Issue 136

1st September
1st December2018

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

Front Cover by Micky Thompson

The cover this month shows pears hanging on the bough, a reminder that Autumn is upon us once more with all of its bountiful gifts.

So, Summer has been mostly good, weather wise, and it hasn’t been necessary to jet away for continental sunshine, if you picked the right weeks.

As the year starts to wind down there is still plenty of opportunity to enjoy all that Autumn colour. Westonbirt, the National Arboretum is not that far away and there is also the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens near Romsey and Batsford Arboretum near Morton in Marsh, all affording extravagant displays as the leaves start to turn their wonderful hues of yellows and reds, all of which make marvellous photographic subjects.

Talking of photography, it is that time of year again for the Hungerford Camera club exhibition in the Hungerford Corn Exchange. If you would like to make a diary note it is on the weekend of the 14th – 15th October. Maybe I will see you there.

Message from the Chairman of CHAIN.

Chain is very important to lots of people in and around Hungerford especially people who have difficulty getting out and about. We run a volunteer Car Scheme, where you drive your own car and pick up people who need to get to a Hospital or Doctors appointment. We also have a Chairman vehicle which can be driven by a volunteer or a family member and takes a wheelchair bound passenger plus two more passengers. Our other vehicle is a Handybus which is driven by a volunteer driver and takes passengers on Shopping trips, outings, theatre trips, Hydrotherapy Pool trips, etc. The Handybus Co-ordinator is Ted Angell but please ring the Chain Office to book any car or Chairman trips. The office is open Monday to Friday between 9.00 – 11.00am and manned by two of our office volunteers. (683727)

We would like to thank all our volunteers past and present as you are who have kept us going for 40years. Together with the community of Hungerford and surrounding villages who continue to support us with Grants and Donations.

If anyone is interested in becoming a Chain Volunteer to either drive their own cars, our Chairman vehicle or Handybus please contact the Chain Office. It doesn’t matter if you want to do 1 hour a week or a month as every little helps. The Chain Office also needs volunteers so please call in and see if it is something you might like to get involved in.

I have been Chairman of Chain for the last 10 years and am very proud of what we provide for our community. So please think about volunteering as it is so rewarding and worthwhile for you community.

I hope the weather improves soon and we do get some more summer days to enjoy.

Janette Kersey


Hello, …….

Well hasn’t he done well in sprucing up the front of his High Street shop and a sterling effort with masses of spikes to try and stop all the pigeon poo. I think West Berks Council should get involved and do some culling in our town, they are after all VERMIN !

So another bright front to liven up the High Street in the form of WHSmith, housing the Post Office, as we go to press no opening date is known..

Bridge Street (old dirty white elephant) restoration continues, what a mammoth task!

So I changed broadband to SKY (good deal at the time) but two months later they hiked the Line Rental. Strange thing is I thought a contract was a contract, but no, it appears that IF they give notice it is completely correct. So no prizes to guess who will be moving to a new provider. So at the moment I am looking at “Origin BroadBand” featured by Martin Lewis (Money Expert) with unlimited broadband 12 month contract £134 over 12 months no calling plan but then I am going to use my new Huawei phone with a sim card from 1pMobile Free SIM. Calls, texts and data each cost just 1p (per minute / text/ MB data). You will still be able to call me on my land line but all outgoing calls by me will be on my mobile . Go on check out Giffgaff and BT charges 15p and 10.5p per minute!
Have you noticed all the special deals that Broadband providers give but ONLY if you are a new customer. Loyalty in most walks of life is NEVER rewarded these days? WHY? The same applies to Car Insurance, Banking, Gas & Electric as well!

So although there is a large emblem with POLICE outside the Fire station there are NO POLICE there, it is NOT a Police Station. Basically we have to go to Newbury unless you are lucky to have a home visit! That’s how I understand the situation, always willing to be corrected though.

Attention is there a housing developer about to put in planning permission for the field above the Smitham Bridge Road Factories?? I saw some chalky earth spoil, and saw them doing core sample boring on the 9th of August.

Congratulations to the Friends of Hungerford Library for obtaining Charity status. It is ONLY through the FOHL & Hungerford Town Council (who have been so supportive) that they have managed to keep our Library, so please make as much use of it as possible. I just hope that WBC will honour its pledge to keep all of the staff, but I wonder!

Come on some of you people with time on your hands Volunteer for CHAIN, help give now to what you might need to receive later in life. Plenty of choices from Bus driver, car driver and Office worker. Often this only entails a couple of hours a week. WE REALLY DO NEED 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 Nov for the issue on Dec1st. 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

Welcome to the new Hungerford Town Council newsletter. We hope you like the new name? Helen and I felt it lives up to our own town ethos, as your newly elected Mayor and Deputy we hope to carry out our new roles with a recharged enthusiasm, with your help I’m sure we can overcome any challenges that lie ahead for our town and celebrate the many successes to come. We know that ‘Hungerford Matters’ to you as much as it does to us.

Neighbourhood Plan
A public meeting was held in the Town Hall during May to discuss the possible adoption of a Neighbourhood Plan for Hungerford. The plan is a document which covers future development, employment, heritage and transport and if adopted by a town referendum gives our town some legal protection as set out under the Localism Act 2011. At the meeting the public present were not convinced either way of the value of this plan and so your council will obtain more information and hold another meeting in the autumn. There we will assess if you support the Neighbourhood Plan. Watch out for dates…

Duke of Edinburgh
In July Deputy Mayor, Helen Simpson attended the Duke of Edinburgh awards ceremony held at St Bartholomew’s school. The presentation was held in the presence of Mr William Hartley Russell, Her Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenant for the Royal County of Berkshire. The afternoon’s celebration was very well attended, Helen was delighted to present the awards to John O Gaunt and The Down’s School students. Huge thanks go to St Bartholomew’ and West Berkshire Council for the organisation of the event and Congratulations to all of the students receiving awards.

