Issue 137

1st December
1st March 2018

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

Front Cover by Micky Thompson

I know that Christmas puddings have been on sale in Tesco seemingly since mid-Summer, but the season of festivities is now once more upon us. Daylight hours are dwindling, and the fantastic Hungerford Christmas lights are switched on at 5pm on Sunday 3rd December with music and entertainment from 4pm.
This issue’s cover picture is of the Victorian Extravaganza from last year. This year the programme of events will be broadly the same, but the name is now changing to The Hungerford Christmas Extravaganza to include seasonal delights such as Father Christmas and real live reindeer. This is on the 8th December when as for many previous years the High Street will once more become a hive of activity with bands, performers, stalls and fairground attractions. Many of the High Street shops stay open including Kaleidoscope who are now stocking my greetings cards including local Hungerford scenes.

Don’t forget to check your camera batteries, and over the coming month capture the memories of tomorrow. Have a very Happy Christmas Micky


Message from the Chairman of CHAIN.

I hope everyone has enjoyed a good summer and are now looking forward to the busy Christmas period. The amazing Hungerford Lights will be going up soon with the Switch-on on Sunday 3rd December. The Hungerford Christmas Extravaganza is on Friday 8th December and then the Mayor’s Carol Service on Sunday 17th December at 6.30pm in St Lawrence’s Church. There are many other Christmas events in Hungerford held by lots of clubs and groups so please support and enjoy when you can.

Chain have been busy over the last few months and the Handybus in particular is being well used. The ‘Chairman’ Vehicle is underused at the moment so please book this if you are in or know someone who is in a wheelchair and need help getting to their Surgery or Hospital Appointments. Just phone the Chain Office between 9-11 am Monday to Friday and the volunteers will book this for you. If you are interested in volunteering to help Chain in any way (driving or helping in the Office) please contact myself on 683302 or or the Chain Office. We always welcome more volunteers.

Please remember especially during the cold winter months to check on any elderly or vulnerable neighbours to see if they need any shopping or help with anything. PLEASE ring 105 if you get a power cut, this is a fairly new service and I have used it twice recently very successfully . They let you know an expected power return and send you updates, also you can register for priority with them if you are elderly, disabled or have children under 5.

There are two fairly new groups which meet monthly in Hungerford to help people in the town and surrounding area. They are Cancer Support Group and the Carers Support Group. They are doing an amazing job helping many people so please see the Chain website for more details (which you are looking at now!).

Janette Kersey


Hello, …….

Christmas will soon be here, it has been a long time coming with Christmas goodies on sale for months now. Anyway my best wishes to you and special thanks to all those magazine contributors for making it interesting and informative, and Special thanks to the advertisers who make it possible to produce the magazine for free (with some left over to go towards CHAIN’s overheads). NOBODY gets paid they are all absolute VOLUNTEERS, and we need you more than ever. So make that New Years resolution to help us, as one day you might need a volunteer to help you!

I don’t know about you but the older I get the more I value loyalty but companies generally don’t reciprocate. There are one or two exceptions RCI savings will automatically give you the latest bank interest rates , whereas all the utility and insurance companies penalise you for staying. SO DON’T, you should always get a better deal by comparing and switching. It is so easy these days, and so smooth.

My Broadband about a year ago I changed from Plusnet to Sky. Within a couple of months SKY did the dirty and increased (during the contract) the line rental so, being a follower of Martin Lewis, I now have Broadband & weekend calls (paid for 18 months) for £11.45 a month with EE (part of BT !), I also have a 1Pmobile sim card £10 for up to 4months with calls, texts at 1p each & data 1p a megabyte, any unused money being rolled over to the next £10’s worth. So as I don’t use the phone that much I reckon I shall save at least £66 a year by not having an anytime landline call plan. So the sim is free and you load it with £10, now here is the best bit, if you log on to and quote P170138D you will get £5 added when you start.

Car and house insurances are always on the increase but spend an hour or two and get some quotes then say to your existing people that you can go elsewhere and they will often match it. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. Don’t forget though to check out Martin Lewis website as well.

Another new advertiser approached me to advertise Tai Chi saying she had been doing classes at RBL for 2 years or so and people didn’t know about it. Of course we don’t know unless we are told, you don’t have to pay a thing to be entered to WHAT’s ON which appears in our website, the Townsite, under the railway bridge in Town Councils notice board and at the back of this magazine!!!!! ALL FOR FREE…………..

Did you know that your mobile phone will charge faster if you set it to Flight Mode ?????

Thanks & Best Wishes David Piper

01488 683152 / 07835395901

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


Salisbury Road Development:
To-date Hungerford Town Council (HTC) hasn’t received a planning application for this development. On request from town residents, HTC voted at full council to write to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid. Appearing on Andrew Marr’s programme on Sunday 22nd October 2017, Sajid advised he had ruled out relaxing protections on building on the Green Belt, a statement also confirmed by the Prime Minister at Downing Street recently. HTC feel that government policy and planning law are not always in alignment. HTC will up-date you with any response received.

