Issue 129

1st December
1st March 2016

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

Front Cover by Micky Thompson

Where did the year go?
On the cover if this, the Christmas issue of Chain, is a picture that I made back in February of this year.

I have heard that it is going to be a particularly hard winter this year. Perhaps, as I am writing this during the opening days of November, with the misty mornings and the autumn leaves gently falling, and not feeling in the least bit cold, it is all trying to lull us into a false sense of security.

I am sure that come the Victorian Evening there will be a seasonal bite to the wind, and who knows, maybe the sheep will once again be foraging through the freshly fallen snow.

Micky Thompson

Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

I can’t believe I am writing my piece for the December issue where did 2015 go?

The Chain Trustees held a Tea Party on the 5th November in the Croft Hall to thank all our wonderful volunteers. It was lovely to see so many of you and for you all to get to know each other. Thank you to Jill, David, Ted and George for their help with the refreshments, etc. Also thank you to the Tutti Pole for some very tasty cakes. David brought the new Chairman vehicle down for everyone to see with the sign writing completed. Two special ladies have recently retired from the office, Fae Morgan and Doreen Roberts, they have given about 8-10 years each to Chain and we are sorry to see them go but understand their reasons, so many thanks to them both.

I was honoured and proud to lay a wreath on behalf of Chain at the Remembrance Day Parade which was, as usual, so well attended and very emotional. We really do have a town to be proud of, the parade was so well organised and the turnout gets better each year.

We must now look forward to Christmas and the switch on of the lights on Sunday 29th November, followed by the Victorian Extravaganza on Friday 11th December. These are two events that Hungerford do so well and make Christmas special for lots of people not just from our town.

Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers for making Chain such a successful organisation which helps so many vulnerable and needy people in and around Hungerford. If you would like to join our volunteers to either drive your own car, drive the Chairman or the Handybus or help in the Office please contact e Chain Office on 683727 or Janette Kersey on 683302 (

Chain also looks after The Fry Bequest which is money to help organisations who help young people in Hungerford, in the past we have helped Guides, Youth Club, Football Clubs and many others. Please contact me if you are interested in a small grant.

I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Janette Kersey


Hello, First of all do have the Best Christmas you can.

So looking back to my last editorial I see I commented on our Surgery’s hopes to set up a Patients Participation Group as required by the Clinical Commissioning group/NHS. Well we have just started and have our first proper meeting 7pm sharp at the Surgery 12th January. We are seeking more people to join us, you won’t get caught for being a Chairman, Secretary or Treasurer as these have been elected/ press ganged already. It is really early days so please contact me and say you can come!!!

In the last issue as well, I briefly commented on our pharmacy’s on going problems, and indeed still ongoing problems, although sometimes you can get in and out with a new prescription in 15 minutes. We have signed up to Pharmacy2U and they have been brilliant. You can do it by phone or the internet, and you can have repeat prescriptions handled as well, reminded by phone or e-mail, all without leaving your home! As I am a worrier I have had my repeats sent 14 days before I run out, that way if there is a problem there would still be time to resolve. This really happened to us the other week, …..At 9.30a.m. a new prescription was requested at the surgery, by 10.30am the next day Mr Postman delivered it to us. It can’t get better than that, can it? If you do sign up to Pharmacy2U you must tell Doctor or Surgery if you want to collect it to take it into Boots yourself because otherwise it goes off automatically/electronically to Pharmacy2U
Observation, No queuing, No waiting, No coming back if something is out of stock and queuing again.

So are Energy suppliers still ripping us off? Last year we switched to EON having been with dear old SEB (SSE) for donkey’s years. This year despite everybody saying that prices had gone down by 10% , they offered us their ‘’best’’ tariff which was actually 10% approx ’’dearer’’! So I went on to the comparison sites and landed up with Uswitch , ignoring 2 suppliers that I had not heard of, the next best was EON Fixed 1 Collective, which was approx 10% cheaper than what we had been paying, which is 20% less than if we had signed up to EON’s ‘’best’’ price, so just what is going on? Why oh why can’t these suppliers and banks , insurance companies etc reward us with some loyalty?

By the way Jason who had been at the pharmacy for a little while has now left, so we have a series of Locums again. He had meant to be submitting an article this time to say what their problems are and what they were going to do about it. So he has left and not bothered to reply to my e-mail invitation either, which really annoys me when people can’t be bothered to reply. It is very rude you know.

Over the years I have always forgotten to thank Sylvia who has checked over Chain Mail for my mistakes, so thank you my dear Sylvia for your help.

Thanks & Best Wishes David Piper 01488 683152

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

HUNGERFORD 2015       

The Mayor’s Message

Rocket of Squib?

By the time this edition is published, some of the dust may have settled following the announcement by WBC, that they support 100 new houses being built to the South of town. This decision was made despite your Council’s opposition to such a development on this site as it breaks into the North Wessex Downs, protected by its AONB designation. Our Public Meeting on 18 November is, at this moment, expected to enable us to reinforce the arguments put forward originally and now supported by the full report commissioned from our Town Planning Consultants, Ashburn. These documents will be submitted to the Government’s Planning Inspector who is likely to report his/her findings in late 2016.

St Saviours Cemetery
For those that have not visited this area are invited to do so and see for themselves how maintenance of this Lawn Cemetery has achieved a wonderfully calm and peaceful atmosphere respecting this most sensitive area. However to ensure that this situation remains, it is necessary to allow grass cutting and other machinery access to all parts and avoid any obstructions. To effect this, a series of Regulations are in place, similar to other such designated Cemeteries. Unfortunately these are not always followed and in the case of decorations on gravestones there seems to be much confusion between what is tasteful and what is trivia. Obviously this is a matter for individuals who wish to adorn the graves of their departed but in the interests of all, your Council wishes to clarify this issue and issue new Regulations that will be monitored and adhered to by all.

Accordingly, I have instigated a Public Consultation on this matter and ask all interested parties to let me have their views by 31 December following which the Council will determine the outcome at a Full Council meeting to which residents are invited as is usual for any Council meeting.

Festive fun and enjoyment
With the help of volunteers, including some from our R.E.M.E. affiliate, the contracted Christmas Lights should now be dazzling residents and visitors alike and maintaining our reputation established by Rod Desmeules, as “the Best in the West”. I am hopeful that it brings more business to our town and gives you a reason to be joyful in this wonderful town.


Cllr Martin Crane OBE
Mayor of Hungerford

Chain’s Page


Due to ill health and retirement, CHAIN is desperately looking for someone to fill two key posts, Neither of these posts require a great deal of work but are nevertheless vital to the smooth running of our voluntary service.

“Chairman” coordinator – This job involved looking after our brand new wheelchair vehicle, putting it through the car wash occasionally, occasional cleaning out the inside, and monitoring it’s insurance, road tax and servicing (it has a 3 year warranty with both the vehicle manufacturer and Gowrings Mobility. You may even consider driving the vehicle also, although this is not mandatory. We take disabled clients to vital destinations in the local area and beyond. Additional “Chairman” drivers are also desperately needed.
Many thanks to Glen McDermott (07770 956283) for providing the vehicle signage for the new “Chairman” Wheelchair Vehicle.

