Hungerford Area Weekly News sections – 2023 archive (January to June)

To see the current Hungerford Area Weekly News section, please click here.

Please note that this section is presented as an archive of past columns and is not updated (except by the addition of the previous post every week). Some web links may no longer be active (usually indicated by a score-through), for instance when draft parish council minutes are replaced by adopted ones or when a consultation has closed.

Click here for the archive for 2024 (from January)

Click here for the 2023 archive from July

Click here for the archive for 2022

Thursday 29 June 2023

This week we cover freedom, armed forces, a gala, a choir and a parade – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This week’s news” for the latest on the new 3G pitch at John O’Gaunt, problems with the buses and the trains and inappropriate correspondence in Kintbury.

This week’s news

• Do you know someone who goes the extra mile for Hungerford? Last chance to nominate them for this year’s Freedom of the Town Awards. Please click this link for the nomination form. Forms can also be collected from the Town Council Office and nominations must be received by the Town Clerk in by 5pm this Friday 30 June.

• Hungerford Royal British Legion Club Committee would like to thank everyone who supported their Armed Forces Day last Saturday. With special thanks to the whole club team, Adam Dews, Neil Cook, The REME, Ian Sylvester and Laura Farris MP for attending. See photos here.

• Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Hungerford in Bloom. After visiting the fabulous plots at Marsh Lane Allotments Open Afternoon last Sunday we can see how hard the job was for the judges. See the results here.

Chilton Foliat Summer Gala starts this Saturday 1 July and will include a delightful concert of music for flute, harp and cello, a highly entertaining talk by former Beefeater Tony Stafford, and an evening of folk music with Bob and Gill Berry. There is also an exhibition by 25 local artists (open daily), an open gardens trail, a duck race, an afternoon of rounders, and a day of crafts presented by the village WI. Full details can be found at chiltonfoliatgala.info.

• If you would like to learn about Hungerford Memory Singers, the new dementia choir that meets at the Royal British Legion Hungerford Club, please listen to Penny’s radio interview with founder Olivia Simmonds. There are still places available so if you have dementia or support someone else who does, please get in touch with Olivia on 07989 388827 or dementia.choir@gmail.com. Their next singalong is on Monday 17 July.

• Hungerford Town Council is pleased to announce that work has started on the new Bulpit Lane Skatepark and Pump Track. The project will take 13 weeks to complete and will be compatible for skateboards, scooters and bikes. See the new site layout here. They ask that people do not park in front of the gates or fence while this is going on.

• Lots to look forward to from The Community Of Hungerford Theatre Company with its Humble Boy comedy about bee-keeping on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 July and Alice the Musical on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July. Tickets £10 available from Crown Needlework or online here.

• Hungerford Bookshop has a couple of great events coming up, An evening of words and music on Saturday 1 July with author Sarah Steele about her latest WW2 novel The Lost Song of Paris with former Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year, Adam Heron, performing works featured in the novel. And also a Summer Reading Celebration the following Saturday 8 July in the courtyard with canapes, pimms, freebies and some exciting news from the bookshop.

• If you would like to find out how to support our threatened swifts please go along to Hungerford’s first Swift Talk & Walk on Sunday 2 July at 4pm starting at Hungerford Hub. Local nature writer Nicola Chester will briefly introduce the community project and outline how to get involved to help support these amazing birds that spend their first four years on the wing. This will be followed by a talk and a short walk to spot swifts and their nest sites, by local bird expert and swift devotee, Ailsa Claybourn. This is the launch of the Hungerford Swift Town Project with HEAT and John O’Gaunt School’s Eco Club. Places are free but need to be pre-booked here.

Hungerford Food Community is running cooking sessions with the pupils at Hungerford Primary School and Hungerford Family Centre. They welcome any volunteers who enjoy cooking and would like to share their skills to the younger generation. They also welcome volunteers to help set up their monthly markets on the second Sunday of the month at the Croft Field. The next one is their Summer Festival on Sunday 9 July. For more details please message them on facebook or contact hungerfordfoodcommunity@gmail.com

• Hungerford Town Band invites you to their Music for a Summer Evening concert on Saturday 15 July including a performance by their Training Band. Entry on the door £8. Raffle and refershments available all proceeds to be shared between St Lawrence’s Church and Hungerford Town Band. See here for details.

• Hungerford fitness trainer Beejacks created a foundation ten years ago to create a new primary school in an impoverished part of Sierra Leone where he comes from.  This year’s annual Beejacks Tombo Foundation Charity Walk in aid of the school is on Sunday 16 July and starts from the Downgate Pub carpark at 10.30am. Click here for more details and how to get a sponsor form or donate directly to the charity here.

• Date for the diary – Hungerford resident Fiona Cox is hosting a charity Night at the Musicals at The Croft Hall on Saturday 12 August.  Hear your favourite tunes from stage and screen, featuring the singers and musicians of MTW Gold, University of Warwick’s most talented alumni. Reuniting for one night only, performing songs from the West End and Broadway in aid of SAYes mentoring charity that started in South Africa but which is expanding in the UK. Tickets £10 are available onine here.

• Do you have a new injury or an old nagging issue that hasn’t been checked out yet? Save £65 on your first appointment at Hungerford Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Centre at The Croft Hall.

• Do you have the confidence to step forward and help in an emergency? Would you like to know basic first aid including the use of a defibrillator? Or are you a small business owner or voluntary group member who needs the full one day accredited certificate to fulfil your service to your clients? You can sign up for this Emergency First Aid at Work Course at the Hungerford Youth & Community Centre on Saturday 15 July. The course costs £75 and the regulated certificate lasts for 3 years.

• It is time to start thinking about Hungerford Carnival Parade, which will be lighting up the town on Sunday 16 July. It starts at John O’Gaunt School at 5pm, but all entrants need to be there at 4pm. Please see their facebook page for more details or email hungerfordcarnival100@gmail.com.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

Kintbury Parish Council is seeking candidates to fill a councillor vacancy by co-option. If you feel you could make a difference within the community,  please apply  by 30 June. Interested residents should contact the Clerk in the first instance for further details at clerk@kintburyparishcouncil.org 07917 485191.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

Hungerford’s pitch

West Berkshire Council has announced that work will start this month on a new full-size 3G football turf pitch at John O’Gaunt Secondary School to replace the current smaller pitch which has reached the end of its life. The new pitch will become a key training venue for Hungerford Football Club and many other local clubs.

The press statement goes on to explain that “The £804,000 project had been identified by the Football Foundation and the Berks and Bucks Football Association as having potential for community use and has been supported by West Berkshire Council which is adding £75,000, which Greenham Trust is match funding with a further £75,000 and the Excalibur Academies Trust contributing £70,000. Hungerford Town Council has contributed £10,000 and Hungerford Town Football Club £6,350.” Richard Hawthorne, Head Teacher of John O’Gaunt School (which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this week) described it as “a real triumph of collaboration, heart, energy and investment in the present and future of our wonderful, wider rural community. First class facilities such as these will mean so much to the young people in the area, but also to their families and neighbours in the town, its satellite villages and environment.”

This is what might be termed a ‘legacy” project, one the new Lib Dem administration which won the election in May inherited from its Conservative predecessor. Janine Lewis,  the current West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure, Sport and Countryside, said that “the new, larger 3G pitch will be a great asset to both the school and local communities.” I also spoke to Howard Woollaston, who held this Executive role before 4 May and who was responsible for getting the project started. He said that he was “very pleased that work was getting under way” and he looked forward to seeing the finished result. If all goes according to plan, he will be able to do this some time in October.

Inappropriate correspondence

We are all entitled to contact our local council: but sometimes, so so it would appear from item 16 of the minutes of Kintbuty Parish Council’s meeting of 1 June, the frequency or tone of the contacts can cross a line.

“Update on inappropriate correspondence to PC members,” the minutes read. “The Chair updated the PC on recent developments on the long running saga of inappropriate and unpleasant emails from a member of the public. Due to previous inappropriate correspondence, and subsequent warnings, the PC had agreed in January 2023 to not communicate further with this individual for a 12-month period.

“The individual complained to WBC about this, but the complaint was dismissed. Subsequently many PC members have been receiving unwarranted, bizarre and sometimes unpleasant emails from this individual. The last two weeks a threatening tone has crept into some of the correspondence. Advice has been sought from the National Association of Local Councils, West Berkshire Council legal services and Thames Valley Police. The PC has been advised to not respond to any of this correspondence but to file it for future reference.

“Also, on Police advice, this has been reported as a crime and the police are investigating this as potential offences of harassment and malicious communications.”

On the buses

You may have heard about a proposed strike by 10 out of 36 bus drivers at Newbury & District. The drivers, who were previously employed by Reading Buses and subsequently transferred to the Newbury & District operation when the company was acquired, will take action on 6, 7, 10, 14, 19, 20 and 21 July. 

We contacted Robert Williams, CEO of Reading Buses, who predicted that the impact will be “inconsequential” and that the company would be able to operate all services as normal. The action does not affect Reading Buses’ Jet Black 1 service that runs to Newbury, nor any school or corporate contract services: however, it may affect public services that are used by pupils going to and from school.

The problem stems from the fact that when the drivers moved between the companies their contracts were never fully harmonised with the others, particularly as regards sick pay. It is this that Newbury Buses is trying to resolve. Robert Williams said that “we continue to discuss ways forward with the employees in a positive manner to try and address their concerns.” A statement from the Unite union says that these drivers have not received a pay rise for four years and that this will only change “if they accept inferior contracts that will significantly reduce their sick pay.”

If there are any side effects from the industrial action, the company will alert customers through social media channels. This may not include putting notices on bus stops as any staff shortages will only be known on the day. As regards how little disruption there is, much will depend on whether any of the other drivers decide to take action in support of their colleagues.

On the trains

Strikes also dominate the latest update from the Bedwyn Train Passengers Group (BTPG), which you can read here. ASLEF has announced an overtime ban from Monday 3 to Saturday 8 July which might cause short-notice alterations or cancellations. The RMT union has also announced strike action that will affect rail services on Thursday 20, Saturday 22 and Saturday 29 July.

Other items include a cracked crossing at Theale this week (now hopefully sorted), short-formation trains and bus services from Bedwyn to Marlborough.

The BTPG has been campaigning for improved rail services from Bedwyn, Hungerford, Kintbury and Newbury since 2006. If you use these stations, we recommend subscribing to BTPG newsletters by emailing info@bedwyntrains.org.uk.

Community notices

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

• Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

• Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

• Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

• Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• If you shop online, please consider signing up to Give As You Live for Hungerford Hub & Library. Every time you make an online purchase, order a grocery delivery, book a trip or switch your energy providers, you can generate donations that support this vital facility – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.

• Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

• West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

• Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

• The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

• Fri 30 June John O’Gaunt School’s 60th birthday celebration

Sat 1/Sun 2 July Charity Open Garden in aid of Noreen’s Kids & the Tuesday Burchett Club, Hungerford High St.

• Fri 7/ Sat 8 July Hungerford Theatre Company: Humble Boy, John O’Gaunt School.

• Sat 8/Sun 9 July Hungerford Theatre Company: Alice the Musical, John O’Gaunt School.

Sun 9 July Hungerford Food & Artisan Market Summer Festival, The Croft Field

Sat 15 July Hungerford Town Band: Music for a Summer Evening, St Lawrences Church.

Sat 15/Sun 16 July Charity Open Garden in aid of Noreen’s Kids & the Tuesday Burchett Club, Hungerford High St.

Sat 22 July Cobbs Open Air Cinema: Top Gun – Maverick

• Sat 12 Aug Night at the Musicals, Croft Hall.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Dementia choir at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month. See more details here.

• Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

Walking groups for men and women in Hungerford. Contact Stacey on 07518 879023 or stacey_a15@yahoo.co.uk

New writing club at Froxfield Village Hall. Whether you want a quiet place to write, want to chat with other writers, or are looking for ideas please email dunwriters@gmail.com for more information and dates. All welcome.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Sunday CommuniTea (board games, chat and free hot food) at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street on Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome noon to 3:30pm.

• Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3 to 4 mile route and a 5 to 7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

• Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

• Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

• Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

• Hungerford Football Juniors U6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

• Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry. See more here.

• Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

• Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during term-time: 6pm to 7pm – Juniors (9 to 13 years), 7pm to 8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7 to 8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on https://townandmanor.co.uk/markets or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

• The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

• Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660  or hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome. See more here.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 15 May 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; planning matters; the conservation area appraisal; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 18 May and you can download the minutes here (and also for the annual parish assemble which followed it). Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; speeding; a possible NDP (it was decided not to proceed with this at this stage); committee reports; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 15 May and you can download the minutes here.  The annual parish meeting of Froxfield Parish Council was also held on 15 May and you can download the minutes here
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 1 June and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: matters arising from the previous meeting; the Chair’s report; overgrown hedges; dog bins; highways; the PPG update; financial matters; planning matters; and “inappropriate correspondence” (see separate section above)..
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 9 May and you can read the minutes here. You can also click here to see the minutes of an additional meeting on 20 June which was solely to discuss the MUGA.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 22 June 2023

This week we cover allotments, afternoon tea, swifts, singing, a film night and injuries – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This week’s news” for a reminder about John O’Gaunt’s upcoming anniversary.

This week’s news

• Quick reminder that there is an Open Day on Sunday 25 June from 2pm to 4pm at Marsh Lane Allotments, Hungerford. Pop along for a relaxing and inspiring afternoon. Dogs must be kept on leads on the site please.