Library Update:
Negotiations are currently in full swing following the go ahead from West Berks Council (WBC). Executives voted through the transfer of Hungerford’s library building to HTC on a 99yr lease peppercorn rent agreement. HTC have instructed a surveyor to ensure the building is in good order prior to the takeover. Heads of terms and service level agreements are currently underway. Obviously, next steps are vitally important and will take some time, the concept is completely new, we’re all learning through the process, The Friends of Hungerford Library, (FoHL) HTC and WBC have worked closely and professionally to deliver this new concept, a library service for our community and a building that will become known as the Hungerford Hub, offering our community a brand new way of using this valuable town asset. Please continue to support FoHL they will need lots of volunteers and community groups to make the most of the building once it becomes HTC’s in 2018.

Neighbourhood Plan:
HTC will hold a town meeting in January 2018 to discuss further information gathered on the whys and wherefores of producing a Neighbourhood plan. We hope to have a representative from Stratfield Mortimer parish council present. Having spent four years developing their plan, it’s now been adopted through the referendum process, the first to do so in West Berkshire. We will communicate the date nearer the time.

HTC recently hired a pest control expert to trap & despatch over 100 pigeons from the town. Keeping our town clean and inviting to visitors is hugely important. HTC would like to ask residents not to feed the pigeons in and around the high street. Christmas is just around the corner and we hope to have our high street looking the best it can for the festive season.

Christmas Lights switch on:
HTC will switch on it’s Christmas Lights on Sunday 3rd December at 5pm. Please come and join us for carols and festive fun. This year we are delighted to welcome author Robert Harris who has kindly accepted our invitation to switch on this year’s display.
Mayor’s Carol Service:
HTC welcome you to join us for this year’s carol service being held at St Lawrence’s Church on 17th December at 6.30pm. Carols, readings and payers, maybe even a little surprise performance from the Mayor!


Chain’s Page


Our new bus has now settled in, continuing to provide a first class service to the community, supported by our team of dedicated volunteer drivers.

We’ve sorted out most of the little glitches that you get with a new vehicle and have, thanks to George Ham, been able to improve our storage of baggage.
Whilst the focus of the work that the bus completes is on those who are less mobile or are not able to access normal services, the bus is available for use by other groups in the community. It can carry a maximum of 11 passengers. We have a schedule of regular weekly and monthly trips. Some are for shopping purposes, others for social purposes. There is even a weekly trip to the Swindon Hydrotherapy Pool which was promoted in the last edition of CHAIN MAIL.

One monthly morning trip is a shopping run to Marlborough. This is currently primarily for residents of Somerset College at Froxfield but it usually has spare places. Anyone from Hungerford who would like to travel on it should contact Ted Angell ( 01488 682610
Mobile 077998 86597 ). Pickup will be at 8.45 and return would be at about 12.30.

We would welcome people who would like to become a voluntary driver. A driver has to have a D1 category on their driving licence but the training and assessment is not arduous – ensuring that the bus is driven legally, safely and taking in the important needs of our passengers. Driving is always enjoyable and people who benefit from our service are always very appreciative.

The bus is busy during most of the working week but usually has free time at weekends. If a local organisation wishes to provide their own driver, we would be happy to get that driver trained and assessed to CHAIN standards.

If you want to know anything about our trips or would like to learn about possibly becoming a volunteer driver, please contact Ted on the above phone numbers or by
email at



Come and join us once a month
usually the 1st Monday in the month, unless it’s a Bank Holiday in which case we go on the 2nd Monday!
We often go to The Sun Inn here in
Hungerford but we visit others further afield such as ………………………………………….The Blue Boar at Aldbourne

Please call a week before your chosen Monday

Sue Watt on 01488 682919 or Mavis Manning on 01488 686857

This will give us time to arrange for your door to door (approx 11a.m.)
Chain transport if needed.


Every Wednesday.

Handy Bus pick up, to and from your home.

Leaving at 11.30 a.m.
Returning at 2.15 p.m.

Handy Bus donation £1

£6 in the pool for one hour
With physiotherapist in attendance.

If you are interested please call

Ted Angel on 01488 682610
or 07799886597
Betty Grant 01488 682607


Newbury Weekly News Christmas Parcels
for the over 80s

This very well established initiative by Newbury Weekly News provides Christmas parcels for those aged 80 or over in parts of the West Berkshire area.

If you live in Hungerford or Hungerford Newtown and have celebrated your 80th birthday this year, or will do so before the end of the year, and you would like to receive a parcel, please contact the Hungerford co-ordinators on either of the telephone numbers given below. Similarly, if you know of anyone who is now 80 years old, or will be by year end let us know.
Parcels are due to be delivered on or around 9th December 2017.

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

Ideally we need to know as soon as possible but certainly no later than 1st December 2017.

There are many Hungerford organisations who contribute to the delivery including CHAIN who lead the Hungerford delivery process. For example, the Rotary Club undertakes fund raising. John O’Gaunt School, the Trustees of the Croft Hall in Hungerford, Hungerford Tuesday Club, the Town and Manor of Hungerford and the Royal British Legion all play a part in the process.

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

Home Telephone 01488 682610 Mobile 077998 86597

Bits 1

Also on this page….Green Machine……Accordians….Scouts


The Community of Hungerford Theatre Company Presents their 2018 Town show- CATS
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Based on “Old Possum’s book of practical Cats by T.S Elliot.

The Jellicle Cats meet once a year for the Jellicle Ball where they tell stories to their leader who must choose one of them to ascend to the Heaviside Layer.
Featuring classic songs such as Memory, Macavity and Mr Mistoffelees.

