Hungerford Chamber of Commerce News – November 2019

November 2019 Report from Hungerford Chamber of Commerce

Guest Speaker:  Rupert Thompson from Hog’s Back Brewery

Rupert gave an illustrated talk and spoke in detail about his experience in the brewing industry, starting out working for Bass, then Morlands and now with his own Hog’s Back Brewery based near Farnham in Surrey.  He said that the industry is highly competitive with the need to embrace and anticipate change and constantly seek to develop new products.  Consumers now drink less in terms of quantity but are happy to pay more for better quality products such as craft beers and lagers, and low-alcohol and alcohol-free beers are becoming increasingly popular.  Locally-produced hops also yield more flavour and this adds to the products’ appeal.

Rupert had kindly brought along a cask of Hog’s Back IPA to enjoy at the meeting and this went down extremely well.  He also mentioned new seasonal beers such as Hogswallop, Home Harvest Ale and Goldstar.  Favourable publicity had been received from the BBC CountryFile TV programme, Saturday Kitchen and Radio 4.   He confirmed that some of his products are on sale at local pubs such as The Plume and John o’Gaunt Inn.

Hungerford Extravaganza update and appeal for donations

The Extravaganza which takes place this year on the evening of Friday 13th December.  The ‘Maggie’ stream engine is now confirmed along with 1940’s tractors.   Steven Hill will get things organised with the funfair.  Derek invited anyone who wishes to run with a charity stall to get in touch with him at

Appeal letters are being distributed to local shops and businesses and that a Good Exchange match funding facility has been set up.  

Visit Hungerford and tourist activity 

Martin reported that the Visit Hungerford group has held several meetings including Love Hungerford and Tourism South East. There had been a recent visit by GWW representative, who were taken to the Rose of Hungerford, the Tutti Pole cafe, the new Pop-up shop, then to the Three Swans and Bear hotels.  Rupert suggested we should ‘think big‘ to gain national publicity.  This would require funding from local businesses.

Reports; Chairman, Treasurer and Membership

Derek – Treasurers Report.   £3,972 in the Treasurer’s account, including subs from two new members.  Extravaganza account balance £3,980, receipts included £943 from the Good Exchange and £1,400 from the Town & Manor.

David – Chairman’s report – David summarised his activities since the last meeting including attending a meeting of the 2036 Neighbourhood Plan group, pursuing membership renewals and new membership enquiries, organising the Two Cocks outing, chairing 3 meetings of the Chamber committee, setting up the Good Exchange facility for the Extravaganza and attending two meetings of the Visit  Hungerford group.  He reported that membership now totals 64.

October 2019 

The next Members’ Meeting will be 23rd October at the Hungerford Football Club.   6pm, for a 6.30pm start.

September 2019

No Members meeting this month, but the Chamber did enjoy a summer social evening out to the Two Cocks Brewery.  A write up and photos appeared in the NWN. 

August 2019 

No Chamber meeting this month but plans are underway for the Extravaganza on Friday 13 December. 

July 2019 Report from Hungerford Chamber of Commerce

Tom Newey from Cobbs Farm talked about his business. They purchased Cobbs in 2007 when it had just 5 employees, the business now owns 7 similar farm shops employing 170 employees, 40 of whom are employed at Cobbs in Hungerford.  It’s a 55-acre farm with kids’ barn soft play and other businesses present. Cobbs are producing internationally recognised wine and have won awards,owing to good grapes and the excellent ground around Hungerford.   Keen on the Great West Way and feels this is positive for his business.

James Cole– District Councillor for Hungerford and Kintbury talked over some key points from the Council.  He is Chairman of licensing and Heritage Champion for West Berkshire.   The Council is having its budget cut again which wasn’t a surprise to the members.  They have arranged a loan for Newbury College – £3.5 million to invest in University level education.  New primary school being built.  Climate change – should we support additional runway at Heathrow?  Adult social care – costs rising rapidly as we’re living longer, this is a concern. Our Hungerford Hub at the library is a great working model for others and will be used elsewhere.


Derek Loft– Treasurers Report – review of the 3 bank accounts:  Visit Hungerfordbalance £200. Used to promote visit Hungerford with its pop-up stall.   Extravaganza account – recent payment £140 out to book Reading pipe band for this year’s Extravaganza.    Treasurers account – currently £2397, excluding 2 recent membership subscriptions that have come in.

Derek– update on Extravaganza – Chilton Foliat school have booked a stall as the result of recent advert in The Adviser.   Crepe van wrote to request a pitch.  5” steam miniature railway suggested by Adam Winslet – Derek thinks this might work on the grass pitch by the Wharf. Would need lighting in that area, Adam suggested could the lights be powered by Fuel Cell Systems?  Derek to speak with them.   Derek has been in contact with; first aid, barriers, security to get pricing.  David and Derek working on the Good Exchange grant application.   He’ll be contacting steam engines this coming week.


