Issue 141

1st December
1st March 2019

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

Front Cover by Micky Thompson

Well, here we are with the Chain Winter issue, spanning Christmas through to the first glimmers of Spring. The Winter solstice, December 21st being the shortest day of the year falling just before all the razzmatazz of Christmas and the New Year, and then the gradual lengthening of the daylight hours bringing all of the opportunities of another new year.

It feels like a long way off but The Hungerford Camera Club is hosting in the Corn Exchange The Southern Counties Photographic Federation Championships. This is an event where photography clubs from all over the Southern Counties converge on Hungerford to compete. It will be a day-long event on Sunday 24th March, 2019, and is a great opportunity not only for the club but for the town as a whole.

Coming back to the near future, enjoy the forthcoming celebrations and have a very happy New Year. Micky.



The last 3 months have been amongst the hardest of my life, my darling daughter Jennie had a major stroke on 29th July which left her with right sided weakness, Expressive Aphasia and Emotional Dyspraxia.

For the first 8 weeks Jen improved daily but quite suddenly while I was away she started to have panic attacks which grew in severity until she had to be re-admitted to hospital. For the last 4 weeks we have been in and out of various hospitals trying to find the right medication and care for her so I’m afraid all my time has been taken up with either caring for Jen or visiting her in hospitals.

I would just like to thank everyone in Hungerford and beyond for all their support and good wishes it has meant so much to Jennie and to all her family. These last 3 months have made me realize (as if I didn’t know already) what a very special place Hungerford is with the most amazing community spirit. We are so grateful to everyone who donated to her rehabilitation fund and to all her family, friends and work colleagues who are keeping us all fighting to get Jennie well again.

I have had to take a back seat with Chain but would very much like to thank the rest of the Trustees who have just taken over everything and allowed me to concentrate on Jennie.

Please support all the many Christmas Events over the next couple of months including a Switch on of the Lights, Hungerford Extravaganza, Town Carol Service and many more. I know Hungerford will look amazing as always and I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful healthy New Year.

Janette Kersey


Hello, …….

So the budget might give us about £1.50 a week and the council tax will go up by??????? !

Who will pay the tax on black plastic used for food trays etc ??

Quite right that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not putting up fuel tax, I saw in the paper the other day that in a litre of petrol that costs us 130.91p then in tax & vat we pay 59.72, actual petrol cost is 50.89 !!!!

My thanks to all those that responded to my plea to get their articles and adverts in a little earlier than usual, thank you so much. I can go on holiday now with a clear conscience !
While I am in the thanking vein, many many thanks to our advertisers who make this publication free for distribution that enables CHAIN (me) to give you such interesting articles and information such as the surgery, cancer and carer’s help and other useful information. We obviously can’t print too much for free but will do as much public info as possible!

CHAIN (as usual) is still appealing for help in the office, car driving and with our special converted vehicle for taking wheelchairs and their companion to hospital appointments etc. There can be no better charity to volunteer for than CHAIN. Nobody gets paid except the drivers allowance for petrol, everybody does it for free, and we get such satisfaction from helping others.


Page 32 in the magazine that you get contains the usual What’s On, but it looks as though Hungerford is shut for this winters quarter! So often we hear the bleat “I didn’t know it was on!”. In all the years I have been downloading and printing this for you this is the absolute worst for lack of events, so do all of you event people have a full house? I don’t think so. The list of data for entering to Whats On yourself is given there! Mind you the regular weekly event listings do look very healthy.

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 February for the next issue on March 1st. 2019
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.


Also on this page….FoodBank…..Lost Sheep ….Funds for Carerrs…..Chain’s Help


Hungerford and Surrounds ,

If you are a carer or think you might be, come and meet us on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at Hungerford Fire Station in the Community room from 10.30 until 12.

Do come and find out what help, support and advice is available to you or just come along for a chat and a cuppa.

If help is needed before the next meeting please call
Stephen Hammond on 0118 324 7333


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


supports local people in crisis. Clients are referred to the Foodbank by Agencies who are helping them, or by phoning the Crisis helpline below. They are given food equivalent to three meals a day for three days, and may be referred more than once if needed.