The show is running from Wednesday 14th- Saturday 17th February, 2018, nightly at 7:15pm with a Saturday matinee at 2:15pm in John O’Gaunt School Hall

Tickets are available from the company’s website:
or from Crown Needlework, Hungerford High street (01488 684 011)
Open Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 – 17:00 Credit & Debit Cards Accepted

Green Machine helps……….

As Halloween draws to a close there’s never any fun receiving a fright from your PC. Scared of Viruses infecting your Computer? Or unwanted assailants accessing your valuable data?
Give Green Machine a call the one-stop-shop for all your IT needs.

Green Machine is a social enterprise based in Ramsbury. With a host of different individuals with different IT backgrounds, we strive for an approachable and professional experience for every customer. We realise getting a new PC can be daunting. What do you want to do with your data? What programs are you going to need? Do you need office 365? Our courteous team are more than happy to talk though your requirements with you. Many customers find it hard to tell how much life their PC has left. Many issues that seem like the end of your beloved PC could still be fixed Broken screen or Keyboard? Using our equipment and expertise these are fixable items. Blank screen upon turning the machine on?

As a registered Microsoft Refurbisher we have access to software to restore Windows to your PC. Should the worst happen and your PC is unrecoverable we have a sales room full of refurbished laptops and desktops all ready for sale with 12 months warranty, we will even transfer all the data from your old machine free of charge.

We are open 9:00 to 5:00 Monday to Friday
with evening hours till 7:00 on Tuesday, Wednesday ,Thursday
and Saturdays 10:00 till 14:00 all through November.

On Friday 1st December 2017

The Kennet Accordion Orchestra will be performing at St. Lawrence’s Church, Hungerford at 7.30pm. The concert is to support the ongoing church renovations and this will be the first time that the nationally acclaimed orchestra will be performing at this lovely local historical venue.

Please come along and support the event, it will be an evening of fantastic entertainment, including a varied repertoire of music to suit all ages, featuring themes from films, pop, classical and some festive tunes.

Tickets are available from Nigel Pasby (07595 380 810 or
from Chris Buck (01488 683396) and
are priced at a very reasonable £5.00 each. There will be a raffle and refreshments will be provided.

Book early to avoid disappointment! Please look at the website for details of our previous concerts and & follow us on Facebook too!

Could YOU be a Cub / Scout leader?

1st Hungerford Scout Group is going from strength to strength, with more children taking part in each of our sections. We are very grateful to our volunteer leaders and parent helpers for their commitment and enthusiasm in ensuring a varied and exciting programme for all age groups. We would love to hear from anyone who would like to get involved, whether currently connected to the Scout Group or not. The Scout Association offers training and support; a satisfactory DBS check is required.

This term the Group have made (and eaten!) bacon rolls and cake at the Food Festival, raising almost £400 in the process, thank you everyone who visited our stall on the day. Our Bonfire evening was a great success, attended by most of the Group and their families. Younger members were introduced to the art of making S’mores (toast marshmallows on the campfire then eat between two chocolate digestives), as well as jelly-baby bobbing, doughnut grabbing, guy-making and of course fireworks. This evening was part of our celebrations of 50 Years of Scouting in Hungerford.

At the time of writing, the Group is preparing to taking part in the Town’s Remembrance Parade. 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

Bits 2

Also on this page…..Lost Sheep…..Chain Vehicle …….Kennet Accordians


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.

THANK YOU to everyone who has given longlife, 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


Lost sheep in Hungerford!

Hungerford’s Churches are joining with the Primary School to offer
The Messy Nativity Sheep Trail.

From Monday 27th November until the end of term, various shops in the town will be hosting a special visitor. See if you can spot the wandering sheep: match the name of the sheep to the shop, complete the form (available from the School or participating shops), and return either to the School or the Methodist Church on Bridge Street by Wednesday 20th December to be entered into a prize draw.

The competition is open to all children of Primary School age.


Please help CHAIN

look after its Wheelchair converted vehicle
(like an estate car!).

Not a lot of time needed to cover services, checking it is clean, liaising with the treasurer when road tax and insurance is due etc etc..
You might enjoy it so much that you too could become a volunteer driver. I did!

Please phone

01488 683727

9-11a.m Mon to Fri




Hungerford Surgery

The Croft, Hungerford RG17 0HY01488 682507

FLU – Thank you to the PPG for all their support once again with our flu clinics.
We held 4 very successful Flu Clinics recently but there are still patients who are over 65 or in the ‘Clinical at risk’ groups that need to get immunised. Please ring the Surgery 01488 682507 and book to have this done as soon as possible so you are protected against flu this winter. It will only take a few minutes of your time and we would be delighted to see you.

– if you are entitled to these immunisations you will be offered them when you come in for your flu jab.

– We would like to welcome our newest members to the team, Nurse Rebecca Herbert joined the Nursing Team in September and Faith Brew recently joined our Reception/Admin Team as our apprentice.

: – thank you for contacting us to cancel your appointment when it is no longer needed – we are able to offer the appointment to other patients. If you need to cancel, please call the Surgery number and press Option 5. Leave us a clear message with your name/DOB/appointment day & time and contact number. – Thank you.

– If you would like to book appointments and order prescriptions online – please download the form from our website and bring to Reception along with your photo ID.

– Please let us have your up-to-date Mobile Number and Email Address so that we can contact you easily.

TEXT MESSAGES:- huge apologies for the disruption caused by missed text appointment reminder messages – unfortunately this was a wider CCG issue and not within our control but we hope to be back on track again.


