Issue 135

1st June
1st September 2017

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

Front Cover by Micky Thompson


Cover by Micky Thompson
The cover picture this issue, as many of you will recognize is Ash Pool on Freemans Marsh, the traditional splashing pool for children on hot Summer afternoons. Many a family outing complete with cozies and picnic have taken place here and the considerate take their rubbish home as well. Here’s hoping for a beautiful Summer.

Did any of you get to see the amazing bluebell displays. They were early this year. It must be this Global warming thing.

Getting back to Freemans Marsh, this spring I have seen a water vole on the Dun, heard woodpeckers drumming in the wood by the sluices, kingfishers with that amazing flash of electric blue and the egrets. As I write in early May, the swallows have arrived and are swooping low over the water making the most of the hatches of dark olives ( This is the predominate hatch for the month and the default fly to fish if you are not certain what to try), as they leave the water. We really are so lucky to have all this right on our doorstep. If you walk your dog there it is important to keep them away from the ground nesting birds. Once disturbed a mother will quite often desert her nest leaving nature and us all the poorer.

Enjoy your Summer. Micky




Chain celebrated its 40th Birthday on May 5th at Hungerford British Legion and what a lovely evening we had. Thank you to all the volunteers past and present who came to help us celebrate and made it an evening to remember. It was so nice to be joined by the new Mayor, Keith Knight and his wife Jenny. Also present were the Constable Ellie Dickens and her husband Julian and the new Deputy Mayor, Helen Simpson and her husband Dean and our former Mayor, Martin Crane and his wife Virginia who have given Chain so much support during the last few years. We have been so lucky to keep going for 40 years and with our amazing volunteers we will continue for many years to come. Thank you to the British Legion for letting us use the hall and for manning the bar, also thank you to the ladies who put on the most wonderful spread. Henry Jefferies made us a celebration cake which was delicious.

The evening was also a chance to show everyone our new Handybus which is proving very popular with drivers and passengers. Ted Angell our Handybus coordinator has worked tirelessly to get Hungerford the Handybus we needed. Our thanks go to everyone who gave us grants or donations towards its running costs

After many years of organising and cooking the Chain Lunches at the Croft Hall, Amanda Goodwin has decided the time has come to stop and, after much discussion, Chain has decided not to run the Lunches anymore. This was a hard decision but the numbers were going down, and there are other Lunches being run in the Town which fulfill the need which was there when Chain first started, providing the home cooked Lunch once a month for the community. Many thanks to Amanda and her team for all their hard work it has been much appreciated.

Enjoy the summer and don’t forget to attend some events in HADCAF which has its programme in this edition of Chain Mail. This is the 40th Chain Mail which has been produced by our Editor David Piper and I believe it will be 52 pages packed with interesting articles, very different to the original Chain Mail which was 4 pages. Well done David for a great job.

I will finish with my usual plea for anyone with a few hours to spare to consider volunteering for Chain in Office or as a driver of their own car, the Handybus or Chairman vehicle. Please contact the Chain Office on 683727 (between 9-11 Monday to Friday) or Janette Kersey on 683302.


The Editor adds………
Well done also to
Janette for 10 years at the helm of CHAIN
seen cutting the cake at our 40th.
The Handybus celebrates
21 years of service to
our community
(not the same bus




PHONE: 01488 686235 (ask for Lyndsay)



Hello, …….

Thought I would appear on a different page, a lot of CHAIN news this time and I always like to get the cover photo by Micky close to the beginning!!

CHAIN Updates…….
Betty Grant and Richard have retired from organising the Market and the Hydropool runs so Ted Angell is the contact point for the time being. 01488 682610 and 077998 86597.
Alan Pollitt has retired from organising the CHAIN Pub lunches as well as Amanda Goodwin who ran the Croft CHAIN lunches

Margaret Wilson has retired from the Council and also running the Town Diary for just over thirteen years, what a sterling effort, the longest on record. What’s On as it is known in CHAIN MAIL and on the two Hungerford websites, Claire Barnes (Hungerford Town Councils Town Clerk ) and I have taken on this task and I have to tell you that we are so busy that we will NOT be phoning you to prompt for entries. Just please e-mail us as soon as you know your event dates. You might also like to drop a poster of your event in to Claire. My thanks go to Penny Post and the Town and Manor for combining their local calendar entries to our WHAT’s ON.

Regarding WHAT’s ON, to be included in the back of each issue you MUST tell me ONE MONTH before publication date (see at the bottom) I know What’s On works. For instance, last year I entered a two day Christmas Fair in September and a few days later the organiser was on saying it had been seen by two prospective stall occupiers, and could I also add another contact to the entry.

Great AGM Meeting in May of the PPG, a great turnout and we welcomed a new member who is going to help each month at the Carers Meetings in the Library. Stephen will be there from the Berkshire Carers Hub and is a fountain of knowledge and help about things you never knew that could help you if you are a carer. Please see page 19.

Another group I can recommend to you is our local Cancer Group, not only for cancer sufferers but close family who are involved. Now I know you don’t always want to talk about it but ……………. do see pages 33 & 38.

The next issue will reveal the coming Winter Flu jab dates starting in September! Before that though is the CHAIN AGM 5th June 7.30 in the Town Hall, so please come along as we would like some more volunteers, thank you.

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 Aug for the issue on Sept 1st. But please 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

A Mayoral Reflection       

By the time this article is in print, I shall have passed on the Mayoral baton to my successor. But as I look back at the weight of this symbol of responsibilities since I first picked it up in 2011, I shall be handing on one of significantly greater weight.

Back then we were still a few Councillors short of a Chamber and only just beginning to realise the full impact of the financial crisis of 2008. However from those early days of only 5 Councillors, we have grown into a full team who are approaching the new range of responsibilities in a steely and imaginative manner that has earned a greater respect from our Local Authority and beyond.

This may not seem obvious when you consider the dismissive attitude and their bludgeoning approach to the invasive project to have 100+ houses built to the south of town. But their response has been encouraging to the innovative proposal we have made to absorb the Library complex whilst ensuring that WBC still provide a full library service. Similarly the support we have received from them to the provision of an albeit temporary solution for the Post Office there, has demonstrated the value of working together to resolve communal problems.

During my term of office, both Virginia and I have enjoyed many varied Official functions which have served to fly the flag for Hungerford and maintain a high profile “overseas”. Similarly by embracing an open approach to the media, I hope we have underlined the strength and depth of the Hungerford community and join our transformed Football Club in showing that Hungerford does and will continue to punch above our weight.