Salisbury Road
At an extra full council meeting held on 19th June, a unanimous vote by HTC Councillors agreed to take Judicial Review action on West Berkshire Council’s Development Plan Document (DPD) with regards to the allocation of Salisbury Rd. We currently are waiting for a High Court Judge to consider if HTC case can proceed, the decision will be known at the end of July. The council are currently seeking Crowd funding to help with this legal challenge so far over £6000 has been raised. If you would like to donate please follow the link for further information.

Post Office
The outreach Post Office will continue to operate in the library building on Tuesdays/Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.45am to 1.45pm. The post office will re-open in the High St later this year when WHSmith opens in the fold Martins store.

Christmas Lights
The switch on for the Lights will take place on Sunday 3rd December at 5pm. The council has already gone out to tender to find a supplier to ensure best value. A local VIP has accepted an invitation to switch on the lights more to be announced in the coming months

Neighbourhood Watch
I recently attended a meeting with local residents who live near to the Skate park. The meeting had been called to highlight issues raised regarding anti-social behaviour and alleged drug and alcohol misuse by children and teenagers. The town council is planning to site a CCTV camera at the skate park and will assist in setting up a Neighbourhood watch scheme in the area. More details to follow.

Town Notice boards
A town council working party have refurbished the notice boards under the railway bridge. The group met one Sunday in August and have rubbed down and repainted the boards. Helping to smarten up their appearance for the benefit of the towns image.



Keith Knight (Mayor)
and Helen Simpson (Deputy)

You can contact the Council by letter:-

Hungerford Town Council Office,
The Library, Church Street,
Hungerford. RG17 0JG
01488 686195


The Mayor……

Thank you for reading this and if you would like to know more about anything mentioned then please email our clerk on
and we will try and assist.
or visit the office. 10 till 2pm Monday to Friday


Until recently, like most people, I was unaware of what exactly a High Sheriff is, and what he or she does. I began my year as High Sheriff of The Royal County of Berkshire in April and am only now beginning to understand and appreciate what a privilege it is to have been given this job for a year. The Office of High Sheriff is a royal appointment and it is the oldest continuous secular Office in the United Kingdom after the Crown, dating from Saxon times. The exact date of origin is unknown but the Office has certainly existed for over 1,000 years, since the Shires were formed. For hundreds of years, the High Sheriff or ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible to the Monarch for the maintenance of law and order within the shire, or county, and for the collection and return of taxes due to the Crown. They were also responsible, when required, for raising an army. Gradually over the centuries, these particular duties have been transferred from the Monarch to parliament itself. Today, there are 55 High Sheriffs who serve the counties of England and Wales each year. The first High Sheriff of Berkshire and Oxfordshire was Godric, who was described as “a rascally old scoundrel”. Whilst the duties of the role have evolved over time, supporting the Crown and the judiciary remain central among its elements today. In addition, High Sheriffs actively lend support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector. High Sheriffs receive no remuneration and no part of the expense of a High Sheriff’s year falls on the public purse.

A third of the way into my year as High Sheriff, I am increasingly reassured and impressed by the huge number of people I have met who are doing amazing things to keep us safe and our county running smoothly. I am particularly inspired by the way that so much of this is undertaken with great efficiency but also modestly. So often, the work that I see people in these areas doing seems to be fuelled strongly by a great respect for the community itself, and a desire to do the best that can be done to look after it.

All of us who are lucky enough to live in and around Hungerford know that it is a very special place. I have lived near Hungerford all my life, and like many of us, have undertaken various forms of public service. Being involved in any way in the public life of Berkshire is a great reward in itself. It has certainly helped me to become more and more aware of the large number of fine people working in this county who use their time and energy to help others. I feel increasingly appreciative of the great generosity of spirit that so many have bestowed on the town of Hungerford, which makes it the cohesive community that it is. This in turn helps to make it the uniquely wonderful place to live that it is.

Like any other town, and sadly more than most places, Hungerford has had its challenges and sadness’s. And yet, thanks to the tireless work and dedication of some incredible members of our community, our town continues to thrive and flourish with an atmosphere of intent and improvement, forging ahead, heads held high and with cheerful purpose.

Hungerford itself is a wonderful example of a town where people pull together and help each other. It is also heartening to discover that the spirit of volunteering and helping our neighbours is also quietly at the forefront of many other places all over Berkshire as well. As Her Majesty the Queen’s Representative in all things to do with law, order and the judiciary, it is my privilege this year to visit courtrooms and police stations, to attend parades and concerts as well as church services. I’ve been so impressed by the tireless devotion of countless volunteers across Berkshire who work in centres for homeless people, who help the vulnerable, the young, the elderly, those who have had difficult starts in life, and so many others in need. Whilst visiting various prisons across the Thames Valley, I’ve talked to prison officers and prisoners, probation officers and some of the teachers who work within prisons. On each occasion, I have been humbled, often shocked, always impressed, usually uplifted and amazed, and above all deeply grateful that there are so many inspiring people who are working in every corner in Berkshire doing such incredible things on our behalf.
So often, we read stories about the bad things that go on and hear of the things that go wrong. Let us not forget that there is so much to applaud and celebrate as well, all over Berkshire and especially in Hungerford.

Sarah Scrope

Ellie Dickins Shoes – Shoe Recycling.

Ellie Dickins Shoes wants your old and worn shoes for recycling.

What do you do with your shoes that are worn, or no longer fit? Many people throw them away or give them to charity shops.