• Great opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea with author AJ Pearce at Blandy’s Bar and Bistro, Kintbury this Saturday 24 June from 3pm-5pm. The author will be chatting about her third book in the Emmie Lake Chronicles, Mrs Porter Calling, to Emma Milne-White the owner of Hungerford Bookshop. Tickets must be pre-booked here.

• Do you know someone who goes the extra mile for Hungerford? There is still time to nominate them for this year’s Freedom of the Town Awards. Please click this link for the nomination form. Forms can also be collected from the Town Council Office and nominations must be received by the Town Clerk in by 5pm on Friday 30 June. See full details here.

• Hungerford Memory Singers, the new dementia choir that meets at the British Legion, is doing well with 20 guests so far having a great time with Carolyn Bartholomew, the inspirational and energetic choir leader. There are still places available so if you have dementia or support someone else who does, please get in touch with Olivia Simmonds on 07989 388827 or dementia.choir@gmail.com. Their next singalong is Monday 17 July. There is no singing in August.

• Hungerford resident Fiona Cox is hosting a charity concert in – Fiona’s charity concert – add her email address to event fionaelizabethcox@gmail.com

Check-In Tribe is an informal mental health monthly support group and their next meet-up is this Saturday 24 June, 10am to 12pm at Terrace View Cafe and Bar, upstairs at Herongate Club. The morning will be spent sharing thoughts, ideas and tips on improving and keeping on top of our mental wellbeing. If this time does not work for you but you still wish to reach out or share your tips, please drop Emma and James a message as they would love to hear from you. In the meantime you can take a look at their new blog looking at the potential downsides of always choosing the comfortable option.

• Hungerford Juniors Lionesses has two all-girl football teams, both of which are looking for new players. Come to a taster session at Hungerford Primary School on Saturday 24 June from 9.30 am – 11 am. Years 7 and Year 4/5 wanted.

• Do you have a new injury or an old nagging issue that hasn’t been checked out yet? Save £65 on your first appointment at Hungerford Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Centre at The Croft Hall.

• The number of swifts circling our skies each summer have sadly halved in the last 25 years. Find out how to support these amazing birds  at the Swift Talk & Walk at 4pm Sunday 2 July to launch Swift Town Hungerford, a joint project between Hungerford Environmental Action Team and John O’Gaunt School’s Eco Club. The event is at Hungerford Hub & Library with local nature writer Nicola Chester and swift guru Ailsa Clayburn.

• Whilst West Berkshire continues to be a very safe place to live, West Berks Council wants to understand if feeling unsafe is a bigger problem in certain public spaces, and is likely to affect some groups more than others. There are already some great support and community groups in the district, and the council wants to find out if there are any ways in which people in West Berkshire could feel even more connected to their community. Fill out their street safe survey here.

• As you hopefully already know, Town & Manor is working towards creating a new Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve on 16 hectares of historic water meadow on the north-western edge of Hungerford. They need to raise £40,390 to cover the cost of the many surveys and reports required in order for this project to proceed and welcome any donation, however small.  Multiple donations from local residents will demonstrate to larger funders the community’s support. Please get behind this wonderful project, which will benefit Hungerford and the wider area for decades to come. You can donate via the Good Exchange here: Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve (thegoodexchange.com)

• Don’t miss Hungerford Bookshop’s Summer Reading Celebration on Saturday 8 July, an opportunity to meet authors, get great book recommendations, enjoy a drink in the courtyard and learn some exciting news from the bookshop. See more details here.

• Chilton Foliat is celebrating summer this year with the Chilton Foliat Summer Gala, a week-long series of events from 1 to 9 July, including a delightful concert of music for flute, harp and cello by the Newbury-based Trio Sospiroso, a highly entertaining talk by former Beefeater Tony Stafford, and an evening of folk music by well-known duo Bob and Gill Berry. There is also an exhibition by 25 local artists (open daily), an open gardens trail, a duck race, an afternoon of rounders, and a day of crafts presented by the village WI. Full details can be found at chiltonfoliatgala.info.

• Do you have the confidence to step forward and help in an emergency? Would you like to know basic first aid including the use of a defibrillator? Or are you a small business owner or voluntary group member who needs the full one day accredited certificate to fulfil your service to your clients? You can sign up for this Emergency First Aid at Work Course at the Hungerford Youth & Community Centre on Saturday 15 July. The course costs £75 and the regulated certificate lasts for 3 years.

• Would you like to try tennis for free? Pop along to Hungerford Tennis Club’s Midsummer Fundraiser on Saturday 24 June with lots of fun, stalls, BBQ, prosecco bar and more to enjoy – as well as tennis for all ages of course. See more details here.

• It is time to start thinking about Hungerford Carnival Parade, which will be lighting up the town on Sunday 16 July. It starts at John O’Gaunt School at 5pm, but all entrants need to be there at 4pm. Please see their facebook page for more details or email hungerfordcarnival100@gmail.com.

• Quick reminder that households with energy vouchers for prepayment meters need to redeem them by Friday 30 June.

Royal British Legion Hungerford Club invite you to come along and support your local legion on Armed Forces Day on Saturday 24 June from 12pm to 4pm. Members and non-members welcome.

• If you shop online, please consider signing up to Give As You Live for Hungerford Hub & Library. Every time you make an online purchase, order a grocery delivery, book a trip or switch your energy providers, you can generate donations that support this vital facility – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.

• Date for the diary: Hungerford Bookshop invites you to a chat with best-selling novelist A J Pearce about her third book in the Emmy Lake chronicles, Mrs Porter Calling, as you enjoy a delicious afternoon tea at Blandy’s Bistro on Saturday 24 June at 3pm. Tickets £25 must be pre-booked here. Call 01488 683480 for any enquiries.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

Kintbury Parish Council is seeking candidates to fill a councillor vacancy by co-option. If you feel you could make a difference within the community,  please apply  by 30 June. Interested residents should contact the Clerk in the first instance for further details at clerk@kintburyparishcouncil.org 07917 485191.

Kintbury Bowling Club behind the Jubilee Centre is looking for experienced bowls players or complete beginners to join as the new season starts. They have roll up sessions every Monday and Thursday at 6pm. The first two sessions are free and there are bowls to borrow should you need them.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

A 60th party

A reminder that 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford. This will be celebrated on 30 Juneand the school would like to involve as many past and present pupils as possible. As current Head Teacher Richard Hawthorne explains, “Whether related to your child’s time here or if perhaps you were yourself a student of JOG in the past (or you know anyone who was) and would be happy to share pictures, anecdotes, fond memories, items or, dare I say, school work for this afternoon, we’d love to hear from you.”

Please see this separate post for further information.

Community notices

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

• Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

• Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

• Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

• Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

• West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

• Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

• The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Sat 24 Jun Afternoon Tea with AJ Pearce, author of Mrs Porter Calling, Audley Inglewood.

Fri 30 Jun Bingo Night at Hungerford Town Football Club

Sun 25 Jun Hungerford Antiques & Flea Market, Town Hall.

Sat 1/Sun 2 July Charity Open Garden in aid of Noreen’s Kids & the Tuesday Burchett Club, Hungerford High St.

• Fri 7/ Sat 8 July Hungerford Theatre Company: Humble Boy, John O’Gaunt School.

• Sat 8/Sun 9 July Hungerford Theatre Company: Alice the Musical, John O’Gaunt School.

Sun 9 July Hungerford Food & Artisan Market Summer Festival, The Croft Field

Sat 15/Sun 16 July Charity Open Garden in aid of Noreen’s Kids & the Tuesday Burchett Club, Hungerford High St.

Sat 22 July Cobbs Open Air Cinema: Top Gun – Maverick

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Dementia choir at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month. See more details here.

• Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

Walking groups for men and women in Hungerford. Contact Stacey on 07518 879023 or stacey_a15@yahoo.co.uk

New writing club at Froxfield Village Hall. Whether you want a quiet place to write, want to chat with other writers, or are looking for ideas please email dunwriters@gmail.com for more information and dates. All welcome.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Sunday CommuniTea (board games, chat and free hot food) at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street on Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome noon to 3:30pm.

• Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3 to 4 mile route and a 5 to 7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

• Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

• Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

• Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

• Hungerford Football Juniors U6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

• Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry. See more here.

• Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

• Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during term-time: 6pm to 7pm – Juniors (9 to 13 years), 7pm to 8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7 to 8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on https://townandmanor.co.uk/markets or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

• The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

• Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660  or hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome. See more here.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 15 May 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; planning matters; the conservation area appraisal; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 18 May and you can download the minutes here (and also for the annual parish assemble which followed it). Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; speeding; a possible NDP (it was decided not to proceed with this at this stage); committee reports; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 15 May and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; Chair’s report; speeding and traffic; repairs and maintenance; bus services; defibrillator training; planning matters; and financial matters.
The annual parish meeting of Froxfirld Parish Council was also held on 15 May and you can download the minutes here. Items covered in the Chair’s address included the Water Meadow Nature Reserve; the Village Green Play Area; the Platinum Jubilee; traffic calming; tree safety survey; overgrowing verges; community payback; and All Saints Church.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 11 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; matters arising; the Chair’s report; the Clerk’s report; cutting the hedges of others; a councillor vacancy; social-media policy; a possible fête; councillor training; financial matters; and planning matters.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 9 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; planning matters; the Parish Steward; highways and footpaths; the Wildlife Group; the Recreation Ground and open spaces; financial matters; the Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve; power cuts; and the village website.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 22 June 2023

This week we cover allotments, afternoon tea, swifts, singing, a film night and injuries – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This week’s news” for a reminder about John O’Gaunt’s upcoming anniversary.

This week’s news

• Quick reminder that there is an Open Day on Sunday 25 June from 2pm to 4pm at Marsh Lane Allotments, Hungerford. Pop along for a relaxing and inspiring afternoon. Dogs must be kept on leads on the site please.

• Great opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea with author AJ Pearce at Blandy’s Bar and Bistro, Kintbury this Saturday 24 June from 3pm-5pm. The author will be chatting about her third book in the Emmie Lake Chronicles, Mrs Porter Calling, to Emma Milne-White the owner of Hungerford Bookshop. Tickets must be pre-booked here.

• Do you know someone who goes the extra mile for Hungerford? There is still time to nominate them for this year’s Freedom of the Town Awards. Please click this link for the nomination form. Forms can also be collected from the Town Council Office and nominations must be received by the Town Clerk in by 5pm on Friday 30 June. See full details here.

• Hungerford Memory Singers, the new dementia choir that meets at the British Legion, is doing well with 20 guests so far having a great time with Carolyn Bartholomew, the inspirational and energetic choir leader. There are still places available so if you have dementia or support someone else who does, please get in touch with Olivia Simmonds on 07989 388827 or dementia.choir@gmail.com. Their next singalong is Monday 17 July. There is no singing in August.

• Hungerford resident Fiona Cox is hosting a charity concert in – Fiona’s charity concert – add her email address to event fionaelizabethcox@gmail.com

Check-In Tribe is an informal mental health monthly support group and their next meet-up is this Saturday 24 June, 10am to 12pm at Terrace View Cafe and Bar, upstairs at Herongate Club. The morning will be spent sharing thoughts, ideas and tips on improving and keeping on top of our mental wellbeing. If this time does not work for you but you still wish to reach out or share your tips, please drop Emma and James a message as they would love to hear from you. In the meantime you can take a look at their new blog looking at the potential downsides of always choosing the comfortable option.

• Hungerford Juniors Lionesses has two all-girl football teams, both of which are looking for new players. Come to a taster session at Hungerford Primary School on Saturday 24 June from 9.30 am – 11 am. Years 7 and Year 4/5 wanted.

• Do you have a new injury or an old nagging issue that hasn’t been checked out yet? Save £65 on your first appointment at Hungerford Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Centre at The Croft Hall.

• The number of swifts circling our skies each summer have sadly halved in the last 25 years. Find out how to support these amazing birds  at the Swift Talk & Walk at 4pm Sunday 2 July to launch Swift Town Hungerford, a joint project between Hungerford Environmental Action Team and John O’Gaunt School’s Eco Club. The event is at Hungerford Hub & Library with local nature writer Nicola Chester and swift guru Ailsa Clayburn.

• Whilst West Berkshire continues to be a very safe place to live, West Berks Council wants to understand if feeling unsafe is a bigger problem in certain public spaces, and is likely to affect some groups more than others. There are already some great support and community groups in the district, and the council wants to find out if there are any ways in which people in West Berkshire could feel even more connected to their community. Fill out their street safe survey here.

• As you hopefully already know, Town & Manor is working towards creating a new Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve on 16 hectares of historic water meadow on the north-western edge of Hungerford. They need to raise £40,390 to cover the cost of the many surveys and reports required in order for this project to proceed and welcome any donation, however small.  Multiple donations from local residents will demonstrate to larger funders the community’s support. Please get behind this wonderful project, which will benefit Hungerford and the wider area for decades to come. You can donate via the Good Exchange here: Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve (thegoodexchange.com)

• Don’t miss Hungerford Bookshop’s Summer Reading Celebration on Saturday 8 July, an opportunity to meet authors, get great book recommendations, enjoy a drink in the courtyard and learn some exciting news from the bookshop. See more details here.

