Issue 140

1st September
1st December 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


There is an old saying that goes ‘ When the Gods wish to punish us, they grant us our wishes’. So how many of us wished for the sunshine towards the end of the prolonged winter and then wished for rain as the temperature hit 30 degrees. You certainly can have too much of a good thing.

One thing the fine weather had benefited is the wild life bringing up their young ones. The swans on Freemans marsh have raised seven out of eight signets. One disappeared when it was quite big so maybe it was Mr. Fox.

Gracing the cover of this issue is a water vole, taken from the footbridge over the Dun, the one over the swing bridge by Saint Lawrence’s. I have seen more this Summer than for quite a while, so the weather may be favouring the survival of their litters. They can have as many as four litters in a season.

A reminder for those that like looking at photographs. The annual Hungerford Camera Club exhibition is earlier this year. Saturday and Sunday 1st and 2nd September. Maybe I will see you there

Our Chairman

Chain is very important to lots of people in and around Hungerford especially people who have difficulty getting out and about. We run a volunteer Car Scheme, where you drive your own car and pick up people who need to get to a Hospital or Doctors appointment.

We also have a Chairman vehicle which can be driven by a volunteer or a family member and takes a wheelchair bound passenger plus two more passengers.

Our other vehicle is a Handybus which is driven by a volunteer driver and takes passengers on shopping trips, outings, theatre trips, Hydrotherapy Pool trips, etc. The Handybus Co-ordinator is Ted Angell but please ring the Chain Office to book any car or Chairman trips. The office is open Monday to Friday between 9.00 – 11.00am and manned by two of our office volunteers. (683727)

Our dear Betty (Grant) has retired from the Chain Trustees after 30 years as a Trustee and for many years managing the office. Betty has helped so many people in and around Hungerford so we invited her to a tea party to say thank and she enjoyed this very much.

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

Janette Kersey


Hello, …….

Well what a summer, everyone else is saying it so can I.

Hadcaf another wonderful success well done Brian & team Just entering all that data (entries) to Hungerford’s What’s On that which featured in our own website and in the ‘official’ Town website must have been a mammoth task. Do you have your events put up there? If not why not? Its all free, you can do it or send me the details and I will do it. What’s On entries are downloaded once a month and printed for the Town Council and displayed in their notice board under the bridge, and as if you didn’t know, they appear in 3 monthly form at the back of our magazine, but you have to make a bit of effort for this to happen!!!

Chain is always appealing for volunteers and in this issue it is even stronger, come on its for US in Hungerford, you could just do an hour or two the choice of effort is ALWAYS yours. Don’t slouch away in your chair, get up and help CHAIN, one day you just might need a CHAIN volunteer to help you. By the way drivers do get reimbursed for their mileage.

There are others in this issue also appealing for help, so go on do a bit for HUNGERFORD.

So many years ago we all had dustbins in which we threw absolutely anything that we didn’t want and it wasn’t a FREE service as we paid for it on in our Rates bill /Council Tax bill/ Poll tax bill. So as the years have gone by the council have renamed the BIN and added recycling to their services. They added the green bin to the list, in there as you know we put the garden and food waste, and we still pay for all of this in our Council tax. So Councillor Coles please don’t tell us in your latest letter that these collections are free, and the new tax equates to £2 a fortnight as it is not collected weekly. So what happens if we put garden waste in our wheelie bin and send back the green one?

By the way talking of waste I took a couple of working electrical appliances to the reclaim part of the recycling centre and was not allowed in until I produced my West Berks Permit.

What an impressive entrance to our town starting at Bridge Street, so often when entering towns we drive through neglected areas that really do not impress. Maybe in empty shops the shop keeper/landlord might give permission for some bright displays to promote local clubs / events anything to brighten empty spaces has to be a good thing?

I wish people would cut their hedges/trees that obstruct our pavements, Smitham Bridge road is now quite dangerous, and there are other pavements affected as well.

Thanks & Best Wishes David Piper (Editor)


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



Chain’s Page

5 articles of interest on this page

 Newbury Weekly News Christmas Parcels for the over 80s

It seems very early to be thinking about Christmas! CHAIN will again be co-ordinating (on behalf of Newbury Weekly News) the delivery of the parcels in Hungerford.

We are completely reliant on people letting us know about members of the community who might be entitled to a parcel – there is no other way that we can obtain this information!

