Issue 139

1st June
1st Sept 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

This being the Summer issue, my mind is turning to warm sunny days with a cooling breeze moving the long grasses that grow on the chalkland downs of which there is so much within easy reach of Hungerford.

The cover picture this issue is of such a place, illustrating the chalk beneath the flora and the big skies above.

To climb to such a place with the grasshoppers scattering before and the blue butterflies dancing on the breeze, and then to lie down and gaze at the clouds as they present their ever changing imagery is the promise that lifts the spirit during the long dark days of winter.

Enjoy your Summer.


Message from the Chairman

So my next chapter begins ‘Retirement ‘, what will it bring? Well 26 years at the Surgery was very rewarding and I will miss everyone, staff and patients. Thank you to everyone who sent me cards, presents and good wishes it meant a lot and made me very emotional. What will you do with your time is the question everyone asks me and the answer is I’m not sure yet. I will be continuing with Chain and hope to help out in the office after some training from Deanne.

One of the new ideas we have at Chain is for escorts to be used on the Handybus and for Car Drivers (if necessary). The Handybus Drivers could use escorts to help with the passengers and their shopping and this would be another way Volunteers could help Chain.

Some Car Drivers particularly those going to Royal Berkshire Hospital can find it a problem dropping off passengers and then finding a parking slot and getting people to their appointments on time. Escorts could help by staying with the passenger or taking them to their clinics while the driver is not under pressure to find a parking spot. If anyone would be interested in becoming an Escort then please contact the Chain Office on 683727 or myself on 683302 (

We are also looking for someone to take over the care of the Chairman Vehicle, this has been done for a long time by David Thorpe and we are very grateful for all his hard work. Please contact the office or any Trustees if you think you might be interested in helping with the Chairman Vehicle.

The Chain AGM is being held on Monday 25th June at 7.30pm in the Town Hall Complex, you are all very welcome and anyone who is interested in volunteering for a Chain please come along and find out more about what Chain does in our community.

Janette Kersey


Hello, …….

CHAIN has a most fantastic group of Volunteers in Hungerford but we need a few more people to step up to the plate and VOLUNTEER.

For a few years now we have been asking for someone to help with our specially converted estate car that has been modified to carry a wheelchair & 2 passengers, it doesn’t take a lot of time but the chap that has been doing it now wants to give up, so PLEASE won’t one of you that are reading this take it on. Go on Give something Back to Hungerford, one day You might need the Help that CHAIN gives. Janette mentions a new position called “Escorts” and Ted is after help on the Handybus.

The AGM of the year takes place on Monday 25th June at 7.30pm in the Town Hall

I know people these days get a lot of emails but how long does it really take to send a quick reply? Be polite and send that reply!

Have you visited our new very smart butcher yet? So nice to buy just the exact number of sausages and the lamb was delicious. No he is NOT giving me a discount!

Would a councillor please really get on top of the Pigeon Poo problem.It was fantastic that Anthony (the Pigeon Poo Mayor) a few years ago shook up Network Rail and things did improve but the bridge and Dods pavement are suffering and it’s not right. In fact a few months ago I met a lady who had slipped on the stuff and had broken her arm.

I like to think that I am well aware of cyber crime but some how somebody ordered a tail light from eBay America using my account. It was timed so well that I was in a remote log cabin in Scotland with no internet (what a blessing). Returned home in the nick of time to stop it from being despatched. Ebay were great and PayPal. I have now unlinked these accounts and use the option of having a one time text code sent from PayPal before a transaction can take place. It was a worrying time before lots of passwords were set up to try and stop the individual from doing it again. So be Vigilant out there.

What a load of rubbish the new GWR phone app is for buying tickets, it is still (at the moment) better to buy them Internet On-Line and get them posted, but I did rather fancy the idea of them coming straight to my phone.

Talking of phones, due to the high number of nuisance calls and the failure of companies who ignore the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) I have disconnected my landline and can only be reached by my mobile as below.

Thanks & Best Wishes David Piper


Letters, articles and adverts should be sent to me by the 7th of the month preceding
publication, i.e.7th August for the issue on Sept 1st. But 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.




.New Mayor:
At the Hungerford Town Full Council meeting on 8th May Cllr Helen Simpson was unanimously elected as Town Mayor replacing the previous Mayor Cllr Keith Knight who was elected as Deputy Mayor. Cllr Simpson said after her appointment “I’m so very proud and completely honoured to announce I am the newly elected Mayor of Hungerford. Thank you for the overwhelming support. I will do my absolute best to serve the community and all of its residents”

Library Update:

Negotiations are in the final stages with West Berks Council (WBC) The lease has been drafted along with a Joint Users Agreement. Its is hoped that this will be signed off by all parties during May. A planned opening will then take place during June after refurbishment work has taken place including new LED lighting throughout the building.

Neighbourhood Plan:

The council has now decided to go ahead with the Neighbourhood Plan and has established a working party. The members of this group are as follows:
Chair Cllr John Downe, Vice Chair Tony Drewer-Trump , Secretary Claire Barnes, other members include Cllr Keith Knight , Cllr Mark Cusack , Cllr Richard Hudson, Geoff Greenland and Chris Scorey. More information about the Neighbourhood plan which is now known as Hungerford 2036 appears on page 34.

