The main news this month is not about cows, nor Covid, but about Constables and CEOs.
After an energetic eighteen months that has seen a huge growth in the weekly outdoor (and, increasingly, indoor) market and the beginnings of a community orchard, it is with sadness that Nicholas Lumley has decided to step down as Constable.
In addition, Jed Ramsay – who was appointed to be the Town and Manor’s first-ever CEO in 2017 – has also stepped down to return to the field of flood-risk management.
Greg Furr (who was Constable from 2010 to 2013 and has also held the offices of Fishery Manager and Buildings Secretary) will be acting Constable until Hocktide can be held. Also in the short term, Jed’s role will be filled by Ellie Dickins, another former Constable.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to be the Constable of The Town and Manor for the past 18 months,” Nick said. “The best part of it has been the number of brilliant people I have met. I would like to thank them all for their support, encouragement and enthusiasm. I’m now looking forward to getting on with the many chores that have been ignored over the past year and a half!”
“I’m sorry to see Nick’s time as Constable come to a close,” Greg remarked, “He has brought a great deal of life back to the Town Hall and the markets in particular. I will endeavour to continue his hard work. My belief is that the Town & Manor is crucial to preserving the unique historic traditions of the town whilst also working for the benefit of the community.”
“I am sad to be leaving the Town and Manor,” Jed Ramsay admitted. “I’ve had three exciting, challenging, and fulfilling years in which I have made many friends.”
“We’d all like to thank Jed for his dedication over the last three years,” said Ellie Dickins. “We wish Jed all the best in his return to his specialist area of flood-risk management. It’s now clear how vital the role of CEO is at the Town and Manor so we’ll be looking to find a long-term replacement for him as soon as possible.’
(Left to right below: Nick Lumley, Jed Ramsay, Greg Furr and Ellie Dickins)
Juice from the Orchard
The orchard at Picket’s Mead – which has over a hundred fruit trees, including several unique varieties of apple and pear – has continued to flourish. Indeed, 2020 has seen something of a bumper harvest.
Of course, all this fruit requires help to pick and collect and this year we were grateful for the help provided by volunteers from HEAT. All the fruit was sent for juicing locally and the juice itself is available for sale from the Town and Manor (some was also donated to the West Berkshire Foodbank). We produce both apple and pepple (apple and pear) juice and it’s delicious. To cover the cost of the juicing we charge £3 per bottle, or four for £10. The juice is pasteurised and so can be stored for up to a year.
The next apple picking event will be Sunday 11 October, from 10am. Please come along and join us collecting apples – there are still a lot there so your help will be very welcome. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01488 686555 for more details.
Care on the Common
As mentioned last month, following the fatal hit-and-run involving a vehicle and a cow at the end of August, please drive carefully on the Common, particularly now the nights are drawing in.
The Town & Manor has long been campaigning for the speed limit to be lowered to 30mph across Hungerford Common to protect both the cattle and those driving. We understand that the matter is now being considered by central government.
The Wednesday market continues
We would like to thank all the customers who have supported the market during lockdown and since its gradual relaxation. All research suggests that transmission of viruses is a lot less likely to happen outdoors rather than in, so you should be able to continue to shop here with confidence. A huge thank you also to the stall holders who have kept it going with such good grace and cheerfulness.
A reminder that this event happens every Wednesday from 8am until about 1pm. Our regular stallholders provide plants, fruit, vegetables, bread, cakes, cheese, eggs, apple juice, cooking oil, meat (including goat), olives and (before 11.30am) fish. There are also an increasing number of stalls selling non-food items, ranging from books and bric-a-brac to block paving. These are located on the street, on the Town Hall steps and, increasingly, in the Town Hall itself.
Parking on in the High Street
Please observe the ‘No Parking after midnight’ signs put up on Tuesday afternoons in some bays on the Town Hall side of the High Street.
Some traders set up very early in the morning but can’t do this if vehicles are parked there.
The Town Hall
As mentioned above, we are managing to get some events back on in The Town Hall complex, with the return of the Flea and Antiques Market, a visit from the Blood Donors, the reopening of the indoor market on Wednesdays and our first wedding. We are the largest non-religious venue in West Berkshire for weddings and have had a couple of bookings from people who had to cancel elsewhere: we can accommodate, by law, 30 people in any of our three lovely rooms.
We always offer free stalls to charities at the indoor market, so far we have supported Trintledown Dogs Trust, Froxfield Village Hall and The Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice. Future bookings include Chilton Folliat PTA, the Scouts and The Woodland Trust.
For more information about events in the Town Hall, please email email@example.com or call 01488 686555.
The responsibilities of the Town and Manor
The Town and Manor of Hungerford is a unique institution, the only such body in England to have survived (in other places, the functions and assets of these organisations have been assumed by local councils). Some reflections on its past, and its present, role can be found here.
Many aspects of the Town and Manor, including its ownership of the Town Hall, make it look like another tier of local government (which it is not) and as a result many people are unsure of what aspects of local life it is responsible for. These are some of the main things that the Town and Manor does, all at no cost to the local residents:
• Hungerford Common (including maintenance, the cows, the paths, the trees and event licences).
• Freeman’s Marsh (including maintenance, the cows, the paths and the trees).
• The trees in the High Street from the Canal Bridge to junction of Atherton Road (maintenance).
• The Croft (including grass cutting, trees, posts and event licences).
• The Town Hall (including bookings and maintenance).
• River Kennet and River Dun (including weed cutting, debris clearance and bank maintenance).
• Hocktide (all aspects of the festival).
For any problems, issues or enquiries relating to any of these matters, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01488 686555.