Driver Coordinator – This job involves acting as a coordinator for the 20 or more drivers we have at present, in order to provide them with a single point of contact, where they can raise issues, provide feedback and report problems. There may be a need to liaise with the parking authorities and the local hospitals regarding permits etc., and to liaise with some of our more regular clients regarding their individual needs and problems. You would also liaise with the CHAIN Trustees when necessary to resolve issues and provide feedback. You would also think about ways of attracting more drivers into the organisation as well as introducing them to the rules of the game. You may even like to become a driver yourself (we reimburse your mileage at 40p. a mile).

CHAIN always needs more drivers. So if you have a car, and some time to give, to take one of our elderly clients to a hospital appointment, or even just to the surgery, then CHAIN and the clients would be extremely grateful. We will reimburse you and £0.40p per mile for the use of your vehicle and most insurance companies are happy for you to do this with no additional charge.

We are also always looking for drivers for our 11 seat Handybus so if you have a couple of days a month free please do contact our office on 01488 683727 between 09.00 and 11.00 am Monday to Friday.



Our current Handybus continues to do sterling service – with a full schedule of weekly, monthly and one-off trips supported by a hard working team of volunteer drivers.

As you may be aware from previous editions of CHAIN Mail, we made a successful bid to the Department for Transport for funding for a new Community bus. The current bus is leased by West Berkshire Council and we could not be sure that the local authority would continue funding the bus at current levels in future years.

The process of procurement of the new community bus, which is being managed by the Department for Transport, takes time! We now have seen the specification under which the bus is to be purchased and have been able to ensure that the bus provides the best possible resource for the community of Hungerford.

This means that the new bus (which we now expect will arrive sometime during 2016) will have the very best modern safety and driving features and easier access. There are a number of optional extras that the Department has made available at no cost to CHAIN. We will be selecting those that add to the safe transport of passengers.

Although the new bus will be a financial challenge for us, the benefits of our own bus, rather than one provided by the local authority, will give us greater flexibility. At the moment the bus is heavily in demand during the working week but is less used during weekends and in the evenings. We will, therefore, be encouraging local charities and organisations to make additional use of this new community resource wherever possible. A suitably qualified member of these organisations could be trained and assessed as a driver, making these groups much more independent subject to the bus being available.

And, of course, we always like to receive applications for volunteer ‘Handybus’ drivers (men and women) to add to our current team. The training and assessment is not a challenging process but directed at the safe transport of our passengers.

If you like to talk over either the opportunities that our new ‘Handybus’ will provide to the community of Hungerford or discuss becoming a driver, please contact Ted Angell on either 01488 682610 or 077998 86597 – alternatively email




Newbury Weekly News Christmas Parcels for the over 80s is now in its 119th year!

If you live in Hungerford or Hungerford Newtown and have celebrated your 80th birthday this year, or will do so before the end of the year, and you would like to receive a parcel, please contact the co-ordinators on either of the telephone numbers given below. Similarly, if you know of anyone who is now 80 years old or will be by year end, let us know. Parcels are due to be delivered on, or around 12th December 2014.

Finally, if you know of anyone over 80 but for whatever reason is no longer with us, again give us a call. We really need to keep our list up to date so that nobody misses out.

Sadly David and Janet Long, have decided to step down as co-ordinators in Hungerford this year. Those involved in the organisation of the distribution of parcels in the Hungerford and Newtown area are very grateful for all their hard work and would like to thank them for acting as co-ordinators in recent years.

There are many Hungerford organisations who contribute to the delivery including CHAIN who lead the delivery process. The Rotary Club undertake the fund raising and John O’Gaunt School, the trustees of the Croft Hall in Hungerford, Hungerford Tuesday Club, the Town and Manor of Hungerford all play a part in the process.

Ted and Daphne Angell
Co-ordinators Over 80’s Christmas Parcels for CHAIN and Newbury Weekly News

Tel 01488 682610 Mobile 077998 86597 Email:

Grumpy’s page

Some readers may have been fortunate enough to visit Aleppo before the recent tragedy of its wanton destruction. Some may even have gone on to Qalat Samaan nearby and seen Simon Stylites’s pillar [now a mere stump due to souvenir hunters]. It reminds me that we shall no longer see our own “Stylites” in Hungerford; what other analogy can I use to describe the hours over the past years that Rod Desmeules spent up a ladder the length and breadth of the town centre throughout the year as he [seemingly single-handed at times] tended not only to the flowers that bedecked the High Street but also changed the flags of many colours and then erected the lights and trees that adorned our Town at Christmas. We all owe so much to Rod for his imagination, dedication and sheer hard work in all climates to decorate our town. I, like so many, shall miss the opportunity to pause and have a chat with Rod as he perched above me. It is great news that he will continue to provide technical advice and support to the Council and other interested parties, even if the time has come for he himself to stop swaying above the pavements. Thanks Rod.

Another edition, another crisis. The Hungerford Youth Club, abandoned by WBC a few years ago, has met new, possibly insurmountable, problems in large part stemming from the John of Gaunt College’s predicament. Amazing to read that Kids Co received over £40 million of taxpayers’ funds through Government and Local Authority [including Berkshire, one wonders] contributions before insolvency earlier in 2015. The local volunteers and stakeholders in Hungerford are striving hard to keep alive this venture recognised as working for the good of the community. We wish them well.

Mayor Crane has not announced it yet, but that doesn’t mean he is not working on it. I suspect the Hungerford Coliseum project might be announced in 2016. Meanwhile the townsfolk seeking entertainment are invited to the Tesco Car Park where they can see daily [ nay, hourly] sessions of jousting, dodgems, skills, and gladiatorial conflict.

The day starts with the Mares Stakes. Mothers proceeding from the school run give a display of multitasking: juggling cigarettes, mobiles, steering wheels and conversations with back-seat toddlers in their Chelsea Tractors; the Cirque du Soleil would eagerly sign up most of them. Of course they know that size is on their side as they shuffle back and forwards; surrounding cars visibly shrink as these leviathans are navigated onto their moorings. The Panel Beaters’ Paradise Stakes follows later in the day when the school runs are repeated but the time the cars disgorge youngsters intent on slaking their sugar shortage at the sweet counter. Car doors are flung open, regardless of the proximity of the adjacent motors.

Regularly, the participants get into a huddle to compare notes on who has done what to whom. Anxious and surreptitious glances follow for who might have witnessed the transgressions and then might leave a tell-tale note on the injured party’s car. This leads me to advise that observation of this activity is of course another skill-set. If you are seen watching quietly from your vantage point, you may be approached and subjected to as big a barrage of abuse as if you been a voyeur at a somewhat seedier tryst.

To cheerier topics. The re-branded Hungerford Arms is worth an inspection if you haven’t been already; Eamonn and his team have given both the inside and outside a coat of paint and the layout has a more modern feel; not that the established regulars who previously patronised the Plume of Feathers seem to have lost their attachment!