• Chilton Foliat is celebrating summer this year with the Chilton Foliat Summer Gala, a week-long series of events from 1 to 9 July, including a delightful concert of music for flute, harp and cello by the Newbury-based Trio Sospiroso, a highly entertaining talk by former Beefeater Tony Stafford, and an evening of folk music by well-known duo Bob and Gill Berry. There is also an exhibition by 25 local artists (open daily), an open gardens trail, a duck race, an afternoon of rounders, and a day of crafts presented by the village WI. Full details can be found at chiltonfoliatgala.info.

• Do you have the confidence to step forward and help in an emergency? Would you like to know basic first aid including the use of a defibrillator? Or are you a small business owner or voluntary group member who needs the full one day accredited certificate to fulfil your service to your clients? You can sign up for this Emergency First Aid at Work Course at the Hungerford Youth & Community Centre on Saturday 15 July. The course costs £75 and the regulated certificate lasts for 3 years.

• Would you like to try tennis for free? Pop along to Hungerford Tennis Club’s Midsummer Fundraiser on Saturday 24 June with lots of fun, stalls, BBQ, prosecco bar and more to enjoy – as well as tennis for all ages of course. See more details here.

• It is time to start thinking about Hungerford Carnival Parade, which will be lighting up the town on Sunday 16 July. It starts at John O’Gaunt School at 5pm, but all entrants need to be there at 4pm. Please see their facebook page for more details or email hungerfordcarnival100@gmail.com.

• Quick reminder that households with energy vouchers for prepayment meters need to redeem them by Friday 30 June.

Royal British Legion Hungerford Club invite you to come along and support your local legion on Armed Forces Day on Saturday 24 June from 12pm to 4pm. Members and non-members welcome.

• If you shop online, please consider signing up to Give As You Live for Hungerford Hub & Library. Every time you make an online purchase, order a grocery delivery, book a trip or switch your energy providers, you can generate donations that support this vital facility – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.

• Date for the diary: Hungerford Bookshop invites you to a chat with best-selling novelist A J Pearce about her third book in the Emmy Lake chronicles, Mrs Porter Calling, as you enjoy a delicious afternoon tea at Blandy’s Bistro on Saturday 24 June at 3pm. Tickets £25 must be pre-booked here. Call 01488 683480 for any enquiries.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

Kintbury Parish Council is seeking candidates to fill a councillor vacancy by co-option. If you feel you could make a difference within the community,  please apply  by 30 June. Interested residents should contact the Clerk in the first instance for further details at clerk@kintburyparishcouncil.org 07917 485191.

Kintbury Bowling Club behind the Jubilee Centre is looking for experienced bowls players or complete beginners to join as the new season starts. They have roll up sessions every Monday and Thursday at 6pm. The first two sessions are free and there are bowls to borrow should you need them.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

A 60th party

A reminder that 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford. This will be celebrated on 30 Juneand the school would like to involve as many past and present pupils as possible. As current Head Teacher Richard Hawthorne explains, “Whether related to your child’s time here or if perhaps you were yourself a student of JOG in the past (or you know anyone who was) and would be happy to share pictures, anecdotes, fond memories, items or, dare I say, school work for this afternoon, we’d love to hear from you.”

Please see this separate post for further information.

Community notices

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

• Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

• Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

• Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

• Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

• West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

• Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

• The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Sat 24 Jun Afternoon Tea with AJ Pearce, author of Mrs Porter Calling, Audley Inglewood.

Fri 30 Jun Bingo Night at Hungerford Town Football Club

Sun 25 Jun Hungerford Antiques & Flea Market, Town Hall.

Sat 1/Sun 2 July Charity Open Garden in aid of Noreen’s Kids & the Tuesday Burchett Club, Hungerford High St.

• Fri 7/ Sat 8 July Hungerford Theatre Company: Humble Boy, John O’Gaunt School.

• Sat 8/Sun 9 July Hungerford Theatre Company: Alice the Musical, John O’Gaunt School.

Sun 9 July Hungerford Food & Artisan Market Summer Festival, The Croft Field

Sat 15/Sun 16 July Charity Open Garden in aid of Noreen’s Kids & the Tuesday Burchett Club, Hungerford High St.

Sat 22 July Cobbs Open Air Cinema: Top Gun – Maverick

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Dementia choir at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month. See more details here.

• Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

Walking groups for men and women in Hungerford. Contact Stacey on 07518 879023 or stacey_a15@yahoo.co.uk

New writing club at Froxfield Village Hall. Whether you want a quiet place to write, want to chat with other writers, or are looking for ideas please email dunwriters@gmail.com for more information and dates. All welcome.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Sunday CommuniTea (board games, chat and free hot food) at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street on Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome noon to 3:30pm.

• Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3 to 4 mile route and a 5 to 7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

• Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

• Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

• Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

• Hungerford Football Juniors U6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

• Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry. See more here.

• Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

• Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during term-time: 6pm to 7pm – Juniors (9 to 13 years), 7pm to 8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7 to 8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on https://townandmanor.co.uk/markets or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

• The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

• Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660  or hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome. See more here.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 15 May 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; planning matters; the conservation area appraisal; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 18 May and you can download the minutes here (and also for the annual parish assemble which followed it). Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; speeding; a possible NDP (it was decided not to proceed with this at this stage); committee reports; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 15 May and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; Chair’s report; speeding and traffic; repairs and maintenance; bus services; defibrillator training; planning matters; and financial matters.
The annual parish meeting of Froxfirld Parish Council was also held on 15 May and you can download the minutes here. Items covered in the Chair’s address included the Water Meadow Nature Reserve; the Village Green Play Area; the Platinum Jubilee; traffic calming; tree safety survey; overgrowing verges; community payback; and All Saints Church.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 11 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; matters arising; the Chair’s report; the Clerk’s report; cutting the hedges of others; a councillor vacancy; social-media policy; a possible fête; councillor training; financial matters; and planning matters.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 9 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; planning matters; the Parish Steward; highways and footpaths; the Wildlife Group; the Recreation Ground and open spaces; financial matters; the Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve; power cuts; and the village website.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 15 June 2023

This week we cover pot luck, children’s art, road closures, a bookshop gong, meet the players and autism  – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This week’s news” for a look at a look back to 1963 (when John O’Gaunt school was founded),  problems with the post; switching and saving energy suppliers and a new logo at the Leisure Centre.

This week’s news

• Free, creative fun for children at Hungerford Library this Friday 16 June. Pop in to the Pot Luck Club on your way home from school and decorate a mug as a gift for someone special. All materials provided from 2.30pm to 5pm.

• Don’t forget the Children’s Art Festival at The Croft this Saturday 17 June from 11am to 3pm. Kids are advised to dress for mess and grown ups are encouraged to bring their friends and a picnic. Lots of opportunities to have fun and get creative. See more details about the schedule here.

Click here for the most recent update from Hungerford Town Council.

• All welcome at the Royal British Legion Hungerford Club‘s Quiz Night this Saturday 17 June starting at 8.30pm start. £1pp entry with a maximum of 6 per team. Winners take the cash prize.

• As you may have noticed from the large road signs in town, Charnham Street, Bridge Street and the High Street will be closed on Monday 19 June, between 7pm and midnight. According to this map it looks like the A4 will be closed between the B4192 Chilton Foliat junction and the Co-op garage (which will remain accessible), plus all the High Street and right up to the Kennedy Meadow roundabout on the A338. The closure is to enable Volker Highways to carry out machine patching as part of the highway improvement programme on behalf of West Berkshire Council. Bluelight access will be permitted throughout these works. All enquiries please contact West Berkshire Council on 01635 519080.

• It’s been a great year for Hungerford Bookshop: not only was it a regional finalist in the British Book Awards earlier in the year but it won Best Independent Retailer at Newbury Weekly News Best in Business Awards in March. Now to crown it all its won the Best Bookshop in Berkshire Award with Muddy Stilettos.

John O’Gaunt School will be celebrating its 60th anniversary on Friday 30 June. Anyone in the community with connections to the school is invited to contribute memorabilia or stories. Please contact Paige Goodall at pgoodall@johnogaunt.excalibur.org.uk and use the subject “JOG 60th’”.  Whether you are just sharing some thoughts or have items that could be displayed, please let her know by Monday 26 June. Please also RSVP to Paige if you would like to join the informal afternoon tea after school on the day.

• Do you have a new injury or an old nagging issue that hasn’t been checked out yet? Save £65 on your first appointment at
Hungerford Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Centre at The Croft Hall.

• Hungerford Town Council invites nominations for this year’s Freedom of the Town Awards. Please click this link for the nomination form. Forms can also be collected from the Town Council Office and nominations must be received by the Town Clerk in by 5pm on Friday 30 June. See full details here.

• On Tuesday 20 June there will be an opportunity to come and meet the players at Hungerford Town Football Club from 8pm. With lots of the new signings in attendance, more familiar faces and a football quiz to test your footie knowledge.

• Many people enjoy this kind of heat but fewer animals do. There is lots of advice for pet owners and wildlife lovers during a heatwave. Some people think it’s okay to leave their dog in the car if they’re parked in the shade or the windows are open, but a car can become as hot as an oven even when the weather doesn’t feel that warm. If you see a dog in a car on a warm day, this is what the RSPCA recommends that you do.

• West Berkshire Council invites suggestions on how to improve the lives of people with autism living in this area. If you are a person on the autistic spectrum or know someone who is and would like to share your experiences of the challenges faced by people with autism with local services, including education, health, employment, social care and local community resources, please complete the Council’s online Autism Survey 2023. The deadline to have your say is midnight on Wednesday 19 July.

Town & Manor of Hungerford is pleased to launch its new website townandmanor.co.uk and welcomes your feedback.

• As you hopefully already know, Town & Manor is working towards creating a new Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve on 16 hectares of historic water meadow on the north-western edge of Hungerford. They need to raise £40,390 to cover the cost of the many surveys and reports required in order for this project to proceed and welcome any donation, however small.  Multiple donations from local residents will demonstrate to larger funders the community’s support. Please get behind this wonderful project, which will benefit Hungerford and the wider area for decades to come. You can donate via the Good Exchange here:Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve (thegoodexchange.com)

• HAHA Hungerford Allotments invite you to their Open Afternoon on Sunday 25 June between 2pm and 4pm for drinks, cake, tombola and relaxation.

• Are you involved with a community gardening group? BBC 1’s The One Show in partnership with the RHS are recognising new growers who have transformed a green space in their area in their Growing Together Award 2023 for Community Gardening. They are particularly keen to hear about projects that involve a diverse range of people who are traditionally under-represented in gardening and have really benefited from starting to garden or having a new outdoor space to use. The winners will receive National Garden Gift Vouchers, a plaque and certificate. Apply here by Tuesday 11 July.

June news from the High Street includes a sale at Inklings, tax break on legal tender coins at Hungerford Coin & Stamp Centre, important passport reminder from Fare Wise Travel for anyone travelling to Europe, a summer introductory offer from Hungerford Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Healthcare and best seller Robert Harris book-signing at Hungerford Bookshop.

• Don’t miss Hungerford Bookshop’s Summer Reading Celebration on Saturday 8 July, an opportunity to meet authors, get great book recommendations, enjoy a drink in the courtyard and learn some exciting news from the bookshop. See more details here.

• The will be a Charity Open Garden at 87/88 Hungerford High Street in aid of Noreen’s Kids, the charity set up 15 years ago by Anna Dunn and her husband to care for children and young adults living with AIDS and other serious disabilities in one of the poorest parts of Romania. And also in aid of the Tuesday Burchett club, a local club whose minibus needs replacing which is used for outings for Hungerford people who meet regularly for talks and social events at the British Legion Hall. The garden is one of Hungerford’s best kept secrets and there will be an exhibition of local artists’ work. Entry is £3 on Sat 1, Sun 2, Sat 15 and Sun 16 July. See more details here.

Hungerford Theatre Company‘s upcoming summer productions are Humble Boy, a charming comedy about bee-keeping, on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 July and matinee performances on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July of Alice the Musical based on Alice In Wonderland, incorporating creative combination of song and dance, narrative and drama as we follow Alice down the rabbit hole. See here for more information and how to book tickets.

• Any individual or organisation with experience of West Berkshire’s mental health services are invited to have their say at a confidential Consultation Workshop 10am to 2pm, Wednesday 21 June at The Croft Hall. Lunch will be provided.

• The number of swifts circling our skies each summer have sadly halved in the last 25 years. Find out how to support these amazing birds  at the Swift Talk & Walk at 4pm Sunday 2 July to launch Swift Town Hungerford, a joint project between Hungerford Environmental Action Team and John O’Gaunt School’s Eco Club. The event is at Hungerford Hub & Library with local nature writer Nicola Chester and swift guru Ailsa Clayburn.

• Do you have the confidence to step forward and help in an emergency? Would you like to know basic first aid including the use of a defibrillator? Or are you a small business owner or voluntary group member who needs the full one day accredited certificate to fulfil your service to your clients? You can sign up for this Emergency First Aid at Work Course at the Hungerford Youth & Community Centre on Saturday 15 July. The course costs £75 and the regulated certificate lasts for 3 years.

• Would you like to try tennis for free? Pop along to Hungerford Tennis Club’s Midsummer Fundraiser on Saturday 24 June with lots of fun, stalls, BBQ, prosecco bar and more to enjoy – as well as tennis for all ages of course. See more details here.

• It is time to start thinking about Hungerford Carnival Parade, which will be lighting up the town on Sunday 16 July. It starts at John O’Gaunt School at 5pm, but all entrants need to be there at 4pm. Please see their facebook page for more details or email hungerfordcarnival100@gmail.com.