HTC Grant Funding:
A reminder that Grants Fund for 2018 have increased additional £5000. This money will increase the councils fund to nearly £23,000 money that is now available to the towns groups and charities. To apply for funding in 2018 please contact the Council Office.

Croft Activity Centre Extension:
Work has now been completed on a new outdoor garden room extension for the HTC run croft Activity Centre. The extension has been partly funded with grant money received from the TESCO bags scheme. The extension is an ideal venue for outdoor events and Bar-B-Ques and is available for hire. Please contact Sarah Hennessey at the HTC office for more information.

Past 12 months:

The council has embarked on a number of new projects and initiatives in the town over the past 12 months including the following:
Library building – 99 year lease at peppercorn rent.
Undertaking pigeon reduction action in the town reducing the overall numbers
Retendering of contracts for the Christmas Lights and Toilet cleaning resulting in considerable financial savings.
Renegotiated the annual rent paid by Hungerford Rugby Club for use of the Triangle Field resulting in more revenue for the town and more freedom for the rugby club to raise additional revenues from site hire and advertising
Repainted and rebranded Towns Noticeboards
Added more CCTV (extra camera at Skatepark)
Garden Room at Croft Activity Centre
Neighbourhood Watch Scheme expanded
Increase in Grants Budget for 2018/19 by £5k

The resulting financial changes have resulted in no increase in the towns precept for this year 2018/19.


Hungerford 2036 – Shaping our future

Today (8.5.2018) , Hungerford is launching an exciting project – Hungerford 2036 – to guide the way our town and its surrounding area will evolve.
The Hungerford 2036 Project Team aims to identify how Hungerford wishes to develop over the next 20 years and document this vision in a Neighbourhood Development Plan which will:-
Conserve and enhance the town and countryside,
Identify and address challenges facing our area now and in the future,
Ensure our town and its surrounding area is a thriving, attractive and
welcoming place to live, work and visit.

Hungerford 2036 will demand a lot of work from us all and will keep the Project Team busy for at least the next two years. Everyone will be kept informed throughout this time and will be encouraged to contribute their ideas and opinions at various stages. Engagement and help from residents living or working in all parts of the town and its surroundings is vital to the success of the project. Contributions will be welcomed from the entire community, from all backgrounds and age groups.
Once the Plan is ready a local referendum will be held and more than half of those who vote must choose “yes” for the Plan to be finalised. If all goes well, the Plan would then become part of the planning framework for our area. This means it must be used by the local Planning Authority (West Berks) when making decisions.
The Plan will also provide a clear summary of the community’s aspirations and priorities to guide the Town Council and other organisations’ decisions.
More information can be found for now on the Town Council’s website although a dedicated Hungerford 2036 website will be set up shortly. If you would like to follow and be kept informed about progress on the project please email
The Project Team is very much looking forward to working on this project and your suggestions, comments and questions will always be welcome – as well as your offers of help!

John Downe,
Chair of Hungerford 2036 Project Team


Chain’s Page

The Chain AGM

is being held on Monday 25th June at 7.30pm in the Town Hall Complex, you are all very welcome and anyone who is interested in volunteering for Chain please come along and find out more about what Chain does in our community.

CHAIN Handybus

In 2017/18 CHAIN took over full financial and operational responsibility for the provision of a community minibus for Hungerford. CHAIN ensured that an important service was protected for the community.

In this year the Handybus carried more passengers, completed more journeys and travelled more miles than in any other previous year!
To help with this ever increasing demand we need more drivers to support our very committed current team.

Each driver completes about 2 journeys a month – usually of a half day’s duration. These include shopping and therapy trips plus transport for various local groups. The main aim of the Handybus is to provide transport for those of the community who are socially isolated or less mobile.

Drivers must have a category D1 on their current driving licence. Training will be given and each driver completes a short assessment before driving any trips.

If you are interested CHAIN would love to hear from you by contacting Ted Angell on 01488 682610, 077998 86597 or
If you would firstly like to see what driving the bus entails, we would be happy to give you a short demonstration. Again contact Ted – as above.


Can CHAIN help you?

CHAIN is an effective group of volunteers that cares and provides a range of assistance to people of any age who live in the town or rural district of Hungerford who are sick or disabled, or who are otherwise in need. Membership is open to all Hungerford residents interested in furthering its objectives, and includes all its volunteers.
CHAIN’s is here for you with:-
* Car Journeys – door-to-door transport to hospitals, clinics etc.
* Handybus Service – Running various shopping trips, eg regular run to Hungerford Market.
* Trips for groups, e.g. ‘Swimming for Disabled’ at the hydro-therapy pool, Swindon.
* For wheelchair users – CHAIN owns a CHAIRMAN vehicle which enables the wheelchair to be wheeled in through the back door and is available to families of wheelchair users.
* Services For The Elderly – Over 60s Pub Luncheon Club at local pubs. Organising and distribution of Christmas parcels for the elderly with Hungerford Rotary Club and The Newbury Weekly News.
* Other – Liaison with Hungerford Day Centre and the Hungerford Surgery.
* CHAIN MAIL – publishes and distributes a free quarterly magazine – which you’re reading now
If you think CHAIN may be able to assist you or a relative, call us on Hungerford 683727


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.


