Local News May 16-23 2019

Our round-up of local news across the area this week including Hungerford’s election, Wantage’s plan, Grove’s litter, Ramsbury’s bounds, Bradfield’s fair, Highworth’s democracy, Newbury’s fine, Lambourn’s toilet seats, Swindon’s recycling, Letcombe Basset’s gardens, East Garston’s dog, Hampstead Norreys’ shop, Thatcham’s action week, Marlborough’s march, Aldbourne’s scarecrows, Ashampstead’s Arms, police and travel updates, road closures, Jeremy Kyle, euro-fatigue, hands-on councillors, fizz for the French, 953 years in the family, 709 mayors, cheap wine, purdah-plus and a heart of gold. 

Click on any highlighted and underlined text for more information on the subject. Some will link to other pages on this site, others to pages elsewhere.

Police, transport and council contacts

Information on police, transport (including roadworks) and district councils can now be found on a separate page here.

Links to the websites for town and parish councils can still be found in the appropriate sections below.

Across the area (and further afield)

• The local elections are over but there are European elections coming up, on Thursday 23 May. Seldom has there been less appetite for a democratic event. Two of the parties standing have only just been created, while the governing Conservatives seem to be approaching the contest will all the enthusiasm of a nervous first-time parachutist with altitude sickness and a bad hangover. I’ve now all but lost my grip on what’s going on. Come the results, every party will doubtless use the results to justify why it was right and everyone else wrong. If you want to know how the votes are apportioned and winning candidates selected, have a look at this article about the d’Hondt system which is used for these elections.

• Former Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Judith Bunting is standing in these elections and, on p7 of this week’s Newbury Weekly News, explains why these are important and what she would hope to accomplish if elected.

• Another aspect of the Euro elections has just struck me, which also probably explains the dearth of initiatives which one would normally expect from the new councils. For six weeks before any local, national or European elections, a state of purdah applies which prevents councils from making announcements designed to favour a particular party. For the local elections, this started on 14 March and for the Euros on 11 April. This means that, between these two dates, the country was in a state of double purdah, or purdah-plus. How was it for you?

• I’ve never watched a Jeremy Kyle Show all the way through but have seen enough bits of it to venture that it’s a form of emotional bare-knuckle boxing, and of a ferocity that no one wishing to appear on the show can be unaware of. I don’t know how many participants have had their relationships or self-esteem improved as a result of appearing on it – perhaps some have – and have every sympathy for the family and friends of the man who recently killed himself as a result of failing a lie-detector test (a procedure which I thought had been discredited decades ago). ITV, the regulators and MPs have suddenly adopted a highly moral position, axing the show and calling for an investigation. Love Island, two of whose participants have died, is also likely to come under this spotlight.

Confrontational reality shows are cheap to make and entertain on the same basic gladiatorial, love-or-hate, winner-or-looser level as does premier League Football (though this is not cheap) and, in a more benign way than either, quiz shows. For years they’ve provided TV companies with what’s probably their major source of revenue. Damian Collins MP, Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee (a demanding remit which appears to encompass every aspect of our leisure aside from food, drink and sex), recently told the BBC that ‘Programmes like The Jeremy Kyle Show risk putting people who might be vulnerable on a public stage at a point in their lives when they are unable to foresee the consequences, either for themselves or their families.’ I think we knew that – it’s exactly this combination that made the show the success it was, something Mr Green and his committee must have been aware of for years. A death seems like an obvious tipping point but it marks a quantitive and not a qualitative change. Surely the point of regulation is to prevent things like this happening, not to make obvious remarks after they have done. With only a few changes of words, Mr Collins’s remarks could have been made by a financial regulator after the 2008 crash: many would say that not nearly enough has changed since then.

• I’ve recently emailed the West Berkshire Councillors congratulating them on their various victories and encouraging them to send me newsletters or other information about what’s going on in their wards so I can share them with you here. I needed to call one because his email address wasn’t yet on the West Berkshire website. His wife told me that he was grappling with a burst pipe. When he finally came to the phone he told me that he’d just fixed it. If that kind of hands-on, can-do, sleeves-rolled-up attitude extends to all his other colleagues then we’ll have little to worry about. 