Bits 1

Also on this page……..The Rose ………..The Poppy………

Hungerford Town Band

  As usual the build-up to Christmas is one of our busiest times of year. These are the months we enjoy most because it’s the time of year when the Hungerford Community fully embraces the season and the Hungerford Town Band becomes an integral part of every occasion.

Our forthcoming calendar of events celebrates the spirit of Christmas, with something for every taste, and we would like to welcome you.

Victorian Extravaganza-11th December from 5pm
Both senior and Training Band can be heard in the high street during this event.

Christmas Concert
– Hungerford Town Hall – 12th December 7.30pm.
Many see this event as marking the real start of their Christmas festivities and we would love to share a traditional tune, a glass of wine and a mince pie or two with you. Tickets available from Crown Needlework or any band member.

Mayors Carol Service – St Lawrence Church – 20th December 6.30pm.
A service which fully embraces the community of Hungerford; a great chance to enjoy a heart-warming Christmas event with plenty of traditional hymns to welcome the coming of Christmas.

Christmas Eve – Outside Tesco, Hungerford.
This morning event has become a regular slot and is welcomed by many in The Town as being part of their final preparations of Christmas. Enjoy Christmas Carols while you shop – and why not request a favourite?

The band will also be performing carols around the town during the Christmas period


Are you aware of the gem in your midst?

We are fortunate in having The Rose of Hungerford, a broad beamed wheelchair friendly boat owned by the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust located in Hungerford, moored next to the Town Bridge.
The Rose runs regular trips for the public on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from Easter until the end of October. These trips along the renowned Kennet and Avon Canal normally travel eastwards to Dunmill and then on to Wire locks before turning round and returning to Hungerford. The crew are all highly trained volunteers and the captain must also have a Boatmasters Grade 3 licence issued by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.
All the expected facilities are onboard including a licensed bar, a toilet and an electric wheelchair lift.
During December the Rose is host to Santa where he invites everyone to cruise with him for an hour. The children receive a present and goodies from him whilst the adults receive a drink of their choice, either hot or alcoholic, and a hot mince pie.
Many businesses, support groups, families, clubs etc charter the Rose and her crew as an ideal venue for meetings, outings, parties and celebrations. Please phone Richard or Diana on 01635 255367 for both charter details and all bookings or visit Fare Wise Travel in the High Street to book public and Santa trips.




Royal British Legion (Hungerford) Branch

Several hundred people witnessed a very emotional and respectful Remembrance Day service at the Town’s War Memorial on Sunday 8th November. The Parade was led by Lt. Col Miles Cook, a serving Royal Marine Officer, who was born and brought up in Hungerford.
A detachment from 6th Bn REME marched, as did a Captain from the Royal Welsh, and it was commented on how their drill and appearance did credit to their Units and also the British Army.

Wreaths were laid by Civic leaders and also by voluntary organisations from the Town. The Town Band played to the usual high standard.

One very poignant and emotive moment was when Hungerford resident, Mrs Cally Faulkner and her children Natasha and Jack, laid an Army Air Corp wreath in memory of Warrant Officer Faulkner her late husband and father of Natasha and Jack. WO Faulkner was recently killed in action in Afghanistan.

The service was led by the Rev Nigel Sands with the exhortation spoken by RBL President Mr Jack Williams BEM. Amongst the congregation was Lt Commander John Manners DSC RN, aged 101, a veteran of fighting in Fleet Destroyers in WW11.

After the service a very hospitable and convivial time was had at the RBL Club, where Derek Loft, the Secretary of the RBL Branch was awarded the Gold Badge of the RBL for conspicuous and meritorious service to the RBL over the last 20 years.

John Parry


A new career at my age?
I didn’t think it was possible.

As the demand for home care increases, providers such as Bluebird Care in Newbury are increasingly looking towards older workers to meet the demand.

Typical of the new generation of mature care workers is Leslie Kitts, who lives near Newbury. Leslie, who will be 67 this year, has been a care assistant for Bluebird Care for a year – and loves it.

Leslie was interviewed by Bluebird Care and offered a position, impressed with what she felt was the “highly professional” way in which the company was run. She had never done care work before, other than raising her two sons, so it was a whole new career for her. But, with full training given by Bluebird Care, and time spent shadowing a mentor, she was soon out delivering care to customers in their own homes.

Leslie enjoys the flexibility of the work, which allows her to do the hours she wants to fit in around her home life. Most of Leslie’s customers are older people, with varying levels of care requirements.

The main qualities you need are simply patience and common sense,” she says. “Some of our customers have dementia, which can be challenging, but if you take it in your stride, it’s very rewarding”

“And in return, it’s very satisfying, because you build up a rapport with your customers. The one thing that surprised me is just how much fun you can have – we have such a giggle with some of our ladies and we enjoy talking to them. You get home at the end of the day and you’re really happy with what you’ve done, and that’s not easy in a job. And it’s nice working for Bluebird Care, because they appreciate their staff, which makes a huge difference.”

Leslie believes there are several reasons why mature workers can be particularly suited to care work. “I think older care workers can use their life experiences to relate to their customers” she says. “having come across different types of people and different situations in your life prepares you for the situations you are likely to face with the customers you visit. Life experiences and common sense can really make a difference.”

“As long as you’re a ‘people person’ and are fairly easy-going, I would certainly recommend this work for anyone.”

For more information about Bluebird Care visit
call 01635 36953 or email:

Hungerford Surgery

So the flu season is well and truly upon us so if you are over 65 or in an ‘at risk’ group please contact the Surgery to make an appointment to have your flu jab. Nasal flu is available for 2, 3 and 4 year olds and also Years 1 and 2 school children who don’t go to school in Berkshire (Berkshire school children will have theirs at school).

Shingles vaccine is also available for SOME people between 70 – 80 please contact the Surgery to see if you are eligible.

The Surgery is very pleased to announce that we now have a Patient Participation Group up and running and you will find out more about it in this edition of Chain Mail. Some members came to the Flu Clinics and helped with queue control and were able to talk to patients about which extended hours were helpful to them. This was very helpful to the staff and made the clinics run much smoother.

The extended hours which we run at the moment are for pre booked appointments and take place every other Saturday 9.00 – 11.00am, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings between 7.00 – 8.00am and Monday evenings between 6.30 – 8.00pm. We hope these times help patients who can’t get into the Surgery during normal hours.

We have now said happy retirement to Dr Peter Hetherington and informed his patients which partner will be looking after them until we have appointed a new Doctor. Obviously we will be short of appointments until we find a replacement but we have got some locums booked and we will continue to have on the day urgent appointments so please bear with us.

Janette Kersey Patient Services Co-ordinator

Please call the surgery if you are unable to attend ANY appointment


        Hungerford Surgery Patient Participation Group     

Hungerford Surgery has recently formed a Patient Participation Group. Its purpose will be to contribute to the continuous improvement of services and foster improved communication between the practice and it patients.

Being involved in the PPG gives patients the opportunity to have a say and take action to improve the way health services are delivered in our community. The PPG will have a key role in increasing the quality and accessibility of the care available to you and your family.