Virtual Museum

How Hungerford’s Grown?!

Prior to accurate census records (from 1801) estimates have to be made by extrapolating from data such as Muster Rolls, and Parish Records such as Baptisms and Burials.

Estimates of British Population:
Bronze Age (c1,500BC); < 250,000.
Roman occupation (43-410AD): 1 million.
Domesday Survey (1086): 1-2 million.
c1300: 4-6 million.
1400: 2-3 million
1550: 4 million
1600: 5 million
1700: 6 million
1800: 9 million
1850: 21 million
1900: 38 million
1991: 56.5 million
2001: 58.8 million
2011: 63.3 million
2015: 65.1 million

Estimates of Population of Hungerford:
1500s: 500-700
1600s: 1,000
1801: 1,987
1851: 2,696
1901: 2,363
1951: 3,020
2001: 5,559
2011: 5,767

You can see that there was only 51% increase during the 150 years from 1801 until 1951, but 91% increase in the 60 years between 1951 and 2011.

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

Hugh Pihlens

Grumpy’s Article

Ever since Agincourt, CHAINMAIL continues to lead the charge…..your September 2017 edition’s coverage of GNASH’s complaints about helicopters was echoed on the front page of the Newbury Weekly News the following month and subsequently, in early October, in The Daily Telegraph. This national paper probably sits in the Pilots’ Mess nearby as after 11.00 p.m. on the same evening as the publication date, we were buzzed again until for several tiresome and antisocial minutes. I suppose this was retribution. We are told that, locally, there is a shortage of unpopulated areas for training purposes; a statement sitting uncomfortably with our proximity to Salisbury Plain and The New Forest.

In September, I mentioned Lauren and Denis stamping their presence at the Down Gate pub. Here is more good news: they are engaged; congratulations! Do go and celebrate it with them.

Grumpy’s glass [never half-full for long] is emptying fast……..but that will not surprise you. One of my readers from Hungerford, self-evidently another qualified Grumpy, has written to me lamenting the standard of driving on the A4 in the early hours of the morning after dawn. I also have occasion to travel on the Bath Road in the early morning and can only agree. Overtaking, regardless of double white lines, hatching etc , at 60-plus mph seems commonplace. Such a speed where there are intersections is self-evidently too high as those turning out onto the A4 from Denford, Kintbury and at Half Way dice with death.

My Grumpiness continues with the WBC [if it was WBCC, it could stand for West Berks Council in Cuckoo-land] continuing to ignore the dangers faced by young mothers and/or fathers, often with prams and toddlers in tow, as (ecologically correctly, of course) they walk down to the High Street after depositing older children at the Primary School. After the intersection of Fairview Road and Park Street, they must then travel along Park Street towards the High Street on a major carriageway within the township carrying a substantial volume of traffic but with no proper pavement on either side for at least 10 metres, and an inadequate refuge on one side only for another 15 metres. I emphasise, the carriageway is used by heavy articulated traffic and cars, often travelling quite speedily or on the wrong side of the road as they line up to swing into Station Road or into/out of Fairview Road. Additionally, there are no signs for drivers on Park Street, whether they are coming up the hill or travelling West, that there is every possibility of there being pedestrians of all ages [ with or without sticks!] legitimately in the carriageway. While I agree that signage needs to be minimised, this stinks of apathy.

Finally, the comments in the last edition were not figments of my imagination: there is a trend towards cyclists’ abuse in Hungerford High Street, Today, in the course of 30 minutes, I watched two cyclists [ both adults] overtake, within the clearly marked zigzag boundaries, queues of traffic waiting properly and patiently for pedestrians (including children) who were using the designated crossing opposite the Town Hall; subsequently, I saw two other adult cyclists totally ignore the precedence demanded of road-users on the mini-roundabout outside the Hungerford Arms. As the song goes…when will they ever learn?

Pip pip

Gardening by Stacy

Goodbye 2017, hello 2018

Well, where has this year gone? Unfortunately I was ill for a part of it so I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of the garden plus it has missed out on a lot of gardening. I’m going to have my work cut out come Spring to get it all back into shape. There are also lots of plants I wanted to get or plant combinations I wanted to try which I will now move to next year’s plans.

Seeing the beautiful Dahlias which Martin Bakker was selling in his florist in the summer made me keen to try and grow more next year. He had some of the Café au lait Dahlias- huge dinner plate flowers with, as the name suggests, blooms the colour of a milky coffee. I grew them once years ago and I have never seen a better Dahlia.

My garden is divided into mini rooms and I had also planned a revamp of one of them. Due to the long rill in it, it is called the Persian garden. A dwarf Box hedge surrounds the rill and I always had pastel blue, pink and white perennials alongside it.

However, inspired by an impulse purchase of a perennial Salvia Amistad (deep purple/ black stems and buds, opening up to lilac flowers) I had decided to completely change this area of garden. The plan was to have jewel colour plants – turquoise, jade, emerald, bright pinks and reds in a wave of bold colour. Amazing how the purchase of one plant can lead to so much work and expense!

I spotted a large red Canna reduced to £2 in Tesco in the summer so my plan was underway and at a bargain price. Another purchase at Woolton Hill Village Market (worth visiting if you have never been) from a local grower followed in the autumn- the joy of discovering a plant I have never seen before. It is Fuchsia microphylla- a small leaved variety with teeny tiny deep pink flowers. Although the leaves and flowers are mini, the plant grows to around 1.4m high. A native of Mexico it is borderline hardy so it has gone into the greenhouse with the Canna to await planting out in the spring.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a good growing year in 2018

Stacy Tuttle

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Foraging – The art of finding free food in the countryside.