• Quick reminder that households with energy vouchers for prepayment meters need to redeem them by Friday 30 June.

Royal British Legion Hungerford Club invite you to come along and support your local legion on Armed Forces Day on Saturday 24 June from 12pm to 4pm. Members and non-members welcome.

• If you shop online, please consider signing up to Give As You Live for Hungerford Hub & Library. Every time you make an online purchase, order a grocery delivery, book a trip or switch your energy providers, you can generate donations that support this vital facility – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.

• Date for the diary: Hungerford Bookshop invites you to a chat with best-selling novelist A J Pearce about her third book in the Emmy Lake chronicles, Mrs Porter Calling, as you enjoy a delicious afternoon tea at Blandy’s Bistro on Saturday 24 June at 3pm. Tickets £25 must be pre-booked here. Call 01488 683480 for any enquiries.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

• The next Kennet Valley Filling Station meeting will be on Wednesday 14 June, 7.45pm at the Kintbury Coronation Hall. This month Paula Jayne Bate is the speaker and the theme for her talk is The Father’s Love. They will be meeting in the smaller committee room at the Coronation Hall for the next few months.

Kintbury Bowling Club behind the Jubilee Centre is looking for experienced bowls players or complete beginners to join as the new season starts. They have roll up sessions every Monday and Thursday from Monday 17 April at 6pm. The first two sessions are free and there are bowls to borrow should you need them.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

1963 and all that

What do you remember about 1963? Well, OK, many of you weren’t born then or were still crawling around in nappies. What do you know about it?

Here are a few facts, many from this website. A gallon of petrol cost five shillings (25p) and the average house price was £3,160. The Beatles released their first album and Manchester United won the FA Cup. The lava lamp and AmEx cards were launched. The Great Train Robbery took place, Harold Macmillan resigned and JFK was assassinated. Also, on 3 January of that year,John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford was founded.

This means that 2023 marks JoG’s 60th anniversary. This will be celebrated on 30 June – a wise move: who wants to celebrate anything on 3 January? – and the school would like to involve as many past and present pupils as possible. As current Head Teacher Richard Hawthorne explains, “Whether related to your child’s time here or if perhaps you were yourself a student of JOG in the past (or you know anyone who was) and would be happy to share pictures, anecdotes, fond memories, items or, dare I say, school work for this afternoon, we’d love to hear from you.”

Please see this separate post for further information.

Hungerford’s post

There have been some widely reported problems with the postal service in and around Hungerford recently. Local MP Laura Farris has recently got involved in this.

“I wanted to update you on the postal situation in Hungerford,” she wrote on her FB page on 13 June. “On Friday I spoke to senior management at Royal Mail and managers on the ground in Hungerford. I want to reassure you that I made all of your points to them.

“Both the intolerable level of delay and also the points raised by postal workers who told me about the unmanageable delivery schedules they had been assigned. The Managers told me that there had been personnel issues in Hungerford with rapid turnover of staff over a short period. That has meant they were understaffed for a period, with the result that some people were not receiving their post. They have since brought in agency workers on a temporary basis who have helped them to clear the backlog which they say has reduced considerably.

They also told me that there are two “walks” delivery routes) which are still behind and that staff are being rotated to address the backlogs. They are also recruiting permanent staff to replace those who they have lost. Overall, they suggested that there had been an improvement in the situation and that the permanent solution was weeks not months, away.” 

We’ll keep out eye on this and keep you posted. Sorry: an appalling pun. I couldn’t resist…

A new splash

West Berkshire Council has appointed Everyone Active as the new leisure management operator to manage the leisure facilities across the district. From 1 July 2023, Everyone Active (EA) will begin a 10-year contract run Northcroft Leisure Centre and Lido, Hungerford Leisure Centre, Kennet Leisure Centre, Cotswold Sports Centre, Willink Leisure Centre, Lambourn Sports Centre and the Downland Sports Centre.

“The new contract will have a strong focus on community outreach,” a statement from WBC says, “providing a variety of creative and physical activities in local venues such as community halls, churches, centres and outdoor locations to increase accessibility.

“We are delighted to officially begin our partnership with West Berkshire Council and are looking forward to many successful years ahead,” Steve Salwa, Area Contract Manager at Everyone Active said.  “The sports and leisure centres within this contract are so important for the health and wellbeing of the local communities and we look forward to supporting the council’s vision for leisure across West Berkshire. We would like to reassure existing customers that all memberships, classes, lessons and club bookings will carry over and continue as normal during the transition.” I understand (and hope) that this will also include that any direct debits are seamlessly transferred across from Parkwood Leisure to EA.

“The contract is the start of a very exciting period for leisure in West Berkshire,” Janine Lewis, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure, Sport and Countryside added. “Increasing participation in active leisure for all, especially those currently less active, is a key focus of our new leisure strategy. We are delighted to be working with EA. Our centres are about so much more than leisure activities. They are community hubs where people can socialise while keeping active and well.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our current provider, Parkwood Leisure, for their hard work over the last 19 years and their excellent contribution to improving health and wellbeing across the district.”

All the staff will be transferring over so there will still be the same friendly and familiar faces at Hungerford (which I use) and elsewhere. One thing that the new management might want to look at is the website. Certainly as regards pool sessions in Hungerford, the online information doesn’t always accord with reality and it seems the staff don’t have as much control over the content as they should. This may also be an issue elsewhere. If you have any suggestions of your own then let your local centre know.

Switching and saving

Over the last 18 months, many households have grappled with high energy costs and financially struggled due to the increasing energy price cap and no decent fixed deals. Through West Berkshire Council’s partnership with the Big Community Switch scheme, residents can now save money by getting a better energy deal as a group, and switching to a trusted energy supplier. This will not only save money but also support a greener future and the move to 100% renewable energy tariffs.

You can register to switch here by 21 June. Personal offers will then be sent out from 4 July where you have time to decide if you want to go ahead and switch or not. Your decision to accept or decline the new offer needs to be made by 31 July. For more information, please click here.

As many of us know, switching energy suppliers can be a daunting task. However, the Big Community Switch does all the hard work for you and provides guidance throughout the entire process. Moreover, there is no obligation to switch to the winning supplier once you receive your personal offer.

“I’ve always believed in the principle of Save Money and the Environment (SMATE),” Councillor Adrian Abbs, WBC’s Executive Member for Climate Action, Recycling and Biodiversity said. “Now, during this cost of living crisis, having a chance to do just that with the Big Community Switch makes perfect sense.”

The more people who participate in the scheme, the better the deal that will be reached – so do spread the word and tell your family, friends and neighbours.

Community notices

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

• Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

• Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

• Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

• Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

• West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

• Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

• The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Sat 17 June Children’s Art Festival, The Croft.

Sat 24 Jun Afternoon Tea with AJ Pearce, author of Mrs Porter Calling, Audley Inglewood.

Sun 9 July Hungerford Food & Artisan Market Summer Festival, The Croft Field

Sat 22 July Cobbs Open Air Cinema: Top Gun – Maverick

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Dementia choir at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month. See more details here.

• Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

Walking groups for men and women in Hungerford. Contact Stacey on 07518 879023 or stacey_a15@yahoo.co.uk

New writing club at Froxfield Village Hall. Whether you want a quiet place to write, want to chat with other writers, or are looking for ideas please email dunwriters@gmail.com for more information and dates. All welcome.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Sunday CommuniTea (board games, chat and free hot food) at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street on Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome noon to 3:30pm.

• Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3 to 4 mile route and a 5 to 7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

• Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

• Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

• Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

• Hungerford Football Juniors U6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

• Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry. See more here.

• Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

• Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during term-time: 6pm to 7pm – Juniors (9 to 13 years), 7pm to 8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7 to 8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on https://townandmanor.co.uk/markets or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

• The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

• Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660  or hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome. See more here.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 15 May 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; planning matters; the conservation area appraisal; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 18 May and you can download the minutes here (and also for the annual parish assemble which followed it). Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; speeding; a possible NDP (it was decided not to proceed with this at this stage); committee reports; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 15 May and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; Chair’s report; speeding and traffic; repairs and maintenance; bus services; defibrillator training; planning matters; and financial matters.
The annual parish meeting of Froxfirld Parish Council was also held on 15 May and you can download the minutes here. Items covered in the Chair’s address included the Water Meadow Nature Reserve; the Village Green Play Area; the Platinum Jubilee; traffic calming; tree safety survey; overgrowing verges; community payback; and All Saints Church.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 11 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; matters arising; the Chair’s report; the Clerk’s report; cutting the hedges of others; a councillor vacancy; social-media policy; a possible fête; councillor training; financial matters; and planning matters.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 9 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; planning matters; the Parish Steward; highways and footpaths; the Wildlife Group; the Recreation Ground and open spaces; financial matters; the Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve; power cuts; and the village website.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 8 June 2023

This week we cover news from the High Street, a looming blooming deadline, a market, freedom and drama – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This week’s news” for a look at the June edition of Penny Post Hungerford, some thoughts on a widening gap from John O’Gaunt Head Richard Hawthorne, two kinds of micro-management from Whitehall and proposed new policing arrangements in the town.

This week’s news

June news from the High Street includes a sale at Inklings, tax break on legal tender coins at Hungerford Coin & Stamp Centre, important passport reminder from Fare Wise Travel for anyone travelling to Europe, a summer introductory offer from Hungerford Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Healthcare and best seller Robert Harris book-signing at Hungerford Bookshop.

• Last chance to enter Hungerford in Bloom – the deadline to complete the entry form is Friday 9 June.

• A quick reminder about Hungerford’s monthly Food & Artisan Markets at the Croft Field this Sunday 11 June with local stalls, street food, live music, a plant/seed swap/buy table and £1 off drinks if you bring your own reusable cup. There will be a pan-fried trout demo at 11.30am and collection of all aluminium for recycling by Hungerford Rotary. There will also be solar power demonstrations with toys and the battery that powers the coffee machine. See more details here.

June news from Barrs Yard includes a recipe for Venetian Spritz from Barnaby at GrapeSmith and stunning local landscapes by local artist Minnie Shaw-Stewart.

Hungerford Youth and Community Centre is looking for volunteers to ensure its amazing ICE Youth Club can still run during a time of staff shortage. If you can help please contact Alison Blake by email youth2@hungerfordyc.org.uk

• Do you have a new injury or an old nagging issue that hasn’t been checked out yet? Save £65 on your first appointment at
Hungerford Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Centre at The Croft Hall.

• Hungerford Town Council invites nominations for this year’s Freedom of the Town Awards. Please click this link for the nomination form. Forms can also be collected from the Town Council Office and nominations must be received by the Town Clerk in by 5pm on Friday 30 June. See full details here.

• Don’t miss Hungerford Bookshop’s Summer Reading Celebration on Saturday 8 July, an opportunity to meet authors, get great book recommendations, enjoy a drink in the courtyard and learn some exciting news from the bookshop. See more details here.

• Anna Dunn is opening her garden at 87/88 Hungerford High Street in aid of Noreen’s Kids, the charity she and her husband set up 15 years ago to care for children and young adults living with AIDS and other serious disabilities in one of the poorest parts of Romania. And also the Tuesday Burchett club, a local club whose minibus needs replacing which is used for outings for Hungerford people who meet regularly for talks and social events at the British Legion Hall. The garden is one of Hungerford’s best kept secrets and there will be an exhibition of local artists’ work. Entry is £3 on Sat 1, Sun 8, Sat 15 and Sun 16 July. See more details here.

Hungerford Theatre Company‘s upcoming summer productions are Humble Boy, a charming comedy about bee-keeping, on Friday 7 & Saturday 8 July John and matinee performances on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July of Alice the Musical based on Alice In Wonderland, incorporating creative combination of song and dance, narrative and drama as we follow Alice down the rabbit hole. See here for more information and how to book tickets.

• Have you or anyone you know been forced to leave their home due to migration and live in West Berkshire? Be part of the conversation with Community United and about how the journey of being uprooted has moulded you to be part of the new community. Contact Pragna or Alice on hello@communityunited.uk

• Any individual or organisation with experience of West Berkshire’s mental health services are invited to have their say at a confidential Consultation Workshop 10am to 2pm, Wednesday 21 June at The Croft Hall. Lunch will be provided.

The Murder Mystery and Hog Roast at Wilton Windmill, ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ on Saturday 24 June has sold out in record time, but the good news is that they have added an extra performance on Sunday 25 June. Tickets are available now, to book yours call 07769 977 779 or email info@hauntedmysteryweekend.co.uk.

• According to a facebook post by local resident Mark Townsend, there are adders on Hungerford Common which walkers should be mindful about.

• Don’t forget the imminent Children’s Art Festival  at The Croft on Saturday 17 June from 11am to 3pm. Kids are advised to, ‘ Dress for Mess’ and grown ups are encouraged to bring their friends and a picnic. Lots of opportunities to have fun and get creative, sponsored by The Hungerford Arts Society.

• The number of swifts circling our skies each summer have sadly halved in the last 25 years. Find out how to support these amazing birds that travel all the way to Hungerford to breed at the Swift Talk & Walk 4pm Sun 2 July at Hungerford Hub & Library with Nicola Chester and swift guru Alisa Clayburn.

• There is a good opportunity to get a first aid qualification at the Hungerford Youth & Community Centre on Saturday 15 July. Register for the Emergency First Aid at Work One-day Course here.