THANK YOU to everyone who has given longlife, tinned or dried food and other essentials such as soap, toothbrushes & toilet rolls. Donations may be left at our collection points in the Churches, the Library, and the Co-op.
If your workplace or community group is interested in hosting a collection point,
please contact or

Crisis Foodline
Crisis Food need ? Call 01635 760560.
Open Weekdays (not Bank Holidays) from 08.30 to 18.30

Lost sheep in Hungerford!

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

From 1st December until the end of term, various shops in the town will be hosting a special visitor. See if you can spot the wandering sheep: match the name of the sheep to the shop, complete the form (available from the School or participating shops), and return either to the School or the Methodist Church on Bridge Street by Friday 20th December to be entered into a prize draw.

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

Funds for Carers

What we can help with Carers Funds is open to carers aged 16 and over.
Carers can apply for grants up to £300 for items/activities that will benefit them in their caring role
• Breaks for carers, with or without the person they care for
• Items for the home including cookers, fridges, beds, washing machines etc. (please refer to table for standard costs that will be allocated unless exceptional circumstances have been identified)
• Driving lessons and other travel costs relating to caring roles
• Courses and materials to develop carers skills and personal development
• Home repairs
• Short term or time limited replacement care
The following costs WILL NOT be funded from Carers Funds:
• General living expenses e.g. rent, food, bill payments
• Debt repayments
• Costs of regular, long term replacement care
• Specialised equipment or home adaptations
• Motorised vehicles including scooters, cars or motorcycles
• Computer and mobile phone equipment
• Requests where the item has already been purchased or a deposit placed
The Grants Management Team will review these at regular intervals Points to Note
• Priority will be given to carers who have not been awarded a grant from the Fund previ-ously
• There must be a clear link between the request and the carer’s role.
• The request must make a positive difference to the carer’s life.
Requests for driving lessons:
• The carer needs to be able to drive to enable the person in receipt of care to be able to regularly access medical appointments, school, the local community, etc.
• The person in receipt of care was the sole driver in the household but, due to their con-dition, can no longer drive.
• The carer lives in a rural area where there is little access to regular public transport .
Requests for courses and skills development:
• Allowing the carer to find employment that they can fit around their caring role – ena-bling them to work from home or to work flexible hours.
• Giving the carer a new focus and a break from their caring role – e.g. a creative writ-ing course or a flower arranging course
Requests for costs of a break
• The carer would like to have some time away from their caring role.
• The carer would benefit
• The person you carer for must have suitable care in place if not going with you.
Cost of request
• We need to know how any significant differences between the request and total cost, will be covered.
Household financial information statement
• Carers Trust needs to ensure that charitable funds are distributed, to those most in need, both financially and because of the impact of their caring role.
• Carers Fund applications are not assessed solely on the financial situation of the


Reading and West Berkshire Carers Hub Call us: 01183247333

Email us ask@berkshirecarershub.or

Bits 1

How to avoid being scammed…..

Hang up on ALL cold callers
If you are worried that your bank really might need to talk to you, put the phone down and call it using the number on the back of your bank card or on its website. Better still call a friend first so that you can be sure that the scammer has not diverted your phone line.
Even better if you can call from a different line. If you have to use your phone, wait at least 30minutes before calling.
Remember Banks will never ever ask customers to move money to another account or ask you to go to an ATM and withdraw money.
DO NOT be flustered into a rush transaction
NEVER disclose personal information to a cold caller, NEVER give more than 2 digits of your PIN number even to your bank (look at the BARCLAYS TV advert to hear somebody being conned)
Never respond directly to unsolicited texts or emails and never open emails that don’t have a subject heading, these are the ones that often contain computer viruses!
If you fear you have become a victim….
Call your bank using the number on the back of your card, tell them that you think you have been scammed and ask for the money to be recalled straight away.
Do not ask for the Fraud Team as there might be a queue– the crime can always be investigated later.
If the money has already left your account tell the call handler to contact the receiving bank and to FREEZE the money, this way it cannot be cleared from that account.
Note the time and length of this call, if there are delays this could be used to support a complaint later.
Write down everything about the fraud. Ask the bank to explain what happened to the money when it left the account!


CAP Money Course in Hungerford

The CAP Money Course is a free course that will teach you budgeting skills and a simple, cash-based system that works. In just a few weeks, you will get to grips with your finances so you can budget, save and prevent debt.

Whether you feel pretty organised or whether it’s like a lucky dip every time you try to withdraw cash from your account, the CAP Money Course will help you take complete control of your finances.