Visit Hungerford– update from Martin – 4 sessions now with pop-up stall in several locations in our High Street, bringing 20 or so visitors, Friday, Wednesdays & Saturday.  Learning to make ourselves visible & that we’re selling Hungerford.  They are in need for more volunteers – so will look to get further names involved.  Sharing menus of local eateries and Rose of Hungerford leaflets popular.  There will be a series in August coming up.  Feedback from visitors is that we don’t have a reliable taxi service in town and accommodation is extremely limited.   Also raised by Tom Newey.   Old Thornton’s shop – David Small visited the Tesco manager who will look at the “closing down” untidy window displays.   

Smarten up Hungerford– John Willmott not present this evening for an updateNick Furr brought up ongoing pigeon issue outside Dods shop and a recent email he sent to various local organisations.  James Cole updated that issue is with PPP in West Berkshire Council for health and safety.    Removing the bracket that once held a shop sign would probably lead to a lot less birds’ mess on the pavement.


Community Award update– Jane will be speaking to the Heritage & Environment Manager for the K&A canal Oda Dijksterhuis to advise with parts of the project.


Benchmarking  – David has received email from ‘People in Places’ – Mike King.  Visit small market towns and advise them how to improve the economy.  CoC paid £1000 in 2013 for a benchmarking report on the town.  David would like to invite Mike King to visit again and see if we could look at a new report.  No one disagreed with this suggestion – so we’ll discuss in committee meeting.  Nigel Perrin added his Town Team Hungerford Ltd. received £10K to invest in the town from the government to improve footfall to our town, still ongoing in the background but would like this to gain further traction again.  


AOB – What should the Chamber do over the next few months? Agreed September – arrange a social outing.   David suggested the new Two Cocks brewery in Enborne, Penny suggested Wheatsheaf in Chilton Foliat, which was recently awarded ‘most sustainable pub of the year’.   Both ideas to be pursued by David and Penny respectively.  October meeting – venue to be arranged, guest speaker will be Rupert Thompson, a brewery owner.   Christmas – Mark Ranson said that he would be happy to host a social get-together in the bar at the Heongate Lesiure club, perhaps with live music.  He also distributed posters about corporate discount – 25% membership discount for businesses that are members of CoC.

Ken Finlay – Hungerford Primary School recently entered a competition painting metal horses and the school won receiving £2500 & iPad Pro.  A further suggestion from Ken from his recent visit to Deal, Kent‘Stranger in the Window’.   Shops take part putting an out-ofplace object in the window, children explore the High Street finding these and write them down on an activity sheet, ideal come rain or shine.

Further to David’s meeting with Tescos manager for the old Thorntons shop, Frances made a suggestion for the windows, which she’d seen visiting Taunton with a similar issue – plastic graphics, images of local scenes.  This will be discussed further in the next committee meeting.


June 2019 Report from Hungerford Chamber of Commerce

Ben East addressed the meeting about his success as a junior javelin thrower, now aged 15 and having achieved the longest throw in the UK (76 metres) in September last year for his agegroup.  He now competes in national competitions and is hopeful of inclusion in the UK team at the Olympics in 2028.  His expenses include weekly physiotherapy @ £50 per hour, nutrionist @ £80 p.h., travel and accommodation costs and around £1,500 p.a. for equipment and kit.  His mother Jenny had appealed for sponsorship and the Chamber and Hungerford Town Council had agreed to help.  John Willmott said Ben could benefit from the Sports Aid Foundation of which he is a trustee – they sponsor individuals once nominated from a sports body.  A cheque for £50 out of Chamber funds was handed to Ben and photographs duly taken, after which Ben had to leave the meeting to attend a training session.

Carl Reader then addressed the meeting about Hungerford Town Football Club and his role as Vice-Chairman. The Club is in the sixth tier of English football and the highest performing club in West Berkshire. Spectator attendance doubled last year and Carl hopes that the same will apply in 2019/20. Ground and clubhouse improvements are planned including upgrading the kitchen and a new outdoor bar. More sponsorship is needed and more publicity for matches to attract more support.  Emma Milne-White suggested a fundraising fixture involving a team of local celebrities and agreed to discuss this with her husband as regards possibly raising a team.

Chairman’s address:  David reviewed the last meeting of the Chamber at Fuel Cell Systems Ltd’s premises in Station Yard, since when he had been unable to do very much due to the need to undergo a hip replacement operation!  He confirmed that Chamber membership has increased to 61 and should shortly increase again to 63, with the Three Swans and the Wheatsheaf having agreed to join.