This brings me back to the current shape and role of the Hungerford Town Council today. From a cloistered unit administering only local issues, we have taken on much greater responsibilities as WBC have been squeezed by central Government’s financial constraints and have had to restrict funding for many services still highly regarded as necessary by us for our residents. This transfer of responsibilities and associated costs is likely to continue into the foreseeable future. It would not be unreasonable, however, if WBC transferred more authority to us – or is this a step too far for them??

In the meantime, as the financial pressure is likely to increase, is it not time that some of the 6 Authorities merged to save several millions of Pounds?

Thank you CHAIN MAIL for giving me space for my Mayoral Messages and ……Congratulations to CHAIN for 40 years invaluable service to our Community

Cllr Martin Crane
Ed’s Comment….
It has been a pleasure Martin.

Chain’s Page



Green Machine is a green IT recycling, IT support and IT training academy.
Refurbish, Recycle, Reuse.

We believe that too much unwanted or used IT is dumped in landfill or crushed, when it’s useful life may not be over. We want to stop that and use it for the common good. An estimated 1 million tonnes of electrical and electronic items are thrown away in the UK every year – that’s enough to fill Wembley Stadium six times over! (Source: )

We collect unwanted IT equipment, take it to triage in our lab, then recycle the parts or refurbish it for use by local charities, schools, VSO’s and SME’s at preferential rates.

We train apprentices. We teach young adults about IT equipment, how it works and how to disassemble it. We then show them how to recognize the reusable items or parts and how to safely recycle them. Our aim is to improve their working skills and professional interaction skills as well as taking them on a journey to formal qualifications.

What equipment do we look for? Any IT or Communications related equipment from laptops, pcs and servers to IP phones.

We understand the importance of keeping your data yours. We take detailed measures to ensure that the data on any machine given to us is completely destroyed in a secure environment. We use specialist equipment to effect this on an industrial scale and can certify to US military standards.

Too many people are hit by telephone and online scams. If you think this is happening to you, we can help. We can also help if your computer is locked, slow or has viruses.

Why use us?

Your unwanted equipment will be recycled ethically Your unwanted equipment will have data destroyed, certified and be recycled to WEEE standards. Your unwanted equipment will support young trainees with an IT apprenticeship.

We will collect free of charge, except for hazardous items Go Green, Recycle that machine!
Call us now if you need help with your IT on 01672520133

Bits 1


The search is on to find a Hungerford carol! The competition is being organised by Tim Crouter (Hungerford Town band), Chris Buck (church organist) and Iris Lloyd (whose idea it was).

The composition may be the work of one or more collaborators who should live, work or go to school within a 10-mile radius of Hungerford.

The carol should have a Nativity theme and take no longer than 3 minutes to perform. Both words and melody are required. Copyright will remain with the composer(s).

There are three sections of entry: 1. Up to 11 years of age, 2. 12-17 years of age, and 3. Adult. Sections 1 and 2 are free to enter; entry fee for adults is £10. Any funds remaining after expenses have been paid will be donated to the church in payment of the lighting and heating used during auditions.

There will be a panel of judges. If any competitor is known to a judge, that judge will declare their interest and use his or her discretion whether or not to withdraw from the judging panel. As this is a local competition, it is recognised that some of the entrants may be known to everyone on the panel.

It will be the carol that is judged and not the performance.

Closing date is Sunday, 1st October 2017.

Timed Auditions will be held on Saturday, 28th October in St. Lawrence’s church before the panel of judges. Anyone may attend the Auditions as part of the audience but will not have any input in choosing the winner.

Light refreshments will be available for the duration of the Auditions.

When all entries have been performed, the judges will retire to agree on their decision, after which the winner will be announced and a small prize awarded. The winning entries will be given full publicity.

It is a condition of taking part in the competition that all entrants give permission for their entries to be performed free of charge during the Christmas 2017 season as the judges see fit, e.g. at church services, at concerts, in the open air, etc.

Entry forms may be obtained from, and any enquiries directed to, any of the following:
Tim Crouter, 3 York Road, mobile no. 07776 381510, email
Chris Buck, 17 Sanden Close, 01488 683396, email
Iris Lloyd, 13 Bridge Street, 01488 686372, email
or the Vicarage, Parsonage Lane.

We very much look forward to being inundated by your entries!

Also further down on this page……Bridge St…….Legion Update……..Nursery

Hungerford HANDYBUS

Hooray! At long, long, last our new Handybus has arrived.
We were very fortunate to have been successful in our bid to the Department for Transport for our own bus. We have had a community Handybus for 21 years and the arrival of the new bus, owned by CHAIN, has coincided with the CHAIN’s 40th anniversary.

The bus is resplendent in its new signage and this recognises the support we have had from Hungerford Town Council, the Town and Manor, Greenham Common Trust and West Berkshire Council. We are also supported by our local suppliers:

ND Services, Ultimate Signs & Clean2Gleam.

Our great team of voluntary drivers are getting used to the new features. Like all new vehicles, it has its idiosyncrasies – but we will soon get used to those or iron these out! Our passengers are already enjoying the better accessibility and the lighter environment.

The new bus is now an entirely community asset – owned by the community, run by the community and used by the community. You cannot get much better than that!

If you would like to know more about how we use the bus, or if you might like to use our services, contact Ted Angell (01488 682610, 077998 86597,

The bus is run entirely by volunteers so, if you would like to join us, perhaps as a driver or a passenger assistant, let Ted know.

Well, it has been a long time coming! There have been times when we have considered abandoning the project but thanks to the patience and perseverance of our contractors Heath & Co in dealing with local authority requirements, we have now commenced the task with the installation of an incredibly complicated scaffold system to facilitate the demolition and reconstruction of No. 6 Bridge Street whilst safeguarding the adjoining properties.

The new building will have an independent steel frame and traditional style frontage in sympathy with the rest of Bridge Street and the occupants of the flat will have wonderful views up and down the River Dun.

As previously reported the logistics at this site for material handling etc are extremely complicated but nevertheless we are hoping that all will be finished in six to eight months.

Greg Furr

Royal British Legion (Hungerford) Branch

Poppy Appeal and other British Legion news

A ‘quiet’ time of year for the Poppy Appeal. Our total for this year stands at £25,886.41, a little down on last year, but there are some events that may help alter that.