We would never approve of worn second-hand shoes. They take on the shape of the original wearer and therefore likely to rub another person as their feet will be a different shape. When you buy footwear the size and shape varies dependent upon the
Last/brand/construction method/materials. With warmth from
our bodies shoes gradually mould to our foot shape and our individual gait pattern. A second wearer is most likely to suffer with blisters, corns and callouses where the shoes are fundamentally misshapen – as well as the various fungal infections that are harboured in footwear, most of which are contagious.

All the shoes donated at the shop are recycled. This means that they go off and are re-worked so that the shoe is worthy of a new wearer. This includes being decontaminated, repaired and the inner parts replaced so that they are then ready to be sent away. The shoes are then despatched to refugee camps, and countries where the very poor are unable to afford shoes. This gives them the opportunity to have footwear to be able to walk more comfortably to obtain water, food and work.

For every bag that is filled, approx.. 35 pairs, Ellie Dickins Shoes received £5. We then donate this money to 3 charities, including CHAIN.

At Ellie Dickins Shoes, we are committed to fit good quality shoes on all shapes and sizes of feet. All of our staff are fully qualified shoe fitters, and we know all about foot health problems. We offer advice as well as excellent service in finding you comfortable, stylish shoes that will support your feet, as well as look good on. We say fit, not frumpy.

Many shoes on the high street are made in China, and do not have adequate support, construction, and shock absorbing capacity. We are seeing a steep rise in foot problems, such as bunions, arthritic feet, and orthotics needing to be worn as a result of ill fitting shoes.

Wearing ill-fitting shoes for just 3 days can do irreversible damage to feet.

Most women’s’ feet increase 2 whole sizes from finishing growing as a teenager to finishing life .At Ellie Dickins Shoes, we are experts in measuring and finding the right shape shoe for your feet, that will be comfortable, looks good, as well as accommodating your feet’s needs

All of us at Ellie Dickins Shoes really appreciate all the services and support that CHIAN offers the residents of Hungerford. By recycling your shoes with us, you are helping to support a fantastic voluntary organisation here in Hungerford.

Ellie Dickins August 2017

Bits 1

Also on this page….Lunch Club ….Special Events…Foodbank….Demand?

Will you be alone on Christmas Day?

Would you like to join our Christmas Lunch
as a helper or guest?

To register your interest, please phone Catherine (Village Agent) 07717 133021; email or leave a note at the CHAIN Office.

Please also let us know if you would need transport to be able to attend.

Venue: Hungerford Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street RG17 0EH
This is a joint venture to benefit our community between the Village Agents
and Hungerford Methodist Church.

Tickets will be priced to cover costs (this is not a fundraising event). In 2016, we
were able to provide the lunch free to guests thanks to donations received.

Marlborough and Hungerford Ladies Lunch Club.

Held every second Monday of the month from October to June in Hungerford Town Hall. We are looking to increase our membership numbers. We have a good lunch and afterwards; interesting and stimulating Speakers.

Kathleen on 01488 684861 or Caroline on 01672 516353.

Some Rather Special Events

Hungerford Food Festival 10.30am – 4pm Sunday 8 October, Hungerford Town Hall & High St. Over 40 food stalls, live cookery demos, cookery & pumpkin competition and children’s foodie fun. £1 entry.

Firework Display 6.30pm Sunday 29 October, John O’Gaunt School with BBQ, mulled wine, side stalls and entertainment from 5pm. Tickets from Crown Needlework 01488 684011 or John O’Gaunt School on

Casino & Cocktail Night with Live Music 8pm Saturday 11 November, John O’Gaunt School. Fundraiser for JOG PSA, Hungerford Primary School PTA and Community Theatre Company of Hungerford. Tickets to include welcome drink, canapés and gaming chips. Tickets from Crown Needlework 01488 684011 or John O’Gaunt School on

Ghana Party – coming soon in October, date tbd. A fun filled evening of traditional African food and entertainment. Contact Penny on 01488 648534


supports local people in crisis. Clients are referred to the Foodbank by Agencies who are helping them, or by phoning the Crisis helpline below. They are given food equivalent to three meals a day for three days, and may be referred more than once if needed. Since 6th April, the Foodbank has given out food for 624 people (including 208 children), that’s over 5,600 meals.

THANK YOU to everyone who has given long life, tinned or dried food and other essentials such as soap, toothbrushes & toilet rolls. Donations may be left at our collection points in the Churches, the Library, and the Co-op.

If your workplace or community group is interested in hosting a collection point, please contact or

Crisis Foodline
Crisis Food need ? Call 01635 760560.
Open Weekdays (not Bank Holidays) from 08:30 to 18:30

You can demand

your name, address, telephone number and email address is removed from charities’ contact lists. Log on to and fill out your details. Charities will need your name and address as a minimum to find you on their lists. You can select which types of communication you wish to opt out of, including letters, emails, phone calls or texts — or all four. You can only block up to three charities at a time.

If you want to unsubscribe from more, you will need to fill out the form again.


Bits 2

1st Hungerford Scout Group celebrates a very successful 2016-7

To celebrate a very successful year of Scouting, and to prepare for the one to come, 1st Hungerford Scout Group will be holding their Annual General Meeting on the afternoon of Sunday 10th September, at the Scout Hut (behind the Croft Hall). All parents and friends of the Group are welcome to attend.

Things to celebrate include the highly successful relaunch of the Beaver Colony which is going from strength to strength, with a waiting list of children wanting to join. The Cub Pack and the Scout Troop are expanding in number and have enjoyed camping, hiking, trampolining, grass sledging and much, much more over the past year.

The AGM is also an opportunity to thank our volunteer leaders and helpers, without whom none of this would be possible.