One issue which has been discussed is the large number of patients who do not attend appointments which can result in others having to wait longer than necessary to get one. 360 people failed to attend their appointments in the last 3 months

Another issue which is going to be looked into is the length of time it takes to get prescriptions.

If you have views on how the practice could improve or further develop or simply want to find out more about Patient Participation Groups, a meeting is being held at the surgery on Tuesday 12 January at 7.00 p.m. prompt. The Chairman would like to say that the officers of the committee have been elected so you would not be under pressure to become the Secretary or Treasurer etc. We will be meeting every other month on a Tuesday for just one hour so please lend us your help

Please contact 01488 683152 / if you are able to come.
H.D. & D.P.

      Some of the aims in the future of the Hungerford Surgery PPG are:     
Firstly and probably most important, the PPG is NOT a channel for complaints. There is a system in place for dealing with any complaints you may have.

To encourage a positive relationship between the patients and the surgery staff, both medical and administrative.

To have a voice for the patient in the practice.

To be realistic about what you can achieve and to look for small changes that can make a real difference.

To work constructively and positively to help indentify solutions and to work in partnership with the practice and other local organisations.

To carrying out surveys and research to find out what matters to patients and discussing the findings with the practice.

To encourage patients to engage in their own healthcare. To this end it would be wonderful if, in the future, the group felt able to continue:-
To organise information sessions on medical and related topics of interest to patients;

To help with the organisation of self-help groups for patients.

Virtual Museum

PILLBOXES & WW11                                        

We are hearing so much to commemorate the 2nd World War. There are many reminders locally – most especially the remarkable set of pillboxes on the common and in the surrounding area.

After the defeat at Dunkirk in May 1940, Britain was faced with the imminent prospect of invasion. General Ironside was instructed to set up defences to prevent Hitler sweeping the country, as he had France.

In addition to a coastal “crust” of defences, a series of anti-tank “stop lines” were established; Hungerford was a key “nodal” point. One of the main stop-lines ran from Somerset across southern England, around London, and all the way to Edinburgh. Locally, it was called “Stop Line Blue”, and it followed the Kennet and Avon Canal.

Pillboxes, gun emplacements and other anti-tank obstacles were built, and between May and September 1940, whilst the Battle of Britain was fought in the skies above, 18,000 pillboxes were built. To speed the process, there were seven standard designs. Local builders were contracted, and the canal was brought into service to transport materials.

They were manned by the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV) – raised on 14 May 1940 (by Anthony Eden, Secretary of State for War) and comprised men too old or too infirm to join the regular army or in protected trades and thus exempt from conscription. On 23 July, the force became known as the Home Guard, after Churchill coined the phrase during a BBC broadcast. By the end of July one and a half million men had volunteered, a huge figure!

For a variety of reasons, including the impressive resistance shown by the RAF during the Battle of Britain, Hitler changed his strategic plans, and his planned invasion was postponed indefinitely on 17 September 1940. The threat of Germany invasion of England receded. The 18,000 pillboxes were never used in combat. About 6,000 survive, 150 in Berkshire.

Near Hungerford there were several pillboxes, most of which survive.

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

Gardening by Stacy

The Apple of your Eye- Stacy Tuttle

This year has been a bumper one for crops. Fruit trees are not so difficult to grow and how lovely to pick fruit fresh from the tree knowing it has not been heavily sprayed with pesticides and preservatives. Of course it is not an instant result as the time from planting to cropping can be 3 or 4 years and it is also important to remember that apple trees are pollinated by insects. When purchasing the tree it is worth noting the pollination groups which indicate the time of flowering (there are 7 in total) and that it will require another tree from the same group to allow pollination. There are some trees which are classed as self-fertile, although it is true to say that they will perform better when a pollinator is planted nearby
( within 20m of each other). A self-fertile tree is also ideal for a smaller garden. Most apple trees prefer to be planted in full sun and it is best to avoid frost pockets to prevent damage to the flowers and therefore affect fruiting.

Of course you must consider what type of apples you would like- a cooking apple (Bramley’s Seedling is ideal for larger gardens) or an eating apple (Egremont Russet will store well)
Nowadays fruit trees are grafted onto a rootstock to allow trees to flourish in a small space. The smallest rootstock is the M27 which produces dwarf trees including the step-over which makes a lovely and useful edging around a bed or along a path. The M26 produces a small tree which can be grown in a container, while the most commonly used is MM106, a larger rootstock.

It is also possible to grow and train trees as cordons or espaliers which look decorative and are space saving, as are the Minaret trees which grow as a narrow column.

Fruit trees should be pruned in winter when they are dormant. As with all pruning remove any diseased, dead or crossing branches. Then cut back the remaining branches by about one third, cutting just above a bud which is facing in the direction you want the new branch arising from the bud. Younger side shoots should be left to allow them to develop fruiting buds for the following year when you can hope to see the fruits of your labour.

Stacy Tuttle

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Sparkling Sherwood Forest

Sherwood Forest lies approximately 25 miles north of Nottingham. It is a ‘National Nature Reserve’ and well worth a visit.

To my eternal shame I had not visited this site in my life, and I am now retired ! But this oversight was rectified in October this year. Now I wish to visit this area four times a year, once in each season. Especially as admission is free and the site covers over 450 acres. A further attraction is the Dukeries – hundreds of acres of unspoilt land which is “managed” for nature in the Sherwood Forest area. Also there are several National Trust properties in the East Midlands which are managed in a way which is sympathetic to nature. One such place is Calke Abbey.Although the area is only 125 miles away and the roads are good it took my wife and I over 4 hours to get there. All the motorways and dual carriageways seemed to be packed with cars and lorries belching out toxic fumes.

In December there is a lighting display in Sherwood Forest which should be spectacular. Several of the oak trees will be lit in some sort of son et luminere display. Some of the oak trees are over a thousand years old and look dead. The conservationists had preserved them for the spiders and invertebrates. One of the information boards stated that there over 200 different species of spider found in the Forest. Five of the spiky oaks had very heavy metal bands fixed around them. To my mind this seemed wrong but a Ranger told me it was necessary to keep bugs dry and help the eco system. The trees were technically dead. Butterflies and birds all require dry resting areas but artificially keeping very old oak trees upright appeared bizarre.

My friendly Ranger told me there were over one hundred species of fungi in the Forest In October. This is an incredible fact and quite plausible because there were six species in my small garden.
Nearly all the visitors to Sherwood Forest are drawn there by the tales of Robin Hood and his merrie men. Whether it is fact or fiction no one really knows. However there is a large oak tree in the Forest called the “Major Oak” by which a gang of outlaws is supposed to have met. The “Major Oak” is over 800 years old and is fenced off to prevent its death by compaction. Thousands of visitors trampled over the ground and firmed the soil down so much that the feeder roots were not be able to gather nutrients for the tree. Oak trees like this support a myriad of insects and birds, as well as purifying the air. Apparently there are only two native oak trees in the UK and three species have been introduced. Our native oaks, the common and sessile have hybridised over the years anyway.