We need to know about the following:
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
If you know of anyone who is now 80 years old or will be by the end of the year
If you are over 80 and have never received a parcel in the past but would like to do so
If you know of anyone over 80 but, for whatever reason is no longer with us.

Please contact the co-ordinators on the telephone numbers listed below.

Parcels are normally delivered in early December. Look for full details of this in the next edition of CHAIN Mail. 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 2018.

Many thanks, Ted and Daphne Angell
Co-ordinators Over 80’s Christmas Parcels for CHAIN and Newbury Weekly News
Home 01488 682610 or 077998 86597 Email: tedangell.ta@gmail

Citizens Advice Bureau in Hungerford

1st & 3rd of the month.
For appointment please call 01635516605

Do you have a couple of hours to spare?

Chain are in need of Volunteer drivers
45p per mile driving expenses are paid

Please call 01488 683727
Monday to Friday 9 to 11 a.m.

Attention please we need your help

If you have a couple of hours to spare can
you help once a week or even once a fortnight?

Chain office is open 9am to 11am Mon-Fri. We are looking for
volunteers to answer the phone and arrange for drivers take
people to their appointments. Please call 01488 683727

Do you have a couple of hours to spare?

Chain are in need of Volunteer drivers
45p per mile driving expenses are paid

Please call 01488 683727
Monday to Friday 9 to 11 a.m.

If you have a couple of hours to spare can
you help once a week or even once a fortnight?

Chain office is open 9am to 11am Mon-Fri. We are looking for
volunteers to answer the phone and arrange drivers to take
people to their appointments. Please call 01488 683727

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


Caring in Hungerford……………more articles down the page

Will you be alone on Christmas Day?

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

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

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

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

Thanks to generous donations received, tickets are free but must be booked in advance as places are limited.

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

Hungerford and Surrounds ,

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

Hungerford Arts Festival 2018

I would like to record my thanks to all those who helped make the 2018 Hungerford Arts Festival such a resounding success: to all our volunteers, who organised and ensured the smooth running of over fifty events at more than a dozen venues during the Festival’s two-week duration; to the performers, many of whom drew sell-out audiences despite competition from Wimbledon, the World Cup and the heatwave; and to the audiences themselves, for their wholehearted enthusiasm.

My thanks also go to all our grant-givers and supporters without whose financial assistance the Festival could not take place, to the staff of the Hungerford branch of Newbury Building Society, who so ably facilitate our box office, and to CHAIN for publicising the programme.
You can see some images from the events on our website at

Needless to say there is a great deal of planning and preparation involved in the Festival and our thoughts are already turning to 2019. If anyone would like to lend a hand – we are a very friendly team! – please get in touch via the contact page on our website. We are particularly keen to meet any ‘technical’ people … you don’t need any theatre knowledge, just a willing nature and some technical background.

Everyone is also welcome to attend our AGM which will be held on Thursday 8 November at 7.30pm in the Croft Hall.

Brian Davis Chairman

Bits 2

Also on this page…..Camburn……BeFriending…….All Aboard ……Thank you

Useful information on Barclays Closing & our Post Office in W.H.Smith

Using your Barclays paying in slip (+special envelope at PO counter) you can pay in your cheque, it might take a little longer to be credited to your account but better than going all the way to Newbury!!! You should also be able to withdraw cash using your Debit card and with a pre-authorised encashment service, cash a cheque.


HANG Up on callers asking questions about your bank account, then ring your bank using a different phone and the number on the back of your debit /credit card.
IGNORE emails from your bank if they contain spelling mistakes or poor grammar and do not give your proper name or request personal information.
NEVER EVER Click on links in emails or text messages that claim to be from your bank.
CHECK your bank statements , if anything wrong phone number on back of Credit Card


The Trustees of the Hungerford & Camburn Educational Foundation

(set up by a legacy from the first Headmaster of Hungerford School) have awarded
grants to eleven students from Hungerford to assist with furthering their education.

Thanks must go to the following for their generous support of this local charity : The Town & Manor of Hungerford, Hungerford Town Council, Gerald Ward Charitable Trust, Chain and the Fire Services Charity

Barbara Barr
Chairman Hungerford & Camburn Educational Foundation Aug 2018

Befriending in Hungerford

The Befriend West Berkshire project aims to help local people over 50 years old who are at risk of becoming socially isolated.