June 24th is Armed Forces Day and our friends from 6th Close Armoured Support Battalion REME will parade through the town. Timings are not yet finalised but if you keep 12.30pm free I think you will probably see them passing the Town Hall area. After the parade please come and join us all at the RBL Club.

The Poppy Thank You evening will be held on 22nd September again at the RBL Club, starting at 7.30pm. If you have collected in the past or would like to collect during the period leading up to Remembrance Sunday, please come along.

One more item, the Poppy Band Concert will be held on 29th October in the Corn Exchange starting at 7.00pm

If any ex-service personal or their dependants are seeking help from the Legion main contact is now made by phone using 0808 802 8080, (free from UK landlines and main mobile networks). Access can also be made via email (go to and follow the links).

Any further information about the ‘Legion’ can be obtained by calling 07799 660584 or email

Derek Loft

Hungerford Pre-Nursery and Nursery School

The Nursery School welcomed the children back last week after the Easter holidays, and already the new term is in full swing. Whilst writing this, the children are enjoying taking part in an African drumming session, just the first of many exciting learning opportunities planned for this term. We are looking forward to our regular trips to Boxford Woods where the children enjoy being outside of the classroom and learn about the natural environment. We are holding a family picnic at Boxford Woods for the whole family to come and enjoy on Saturday 20th May 2017. We look forward to seeing some of you there.

At the end of last term, the Nursery School was awarded an Outstanding Food Trust award by the Children’s Food Trust. This is in recognition of the Nursery Schools commitment to encouraging lifetime healthy eating habits. Continuing the healthy eating theme, the nursery now has its own allotment, the produce of which will be used in the pupils cooking activities each week, in addition to the weekly trips to the local market.

We will be holding our annual Sponsored Bike Ride and Fun afternoon on Wednesday 5th July, which is always a popular and fun event with the children.

The summer term is also a time for those moving on to new schools to have their official visits to their new schools and having their new teachers visit them here in the Nursery School. These visits encourage a smooth transition between different learning environments. We wish those children moving on this term every happiness and success in their new school.

We are holding an Open Morning on Saturday 13th May from 10am till midday, so do please come along with family and friends to meet our staff and have a look around the Nursery. If you, or anyone you know is thinking about Nursery School, limited places are still available for both the Pre-Nursery and Nursery School from September 2017. Please contact the Nursery for details on 01488 682628.

Bits 2

Also on this page…..Chain AGM ……Camburn…….Church Bells ……Murder Mystery
Town & Manor Public Notice………….



will be held in the Town Hall, Hungerford on
Monday 5th June at 7.30pm

So please come along and
find out what Chain does for the community



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



MORNINGS ONLY from The Clerk to the Trustees,
Hungerford & Camburn Educational Foundation
c/o The Town Hall, High Street Hungerford Berkshire
or by email from


     Appeal of Bells      

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the Belfry? Do bell ringers really fly up and down with the ropes? How do we create such a triumphant tintinnabulation with such heavy metal? Then come along to the Hungerford Bell Ringer’s workshop on Wednesday 5th July in St Lawrence’s Church Tower at 8pm. You can sit back and enjoy a demonstration of bell ringing before having the opportunity to grab a rope and ring a bell, always the most fun part of the evening. The event is open to all ages but be aware that there are approx. 20 steps up to the ringing chamber.

Tickets are free and available online at
We hope to see you there


“Cinderella: a Murder Mystery!”

Annual Murder Mystery and Hog Roast in aid of Wilton Windmill
On Saturday 24 June Smoke & Mirrors are returning to the Windmill this year for our fifth Murder Mystery and hogroast. The event is a fundraiser for the Windmill, it’s always popular, and tickets are on sale now!

This year’s plot is “Cinderella: a Murder Mystery!” The classic fairy tale gets the Smoke & Mirrors treatment, and an evening of riotous comedy, charming princes, hard-up barons and (exceptionally) ugly sisters is guaranteed. It’s by no means compulsory, but as ever, we’d love it if you come in costume – this year’s theme is “Pantomania!”

Tickets include an outstanding gourmet hog-roast buffet (with vegetarian option); and there’ll be a cash bar available throughout the evening. And of course there will be prizes of champagne and chocolates.
Large groups are most definitely welcome, and we’re pleased to offer one free ticket for every group of ten booked.

WHERE | Wilton Windmill, Nr Marlborough, SN8 3SW
WHEN | Saturday 24 June, 7.00pm TICKETS | £27.50 (murder mystery & hog roast)
GROUP RATE | Buy ten, get one free FANCY DRESS OPTION | Pantomania!
BOOKING | Phone: 07769 977779 Email:
In Person: FareWise Travel, High Street, Hungerford





Hungerford Surgery

If you are travelling abroad, you will need to start thinking about your travel vaccinations 8 weeks before travel as some vaccinations can take time to become effective.
Please allow 6-8 weeks for your travel forms to be processed at the Practice.
If you need immunisations or are unsure please complete a travel form and submit to reception. Please allow a minimum of 7-10 working days for the travel nurse to contact you and advise you as to what is required and if you need to make an appointment.
Please check the surgery website for more travel information and for travel forms.

GP Recruitment We are delighted to announce that Dr Sophie Conroy joined the Practice in April and she will be with us every Monday and Wednesday., and are delighted to announce also that Dr Rachel Rowe will be joining us in July

We have been fortunate to secure stable locum cover for the last 6 months and Dr Jo Rutter will continue at the Practice for 2 mornings per week usually every Wednesday and
Thursday for the short term.

The Hungerford Surgery had 241 wasted appointments over a 3 month period:
February = 86, March = 92, April = 63

We could have offered an additional 19 appointments each week to see a GP or Nurse.
PLEASE notify the surgery if you are not able to keep your appointment so we can offer it to someone else. HELP US TO HELP YOU!

Please book a double appointment if you have more than one thing to see Doctor about!

Contact details Please ensure we have your correct contact details – we can contact you quicker and easier if you can provide us with your mobile number and/or e-mail address.


Virtual Museum

Hungerford Town Clocks

The earliest known reference to our town clock was in 1573. The responsibility for clocks and sun dials fell to the Constable, and records of payments made for work maintaining them therefore appear in the Constables’ Accounts, including to Nicholas May of Inkpen (1658-1676); then Richard May of Inkpen, John Tubb, Zachary Turton, William Tubb, Jonathan Bird, Edward Woodham and then James Woodham (c1779-1789).