Hungerford cancer support group

are holding a Coffee Morning to raise awareness of the Group
All proceeds to the Rosemary Appeal
At the town hall 9th June 10am to 12noon.
For further details please contact Yvonne Gillies on 07888399134

Hungerford and Surrounds , CANCER SUPPORT GROUP
for people living or affected by cancer, and /or their carers 
and loved ones, past and present.

We are a friendly and welcoming group . If you haven’t been before you will be warmly welcomed whether you want to share experiences , listen , seek information or meet people .
We also have free tea/coffee and cake and meet on the last Tuesday of the month 
at the Riverside suite at the Bear hotel, Hungerford.

You may contact Jenny Knight 01488 644671 or 
Yvonne Gillies 07888399134         email

Bits 1


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




Hungerford & Camburn Educational Foundation
c/o Dickins Hopgood Chidley Solicitors
The Old School House
42 High Street
Hungerford RG17 0NF
Or by email from:

13th June 2018

*Hungerford Methodist Church, Bridge Street, Celebrates 150 Years

Come and join us on Sunday 8 July, 2.30-5pm for an exhibition of church and town over the last 150 years. Plus, cream teas in the Church hall.
If you have any photographs or archive material from 150 years ago right up
to the present day that you would be willing to let us borrow for the
exhibition please contact: 01488 685077 or


WEST BERKSHIRE FOODBANK 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


All Aboard!

All Aboard is a new group, offering a time to chat and play board games over a cup of tea. We meet in the lounge at Redwood House on the third Thursday each month from 2-4pm. Everyone is welcome, whether you live at Redwood House or not – please let us know if you would need transport to attend. We are also arranging other
activities for the first Thursday of each month such as speakers, quizzes and outings.

For more details or to book your space on the Handybus, please speak to Catherine (Village Agent) 07717 133021 or Sue 07922017464.

Run by volunteers, we are very grateful for the financial support of Sovereign Housing Association Communities In Action Fund.

Dates for your diary – all welcome:
7th June – a musical afternoon 21st June – Board Games
5th July – Guest Speaker (tbc) 19th July – Board Games
2nd August – Activity tbc 16th August – Board Games

From Sarah

I look back on my year in Office as High Sheriff of the Royal County of Berkshire, as an enormous privilege, in which I have met, observed the work of and been able to thank so many impressive people in Berkshire, and beyond. People who do their jobs with professionalism and dedication, and who work ceaselessly to keep things running smoothly for everyone, and to keep us all safe.

I have relished seeing how everything fits together. Sitting in Reading Crown Court recently, watching as much of a recent murder trial as I was able, felt like a well-tuned culmination of everything I had seen and learnt during the preceding months. Pieces all came together that touched on my visits to various branches of the police, the probation services and prisons. Other pieces of the jigsaw came from my visits to many charities which pick up the pieces of the lives of the most vulnerable.

During the year I have marvelled at the empathetic, compassionate, pragmatic, wise judges and magistrates, who work in what are frighteningly busy and increasingly challenging circumstances. It has been inspiring and heartening for me to have observed the work that is done with constant professionalism in the Crown Court, and in the Magistrates’ Courts, as well as the Family Courts. I realise that I have only scratched the surface of so many things, and yet at the same time I feel I that have grasped an extraordinary glimpse of how things fit together in our county.

The national Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition of which I had the honour to be Patron, as High Sheriff, is a huge success in Berkshire. Thanks to the enthusiasm and work of the magistrates in charge, Berkshire has more schools participating than in any other county; 450 students in all, out of a national total of 4000. Two Saturdays in March saw a real buzz in Reading Crown Court, when teams from 28 Berkshire schools, students aged 12 – 14, competed against each other for places in the regional final in May. Choreographing this is a huge effort on the part of many people: magistrates, teachers and court staff, all of whom are volunteers. In previous years, some of these young people, by taking part in this competition, have been inspired towards careers in law, or drama. I found it magnificent to watch the next generation learn and understand how magistrates’ courts work.

So much of what we read in the media focuses on the things that go wrong, or don’t work. And yet I have seen so many things that are GOOD during the course of the last year. I now realise that much of the smooth-running of this country, and Berkshire in particular, is due to the diligence and pure hard work of an extraordinary army of volunteers. These are some of the modest or unsung heroes of our county. In addition, few of us ever read let alone acknowledge the fact that 80% of the work done by the police prevents crime before it actually happens. There is much to admire and applaud people for, and much also to give us hope in the future.

Some of the most impressive people that I have met during the year have been those who work in our prisons.

I felt that these people were, in some ways, forgotten members of society, who do important work in increasingly challenging environments. In the snow a few weeks ago we never heard about the prison staff who slid their way through snowdrifts and took their sleeping bags into work. The same prison staff who every day deal with the problems that arise from budget constraints, under-staffing, over-crowding, drugs, the threats of assaults, self-harm and suicides amongst those they watch over.

For these reasons, I feel honoured to have instigated and organised a Prison Awards scheme across the Thames Valley, together with the High Sheriffs of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. We presented these awards to carefully nominated individuals working in 6 prisons, as well as Broadmoor Hospital. The reaction of some of those to whom we gave awards was humbling, with tears being shed and pride instilled at their being recognised, appreciated and thanked.