The CAP Money Course is now available at Hungerford Methodist Church RG17 0EH. We can run courses at a time to suit you, daytime, evening or weekend –

talk to Peter on 07894 583048 or see for more details.


Scout Group News

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

Over the last year, the children have enjoyed many different activities such as River Dipping on the Marsh, wide-games on the Common, trampolining, climbing, camping, cooking, sports, learning the phonetic alphabet, go-karting, archery and even axe-throwing.

This term the Group have made (and eaten!) bacon rolls and cake at the Food Festival, raising almost £350 in the process, thank you everyone who visited our stall on the day.

At the time of writing, the Group is preparing for our Family Fireworks evening, and to taking part in the Town’s Remembrance Parade.

We welcome boys and girls from age 6 as Beavers, from age 8 as Cubs and from 10.5 years as Scouts. If you would like to find out more about Scouting for your child or how adults can get involved as helpers,

please contact Group Scout Leader Matt Head


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.

Bits 2

Also on this page……Refund TV……Befriending……CHAIN Appeal ……..All Aboard!

 A Plea to Highlight !
Dear Editor, Please could you highlight this problem we face in Hungerford.
As pensioners without our own transport it is very very difficult to find a reliable TAXI at short notice, for instance if a visit to the Surgery is urgently needed, or indeed if there is an evening function to attend or a lunch meeting with friends even. C.H.A.I.N. do a marvellous service when one can book in advance, but there is a problem at other times. Perhaps one of the local Taxi drivers might guarantee to to help us close this gap.
Maintaining our independence is very important to us
Yours sincerely,
Editors comment, I would like to point out that CHAIN is not there as a taxi service and those with medical needs will always come first. Occasionally one of our volunteer drivers will try to help out!


Over—75’s refunded £38 million for TV licences-How you can reclaim

The moment you reach 75 you are eligible for a free TV licence. You can claim back to 2000
You must claim as the Licensing people will not do it.
You can reclaim for each month you paid for since turning 75 – so if you’ve overpaid for six months, you’ll get half a year’s licence fee back.
You can reclaim as far back as 1 November 2000 – the date that free licences for over-75s were introduced. So theoretically, if you’re in your early 90s and have been mistakenly paying for your licence for the past 18 years, you could be owed over £2,500.
You can claim for a refund by calling TV Licensing on 0300 790 6130 or using the
TV Licensing website. You’ll need to provide your national insurance number, name, address and date of birth, and TV Licensing will work out the exact amount you’re owed and pay you via bank transfer or cheque. You can also claim for a licence holder if you have Power of Attorney for them.
Editors note…With grateful thanks to Martin Lewis money saving expert who has helped me save a lot of money over the last few years.


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.


Attention please we need your help
If you have just TWO 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

Hungerford Surgery

Preparing for winter

The cold weather brings additional health related issues for us all and patients suffering from coughs, colds, sore throats and flu-like symptons significantly increases the demand on GP surgeries. It is an important time for us all to look after ourselves and whilst maintaining a healthy diet won’t always prevent you from picking up winter illnesses, it can help maintain your immune system to better protect you.

Be sure to have your flu jab and look out for children and elderly relatives or neighbours who may require extra help during the winter months. It is also known that children are more susceptible to asthma attacks in the cold weather and patients are at a higher risk of developing health complications if they have a respiratory condition.

For our part, the doctors at Hungerford Surgery will be offering additional ‘book on the day’ appointments throughout the winter months to help our patients and to help alleviate some of the pressures on the NHS.

Christmas & New Year Opening Hours 2018/19
Mon 24th Dec: Normal day 8:30 am – 6:30 pm
Tues 25th Dec: Closed Wed 26th Dec: Closed
Thurs 27th,Fri 28th ,Mon 31st Dec: Normal day 8:30 am – 6:30 pm
Tues 1st Jan: Closed
Wed 2nd Jan: Normal day 8:30 am – 6:15 pm

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. If you are unsure about your eligibility please call the surgery on 01488 682507 (after 10:00 am please) to check with a receptionist and make an appointment.

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’.

Enhanced Access to GP Services
The Hungerford Surgery is part of a federation of 10 practices in the West Berks area working together to provide enhanced access to GP services. For our part, Hungerford Surgery is offering additional routine GP appointments on alternate Saturday mornings, together with additional appointments with a practice nurse for women to attend for cervical screening.
We are also able to offer additional GP appointments at other surgeries in the West Berkshire area during the evenings and weekends.