Everyone knows about fungi, fruit, nuts and herbs but flowers and plants are also a source of free food.

Fungi Edible fungi are most numerous in autumn. Numerous guide books have been published on the subject and are very helpful for identification. However my advice is to enjoy photographing or identifying them on a walk – after all being 99% sure of something found in a field and then cooking it could be fatal. Incidentally there are over 15,000 fungi in the UK and there is an excellent web site which will help you find the edible ones.

Fruit Most people know where to find an apple or pear tree in hedgerows and there are numerous fruit trees on roadsides. We used to store fruit in the loft of our houses, carefully wrapped in newspaper, but nowadays no-one has the time to do this and inspect them weekly. This autumn my friend and I have been trying to find crab apples to use as pectin for his wife’s jam making but we think it has been a bad year for them but a brilliant year for eating apples.

We have found some medlar trees growing wild which we are holding under surveillance. One of my books states that these apples are best eaten when they are nearly rotten. You are supposed to scoop out the brown skin and eat it with cream or sugar. The phrase “bletted with cream” was used. Medlar jelly or jam can be made.

Nuts Autumn is definitely the time of year to gather nuts before the squirrels, mice and birds beat you to your favourite tree. Again my friend and I have a walnut tree under surveillance and we have raided several sweet chestnut trees that grow on our patch. Hopefully they will keep to Christmas.

Flowers It is amazing how many wild flowers are edible. Even the humble dandelion can be used in salads and the roots can be used to make coffee. Also nettles are said to be good for making tea. The famous scientist Carl Linnaeus seems to have tried the leaves of most flowers, including the ones that are abundant around Hungerford such as rosebays. He stated that soups and drinks could be made from them. Many country wines can be made from flowers and the famous book by C.J.J. Berry ought to be used by people who like wine. After all a demi-john of dandelion wine is far cheaper than a bottle of Chardonnay.

Plants If one is interested in this topic I suggest you obtain the book written by Richard Mabey.- Food for Free. I was pleasantly surprised that the root of the plant Lords and Ladies is edible.

Herbs In late summer and early autumn I often think of gathering herbs. However I have now built a herb garden by my back door using beer casks. So I am afraid I have become lazy in my old age.

Richard Barker

Hungerford Library / HUB

Thank you for your continued support through our restructure. When you come in to the library you will now be greeted by our excellent team of volunteers who are here to support the staff and help you get the best possible service from your library. The volunteers have been trained to help you use the self-service kiosk to save you having to wait. To use this facility you need to have your library card and 4 digit PIN. If you don’t know what your PIN is, please ask at the desk. Please be aware that at lunch times we provide a limited service as it is only volunteers here to help you. This is an excellent time to say thank you to our wonderful volunteers and the volunteer coordinator who makes sure our timetables are always full!

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

We have a brand new group! The English Conversation Group meets every Wednesday from 2-3pm. Its purpose is provide a friendly environment for non-English speakers to gain confidence. It is not a class. If you know of anyone who might benefit from this group please let them know. If you have experience in this area and you think you might be able to help, please come along or contact 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 Group –Our book group meets on the third Friday of the month 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

The acquisition of the Library building and its operation has moved on at a disappointingly slow pace. But this was expected, due to the number of possible organisational pit falls that have to be taken into account. Although this has been quite a frustrating time for the Friends, who are waiting to move things forward. .

To date West Berks Council Executive has signed off the concept of transferring of the library building to Hungerford Town Council (HTC) with a 99 year repairing lease.
We are now a registered Charity Trust with Trustees.

HTC has set aside some assets for the acquisition and the Friends have already set up a fund raising forum.

Regarding the transfer of the Library asset to HTC, means that HTC, the Trust and the Friends need to scrutinise the transfer details to make sure that WBC’s working model is achievable. So we will be negotiating the details of the transfer

The interested parties will be looking at a definite time line for the completion of the negotiations for the working model of the complex (HUB).

Obviously there will be some delays while these negotiations take place, but it is envisaged that a completion date of around February 2018 should be achievable.

Although it is frustrating the Friends are of good heart and are looking forward to working to making the Library and Community Trust building an asset for the town.

By the time you read this we should be well on the way to having A Community Hub for Hungerford

Peter Harries, Chair The Friends.

Steam by Tony Bartlett

Gresley A4 Pacific no. 60009 Union of South Africa continued its good work in our area. It was rostered for the two West Somerset Steam Expresses to Minehead which operated this season, as well as taking a train round the Cotswolds circular. It even turning up on a Dorset Coast Express at Wareham where I was holidaying – strange coincidence that!

The large and impressive LMS Pacific no. 46233 Duchess of Sutherland was also active but unfortunately not on our line, passing through the Vale of White Horse and Andover on separate occasions. It had looked as though Flying Scotsman may also be seen crossing the Vale, but failure on a run south from York with a ‘hot box’ (wheel bearing fault) put paid to that and has put into question its programme for the rest of 2017.