The amount paid per year for winding and repairing the clock increased from 1s 0d in 1658 to £2 0s 0d in 1762. as required. It seems the bell rope needed frequent replacement!
In 1687 a new clock was installed in the Clock House in the north gable of the Town Hall (which stood in the market place). A bargain was made whereby a new clock was bought from John Holloway who part-exchanged the old clock for the sum of £10. John Tubb, an ancestor of Robin and Julian Tubb (recent and current Bellmen and Town Criers), received 10s 6d for “keeping the old clock” – an ambiguous entry!

In June 1862, Mr. Hall, a local solicitor, gave to the town a grand new clock. To accommodate the new clock, a new clock-tower was built on the then existing Town Hall, which dated from 1786.

Perhaps this bulky clock tower resulted in damage to the old building – because within a few years it was decided to build a completely new Town Hall and Corn Exchange (the present one), which was completed in 1871.

Local people were used to the sound of the bells striking through the day and night, but some visitors to the Three Swans Hotel complained of disturbed sleep by the quarter-hour chimes through the night. Ernest Clements, a local clock and watchmaker, made a device that silenced the chimes for 7 hours in each 24 hours. Unless everything was correctly adjusted, however, the period of silence was not always at night!

The clock mechanism included a wooden-shafted pendulum, whose length gave it a two-second movement. There were three weights, which needed to be lifted each week – on a full wind it would run for nine days.

Ted Levy took over the winding and maintenance of the clock around 1960, then his son Dave Levy from 1967, and Robin Tubb from 1971. However, when mobile phone transmitters were placed in the tower, an automatic winding mechanism, incorporating three electric motors, was installed, although small adjustments still had to be made by Robin.

The latest change came in 2009, when, in place of the pendulum regulating the clock, an electric motor was installed to drive the old clock mechanism, removing the need for regular adjustment. It even handles the spring and autumn time changes of British Summer Time!

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

Hugh Pihlens

Grumpy’s Article


Nobody seems to have objected too successfully to my recent return as a contributor, so here goes again……However, I thought it time to introduce a few positive features rather than record my normal litany of moans.

Isn’t it encouraging to see the next generations appearing on our local stages? We have a new, younger and relatively recent arrival in Hungerford chairing our Chamber of Commerce. Subsequently we have heard [and also plan more of the same] relevant speakers addressing salient communal concerns such as business rates. The attendance has already risen and I am sure businesses will be seeking either to refresh their lapsed subscriptions or to participate by taking up new membership.

At the Youth and Community Centre, rescued a few years ago by the Town Council, the Town & Manor, and subsequently supported as well by Greenham Common Trust, The Gerald Ward Foundation and several other generous local donors and businesses, a new, young and vibrant team has picked up the reins and continued with greater vigour. The Youth Club(s) and other users are demonstrating how the facility can provide an occupational benefit as well as the not inconsiderable spin-off of keeping the young off the streets and doorsteps in the Centre of the town. Well done Charlie, Andrea and others involved; I know it is hard work but I assure you it is appreciated.

In the High Street itself, we have also seen a younger team step in and manage in a sympathetic fashion The Hungerford Arms as the old Plume of Feathers has become. They are not just occupying a central and significant part of the Hungerford hospitality spectrum but are also raising money for charities and supporting other initiatives,. No wonder The Arms has developed into a most congenial watering hole, echoing [but in a slightly different vein] the happy days when Jimmy and Haley were running affairs.

Last but not least amongst positive developments, the Town & Manor has taken on a younger but none-the-less experienced Chief Executive Officer to join the mostly rather elderly clan who run this unique, eclectic charity whose aim is to provide support to the residents of the Borough, whether by the provision of amenities, by donation or by protection of an environment which makes Hungerford such a special place in which to live and/or work. The C.E.O. Jed deserves everybody’s’ support during his induction.

Reverting to type, Hungerford has had to demonstrate its community spirit as it fought valiantly but seemingly to no avail against laziness, inconsistency, ill-informed, undemocratic and imperious processes deployed by an amalgam of West Berks Council, Government Inspector and the Executive members associated with Planning processes combining to award approval of the Salisbury Road Housing Development proposals. Are we quiescent or will this be borne in mind when upcoming Elections occur and we are asked to renew the mandates of those contributing to such a circus?

I cannot promise to be so positive …if indeed I am ever invited back!

Pip pip

Gardening by Stacy

Potty about Azaleas by Stacy Tuttle

Once again the British weather has surprised us with unseasonable temperatures in Spring. Very warm to begin with, then some nasty frost followed by quite chilly days. The earlier warmth did mean I had lots of colour in the garden- Daffodils, Tulips, Aconites and Primroses flowering alongside the usually later flowering ground cover Geraniums. One of my Camellias, grown in the ground, was smothered in flowers but, as usual, over so quickly and leaving the now dead white flowers brown and withered like rotten apples. However the other pink variety, in a large pot, is still in full flower- it’s been over a month now.

Most of my favourite Spring flowering shrubs are, like Camellias, acid loving plants. This means that they need an acid soil with a pH below 7.0. In Hungerford this usually means growing in pots filled with ericaceous compost. Rhododendrons are a genus of plants, which have been popular with British gardeners since Victorian times when they were widely introduced from their native Japan and China by plant hunters. In fact this unfortunately led Rhododendrons to be vilified by the 1970s when large clumps planted by the Victorian landed gentry had spread to woodland areas and overtook native planting.

They do have their place in the garden setting as many are evergreen and if you have the space they make a wonderful informal hedge.

However I much prefer Azaleas which are part of the Rhododendron genus but much daintier and not so thuggish.

My daughter recently attended an Azalea festival Tsutsuji Matsuri held annually at Nezu Shrine in Tokyo. As well as Azaleas blooming beautifully in the gardens there were plants for sale in a rainbow of colours and one with petals pink and white equally divided down the middle. There was even one at a price of £640- a very rare variety apparently.

Azalea is a great choice for a pot in a shady part of the garden and not normally so costly. Usually dwarf and often evergreen they are not high maintenance, and due to extensive breeding they are available in a wide variety of colours. The usual dilemma with growing shrubs in pots is the limited season of colour and interest but this has been addressed in recent year with the introduction of the Encore series. These Azaleas will flowers in the spring then in summer and autumn- Azalea Encore Autumn Sangria has deep pink/red flowers, A. Encore Autumn Princess has salmon pink flowers and light green leaves, while A. Encore Starlight is the prettiest of them all with ruffled white flowers speckled with pink.


Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Summer Visitors

Late spring and early summer is the time to enjoy the swifts, swallows and house martins.
They are the birds which catch insects on the wing. They fly low when storms are due and are quite a sight over oil seed rape fields..

Swifts should be flying around the town and entertaining us with their screaming group displays. Their eery flight call is delightful and the reason for their nickname “the devil bird”. Being all black is probably another reason for this country name.

Swallows are called barn swallows in America because they nest on ledges in out buildings. When they first arrive the adults are so majestic with their long tail feathers, called streamers. But, unfortunately they arrive in singletons and are only seen in groups on wires when they are ready to leave for Africa.

House martins are also known merely as martins in some parts of England. This is unfair in my judgement because sand martins bear the same surname. These birds prefer to stay around water and are all brown. House martins have a white rump and short tail feathers.
House martins and swallows have a blue upper body and are easy to identify

Warblers are a speciality of this area in the summer months. Chiffchaff and willow warblers will be found in the trees on the marshes. I refer to them as “LBJs” because I can only separate them on call. Chiffchaffs were known as leaf warblers but were renamed for their incessant song which is a monotonous double note. Warblers are so small and usually greenish backed.

Keen naturalists will put up open-ended nest boxes in the spring hoping they will be used by spotted flycatchers. “Flickers” like to use a nest box which is sighted about ten feet above the ground against a wall. They are birds which like to be near a woodland and are therefore classified as woodland birds as well as being summer visitors from Africa.

Strangely some naturalists hang up old tea pots at this time of year hoping robins will use them. Robins are supposed to like the open ended nest boxes which fly catchers and wagtails use.

Sadly all the boxes I put up in my garden are ignored. However a pair of robins have nested in the ivy which covers an old hawthorn bush in the garden. They were attracted by mealy worms put on one of the bird tables.

As I live next to a woodland I put up barn owl and tawny owl boxes on the trees which face my house. And alas they are both used by jackdaws – unwanted green-listed pests in my opinion but adorable birds according to my wife.

Orchids on the Marsh. Finally I suggest all children are taken over the marshes this summer to look for the Southern Marsh Orchid which should be blooming near the river. The last time I went looking for wild flowers in summer on the marshes I counted over 60 species – beat that kids.

Richard Barker aka Hawkeye

Hungerford Library / HUB

West Berkshire Libraries will be undergoing major changes over the next few weeks and months. You will see some new and familiar faces, some staff, some volunteers but we will continue to endeavour to provide the same standard of service you are used to. Hungerford Library hours will not be changing. Please bear with us while we go through this transition phase, but don’t stop visiting the library!

If you are interested in volunteering you can apply on-line at

We continue to offer several other FREE courses and events at the library:

Reminiscence Group is primarily aimed at those suffering with dementia and their carers, but it is open to anyone who enjoys meeting and chatting over a cup of tea. Meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 11:00.

Hungerford Carers Support Group –. Find out what help and support is available to you, or just come in for a chat. Meets the third Tuesday of the month at 10:30-12.

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.

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.

Word-play Club – for lovers of Scrabble, Boggle, Bookchase, Upwords and other word games. We also have other board games such as chess, snakes and ladders, etc. For adults and children. Fridays at 2:00. Children under 8 must be supervised by an adult.

Book Groups – We have 2 book groups. One meets on the first Friday of the month at 5:00, and the other meets on the third Friday at 5:30.

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.

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

Lisa Richardson


The Friends of Hungerford Library (FOHL)
Save our library campaign – update

As we are all aware since the crash of 2008 the central government has cut finances to local district councils; in our case West Berkshire Council (WBC). They in turn are now cutting resources to our local council, Hungerford Town Council (HTC). Consequently a lot of our local services that we have taken for granted are under threat.

So what can we do to try to preserve some of these services? Well, maybe it is time for us to look inwardly and try to take control of those that are part of our heritage and way of life. 18 months ago our library was due to close. Today that library is to remain open. How did that happen? A few very dedicated people in our town, the FoHL, have fought to keep our library open. By working first with HTC and then WBC they have succeeded in keeping the library that the town is so lucky to enjoy.

WBC will continue to run the library service, and with a great deal of help from HTC the Friends will lease and run the building. To do this they have set up a charity called Hungerford Library and Community Trust (HLaCT) will have charity status so we can get funding from various sources for the building running costs. It can then be used for up to seven days a week for all sorts of community events. Most of the funding will be match-funded (e.g.: If we raise £50 a funder will match that with another £50)

As the name implies, the building will house the library, but will also be used by the community – so we need your help!

For £12 a year (or more if you want), you can become a Friend of the library. You will receive updates on fundraising and community events, and a chance to win in prize draws, but most importantly you will be playing a vital part, together with HTC, to give the town a vibrant community asset

Thank you for your continued interest and support. FOHL

Steam by Tony Bartlett

The Southern Railways Pacific running as no. 34052 Lord Dowding put in strong performances to round off the 2016 season in December, and was first up again in March this year with two unexpected appearances in Hungerford with Cathedrals Express excursions (seen here crossing the Common with the Ely– Bristol train in brilliant low sunshine). The other star performer on our local line has been the powerful LMS 4-6-0 Royal Scot, the leader of its class, with another two Cathexs, showing that their operator Steam Dreams is experiencing buoyant demand for its excursions. Also active in our area have been LNER Pacific Tornado and LMS 4-6-0 Galatea, with a rare appearance of a GWR Castle class loco at Andover.

Another famous Scot will be making headlines again this year as Flying Scotsman undertakes a programme of special trains in the south of the country for Steam Dreams. It is noticeable this time around that they are mostly offering a series of shorter half-day trips rather than the usual longhaul runs – presumably to maximise revenue and to provide more opportunity for the general public to travel behind this historic loco. As yet none of its journeys seem likely to be routed through Hungerford, requiring perhaps a short trip to Andover or a longer journey to the Thames Valley line for its one full day excursion to Chester. Keep a look out on the CHAIN web-site for more info as/if it becomes available.

It’s not just the Flying Scotsman trips giving us a miss – it would seem to be a thin time in June and July for steam in Hungerford, possibly due to work on the electrification of the line to Newbury. However August sees the return of the popular West Somerset Steam Express excursions to Minehead, stopping to pick up and set down at Newbury. The Railway Touring Company is planning to run three of these trains in its programme this year. It is early days yet but they are indicating the use of some exciting haulage including Royal Scot again and no. 60009 Union of South Africa, one of the famous Gresley LNER A4 Pacifics, newly returning to the main line after refurbishment.