If you would like further information about accessing the service or if you would like to consider becoming a befriender
please contact:

Catherine Wooliston, Village Agent on 07717 133021 or
Simone Foster, Project Co-Ordinator on
01635 49004 or 07902 034874.

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:

6th September – trip to Cotswold Wildlife Park – places MUST be booked in advance
20th September – Board Games at Redwood House
4th October – Quiz at Redwood House
18th October – Board Games at Redwood House
8th November – Guest Speaker Richard Froud – Farming Life in the Wantage area
15th November – Board Games at Redwood House

The Hungerford Cancer Support Group
would like thank everybody who donated to their coffee morning in June.

We raised a total of £500.00 for the “Rosemary Appeal”,
which will be match funded to £1000.00.



Hungerford Surgery

Seasonal Flu Immunisation Campaign 2018/19
The importance of a seasonal flu vaccination cannot be underestimated and you are entitled to a free flu jab if you fit into one of the following ‘at risk’ groups:
Aged 65 and over / Aged between 6 months and 65 years of age and in a clinical risk group / All pregnant women / Those in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay facilities / Those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person.

Please note: We no longer send letters of invitation to eligible patients and there is no need to book an appointment on a ‘Flu Saturday’, just turn up and be jabbed. If you are unsure about your eligibility please call the surgery on 01488 682507 (after 10:00 am please) to check with a receptionist.
Our four ‘Flu Saturday’s’ will take place at the surgery in September & October and we ask that you attend on one of the Saturday mornings between 09:00 and 11:30 hours.

Saturday  29th September Saturday 6th October
Saturday  13th October     Saturday 20th October

There is good evidence to show that once a patient is vaccinated, it takes around 2 weeks to develop an immune response.
The key message is ‘it is never too late to have your flu jab’.

Cancellation line:-
Despite concerted efforts and great support from the members of our Patient Participation Group (PPG) the numbers of people who every month fail to turn up for the appointments they have booked continues to shock and disappoint. In June and July alone 237 appointments were lost this way and 50 hours of clinical time were wasted with our doctors and nurses. Incredibly some of these appointments were made and then missed on the same day, and some within a couple of hours of having been booked. If you were one of these patients, please please cancel your appointment in good time when you find yourself unable to attend in future as this is an average of one doctor’s working day being wasted ….. every week!

A big thank you to those patients who did 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.

We continue to work hard to recruit a new GP to replace Dr Anderson who retired in June. However, and as I’m sure the majority of patients will be aware via national media, approximately half of GP practices now have shortages of doctors and we are unfortunately not immune to this problem, even in our lovely corner of West Berkshire. Rest assured that we are making every effort to recruit and appoint a new doctor and will hopefully have more news soon. In the meantime, we are pleased to be working with several excellent locum GPs and will continue to do so until such time that we have a full complement again.

We have 140 registered carers at the surgery but we know there are many more of you out there doing a fantastic job to help support your relatives, friends and neighbours. There are a range of additional support services that are available to registered carers, not just a free flu jab, so please get in touch with the surgery to register and you can also contact our PPG members for more information.


Virtual Museum

NatWest closes – the end of an era

NatWest closed its doors on 31st May 2018.

Before the end of the day, the building was nearly stripped of all banking furniture and fittings, in a whirlwind of activity. So ended a long association of 119 High Street with banking.

In 1830 Pigot’s Directory recorded that King, Gosling and Tanner Bank opened 11-3pm every Wednesday at the Three Swans. At the time, the only other bank in town was the Savings Bank which operated from the Town Hall for two hours each Wednesday!. Henry Pinckney had opened a bank in London in the early 17th century at “The sign of the Three Squirrels” near St Dunstan’s Church in Fleet Street.

In 1844 Tanner & Pinckney Bank (a branch of the Marlborough bank) opened in what is now 119 High Street

By 1854 the bank was run by the London & County Bank, which by 1914 had become the London, County & Westminster Bank. The managers’ names were duly recorded.

Around 1932 the bank was re-named the Westminster Bank, which continued until 1968 when it became the National Westminster Bank – soon abbreviated to the well-known “NatWest”.

As ever more people moved to managing their banking on the internet, the footfall through individual branches has progressively reduced, and sadly, after 174 years as a bank, NatWest Hungerford closed its doors. It was a difficult day for Sarah Fradgley and Ruth O’Neill who had offered such a friendly service there for so many years.