The RSPB have opened a visitors’ centre near the Major Oak but this site is not as good as other RSPB sites. Perhaps it is something to do with the ownership of the site and licences.
However there were numerous bird tables dotted around the Forest and they were all well stocked. So in winter one will be able to see and hear all of our native woodland birds here. There will be, almost certainly, Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers present in Sherwood Forest. This is the smallest of our three resident “peckers”. In October, my wife and I saw Coal Tits, Nuthatches and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers visiting the bird tables erected by Nottinghamshire County Council.

Great Bustards were seen in the Hungerford area last year. They were reintroduced onto Salisbury Plain, after becoming extinct in the UK. Until this holiday I did not know that Little Bustards ever existed in our country. The only one I have ever seen is held in a glass case in Calke Abbey. It was shot on the North Staffordshire Moors by the multi-millionaire owner of Calke Abbey.



Hungerford Library

The Hungerford Literary Festival was a great success thanks to the hard work of everyone at Hungerford Bookshop. Children’s author, Josh Lacey, came to the library to talk about his books and present prizes to the winners of the Children’s Writing Competition. Congratulations to winners Charlotte Morris (11-15) and Ben Brown (5-11). Toby Wright was runner up and Caitlin Muldoon was highly commended. Thanks to all those who took part.

Let me remind you about our Craft and Chat group which meets every Friday from 10-12. If you enjoy a craft like knitting, crocheting, stitching – or just would like to chat, come along. It is a very friendly group of people who relish the time away from home to concentrate on their craft activities without distractions.

West Berkshire catalogue has a great range of cook books. As winter is here, why not come in to the library, have a look and try something new.

Hungerford Library is a collection point for the Food Bank. You can collect a ‘shopping list’ and drop off your donations.

We offer several FREE 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. 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 01488 682660 for further information or to book a place.

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 Groups – We have 2 book groups. One meets on the first Friday of the month at 5:30, and the other meets on the third Friday at 5:30.

If you are interested in any of these activities please contact Hungerford Library on 01488 682660,

WiFi is free to library members.

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 email

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

Lisa Richardson

Steam by Tony Bartlett

N.B. more details and illustrations of trains reported on in this article can be found in the Steam Special section of this web-site on the Sightings page wherever a reference of the form Sighting: dd/mm/yyyy is quoted.

Do we take main line steam trains for granted? It needs a tour company to put together a programme of attractive excursions; a steam train operator to provide the locomotive and its crew, and rolling stock to provide a comfortable journey; and the cooperation of Network Rail to provide access to the railway network, parts of which are already intensively used by scheduled passenger and freight trains. The steam locomotive itself may be owned and maintained by another company. There are so many independent concerns contributing to the endeavour it’s a miracle steam excursions take place at all!

So it was that of the sixteen trains running in our area in the last quarter only half ran as planned, four ran but with diesel haulage and four were cancelled. Contributory factors include knock on effects of the main steam operator being suspended earlier in the year; lower than hoped for availability of main line accredited steam locomotives; and over-optimism on the part of the tour operators about the demand for their product. For example, of the season of six West Somerset Steam Expresses (WSSEs), three ran as planned, one was diesel-hauled and the other two were cancelled. As a result it is something of a lottery whether customers got what they paid for when they booked their trip on one of these trains – a problem which the tour operators will need to deal with.

Four of the steam trains referred to above travelled through Hungerford, three of them in a busy 5 day period in September. Britannia (Sighting: 08/08/2015)and Tangmere(Sighting: 19/09/2015) worked WSSEs, Mayflower was in charge of a Cathedrals Express to Bristol (Sighting: 22/09/2015), and Tornado, now in green livery, made its impressive debut as the next steam locomotive for the British Pullman luxury trains (Sighting: 23/09/2015)

The programme to the end of the year features the usual themes of pre-Christmas shopping and cathedral visits for carol services. It is difficult to predict ahead of time which route each excursion will take when there are three east to west options available, but it seems unlikely that our line will be used for any of these trains. Mayflower and Tangmere are the locomotives pencilled in at this stage and you would need, for example, to visit the Reading-Oxford line for Mayflower on 2nd Dec and/or Andover for Tangmere on 15th Dec – but why bother? Remember that steam train action looks best in winter when the air is cold and the exhaust steam condenses quickly to give spectacular aerial effects.

Although the details for next year’s programme are only now beginning to become available, you may wish to note that the season kicks off for St. Valentine’s with a Vintage Trains’ GWR excursion crossing the Vale of White Horse on 13th Feb and UK Railtours’ Red Rose possibly coming through Hungerford behind Tornado on 14th Feb on its way to Bath. Steam Dreams expect to be running their St. David’s Day trip as usual on 1st March.

See the updated schedules on the Steam Special section of the Chain web-site, or refer to our reference UK Steam Info web-site for the latest information about future trains.

Tony Bartlett

Roger Day


In the previous issue I asked Chain Mail readers for their motoring memories. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who responded and want to share the following story and photograph with you.
The image shows a Daimler Limousine in the river Kennet at Ramsbury and was taken by Hungerford photographer Albert Parsons on the morning of Sunday 13th April 1913. The car was virtually brand new, having been purchased on 13th January of the same year by Colonel Ellis Lee from Crowood House, Ramsbury. At the time of the accident it was being driven by 25 year-old Albert Edward Cordwell, who according to a report that appeared in the following weeks Wilts, Berks and Hants County Paper, was a mechanic from the Daimler works.

The accident had taken place the previous evening and in addition to the driver three other men were riding in the car, one of whom was Colonel Lee’s coachman. The vehicle was being drive from Hungerford to Ramsbury and had just left the main Hungerford/Swindon road at Knighton. A hundred yards or so from the junction the road curved sharply to the right and ran alongside the river – the bend has since been modified. It was thought that in the darkness the driver, who was unfamiliar with the route, may have mistaken the river for the road and got too close to the edge. The vehicle overturned and its rear closed compartment quickly started to fill with river water. As the door was jammed the two men inside were frantically trying to get out and made their escape by breaking the window glass.

The following morning unsuccessful attempts were made with a team of horses to pull the car from the river and because it was a Sunday dozens of people turned out to watch events unfold. The car was ultimately pulled out by a traction engine and sent away for repairs. The accident was clearly the driver’s fault, but no record survives to tell us if he kept his job with Daimler. Twelve days later Colonel Lee took delivery of another new Daimler Limousine (AM3021), but it’s unclear if this was an insurance settlement or a goodwill gesture from Daimler.

If you would like to share your motoring memories with Roger Day he can be reached via or 01488 682377.

HAHA by Belinda

An Allotment in Hungerford…………

So, 2015 is coming to an end and has flown by. It was a particularly active year as a plotholder – on and off the plot.

February was the first site workday (get-together) of the year. It poured but we saw our largest ever turnout of volunteers. Some of the plotholders get restless over the winter months so are keen to be able to do something on the site, though still too early to do proper gardening again. Although getting drenched, we enjoyed snacks and drinks while we cut back hedges and tidied up the site ready for the new season.

The HAHA AGM was quite well-attended in June with plotholders wanting news about the future of the site. Well we’re still awaiting news, so there wasn’t much information to give but it was another opportunity to get together and discuss other aspects of allotmenting – mostly how to deal with pests!