Other locomotives which are expected to be back in service include no. 35028 Clan Line, the big Bulleid Merchant Navy class Pacific, which takes over again from Tornado as the first choice for the luxury British Pullman dining trains and may even appear in Hungerford as early as 17th May in that role. Meanwhile Tornado continues to be active with a run through Hungerford on 29th May with The Cornishman to Penzance, as well as operating on the Torbay Express programme out of Bristol via a closest pass at Westbury.

Tornado made the national news recently when it achieved 100mph on the East Coast main line during testing to raise the mainline steam speed limit from 75 to 90mph. The purpose is to fit in better with the faster speeds of modern trains on the network, although the operators are not that enthusiastic. Of course it is academic for us in Hungerford where even the 125mph HSTs are reduced to 75mph on our heavily curved line!

Tony Bartlett

HAHA by Belinda

An Allotment in Hungerford………..

We’re just getting to the best part of the allotmenting year. We can’t rely on 2017 being the same as previous years, as there has been so much variation since we took on our first plot nine years ago. However we do know that over the next few weeks we’ll be eating fresh home-grown vegetables and fruit every day of the week. We’ve already had a ready supply of rhubarb and will be pleased to move on to the strawberries, broad beans and salads very soon.

On 3rd June Hungerford Allotment Holders Association is holding a plant sale at the Fairfields allotment site. We hope to see you there. We’re having an Open Afternoon at the Marsh Lane site on 15th July and everyone is welcome. We still have plots available, so contact me on the number below or email if you fancy the idea of growing some vegetables that you can’t buy in the shops.

Last year our ‘unusual item’ was a loofah, which we grew in the greenhouse – people still query the idea that they don’t grow in the sea! Well, no, they grow like a cucumber. This year I’m growing redcurrant tomatoes – teeny weeny tomatoes that can be added to salads or pickled. I haven’t risked growing them from seed, so have ordered some grafted plants online. They’re more expensive, but tend to be higher yielding and earlier cropping.

We like to eat colourful meals, so are going to grow some interesting coloured vegetables this year too. Well that’s the plan… We have purple carrots (the original colour of carrots – honest!), red Brussels sprouts, yellow and white striped courgette, red and orange striped tomatoes and purple French beans. Sadly, when cooked, most of these will lose their colour but we have a steamer which may help them retain it to some extent. I’m really excited to be growing ‘Glass Gem’ sweet corn for the first time – it produces lovely multi-coloured cobs. We hope that the magpies, wasps and mice don’t spot them! The stalks grow very tall so it may be difficult to protect them.

Nearly everything that we grow needs some kind of protection; Mostly netting or mesh to keep out the most efficient marauders e.g. caterpillars and carrot fly. I’m hoping that the slug population has been diminished by the reasonably cold winter, but we’re still using nematodes in our potato patch, to be on the safe side. We’ve also noticed that the thrush population has increased at Marsh Lane. They’ve definitely done a good job with the snails; there are empty shells all over the site.

You can follow our successes and failures through my blog and see some of the wildlife who visit:
You can contact HAHA on 0754 118 7274
Our Marsh Lane allotment life is recorded online through my blogs:
on Facebook and Twitte

Hungerford Football by Ron Tarry

It has been a memorable season for the club in the National League South, our first season at this exalted level, and we are now several divisions above local clubs with whom we competed in past years.

However, it ended controversially when, along with Poole Town, we were not allowed the opportunity to compete in the play-offs, although we finished 5th and 6th respectively in the league. This was particularly frustrating as we had carried out a great deal of work, and spent a huge sum of money to ensure that we retained National League status. This work included a new 100-seater stand, three new turnstiles, new toilets, and new terracing, thanks to generous financial support from individuals and companies, and a huge amount of work by a few members and their helpers.

The season started with our first target to establish ourselves at this higher level and to avoid the threat of relegation , and this was achieved comfortably. Thanks to the efforts of the players and the management team to whom every praise is due..

There were disappointing results in the F.A.Cup and F.A.Trophy, but we reached the final of the Berks. & Bucks. Senior Cup for the first time since we were the winners in 1982. There were many changes of the date and the venue, partly due to the possibility of a clash with the end-of-season play-offs, but, less than a week before the due date it was confirmed as being at Maidenhead United on May 1st. not a satisfactory decision as it was on our opponents home ground. However,. 2 days later, in yet another u-turn it was postponed until pre-season on a date and at a venue yet to be decided .

At a lower level, the Swifts have had a great season, winning the North Berks. League Division 2 with a playing record of 17 wins, 1 draw, and no defeats , a quite amazing record, and one which has earned them promotion to Division 1 . These young local lads have been a great credit to the club and we wish them luck as they face a huge new challenge next season.

Ron Tarry. President Hungerford Town Football Club.

Hungerford Town Band by Tim Crouter

Hungerford Town Band is once again looking forward to a varied programme of events during the summer period. The Band performed well at the Regional Brass Band Championships in March, but was slightly disappointed with their final position of 12th place. However the band is still mid-table in the Second Section and, with a settled team, looks forward to consolidating its position over the next few years.

The band will perform summer bandstand concerts at Victoria Park Newbury (2nd July) and John Coles Park Chippenham (20th August). Both concerts are from 3 – 5pm and a great afternoon of musical entertainment is assured. Another event not to be missed is a free outdoor concert as part of Lambourn Festival on Wednesday 9th August at 7.15pm in Lambourn Square outside the Church.

The highlight of our summer will be the band’s HADCAF Festival Concert which is scheduled for Sunday 9th July at 7pm in Hungerford Corn Exchange. The concert will be free with a retiring collection and will feature the Training Band. The programme will be a mixture of old and new and will include music for everyone.

If you require any further information about the band including learning to play a brass instrument or joining the senior band on cornet, please contact Musical Director Tim Crouter via the band web site or see our Facebook page.

Tim Crouter
Musical Director

Health by Liz

Natures Corner

Epsom Salts – the Trusted ‘Cure All’
We all know the saying ‘simple is best’ and in the case of Epsom Salts, it is undoubtedly true. Sometimes considered an old fashioned remedy, it is now ‘on trend’ and highly revered by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Ellie Macpherson. Curing everything from greasy hair, to a bloated stomach, to muscular strains, Liz Chandler from Natures Corner, gives us an insight into the healing properties of the salts.