• There’s an interesting letter in this week’s Newbury Weekly News from Ian Hall, a regular correspondent, who compares the EU’s institutions, which are often accused of being undemocratic, with some of our own. Many of his points seem very fair. The question of the composition of district councils is one I’ve referred to before. The first past the post system we have at present is based on the idea that we are electing councillors to represent us. This is in part true; but there is also another dimension in that we’re also deciding on the political composition of the council. He rightly points out that about 10,000 people wanted a Labour candidate (or perhaps some form of Labour representation) but that party won no seats in West Berkshire. I’d add that if I had wanted to vote for the Greens or UKIP I couldn’t have done as there were no candidates from those parties in my ward. Exactly the same criticism can be levelled at national elections.

As for the House of Lords, there are no words to describe exactly how peculiar is its composition. Reform has been promised and fudged time and time again. I’d also agree about the newspaper bosses. Indeed, when you add organisations like Facebook into the mix, it’s depressing to reflect that the amount of influence a media organisation has is often in inverse proportion to the amount of UK tax it pays. I don’t have a problem with the monarchy, though. There’s no positive link between elected presidents and greater freedom: compare the monarchies of The Netherlands or Norway with the republics of Zimbabwe or Russia, for instance. He says that the Queen’s family has been in power for 200 years, but I’d put this at 330 years if you go back to the Glorious Revolution of 1689, which is when the current system of constitutional monarchy was established (as a result, incidentally, of a meeting which took place in The Bear in Hungerford). Otherwise, you could argue for 953 years and go back to Hastings, as all the subsequent monarchs were related to each other and thus to her.

• Congratulations to the Newbury Weekly News which has been commended in the UK weekly newspaper of the year category at the recent news awards 2019 in London.

• The animal of the week are three animals, our cats. All day today they were just lazing around in the sun, from time to time pouncing at shadows or being stroked by anyone who happened to pass. In some previous life, if such things exist, they must have done something really good to have got this gig. We look after them and they do damn-all in return (unlike dogs, which have to get slippers, fetch sticks, retrieve dead birds, locate sheep, bite postmen, etc). That’s what I call a successful species – felis catus, I salute you. However, none of you would get my vote as councillors.

• The letters pages of the Newbury Weekly News this week include, as well as the above-mentioned letter about democratic institutions: questions on the origins and treatment of potholes; praise for the supporters of the Crafty Craft race; an encouragement to walk children to school rather than driving them; and the need for people to be more aware of and informed about dementia.

• A number of good causes have received valuable support recently, including: Newbury Soup Kitchen (thanks to Swift Couriers); The Friends of Castle School, Age Concern Newbury and The Berkshire League of friends (thanks to the recent Dragon’s Den awards at Greenham Trust’s Pitch to the Panel); several local charities (thanks to the Rotary Club of Newbury’s sponsored walk); Eight Bells for Mental Health (thanks to shoppers in Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford); New Road Centre, Jubilee Centre, Kennet Community Bus, Finlay Foundation, Marlborough St Mary’s, Preshute Primary and Macmillan Cancer Research (the Marlborough Mayor’s charities for 2018-19); many charities in and around Swindon (thanks to the recent Swindon Rotary Club’s annual ball).

Hungerford & district

• Please click here for the latest news from Hungerford Town Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Shalbourne Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Inkpen Parish Council.

• The May edition of Penny Post Hungerford was published earlier this month and, as ever, provides the most varied and comprehensive round-up of things  that have happened and that will be happening in the town. You can click here to read it. 

• On Saturday I went with two of my sons to the local fizz tasting at The Naked Grape in Hungerford. I love to drink wine but don’t know a great deal about it, content generally to opt for Shiraz (old cold days) and Chardonnay (on hot ones) or Champagne (when someone else is paying). What interested me was that all the six local varieties are made at the same winery from the same grape varieties, so any differences in the wine are down to hyper-local issues of climate, soil and picking time. I was curious to see if I could tell the difference between them. Somewhat to my surprise, and much to my pleasure, I could, two being distinctly drier than than the others and one being much more flowery. However, the real moment – for Simon, the owner – didn’t happen until about half an hour later when a family from France, who were on holiday in the area and happened to be in Hungerford, dropped in: not being Penny Post subscribers, they hadn’t read about the even in advancet. To make it even better, the two parents were from Champagne and were in fact Champagne producers. It’s hard to imagine a tougher audience for a wine tasting of English sparkling wine. As I heard it, the parents at first hung back and wanted no part of it: egged on by their more adventurous two grown-up children, they eventually submitted to a bit of dégustation de vin and ended up sufficiently impressed to buy a few bottles. I reckon that’s one up to l’albion perfide.

• If you missed this event, then a further chance to sample these wines (and much more beside) presents itself on Saturday 8 June at the English Wine and Food Festival in Wallingford.