July was busy with some plots being judged for Hungerford in Bloom, a plotholders’ barbecue on site and the Hungerford Primary School fete. We were so pleased the sun shone for those events so encouraging more people to attend and we had a great time making bug hotels with the children at the fete.

August was even busier. It was the first time that HAHA jointly hosted the Horticultural Show with the Royal British Legion. Over 300 exhibits made for a great day with fun competition between plotholders and other local gardeners. We were really pleased it went so well and are looking forward to next year’s show.

The following week we had the second Open Afternoon at Marsh Lane and again the sun shone for us, as it did for the 2013 event. The food, veg, tombola and other stalls were busy all afternoon and we enjoyed showing off our lovely site to the many visitors.

October provided another opportunity for spreading the word and showing off the quality produce grown by our plotholders to the hundreds of visitors to the Hungerford Food Festival. The variety of vegetables on our stall were a great talking point, with Kerry’s delicious savoury scones and fruit cordials encouraging people to linger a while longer!

Merry Christmas and here’s to a happy new year, with hopefully some good news for a long lease on Marsh Lane!

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:



Hungerford Football by Ron Tarry

It has been a story of fluctuating fortunes for the club so far this season. After a disappointing start, we had a run of four successive victories to put us in 4th. position in the league, but failed to keep up the momentum and drifted down to 9th. place, also losing cup games to Bradford and Aylesbury during this spell. However, at the time of writing, some improved performances, Including wins over Chesham and Histon has seen us rise to 6th. place (although other teams around us have games in hand) our successes also including a cup win at Cirencester, but we have a busy programme ahead, the Evo-Stik Southern League being the highest level we have ever reached, the only West Berkshire team to do so. It is a very tough level at which to compete.

However, there are plenty of opportunities to watch, or play football for those who are attracted by amateur football played by local lads and miss that family feeling we used to enjoy in past years at a lower level of football.

Hungerford Swifts, all local lads, are doing well in the North Berks. League Division 3, and play their home matches at Bulpit Lane where entrance is free and the club and bar facilities are available. There is also a a Swifts Reserves side, comprising mainly of last season’s under 18 team, in the North Berks. League Division 5, also doing well in their league. They play their home games at the Triangle Field, but usually come back to the club after their games.

Last, but not least, there is the Hungerford Academy, based at Park House School which gives ambitious young lads the opportunity to enjoy education and coaching of a high standard as well as matches against teams of the highest calibre. Some of these lads also get the opportunity to join the first team squad for training and matches.

Last of all, for those of more mature years, we also have a veterans side, nominally for over 40’s, but upper age no limit, who play friendly matches , mostly against local “vets” sides, the home games at Bulpit Lane, usually kicking off at 2 pm. on Sunday afternoons.

There is therefore something there to suit all tastes. Why not come along to play or watch.

Ron Tarry. President.

Health by Liz

Winter Immune Boosters

The risk of catching a cold, a cough or the flu is greatest during the winter months and one of the most effective ways of reducing that risk is to have an optimally functioning immune system. Liz Chandler from Natures Corner advises on the best nutritional immune boosting supplements.

Studies show that adults in the U.K. average 2-4 colds per year and children 6-10, with this equating to 40% of work and school absenteeism. The common cold is a miserable experience and the symptoms of flu can result in weeks of feeling lackluster and wiped out.

Our innate immune system is present from birth and represents the first line of defence against infection. Beta glucans, either derived from yeast, oats or mushrooms, will help to build up our natural immune defence and are particularly beneficial for individuals whose immune system has been weakened through lifestyle, stress or aging.

Selenium contributes to our antiviral and antibacterial defences, yet many European diets contain far too little of this important mineral.
Vitamin D deficiency can reduce immune function and in England it is impossible for our body to make vitamin D from sunlight for 6 months of the year. About 60% of people are vitamin D deficient all year round and as high as 80% are deficient during the winter months. For adults a daily dose of 1000iu – 2500iu is ideal.
Zinc taken at the first sign of a cold, can significantly reduce the symptoms and duration of infection; in some cases by as much as 50%. Both zinc and vitamin C contribute to the normal function of the immune system and to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.
Herbal remedies are also beneficial for relief from colds and flu with elderberry being used for centuries for its antiviral effects and garlic recognized for its antibiotic properties. Horseradish is rich in compounds with immune boosting, antibacterial and antiviral activity.
Finally, colds and flu can cause flare ups of cold sores which are a viral rash typically occurring around the lips and mouth. The amino acid L-lysine can work well for prevention and treatment, especially alongside the reduction or elimination of nuts and chocolate in the diet. Not so good news around the festive period!

These are a few suggestions to help us cope with the winter months, but for more individual and comprehensive advise, call into Natures Corner and talk to the team.

Our Community

Update for November

Hungerford and Lambourn Neighbourhood Team covers the areas of
Hungerford, Lambourn and Kintbury.

The latest crime statistics can be found by visiting (opens new window) The website provides you with helpful information about crime and policing in your area. Enter your postcode, town, village or street into the search box, and get instant access to street-level crime maps and data, as well as details of the neighbourhood police team and ‘Have Your Say’ events.

Rural Crime Overnight on the 6th October there was a break in to Hungerford Town Football Club, the door was jemmied and the safe stolen. The same night an outbuilding was broken into in Kintbury but nothing was taken and a green Subaru was spotted driving through crops in fields just off of the A4.

8th October: An outbuilding was broken into at Radley and selections of STIHL items were stolen.
Sometime between the 9th-11th October there was an attempt break in to a barn in Kintbury whereby the padlock and lock were broken, nothing was stolen.

25th October a vehicle has driven through fields and a gate belonging to a farm off of the B4000 Lambourn Woodlands area.

Other Crime A male is on bail for an incident that took place outside the One Stop, Priory Road Hungerford at approximately 1600hrs on the 19th October. If anyone witnessed anything or has any information please contact 101 quoting URN 953 19/10/15.

11th October: A male was arrested after being caught breaking and entering Boots High Street Hungerford.

24th October: A vehicle parked near to the eastbound services at Membury had both front and back number plates stolen overnight.

Crime Prevention Can I remind everyone to make sure that your windows are closed/locked when you go out and doors are secure. If your car is parked on a road or driveway, please ensure you remove all valuables when it is unattended. If you have a SatNav, it is also worth making sure the stand that attaches it to your windscreen has not left a mark on the glass, as this will entice thieves to search the car. The same can be said for unattended leads (i.e. in-car mobile phone chargers) as all of these things indicate that you may have valuable belongings in your vehicle. If your car is parked on a driveway, it is worth looking into motion sensor lighting to cover the area where the car is parked for added security.

Contact us
If you want any advice or would like to contact the neighbourhood team you can call us on the police non emergency number 101 but if your call is an emergency then dial 999. You can also contact us via email:


Jack Williams

The Autumn of 2015 brought once again a time of memories and anniversaries especially those concerned with war time. I am proud to be President of Hungerford British Legion following in the footsteps of a former president John Brown a man who I much admired and another ex sailor. It is quite strange that a small inland town such as Hungerford should have such an ex naval flavour, worthy gentlemen, Peter Scarlett father and son, Robert Myall and Gordan Anderson these together with myself serve on our local branch. I have led the parade for the past twelve years but this year you might have seen a gentleman, again with a naval association Lt-Col. Myles Cook (son of Pat & Kathy Cook) of the Royal Marines who led the parade, although the wide organisation will remain under the supervision of branch Chairman John Parry.