The recent highlight for me was the run of the British Pullman on 6th September. I had been involved with the Canal & River Trust in the restoration of Bridge 99 on the Kennet & Avon. My picture of a similar train some 3 years earlier was chosen to appear on the interpretation panel at the site. On the day, the canal volunteers were just carrying out the installation when the train was due – so I took the opportunity to get a ‘double take:

This time Tornado was (still) standing in for Clan Line heading the Belmond Hotels train. Bridge 99 near Crofton is worth a visit now that there is safe access to the viewing area.

It is usually a busy time for steam specials in the run up to Christmas, but seemingly less so this year with most of the action taking place on the Basingstoke – Salisbury line. Clan Line is due to be taking a Salisbury circular out through Andover on 18th Nov, and two LMS ‘Black Five’ 4-6-0 imports from the North have runs in that area during December. The best hope for a steam sighting in Hungerford is on the 19th Dec when Britannia Pacific no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell is due to be working a Paddington – Bath train, although the route chosen may avoid the on-going electrification work to Newbury.

Tony Bartlett

HAHA by Belinda

An Allotment in Hungerford………..
It’s time to round up 2017 – that was a fast one! We’ve gained some keen new plotholders this year and our mini plots (just £12 a year) are a great way for people to get a taste for growing their own.

HAHA started the growing year with our first plant sale, which we held at the Fairfields allotment site. The flower and vegetable seedlings sold well and it’s good to think that some grow-your-own inspiration spread a little further around Hungerford.

The Marsh Lane barbecue, on a lovely sunny afternoon, was well attended with plenty of chatter, food and drink – thanks in part to plotholder Ivan for his amazing home-made wine!

The RBL/HAHA Show had a good number of exhibits and visitors. It’s proving to be a staple of the Hungerford events calendar and we look forward to more new exhibitors next year.

The town mural, as part of HADCAF, was fun to be involved in. We were pleased to add the allotments along with other key elements of the town.

The Hungerford Food Festival is a great success, bringing thousands of visitors to the town. A perfect opportunity for allotment holders to display some of the delicious and colourful vegetables that we manage to grow.

We now have a composting toilet at the Marsh Lane site, courtesy of lottery funding. It will be a huge cost saver for HAHA, no longer needing to rent a portaloo during the growing season.

On a personal note, our first attempt at a ‘squash grotto’ was not too successful, but we have plans for next year. Storm damage stopped our Glass Gem maize from producing the beautiful multi-coloured corn cobs – more securing and earthing in of roots was clearly required. Luckily our most delicious crop of Lark sweetcorn stayed (pretty much) upright.

Cosmos, sunflowers and asters put on a colourful display throughout the Summer. Salad leaf, courgettes, tomatoes and beans were abundant. Our heart and star-shaped cucumbers are always a fabulous edition to lunches, which I manage to make from home-grown through the whole Summer.

Carrots, parsnips, sprouts, leeks and purple sprouting broccoli promise to be part of our diet over the next few months. There will be plenty of home-made soups though unfortunately the onions didn’t appreciate the hot-wet-hot growing season, so we’ll need to buy some. If bought from Hungerford Tesco we can pick up a blue token and help out HAHA with a grant, to help us promote our sites and fill some of the empty plots for next year! PLEASE THINK OF US WHEN YOU SHOP!

You can see what we’re up to through my blog (recently added to the Thompson & Morgan bloglist:

Happy Christmas and see you next year for more growing, cooking and loving of allotment life! Thanks to all who make it what it is!

Belinda 0754 118 7274

Hungerford Football by Ron Tarry

After an indifferent start to the season, we were shocked by the resignation of our manager, Bobby Wilkinson, in the middle of August. He had overseen 7 years of incredible success which saw us climb from the Hellenic League, through the Southern League Division One and the Southern Premier Division to the Vanarama National League South, only two steps from the Football League, the highest Non-League team in Berkshire, where we compete with clubs with a catchment areas ten or twenty times that of ours, clubs with regular home crowds of well over 1,000.

Holding our own at this level is a remarkable achievement, at least two divisions above that of local rivals with whom we have competed for much of our history.
Unfortunately Bobby took with him the entire management team, the club captain, and several players, but the response from everyone at the club was heartening, Jon Boardman and Ian Herring, two of our experienced players, were appointed joint managers and they soon steadied the ship, brought in new players, and earned the respect of officials and supporters alike.

We are still facing a tough time at this exalted level, but face the future with confidence.
Promotion to the National League has meant that we have had to make ground improvements, increase the ground capacity, install a new 100-seater stand, new floodlights, and improved spectator facilities.

This has all been achieved thanks to the hard work of many, Steve Skipworth and Norman Matthews in particular, the financial support of the Football Foundation, William R. Asprey, Nigel Warrick, the West Berks.. Council, Hungerford Town Council, and countless loyal supporters, to all of whom we are eternally grateful.

Hungerford Town Football Club has achieved a great deal over its 130-odd years of existence and the town can be proud of its contribution .

Long may it continue.

Ron Tarry. President. Hungerford Town Football Club.

Hungerford Town Band by Tim Crouter

Hungerford Town Band will be shortly reaching its busiest time of year as a community band. December is peak performance time both for entertaining shoppers in Hungerford and Newbury as well as performing at private parties and community events.
First of all, we will be playing at the Switch On of our wonderful Christmas lights on Sunday 3rd December. The following week both Training and Senior Bands will be appearing at the Christmas Extravaganza. The Training Band will be playing at 5.30pm to be followed by the Senior Band from 6. 30pm.Please stop by and say hello and why not request your favourite carol?