Attending Citizenship Ceremonies has helped me to realise why, now more than ever, people want to be British. They want to be citizens of this country where there is fundamental decency amongst their fellow citizens, but, crucially, where there is a fair system of justice. It was a privilege to gain an insight into workings of the General Election on 8th June, when, deep into the night, I attended the counts of two constituencies, and watched great piles of paper being counted, by hand. Democracy at its most raw, and all the more extraordinary for it.

Finally, there are three things I have taken away from my year as High Sheriff, which I could never have been prepared for:
The first is this: Appreciation of this country. Of our transparent, fair judicial system. Of the people who devote time, energy and commitment, and who make it work.
Secondly, an appreciation of freedom, of being able to go for a run safely, and gulp down clean fresh air at the end of a day inside a prison.
And last but not least, my very great appreciation of having a day off! It has been an incredibly busy year. How lucky I feel to have been given this extraordinary job, and how lucky I feel to live in Berkshire.

Sarah Scrope

Hungerford Surgery

Dr Alex Anderson:- has announced his intention to retire at the end of June after 12 years service at the practice and his last day on duty will be Thursday 21st June 2018. The practice has organised a drinks evening at the surgery on that same evening, commencing at 6:30pm, and patients and staff are invited to pop in and help celebrate Dr Anderson’s distinguished career as a doctor, and to wish him well for the future.

The practice is actively seeking a replacement GP and we hope to be in a position to announce his successor as soon as possible. In the meantime, patients registered with Dr Anderson will be allocated to one of the remaining five doctors at the beginning of July 2018, and until a replacement has been appointed.

Back to the Future:-
A warm welcome back to our new (old) Practice Manager, Mike Hall who re-joined the surgery team in April. Mike has returned after a 2½ year absence and has replaced Sukhi Sanghera whom we wish well for the future. We also welcome our new receptionist Diana Watson who joined the practice following the recent retirement of Janette Kersey after an incredible 26 years of service.

Cancellation line:-
A big thank you to those patients who contact us to cancel their appointment when no longer needed. We are then able to offer the appointment to other patients and avoid unnecessary lost time and money for the NHS. If you need to cancel, please call the Surgery number – 01488 682507 – and press Option 5. Leave us a clear message with your name/DOB/appointment day & time and contact number. Thank you.

Did you know?:-
An average of 3,000 appointments per month were seen by our team of doctors and nurses in the 1st quarter of 2018 and by the end of the year we expect to have offered over 36,000 appointments to patients. We are already seeing a 3-4% increase in demand from 2017 but rest assured we will continue to explore and find ways in which to maintain and improve the quality and availability of services here at Hungerford. Facts and figures are useful but what matters most is your individual experience as patients. If you feel that you consistently have too wait too long to get an appointment, or have any other feedback to give us, I would urge you to contact the surgery and we will do our best to address any concerns you might have.



Hungerford Surgery Patient Participation Group

The PPG continues in its aim of enhancing communication between Hungerford Surgery and its patients and helping with the continuous improvement of services.
Missed appointments continue to run at approximately 90 a month in 2018. This amounts to 20 a week! With Dr Anderson’s impending retirement there is no doubt, based on past experience, that appointments are going to become a little harder to get in the short term. So please use the cancellation line on 01488 682507, option 5 if you cannot attend an appointment. That way we can all help ensure there are appointments available when we want one.
With regard to appointments, there are an increasing range of healthcare professionals based at the Surgery who might be more appropriate for your problem than a GP.
That’s why the person who answers the phone needs to ask you a number of questions to help get you to the right healthcare professional as quickly as needed. They are NOT looking to understand confidential medical or sensitive information but get you to the right person as soon as appropriate. So please try to help them help you.
Good news at Boots – a permanent pharmacist has been appointed and there are definite signs of improvement. Staffing does remain an issue but we understand Boots are trying hard to remedy any shortfall.
The PPG continues to support a number of local support groups – The Cancer Support Group which meets at The Bear Hungerford from 2-4 pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month. They are having a coffee morning on 9th June from 10-12 in support of The Rosemary Appeal. The Carer’s Support Group which meets at the Tri-Service Station in Church Street, Hungerford from 10-12 noon on the third Tuesday of the month. In addition, the West Berks Diabetes Support Group now meets at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street, Hungerford on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 2 – 3 pm and the 3rd Thursday of the month at 6 – 7 pm.
Finally, the Hungerford PPG AGM is on 10th July at 7pm in the Surgery Waiting Room. All patients of Hungerford Surgery are welcome to attend. Any questions or queries or matters to raise, please contact


Virtual Museum

Electoral Reform and Hungerford’s Electorate

For centuries, the UK Parliament had consisted of a small landowning elite whose priorities were their own power and prosperity.

From the 18th century onwards, the social changes brought about by industrial growth and the decline of agriculture meant that the demographic landscape of Britain was altered. With these changes came demands from the working and middle classes for equality and fairness. It took many years for a more representative Parliament to be achieved.

The Great Reform Act of 1832 disenfranchised 56 boroughs in England and Wales (including the so-called “rotten borough” of Great Bedwyn) and reduced another 31 to only one MP. Eligibility to vote was expanded to include small landowners, tenant farmers, and shopkeepers, as well as those householders who paid a yearly rental of £10 or more and some lodgers. However, the majority of single men could not vote. Only 214,000 men could vote, under 3% of the adult population.