We welcome boys and girls from age 6 as Beavers, from 8 years as Cubs, and from 10.5 years as Scouts. If you would like to know more about Scouting for your child, or how you could become involved as an adult helper, please contact Group Scout Leader, Matt Head


Hungerford Arts Festival (HADCAF) 2017

On behalf of the organisers of this year’s Festival I should like to thank all the performers, musicians, speakers, leaders of walks and workshops, artists and craftspeople who took part in the town’s ‘Festival Fortnight’ and made it such an enjoyable event. As usual the very varied programme included something for everyone, from tots to teens and beyond, and well over half the events involved the participation of local people and organisations.

Thank you, too, to all those who attended and responded so enthusiastically to Festival events, which are only made possible by grants from the Town Council, the Town and Manor of Hungerford, Greenham Common Trust and West Berkshire Council, and through the generosity of many local businesses and individuals. We are immensely grateful to them, to the staff of Newbury Building Society for managing the box office, to the Hungerford Club for hosting committee meetings, and to the Trustees and staff of our various venues for their assistance. We were very fortunate this year to be invited to stage some musical events in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, a truly beautiful venue much appreciated by performers and audience alike.

On a personal note, I should like to thank all the volunteers who work so hard to ensure the smooth running of the Festival, from planning events to staging them, from programme and poster design and distribution to technical support and front-of-house management – and everything in between.

We look forward to seeing you all again at next year’s Festival (29th June-15th July). If you are interested to be involved in any way, or have suggestions for the 2018 programme, please come to the AGM which will be held on November 2nd at 7.30pm in The Croft Hall (John Newton Room). You will be warmly welcomed! In the meantime, for images (and the occasional video) of many of the events of HADCAF 2017, please visit the website:

Brian Davis, Chairman

Yes, the Extravaganza is happening again this year!

Despite rumours to the contrary what has been The Hungerford Victorian Extravaganza is on again this year. Although it will be now called The Hungerford Christmas Extravaganza.

The proposed event will still follow the established format of the official opening at 5pm, with the parade starting at 7pm and the firework finale at 9pm.

Friday 8th December 5pm – 9pm Bridge Street, The Wharf area and the High Street

All good things come to an end
The Hungerford Chamber of Commerce and the Extravaganza committee has taken the decision to change the name, albeit following 25 successful years of a Victorian based event. It was felt that it was increasingly difficult to provide ‘new’ and interesting Victorian content and something that encompassed a broader spectrum of Christmas entertainment would encourage more participation from local organisations, schools etc.

The old favourites such as the fun fair, big wheel, helter skelter, bands, stalls, walking entertainers, Scottish Pipe Band etc. will all be present but with the addition of some new entertainment such as Father Christmas with real reindeer. Other new content will be announced once the fundraising effort is underway – so watch this space.

We encourage active participation from schools and organisations, so if you would like to take part in the parade, book your space now!

Our aim is to have a seamless transition from last year’s event to the new one, please support us in making 2017 as successful as previous years.

For more information please contact Nigel Perrin on 07867 896855

Hungerford Christmas Fair 2017

Once again, this successful, long-running fair will be held in the Town Hall providing an excellent opportunity to get ahead with your Christmas shopping. The Town Hall and Corn Exchange will be packed with over 25 stalls selling a wide variety of great presents for all ages. Many of the stallholders are new to the fair this year. As always, there will be a café selling tea and coffee as well as delicious soup, sandwiches and cakes.

The fair will be supporting two charities. The £2 entrance charge, and all the proceeds from the raffle, will go to Charlie Waller Memorial Trust. !0% of all sales from the stallholders will go to Amref Health Africa, the charity supported by Kathini Graham who started and ran this fair for over 25 years. All additional profits will be divided between the two charities by the organisers. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust will also be selling their wide range of Christmas cards.

Charlie Waller Memorial Trust was set up in 1997 in memory of Charlie Waller, a young man who took his own life whilst suffering from depression. Shortly after his death the family founded the Trust in order to educate young people on the importance of staying mentally well and how to do so.

Amref Health Africa started life in 1957 as the Flying Doctors. Today Amref Health Africa is Africa’s leading health development organisation, saving and transforming lives in the poorest and most marginalised communities.

Virtual Museum

  The Rural Calendar   

Nature’s seasons and religion dictated rural life in Britain right up to the 20th century.
Candlemas Day, 2 Feb, marks mid-winter, half-way between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It was the day on which the year’s supply of candles for the church was blessed.