Next door at 118 High Street, TSB still operates in a building whose history is known back to 1470. It became a bank in 1882.

Barclays is a relative newcomer, having opened at 30 High Street in 1967, but that is set to close on 7 Sep 2018.

Next door, 31 High Street, was the Penny Savings Bank from c1850 – 1933.

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,

It would be too easy to moan about the weather [or lack of variety in the same] so I shall return to more fertile pastures.

The Helicopters are back, even if some are allegedly are being flown by chums and relations of Hungerford folk, so are automatically seen as “friendly”, whatever the time or antisocial hour they may choose to visit us. I am also reminded that many carry high-resolution photographic equipment so objectors should not risk being caught on film making gestures of annoyance towards the skies.

Innate grumpiness was tinged with sadness as I watched the impressive and emotional 100 year celebration of the RAF. My grandfather was one of the first pilots to join as he transferred from the Army’s Royal Flying Corps which combined with the Royal Naval Air Service to constitute the newly formed service. Again, as part of the fly-over, it was confirmed that the Multi Role Combat Aircraft will shortly be phased-out of service, reminding me how durable these jet fighters have been; during the early 1970s (which was of course well before we had formally entered the E.U.) I personally participated in the work with our European partners in the design-and-build phase.

Anyway, to escape the aforementioned noisy aircraft, whether fixed or rotating winged, I have found a new haven in that Oasis otherwise known as the DownGate Inn. The pub’s new Secret Courtyard and Garden offers a place where you can have a quiet rendezvous away from prying eyes….I recommend you try it!

Elsewhere, new initiatives continue to abound in Hungerford. Readers are well aware of the last five years’ efforts of the Charlie Barr and Andrea Hodgkin led committee which have resulted in a new and buoyant Youth and Community Centre [following West Berkshire’s abandonment of the old Hungerford schemes]; these are so well supported by individuals and institutions in Hungerford and surrounding villages that the Committee will now look at a new and expansionary phase. Building upon the achievement, an initiative has been announced to investigate and, maybe, to launch a charity expanding the Hungerford [and feeder district] Youth Services with new and enhanced courses such as ‘youth training and leadership’, Outward Bound activities and the like. Grumpy wishes them well.

Finally, congratulations to HADCAF on another brilliant and eclectic festival. Grumpiness was truly banished by a combination of The Kinks, which had the golden oldies bopping in the aisles, and subsequently the exquisite singing of Kennet Opera in a selection of Puccini’s operas. Contrasts and contentment combined.




Darling Dahlias by Stacy Tuttle

Dahlia Thomas Edison
I am quite a recent convert to Dahlias. My previous impression of them was weird spiky plants in garish colours, probably memories of some plastic ones which my Gran had in a vase. But times have moved on and so have Dahlias.

Originally native to Mexico, these tubers are grown in this country as annuals. Not for them the delicate display that the Busy Lizzie or the Lobelia exhibits, these are the extroverts of the annual plant world which will flower until the first frosts.

I think what puts a lot of people off growing Dahlias is the fact that they feel it is a high maintenance plant. I don’t really agree with that perception. It is true that after they have finished flowering they are best lifted and stored till the next year but it is relatively simple to do and means that you don’t have to spend out year on year.

When the frost has blackened the stems, cut off the top growth to around 3cm long. Lift the tubers and leave them to dry for a few days in a frost free place such as a shed or garage, keeping them out of direct sunlight. Once dry carefully remove excess soil from around the tubers and put them in a plant tray for storage. Some people put them on a bed of dry sand or vermiculite but I have kept them loose on the tray before. It is best to check them now and then to make sure they are not rotting or damaged in any way. If they look like they are shrivelling you can mist them lightly with a water spray. Once the weather starts to warm up in the spring you can pot them up and start growing them again.

To my mind, the more difficult task is choosing which ones to grow. Dahlias are divided into 10 different classifications horticulturally but for most of us it is easier to look at them as small, medium and large. With flowers of around 25cm in diameter, the large Dinner plate Dahlias are my favourite. The stems need to be staked to support the impressive large flowers they produce so not such a low maintenance option. However they look glorious in a perennial border and there are so many different colours to suit your planting scheme- D. Café au lait has a creamy brown tone with a hint of peach, for the white border there’s D. White Perfection, D. Sir Alf Ramsey has a lavender purple flower while D. Thomas A. Edison with its deep purple flowers works well with both blue, purple and white borders and hot oranges or lime green planting.