To obtain further information and / or book an appointment please call
the surgery on 01488 682507.


Virtual Museum

Fun in the Town Hall

So many interesting things have happened in our Town Halls over the years.

The second “Elizabethan” Town Hall was erected in 1573, during the reign of Elizabeth I. It stood in the middle of the market place, like its successor. There was a prison (lock-up) there, and the Queen’s courts and law days were held there.

The first occasion on record of the Town Hall being let for a public performance was in 1718 when a “Fire Eater” paid 10/- to give a performance. In 1750 it was let for a “Puppet Show”.
Our third town hall came in 1786, and the present Town Hall and Corn Exchange was built in 1871. The smaller Town Hall was used from the outset as a venue for meetings of the Town and Manor of Hungerford, the Parish Council, as a Masonic Lodge, and as a court room for Petty Sessions. The larger Corn Exchange room was the venue for a busy weekly Corn Market right up until 1923.

In the early 1900s, the Corn Exchange was in regular use as a roller-skating rink. The Hungerford Historical Association archive holds a book (kindly presented by the Tubb family, 2015) summarising details of the skating sessions from 15 Mar 1910 (morning, afternoon and evening sessions on some days) until 4 Feb 1911.

There were regular dances and whist drives, and the Corn Exchange was used in the early to mid-20th century as the town’s cinema, before The Regent cinema opened in 1934. Films were shown on three nights each week, with a matinee on Saturday. The piano accompaniment was by Ivy Giles, and later by Miss Bell. Tickets were 3d.

It has been used as a concert hall, lecture hall, dinner venue, wedding venue and, since 1974, for the Hocktide lunch. During the 1939-45 war it housed the British Restaurant and the Food Office. The now defunct Labour Exchange was housed there and all Hungerford elections, both local and national, have been held there.

But the most exciting events ever must have been the wonderful shows by “The Lady of Lions”, Sonya Allen and her daughter Betty, who brought live lions to the Corn Exchange!

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,
Happy days are here again: Eve’s arrival at the Down Gate Inn, joining her proud parents Lauren and Dennis, gives us good reason to go there and order a round to toast her future. Second, the reappearance of the (Centenary) poppy collection for the British Legion, provides Hungerford a new opportunity to repeat the record amounts raised here in recent years thanks to the hard work of all those involved and the generosity of the community.

The Annual Christmas Fair has recently been held in the Town Hall , enjoying significant levels of patronage from both the town itself as well as welcoming incomers drawn from across the South of England. A charity benefiting for more than the last 20 years from this initiative is AMREF, the biggest Healthcare operation in Sub-Saharan Africa, including the legendary African Flying Doctor Service (with which Grumpy was proud to have been associated) founded in Nairobi decades ago by international surgeons [male and female] who were also pilots, flying themselves around the surrounding countries, often landing in remote areas and then operating on patients in the shade of their aircraft’s wings. I have it on good authority that this Fair brings in visitors who then add to the footfall elsewhere in Hungerford’s retail areas, something which the town self-evidently should encourage.

At the Youth Club and Community Centre, the Committee is now looking for someone to pick up the reins, and help out a few hours each week, taking over from Andrea who, as Clerk, has been putting in hard work revamping both the organisation and the facilities such as the new kitchen area,

There is always another side to the coin. Less impressive is the apparent inability of the Conservatives to select [for the imminent Local Authority elections] someone from within Hungerford to represent the Town’s inhabitants on West Berkshire Council where recent events continue to reflect a sad lack of comprehension of Hungerford’s ambitions and preferences on a number of issues. But then there is no longer a Hungerford Branch of the West Berkshire Conservative Association! Maybe other parties will take advantage of this lacuna.

One responsibility of West Berkshire Council is tackling Hungerford’s ongoing pigeon problem; noteworthy that the last person whose involvement achieved the (then very effective) re-netting of the GWR bridge over the High Street, was the late WBC-Cllr. David Holtby. A week ago, I counted 60 birds sheltering under this bridge; effective netting has long been stripped by an over-stacked lorry-load.