Treasurer’s report:  Derek reported that the Chamber’s bank balances are currently £2,505.86 (Treasurer’s account), £3,062.59 (Extravaganza) and £178.50 (Visit Hungerford).  The annual Data Protection Act fee had just been paid.

Extravaganza:   Derek gave an update, with road closures already in place and with the next step being to set up another Good Exchange match funding facility (which David will be organising).  Penny asked to Derek when we are likely on decide on reviving the ‘Victorian Extravaganza’ description – agreed this ought to be possible within the next two weeks or so.  He said that Adam Winslet had suggested a mini railway – possible locations were suggested including the Wharf, the Croft and the Library car park – to be discussed at the next Committee meeting.

Visit Hungerford– Martin provided an update, including today’s trial stand (without a gazebo) outside the old Nat West bank building.  More volunteers are needed and a start time later in the day.

Smarten up Hungerford – John gave an update report, with four new tubs alongside the A4 coming in from Newbury and two from Marlborough.  It was reported by Frances that the tubs at the railway station have fallen apart and will need replacing.

Hungerford Community Award– Penny is due to meet with Mike Rodd from The Rose, with the idea of a Heritage Trail which would show what life was like around the wharf 100 years ago.  Mike suggested Penny speak with RT Heritage & Environment Manager for the K&A.

Guest speaker– Gabrielle Mancini, Economic Development Officer of West Berkshire Council addressed the meeting and in the absence of a projector distributed copies of some slides.   The draft 2036 strategy addresses a number of serious challenges for the district as regards skills and social mobility, recruitment challenges, roads, railway electrification, digital communications, planning and licensing in order to create as business-friendly an environment as possible.  She urged all to read the document and to refer back to her with any comments and suggestions.

Dates of the next meeting – members meeting on 31stJuly at Cobbs Farm Shot, Bath Road, Hungerford.

May 2019 Report from Hungerford Chamber of Commerce

Extravaganza – Derek reported that the road closures have been arranged. Agreed that the Reading Scottish Pipe Band should be booked again and their deposit paid. Derek is investigating booking steam engines for this year’s event.  Possibility that we could go back to VictorianExtravaganza name if we can get more engines booked..

Visit Hungerford– Martin Crane reported that there will be a further tourist info point trial on Wednesday 5thJune on the Town Hall steps and that he is investigating funding from the Town Council & the Good Exchange.

Smarten up Hungerford– John Willmott not present, but some update information was provided by members in attendance.

‘This is my Business’– The team at Fuel Cell Systems Hungerford has been applying fuel cells to real-life tasks since 2003. In that time we’ve accumulated a great deal of knowledge across all technologies and sizes of different Fuel Cells. This has resulted in FCS being asked to consult on projects ranging from low power off-grid to multi-megawatt city wide local generation.

Our services are often called upon for funded projects from the EU FCH-JU (Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) and the UK government’s Innovate UK program as well as by industry for early-stage advice  on the best approach to using the technology.

Beth Dawson gave an account of the business of Fuel Cell Systems Limited. The company currently has 8 employees and supplies the fuel cells (mainly hydrogen-powered) as appropriate for clients’ needs with integrated tech support. Expansion in the next 5 years is expected, especially on the technical side, with the workforce to increase to around 16 but with no plans to move from Hungerford.  Installations are not limited to the UK and Beth described a recent installation in the north of Norway (well above the Arctic circle) to power a weather station. Limitations are encountered under differing national regulations and changes in UK regulations are needed, with other countries being much further ahead in terms of technical awareness.  The future is bright however especially in countries such as India where there is no reliable national grid.

Any Other Business– Beth offered to assist in providing power for the town’s Christmas Lights in front of the Corn Exchange. Martin agreed to make enquiries with the Town Council.

Dates of next meetings– members meeting on 26thJune at Hungerford Town Football Club, committee meeting on 4thJune. 

April 2019 Report from Hungerford Chamber of Commerce

2019 Annual General Meeting – this took place on 23 April and you can see the minutes here.

Promoting Hungerford – the plan is to trial a pop-up tourist table on the Town Hall steps every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Easter to September. If you run local events, accomodation or meals please let us know if you want to supply flyers to the stand. Our next action is to organise a rota of volunteers.  If anyone is interested please contact (Committee Member) Jane Goldstein c/o

Smarten Up Hungerford – this team of volunteers continues to make a signficant difference to the appearance of our town. If you would like to get involved please contact

Christmas Extravaganza – the old sponsor board has been taken down and the new one will go up soon to thank  all those local businesses who generously donated funds to enable the 2018 Extravaganza to take place.  If you would like to help with this year’s event on Friday 13 December please contact a committee member below.