This year, as well as D. Café au Lait, I am also growing old favourites D. Bishop of Llandaff (scarlet flowers) and D. Bishop of Canterbury (hot pink flowers). Both grow to a metre tall but don’t require staking. New to me this year are D. Waltzing Matilda (coral coloured flowers with almost black foliage), D. Soulman (Gothic red ruffled flowers) and D. Purple Flame ( more simple purple flowers on a dark stem).

As with all annuals, the best display is achieved if the plants are dead-headed regularly to encourage new flowers. The stems can be cut once the flowers have opened and taken indoors for the vase and the petals are edible so can be included in a summer salad.

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Autumnally Speaking

Officially we have entered into the autumn season. The leaves on the trees are beginning to change colour and fall – hence the American word for autumn.

Summer has gone and the birds have shaken off the responsibilities of parenting and partnerships (or brief marriage). From autumn onwards every bird has to fend for itself, find its own food and shelter. Each species finds its own salvation, some join flocks and other migrate to a warmer climate.

The Autumn Migration is a great natural phenomenon. On a clear day swallows and house martins can be seen lining up on overhead lines ready to fly to Africa. The great exodus or flight south is not a spectacular fly-by. Although it is worth watching the show in Gibraltar, if you have a fortnight to spare. Normally migrating birds fly over a ridge or small range such as Combe Gibbet in dribs and drabs over about 3 weeks..

All birds give great pleasure even when they leave or enter the country and autumn (and spring) is the season when the great changeover takes place. Winter thrushes should arrive in September.

Everyone should be able to identify these visitors to farm land in the Hungerford area.

On the right is a picture of a redwing. It is smaller than a fieldfare and has a patch of red under its wing – hence the name. If you are lucky and see a flock in a field then the eye stripe makes recognition easy.

The RSPB state 13 redwings bred in England this year and 9 million are expected to visit us this Autumn. The redwing is about the size of a song thrush.

The picture on the left shows the fieldfare. It has a grey head and back. Both sexes are identical. This bird is about the size of a Mistle thrush and is often found on grass land in autumn.

It spends the summer and spring in Scandinavia where it breeds.

Apparently there are less than a million due to visit this year but I think this statistic is only a guide.

Actually I question the accuracy of this statistic because of all the fieldfares I see on the Lambourn Downs throughout the Autumn and Winter. Incidentally, they will eat fruit in your garden, if there is a harsh winter, so leave some on the ground.

Richard Barker aka Hawkeye

Hungerford Library / HUB

After a lot of hard work, the library building has now transferred to Hungerford Town Council and the Trust. The building will be known as the Hub and is available to hire for events outside of library opening hours.

The library is situated within the Hub and will continue to be operated by West Berks District Council; the changes mean that Hungerford library has returned to previous staffing levels with 2 staff on duty each day, supported by our excellent team of volunteers. The library staff are Stacy Tuttle, Martina Malavasi and new member Zoe Coleman. We look forward to welcoming you to the library and thank you for your continued support.
We continue to offer free clubs and activities in the library-

Our new Lego Club is already proving very popular. It runs on the first Saturday of the month. Due to donations from both Lego and private individuals we have a good selection of bricks; however we would like to increase the number of baseboards we have, so any donations of those would be most gratefully received. Children over 5 are welcome to come along and join in to do some freestyle building or join in a challenge set by the staff. (under 8’s must be accompanied by an adult)

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 tell them to come along.

IT Lessons for beginners of any age. These free six-weekly 1:1 sessions are 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.

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 babies and children under 4. Once a month there is a special RhymeTime session with songs and a story in French.

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. If you would like to join the group, please ask the staff at the desk. We provide the books and you provide the (sometimes very lively) discussion!

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.

Events and Activities to look out for-
Storytelling sessions- this session for children age 7 to 11 will commence in September with special guest children’s author Holly Webb reading from one of her popular books.

Art and Craft club- this club for school age children will give children a chance to create something using various art and craft techniques.

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

Steam by Tony Bartlett

Two steam trains which in normal circumstances would have expected to visit our line were diverted via the GW main line to Swindon during the recent Network Rail closures. Only one working, the Quantock Intruder to Minehead on 26th May hauled by the newly-invigorated Bulleid Pacific Clan Line, made it while the line was open, although poor weather conditions conspired to dampen people’s enthusiasm to turn out in support.