There are other similarly unwelcome visitors to the town. In Tesco’s recently, I found two MAMILs actually pushing their racing bikes around the aisles and then propping-up their bikes against the automatic check-outs and so holding up others who were queuing to use them; the protestations of the staff were arrogantly brushed aside. I hear bicyclists are regularly and demonstrably failing to observe the Highway Code as they pedal across the mini-roundabouts and pavements of our town, do your readers share my view that this latest is an infringement too far?


Gardening by Stacy

I’ve been a good girl !!

So how did that happen? Here we are once again with Winter on its way as summer has just disappeared around the corner. I so enjoyed that late summer sun with warm t shirt days well into October. Of course it meant that I was reluctant to cut back the still blooming perennials to make space for bulb planting resulting in a frantic late catch up.

Now thoughts turn to Christmas and present shopping. This year I have quite a few gardening items on my list for Father Christmas. I managed to lose my Felco secateurs a couple of years ago and cheaper replacements have not stood the test of time. So that is my first request please Mr Claus.

Having grown lots of new perennials this year, including Dahlias, I quickly realised that I haven’t got enough plant supports. There are some very decorative supports on the market from twisted sprials to metal birds or flowers but I think I need something more practical which will show the plants at their best without being a feature in itself. A good variety of single stem supports for my Gladioli, fluted peony cages and ring supports at varying heights would be perfect.
You might think that’s a boring present but I’d be overjoyed !

Some of my decorative pots are starting to show their age and could do with replacing but you may be surprised to know that I’m a bit fussy so a voucher from a garden centre would let me make a choice. None of your planted meerkats or T-rexs for me I’m afraid. You see, a pot needs to harmonise with its surroundings whether it is the paving, the house walls, other pots it will stand beside and also with the plant which it will contain. Of course the main priority is that it should be frost proof.

Finally I am planning to remove a poorly Plum tree in the garden, dismantle my rockery beneath it in the spring and completely revamp it. I made a classic mistake when I planted it originally years ago that I used rampant Sedum Schorbusserblut which has taken over completely despite my best efforts to keep it in check. I was recently sent a very pretty little Linaria as an apology for a late plant delivery which was perfect as I would rather grow some delicate looking ( but hardy) little Alpines which will welcome in the spring I so long for.

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Happy Hedgehogs

Or are they? Hedgehogs have declined by over 30% in the last 10 years and it is estimated that there are less than a million left in the UK. When was the last time you saw a hedgehog? We last saw a hedgehog in our garden about 5 years ago.

My neighbour built a posh hedgehog house and I bought an expensive wooden hedgehog house; my other neighbour bought a plastic hog house from the garden centre. Thus it had three gardens to roam over and three houses to live in but he or she decided to leave the area.

In my view hedgehogs are “a mixed blessing”. On the negative side they eat ground-nesting birds’ eggs and earthworms but on the positive side they eat slugs and other garden pests.

It is said they have only one natural predator – the badger but it is thought many are killed on the roads. Personally I think we are destroying their natural habitat when we fill the countryside with thousands of houses and new roads.

When I had to replace the fence in my garden recently I decided to dig under it and make a wooden tunnel for our spiky friends – the hogs and their hog lets. I screwed tannelised wood to the posts and fence and felt proud of my contribution to wild life. Unfortunately only the local cats use it. It saves them jumping over the four foot high wooden structure! But a cock pheasant rests on the fence and occasionally crows.

It took so long to erect the fence that a mole took up residence in the churned-up border next to it. Moles move overland, mostly at night-time looking for fresh territories and mates. They do not hibernate like hedgehogs. They remain active underground throughout the winter. Hopefully it will use the underpass to leave my garden when I expose its entrance hole. Normally I do a war dance in heavy boots and bang the soil with a spade to encourage moles to leave my garden. Why do they like lawns?

This charming picture is meant to show how easy it is to handle hedgehogs when kept as pets. A hobby which I did not know existed until recently. Keeping them as pets may help them from becoming extinct in the UK. Perhaps those that are left will become pets or “townies”. My friend in Newbury has a family in his garden. Four come out at night to feed on his cat’s food.

All our mammals are dramatically decreasing in numbers. Surely we can’t convert the last few into pets?