I had not realised that arthritis could be so severely restricting and I became so far behind the Town Band last year, that I decided that I would proceed to Bridge Street War Memorial to join everyone there. If you listened carefully to the opening sentence of the exhortation recited at the service at the War Memorial then the words, They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old, age shall not weary them nor the years condemn, becomes ever more poignant with my passing years.

We followed the normal tradition of the major remembrance service at Bridge Street War Memorial, where wreaths were laid. I went with others to the War Memorial Recreation Ground. There a small service with the exhortation, and the Last Post was observed. This memorial is of great importance and was opened in 1949 and has an impressive setting and the twenty eight trees are for each man killed, they lead on to the splendid Sarcen stone as a plaque in memory of those who fell in the 1939-1945 war. This memorial records the names of many men who I knew and admired and incorporates not only the superb entrance gates and the ”Avenue of Remembrance”, but the whole sporting complex of Cricket and Football grounds. More recently the garden of remembrance was created there in memory of fellow townspeople who were killed in the infamous tragedy created by Michael Ryan in 1987.

This Autumn brought us to the 600th anniversary of the battle of Agincourt in 1415. The great victory over our near neighbours the French, was mostly through the valiant work of the English and Welsh Longbow men, against heavily armoured Frenchmen who became totally entangled in the combination of heavy battle armour and very heavy mud! I have visited the French battle ground on three occasions and the excellent adjacent museum and gives great credit to our soldiers, and very generous recognition of the victory of bowmen over heavily armoured troops.

As autumn fades into winter may I remind you of the Mayor’s Carol Service, I am so very pleased to have introduced the first in 1978.

The very active encouragement of the late Rev. Dick Kingsbury with programmes printed by the John O’Gaunt School produced the very first ”Take Joy” service Christmas Eve 1978.
The Town Band playing outside the church to welcome us all, readings by councillor Chris Brown, Hugh Nassau, young people Jonathon Pomeroy, Alison Pike, Peter Willis and Rebecca Kellow, a musical item by the Fairview Music Society, presented by Ernie Webster, participation by Town Councillors Jean Tubb and Rev Charles Gill, a bible reading by Town Constable Robert James. The carol Good King Wenceslas sung in two parts by Bill Ackworth and his son. A wonderful Christian harmony by a quartet from the Town Band, prayers by Councillor Rev. Charles Gill the Methodist Minister, and the item I shall never forget a final message from Mayor Jack Williams, a packed church even the balcony well filled. Emotional for a man of 87 but in 1978 I was only 50 years old then, and the final message by Dick Kingsbury.

What a truly memorable event and I hope now firmly place in the Town Calendar!


Hungerford Primary School

Our headline news is due to such a successful Summer Fete we have been able to buy a Class set of 30 laptops so a whole class can use computers at the same time. They are already fully booked up!

We’ve had a busy start to the New School Year with our Class Buddies organising a range of events/activities for the Children. The Year 6’s held a yummy cake sale and raised £89 for a diabetes charity that was close to some of their hearts and Yr 3 & 4 families took part in a 4-5 mile ramble across the Hungerford Common with sponsorship totalling over £210 for Children in Need. There are also a Smarties Challenge for Foundation & Yr2; a Yr 1 film night and a Yr5 Christmas craft activity, all of which will raise funds for the PTA. Bigger, all school events are the Halloween disco, always a favourite and a great chance for dressing up! The Children have also created their own Christmas artwork that can be printed onto Christmas cards; mugs; tea-towels and gift tags. Wonderful personalised presents for those proud family members!

We are also taking part in the Victorian Extravaganza, on Friday 11th December, with our annual tombola, so please visit us under the bridge. The Children have a non-uniform day and donate chocolate or bottles for the tombola prizes. The School Choir will be singing on the Town Hall steps to open the Extravaganza; as well as at the Christmas Lights Switch On, on Sunday 29th November, and probably around the Town in the lead-up to Christmas so please come and support them!

Next term is our annual Jumble Sale, probably on Saturday 23rd January, so have a sort out to make way for all those new presents, or come and grab a bargain!

Finally, we always welcome the opportunity to partner with national or local companies, through Matched Funding for our volunteers or sponsorship for the school. For example our netball team badly needs a new kit to bring them up to the standard of other schools in the area and increase their confidence! An amazing opportunity for your company to be part of something very rewarding!!

Please contact us on


A perfectly ‘normal’ childhood   

Lots of people have asked me over the years what it was like to grow up in Northern Ireland during ‘The Troubles’. In response I would always say that I didn’t know any differently, so it was just ‘normal’. Of course, reflecting back, and having lived in England for nearly 20 years, I realise that it was anything but normal.
I was born and brought up in Londonderry (or Derry – perhaps more on that in a later edition) where my parents still live. Derry is a fantastic, thriving city of approximately 110,000 people divided by the River Foyle. For those who can remember, Londonderry in the 1970s and 80s was a turbulent place with regular protest marches, rioting and bomb scares. This inevitably led to disruption to normal life. It was quite common to sit in queues of traffic at armed police checkpoints on one of the bridges across the Foyle, only for my father to have his car searched by officers with machine guns.

The British Army were a huge presence in Derry at this time. I remember taking my girlfriend at the time (now my wife) back to see my parents for the first time. We were sitting in the garden basking in the heat of a summer’s day in Northern Ireland (about 15 degrees and cloudy with a chance of rain!), when a group of armed young soldiers passed the house on patrol. One young soldier proceeded to crouch down in the driveway and wait for the others. This was perfectly ‘normal’ and something I had become very accustomed to as a teenager. My girlfriend however, was not used to this and visibly shaken. Her first impression Northern Ireland was a poor one (she has since grown to love it), and she still talks about that experience to this day.

It’s funny what we accept as ‘normal’ in our day to day lives. Sometimes it’s quite difficult to see things from another person’s point of view, especially if we have been used to seeing things a certain way for a long time.

Dealing with young people on a daily basis can often involve conversations when I am trying to convince them that ‘other people might see that differently’, or ‘have you thought about how other people might have felt about what you said?’ On most occasions, young people can be made to appreciate that the views of others are worth listening to and that perhaps things aren’t as ‘black and white’ as they thought they were.

How many of us adults are guilty of the saying following I wonder?

‘That’s the way I’ve always done that, so that’s the way I’ll continue to do it’ or
‘If she doesn’t agree with me, too bad’.

If we are teaching our young people to respect the views of others, I think we should all have it in us to accept that, what we might see as perfectly normal…just might not be.