Celebrity loco no. 60103 Flying Scotsman duly appeared on a couple of half day excursions via the Thames Valley line. The station at Tilehurst during the school holidays was packed with spectators of all ages, and for the later visit the four platforms at Goring were just as busy without the younger element, safely back in the classroom. I nearly fell victim to an inconsiderate camera-phone photographer who stepped out just as I was taking my picture. The resulting tightly-cropped image (see right) is being used by Steam Dreams to advertise their October Flying Scotsman special on our line, whereas I suspect that the camera-phone blur has been consigned to the dustbin icon on the phone display!

The postponed St David’s Day express eventually ran on the 14th June, and A4 Pacific no. 60009 Union of South Africa made a welcome return with appearances on our other two main lines during the heat-wave conditions in July, necessitating the provision of an extra diesel locomotive to reduce the chance of causing wildfires at the lineside.

The dry conditions have led to a steam ban being imposed in some parts of the country, causing disruption to the steam excursion programme, but in the south/west we are less affected. On our line in particular we will hope to have seen the second West Somerset Steam Express with no. 60009 on 18th August, and the problem should have passed for the Cathedrals Express to Plymouth with no. 60103 on 4th October and no. 60009 again on the 24th November with the Bath Christmas Market. As usual there may be other trains routed this way when Network Rail finalises the plans for other westbound excursions.

I reported last time that popular Class B1 4-6-0 steam loco no. 61306 Mayflower was due to be back in service on the main line, but this has not yet happened, and stalwart A1 Pacific Tornado suffered a disastrous failure earlier in the year putting it out of action for the time being. The impact of this is less serious while the demand for steam locos is reduced, but operators may feel the pinch when it picks up again at the end of summer.

Tony Bartlett

HAHA by Belinda

An Allotment in Hungerford………..

Summer 2018 – what a season we’ve had. So much heat and sunshine since June, but as gardeners all we wanted was some rain! Night-time rain, of course, and not so heavy that it would damage any of the plants…
Most of the time, as you know, the rain didn’t arrive so we were watering, watering, watering every evening – that is some workout with all those watering cans! But thank goodness for our borehole at Marsh Lane.

It was worth the hard work, we’re now harvesting courgettes, salad, aubergine, potatoes, … And the tomatoes are just beginning to colour so hopefully the peppers will soon follow suit.
The extreme heat hasn’t helped some of our plants – some struggled to germinate and others have been short-lived because of the stresses put on them by sunshine and lack of water in the soil. Also, we were swamped by blackfly early on in the season which affected our broad beans – the ladybird larvae arrived too late to help keep the numbers down. Then in the full heat of July we found that we had a plague of flea beetles which have had a dire effect on most of our brassica plants – we’re not sure that any of them will survive through to the Winter this year.
Our plant sale in July was a good opportunity to share our efforts with the town. We had several trestle tables full of plants which were sold on to spread the enjoyment of grow your own a little further afield.

To think that we were worried how the weather would impact on our Open Day! It was, of course, a beautiful sunny day and it was great to show our site off to people in the middle of Summer – the efforts of the committee and the allotment holders in general have managed to turn an empty field into such an asset for the community. Thank you to all the visitors – I hope you enjoyed your afternoon.

Our poster, which highlights the benefits of having an allotment, is so accurate. In fact this year, partly because of the weather but also because of some particular plotholders we have found the social-side to be even greater than previous years. It’s been a lot of fun, with several gatherings for snacks and drinks over the Summer months.

You can follow our successes and failures through my blog and see some of the wildlife who visit: Belinda
Contact HAHA on 0754 118 7274

Hungerford Football by Ron Tarry

Hungerford Town face a tough task in the new season, having just escaped relegation last season, the league having been strengthened by the inclusion of Torquay United, who were relegated from the National League and who were a Football League side only a few years ago, and who have retained a full-time squad of players. Other additions include Billericay Town who were promoted from the Isthmian League and are reputed to have a weekly players wage bill of £17000. There is no way that we can match that !

Manager Ian Herring has worked hard to recruit new players and we have signed a number of promising youngsters, but we shall have to remain patient as they develop and fit into the squad.