The call for ‘one man, one vote’ was still resisted by Parliament and the Second Reform Act of 1867 was still based around property qualifications. The vote was granted to all householders, as well as lodgers who paid rent of £10 a year or more. The property threshold was reduced to give the vote to agricultural landowners and tenants with very small amounts of land. As result, the electorate doubled to 2.5 million men.

The Third Reform Act of 1884 established a uniform franchise throughout the country – “one man, one vote”. The electorate doubled again to 5 million – still only men!
The Virtual Museum has recently made available the list of Ownership Electors for Hungerford (excluding Charnham Street) in 1915. It is fascinating to see that the total number of men on this roll is only 83! The schedules for Occupiers involve most householders in the parish and is not yet available.

The well-publicised Women’s Suffrage movement worked hard to extend the vote to women, resulting in the Representation of the People Act of 1918. Even then it was only women over the age of 30 years who were either a member or married to a member of the Local Government Register. About 8.4 million women gained the right to vote.

The current electorate for the UK Parliament totals over 46 million. Things have changed greatly!

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 Mr Editor,

As I write this, I wonder who could feel any tinges of Grumpiness as we finally enter summer and the contrasts of the shadows, absent for so many months, start to strengthen. Warmth returns apace after the coldest Quarter I can recall in my seven-decade [plus!] of life. The river levels are good and the fishermen are checking their tackle before heading to the banks as the season starts on a Chalk Stream for which, in common with other Southern townships, Hungerford is duly famous.

So apt that we have just seen the strong turn-out of Hungerford residents possessing public-spirited commitment and voluntarily litter-picking both in the Town Centre and on The Common where the cattle will soon be grazing on the newly shooting grass. Such a shame that their efforts and results are of course unappreciated by those anti-social and uneducated residents and visitors who happily continue to jettison their bottles, cigarette packets and fast-food wrappers. Also, if one is visiting Hungerford, the verges on the slip-roads on and off the M4 at our Junction [14] resemble the taka-taka strewn suburbs of Kenyan or Ethiopian towns in the levels of rubbish accumulating there. It certainly doesnt help the cause of those in the Council, the Chamber of Commerce and elsewhere who are actively seeking to build the footfall for the benefit of Hungerford’s economy

Closer to home, Grumpiness returns when one reads that the children in our town are out in the dark on their bicycles playing “chicken” with car drivers. Their chance of serious injury is compounded by the absence of proper lights on their bikes. I ask myself what their parents are doing? Surely those households can insist their children possessing bikes [which are not cheap these days] should also have lights, which are relatively inexpensive.

The Down Gate community continues its fiesta-filled 2018 diary with a wedding and then news that a new arrival is expected. What an excellent excuse for customers and new visitors alike to celebrate with another noggin enjoying the bonus provided by this pub where one can consume the refreshment and excellent fare available by sitting outside, soaking up the sun.

Keeping on an upbeat note. , I hear that the Hungerford Youth and Community Centre [HYCC] Centre, thanks to the superhuman efforts of those associated with it, has just seen the year-on-year bookings rise by over 20% [this after after the meteoric >200% rise over the previous past two years]. Sadly, the team still suffers from what appears to be WBC’s customary stance on matters Hungerfordian: after WBC’s walking away from the Youth Service commitment in our town [but not in Newbury!] about 6 years ago, resulting in a typical Hungerford community-spirit rescue and refloat. There is still no help coming from WBC for HYCC’s fund-raising efforts; it refuses a medium term lease on some of the facilities. Without this extension, the potential financiers are loath to stump up grants in case the WBC repeat their disengagement and realisation of an asset they have never supported in recent times.

Pip Pip Grumpy

Gardening by Stacy

Autumn Glory

For some the end of summer means the approach of winter and colder conditions but in the meantime we have autumn, that “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”.

The summer flowers have faded and the trees begin to take on their glorious golden hues.
However you don’t need to have an avenue of trees in your back garden to have a beautiful autumn display. Here are some ideas for plants to inject some colour into your garden this autumn.

For an informal hedge or as a lone shrub I love Rosa rugosa Alba. It has lime green leaves as a good backdrop to its open white flowers in summer. Then in autumn it produces lovely orange hips- good for birds as well as colour. Another shrub for berries is the Cotoneaster horizontalis – a bit boring and bog standard you may say but I love to see it trained espalier style against a wall and fence.

Hebe is a good low maintenance evergreen shrub for a sunny spot and Hebe Autumn Glory is, as the name suggests, in flower from July until October and provides some structure in the perennial border.

For the shadier garden a hardy Fuchsia will provide autumn colour year on year. For showy flowers similar to its annual cousins, Fuchsia Delta’s Sara has large white with lilac purple flowers although I prefer the more delicate Fuchsia Hawkshead with its white and green tipped flowers.

But it’s not all about trees and shrubs. Perennials play a big part in the autumn garden. I love Penstemons as they are such good value plants, flowering once established from summer through till October time. They come in a variety of sizes and colours and are perfect for a sunny border.