Alan Henderson Headmaster

Blasts from the Past


“I am Mesha, son of Chemosh, king of Moab, the Dibonite”

So begins one of the most extraordinary ancient documents ever found. Mesha was ruler of the small kingdom of Moab, east of the Dead Sea, in the mid-ninth century BC. He was a contemporary of Jehoshaphat, King of the southern Kingdom of Judah (870-848 BC) and Jehoram, King of the northern Kingdom of Israel (852-841 BC). Everything we know about Mesha from the Bible is
recorded in 2 Kings 3. But we know a lot more about him from a record he left us, referred to as the Mesha Inscription, or Moabite Stone.

The stone, was discovered intact by a missionary at the site of ancient Dibon (now Dhiban, Jordan), in August 1868. It is 3.1/2 feet high and 2 feet in depth and breadth, and rounded at the top in polished Basalt stone.. It consisted of 34 lines written in Hebrew-Phoenician characters, and with the exception of a very few variations, the Moabite language in which the inscription is written is identical with Hebrew. In 1869, it was smashed by local villagers during a dispute over ownership, but a squeeze (a paper-mache impression) had been obtained, and fragments containing most of the inscription (613 letters out of about 1000) were later recovered and pieced together.

As stated, the inscription seems to parallel an episode in 2 Kings 3, where two Kings of Israel, together with the King of Edom, joined together to put down his rebellious vassel Mesha, as ordered by the God of Israel, through the words of Elisha the Prophet. The land of Moab should be completely razed to the ground., as punishment for his rebellion against Israel. In 2 Kings 3 Mesha is described as a sheep-breeder who used to supply the King of Israel regularly with the wool of one hundred thousand lambs, and a hundred thousand rams. When the Ahab the King of Israel died the King of Moab rebelled against the new King of Israel, (Jehoram), and the three Kings joined together to punish him. The three Kings had the best of the campaign against Mesha until Mesha, in desperation, sacrifices his son and heir as a burnt offering on the walls of the city, and according to the stone “there came great wrath against Israel”, and Mesha us apparently left victorious. This differs from the text of 2 Kings 3, which reads that “the Israelites were filled with such consternation at this sight, that they struck camp and returned to their own land”.

What the actual outcome was we shall never know, as neither the Mesha inscription or the Book of Kings were written as an objective history, both were intended as propaganda for their respective gods, Kings to glorify Yahweh the God of Israel, and the stele (stone) the glorify Mesha, and Kemosh the god of Moab. It is not often that evidence appears to put both sides of an event in the Bible, but for this event we have it. The complete text of the stone covers not only the events in 2 Kings but also gives an insight into the histories and events which shaped the King of Moab’s life from the wars he fought and the temples and cities he built, and is believed to date from 848 BC, and provides invaluable information on the Moabite language, and the political relationship between Moab and Israel at one moment in the 9th century before Christ.

For the majority of my information I have used “Wikipedia” and the “Christian answers” websites, which are obviously available to anyone who wishes to investigate this further. These also contain a picture of the stone. The Stone and the original paper-mache squeeze now reside in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

More from the past next month. Fred Ba

Legal Spot

Rights of way One area of law which has interested me for a long time and which has come to the fore in several cases which I have dealt with recently is that relating to Rights of Way. A few examples, set out in the form of questions to be answered:

1 does a right of way across a neighbour’s adjoining driveway include the right to bring builders and their vehicles and materials in so that a new and much larger garage can be built at the bottom of the garden?

2 can a right of way originally granted for pedestrian-only use be used for vehicular access if a strip of adjoining land is acquired in order to increase its width so as to enable vehicles to get in and out?

3 may a right of way leading to a field also be used to get agricultural vehicles in and out of an adjoining field which the farmer has just bought?

4 can a right of way which hasn’t been used for well over 50 years be opened up again, against the wishes of the owner of the land across which it runs, which has been used exclusively as garden land (including a tennis court and an outdoor swimming pool, constructed in full view from the adjoining property benefited by the right of way) ever since he bought it over 30 years ago?

Answers on a postcard please or by email to me – the first correct answers (from non-lawyers only please) will be rewarded by a free half-hour interview on any legal subject (except areas of law such as intellectual property which I know little or nothing about).

One aspect of all of this is what the Courts will eventually decide to do to resolve any dispute once the legal arguments have all been raised and considered and a ‘winner’ emerges. In the past it was usually the case that there would not only be a Declaration (i.e. a judgement providing a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to whatever the question was, such as those listed above, and giving reasons) but also an Injunction to prohibit any further interference with the right of way if its existence or use is upheld, or unlawful access if it isn’t (assuming in both cases that there has been some sort of unlawful conduct previously).

In recent years however there has been an increasing willingness on the part of Judges to withhold injunctions and to award damages instead, based on the effect which enforcing the right of way or declining to enforce it will have on the values of the properties concerned. In some cases this is because of the conduct of the parties and whether anything has been said or done in the past by either (or both) of them which has led directly or indirectly to the dispute arising (this is known as ‘estoppel’) – for example, in the sort of context outlined in question 3 above, a verbal statement by the owner of the land across which the right of way runs that he wouldn’t mind if it were to be used to bring tractors and trailers into the adjoining field, which the farmer relies upon in deciding to buy it. With this in mind the answers to all or any of the four questions set out above might be not only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but ‘it depends.. …’

All very interesting stuff and I look forward to the next right of way dispute which comes my way!
David Small Solicitor Crown Passage, 23 High Street, Hungerford, Berkshire RG17 0NF
01488 680701 Mob0771 3094759    Email

Church Bells

Hogwarts for Bell Ringers

My adventures as a novice church bell ringer continue. I was lucky enough to gain a place on the Bradfield Bell Ringing Course held at Bradfield College near Pangbourne. For one, magical, long weekend every August, Bradfield College becomes the ‘Hogwarts’ of the bell ringing world where novices and masters come together to immerse themselves in every aspect of ringing. As well as the ‘core’ course which I’d signed up to, Plain Bob Doubles in my case, there were numerous optional tutorials and entertainments, ranging from rope splicing to hand bell ringing to a pub quiz night.

Every day we studied the theory of the ‘method’ which we were learning before we went out to practice at different towers. Six towers in total over the 4 days, and each of them with very different bells. At this point, it’s worth highlighting the great variety of bells which can be experienced. They all differ in weight, in some towers the heaviest bell may be 500lbs or less whilst in others it will often exceed 2000lbs. There can be anything from 4 bells to 14 bells, although 6 and 8 are the most common.

The length of the rope can vary enormously depending on where the ringing chamber is situated in relation to the bells, with long ropes being more challenging to control. The speed of the bells will depend on the type of bearings they are running on i.e. plain or ball and how directly, or not, the ropes are routed to the bells. So, in short, at each new tower and with each new bell, you must quickly adjust to the ‘feel’ of the bell, bringing it under control, so you can then concentrate on learning a new method. It was a very nerve-racking but wonderful experience and my confidence really grew over the weekend. I learnt new skills and made lots of new friends from all over the country and I continue to be pleasantly surprised by how sociable, friendly, supportive and diverse the ringing community is.

If you would like to join us to see what it’s all about, pop along to St Lawrence’s tower at 7.30pm on a Wednesday night or drop Mark Robins a line at, we’d love to meet you.