• It is time to start thinking about Hungerford Carnival Parade, which will be lighting up the town on Sunday 16 July. It starts at John O’Gaunt School at 5pm, but all entrants need to be there at 4pm. Please see their facebook page for more details or email hungerfordcarnival100@gmail.com.

• Quick reminder that households with energy vouchers for prepayment meters need to redeem them by Friday 30 June.

• With the sun blessing us this week inspiring drinks in the garden and long walks in the countryside, it seems fitting that Hungerford Bookshop’s next event on 14 June is with acclaimed nature writer John Lewis Stempel for his newly published book ‘La Vie: A Year in Rural France’, living as a ‘peasant farmer’ in France after years of farming in England. He pursues self-sufficiency and what started as a practical endeavour becomes an affair of the heart. Book here (tickets include a free glass of wine).

Royal British Legion Hungerford Club invite you to come along and support your local legion on Armed Forces Day on Saturday 24 June from 12pm to 4pm. Members and non-members welcome.

• Could you help students at John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford prepare for the world of work? The EBP (Employers Business Partnership) invites local business people to support a couple of interview preparation and workshop events on Thursday 8 June and Tuesday 20 June. See here for details. You will not be required to deliver any content.

• If you shop online, please consider signing up to Give As You Live for Hungerford Hub & Library. Every time you make an online purchase, order a grocery delivery, book a trip or switch your energy providers, you can generate donations that support this vital facility – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.

Hungerford Ukraine Group Support will hold their fifth Collection of Aid for Ukraine on Tuesday 13 June  at Marlborough Town Football Club. Please see details here or contact hungerfordukraineaid@gmail.com if you have any questions about items on the list or are unable to get there on the day to make alternative arrangements. The next collection is planned for the north-side of Newbury in September.

• Date for the diary: Hungerford Bookshop invites you to a chat with best-selling novelist A J Pearce about her third book in the Emmy Lake chronicles, Mrs Porter Calling, as you enjoy a delicious afternoon tea at Blandy’s Bistro on Saturday 24 June at 3pm. Tickets £25 must be pre-booked here. Call 01488 683480 for any enquiries.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

• The Watermill Theatre touring production of Mansfield Park on Friday 16 June at The Old Vicarage is sold out. But there are several other performances across the area. See details here and how to book.

Kintbury Bowling Club behind the Jubilee Centre is looking for experienced bowls players or complete beginners to join as the new season starts. They have roll up sessions every Monday and Thursday from Monday 17 April at 6pm. The first two sessions are free and there are bowls to borrow should you need them.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

On the beat

On 3 May 2023, Hungerford’s Mayor Helen Simpson had a meeting with the Police & Crime Commissioner, District Councillors, key stakeholders and the Thames Valley Police (TVP) Superintendent (Area Commander – West Berkshire Local Police Area). The main item on the agenda was how policing in the town could be improved in the wake of a spate of recent crimes.  A summary can be found in the Hungerford Town Council Update for April/May 2023.

The Mayor followed this with a communication outlining key points raised at the meeting and any required actions. She was, she said, “was very pleased to have received two replies: one from the Superintendent and the other from TVP’s new Assessment and Investigation Unit (AIU) team. I also accepted an invitation to visit the Police call centre in Abingdon. Further information on all of this can be found in this separate post.”

She added that she was “very pleased with the progress that has been made in the last month. Not only do I now have a better understanding of how the AIU system works but – more importantly for Hungerford – we have managed to secure not only the immediate return of two PCSOs to the Tri-station but hopefully also having the whole Hungerford team based there, as well as the recruitment of two new officers. I feel that real progress has been made and I, HTC and the district councillors will be doing our best to ensure that this translates into a genuine and permanent improvement in all aspects of policing in the town.”

Hungerford’s newsletter

The June edition of Penny Post Hungerford was published this wee and, as ever, is packed full with news, views and information about the town. You can click here to read it if you didn’t get it.

As well as the above-mentioned article about new policing arrangements in the town, there are also our usual updates on the Town Council, the local retailers and a wide range of local schools, charities and community groups. It also takes a look at swifts, blooms, twins, grant deadlines, steam trains, Boots, postal deliveries, Gigaclear, property and jobs, as well as providing a run-down of local events, activities and volunteering opportunities and winding up with some wise words from Katharine Hepburn.

Life in first gear

I mentioned last week that although there are town-centre strategies in place for Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford (the first being more advanced than the other two) this does not mean that any of the ideas that have been put forward so far will reach fruition quickly, or at all. The process will be long and will require much discussion and consultation with a range of interested parties. The fact that in West Berkshire, and many other districts, there is now a new council administration doesn’t make a great deal of difference. All the election produced was a new driver, not a new car. The municipal engine rarely gets out of first gear and no destination is ever reached quickly. I’m reminded of a remark made by a Spanish ambassador in the Americas during the reign of the notoriously cautious Philip II in the 16th century: “if death came from Madrid,” the diplomat sardonically observed, “we would all live to a very old age.”

To the natural distaste of councils to step on the gas must be added a level of micro-management practised by the government. Rather than fund councils properly, Whitehall’s favoured method of distributing money is to have a bewildering series of grants for specific projects which are ring-fenced and time-limited. This might mean, to pick a hypothetical example, that councils can apply to a fund to have more public recycling bins for plastic and cans installed in town centres. If successful, they will need to have done this by a certain date. They cannot, however, spend it on bins for recycling paper or for general waste: for these there may (or may not) be another round of funding which the council’s officers may (or may not) hear about it time and which they may (or may not) be successful at applying for. Some councils are better than others at working this system and these may not always be the ones that have the most need of the money.

I don’t know how much time in Whitehall is spent administering these grants not how much time is spent by council officers in applying for them but I’d bet that the money saved by abolishing this system would be more than any sums that councils might spend foolishly. Yes, they can make mistakes; but so can the government. Virtually every time a large IT project or a defence contract is awarded one can almost hear the sound of high-denomination banknotes being torn up. The system also sends out the message that the government doesn’t trust local councils. If so, that’s almost to say that they don’t trust the people who elected them.

It may therefore be that any projects which emerge from these town-centre strategies are driven less by what the town needs than by what funding happens to be available at the time. The best that we can all do is engage with the process (a steering group is currently in the process of being set up) so that a case can be made for what’s needed, then hope that the funding can be secured without too many restrictions. But don’t expect anything to happen quickly: first gear, remember…

A lost decade

This recent article on the BBC website suggests that MPs have warned that “some pupils are facing a “lost decade” of progress in schools in England if action is not taken.” The piece claims that it could take 10 years for the gap between disadvantaged children and others to narrow to what it was before the pandemic. One method suggested was to improve the uptake of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), which was set up in November 2020 “to help children catch up after Covid lockdowns disrupted education.” It seems that over £200m in the fund was unspent in April 2023.

The article provides one explanation of why this might be. It quotes Nigel Atwood, a Head Teacher from Birmingham, says that he’ll not be running NTP from September 20234, citing problems with affordability, capacity, and bureaucracy. “We have so many little bits of pots of money that is ring-fenced and it can be really difficult to spend it because capacity is not there,” he told the BBC. “What we need is the the money, and the staffing to be able to give the children what they need.”

All this seems depressingly similar to what I suggested in “Life in first gear” above. Whitehall’s micro-management is not, it seems, restricted to councils.

Turning to the wider question of whether Covid had widened a gap that will take some time to close, I asked Richard Hawthorne, Head of John O’Gaunt in Hungerford what he felt about this. “I think this report is accurate,” he told me. “There is certainly a wider gap between disadvantaged students and others. Tutoring has had some impact here because we employed our own (rather than through agencies) but it’s hard to say if this impact is significant enough.

“I worry just as much about the welfare of students. There doesn’t seem to be the level of service and support that can meet the growing need for wellbeing and mental health support and a severe lack of support for disadvantaged families (the health and social care argument).  If you can’t access the curriculum because of other disadvantages in your life, then whilst tutoring won’t harm you, it just won’t be enough to close the gap.  This is the nettle I think we need to grasp…”

Community notices

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

• Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

• Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

• Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

• Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

• West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

• Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

• The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Fri 9 June Wine & Cheese Tasting, Cobbs Farmshop.

Sat 10 June St Lawrence’s Summer Fete, Croft Field.

Sun 11 June Hungerford Food & Artisan Market, Croft Field.

Sat 17 June Children’s Art Festival, The Croft.

Sat 24 Jun Afternoon Tea with AJ Pearce, author of Mrs Porter Calling, Audley Inglewood.

Sat 22 July Cobbs Open Air Cinema: Top Gun – Maverick

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Dementia choir at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month. See more details here.

• Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

Walking groups for men and women in Hungerford. Contact Stacey on 07518 879023 or stacey_a15@yahoo.co.uk

New writing club at Froxfield Village Hall. Whether you want a quiet place to write, want to chat with other writers, or are looking for ideas please email dunwriters@gmail.com for more information and dates. All welcome.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Sunday CommuniTea (board games, chat and free hot food) at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street on Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome noon to 3:30pm.

• Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3 to 4 mile route and a 5 to 7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

• Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

• Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

• Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

• Hungerford Football Juniors U6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

• Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry. See more here.

• Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

• Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during term-time: 6pm to 7pm – Juniors (9 to 13 years), 7pm to 8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7 to 8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on https://townandmanor.co.uk/markets or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

• The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

• Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660  or hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome. See more here.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 15 May 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; planning matters; the conservation area appraisal; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 18 May and you can download the minutes here (and also for the annual parish assemble which followed it). Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; speeding; a possible NDP (it was decided not to proceed with this at this stage); committee reports; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 15 May and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; Chair’s report; speeding and traffic; repairs and maintenance; bus services; defibrillator training; planning matters; and financial matters.
The annual parish meeting of Froxfirld Parish Council was also held on 15 May and you can download the minutes here. Items covered in the Chair’s address included the Water Meadow Nature Reserve; the Village Green Play Area; the Platinum Jubilee; traffic calming; tree safety survey; overgrowing verges; community payback; and All Saints Church.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 11 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; matters arising; the Chair’s report; the Clerk’s report; cutting the hedges of others; a councillor vacancy; social-media policy; a possible fête; councillor training; financial matters; and planning matters.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 9 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; planning matters; the Parish Steward; highways and footpaths; the Wildlife Group; the Recreation Ground and open spaces; financial matters; the Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve; power cuts; and the village website.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 1 June 2023

This week we cover volunteers, blooms, wild birds, lawns, markets and twinning – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This week’s news” for a look at Hungerford Town Council’s next meeting, continuing problems on the trains, and why some projects inevitably take longer to accomplish than many might wish.

This week’s news

Hungerford Youth and Community Centre is looking for volunteers to ensure its amazing ICE Youth Club can still run during a time of staff shortage. If you can help please contact Alison Blake by email youth2@hungerfordyc.org.uk

• Could you help students at John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford prepare for the world of work? The EBP (Employers Business Partnership) invites local business people to support a couple of interview preparation and workshop events on Thursday 8 June and Tuesday 20 June. See here for details. You will not be required to deliver any content.

• Congratulations to Peyton Matthews-Hewers who went to Hungerford Primary and John O’Gaunt Schools and has recently qualified as a fully fledged solicitor with Marlborough Law based at their Hungerford office at the Hungerford Legal & Financial Centre two years ago. See her full story here.

• Still time to enter Hungerford in Bloom 2023 – entries must be received by the Hungerford TC office by 5pm on Friday 9 June. With many different categories to enter into it does not matter if you have a garden or a container. If you would like to enter or get more information please email admin@hungerford-tc.gov.uk

• If you shop online, please consider signing up to Give As You Live for Hungerford Hub & Library. Every time you make an online purchase, order a grocery delivery, book a trip or switch your energy providers, you can generate donations that support this vital facility – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.

• Considered by many to be Britain’s finest living nature writer, John Lewis-Stempel will be talking about his new book La Vie: a year in rural France, at The Croft Hall on Wednesday 14 June. Tickets are £7 and include a glass of wine and a discount on the book from Hungerford Bookshop.

• A presentation of the proposed new Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve in Hungerford will be made by Claire Jones and Chris Scorey from Town and Manor of Hungerford at 2.30pm Tuesday 6 June at Inkpen Sports Pavillion. This exciting and ambitious wetland regeneration project proposes to restore and redevelop an area of ancient water meadow to create a wetland area rich in biodiversity. The land has been unused since the 1970s and is, for farming purposes, of poor quality. Everyone is welcome. To cover expenses (including refreshments) a donation at the door of £3 would be welcome. 

Hungerford Ukraine Group Support will hold their fifth Collection of Aid for Ukraine on Tuesday 13 June  at Marlborough Town Football Club. Please see details here or contact hungerfordukraineaid@gmail.com if you have any questions about items on the list or are unable to get there on the day to make alternative arrangements. The next collection is planned for the north-side of Newbury in September.

• The phone is ringing off the hook for Corvid Dawn wild bird rescue at the moment, with more baby birds coming in than they can handle. They are urgently looking for foster carers to help raise these little ones. You will receive full training and it’s a wonderful rewarding experience. Please contact Aimee Wallis if you’re interested.