I also love Phlox paniculata as it has a glorious scent and will grow in sun or part shade. Phlox paniculata Mount Fuji with its pure white flowers does well to brighten a duller corner while Blue evening is that magical shade of blue which seems to stand out mystically as the sun goes down.

I finish my choices with Liriope muscari- a low growing evergreen perennial for shade with grass type leaves. It produces a grape hyacinth type purple flower spikes and newer variety Liriope Okina has pure white leaves ageing to a speckled frosting which highlight the lilac flowers.

Happy gardening

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

NATURE NOTES Make your own Nature Reserve

If you have a garden, why don’t you turn part of it into a nature reserve? Now that spring has arrived and summer is around the corner.

Let part of it go wild: let nettles grow as these are the food plant for many butterflies. Let the grass grow longer to encourage mammals such as hedgehogs to use your garden.

Some scientists argue that the decline in our hedgehog population has been accelerated by gardeners putting up fences which hedgehogs cannot get through. A small square cut out of a woven fence may let hedgehogs travel between gardens.

Why don’t you make your own bird boxes and put them up? Bird boxes can be put up all year round but it is illegal and unwise to inspect them in the spring and summer.

If you have children or grandchildren get them to make boxes which are suitable for robins as well as titmice. The stereo type box with a round hole cannot be used by robins and wagtails. Also spotted flycatchers, who arrive in June, use robin-type boxes.

Children, and adults, can make bird feeders which may be used all year round. As long as you remember whole peanuts can kill young birds. My father and I made a feeder out of spare wood and wire. We wrapped the stiff wire around the wood twice so as the birds can take only part of a peanut. It is great fun watching pheasants jump up to peck at the peanuts and great tits climb down the feeder in winter; when I take the lid off and turn it over on its hinge.

Bird tables can be made quite easily and feeders can be bought to hang off them. Hanging a board from a branch is also an option; but this may attract bigger birds such as rooks.

Great carpentry skills are not required to make nest boxes or bird tables but I think it is wrong to paint them. In theory paint can kill birds.

Nowadays I buy peanuts in bulk and use them when I want to photograph birds. But birds seem to like scraps from the dinner table. Niger seed is expensive and I found birds do not use it. Also it goes mouldy. Poultry corn seems to work and is cheaper.

Ground feeders such as dunnocks, blackbirds and song thrushes will not use your bird table but will be attracted to any fruit you have left over and spread on the floor.
This idea is good but I suggest you only put food out in the mornings to avoid attracting rats. Strangely I have seen a barn owl take a young rat and a rat climb up a pheasant feeder in the winter.

Why not set a dustbin lid or a bowl in your wild life garden to collect water for birds and mammals to drink from? However I would countenance that you put stones in it to prevent any pets or birds drowning.

Finally may I suggest you visit churchyards in the area as many of them are a haven for wild life.

Richard Barker aka Hawkeye

Hungerford Library / HUB

Thank you for your continued support of the library in Hungerford.
By the time you read this, the library building will be in the process of transferring to Hungerford Town Council and the Trust. The library will continue to be operated by West Berks District Council; the changes mean that Hungerford library will have now two staff on duty supported by our excellent team of volunteers.

We are also in the process of developing some new groups and activities in the Library.
These include
Lego Club
Storytelling Sessions
Children’s Art and Craft Club
More information about these exciting new activities by phoning or popping in to the library.

Our other FREE courses and events continue to be popular:

The English Conversation Group meets every Wednesday from 2-3pm. Its purpose is provide a friendly environment for non-English speakers to gain confidence in speaking. If you know of anyone who might benefit from this group please let them know.

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, crochet 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.

Gardening Group- this group meets on the 2nd Friday of the month at 5:30 to swap hints and tips, share plants, seeds or cuttings and meet other people who love gardening.

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 to book a place.

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

Steam by Tony Bartlett

As foreseen in my previous article there have been no steam excursions on our line so far this year. Unexpectedly the St. David’s Day express to S Wales also failed to operate, a victim of the bad weather associated with the ‘beast from the East’ weather system.

However there have been several runs along the Salisbury line by Black Five no. 45212, a workaday mixed traffic loco, but immaculately presented for its modern role on leisure
excursions. The best of my three shots was taken at Whitchurch on the only really sunny day to that point in 2018, when it was working a Cathedrals Express from Ipswich to Salisbury a journey which I undertook once in the 1950s, albeit involving more than one train!

One of my correspondents from Oxfordshire turned out on a freezing day 10th Feb to see Britannia Pacific no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell, featured last time, on its final run before going out of service. Let’s hope NRM York can find the funds to get it running again.
Even to the disinterested our line has become something of a cause celebre because of the series of shutdowns inflicted on the travelling public while NR progresses the electrification to Newbury. Unfortunately the British Pullman scheduled for May will be unable to travel this way, so I expect the first steam train here to be The Quantock Intruder on 26th May, which some of our local residents will have joined at Newbury.

Looking ahead, Flying Scotsman is again due to make a fleeting visit to our area with a trip along the Thames Valley line between Didcot and Reading on 5th June. The only other Pacific loco we can expect to see is the Merchant Navy Class no. 35028 Clan Line which will travel through here on 5th Sept if the British Pullman returns to its usual route.