We have played a number of pre-season friendlies with mixed results, including a 3-1 win at Carshalton, a 3-2 defeat by an Oxford United XI, a 6-5 defeat on penalties after a 1-1 draw by Thatcham in a revived Hungerford Cup which is over 100 years old, but has been in limbo for a number of years. We ended the series with a 1-0 win over Bracknell Town.
We have a daunting task as we commence our league programme, a visit the St.Albans City on the first day of the season, followed by home matches versus Wealdstone and Chelmsford City, all of whom are prospective challengers for the league title.

We have a hard-working committee and a loyal band of supporters, but we need all the help we can get to have a chance of surviving at this level., where we are the smallest club, with the smallest catchment area, and are playing at a level which is beyond our wildest dreams, way above all the sides who have been our traditional opponents during most of our history.

We shall be doing all we can, but need all the help available to hold our own, and need everyone to get behind us in this monumental task.

Ron Tarry. President Hungerford Town Football Club.

Hungerford Town Band by Tim Crouter

Hungerford Town Band

The band have been busy this summer and as I write this article, early August, we have only been rained off once! The performances have been very good and well received and our major events have been very well supported.
Turning to this autumn we will perform, (weather permitting), at the John O’Gaunt Firework Display on 27th October. Also, we will once again lead the procession, play hymns and supply a cornet player for The Last Post and Reveille on Sunday 11th November for Remembrance Sunday.

However, the highlight of the Autumn will be our Annual Poppy Concert on Sunday 14th October at 7.00pm. All the proceeds will go to the Hungerford Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. Tickets will be available soon but everyone is welcome at the door on the night. A great concert is assured.

Finally, the Training Band will resume in September and we are looking to build numbers for the future of the band so, can I remind you that there is always the opportunity to learn to play or resume playing. Everyone is welcome, instruments are available, please contact us via the band web site

Tim Crouter Musical Director

Health by Liz

Very Versatile Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments but not all vinegars are created equal. Liz Chandler from Natures Corner tells us some of the benefits of taking this versatile liquid and what to look for on the shelves.

Apple cider vinegar has a subtle apple taste. If you wish to take it for medicinal reasons then you need to ensure that it is unfiltered, unpasteurized and naturally fermented to retain the nutritious ‘mother’ created from the beneficial bacteria. The mother is believed to be rich in health-boosting natural protein, healthy bacteria and acetic acid and you can sometimes see it as a cloudy substance floating in the liquid. Any cheap, see through apple cider is great for salad dressings but that’s about it!

There are many benefits to taking apple cider vinegar, but here are the top three:-
Stiff and painful joints Apple cider vinegar is rich in magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium and a deficiency in any of these can lead to impaired joint mobility. The potassium in apple cider vinegar may be especially beneficial because it prevents calcium build-up in the joints, and joint calcification leads to sever joint stiffness. Joint pain and arthritis may be linked to toxins that have accumulated in the joints because metabolic waste is often stored in connective tissues. Apple cider vinegar has pectin and this helps to absorb toxins and eliminate them; meanwhile the acids in cider vinegar work to purify and detoxify the entire body.

Digestion You may think that apple cider vinegar is acidic, but in the body, very much like lemon, it is actually alkalizing. So if you are particularly acidic from a poor diet and too many acidic foods and drinks, this can alkalize the system, relieving heartburn and acid reflux. It also stimulates digestive juices that help your body breakdown food.

Skin and nail health Thanks to its natural antibacterial and antifungal properties, apple cider vinegar is used as a natural treatment for healthier skin and nails. Applied as a toner, it may help to balance the skin’s PH and has an exfoliating effect that smooth’s and softens. For rough cracked heels or mild fungal nail infections, apple cider vinegar is commonly used as a foot soak.

Try taking 1-3 teaspoons in a glass of semi boiling water mixed with local honey,15-20 minutes before a meal. You may think that drinking vinegar would be vile but it’s actually very pleasant once you get used to it. At Natures Corner we sell Higher Nature Apple Cider vinegar which is raw, unfiltered, unpasteurised and with the mother.

It is said that Hippocrates, the ‘father of medicine’ used apple cider vinegar for cleaning wounds and relieving coughs, so let’s learn from this outstanding figure in the history of medicine. At Natures Corner we are always very happy to answer any of your health related questions.