• On the subject of wine, I rather like this story from the BBC website about some diners in Manchester who ordered a £260 bottle of wine and were accidentally given one that cost 17 times as much. The reaction of the manager showed a lot of class.

• The Town and Manor of Hungerford is, as we’ve had cause to remark before, a unique institution whose function and origins aren’t easy to summarise. So, I’ll try. It is now principally a charity which owns land (including the Common) and property (including the Town Hall) in Hungerford, the income from which is used for their upkeep and for local causes, with around £15,000 expecting to be donated in 2019. It also has retained some ancient functions and traditions which had their origins in the preservation of local rights: such bodies existed in most towns in England but now survive only in Hungerford. You can read more about its role, perception and challenges here. Much of its work is invisible but it becomes quite the opposite during Hocktide, a couple of weeks after Easter, when a range of colourful and, to some, mysterious events and ceremonies take place. Less frequently, there are also elections for the Trustees. One such is due to take place on Thursday 20 June.

I said ‘take place’ but – as with Hungerford Town Council and many other similar bodies – these will be uncontested if the number of candidates is less than or equal to 10, the number of Trustees. In such cases all those nominated will elected as a formality. You can see the Notice of Election here. The Town and Manor wishes to encourage people to stand as Trustees and you can see here some information as to how you need to go about this and what kind of work is involved. Note that you don’t need to be eligible to vote in the election to become a Trustee but you do need to be nominated and seconded by two people who are. 

Anyone who lives in Hungerford south of the River Dun (so, the main part of the town) is eligible to vote. If there is an election you will be able to do so on Thursday 20 June between 9am and 7pm at the Town Hall. The exclusion of the northern area of the town (including Eddington) doesn’t give the Town and Manor any satisfaction and efforts have been made by the Trustees to get this changed. However, the Charity Commission, which has the final say in such matters, has ruled that this can’t be done easily (or perhaps at all). I’m unclear exactly what the issue is but, given that the Town and Manor’s history goes back to medieval times, the amendment perhaps presents an impossible legal tangle. Whether you can vote or not, however, rest assured that one of the Trustees’ main duties is to ‘ensure that the charity is carrying out its purposes for the benefit of the inhabitants of Hungerford,’ which these days includes the North Dunners as well.

• Hungerford Town Council needs one more councillor to make up its full complement. For more information, contact claire.barnes@hungerford-tc.gov.uk.

• Advance warning of a road closure at Lower Denford Road by Denford Mill Bridge (some of you may better know this as the rat run from the Common to the A4). Note that this has been delayed by a bout a month. This will take place between 8am and 5pm on Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm on Saturdays between Monday 15 July and Friday 20 September to allow for deck replacement work. There will access-only traffic between the junction on the Common by the railway line and Mill Bridge, and from the A4 to Denford Mill: but the Bridge itself will be closed to traffic and pedestrians during this time. Diversions will be marked via Park Street, the High Street (A338) and the Bath Road (A4).

Lambourn Valley

• Please click here for the latest news from Lambourn Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from East Garston Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Great Shefford Parish Council.

 • This week’s NWN covers, not for the first time, the issue of Lambourn’s drug problem, actual or perceived, with the focus currently being Valentine’s in the High Street. I spoke to Clive, the owner, concerning the article. He was unable to shed any light on two things about the police statement that confused me. First, it was reported that ‘high levels’ of cocaine were found in the toilets. High compared to what, or where? I’ll try to find out some more on this, including how many other pubs have been similarly tested and with what overall results. Secondly, it was suggested that the toilet seats be removed as these could be used to line up the drug. As Clive pointed out, the rim would go this almost as well. He also made a general point that the main issue is the supply of and demand for drugs and questioned whether removing his licence would have any effect on this. This is a really tricky one. It’s well known that drug taking is a serious problem; also that the police are dealing with ever-more complex crimes with ever-more limited resources. I’m not suggesting I have any answers to this. 

• The bit of the B4001 (the road between the B4000 and Chilton Foliat) under the motorway bridge between the junction with the B4000 and the turning towards Membury) will be closed for 13 weeks from 20 May (ie until 19 August). Diversions will be in place directing you through Membury. This is to enable repairs to be carried out to the bridge.  

• If you missed the latest e-edition of East Garston News, you can click here to read it

 One of the items in this concerns the Watermill Theatre’s summer touring production which this year is Our Church, a most interesting-looking piece about a very modern moral dilemma in a traditional parochial church council. In its infinite wisdom, the Watermill always kicks off its tour in East Garston and tickets for the shows almost always sell out. This year’s performance in the Village Hall is on Wednesday 19 June – click here for details and to order your tickets.