Shrove Tuesday, the beginning of Lent. Shrove comes from “shrive” – to confess. On Shrove Tuesday people used to confess their sins before Lent began. Pancakes were a useful way of using up eggs and butter forbidden during the Lenten fast.
Lady Day, 25 Mar, is the spring equinox. In the Christian calendar, it commemorates the Feast of the Annunciation, and was chosen because it preceded the birth of Christ by nine months. It was the first quarter-day for paying rents and other manorial dues. It marked the start of the new year between 1190 and 1751.
Easter, which commemorates the Resurrection, is on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the spring equinox. Special cakes were baked, represented today by hot cross buns and simnel cakes.
May Day (Celtic Beltane), marked the first day of summer, when cattle were turned out.
Midsummer Day, the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
Lammas Day, 1 Aug, celebrates St Peter’s deliverance from prison. The name is derived from “loaf-mass” when a loaf made from the first ripe corn was offered in the service of Holy Communion.
Harvest festival, is usually held on or around 23 Sep. It was the biggest occasion for eating and drinking in the rural calendar, celebrating the completion of the huge communal task of gathering in the harvest.
Michaelmas Day, 29 Sep, the Feast of St Michael the Archangel, marks the end of the farming year, when houses and land changed hands, and farm workers and domestic servants were hired for the coming year. Mop (hiring) fairs are still held at Marlborough.
Halloween (a contraction of All Hallows Eve), is on 31 Oct, which is Samhain, the Celtic New Year. It precedes All Saints Day, the commemoration of saints and martyrs, on 1 Nov.
Christmas, the last major festival of the year, coincides with Yule, the winter solstice. It was not until AD320 that the Catholic Fathers in Rome decided to make 25 Dec Christ’s birthday, in an attempt to co-opt the Yule celebrations of the Celts and Saxons. In 567 the twelve days from 25 Dec to Epiphany were proclaimed a sacred festive season. Christmas, in the Middle Ages, was not a single day, but rather a period of twelve days, from 25 Dec to 6 Jan. In England this lasted until the middle of the 17th century, when the Puritan government issued official policies outlawing all religious festivals.
Christmas remained moribund until the marriage of Victoria to Prince Albert in 1840. In Germany, many of the Christmas traditions had survived, and he brought them with him. Christmas soon became a special occasion for the Royal Family; their celebration of it emphasised the importance of family closeness and an appreciation of children, and revived the idea of the holiday meal and holiday decorations. In 1841 Prince Albert introduced the first Christmas tree to Windsor Castle.
Boxing Day, 26 Dec, earned its name from the boxes containing gifts of money that domestic servants received from their employers.
Plough Monday, the first Monday after Twelfth Night, marked the resumption of work after the Christmas holiday. It is said that farm labourers dragged a plough, dressed in ribbons and other decorations from house to house, collecting money and gifts. Before the Reformation, this was for the “plough lights” which the men kept burning before certain images in the church to obtain a blessing for their work. In later times, it was spent on celebration in the local public house!
For much more on this or any other aspect of Hungerford’s fascinating history, visit the Hungerford Virtual Museum –

Hugh Pihlens

Grumpy’s Article

Dear Editor, I understand your readers may be disappointed when I comment that my glass remains Half-Full. I have returned from the Med to find the news in Hungerford is broadly positive.

Lauren and Dennis are stamping their brand and presence on the Down Gate pub to which I commend your visits. In the High Street, the reappearance of a newsagent, and more importantly for a township the size of Hungerford, a fully operational Post Office can only be welcomed. Of course, the valiant efforts of the solution filling the hiatus of the past months cannot be ignored.

Reverting to true colours, my GNASH [GRUMPY’S NOISE ABATEMENT SOCIETY – HUNGERFORD] input resounds to complaints about the low-flying helicopters, often in pairs, choosing to gyrate over Hungerford at comparatively low levels for protracted periods, often quite late in the evening [ e.g.1st August 2017]when residents wish to sleep. Do we really need to be designated a night-time flight training centre?

GNASH also objected to the noisy railway station announcements where the broadcast volume had recently been turned up so that residents living up to 300 metres away could hear the tannoys’ incessant and regular apologies for trains running late, for cancellations and for warnings of passing expresses. However, thanks to Hungerford Town Council’s intervention with GWR on behalf of residents, the last couple of days has seen a welcome drop in the volume. Well done Rob and Alison.

We must also welcome Mayor Knight’s efforts to resolve the growing and all too apparent pigeon problem. This Grumpy was involved in some progress made several years ago in limiting the nesting sites in the High Street but subsequent collisions of lorries removing the new netting then installed under the bridge have undone what was achieved. I counted nearly 40 nesting birds there a few weeks ago.

Finally, is it my imagination or is there a trend towards cyclists taking over the High Street, invading the pavements, ignoring the Highway Code procedures at the mini-roundabouts and pedestrian crossings? Further afield, a car journey to Kintbury normally taking less than 10 minutes can take upwards of 25 minutes as the bunches of riders travel sometimes two and three abreast, ignoring traffic, chatting and failing to allow overtaking.

Pip pip Grumpy

Fond & Distant Memories

 ………………………… Jack Williams

Thinking back over my 89 years two thoughts run simultaneously, geographical changes and more particularly people changes. Living pre-war at number eight Broadview (next door to the Royal British Legion headquarter) my attic bedroom provided the most spectacular view over the whole town. Suddenly on September 3, 1939 it all changed. At night a well lit town disappeared, at first the blackout was not perfect but within weeks it was total. Incredibly all our blackout arrangements were home-made. What a performance it was to make sure they were all in place every night. Life became very different for everyone in Hungerford, Gas masks were issued and you were meant to carry them with you wherever you went, cars had very much reduced lighting making driving a hazardous business, rationing was introduced and the first change for young people meant limited sweets, oranges and bananas completely disappeared. The air raid siren on the Police station roof was our introduction to the arrival of German warplanes. The Home Guard and the Auxiliary fire service meant that uniforms from these members were seen in the town with those of soldiers visiting from the local camps at Chilton Park. and many of the local large houses had troops stationed there.

Pill boxes appeared, what a shock and added to them other large tank obstructions. Older readers may recall the large gun emplacement outside Teddy Pratt’s butchers shop; the gun was from time to time mounted, and was meant to cover any approach down the High Street. Our pillboxes stretched from the Town lock to the sewerage pumping station and to two on the road on the bridge over the railway on the common. Another was adjacent to the river Kennet before you emerge onto the A4 at Denford. Hungerford ATC band was our only outstanding musical feature and attended the many military style parades taking place at this time. The National Savings movement was well to the fore and the town excelled at the level of savings achieved, Warship week, Salute the Soldiers, Spitfire week all attracted parades, a savings barometer was placed on the Town Hall building. Of course Warships week brought the town into contact with HMS Freesia (a flower class Corvette) and the friendship continued until after the war.