The health benefits of Epsom salts were discovered in the early 17th century, when a farmer living near Epsom, Surrey discovered a spring rich in magnesium sulphate and it was not long before the ‘great and good’ were flocking to’ take the waters’. The inorganic salts are abundant in magnesium, sulphur and oxygen and are commonly used to bathe in and as an inner cleanse.

Magnesium is the second-most abundant element in human cells and the fourth-most important positively charged ion in the body, so it’s little wonder this low-profile mineral is so vital to good health. Magnesium also helps to regulate the activity of more than 325 enzymes and performs a vital role in orchestrating many bodily functions, from muscle control to energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins.

In the modern day diet, magnesium is a common deficiency, helping to account for our high rate of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis and joint pain, digestive problems and stress-related illnesses, chronic fatigue and a host of other ailments.

Because our skin is porous, bathing in the salts allows reverse osmosis to occur, so toxins and excess fluids are drawn out of the skin as the goodness goes in. A 20 minute soak in the salts can relieve tired and aching muscles, provide a great exfoliant for dry and problem skin, rejuvenate an exhausted body and revive us from jet lag, a hangover or overindulgence. As a beauty treatment Epsom salts lessen the appearance of bruises, reduce puffiness, decrease the depth of scars, soften hair, repair split ends, take frizz out of curls, give a spot blitz, to name just a few.

The health benefits of Epsom salts are diverse and plentiful establishing this ‘cure all’ as a ‘must have’ for the bathroom cabinet.

Natures Corner 01635 33007 email

Hungerford PPG

Hungerford Surgery Patient Participation Group

The PPG has been pleased with the initial response to the launch of the Hungerford Carers’ Support Group in February. It is clear that there is a real need for carers to meet others in a similar situation, simply to talk or receive more practical help. Those attending have sought assistance with filling in forms such as applications for a range of benefits, not all of which are dependent on income and the Blue Badge for parking. The PPG urges anyone who finds themselves in role of carer to attend the sessions on the third Tuesday of each month between 10.30a.m. and 12 noon at the Hungerford Library. Stephen Hammond from The Reading and West Berkshire Carers’ Hub will be there to share his vast knowledge, give advice or simply provide a listening ear.

We would also like to remind readers that the PPG supports The Cancer Support Group which meets on the last Tuesday of each month at The Bear Hotel in Hungerford.

The PPG is keen to seek the views of fellow patients. To this end, it has been working with The Hungerford Surgery to produce a patient survey. This will hopefully be ready for launching later in the Spring. There will be online and paper versions so please do complete it as all responses will be valued. This survey seeks your views on a future 7-day a week service from Hungerford Surgery on behalf of the Partners at Hungerford Surgery. The survey should take no more than 8 to 10 minutes of your time. The link to the survey is

We continue to monitor the large number of patients who fail to notify the surgery that they will not be attending appointments. This results in others having to wait longer than necessary to get one. If you cannot attend your appointment or no longer need one, please contact the surgery and let them know. Also ensure the surgery has your mobile number so they can remind you of your upcoming appointment.

If you have suggestions of what you would like your PPG group to discuss at future meetings or have questions or comments about this article, please e mail: or leave a message at the surgery.



We are the Hungerford Surgery PPG Cancer Support Group who meet on the last Tuesday
of every month at The Bear Hotel, Hungerford, The Riverside Suite from 2pm – 4pm.


Yvonne Gillies:       07888 399135
Jenny Knight:

My ‘Pop-up’ AA Box

My interest in motoring history started when I was about 10 years-old and was the result of a visit to the now defunct Cheddar Motor and Transport Museum. The visit inspired me to start collecting and over the years I’ve gathered together a number of interesting, if unrelated, items of motoring memorabilia. However, about five years ago I decided that my collection would have greater purpose and impact if I concentrated on a theme.

For most of their motoring lives my parents had been members of the Automobile Association (AA) and I’ve inherited some of their old membership cards, car badges, handbooks and documents. It quickly became apparent that these objects would make the basis of an interesting collection, so the hunt began to track down other AA related items. The process has been interesting and enjoyable and has taught me a great deal about the Association’s history.

Most collectors, no matter what their interests, like to display and tell the story behind their items and I’m no exception. However, the collection spans a diverse subject range, from paperwork and signs to uniforms and equipment, and the problem I faced was how best to display everything – it was my wife who came up with the solution.

She suggested I build my own AA box, a sort of ’pop-up’ example that could be quickly and easily taken apart and transported from place to place in the back of a car. I quickly set to work and the accompanying photograph shows the fruit of my labours. The box is complemented by the addition of a mannequin dressed in an original 1960s AA patrolman’s uniform, as well as a number of per-WW2 AA artefacts and a display of period photographs.

To accompany the display I’m currently working on an illustrated talk charting the history of the AA from its formation in 1905 through to the 1970s with an emphasis on local patrolmen and their stories – I hope to have the talk completed by the end of the year. In interim I would be very happy to display my collection at local fairs or shows, so if any reader is planning such an event, or knows someone who is looking for an exhibitor and would like me to attend please make contact by calling: 01488 682377 or email:

Roger Day


My interest in motoring history started when I was about 10 years-old and was the result of a visit to the now defunct Cheddar Motor and Transport Museum. The visit inspired me to start collecting and over the years I’ve gathered together a number of interesting, if unrelated, items of motoring memorabilia. However, about five years ago I decided that my collection would have greater purpose and impact if I concentrated on a theme.

For most of their motoring lives my parents had been members of the Automobile Association (AA) and I’ve inherited some of their old membership cards, car badges, handbooks and documents. It quickly became apparent that these objects would make the basis of an interesting collection, so the hunt began to track down other AA related items. The process has been interesting and enjoyable and has taught me a great deal about the Association’s history.

Most collectors, no matter what their interests, like to display and tell the story behind their items and I’m no exception. However, the collection spans a diverse subject range, from paperwork and signs to uniforms and equipment, and the problem I faced was how best to display everything – it was my wife who came up with the solution.

She suggested I build my own AA box, a sort of ’pop-up’ example that could be quickly and easily taken apart and transported from place to place in the back of a car. I quickly set to work and the accompanying photograph shows the fruit of my labours. The box is complemented by the addition of a mannequin dressed in an original 1960s AA patrolman’s uniform, as well as a number of per-WW2 AA artefacts and a display of period photographs.

