Christmas Lunch in December and a summer outing in June. In June 2013 we had a boat trip down the River Thames from Marlow to Henley and this year we will visit Bath.
Membership is £7.50 a year and we also raise money by having a cake and bric-a brac stall on the Town Hall steps every May. In 2013 we made donations of £1000 to various organisations to help with the RBL benevolent activities.

CHAIN very kindly make their bus available to enable members who have difficulty with transport or with mobility to attend the meetings and other activities.

If you would like to learn more please contact Denise Scarlett on 01488 684748.
or Shelagh Parry


Hocktide in Hungerford – 29th April 2014

Once a time for collecting tax and now a time for collecting kisses, Hungerford’s Hocktide Tutti Day has made the town internationally famous as being the only place still to celebrate this medieval occasion and John O’Gaunt students are part of this historic event.

Each year, the Town & Manor of Hungerford & Liberty of Sanden Fee asks John O’Gaunt School to nominate a team of girls from Year 10 who will assist the Orangeman and the Tuttimen in their duties throughout the day. The criteria for selecting the girls is that they are Hungerford residents, have good attendance at school and whose behaviour will make them good ambassadors, after all, they are representing the school.

This year, Tutti Girl duties were undertaken by Emily Cooke, Jordan Donovan, Drew Powell and Chloe Stockwell. The day started off with photos on the town hall steps with the Constable, the Orangeman, the two Tutti men (two ladies this year) and was followed by visiting the commoners’ houses (mainly on the High Street) with the Orangeman and Tuttimen. The girls were delighted and impressed by the commoners who were very welcoming, inviting them into their homes and treating them to some lovely nibbles and drinks. It was very interesting to meet the commoners and see their lovely homes, many of which
date back hundreds of years.

Photo by Tony Bartlett

After a very busy morning and whilst the Orangeman and the Tuttimen went for their Hocktide lunch in the town hall, the Tutti Girls were treated to a three-course at the Tuttipole. After lunch, the girls were invited to view the proceedings in the town hall from the balcony.

The afternoon included more visits to the homes of the commoners, followed by meeting children from Hungerford Primary School at the United Reform Church hall where they gave out sweets and balloons, whilst the Tuttimen threw pennies for the children to scramble for.

The JOG Journalists interviewed the girls and they all commented on that it was a day they would remember for the rest of their lives, that everyone was very welcoming and kind and it was interesting to visit the commoners houses, the Wine Shop and others. They felt proud to have been chosen, although it was a very long day from 8.30am – 5.00pm.

Mrs Brinkley was very proud to hear that the girls were not only a credit to their families, but were also excellent ambassadors for the school.

Report by :-
Mrs Colclough, Alex Nutley and Ciaran Morrison, Aeisha Austin and Hannah Ireson.

Blasts from the Past

From the Parish Magazine dated March 1876.
“The Annual Sermons on behalf of the Church Missionary Society were preached at St Saviour’s Church and the Parish Church on Sunday, February 20th, by the Rev.T.H.Gray, Vicar of Keynsham, and late a Chaplain in India. On the following evening the Annual General Meeting was held at the Corn Exchange, and in spite of the inclemency of the weather it was fairly well attended. The Vicar took the chair and after prayer and singing called on Mr Gray to address the meeting. Mr Gray gave a most stirring and encouraging account of the great things which the Lord is doing among the heathen by means of the Society which he represents, especially directing the attention of his hearers to the work in Eastern Africa and India. In particular he described the labours of a missionary, the Rev. H.E. Tucker, who with his own hands had baptized 3500 heathen; and in a part of India which on his arrival, was wholly given to idolatry had built sixty Schools and an equal number of Churches, in one of which he had seen thirteen natives ordained at once by the Bishop of Madras to assist him in the work of the ministry among their fellow countrymen. Many friends from the neighbourhood were prevented from attending by the rain, which fell heavily all evening.”

“On Wednesday February 23rd, PhilipWroughton, of Woolley Park, was elected member of Parliament for the County of Berkshire, in the room of R Benyon, Esq. resigned. The High Sherriff declared the result of the Poll on Thursday, February 24th, when it appeared that the number of votes given were Mr P Wroughton 3,454 and Mr Darby Griffith 1,149.”