The Auxiliary Fire Service was formed very early in the war and both my father Charlie Williams and Margaret’s dad Bill Cox were members. They attended blitz fires in London and as far west as Exeter. I later picked up that tradition and joined a local Brigade when I left the Royal Navy in 1948 and I still participate although only in a welfare role.
Hungerford was a very different town during the war and the Town Hall in 1942 was taken over by the American Red Cross as the “Doughnut Dugout”!. Suddenly the skies were full of C47 and DC3 Dakotas as troops departed to France on the night before D-Day in 1944. As far as I am aware only two bombs fell near the town, one at home farm on the Kintbury Road and one at Froxfield.
As a final comment what do you think of the new fire station in Church Street please let me know yours? Jack Williams

PS Catherine (the Village agent) has just delivered a message in a bottle by the Lions. This scheme is for us elderly folk to write down all our medicines, contacts et cetera and keep the bottle in the fridge so that if one of us ill the attending services can go straight to the fridge and find out lots and lots of details.

If you haven’t got yours please contact chainmail editor David Piper thank you.

More in the next CHAIN MAIL Jack Williams

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Nature Walks

A weekly walk over the marshes is a wonderful way to get fresh air and enjoy our English wild life. The marshes are renowned for wild flowers, birds and butterflies.
Every year Doctor Lois Pihlens leads a wildflower walk over the marshes for HADCAF and in my opinion she should be asked to lead such a walk at the beginning of each season or month. Especially as there are so many interesting flowers such as Himalayan Orange Balsam which is not native and can be used to flavour gin, according to my newspaper.

Doctor Pihlens kindly identified all of the summer flowers on display and told some amusing stories about them. I’ll never ignore stinging nettles again, and will look for a male!

Unfortunately, southern marsh orchid had flowered and “gone over”. This is one of our 56 native British orchids and is still quite rare. It appears on the marsh every year but never in the same place. In my experience it flowers here in June.

If you start your walk at the swing bridge and proceed onto the marsh you enter stocken street, apparently. Lois and her husband Hugh surprised over 30 people with this gem.

As always our favourite retired doctor researched her topic well and handed out written notes which I think could be published as a book – just like the book written by Richard Frankum, “ Birds and Plants of Freeman’s Marsh.”

Each year I cannot resist a wry smile when the difference between hogweed and hemlock is explained. Hogweed was fed to pigs as a food supplement but to me it looks identical to hemlock which is poisonous. Both these umbellifers appear on the banks of the canal.

At the end of the walk a clump of comfrey was shown to everyone. It is a good fertiliser for the garden but I did not know that it flowers until early autumn and you can take five harvests every year. My new wild flower book talks about Russian comfrey!?

The five autumnal butterflies should be seen flying over the marshes on sunny days, as well as in your gardens. They are, Brimstone, Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell. They roost in any foliage.

These butterflies hibernate in the winter but feed on Buddleia bushes, known colloquially as butterfly bushes. They should be flying in huge numbers over the marshes and looking for other nectar producing flowers, so look them up on your Personal Computer.
Perhaps the Trustees of the marshes would allow us to plant white or black or purple buddleias on this wonderful oasis of wild life because there has been a dramatic decline in our native butterflies. I personally am disappointed that they are not a guaranteed sighting on my weekly walk.

Keen naturalists would know that there were six butterflies that fly in autumn but the Large Tortoiseshell is said to be extinct in the UK. An expert told me that Large Tortoiseshell caterpillars will feed on willow, poplar and some fruit trees. Perhaps they could be reintroduced into Hungerford Marshes or Common.


Hungerford Library / HUB

Summer Reading Challenge was very popular and it is such a pleasure to see so many children visit the library. We have had a very busy summer as our restructure came into effect at the beginning of July. Thank you for your patience during this time, and thank you continuing to support us. You have proved that Hungerford Library is an important part of the community. Our hours haven’t changed. We now have an amazing team of volunteers who are helping us to provide the same standard of service you are used to. Thank you to them as well.

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:

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, during term time, 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 5:30, 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

Can it really be September already? Where do the months go? Don’t worry, the holiday season may be over but FOHL were busy working through the summer break, things are happening (although quite slowly) to secure the library building as planned. We are still in negotiations with West Berkshire Council; hopefully by the time this edition of Chain is published we should have received the news that we’ve been successful in implementing our plans. The decision is due on the 7th September when the executives at West Berkshire Council vote on the proposal.

Other news (by September) is that our application should have been approved and THE HUNGERFORD LIBRARY & COMMUNITY TRUST will become a registered charity. FOHL won’t disappear; we will become the fundraising arm of the charity, working closely with the trustees of the newly appointed charity.

Please start to look out for our CROWD FUNDING leaflet; you’ve been asking how you can support us, our new leaflet will explain how. The charity will need a start up fund and any donation however small will be a huge help. If you are able to support us please fill in the leaflet and drop it back to library when it becomes available.

Of course it’s not just about donating; I’m sure with the ideas and talent existing in our community you may like to help us in another way. Would you like to run an event or form a regular club in the library building? Our vibrant Hungerford Hub will be a real centre for our community. We can’t wait to see the Hub reach its full potential, becoming that valuable community space, a place to share, learn and enjoy for all.

Thanks again to all the dedicated volunteers working behind the scenes and to Hungerford Town Council for their continued trust in FOHL, supporting our plans at each stage.

Please keep supporting; we’ve nearly SAVED HUNGERFORD LIBRARY!