To accompany the display I’m currently working on an illustrated talk charting the history of the AA from its formation in 1905 through to the 1970s with an emphasis on local patrolmen and their stories – I hope to have the talk completed by the end of the year. In interim I would be very happy to display my collection at local fairs or shows, so if any reader is planning such an event, or knows someone who is looking for an exhibitor and would like me to attend please make contact by calling: 01488 682377 or email:

Roger Day

HADCAF: the first 26 years

When Ivy Wells, founder chairman of HADCAF, first mooted the idea of a town arts festival, did she imagine that it would still be going strong 26 years later? Since that first HADCAF in 1992 – a modest affair centred in John O’Gaunt School – the Festival has widened its scope to bring professional concerts and theatre to our doorstep, and is well established in Hungerford’s calendar. July in Hungerford means HADCAF, and HADCAF is all about going out, enjoyment, and celebrating this great place where we live!

‘Arts’, by the way, is a catch-all for the great variety of events covered by the Festival programme – not just music, exhibitions and theatre but leisure activities such as sociable walks in our lovely countryside, hobbies, history, workshops, gardening and quizzes.

Over the years we have welcomed artists ranging from the former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion to the ‘national treasure’ Maureen Lipman. We have enjoyed first-class theatre, been entertained by comedians and thrilled by tales of round-the-world voyages, skiing to the South Pole, walking the Great Wall of China and plant hunting in Vietnam. We have learnt how to solve crossword puzzles, understand bees, forage safely for wild food, and grow old disgracefully.

We have bopped to big bands and listened to solo instruments ranging from the alphorn to the lute. We have enjoyed songs from the shows and opera, madrigals and jazz, we have swayed along with a gospel choir. We have seen promising young music students return as professional concert pianists and singers.

Workshops have encouraged us to tackle mosaics and monoprinting, scarecrow and skirt making, film acting, belly dance and ballet, creative writing, singing, dyeing and drumming. There have been eco fashion shows, bat hunts and wildflower walks. Artists have opened their studios and gardeners their plots.

Over a quarter of a century a vast number of individuals and organisations have generously given – and continue to give – their time, talents and financial help to the Festival, and we are enormously grateful. HADCAF would not happen without them. However, the organisers always welcome new offers of help: if you would like to be involved please contact our
secretary, Catherine Hill, on 07968 415324

Elizabeth Davis

Community of Hungerford Theatre

The Community of Hungerford Theatre Company are performing three shows this June with something to entertain the whole family.

The week begins with The Player’s Production of The Odd Couple by Neil Simon- a comic classic. The play brings together, Florence a neurotic neat freak who frets about the small things and Olive, a slovenly sports writer with a zest for life, with hilarious consequences.

On the weekend the company’s children’s theatre perform Madagascar, A Musical Adventure Jr. Based on the Dreamworks Animated films it tells the story of Alex the lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hippo and a group of plotting penguins. When they find themselves stranded on the shores of Madagascar, home of the party-loving lemurs and creepy foosa, they have to fight their animal instincts to keep their friendship strong. With catchy songs and eccentric characters the whole audience will want to join the cast as they ‘move it, move it.’

The third production is The Mad Hatter: Running out of Time, staged by the Young Performers, the company’s group for 5- 8 year olds. Cursed by Time so it always teatime, The Mad Hatter and his friends go on a journey to try and reverse the spell. In a new world they meet some familiar faces that help them on their way. This original story is inspired by Alice in Wonderland and features many well – known characters.

All shows are being performed at Herongate Leisure, Hungerford. The Performance dates are as follows:

The Odd Couple; 8th and 9th June, 7:30pm.
Madagascar A Musical Adventure Jr: 11th June, 2pm and 7pm and 12th June, 2pm.
The Mad Hatter Running out of Time: 12th June, 11:30am.

For more information and for online tickets visit:


Hungerford’s Youth Theatre is performing Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

This classic comedy tells the story of Claudio and Hero, a couple who are soon to be wed, and the scheming of a jealous prince who tries to ruin everything. Meanwhile Benedick and Beatrice a reluctant pair, more likely to exchange witty jibes than words of affection, are tricked into love by their friends. Will Claudio and Hero’s love conquer? Will Benedick and Beatrice find happiness together or will the prince have his way?

Youth theatre director Hoffi Munt has both abridged the script and given the show a new modern setting. ‘Part of the longevity of Shakespeare is how his work continues to be relevant and can be adapted in so many ways. I wanted to find a way of telling the story that the young people in the cast can really connect to. Many of the characters in this play undergo a lot of change as they try to find where they belong and who they are. This is something we can all recognise as part of growing up. So I decided to bring the ages of a lot of the characters down and set the play in a single week where young adults are largely free from adult intervention.’

The performances are on 7th and 8th July, 7:30pm at the Royal British Legion, Hungerford. Information on how to get tickets can be found on the company’s website:

Fond & Distant Memories ………………………… Jack Williams

A great deal of activity in the town at present, Easter always provides a good opportunity, a Christian festival of great importance and, at the same time, the forerunner of the summer holidays. The parade of crosses to the Town Hall from Anglican, Catholic and URC and Methodist churches was well attended.

I imagine everyone in the town who has any reason to be in Church Street will have realised that a great deal is happening to the Fire Station. As part of a family with this important factor very much to the fore I wonder about the practicality of Ambulance, Fire and Police all using the same building. It is foremost a Fire Station that I think is the most beloved of all the public services in the town. Will it work?

I have personally written to the Chief Fire Office in Reading asking that as there is to be a recreational space, that the names of all the past men in the town who were members of the fire station crew should be recorded.

It is well past 100 years ago that this essential cover was provided for our town and a great many will recall the Fire Station at Charnham St, a building with a great history which, before the M4 opened was so difficult to use due to traffic movement along the Bath Rd. I have been active with the Fire Services and many will recall that Margaret and I were honoured with a Fire Brigade guard of honour in 1951.

My father, Margaret’s father and two of her uncles, Jack and Tom Cox were also firemen and this, together with selling the building gives me a very dear interest in the project. A charity was formed to provide for needy firemen but at the present time there is not a great call on that fund. However, I have written to the Chief Fire Officer that a provision be made in the new building to record the names of the many men who were part of the Fire Brigade in past years.

Please do not hesitate to remind me of names as I do not wish to miss anyone who gave this service.

More in the next CHAIN MAIL Jack Williams