The highlight of our festive period will be our Christmas concert to be held in the Corn Exchange, Hungerford at 7.30pm. Tickets will be £7.00 to include refreshments and can be purchased from Crown Needlework, band members or of course you can buy them on the night.

On Sunday 17th December the band will be playing in the Town Carol Service, hosted by the Mayor, this is a traditional lessons and carols service which brings the whole community together.

Turning to the New Year, the band will be busy preparing the set work “Ex Terra Lucem” by Jonathan Bates for the regional round of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. This is a modern work which is sure to be a real challenge and contains some new effects especially in the percussion department.

For further information or an enquiry to learn to play please contact us via the band web site

May we take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry and healthy Christmas and New Year.

Tim Crouter

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.

In September and October, earlier than usual, members of the PPG helped at the Saturday morning flu clinics. Representatives from Healthwatch and The Reading and West Berkshire Carers’ Hub were also in attendance at some of the sessions and able to give patients information about their work and answer some of their questions. If you are eligible and wish to receive a reminder before next year’s clinics, please give the surgery your mobile number.

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.


Hungerford Primary School

We have started the new school year by welcoming a 2 new members PTA executive Team. We welcome Peta and Lara into their new roles as vice-chair and Treasurer. We have also welcome many new faces to the committee and wider PTA Family.

This year we are raising funds to join in with the school’s hope to develop the outside areas, we are looking to rejuvenate the equipment that is there and introducing lots of new editions all around the site.

The team are all in the process of arranging some fabulous events for the Children to enjoy this year and have already had our Autumn Term Disco to start the year off with a Bang!
Our Annual Jumble sale will take place on the 20th January 2018 so have a clear out and donate or come and grab yourself a bargain and we are arranging prize bingo for early in March.

You will also be able to find us at this year’s Christmas Extravaganza on Friday 8th December, with our annual tombola, so please come and visit us on the night. The Children have a non-uniform day and donate chocolate or bottles for the great array of tombola prizes.

Finally, we always welcome the opportunity to partner with national or local companies, through Matched Funding for our volunteers or sponsorship for the school. This can be an amazing opportunity for your company to be part of something very rewarding!!
Please contact us on

Christmas 1940

Throughout 1940 Leading Stoker Thompson, “Gerry”, kept a diary of his time on HMS Antelope. Here in his own words is a picture of his Christmas.

Weds Xmas Day: Had the middle watch so greeted Xmas day in Engine Room same as last year. Left Greenock 0500. Got a shake at 0800 to get a parcel which arrived just before we sailed from Vera (his wife). Lovely surprize(sic). Cold wet rain, seas flat. Caught up with convoy 1000. (HMS) Active, Yank and escort vessel, also trawlers.

Thursday 26 December. Not a ripple on the water, brilliant sunshine. Really remarkable weather. Felt awfully blue last night thinking of Vera. Hope she had a much better time than I had. Von Scheer, pocket battle ship, reported in vicinity, apparently being engaged by (HMS) Kenya, light cruiser.

Since April 1939, Gerry had been a Stoker on HMS Antelope, an A class, oil fired destroyer, one of the greyhounds of the sea. In reality, just a fast, uncomfortable weapons platform, with minimal cramped crew quarters. In his entry for 24 October 1940, Gerry records the comments of fourteen rescued survivors who had been in an open boat for 6 days:-
Raining and cold- very calm though….There’s practically nothing to eat but corned beef and ships biscuit. The survivors all declare they wish they had been left in the boat. Declared they wouldn’t stay aboard here – and they’re nearly all seasoned sailors.

January 1940 had found the Antelope on Escort duty to convoys in the Western Approaches and Channel where she sank her first U boat (U41) of the south of Ireland.
Detached to support operations in Narviik, Norway, and a further detachment (aborted) to the Home Fleet in support of the Free French operation “Menace”, she was deployed to convoy escort duties in the North-West Atlantic, not an easy environment in which to wage war in the depths of a North Atlantic winter, as these further extracts from Gerry’s diary make quite clear:-

Saturday 12 December: Terrific Gale, worse(sic) night I have ever known. Impossible to sleep Mast carried away and Carly rafts gone, Motor boat gone. Leak in “A” Boiler. Mess under water We were ordered to return to convoy but still haven’t located them by midnight.

Thursday 17th Dec. Eased down slightly. Still rough enough to be uncomfortable. Located “U” boat 1100. Attacked with depth charges. Kept attacking until 1500. Oil etc came bursting to surface so we think we got her. Carried on sweeping with (HMS) Active. Wind rising again.

Friday 27th December. Wind rising, no further news of raiders. By tea time blowing half a gale.1600-SOS from merchant ship being attacked. Dashed to rescue. Later report says they have taken to boats.

Saturday 28th December Wind and seas dropped. Usual Atlantic swell. Searched all night-no sign of survivors. Packed up searching at dusk – making for Loch Foyle (Ireland) to oil.
Tuesday 31st Dec. Passed several of scattered convoy during night. Finally took charge of one which we are escorting to Greenock. Expect to arrive early tomorrow. We miss “Hogmanay”. Cold but brilliant sunshine.

Wednesday 1st January Arrived at Greenock late today, Duty aboard.

To round off these anecdotes, Antelope was broken up in Blythe at the end of an eventful war. Stoker Thompson left The Service as a Master at Arms in 1955 after an equally eventful naval career, and finally paid off aged 95 a few years ago. His son received his Arctic star in the post a few days after his death.