Shop Local – the initiative aims to encourage people to use their local shops more and help them survive and prosper.  We are pleased to report that their Director Jon Crocker will be the guest speaker at our AGM on 23rd April to tell us about this initiative and how it has benefited other small towns who are taking part.  All local retailers welcome to hear the presentation at the AGM.

New Premises Required for Wendy’s Cafe which has been given notice to leave Herongate. If you know of a premises in central Hungerford please contact Wendy on 07901 668302 (please leave a message if Wendy is busy)]


March 2019 Report from Hungerford Chamber of Commerce

Thank You to Grape Smith
Each meeting we rotate round our members premises. Thank you to Barnaby at Grape Smith at Barr’s Yard for hosting our February meeting. We enjoyed a wonderful selections and beers including stunning non-alcoholic beverages and a delicious spread of cold cuts from Christian Alba Traditional Butchers on the High Street.

Marketing HungerfordJane Goldstein and Penny Locke ran a successful Hungerford stall at the Excursions Trade Travel Fair which they ran with Ellie Dickens and Julian Tubb from the Town and Manor. Jane, Penny, Martin Crane, Veronica Bailey (Farewise Travel) and Fiona Hobson (Tutti Pole), Emma Milne White (Hungerford Bookshop), Mayor Helen Simpson and Anthony Buckwell have since met to discuss relaunching the Marketing Hungerford initiative under the Chamber banner with a view to promoting Hungerford as a visitor and tourist destination, following work done in the past by the Chamber, Hungerford Town Council’s Tourism and Economy Committee and Town Team Hungerford.  

Smarten Up Hungerford – this campaign was launched some months ago by Committee member John Willmott (Eliane restaurant and coffee shop) with the assistance of a body of around 20 volunteers.  A great deal of tidying-up has already been done with flower beds and grass cutting and clearing-up of the entrances to the town.  

Christmas Extravaganza – it won’t be long before the planning process for the 2019 Extravaganza will need to get under way.  Meantime a new notice-board has been designed to replace the existing (and out of date!) notice board underneath the town centre railway bridge to record our thanks to all those local businesses who generously donated funds to enable the 2018 Extravaganza to take place.  Feedback re. this event and how it could be improved will be welcome and also any offers of help from members to help to plan and organise it.

Shop Local – the initiative aims to encourage people to use their local shops more and help them survive and prosper.  We are pleased to report that their Director Jon Crocker has agreed to attend our AGM on 23rd April as our guest speaker to tell us about this initiative and how it has benefited other small towns who are taking part.  Thanks to Emma Milne-White and Jane Goldstein for looking into this and getting in touch with Jon to invite him.

Hungerford in Boom – this annual competition is now under way again and Sally Hawkin of Hungerford Town Council attended our last Committee meeting to tell us about it and ask for our support.  It is open to commercial as well as residential properties and anyone interested in taking part is invited to contact Martin Crane (email address below).

 Time to Talk – Town Councillor and Chamber member Mark Cusack has just held the first of a series of planned monthly get-togethers in the Magistrates’ Room in the Town Hall/Corn Exchange building to launch this initiative which is dedicated to helping people with personal and/or emotional problems.  The Chamber has agreed to lend such support as it can, and ideas and suggestions as to how this might be done are invited.

 Town and Manor of Hungerford Community Award – the Town and Manor are offering a prize of £750 to the winner of this competition to identify the best contributor (private individuals and organisations of all kinds) to Hungerford in terms of making it a better place in which to work and/or live.  Our Chairman David Small has agreed to be a member of the judging panel.  This will be publicised by the Town and Manor over the next few weeks and months but we will keep our members updated as news comes our way.

Next Meeting Dates

Tuesday 26 March 6pm for 6.30pm venue tbd

Tuesday 23 AprilChamber Annual General Meeting at the Royal British Legion, 6.30 for 7pm.  A formal agenda will be sent to all Chamber members at least 21 days prior to the meeting.  Items will include include reports from Committee officers, minutes of last year’s AGM and election of committee members for the year ahead – Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Membership Secretary and any others.  The AGM will also decide what the membership subscription should be for 2019/20 – at present it is £50, with a 50% discount for new or returning lapsed members for their first year.

Chamber Committee contact details

Chair – David Small – 07713 094759 and
Treasurer – Derek Loft – 07799 660584 and
Secretary – Stuart March – 07917 441065 and
Membership Secretary – Jane Goldstein, 07766 234443 and
Penny Locke – 07768 981658 and
Martin Crane – 07957 290545 and
Frances Small 07747 015700 and
John Willmott – 07961 339377 and

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