In my youth I remember a travelling family coming to my village and eating hedgehogs. However I don’t think we will ever see them for sale in a supermarket but I suspect they taste like pork. Incidentally somebody infamously ate a mole and said it tasted vile

One very important point that must be made is that you must not put out milk or bread for hedgehogs. They are lactose intolerant and bread has no minerals in it. Sadly hedgehogs have a short life span of between 2 and 5 years.

Recently I have built log piles and left a wild area for them to colonise my garden. The RSPB like log piles and denote a whole page to them on their website. A neatly stacked pile of logs in a triangular or pyramidal shape with plenty of gaps between them will help nature.

It also seems fun for children to neatly saw logs and stack them in lines. The theory is they attract small mammals, numerous insects, fungi such as bracket fungus, algae and moss and possibly a wren or dunnock. In my opinion they look interesting and incidentally they should attract bees which are in decline and needed to produce food for us humans, (pollination).

Richard Barker aka Hawkeye

Steam by Tony Bartlett

Last time I reported on Flying Scotsman visits to our area which used the Thames Valley route. We were however promised a later opportunity to travel – on our line – behind this famous locomotive on a Theale to Taunton trip on 4th October. So it was that I was on the Common on that date, barely an hour after sunrise, waiting for the sound of an approaching steam train about to burst out from under the Dun Mill overbridge:
The Pacific loco (with 4-6-2 wheel arrangement) was accompanied by a smaller Black Five class 4-6-0 to assist on the steep gradients in Devon and Cornwall later in its tour of the West Country. So we were treated to the impressive sight of double-heading steam locos with billowing exhaust on the wasteland left by recent tree clearances from the trackside.

My close-up action shot shows the rather ungainly ‘German’ smoke deflectors fitted to FS in its later years – those enormous steam pipes not allowing the fitting of the conventional full-height versions. It should also be noted that the graceful flat arch of the 19thcentury bridge is not ‘electrification-ready’ and will have to go when the wires eventually arrive. You can see a colour version of this and two further shots in the Steam Special section of the CHAIN web-site, where you can also find out how to avoid being caught out by the early running of these steam specials – this train left Newbury at 07:30!

Many views of the railway on the Common have become available again after the clearance of years of encroachment by vegetation, providing new angles for viewing Gresley’s other famous Pacific design in August. Unfortunate however for photographers and travellers that the weather was dreary for both visits of A4 Union of South Africa.

Looking to the end of the year, this loco is also scheduled for a return visit here on the Bath Christmas Market special from the Railway Touring Company on 24th November, the only one of ten winter steam expresses in our area. Details of the others are available from the local extract of UK Steam Info on the CHAIN web-site.

Tony Bartlett

HAHA by Belinda

An Allotment in Hungerford………..

2018 is nearly over – where did that go?! At the end of the year I like to look back over my blog entries and photographs; it’s surprising how much is forgotten.
From torrential rain in January and February through freezing March where we saw -9.3°C in the greenhouse and a thick blanket of snow. April is always a busy month and we had the added excitement of needing to make a pond on our plot for tadpoles. May was a lovely month for gardening, with plenty of warm sunshine in between rain offering great growing weather for seedlings and other plants. That May weather helped HAHA produce a tremendous amount of plants for the plant sale in June – our first on the Town Hall Steps which was a great success. And, of course, we didn’t know it at the time, June was when our exceptional summer began.

It was a World Cup year and we enjoyed watching England do pretty well (at the time it felt like we’d won the cup when we reached the semi-final) and in between matches we could enjoy sunshine, picnics on the plot and LOTS of watering. We had the brilliant Open Day in July, in blasting heat, so we all needed sun umbrellas. The Marsh Lane site does look particularly beautiful on a sunny day, so we were glad of the weather. At times in July we were definitely hoping that we’d get some rain but, though the thunderclouds gathered, no rain fell until August – phew, what a relief that was. The well-watered veg was providing us with regular harvests of salad, cucumbers and beans but the harvests were certainly affected by the lack of rainwater. The RBL/HAHA Horticultural Show had a very good turnout with plenty of quality produce on show and later in the month the plotholders gathered for a well-attended barbecue as an opportunity to meet some of our many newcomers for this year.

September provided bumper harvests of sweetcorn, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and still more courgettes which we were able to show off at the Hungerford Food Festival. Although pumpkins have been generally smaller this year, because of the weather, we have had plenty of squashes which ripened nicely for Halloween and Autumn soups. I must say that the Festival squash which we grew have been particularly sweet and tasty.

