Thanks to all who signed the petition about speeding on the Common, and we have had some success. The speed limit committee at West Berks DC have approved that the limit be reduced to 30mph and it was touch and go, even though we had nearly 1000 signatures to lower it to 20mph. However, this is only the first part of the process and it has to be referred back to the Council, public consultation and the Police before the government get the final say…the last application in 2008 fell at the last hurdle. So, fingers crossed that it will be more successful this time round. It will take about a year to implement it and we have committed to being active in providing clearer road signage about the cattle, and doing research with speed cameras to back up our claim
It was also agreed to extend the 30mph zone to the cattle grid at Denford which is currently an unbelievable 60mph.
A lot of effort went into this and particular thanks are due to our Mayor Helen Simpson, district councillor James Cole, and Philip Porter.
Otherwise the Common has fared well this summer, and Chris Scorey has taken on the huge amount of work previously done by Robert James with great enthusiasm and flair.
As I am always pointing out, we are a charity and providing the Common and the Marshes at no cost to the rate payer is our great contribution to the Town.
Talking of cattle, all have now been removed from our land. They all passed the TB tests, which was a relief and our land remains unaffected by this problem, thank goodness. It wasn’t the best of years for our Graziers, partly due to incidents with cars who hit them.
We are very hopeful that next year will see a good uptake of stocking on the Common and anyone interested in having a punt and some brilliant beef should contact our Hayward Philip Porter, who has worked tirelessly on the Common this summer. I think he may get some Christmas cards from the heifers, he got to know them so well. We were particularly sad to see one young lady cow with the unlikely ear tag of Boris leave us, she had a very eventful summer on the Port Down and gave us much amusement and scares!
Please see the attached information for more information on how you can join the Hungerford Graziers.
It has been an excellent season on the river despite low water levels and our river keepers Rob Starr and Jimmy Hill have worked tirelessly to keep it up to scratch. There have, as there always are, areas for improvement and next year we are particularly excited to extend the beat eastward from the Draughts. We hope to get a more fishable beat on Freeman’s Marsh, and to improve the older fishing huts. Ellie Dickins has had an enormous input into the success of all this.
The ever-popular Fishery Supper took place at the weekend in the town hall.
I personally enjoyed some wonderful days on the river and had a great one with a guest when we both caught four fine specimens.
The best advice I had this year was to look for flies on the web!
Friends of The Town & Manor
At the Trustees Away day in October we discussed at great length ways to find new streams of income for the charity. It was decided to launch a new initiative and to nurture friends of the organisation. It is early days, but the idea has been well received and I would love any of you who would like more involvement, to help us get this off the ground.
It was decided to have a modest charge of £25 for individuals and family membership for £40.
We need a chairperson and a few good enthusiastic active committee members. I am very excited by the possibility this could present. I would love to have special Friends events, walks and give them a preferential access to Hocktide tickets after the commoners, of course.
Robert Fluey Hall and Fiona Hobson were fantastically helpful to get this off the ground.
There were lots of other ideas and if you have any brilliant thoughts, please get in touch.
A couple of years ago we purchased a piece of land to the north of Charnham Park. After much discussion it has been decided not to go down the usual fencing, grazing route that attracts farm payments. We would rather try to create a facility for all, where we establish some kind of nature reserve with water meadows, ponds, bird hides and hopefully eventually an education centre…
This is a huge undertaking and won’t happen in a flash! We have a feasibility study under way and the signs are terrific. I dream of this facility becoming the jewel in our estate…as always, we would welcome your input and thoughts.
This is being spearheaded by Jonathan Welfare, Chris Scorey and our chief executive Jed Ramsay.
The Wednesday Market
I have been very involved in getting more going on in the High Street on Wednesdays I hope some of you have seen the market gain quite a few new traders and the recent indoor market has proved to be a go-er. It was originally going to run until Christmas, and now we are hoping to continue it into the new year. I try to be there most Wednesdays, selling our Apple juice. It’s a great opportunity to come and say hello.
If you have a burning desire to trade, stalls start at £10.
We have been able to offer free stalls to charities, a great way for us to donate to good cause. This has proved popular and several worthwhile charities have taken us up.
As you probably are aware, we purchased a very old and dilapidated orchard on the A4, called Picket’s Mead. This was terribly overgrown and has involved a lot of restoration work. We even found an old building on the site which is clearly visible from the road. I call it the little house on the water meadow, and it would be a great location for an episode of the Waltons.