The tradition of service is always most apparent at Christmas and we should never forget those who work at this time of the year while the rest of us do our Christmas thing. Gerry’s diary is a reminder of the humanity and vital routine tasks undertaken by very special people, but ordinary human beings, to maintain our services, well-being, and security.



Gabriella Stafford of MacAuley & Co Solicitors discusses inheritance tax.
If you wish to leave your home to your children when you die you can benefit from the residence nil rate band for inheritance tax.

Many people wish to leave their home to their children when they die; the Government introduced a residence nil rate band (RNRB), which came into effect on 6th April 2017, in addition to the nil rate band (NRB) for inheritance tax intended to assist in this desire.

The RNRB is available when you leave your home or a qualifying residential interest to a lineal descendant and is claimed by your executors reducing the taxable estate.

A lineal descendant includes children, stepchildren, adopted children and grandchildren; the spouse or civil partner of a lineal descendant may also qualify.

A qualifying residential interest is your home or a property you have lived in when you owned an interest in it. If you own more than one property your executors will be able to nominate a property, which does not have to be your main home. It also doesn’t matter how long you lived there or how long you owned the interest but buy-to-let properties would not qualify. You don’t have to be living in the property at the time of your death to qualify.

How will the RNRB enable me to leave more to my children?

Broadly speaking we can already leave the first £325, 000 of our estate free from inheritance tax, the NRB. The RNRB is applied to the estate first, so for 2017-2018 it is £100,000 and will go up to £175, 000 by 2021. (Estates valued at more than £2M are treated differently as the allowance is tapered)

Illustration: Jane who is single died in May 2017. She left her only asset, her home (net value £425,000), to her son Jack. Jane’s executors can claim the RNRB reducing the taxable value of the estate by £100,000. With the £325,000 NRB no inheritance tax will be due on Jane’s estate and Jack will not have to sell the family home to pay inheritance tax.

Married couples or civil partners who leave their estate to each other pay no inheritance tax no matter how large their estates. The NRB is transferable between spouses if unused and potentially doubles the amount a couple can leave to their children free from inheritance tax to £650,000. The new additional RNRB is also transferable to a surviving spouse if unused.

Illustration: Geoff died in 2001 leaving his estate to his wife Gill so no inheritance tax is due. Gill dies in May 2017 leaving everything to her children Graham and Grace. The estate includes her home valued at £650,000 and other assets of £200,000. Gill’s executors can claim the transferable RNRB for Geoff as his was unused along with Gill’s RNRB which reduces the taxable estate by £200,000. Gill’s executors can also claim Geoff’s unused NRB along with Gill’s totaling £650,000 therefore no inheritance tax is payable on Gill’s

The above are for illustrative purposes;
if you wish to discuss your personal situation please contact us.

MacAuley & Co Solicitors, 120 High Street, Hungerford RG17 0LU
Telephone 01488 682348

Fond and distant memories…………………………Jack Williams

Once again November just gone, and a month of remembrance, and has now taken me into my 90th year, I look back and unlock so many memories of the wonderful town in which we live. This will be my last year as President of the Royal British Legion and I shall be quite emotional when I repeat the “Exhortation” at our War Memorial at Bridge Street, at the War Memorial Recreation ground and finally at RBL Headquarters. I am always very much aware of the men who suffered and particularly as my mother was the youngest of 11 children. Eight brothers and brothers-in-law served in the 1914-18 war. Two were killed and the survivors used to come to my grandmother’s home in Chilton Foliat after the 6pm service at the Methodist Chapel and I Iistened with amazement to the stories they told.

Margaret arranged for me to visit France in 1988 with both of our sons, Andrew and Richard. This coincided with The Queen and Prince Philip’s visit there for November 11th and is an event that will never be forgotten. It is perhaps of interest that I served with the Prince for a short time in 1947.

As I write this article for you all, I am surrounded by local photographs. Almost all are groups of local councillors, Hungerford Cricket Club and predominately Hungerford Fire Brigade. This latter is not surprising as I served for a long time as did my dad, Charlie Williams and my father-in-law Bill Cox. In my forty years as a councillor I was always aware that so many local people would give up their time to serve the community.

There was no reward only we hoped that fellow townspeople would appreciate our efforts.
Anyone who served will never forget the stain of the Michael Ryan episode in well done Ron Tarry, I knew Michael Ryan’s father quite well. He was a local council employee and had been helpful when we were building our house.

I feel that it will be better appreciated if I mention people whose company was of great importance to me.

My Cricket Club photo immediately to hand is dated 1955 when I became captain and the names most people will remember are: Michael Moon, Bill Cook, Dick Carter, Bill Smith, Ron Cope and Ron Nash.
The Fire Brigade photo with Bob Norris, John Pike, Ted Stevens. Bill Barnes, my dad, Bert Wyatt and Tommy Cox, and the Town Council when my dad retired, Ivy Wells, Hugh Hassall, Frank Light, Bill Ackworth, John Hathway, Ron Tarry, Mary Talbot and, guess who was Mayor…….Jack Williams!

Novembers have always been a month full of memories, but as I write this article and say farewell to you all until the next edition, I can think of nowhere else I would want to live, and with no one other than my wife Margaret who has given me such happiness and so many family and friends around me.

A Happy Christmas to you all.