• If anyone in East Garston owns a black-and-white springer spaniel with no collar and no manners, you might be interested to know that its just been charging through our garden and then into the river, scattering ducklings and destroying a moorhen nest. There’s an article about this issue here.

• A reminder that the parish councils in the area periodically organise speed patrols in conjunction with West Berkshire Council and the Thames Valley Police. 

• The Lambourn Surgery Patient Participation Group performs a vital function in the life of the surgery and more people are encouraged to get involved. For more information click here or contact the Practice Manager at louise.murray-clarke@nhs.net

Click here for details of how can volunteer at Lambourn Library.

• East Garston Amenities is organising a theatre trip to the Watermill on Thursday 20th June to see The Importance of Being Earnest. Full details here.

• East Garston Parish Council still has need of a Clerkclick here for details.

Volunteers are still needed to help run Great Shefford’s youth club. 

4 Legs Community Radio Station will on Friday have its 57th day of broadcasting – click here for more.

Newbury & district

• Please click here for the latest news from Newbury Town Council: and here to see NTC’s archive of monthly newsletters.

• Please click here for the latest news from Chieveley Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Hamstead Marshall Parish Council.

• Click here for the latest information from Growing Newbury Green.

• This week’s NWN reports on p3  that the utilities company SSEN has been fined about £1,800 (and about £2,200 in costs) for the traffic chaos in Newbury caused by their road works: the report mentioned two-hour delays, something which West Berkshire’s drivers normally only experience after serious accidents on the M4 or when trying to leave the Ikea store in Calcot. The article states that the maximum fine the courts can hand down is £2,500. These kind of sums seem rather like fining a Premier League footballer £2,000 for shouting at a referee or missing training. Also, I doubt any of the money will find its way to the people who were inconvenienced. You can read West Berkshire Council’s view of the matter here.

• The same paper reports, on p6, that a similar wrangle is brewing with gas company SGN over delays to its works in Mill Lane.

• And, still with the NWN to hand, turn to p19 for a report on the recent twinning visit from the residents of Houdan.

• As mentioned in Penny Post last week, Newbury College has announced plans to create a university centre in Newbury – click here to read the statement.

• If you are involved with an organisation or charity that benefits the residents of Newbury, don’t miss your chance to apply for grant funding for a special project or core costs. You must have registered with The Good Exchange by the end of May. All applications that are on the Good Exchange website by this date, and posted since 22 October 2018, will be considered if they fulfil the Town Council’s criteria. In 2018 Newbury Town Council gave grants totalling £25,000 to 33 organisations (scroll down to see the full list).

St Bartholomew’s School in Newbury is still accepting nominations for its Community Awards to recognise students, staff, parents and carers who do good work in the community. These need to be in by Monday 20 May. For more information, email Karen Tyson at ktyson@stbarts.co.uk.

• You can still enter Newbury in Bloom 2019 until 30 June – click here for details and the entry form.

• A major road improvement project for Newbury is expected to continue until the autumn – click here for details

Click here for information on free English courses offered to ESOL students in Newbury (also Thatcham and Calcot) by the Berkshire School of English.

Compton & Downlands

• Please click here for the latest news from Hampstead Norreys Parish Council (where there are currently two councillor vacancies).

• Please click here for the latest news from Compton Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Ashampstead Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Chaddleworth Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Brightwalton Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from West Ilsley Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from East Ilsley Parish Council.

• There’s a pop-up pub – the Ashampstead Arms – which magically appears in the Ashampstead Village hall on the first Saturday of every month from 7.30pm. For more information, click here.

• Congratulations to the pioneering, innovative and delightful Hampstead Norreys Community Shop, which has won the regional final (south-east England) of the Countryside Alliance Rural Oscars in the Village Shop & Post Office category.

• The Yattendon and Frilsham Village Fête will take place on Bank Holiday Monday, 27 May.

• The May newsletter from West Ilsley Parish Council can be found here.

• The Chaddleworth Parish Council Annual Meeting will take place at 7.30pm on Tuesday 14 May in the Village Hall. Click here for more information and the agenda

• The Hampstead Norreys annual parish meeting took place on 29 April. The minutes will appear here in due course.

• A reminder about Hampstead Norreys Community Shop’s eco-bricks project which re-purposes your one-use plastic. You can read more about this by clicking here

• Please click here for dates and venues for the PCSO Have your Say meetings in the Thacham, Theale and Compton & Downlands areas.