From the Parish Magazine dated March 1884.
“The monthly meeting of the Hungerford Church Temperance Society will be held on Tuesday evening, March 4, at the National School, at half-past seven. The Rev. J. M. Bacon, of Cold Ash, will give a Lecture on the uses and abuses of Science, dealing with some of its most useful applications, and exposing a few of the mischievous deceptions. The Cold Ash Hand Bell Ringers will attend and play some harmonised music. Members are invited to bring their friends.”

From the Parish Magazine dated March 1891.
“A Choral Festival in which all of the Church choirs in the Deanery are invited to take part is to be held at Newbury early in June. There will be Evensong in the Parish Church at half-past four, followed by a tea for the members of the choirs and their friends. The music will be of a simple character. The training will be directed by the Rev. John Swire.

More from the usual past, next issue Fred Bailey

Legal Spot

After Death Variations

A client came to see me recently and said his father had recently passed away and had left some money to be placed in trust and provide an income for him with the capital eventually passing to his children. He was trying to minimise his own Inheritance Tax liabilities and preferred not to receive this income and allow the money to be transferred directly to the children who were all over 18 years old. He did not wish to be indelicate or ungrateful but felt sure his father would have agreed. I explained that this could be done by a variation of the Will by Deed.

A variation is a device that is available to a beneficiary who wants to alter what he is entitled to receive from the deceased’s estate, such as land, cash, a share in the residuary estate or a beneficial interest in a trust. A variation works by allowing the beneficiary to rearrange or redirect the interest that came to him originally from the deceased’s estate. In effect, the beneficiary is transferring to another beneficiary some or all of the interest he has inherited.

A beneficiary may want to redirect the assets to which they would otherwise be entitled from a deceased’s estate for a number of reasons. For example, to provide for others who are in greater need of funds or other resources and to save tax

As a way of making alterations in the distribution of an estate after death, a variation has several advantages:

• It allows the original beneficiary to control the redirection of his interest in the estate, for example, to another individual, a charity or a trust that he chooses.
• It can be made either during the administration of an estate or after it has been finalised, when assets may already have transferred to the original beneficiary.
It can have a retrospective effect for Inheritance Tax and CGT purposes, allowing for the variation to avoid charges to IHT and CGT that may otherwise arise in relation to lifetime gifts by that beneficiary provided it is made within two years of the deceased’s death. As with all tax matters, an accountant’s advice should also be sought

The nature and scope of a variation is often misunderstood. It is important to stress that a variation is not a challenge or a rewriting of the deceased’s Will or a device to correct a defective Will. In order to be able to make a variation, the original beneficiary must have some interest in the estate initially.

Glenn Evans

Church Bells

Bell Ringing at St Lawrence

For the last 7 years, around the middle of February, Newbury Branch has held its Quarter Peal Week. Newbury Branch comprises 23 towers with ringable bells, spread across the whole of West Berkshire (as shown on the map below). The aim of QP week is to encourage members to ring bells in different towers (some of which are not in regular use). It is also a time when ringers can challenge themselves to attempt a QP in a new method, or perhaps for the first time ever. One group of six seasoned ringers decided to attempt to ring ten QPs in one day.

In recent years, QP Week has been heralded by arctic weather, taking place amidst snow and ice with sub-zero temperatures not only outside but often inside towers as well. This year brought a different predicament, with flooding and fallen trees and many roads in the area rendered impassable, challenging local knowledge to find routes between rings, especially among the more rural towers.

This was particularly keenly felt by our intrepid band of six (pictured above) which included Hungerford’s Mark Robins. The planned itinerary had to be modified on the day: Compton was inaccessible (hence unringable) due to flooding and the road to Yattendon was blocked by trees fallen just the night before, thus some swift re-routing was called for. During wet weather, bell ropes become hard and rough, which added another factor to the challenge they had set themselves. Nevertheless, the band circumnavigated most of the Branch’s six-bell towers during the day.

Starting at Thatcham at 8.30 am and proceeding in an anti-clockwise direction, the band successfully completed ten QPs at the towers shown on the map. With a total of 6 hours and 33 minutes ringing, and a quick sandwich at Hamstead Norreys being the only break during the day, the band was reported as being “somewhat tired” at the end of the last QP, at Shaw church, around 7.30pm. Sore hands and wrists notwithstanding, a very good start to Quarter Peal Week!