Steam by Tony Bartlett

The last quarter as anticipated proved to be a quiet time for steam trains on our line, although die-hard rail fans have had extra trains to keep them interested – diversions from the GW main line at weekends, and the new HST-replacement trains on test.
Clan Line was unready for its return to service in May, so it was left to Tornado to do the honours again for the British Pullman, as well as its scheduled trip to Penzance on The Cornishman later in the month, still basking in the prestige of its 100mph status.

The Flying Scotsman programme passed off with the usual delays due to trespass, and failed to deliver a sighting of the locomotive here. I joined an orderly line of photographers on the platform at Andover for one sighting, and travelled over to the Thames Valley for another, the latter occasion being marred by the proliferation of masts and wires in the previously idyllic setting of Lower Basildon. The same environmental damage is currently being wrought on the Kennet Valley out to Newbury, and it’s something we can look forward to here in the longer term.

A later visit to Andover yielded Clan Line back on the main line, thundering through with the Waterloo Sunset, commemorating the End of Steam on the Southern Region of BR. The steam drought here was relieved by two memorable visits to Hungerford by Gresley A4 Pacific Union of South Africa, also just back in service after heavy maintenance.

At the time of writing, we are looking forward to the short season of West Somerset Steam Expresses picking up in Newbury for a trip on the preserved railway to Minehead. The availability of steam locos continues to be uncertain but Lord Dowding, one of the smaller Bulleid Pacifics, is lined up for the first run. I find the best policy is to be hopeful that a special turns up with steam haulage, and to be thankful for whichever loco is provided.

Assuming that Clan Line continues to run well after overhaul, we can expect to see it here in its usual role as haulage for the British Pullman on 6th Sept and also later in the month on the 23rd with an ACE (Atlantic Coast Express). This was the premier express from Waterloo to the West Country, now inappropriately returning via the Great Western route.

The Cathedrals Express brand generally can be relied on to provide a few sightings, but the two ‘dead certs’ – trips to Kingswear in S Devon – are ruled out since they pick up steam when they reach Taunton, giving those with a penchant for heritage diesels their day! Otherwise it will be a case of looking out for unexpected variations from plan.

Flying Scotsman is again giving us a wide berth as it undertakes more work in the South – the best hope is for a sighting in the Oxford/Didcot/Swindon area when it is scheduled for a Cotswold Venturer circular trip on 28th October.

Tony Bartlett

HAHA by Belinda

An Allotment in Hungerford………..

Here we are just entering Autumn! The beginning of August has felt rather autumnal but the Summer was a pretty good one, though when it eventually rained it poured! The dry weeks in May and June seemed to deter the slugs at just the right time and then the sunshine and showers made for good growing weather producing some great harvests in 2017.

We initially found that the runner beans were slow to set. People were trying different methods to encourage pollinators onto their plants, from companion planting to spraying sweet water on the flowers. Unfortunately, bees and wasps have learned that they can get to the sugar-rich nectar easily, by going through the back of the flowers, which means they don’t actually do any pollinating. Having said that, after a couple of weeks we found that the runner beans were coming thick and fast – on the leaning bean poles after all the strong winds.

As I write this, we aren’t sure when courgettes will ever be off the menu – well, we did end up with five plants instead of the intended three and we also looked after our neighbour’s plot for a while… I took a photo of a courgette plant in July; it had 11 courgettes on it and that was just the plant’s first flush. My work colleagues have enjoyed many courgettes this year too!

We are also growing squashes and I hope they will grow across the top of our framework so that we’ll have a “squash grotto” in the Autumn! The stems should grow extra thick so that they can support the weight of the heavier varieties.

Something new for us is purple sprouting broccoli – it’s the first time we have grown it, but it seems to do well on the Marsh Lane site and fellow plotholders also say how delicious it is, plus it’s something to harvest during the quiet months up to February/March. I just hope our plants produce as much as other people’s do!

We’re now working up to one of the highlights of the year – the RBL/HAHA Horticultural & Handicraft Show. We’re hoping for a big turnout again and, judging by the quality of allotment plots we have at the moment, we’re expecting to see some impressive fruit and veg on show.

Then in October we have the Hungerford Food Festival which is another fun event for us to join in with. We love to encourage people to grow their own and our visitors are always interested in the different varieties that we grow compared to those available in the shops. I hope we’ll see you there, or maybe join us as a new plotholder as we do have plots available.

You can follow our successes and failures through my blog and see some of the wildlife who visit:


Contact HAHA on 0754 118 7274

Hungerford Football by Ron Tarry

After all the hard work last season to carry out the necessary improvements to maintain our place in the Vanarama National League, we missed out on a play-off position by finishing 6th. In the league, and, we did not have enough seats to take their place when 5th. place Poole were not allowed to participate. Instead 7th. place Hampton & Richmond took part, but were eliminated in the semi-final, Maidenhead United and Ebbsfleet being promoted.

There has been a great deal more to do on the ground and also fund raising to match the grant we have received for ground improvements, it has been an amazing effort by all concerned.

The players have also been training hard and we have also had a series of successful pre-season friendlies. We also played that long-delayed Berks. & Bucks. Senior Cup Final on the new artificial pitch at Slough Town, losing extremely unluckily by the only goal to league champions Maidenhead United, having hit the bar three times and being denied a penalty.
Plans to have a reserve side in the Hellenic League did not come to fruition and sadly, there will be no Swifts side, despite the young lads in finishing last season with an unbeaten league record.

As always, there have been some additions, and some losses to the first-team squad, but we can look forward to the new season with confidence.

After starting the season with a trip to bookies favourites Dartford, we have home games versus Weston super Mare, Hemel Hempstead and Gloucester City during that first hectic month, with the draws for the F.A. Cup and F.A. Trophy awaited with keen anticipation, our league status earning exemption from the early rounds.

Ron Tarry. President Hungerford Town Football Club.