Thatcham and district

• Please click here for the latest news from Thatcham Town Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Cold Ash Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Bucklebury Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Brimpton Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Woolhampton Parish Council.

• Please click here for details of Thatcham’s civic events in 2019.

Thatcham Parish Hall needs new trustees, more groups and societies to hire it and fundraising ideas. See the Facebook page for the latest news and to get in touch.

• Information here for information on Dementia Action Week (20-26 May) events in Thatcham.

• Cold Ash’s neighbourhood development plan is seeking volunteers to assist with the work involved. If you’re interested in helping, please contact bernard.clark@tvt.biz.

• A one-bed flat is currently available through the Thatcham Parochial Almshouse Charity: see our Property Available post for more details.

• Please click here for dates and venues for the PCSO Have your Say meetings in the Thatcham, Theale and Compton & Downlands areas.

• Click here to see the latest Cold Ash Community Bulletin

Theale and district

• Please click here for the latest news from Theale Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Aldermaston Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Englefield Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Burghfield Parish Council.

• See p14 of this week’s NWN for a report and photos of the the Mayfayre at Bradfield earlier this month.

• The Stratfield Mortimer Annual Parish Meeting took place on 29 April. The minutes will appear here in due course.

Click here and here for the latest from Highways England about the progress of the work to tuen the M4 from J3 to J12 into a smart motorway.

• Councillor Alan Macro’s e-newsletter has just been delivered to my inbox and you can read it in full here. Topics covered include the local election results, the progress on the new school, the related issue of hedge-netting and the refusal of planning permission for the proposed redevelopment of the Theale Motors showroom.

Burghfield Parish Council has developed a questionnaire to help determine ‘its vision and strategy for the future of Burghfield.’ You have until Monday 20 May to make your views known.

• There’s a free family event at Paice’s Wood Country Park at Aldermaston on Saturday 18 May: click here for details

• Click here for information about Burghfield’s plans to create a community hub.

Click here for the April/May 2019 Parish Magazine from Englefield Parish Council.

• Please click here for dates and venues for the PCSO Have your Say meetings in the Thacham, Theale and Compton & Downlands areas.

Marlborough & district

• Please click here for the latest news from Marlborough Town Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Aldbourne Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Great Bedwyn Parish Council.

• You can read the latest Community Policing Team report for Marlborough and Pewsey here.

Marlborough’s 709th major has just taken office, as Marlborough News reports here. Assuming a mayor a year (and some may have served for longer) then the line dates back to the early years of the reign of Edward II.

• The same source reports how local MP Claire Perry is currently embroiled in a dispute about expenses claims.

Marlborough News also has a report here on the recent Extinction Rebellion march in the town.

• The same source has this news of a performance on Friday 7 June of Eglantyne, to celebrate the centenary of the foundation of Save the Children.

• The Aldbourne Scarecrow Trail takes place on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May: details here.

• It’s now been exactly 434 days since anyone at Wilshire Council last updated the ‘News: Marlborough‘ section on its website. Come on guys – you must have done something.

• If you’re in Great Bedwyn, keep your eye on the Village Hall Facebook page here for details of what’s going on there, including films (featuring new state-of-the-art equipment).

• Click here for information on what’s on in and around Ramsbury.

• The Ramsbury Raven reports here on the recent beating the bounds of the parish – originally done to ensure that the frontiers of a community were both widely understood and, if necessary, assessed, but now performed for more ceremonial and recreational reasons – with some great photos.

Wantage & district

• Please click here for the latest news from Wantage Town Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Grove Parish Council. (Now working at normal speed after migration to a new server.)

• Please click here for the latest news from Letcombe Regis Parish Council.

• Councillor Emily Smith, the new Leader of the Vale of White Horse Council, delivered her first report on 15 May. You can also see here the details of the various appointments that have been made since the election.

• The Grove Volunteer Litter-picking Group meets at Old Mill Hall in School Lane at 9am on the second Friday of every month. Equipment is supplied by Grove Parish Council. More details here.

• Click here for information the Didcot, Abingdon and Wantage Talking Newspaper (DAWN) for the blind and partially sighted.

• Vale of White Horse Council is giving those who are part of the paid-for service the opportunity to put out the equivalent of one extra bin’s worth of garden waste (around three large 80 litre bin bags) this week.

• The village of Letcombe Basset has a number of unique waterside and chalk-stream gardens and many of these will be open to the public on Sunday 26 May.