Natures Corner Northbrook Street Newbury 01635 33007 email

Hungerford PPG

Hungerford Surgery Patient Participation Group

We all know the NHS is under pressure, as the demand for primary care services far outstrips supply. That is true for Hungerford Surgery as for many GP surgeries.

Our first contact with the surgery is the person at the front desk or on the phone.

We thought you would like to understand a little more about those members of staff and what they actually do from day-to-day as they try to help signpost us to the best healthcare professional for our needs.

So here’s an interview conducted by the PPG on 2nd August this year with Loren and Faith at the surgery:

What do you love about your job?

We’re a part of the community, and we do a difficult job because we’re the bridge between the patients, doctors and nurses, but it’s really rewarding seeing patients get the care they need. Signposting is a key skill in trying to get the right appointment for the patient at the right time and with the right healthcare professional. Patients don’t always need to see a doctor and obtaining a key piece of information from the patient can make all the difference as to how best we can help them.

Are you local to the area?

All the reception and admin staff live in the town or surrounding villages and it helps when we know our patients and are able to build relationships to understand their needs.

Is there a downside to being in Hungerford?

Not really. When we are out shopping lots of people speak and are really friendly. We see so many people and it often takes us a while to realise where they know us from but apart from the odd health related question, when we are off duty, it is a real positive and privilege living and working within the community of Hungerford.

What were your first thoughts about your career?

We always wanted to be in the caring profession and feel that we are at the heart of Hungerford working in the surgery, but on the organisational not the clinical side … “I don’t think I could ever stick a needle in someone’s arm!” The practice has been really supportive with lots of training and opportunities and Faith is our apprentice who is combining her studies with working at the surgery.

What advice would you give someone coming to do your job?

First and foremost be organised! You need to be ready with a diary, making schedules and sorting out priorities. Broad shoulders are a must too because one minute you are welcoming and registering a new baby and the next having to deal with a bereaved relative or friend who has lost someone dear to them. Most important is that we try to be empathetic and calm at all times, even if someone is in considerable pain or feeling stressed. When someone is poorly they can feel frustrated, despite us trying our best to help. But we keep on trying and get there in the end.

What do your friends say about your job?

Most people don’t realise what a receptionist does and even when they first apply for the job people often think it’s just keeping the office tidy and booking appointments but this makes up only a small fraction of our day. We spend a huge amount of time dealing with a vast range of enquiries such as organising hospital transport, sorting out prescriptions, updating clinical notes, giving out blood test results as authorised by the doctors and endless chasing so that patients get the services they need. Behind that is a large amount of administration work and ordering of supplies to help keep the surgery ticking over. No one day is ever the same and we enjoy our jobs despite some days being very demanding and stressful.

What do you wish patients knew about your job?

How intense it is … taking call after call. You have to be something different to each patient. We might speak to one patient, who is lonely and who might not have talked to anyone in days and really need a chat; the next patient might be suffering from a terminal illness; or someone with a prescription problem. There is never a dull moment! It does make me very specific when I call my own GP because you’re aware of the huge pressure they’re under: they might have a full morning clinic seeing patients, meetings with other healthcare professionals, urgent visits and calls, and then you knock at their door with a query or a last minute addition to a clinic, they do an amazing job. Also we’ve got thousands of names on our patient list, so please give the receptionist your name and date of birth! It’s amazing how many people ring off without giving their name … there are lots of John Smiths so we need to know which one is which

I couldn’t get through the weekend without:

A rest! Knowing that when we leave for the day that the 111 service takes over, and we can take a break and have the odd glass of wine … doctor’s orders of course!.


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 £27,643.99, a record.

As I write this our Chairman, John Parry, and our Standard Bearer, Robert Myall are in Belgium laying a wreath from the People of Hungerford. This ceremony is taking place to mark 90 years of a pilgrimage that the then British Legion organised for war widows and veterans to go to visit battlefields and the Menin Gate at Ypres. I will ask the for a report and hopefully some pictures for the next issue.

The Poppy Thank You evening will now be held on 7th September starting at 7.30pm at the RBL Club. 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 themselves. The Sagalouts will be entertaining us at the Legion Club. Tickets are £10 and will include a Ploughman’s Lunch and will also be on sale from mid September.

This year’s Remembrance Sunday falls exactly 100 years to the day of the end of the 1st World War. Please can we have a large turn out to honour those who fought and to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice not only them but in all conflicts.

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