• Local children’s author Larry Hayes is on a mission to get local primary school kids loving writing and loving books. To celebrate the publication of his new book How to be a Kid Boss, he’s taking his hugely popular Creative Writing Workshop for kids on tour to primary schools in West Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Reading and Wiltshire. Any primary school can book Larry for one of 50 free workshops suitable for Years 3 to 6. The workshop is for 30 to 60 children at a time. For more details contact laurencechayes@gmail.com

• A quick reminder about Hungerford’s monthly Food & Artisan Markets at the Croft Field on the second Sunday of the month. There are lots of local stalls, street food, live music, a plant/seed swap/buy table and £1 off drinks if you bring your own reusable cup. The next market is on Sunday 11 June from 10am to 1pm with a BBQ trout demo at 11.30am. See more details here.

• Date for the diary: Hungerford Bookshop invites you to a chat with best-selling novelist A J Pearce about her third book in the Emmy Lake chronicles, Mrs Porter Calling, as you enjoy a delicious afternoon tea at Blandy’s Bistro on Saturday 24 June at 3pm. Tickets £25 must be pre-booked here. Call 01488 683480 for any enquiries.

• Have you been doing No Mow May but not sure what to do with your lawn now?  If you suddenly cut back all the long grass, you are destroying the habitat after only a month for the very creatures you were trying to attract. Here are some practical options from ecological gardening consulant Rachel Hammond. A couple of compromises include cutting mown paths through your grass (removing some, keeping some) or keeping it long for the summer, only cutting in autumn.  If you decide to keep all or some long grass year round, mowing once in September is sufficient for maintenance of plants and seed distribution.
• There is a new writing club starting at Froxfield Village Hall. Whether you want a quiet place to write, want to chat with other writers, or are looking for ideas please email dunwriters@gmail.com for more information and dates. All welcome.

• If you have kids or grandchildren, don’t miss the annual Children’s Arts Fest in The Croft on Saturday 17 June with everything from circus skills workshops and drumming sessions to bubble-ologist and author stories. See all details here.

• Hungerford Town Council invites nominations for this year’s Freedom of the Town Awards. Please click this link for the nomination form. Forms can also be collected from the Town Council Office and nominations must be received by the Town Clerk in by 5pm on Friday 30 June. Click here for a full article by Penny on these fabulous awards.

• Representatives of Hungerford Twinning Association visited Ligueil (south of the Loire, near Loches and Tours) last week to reaffirm their links with Hungerford’s twin town that are now over 40 years old. To find out more about HTA and how to get involved with twinning activities, you are welcome to join their AGM on Thurday 8 June. See more details here.

• Honesty Live presents local singer and musician Holly Feltham at the Crown & Garter in Inkpen on Friday 2 June. Entry is free.

• Quick reminder about Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership’s advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• Stacey and Nick Andrews are starting a walking group for men and another for women in Hungerford, for just an hour one evening. If anybody would like to join whether to be more active, to lose weight, to improve mental health or just gain more friends and have a chat please let us know. Contact Stacey on 07518 879023 or stacey_a15@yahoo.co.uk or message them on facebook if you are interested.

• Are you over 65? If so, West Berkshire Council are interested in how you travel around the district by walking or takng the bus and any challenges or issues affecting your ability to travel, and the things you find most helpful when walking or using buses. Please complete this Active Travel survey by midnight on Friday 16 June.

• West Berkshire Council also wants to hear from people aged 16 and over who either currently live in West Berks or have done so in the last three years, and have experienced any form of domestic abuse. They’d like to know whether you received the support you needed, and what improvements you think could be made. The Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment Survey closes at midnight on Monday 12 June 2023.

• This is the season where you might see a swarm of bees in your garden. Newbury Beekeepers Association can help collect them but please first check their website here for help with identification so you know it is honey bees you’ve got rather than wasps or tree bumble bees…

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

• The Watermill Theatre touring production of Mansfield Park on Friday 16 June at The Old Vicarage is sold out. But there are several other performances across the area. See details here and how to book.

Kintbury Bowling Club behind the Jubilee Centre is looking for experienced bowls players or complete beginners to join as the new season starts. They have roll up sessions every Monday and Thursday from Monday 17 April at 6pm. The first two sessions are free and there are bowls to borrow should you need them.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

No quick fix

A town-centre strategy for Hungerford (and also for Thatcham) was commissioned by West Berkshire Council last year. According to West Berkshire Council’s website, the aim of these is “to boost the high streets and town centres, enhancing their vitality and economic prosperity.” The project was approved by the Full Council in March but since then there has been an election and a change of administration. The new council has created a portfolio position for Regeneration, Growth and Strategy Development, which covers this area, which has been given to Martin Colston, the former Leader of Newbury Town Council. I understand that the process of working on this plan will soon be re-starting.

Nothing is going to happen quickly. This is partly because there will need to be a good deal of public consultation; also because nothing that involves councils ever happens quickly (this is perhaps no bad thing and often better than doing something on a whim). Many of the projects will involve external funding which will add yet more time. Each council has a four-year lifespan and this probably is also a realistic timescale for executing a project for anything even half-way ambitious that involves the participation of government at any level.

Take the 30mph speed limit on the Common, for instance. The Common is used by walkers, joggers, cyclists of all ages, and in the summer month herds of cattle. On the face of it, reducing the speed limit from the previous 50mph was a no-brainer. However, this took many years to accomplish and involved regular lobbyin and pressing by the Town Council, the Town and Manor and the local ward members. And this, mind you, only really required (apart from the actual decision) the installation of a few road signs.

Even longer delays may attend the plans currently being looked at by Hungerford Town Council to address some of the road-safety issues in Hungerford High Street which include speeding, possible new pedestrian crossing, the problems caused by large lorries turning into and out of Park Street and, probably, the recurring issue of the phone box that some claim obscures driver’s view of people using the zebra crossing by WH Smith. One obvious difficulty with changing anything is that Hungerford High Street is an A road. Hopefully some improvements will come from this exercise and the town-centre strategy (which are connected) but it won’t be immediately and it might not be soon. One has to keep plugging away at these things.

Hungerford’s meeting

The next meeting of Hungerford Town Council will take place at 7pm on Monday 5 June and you can see the agenda here. As ever, members of the public are welcome to attend. The meeting will include an update from the Mayor about various burglaries in the town and the steps that are being taken to address there.

As ever, a report on this (and other aspects of HTC’s work) will be included in Penny Post Hungerford which will be published on Tuesday 6 June.

Off the rails

We’ve written many times about the pretty terrible rail service between Bedwyn and Newbury and highlighted the excellent work done by the Bedwyn Train Passenger Group (BTPG)  to lobby GWR into doing something to improve this.

Local MP Laura Farris has recently issued a statement on this matter in which she says that she has asked for government time to debate “the adequacy of GWR’s performance” through West Berkshire. This, she explains, “follows changes to timetables that have seen capacity on the busy morning commuter service from Newbury to Reading slashed, resulting in overcrowding, in a move that Ms Farris has called “short-sighted”. Ms Farris says she was told by GWR that the decision to reduce capacity on this service was a result of a network-wide need to reduce fleet size due to financial constraints.”

The statement adds that “this intervention by the Newbury MP follows a continued campaign to improve local rail services. Last year, Ms Farris and her constituency neighbour Danny Kruger MP (Devizes) successfully campaigned for service improvements which resulted in the reinstatement of one direct evening service between Hungerford and Paddington.” This also includes a comment from the BTPG that the shuttle service “is causing missed connections, extending journey times and making passengers having to run at Newbury. The three stations have had the majority of their direct trains allocated elsewhere with no consultation.”

I contacted the BTPG about this and the group confirmed that it had recently had a Zoom meeting with Laura Farris’ office. “It’s good that she is highlighting this,” a spokesperson told me. “This is likely to form part of a wider campaign over the rest of this year to try to get our through services reinstated.”

I also asked to what extent the group had been involved in the restoration of the service to which Laura Farris referred. “The two MPs have made efforts to improve matters,” I was told, “and the evening service mentioned was one success. We did specifically ask for this train to be reinstated. Just to get this back took a considerable effort.”

We’re all being exhorted to use trains although there’s little in the either the simplicity or the prices of the tickets to encourage this. Having a perfectly simple journey to Reading or London split in two with an unreliable connection doesn’t make it stack up on timing or convenience either.

To some extent, this is down to the failure to electrify the line west of Newbury (the whole network could be been electrified for the cost of HS2) but I was more surprised by the reference to the “financial constraints” placed on GWR. This is, of course, a trump card for any organisation to play – don’t blame us, guv, it’s the government’s fault. However, I thought these companies were privatised, so enabling them to invest what they wanted in order to attract customers. Could it be the the Department for Transport is micro-managing their spending?

A bit of research suggested that this is exactly what’s happening. It’s less clear why. Perhaps the government doesn’t trust the rail companies. Certainly, several of them have been placed on the naughty step over the years. It also seems pointless privatising something if you’re then going to try to do everything yourself. Rail privatisation only created an artificial market in any case: if I want to go from Hungerford to London, I don’t have a choice of operators in the way that I do with telecoms or utilities. In this respect the rail firms are like those that provide our water.

It thus seems even odder that whereas GWR would perhaps like to improve the service, the DfT is preventing it from doing so and telling it how to spent its money: whereas with the water companies, which have only recently woken up to the fact that they need to improve their services, the government and its agencies seem disinclined to force them to do so. Just remind me – why did we privatise these industries in the first place?

Community notices

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

• Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

• Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

• Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

• Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

• West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

• Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

• The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Fri 9 June Wine & Cheese Tasting, Cobbs Farmshop.

Sat 10 June St Lawrence’s Summer Fete, Croft Field.

Sun 11 June Hungerford Food & Artisan Market, Croft Field.

Sat 17 June Children’s Art Festival, The Croft.

Sat 24 Jun Afternoon Tea with AJ Pearce, author of Mrs Porter Calling, Audley Inglewood.

Sat 22 July Cobbs Open Air Cinema: Top Gun – Maverick

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Dementia choir at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month. See more details here.

• Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Sunday CommuniTea (board games, chat and free hot food) at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street on Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome noon to 3:30pm.

• Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3 to 4 mile route and a 5 to 7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

• Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

• Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

• Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

• Hungerford Football Juniors U6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

• Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry. See more here.

• Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

• Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during term-time: 6pm to 7pm – Juniors (9 to 13 years), 7pm to 8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7 to 8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on https://townandmanor.co.uk/markets or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

• The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

• Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660  or hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome. See more here.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 15 May 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; planning matters; the conservation area appraisal; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 18 May and you can download the minutes here (and also for the annual parish assemble which followed it). Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; speeding; a possible NDP (it was decided not to proceed with this at this stage); committee reports; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 15 May and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; Chair’s report; speeding and traffic; repairs and maintenance; bus services; defibrillator training; planning matters; and financial matters.
The annual parish meeting of Froxfirld Parish Council was also held on 15 May and you can download the minutes here. Items covered in the Chair’s address included the Water Meadow Nature Reserve; the Village Green Play Area; the Platinum Jubilee; traffic calming; tree safety survey; overgrowing verges; community payback; and All Saints Church.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 11 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; matters arising; the Chair’s report; the Clerk’s report; cutting the hedges of others; a councillor vacancy; social-media policy; a possible fête; councillor training; financial matters; and planning matters.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 9 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; planning matters; the Parish Steward; highways and footpaths; the Wildlife Group; the Recreation Ground and open spaces; financial matters; the Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve; power cuts; and the village website.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 25 May 2023

This week we cover interview preparation, a fête, an anniversary, an eco meeting and a vote –  plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This week’s news” for a look at rural verges, an alleged conflict of interest, standing room only and seed funding for the wetland.

This week’s news

• Hungerford Town Council invites nominations for this year’s Freedom of the Town Awards. Please click this link for the nomination form. Forms can also be collected from the Town Council Office and nominations must be received by the Town Clerk in by 5pm on Friday 30 June. Click here for a full article by Penny on these fabulous awards.

Hungerford Bookshop has reached the final for Muddy Stiletto’s Best Bookshop in Berkshire and appeals for your vote here

• Could you help students at John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford prepare for the world of work? The EBP (Employers Business Partnership) invites local business people to support a couple of interview preparation and workshop events coming up in June. See here for details. You will not be required to deliver any content.

Hungerford Town Football Club was honoured last week when Danny Robinson won the Hungerford Town Junior’s chairman’s award for supporting the juniors throughout the season. Danny collected the award alongside Curtis Angell.

• Representatives of Hungerford Twinning Association visited Ligueil (south of the Loire, near Loches and Tours) this week to reaffirm their links with Hungerford’s twin town that are now over 40 years old. To find out more about HTA and how to get involved with twinning activities, you are welcome to join their AGM on Thurday 8 June. See more details here.

St Lawrence’s Church fete is on Saturday 10 June from 2pm to 4pm on the Croft Field.  Everyone is welcome and can enjoy a variety of stalls, races, games for children and an opportunity to sit and enjoy a cream tea.

Herongate Club in Charnham Park is delighted to be celebrating its fifth anniversary this month with a “join in May, pay nothing ’till June” offer and a prize draw to win free memberships, discounts and PT sessions. Members can also bring friends for free on Fridays…read more

• Honesty Live presents local singer and musician Holly Feltham at the Crown & Garter in Inkpen on Friday 2 June. Entry is free.

• Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership are promoting Scam Awareness Week but in truth we need to be scam aware every week. These people are so clever and there is no shame in being caught out. Penny once fell for a facebook messenger scam and would have lost money if her internet banking app wasn’t down. See advice here on how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught.