Hungerford Town Band by Tim Crouter

Hungerford Town Band have just completed a highly successful and very busy summer period. The band has made friends wherever it has performed and on the social side the group has thoroughly enjoyed their playing.

The Autumn period offers no let up for the band with 3 full new concert programmes to prepare. The first is a new event in the beautiful setting of St. Lawrence’s Church. The Rev. Mike Saunders and organist Chris Buck have asked if the band could play a concert as the centrepiece of the parish’s Harvest Festival. The concert is on Saturday 30th September at 7.30pm. Entry will be free with a retiring collection to be shared between St. Lawrence Church and Hungerford Town Band replacement instrument fund.

We follow this with our annual Poppy Concert to be held in Hungerford’s Corn Exchange on Sunday 29th October at 7.00pm. Entry will be £6.00 and tickets will be available soon. This charity is very close to the hearts of the band and this has become our major concert of the second half of each year.

We then move into the Christmas period which will be publicised in the next issue of Chain Mail. However, as a preview the Christmas Concert will be held in the Corn Exchange on Saturday 9th December at 7.30pm.

The band look forward to seeing you all at one or all of these events.

Finally, we currently have vacancies for a Principal Trombone and back row cornet player.

Tim Crouter Musical Director

Hungerford PPG

Hungerford Surgery Patient Participation Group

The PPG continues with the purpose of contributing to the continuous improvement of services and fostering improved communication between the Hungerford Surgery and its patients. Indeed, it recently supported the practice in seeking the patient voice through a questionnaire. 480 people completed the questionnaire. The information gained was interesting and will be used when shaping the provision the surgery makes in the future.

The PPG continues to support the Hungerford Carers’ Support Group for those who find themselves in role of carer for a loved one and meet 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 attends and shares his vast knowledge, gives advice or simply provides a listening ear. The PPG also supports The Cancer Support Group which meets on the last Tuesday of each month at The Bear Hotel in Hungerford.

Two members of the PPG are currently looking into the possibility of setting up a support group for those who have diabetes, perhaps in the form of a Facebook group. Diabetes UK has provided a lot of support which has been extremely useful.

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.


Do you GOOGLE your illness? Use the website the professionals use
Don’t scare yourself silly on American sites!!!

News from Boots the Chemist

Caitlyn (Pharmacist) is now working in Thatcham. She was very happy in Hungerford but found the travelling proved to be too much. She has been replaced by Lucy who lives in Newbury and previously worked in Boots in Northbrook Street.

Stuart has gone back to being a Fragrance Consultant in Boots in Northbrook Street which was his original role. We were lucky to have him for a year and he really helped to get the store back on track and is greatly missed by us all. Stuart has been replaced by Corinne who previous worked for Boots in Hitchin, Herts. She relocated to this area in May and has been with us since then.

We will shortly be opening the Flu calendar for patients to book their vaccinations. This service takes the pressure away from the local surgery and is extremely convenient as it enables patients to have their Flu vaccination at the same time as collecting their prescription, if they choose to. Appointments will be available from early September so please pop in to store or give us a ring on 01488 682860 for more details.

Wendy Allen

Hungerford Primary School

WOW… we have had fantastic fund-raising year culminating in our Heroes and Heroines summer fete which raised over £4000 alone.

There was a fabulous hoard of heroes making our fete a success and so many visitors came to enjoy the day. The 6th Battalion R.E.M.E. came along with a huge recovery vehicle that all the kids, big and small, enjoyed climbing aboard. The REME also ran a wonderful assault course that had the children entertained all afternoon.

The PTA have helped to support the children in so many ways this year including partially funding school trips for many year groups and assisting with transport cost for the Year 6 national event to the O2 arena. We have joined the school and supported the rejuvenation of the Library to make it more accessible to the students in all years with new items of furniture. Funding requests for year 4 recorder lessons, Interactive maths resources subscription, guided reading books, Year 2 Listening stations, outdoor educational signs and Left-handed rulers for both Key stage 1 and 2 have been granted. The PTA also funded Mr Heaton’s Tea Party, Year 6 leavers BBQ food and the ice-pops that the children enjoyed on sports day.

Our PTA team are looking forward to organising more exciting events in the coming school year, we will announce all the events in our newsletters and on our Facebook page ‘Hungerford Primary School PTA’. Hungerford Primary school PTA hope to be joining forces with the JOG PSA and The Community of Hungerford Theatre Group in a combined event later this year.

We would like to say a massive “Thank You” to all the volunteers who make our events possible, and all the families who attend our events. We have said a sad Farwell to Gerry Heaton, we all wish him well in his new adventures, and a big Hello to David Mayer the new Headmaster of the school.

Hungerford Primary school PTA Team

Royal British Legion

Royal British Legion (Hungerford) Branch

Poppy Appeal and other British Legion news

Thank you again to the people of Hungerford, the Poppy Appeal has broken last year’s total. The amount now stands at a record £27073.41. Our thanks go to you all and especially to those who volunteered their time to stand at our collection points.

Armed Forces Day at the Legion was well attended, with 6th Battalion REME joining with the members and townsfolk for a BBQ and a small memorial service.

James Healey took part in the Ride London event recently. This entails a cycle ride of 100 miles through the centre of London and into Surrey, using part of the course used during the 2012 Olympics. James has raised £799.47 to date for the Royal British Legion, with some match funding to be added. If you still wish to donate here is the link

The Poppy Thank You evening will be on 22nd September starting at 7.30pm. Please come along and meet ourselves and collectors old and new.

The Band Concert will take place on the 29th October starting at 7.00pm, in the Corn Exchange. Tickets are £6 and will be available from mid September.

If any ex-service personnel 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 and Di Loft