Grove Parish Council has need of three more councillors: email parishcouncil@grove-oxon.org.uk to find out more.

• Prince Harry kept his promise to visit 12-year-old cancer sufferer and campaigner Mikayla Beams, , from Childrey, at Oxford Children’s Hospital earlier this week.

Wantage Camera Club will be holding an exhibition on Tuesday 18 June – more details here.

• Julie Mabberley’s regular column on p8 of the Wantage & Grove Herald issues a reminder to the new Town Councillors that it is over five years since the Town Council received approval to go ahead with the neighbourhood development plan (NDP) and that it is still not finalised. It summarised the residents’ views demonstrated in the survey performed for the NDP and hoped that the new Town Council will now revive the plan and will keep the policies which meet residents’ aspirations.

• An adoption drop-in clinic is being held in Wantage Library on Monday May 13 from 6pm to 7pm for anyone thinking of adopting a child.

Wantage Carnival takes place on Sunday 9 June. Wantage Carnival organiser, indefatigable fundraiser and retailer of electrical goods Ray Collins launched the countdown to the event last week with some of this year’s hundreds of performers and volunteers.

• Some of the participants have been announced for this year’s Wantage Literary Festival which runs from 26 October to 2 November.

Click here for the latest from the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group.

• Click here for details of some forthcoming events in Wantage.

Swindon & district

• Click here for the latest news and information from Swindon Borough Council.

• A taskforce has been set up to help minimise the impacts of the closure of the Honda plant on the the town and the Honda staff. Click here for details.

• We mentioned last week about the fiasco – no other word seems appropriate – in Highworth where 10 Conservative councillors were each handed an extra votes in the local elections as a result of an error in calculating the bloc votes (by which a person votes with one tick for all the representatives of a particular party).By a vagary of British law, the returning officer can’t issue a recount on their own initiative, even in such an obvious case: the matter can only be revisited with a costly and cumbersome legal appeal, which needs to have been mounted by 24 May. A public meeting on 14 May, as reported in iNews and elsewhere, expressed some robust views about what had happened. A group, Democracy for Highworth, has been set up to raise the funds to launch a petition to the High Court which would trigger a recount. It’s worth stressing that neither the council officers nor the councillors themselves were responsible for this extraordinary mishap. Nor can they get involved in any legal action to change the situation. They were not, after all, the people who counted the votes or declared the result.

• This month Swindon’s town centre will be unveiling a new new monthly street market. As part of a collaborative scheme between inSwindon BID and The Anonymous Travelling Market, the Sunday Street Market will launch on Sunday 26 May in Havelock Square.

• A month-long campaign to help Swindon Borough Council’s recycling crews sort residents’ waste quickly and more efficiently has just been launched.

• Children and young people who have been under the care of Swindon Borough Council came together to mark their achievements at two special events earlier this month.

Swindon’s Bus Company is offering its support to local charities, schools, sports teams and events organisers, as part of a new initiative.

• A reminder about an initiative by which difficult-to-recycle plastics can now be dropped off at Tesco supermarkets, thanks to a partnership with Swindon based Recycling Technologies.

• Details here on the plan by Swindon Council an inSwindon BID to try to keep the town’s streets clean and tidy.

• Click here for information about this year’s Swindon Spring Festival which runs from 8 to 19 May.

• Swindon Borough Council’s Public Health Team has been working with several local organisations to encourage residents to be more open about how they’re feeling and talk about their mental health.

• Click here for details of the many volunteering opportunities at Great Western Hospital.

The song and the quiz

• The Song of the Week doffs its cap at one of rock’s true originals, a man who has been a tireless advocate for number of things (including analogue rather than digital recording) and is generally pretty serious about keeping’ it real – step forward Mr Neil Young. His song Heart of Gold, from his 1972 album Harvest, was the main reason I started playing guitar (not that I’m claiming this is a culturally significant moment) and the first song I ever played in public (ditto) so it has a particular place in my heart at least. It’s a cracker – simple, direct, memorable and effective.

• Which takes us to the Quiz Question of the Week. This week’s question will be easy to answer for those of you who’ve been paying attention so far: How many mayors has Marlborough had? Last week’s questions: Before this season, how many all-English European finals have there been? The answer is two: Spurs beat Wolves in the 1972 UEFA Cup final and Manchester United beat Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final. There have been several occasions when one country has contributed three of the four finalists in these competitions but never, before this year, have all four come from the same country. Not really in the spirit of Brexit, is it?

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Brian Quinn

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Covering: Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage, Lambourn, Compton, Swindon & Theale