• Stacey and Nick Andrews are looking to start a walking group for men and another for women in Hungerford, for just an hour one evening. If anybody would like to join whether to be more active, to lose weight, to improve mental health or just gain more friends and have a chat please let us know. Message them on facebook if you are interested.

• Please help Hungerford Youth & Community Centre raise £1,000 for their great sessions for young people in Hungerford by taking two minutes to nominate them here for a grant. They have tried this before, but not enough people nominated them it would be amazing if everyone added their nomination this time and they were selected. See more on their Hungerford Youth and Community Centre facebook page here.

Hungerford Environmental Action Team – HEAT invite you to attend their monthly eco meeting at Hungerford Library on Wednesday 31 May from 7pm.

• Are you over 65? If so, West Berkshire Council are interested in how you travel around the district by walking or takng the bus and any challenges or issues affecting your ability to travel, and the things you find most helpful when walking or using buses. Please complete this Active Travel survey by midnight on Friday 16 June.

• West Berkshire Council also wants to hear from people aged 16 and over who either currently live in West Berks or have done so in the last three years, and have experienced any form of domestic abuse. They’d like to know whether you received the support you needed, and what improvements you think could be made. The Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment Survey closes at midnight on Monday 12 June 2023.

Open Studios West Berkshire and North Hampshire 2023 runs until May 29 with local artists opening their studios and exhibitions free of charge. They make entering any art space a comfortable experience, to encourage and promote accessibility to art and artists. See their website for details. Work by all participating artists is also exhibited at the wonderful INSIGHT exhibition at The Base, Greenham until 29 May 2023.

• Date for the diary: Hungerford Bookshop invites you to a chat with best-selling novelist A J Pearce about her third book in the Emmy Lake chronicles, Mrs Porter Calling, as you enjoy a delicious afternoon tea at Blandy’s Bistro on Saturday 24 June at 3pm. Tickets £25 on door. Call 01488 683480 for any enquiries.

• This is the season where you might see a swarm of bees in your garden. Newbury Beekeepers Association can help collect them but please first check their website here for help with identification so you know it is honey bees you’ve got rather than wasps or tree bumble bees…

• There is still time to enter this year’s Hungerford in Bloom. It is free to enter as many categories as you wish, providing you meet the criteria on the entry form. Entry deadline is 9 June.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

The Old Vicarage in Kintbury is pleased to be hosting the Watermill Theatre touring production of Mansfield Park on Friday 16 June. See details here and how to book.

The Kintbury 5 run/race last Sunday 21 May in aid of Kintbury Primary School was a huge success and the organisers thank all the runners, supporters and volunteers. See the results on their website here and their facebook page for more details

Kintbury Bowling Club behind the Jubilee Centre is looking for experienced bowls players or complete beginners to join as the new season starts. They have roll up sessions every Monday and Thursday from Monday 17 April at 6pm. The first two sessions are free and there are bowls to borrow should you need them.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

On the verge

Now is the time of the year when the 1,700km of rural road verges in West Berkshire are bursting into life, with clouds of cow parsley, oxeye daisies and yellow rattle. Traditionally, our roadside verges were given regular number-one haircuts but now things are changing.

The main reason is that it’s become clear just how important these habitats are. By their nature, verges tend to connect to other verges and to hedges and woods, so providing vital wildlife corridors; much as the roads they follow are vital corridors for us and our vehicles. The West Berkshire Wild Verges project is a collaboration Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and West Berkshire Council to support the use of verges to “make a space for nature.” There are certainly plenty of rural verges to work with in West Berkshire. If all of them were joined end to end they would stretch from Newbury to Madrid. If they were stacked side by side they’d cover over 700 football pitches.

Another reason is cost. Some verges are maintained by councils, which are perennially short of cash. Many private landlords may also see no cutting, or less of it, to be a good way of saving money.

However, there’s also the matter of road safety. If vegetation is obscuring road signs or visibility at junctions then it’s the landowner’s responsibility to deal with it and the council has the power to enforce them to do so.

We contacted WBC on 23 May to ask what its policy was. “Rural grass cutting tends to take place between end of Aug and March to avoid this kind of issue,” a spokesperson told us, “and we concentrate on urban routes during the summer. We have reduced verge cutting in urban areas which is allowing dandelions, cuckoo flower and buttercups to flourish. We are totally cognisant of the value of verges for wildlife.”

You can also click here to listen (from 7′ 20″) to the recent Sheepdrove Eco Show on 4LEGS Radio to see how Sheepdrove Organic Farm manages the verges by the side of the tracks and paths on its land.

All aboard…but don’t expect a seat

The latest news from Bedwyn Train Passenger Group is not great but they are persistent in their lobbying GWR and local MPs. They are, for example, demanding late-night staffing at Newbury station to manage the changes of train now required for Kintbury, Hungerford and Bedwyn passengers.

New timetable changes came in on Monday 22 May. The 0803 no longer calls at Bedwyn: instead you can catch it at Newbury by getting the 0749 shuttle from Bedwyn. On the upside there is a new 0823 service from Bedwyn, direct to Paddington.

But what is affecting most commuters is the 0729 Bedwyn departure has been downgraded from two five-car units to just one. This leads to standing room only from Hungerford and often all the way to Paddington. BTPG reports that GWR has done this to free up an IET (Intercity Express Train) to use elsewhere. The group has protested to GWR that “our line has been looted of enough IETs already.”

Please report to BTPG all occurrences of not being able to get a seat on the 0729. They will then petition GWR with this. Please contact them on info@bedwyntrains.org.uk and we also strongly recommend signing up to their newsletters.

Seed funding for the wetland

The Town and Manor of Hungerford has had “hugely positive feedback via both the on-line survey and from the various in-person contact sessions.” More information on this, and a link to the consultation, can be found here.

The Town and Hungerford Manor has already spent over £100,000 in buying the land and developing the proposal  for the reserve and are now looking for ‘seed’ funding for ecology, landscaping and biodiversity surveys in order to progress with the proposed wetland.  Those interested in donating can visit the funding page on the Good Exchange. Donations are being match funded by Greenham Trust.

The new team and its shadows

Click here for details of who’s on the Executive and the Shadow Executive at the new-look West Berkshire Council following the 4 May elections.

A conflict of interests?

Claire Rowles was one of the three ward members for Hungerford and Kintbury from 2019 to 2023, and a very popular and effective one. She did not stand in the recent election, largely because of a tangled and overblown conflict-of-interest allegation against her which has been found to be without substance and which has cost West Berkshire Council at least £10,000.

The origins of this go back to two WBC meetings – a Governance and Ethics committee in January 2022 and the Full Council in March 2022 – at which she raised issues surrounding two disputed CIL charge payments to two residents and was wondering why the enforcement of these were being handled differently. As my reports on these show (see links above) these involved discussions about what information a councillor could and could not demand to see. This might not have endeared her either to the officers involved nor to her party’s leadership but it seemed a perfectly fair route for a councillor to explore.

It then transpired that there was an alleged conflict of interest in her position, though the full nature of this was never clearly stated. Oddly, it was raised from a stage one to a more serious stage two complaint because the officer looking into the matter felt they were conflicted. The elevation of the case required the appointment of an external investigator. For reasons that still seem unclear, the resulting investigation which should have taken three months took the best part of a year. The decision that no conflict of interest existed was only confirmed in March 2023. Possibly this time was spent by the investigator in trying to establish exactly what the charge was: certainly Claire Rowles was never clear about this.

In November 2022, she felt her position as a member of the WBC committees on which she sat was untenable. As she didn’t know what the conflict of interest was, she reasoned that she could be in breach of something every time she opened her mouth. She therefore said that she could not vote at these meetings. The Conservative leadership took this point to its logical conclusion and decided to remove her from all her committee appointments. This public defenestration took place at a Full Council meeting and attracted a good deal of adverse comment.

I don’t know what lessons can be learned from all this. Clearly any complaint or concern needs to be investigated: but this needs to happen quickly, with the matter properly elevated through its stages and with the accused being in full possession of the nature of the charges and having the right to reply. This may have been more of a political that a procedural issue. Whatever its cause, this is something that the new administration might want to take a look at and see what went wrong. Something certainly seems to have gone wrong on this occasion.

Community notices

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

• Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

• Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

• Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

• Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

• West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

• Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

• The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Fri 9 June Wine & Cheese Tasting, Cobbs Farmshop.

Sat 10 June St Lawrence’s Summer Fete, Croft Field.

Sun 11 June Hungerford Food & Artisan Market, Croft Field.

Sat 17 June Children’s Art Festival, The Croft.

Sat 24 Jun Afternoon Tea with AJ Pearce, author of Mrs Porter Calling, Audley Inglewood.

Sat 22 July Cobbs Open Air Cinema: Top Gun – Maverick

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Dementia choir at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month. See more details here.

• Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Sunday CommuniTea (board games, chat and free hot food) at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street on Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome noon to 3:30pm.

• Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3 to 4 mile route and a 5 to 7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

• Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

• Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

• Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

• Hungerford Football Juniors U6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

• Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry. See more here.

• Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

• Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during term-time: 6pm to 7pm – Juniors (9 to 13 years), 7pm to 8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7 to 8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on https://townandmanor.co.uk/markets or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

• The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

• Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660  or hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome. See more here.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 15 May 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; planning matters; the conservation area appraisal; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 6 April and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 13 March and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 18 May 2023

This week we cover a car wash, a debut novel, a repair café, a music quiz and a walking group –  plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This week’s news” for a look at the Town and Manor and the Town Council (they may look the same but they are very different), Mansfield Park in Kintbury and the latest edition of Penny Post Hungerford.

This week’s news

Penny Post May Hungerford newsletter

Herongate Club in Charnham Park is delighted to be celebrating its fifth anniversary this month with a “join in May, pay nothing ’till June” offer and a prize draw to win free memberships, discounts and PT sessions. Members can also bring friends for free on Fridays…read more

Hungerford Brownies had a great time car-washing at Brendoncare Froxfield, raising £400 for a new sensory garden at the care home.

• Llewellyn Robins from Hungerford Rotary thanks all the good people of Hungerford who turned up at the Rotary Club plant sale at the Croft Hall last Saturday. It’s a pity it was a bit chilly which didn’t encourage people to sit and enjoy coffee and cakes and socialise but they did raised a whopping £700 for local and national good causes.

Hungerford Bookshop is excited to be hosting author Alice Winn this Friday 19 May to talk about her stunning debut novel  In Memoriam (described as ‘Birdsong for a new generation’) that shot straight into The Sunday Times bestseller list. Partly inspired by the rolls of honour in Marlborough College’s magazine published during the war (where the author studied for a while), we can hear more about her influences as she discusses her novel with AJ West. Book tickets here.

• The next Hungerford Repair Café will be this Saturday 20 May from 10am to 12:30pm in the Croft Hall in Hungerford. Clever volunteers will help fix your broken electrical goods, repair toys and furniture, sharpen tools and help mend clothing. Repairs and refreshments are free as we rely solely on donations from grateful members of the public to help cover our costs. If you would like to volunteer to help as a fixer or in any other capacity, please contact the organisers here.

• Hugh Pihlens will be talking to the Hungerford Historical Association about the Roman villa at Littlecote this Wednesday 24 March and visitors are very welcome to pay £5 on the door. The talk will cover the history of Hungerford’s very local Roman villa, how it was lost and rediscovered on two occasions before being the object of a 13-year archaeological project. The talk will include the work carried out in the past five years by a group of volunteers, members of the HHA, to restore the site. The talk starts at 7.30pm in Hungerford Town Hall.

• Stacey and Nick Andrews are looking to start a walking group for men and another for women in Hungerford, for just an hour one evening. If anybody would like to join whether to be more active, to lose weight, to improve mental health or just gain more friends and have a chat please let us know. Message them on facebook if you are interested.

• Sightings of the hairy caterpillar of the oak processionary moth, that can make humans and pets very unwell, must be reported this summer but people are being urged not to touch them. The moth is classified as a tree pest and was first identified in London in 2006, but has since spread in much larger numbers to surrounding counties, particularly in the South East of England. As well as making people – and sometimes pets – feel very unwell if they come into contact with them, the caterpillars also feed on the leaves of several species of oak trees which causes them to lose their leaves, affect their growth and become more vulnerable to other stresses like drought. Reporting any sightings of oak processionary moth to the Forestry Commission will both minimise the pest’s spread and reduce the damaging impact it poses to tree health.

Hungerford Royal British Legion is hosting a Music Quiz Night on Saturday 20 May at 8:30pm. £1 pp, teams of up to six people and cash prizes to be won.

• Please help Hungerford Youth & Community Centre raise £1,000 for their great sessions for young people in Hungerford by taking two minutes to nominate them here for a grant. They have tried this before, but not enough people nominated them it would be amazing if everyone added their nomination this time and they were selected. See more on their Hungerford Youth and Community Centre facebook page here.

Hungerford Environmental Action Team – HEAT invite you to attend their monthly eco meeting at Hungerford Library on Wednesday 31 May from 7pm.

Eight Bells for Mental Health charity invites local residents to join them in making a difference for Mental Health Awareness Week from 15 to 21 May. See here for how to engage with them during the week as they do outreach. The theme of the week is anxiety which is a normal emotion in us all, but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem. If you or a loved one is facing these issues, check out the national Mental Health Awareness Week information.

• Are you over 65? If so, West Berkshire Council are interested in how you travel around the district by walking or takng the bus and any challenges or issues affecting your ability to travel, and the things you find most helpful when walking or using buses. Please complete this Active Travel survey by midnight on Friday 16 June.