The Railway Touring Co is again planning to run a couple of West Somerset Steam Expresses to Minehead picking up at Newbury, although one date appears to clash with a shutdown, and a Cathedrals Express on 21st Aug also has the same destination. These trains provide the only other opportunities for seeing steam in Hungerford for now.

Looking through the schedule for steam trains in and around our area published on the CHAIN web-site you will see that A4 Pacific no. 60009 Union of South Africa is rostered for a number of specials. At the time of writing the loco is out of action undergoing repairs to its firebox. It is a matter of speculation whether it will be available for these trains and one operator has already identified another Black Five as a back-up.

On a brighter note, LNER B1 4-6-0 no. 61306 Mayflower, which made a big impact here in 2016, is due to be back on the main line again on 1st July, and may put in an appearance here on the 21st Aug Cathedrals Express.

HAHA by Belinda

An Allotment in Hungerford………..

I hope you’re reading this in time to be aware of this year’s HAHA Plant Sale on 9th June. We’re going to be selling flower and vegetable plants on the Hungerford Town Hall steps so do come along and bag a bargain.

We have a busy social year planned. July 8th is our Marsh Lane Allotments Open Day. July is such a beautiful month on the site – we hope you can join us for some food, fun and a wander among the plots which should be full of colour and veg by that stage. More information will be published as we work on the plans.

We’re having a site-wide sunflower competition this year, so if that goes to plan we should have lots of very tall nodding sunflowers by July but they’ll have another month to reach their full height for the official measuring on August 18th which is the date of the Royal British Legion/HAHA Horticultural and Handicrafts Show. We’re hoping for another big turnout for this friendly competition among local growers, cooks and crafters.

Today (Spring Bank Holiday) our potatoes are finally in (Orla, Foremost, Nicola, Pentland Javelin, Kestrel and Catriona). As usual we feel that time is running away as we have so much more to do, but it’s a common feeling on the allotment.

We’ve planted a lot more broad beans than usual –I intend to make some broad bean hummus, which always sounds so tasty. I also have edamame and borlotti beans which we haven’t grown before so I need to find some ways of including them in our cooking. This is also the first year that we’re growing aubergine, so I’m looking forward to seeing them grow.

We’ve bought a couple of grafted plants as they’re meant to be a little tricky. We’ve bought grafted tomato plants for the last few years. They’re (much) more expensive than growing plants from seed, but the yield is significantly higher. We are also having grafted pepper plants again – they didn’t do too well last time so fingers crossed for a better harvest this year.

Frogs had spawned in puddles on the site this year. We couldn’t leave the spawn there to dry out, so now we have a tiny pond (some would call it a bucket) and it’s fun seeing how the tadpoles are doing at each visit. As I write, they don’t yet have any legs, but they’re getting pretty big, so that major event may not be too far off. I hope all the little froglets stay close to the plots and enjoy eating the many slugs that even the cold Winter couldn’t see off.

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

Our second season in the Vanarama National League saw us win a battle to avoid relegation, with both Poole and ourselves suffering from “second season syndrome” a tradition which suggests that a first season at a higher level sees players and supporters boosted by the achievement of promotion, whilst that adrenalin rush has worn off for the second season, which is much harder. And so it proved, for whilst we both went close to a play-off place last season, we were both in a battle at the other end of the table.

In our case, the loss of our manager and a number of players early in the season, followed by a spate of injuries made our task much harder. But everyone rose to the occasion and did the club proud.

Brighton-based Whitehawk looked doomed at Christmas, but produced a remarkable fight-back to give everyone a fright, but in the end failed to avoid the drop, and joined Bognor Regis in being relegated, whilst Poole and ourselves were in a battle to avoid being the third relegated club. When we beat the “Dolphins” on Easter Monday, we seemed to have won that battle, but we had a tough run-in to end the season, including long midweek trips to Truro and Canvey Island and a run of defeats saw the battle continue until the last game of the season when we needed to match Poole’s result to stay up. Although Poole won their final game, thanks to a great effort by the players, and marvellous backing from our supporters, we made the long trip to East Thurrock, not far from Southend, and we did it , winning a tough battle by the only goal.

So we shall be playing National League football again next season, when, believe it or not, our opponents will include Torquay, only recently members of the Football League
It should also be remembered that our opponents at this exalted level include no less than six cities, although Chelmsford City and Truro City are in the play-offs and one of them could still be promoted. We are the smallest club in our league and some of our opponents are from towns with populations of well over 100,000.

We received good wishes from most of the local clubs as we approached that last vital fixture, and many congratulations when we pulled it off, whilst we, in turn congratulate Thatcham for their great season, which culminates with a visit to Wembley for the F.A,Vase Final whilst Kintbury have won the Wiltshire League.

Non-League football may not be what it used to be, but it appears to be thriving in West Berkshire.

Ron Tarry. President Hungerford Town Football Club.

Hungerford Town Band by Tim Crouter

 After the long, cold winter the band is in great spirits and ready for its summer programme of events.

Our main events are as follows: –
Sunday 24th June in Victoria Park Bandstand, Newbury at 3.00pm
Saturday 30th June in St. George’s Church Wash Common in aid of West Berkshire Citizens Advice Bureau at 7.30pm
Sunday 15th July in Hungerford Corn Exchange our HADCAF Festival Concert with free entry and retiring collection 7.00pm
Wednesday 8th August at The Square Lambourn, Lambourn Festival Concert, all welcome. 7.15pm

The band can also be heard performing at fetes, open days and events in and around the district.