There’s plenty more work to be done and lots more harvests in-waiting, but I will miss the site gatherings; the last one was for our Work Party at the beginning of October, with a huge fire and some fabulous food. Some plotholders won’t be seen till the Spring and then it starts all over again – aah…

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

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

The fears that many of us had about tough times ahead for the club have sadly been confirmed by a disappointing start to the season and we have drifted down into the relegation zone. It was a bitter blow when East Thurrock scored two injury-time goals to rob us of victory recently, a result which saw the home side climb above us in the league and make the task of avoiding relegation even more difficult.

After a drastic cut in our playing budget, we lost a number of players, the days when lads played for their local town or village and remained loyal throughout their playing career are, sadly, long gone and it is all about money. Our manager has worked hard to sign a number of young players, but whilst they show a great deal of promise they lack the physical strength to compete with the players we meet at this level.

Another problem was highlighted when we met Slough Town recently. With a population of almost 150,000 compared with our 6,000- they have the level of support which we can never match. Not only that, some of the clubs we meet play at impressive stadiums built by the local authority, for which they reportedly pay a peppercorn rent .

We have done remarkably well to reach this level, only two divisions below the Football League, well above all the clubs which have been our traditional opponents over the years and it was always going to be difficult to maintain this standard, but we have a hard working committee and playing staff, and we shall battle on to do the town proud at whatever level we compete.

Ron Tarry. President Hungerford Town Football Club.

Hungerford Town Band by Tim Crouter

Hungerford Town Band have just performed their Annual Poppy Concert. An appreciative audience helped raise over £500.00 to start Hungerford Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal for 2018\19.

Now turning to the upcoming festive season, the band will be performing at many events during December. These include the switching on of our amazing Christmas lights, carols in the square in Kintbury, the Christmas Extravaganza in the High Street, and performing at the Town’s Carol Service in St. Lawrence’s Church.

However, the highlight for us will be our own Christmas Concert in Hungerford Corn Exchange on Saturday 8th December at 7.30pm. Tickets are £7.00 to include refreshments and are available soon from Crown Needlework, any band member or at the door on the night.

Further information about any of the above or even learning to play a brass instrument can be found on our website

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

Tim Crouter Musical Director


Health by Liz

Beat the Bugs with Beta Glucans

Coughs, colds and stomach bugs appear to be common place as we head into the winter months and any one of these can impact upon our daily lives. When it comes to naturally boosting the immune system, beta glucans are crucial weapons in the fight to stay healthy. Liz Chandler from Natures Corner explains how they can provide the cornerstone to our immune armoury.

As the temperatures cool and the central heating goes on, there can be a collective sharing of germs as we work in close proximity to others. A fully primed immune system is vital to combat the onslaught of bacteria and viruses. Beta Glucan is a natural complex carbohydrate, commonly derived from brewer’s yeast, shitake mushrooms and cereal grains particularly barley and oats.

After over a century of research, studies have shown that beta glucans reach the small intestine intact, where they bind to immune cells and act as an alarm, helping to kick-start the body’s defences at the first sign of infection. Specifically they stimulate the activity of macrophages, which are versatile immune cells that ingest and demolish invading pathogens and also stimulate other immune cells to attack. In addition, beta glucans stimulate white blood cells (lymphocytes) that bind to viruses, and release chemicals to destroy them.

Science may not have unlocked all the potential health benefits of supplementing with beta glucans, but it is known that there is a positive effect on heart health and regulating blood sugar levels. However, people with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and asthma may need to use caution as the immune system is already overactive.

So with a little forethought and preventative action, we can perhaps enjoy a winter without illness and keep our homes, schools and workplaces, bug free zones.

Natures Corner Northbrook Street Newbury 01635 33007 email

Hungerford PPG

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.

Following Dr Anderson’s retirement the surgery has a full complement of regular and locum doctors. However, we all know that appointments can be hard to come by. So if you cannot attend an appointment please use the cancellation line on 01488 682507, option 5. That way we can all help ensure there are appointments available when we want one.

Saturday appointments every other Saturday have been reinstated with the advent of extended access across West Berkshire. These need to be booked in advance. More information on the surgery web site.

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. 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. Feel free to drop in – there’s often tea and cake.

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.

Any questions or queries or matters to raise with the PPG,
please contact