Under the leadership of Ellie Dickens, we have planted a huge number of new trees that were grafted from the old ones, most of the varieties have been identified, including some rare species and it is already home to all sorts of wildlife. There are resident rabbits, foxes and barn owls as well as beehives to aid pollination.
I hope you have all had a chance to taste the excellent apple juice and the sought after pepple which is a blend of pear and apple. I sell both of these on the market every Wednesday at £3 a bottle. They make excellent Christmas presents. We are also proud to announce our latest creation “Constable’s Cider” which has proved very popular. A healthy 6% brew, it truly is goodly! Hopefully when we acquire the necessary off sales license, this too will be on offer at the Wednesday market.
Picking all the fruit is an arduous and long task. We are always looking for volunteers, it is great fun and very rewarding. We have regular picks from August until November. I am glad to say all the fruit is in and dispatched to be bottled.
Most of you probably know we possess three interesting hunting horns. Greg Furr has hosted Dr Bacon who is an expert in mediaeval metal horns. She was in raptures when she saw our collection. They have been measured, blown to find their notes, weighed and electronically tested for their mineral content!
We still don’t know how old the oldest one, the John of Gaunt one, is. We await the results with keen anticipation as it was thought to post-date JOG by quite a few years.
We did discover the star on our crest only has five points as opposed to all later versions which have six.
The Town Hall Complex
Our lovely old and only privately-owned Town Hall has had a mixed time this year. We spent a great deal of money on maintaining it last year and despite the outlay we still have an unreliable lift, a leaky roof which hopefully is mended, bits are desperately in need of redecoration. Then there are problems with old heating systems, fire alarms and a very stubborn dish washer with a mind of its own….
This is exactly the sort of area we need grants and financial help with. The building should be pivotal to the life of Hungerford. It is at the very centre of the town and a strong focal point. I would love to see it open and thriving and thank you to all the hirers who keep it going.
Bruce Mayhew has brought a lot of wisdom and experience to his role in charge of this.
My thanks to our hall keepers, husband and wife team David and Nicola Barnett who work tirelessly to get the place ready for the many and varied events that take place weekly.
I’m always up for new ideas for events in this building. We have managed to get the Town Hall steps into action every weekend until Christmas with a variety of craft, beer, balloon and other events.
The variety of users is immense. We have everything from Antiques Fairs, Rock Choirs, The Town Band, Theatre, Photographic Society, Parties, Exhibitions, Children’s parties… the list is endless.
If you want to use the complex, local residents get a discount of 25%. Please get in touch if you want to book it.
We are now registered with Amazon Smile as a designated charity…if you use Amazon, please register at smile.amazon.co.uk. We will get a 0.5% donation on top of all your purchases (at no cost to you).
This has become a priority for this Charity and a great deal of time at The Trustees Away Day was spent discussing new possible sources of revenue. There were many brilliant ideas and over the next few months we will try to initiate some of these.
It is imperative to get the organisation back into profit. I would love us to be so in profit that it makes us real enablers in the Town.
We continue to support local good cause and organisations and some of our recent grants have been made to The Town Band, the Nursery School, the Youth Centre, the NWN over 80 Christmas parcel fund, the Christmas lights, the Hungerford Summer Arts Festival, Extravaganza night as well as free Charity stalls at the New Indoor Market.
Special thanks to our chief executive Jed Ramsay and our admin assistant Laura Cooper for their help getting this out. Thanks also to the tireless work of all our Trustees who sit through endless meetings and bring a wealth of talent and experience to the table.
I have had the pleasure of attending some very memorable events on your behalf and it is gearing up to be a very active Christmas period.
4 Dec Blood donors, market and indoor market.
6 Dec Kennet Accordian Orchestra.
8 Dec Santa Fun Run
9 Dec Commoners Gathering In The Town Hall, 7pm
11 Dec Market and indoor market
13 Dec Extravaganza.
14 Dec Town Band Christmas Concert.
15 Dec Mayor’s Carol Service, 6.30pm
18 Dec Last market and indoor market Before Christmas
And some people say there is nothing to do in Hungerford!
Thanks for taking the time to read all this. Please give us feedback, it is how we will move forward. If I don’t meet you in the Town or see you at the Commoners Christmas gathering, a very happy healthy and prosperous Christmas and New Year to you all.
Nicholas Lumley LLB