We look forward to meeting with you at one of our many performances. Come and have a chat and find out more about your local band.

Finally, can I remind you that there is always the opportunity to learn to play or resume playing. Everyone is welcome, please contact us via the band web site

Tim Crouter Musical Directo

Health by Liz

he big buzz on the humble ‘B’

From time to time we all feel lacklustre as if we’re running on empty and for some of us it seems as if the spring in our step has deserted us forever. Sometimes we need a little help by revising our diet, our lifestyle and perhaps, supplementing with one or two natural remedies. Liz Chandler from Natures Corner helps us make the right choices to energise and revitalise our minds and bodies.

There are many different reasons why we feel constantly tired. These include poor sleep, lack of exercise, excess weight, unhealthy eating
and chronic stress. Despite the common belief that most of us get all the vitamins and minerals we need by eating a balanced diet, the reality is that suboptimal intake of vitamins and minerals are very common. Optimizing our nutritional intake with a good quality vitamin B complex can improve our health. B vitamins reduce feelings of fatigue, stress, anxiety and confusion and help our bodies make energy from the food that we eat. Some B complex supplements will be formulated to have higher levels of a particular B vitamin, so it’s important to choose wisely.

B1 (Thiamine) uses carbohydrates from food to produce energy and is needed for the health of the brain, muscles and nervous system. Once in the bloodstream it also wards off mosquitoes.
B2 (Riboflavin) helps convert food into energy, is needed for red blood cell production and keeps the eyes, nervous system and skin healthy.
B3 (Niacin) aids in the conversion of food into energy, is needed for the production of hormones and helps with the function of the digestive and nervous systems.
B5 (Pantothenic acid) breaks down fats and carbohydrates for energy, helps the body use other vitamins and plays a role in the production of hormones in the adrenal glands and neurotransmitters.
B6 (Pyridoxine) is needed to use and store protein and carbohydrates in the form of glycogen, a stored energy in the muscles and liver. It is required for more than 100 enzyme reactions and is involved in immune function and brain development.
B12 (Cobalamin) helps keep the nervous system and red blood cells healthy and is important for protein metabolism.

Research suggest that the B vitamins work well when used daily, and while some of us will notice improvements quickly, others may need to allow up to a month to benefit fully.

To quote Benjamin Franklyn, ‘Energy and persistence conquer all things’.

Natures Corner Northbrook Street Newbury 01635 33007 email

Hungerford PPG

Investiture at Buckingham Palace

8 March 2018 –

What an amazing day! It seemed like a dream: driving with my family through the big front gates, across the front courtyard, passing the Guardsmen in their bearskins, on into the quadrangle in the middle of Buckingham Palace – stepping out under the porch and walking along the red carpet. Being ushered into the Palace and then waiting to be presented with my MBE, I was talking with a wide range of people from every walk of life from across the whole UK and being instructed how to curtsey, and how to address
HRH The Prince of Wales. We all queued up to be taken through to the ante-chamber, hearing a beautiful String Orchestra already playing in the Ballroom. My family were watching from their seats in the audience.

Escorted by two Ghurkha Officers and by Yeomen of the Guard in full dress uniforms, The Prince of Wales was already on the dais, presenting awards to all the recipients. Suddenly, I was being called through to stand next to the Gentleman Usher and await my name to be called by the Lord Chamberlain. Trying to recall all the instructions and remember to curtsey, I found myself standing in front of Prince Charles – he was pinning the MBE insignia on me, asking me questions and chatting, then I was shaking his hand, stepping back, remembering to curtsey again – and I was away. All over so quickly – and waiting with all the recipients and our families for photos be taken. I loved every moment and it seems impossible that it is all over now. I am grateful to the many people who put me forward for this honour, my wonderful family and to the Hungerford Nursery School Centre for Children and Families team, whose outstanding work this award recognises.

Royal British Legion

Poppy Appeal and other British Legion news

Thank you again to the people of Hungerford, the Poppy Appeal amount now stands at £27,378.99 which is an increase of £196.58 over last year’s final total, but we still have four months to the end of the Appeal year. Our thanks go to you all and especially to those who volunteered their time to stand at our collection points.
As in the past few years on Armed Forces Day, 6th Close Armoured Support Battalion REME will march though the Town. The date is 30th June. Also on that day a Memorial Tree will be dedicated. This tree remembers all members of Hungerford Royal British Legion and is sited near the Dun Mill turning on the common. Both of the above events are still in the planning stage as I write this (7th May) but watch the local press nearer the time.

The Poppy Thank You evening will be on 7th September starting at 7.30pm. Please come along and meet ourselves and collectors old and new.

The Band Concert will take place on the 14th October starting at 7.00pm, in the Corn Exchange. Tickets are £7 and will be available from mid September.

On November 3rd we will have an evening of music designed to embarrass our children and grandchildren- that’s right we show the younger generation how to enjoy ourselves. The Sagalouts will be entertaining us at the Legion Club. Again tickets will be on sale from mid September.

If any ex-service personal or their dependants are seeking help from the Legion the first 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