• West Berkshire Council also wants to hear from people aged 16 and over who either currently live in West Berks or have done so in the last three years, and have experienced any form of domestic abuse. They’d like to know whether you received the support you needed, and what improvements you think could be made. The Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment Survey closes at midnight on Monday 12 June 2023.

Open Studios West Berkshire and North Hampshire 2023 runs until May 29 with local artists opening their studios and exhibitions free of charge. They make entering any art space a comfortable experience, to encourage and promote accessibility to art and artists. See their website for details. Work by all participating artists is also exhibited at the wonderful INSIGHT exhibition at The Base, Greenham until 29 May 2023.

Hungerford Youth and Community Centre will be running their Youth Camp this half term. £8 per day per child or free for young people in receipt of free school meals, all payment must be made by Monday 22 May or places will be released to other young people. Please complete this online form here.

• Did you know that you can get an HRT prescription prepayment certificate (HRT PPC) from the NHS if you’ve been prescribed an eligible hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medicine from your local surgery? For full details go to the government website here.

• Date for the diary: Hungerford Bookshop invites you to a chat with best-selling novelist A J Pearce about her third book in the Emmy Lake chronicles, Mrs Porter Calling, as you enjoy a delicious afternoon tea at Blandy’s Bistro on Saturday 24 June at 3pm. Tickets £25 on door. Call 01488 683480 for any enquiries.

• This is the season where you might see a swarm of bees in your garden. Newbury Beekeepers Association can help collect them but please first check their website here for help with identification so you know it is honey bees you’ve got rather than wasps or tree bumble bees…

• There is still time to enter this year’s Hungerford in Bloom. It is free to enter as many categories as you wish, providing you meet the criteria on the entry form. Entry deadline is 9 June.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

• There is still time to sign up for The Kintbury 5 run/race on Sunday 21 May in aid of Kintbury Primary School is on undulating road, tracks and a private road available to run on race day only. Tracks have good surfaces with only a few potholes and some slightly gravelly surfaces at times. Adults 5 mile race starts at 10.30am and children’s races begin from 9.30am. Register here. The organisers would like to thank Hungerford Tesco for donating refreshments for all the thirsty runners at the end of the race. See their facebook page for more details.

Kintbury Bowling Club behind the Jubilee Centre is looking for experienced bowls players or complete beginners to join as the new season starts. They have roll up sessions every Monday and Thursday from Monday 17 April at 6pm. The first two sessions are free and there are bowls to borrow should you need them.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

Penny Post Hungerford

The May edition of our regular monthly newsletter covering life in the town was published earlier this week. This was later than usual due to the local elections on 4 May. Although everyone knew who the new councillors were going to be as the election was uncontested, technically they weren’t councillors until after the election. There then needed to follow a statutory notice period before the first new council could meet. Penny Post Hungerford always features a review of Hungerford Town Council’s work and a report of the main aspects of its monthly meeting, so we had to wait as well. Here it is in case you didn’t receive it directly.

Normal service will be resumed next month with June’s PPH hitting the streets on Tuesday 6 June. We shall be contacting all our normal contributors before then but if you are not among them and there’s anything you’d like to submit, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by the end of May.

Not the same thing at all

There have been many public events in Hungerford over the last month or so, including Hocktide and the coronation festivities. In fact, in any two-month period there are normally quite a few things going on in the town. There are plenty of organisations that are responsible for putting these on. Two of them are Hungerford Town Council and the Hungerford Town and Manor. The two are often confused; and so it seems again worth explaining the ways in which they are in fact very different.

For one thing, they have very similar names. They also have very similar logos. The Town and Manor owns the Town Hall and other assets including the Common, the Marsh and the proposed Kennet Valley Wetlands Reserve, the kind of things that are often owned by the local town or parish council. They both have leaders who wear chains of office, both have elections and both have both unpaid trustees/councillors and paid employees. Both give grants to local organisations. Both manage and seek to improve the assets that they own. All in all, one could be forgiven for thinking that they were the same thing.

Nothing could be further from the truth. They are quite distinct, despite the above superficial similarities. The Town Council is the easier to define so let’s start with that.

Town and parish councils are the first layers of local government. Above them come either one or two (one in West Berkshire’s case as it’s a unitary authority) councils and, above that, the national government. Town and parish councils have clearly defined roles to play in local affairs which are specified by numerous acts of parliament. They also have a direct and equally formalised relationship with their parent authority/ies: they are, for example, statutory consultees on planning matters. Town and parish councils also own and manage their own assets, are able to develop their own projects and set their precepts. Their official meetings must (apart from confidential aspects, known as “part twos”) be conducted in public and the councillors are subject to regulations on matters such as conflict of interests similar to those which are demanded of MPs. They are part of the machinery of government: vital, if at times uncelebrated, cogs in the municipal machinery which help to provide many services and amenities to the communities they represent.

The Town and Manor of Hungerford does not fit into this pattern. It is a chance survivor of the organisations which grew up in the Middle Ages to regulate a town’s local affairs and to protect its rights. During the 19th century, almost all of these became subsumed into the new Victorian system of local government. Due to a series of historical accidents, Hungerford was an exception: indeed the only exception. The Town and Manor survived, converted in the early 20th century into a charity. It retained (and has extended) its land ownership in the town, managing these sites and protecting them from development. It has a structure which, at first glance, looks similar to that of the Town Council: but the Town and Manor is a charity and has no influence nor jurisdiction over anything it does not own. The Town Council does. The two organisations are thus not of the same legal status. In this article, written after an open meeting held by the Town and Manor in December 2018, I tried to explain what this unique organisation was – and also what it was not.

The two organisations co-operate in a number of areas. In others they may appear to be competing for our attention or affection. This isn’t surprising considering that, as mentioned above, they do similar things. However, it’s important to understand that they do these for different reasons. The Town Council does what it does because it is part of the local government pyramid. The Town and Manor does what it does because it is is a land-owning charity. Both do what they do rather well, I should add, but they march to different tunes.

The Town and Manor is the last remaining example of the kind of organisation that was the common ancestor of most town councils up and down the land. The roles and responsibilities of the Town and Manor and of local councils have diverged to the extent that, in evolutionary terms, have made them become separate species. In Hungerford, they co-exist. As with any kind of bio-diversity, it’s important to understand what role each organism plays. The role of each must be celebrated and respected if we are to get the most out of Hungerford’s unique administrative eco-system.

Mansfield Park on the road

As part of its remit, the excellent Watermill Theatre in Newbury produces a summer show which goes on tour round the area before coming back to HQ for a short run. This year, the touring performance is a dramatisation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. The Watermill’s website describes this as “an inventive and intelligent outdoor production (which) reveals a fresh perspective on Jane Austen’s classic romance.”

“When young Fanny Price is sent to live with her wealthy cousins,” the summary continues,  “she quickly grows from a timid child into a clever, witty young woman with a fine moral compass. At Mansfield Park, Fanny meets the frivolous Crawfords. They introduce her to a world of reckless flirtation, unrequited love, and decadence. As their antics escalate, Fanny is led further astray until her uncle’s departure to visit his plantation in Antigua. Forced to confront the source of her family’s wealth and its true cost, Fanny must ask some difficult questions. Where does she belong? Will she ever find love? And what does it take to be the heroine of your own life?

“In collaboration with Two Gents Productions, the Watermill’s Mansfield Park fuses European regency with a Trans-Atlantic chorus for a fresh take on Jane Austen’s classic and an honest look at our colonial past.”

There are 15 touring venues in all. Seven of these are in the area covered by Penny Post and these are listed below. For more information on the production and details of other venues, please click here. All except East Garston’s are for one performance only.

  • 7 and 8 JuneEast Garston Village Hall – Book online
  • 9 June: Shrivenham Memorial Hall – Book online
  • 14 June: Cold Ash Acland Memorial Hall – Tickets available from Cold Ash Post Office (cash only)
  • 16 June: Kintbury The Old Vicarage – Book online
  • 19 June: Bradfield Village Hall – Book online
  • 23 June: Aldbourne The Old Manor – On sale soon: visit the Watermill website for further details.
  • 24 June: Brimpton Village Hall – Book online

Community notices

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

• Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

• Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

• Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

• Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

• West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

• Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

• The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Fri 19 May Author Alice Winn in conversation, Hungerford Town Hall.

Sat 20 May Repair Café, Croft Hall.

Wed 24 May Hungerford Historical Association: Littlecote Roman Villa.

Fri 9 June Wine & Cheese Tasting, Cobbs Farmshop.

Sat 10 June St Lawrence’s Summer Fete, Croft Field.

Sun 11 June Hungerford Food & Artisan Market, Croft Field.

Sat 17 June Children’s Art Festival, The Croft.

Sat 22 July Cobbs Open Air Cinema: Top Gun – Maverick

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Dementia choir at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month. See more details here.

• Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Sunday CommuniTea (board games, chat and free hot food) at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street on Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome noon to 3:30pm.

• Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3 to 4 mile route and a 5 to 7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

• Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

• Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

• Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

• Hungerford Football Juniors U6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

• Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry. See more here.

• Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

• Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during term-time: 6pm to 7pm – Juniors (9 to 13 years), 7pm to 8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7 to 8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on https://townandmanor.co.uk/markets or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

• The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

• Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660  or hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome. See more here.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 15 May 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 6 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: matters arising from the last meeting; the Chair’s report; the Clerk’s report; the ward members’ reports; repairs and maintenance; financial matters; planning matters; footpaths; and the proposed Haven development.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can read the minutes here
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 13 March and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 11 May 2023

This week we look at parties, the return of the Sunday markets, the Youth Centre, nature writing and a repair café. We also take a look at the proposed retirement complex in Hungerford, issue a final call for contributions for Penny Post Hungerford and look at Shalbourne’s half-time report – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

• Thanks to Lee from Oxygen Photography for this great gallery of photos and Forbes Stevenson for this video of Hungerford Town Band from the Coronation Party last Sunday.

• Lots going on this weekend in Hungerford starting with Rotary’s annual fundraising Plant Sale from 10am to 12pm on Saturday 13 May at The Croft Hall. See here for details.

• The monthly Hungerford Food and Artisan Market returns on Sunday 14 May from 10am to 1pm with the usual great line-up of local stalls, live music, street food, cookery demonstrations, plant table and £1 off coffee/tea if you bring your own reusable cup. See more details on their facebook page here.

• Also on Sunday 14 May Hungerford Brownies and Guides will be running a Charity Car Wash from 10am to 4pm at BrendonCare in Froxfield as part of the Coronation Big Help Out. They are raising funds for a beautiful sensory garden for the residents of the nursing home. The staff want to create somewhere inspiring and cheerful where people can enjoy the benefits linked to spending time in green spaces: better physical, social and mental health. See more details here.

Sunday CommuniTEA at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge St will be back this Sunday offering free hot food and drinks, and board games from 12pm to 3.30pm – so if you’re out for a walk, why not pop in and say hello.

• And to finish off Sunday 14 May, why not relax and listen to Hungerford Town Band’s Annual Concert at 3pm in Hungerford Town Hall. Tickets are £8 on the door and include tea and cakes. The band has qualified for the National Finals in September and this concert will feature part of their award-winning competition piece.

• Please help Hungerford Youth & Community Centre raise £1,000 for their great sessions for young people in Hungerford by taking two minutes to nominate them here for a grant. They have tried this before, but not enough people nominated them it would be amazing if everyone added their nomination this time and they were selected. See more on their Hungerford Youth and Community Centre facebook page here.

• The last event in Hungerford Bookshop’s Nature Writing Season is award-winning local nature writer Nicola Chester talking about her memoir On Gallows Down: Place, Protest & Belonging. The event takes place on Thursday 18 May at The Retreat at Elcot Park from 6.45 pm – 9.30pm. Enjoy a two or three course meal,  listen to Nicola and receive a signed copy of the book with each reservation. Book your place here (3 courses cost £60pp or £55 to members; 2 courses £50pp or £45 to members – wine is not included).

• The next Hungerford Repair Café will be on Saturday 20 May from 10am to 12:30pm in the Croft Hall in Hungerford. Clever volunteers will help fix your broken electrical goods, repair toys and furniture, sharpen tools and help mend clothing. Repairs and refreshments are free as we rely solely on donations from grateful members of the public to help cover our costs. If you would like to volunteer to help as a fixer or in any other capacity, please contact the organisers here.

Hungerford Environmental Action Team – HEAT invite you to attend their monthly eco meeting at Hungerford Library on Wednesday 31 May from 7pm.

Eight Bells for Mental Health charity invites local residents to join them in making a difference for Mental Health Awareness Week from 15 to 21 May. Pop in to their Open Day on Monday 15 May at Newbury Friends Meeting House or see here for more details on how to engage with them during the week as they do outreach.

• Are you over 65? If so, West Berkshire Council would like to understand your walking behaviour and experience of using buses within West Berkshire. They are interested in finding out how people aged 65 and over move around the district and any challenges or issues affecting your ability to travel, and the things you find most helpful when walking or using buses. If you’d like to take part, please complete this survey by midnight on Friday 16 June.

Open Studios West Berkshire and North Hampshire 2023 runs until May 29 with local artists opening their studios and exhibitions free of charge. They make entering any art space a comfortable experience, to encourage and promote accessibility to art and artists. See their website for details. Work by all participating artists is also exhibited at the wonderful INSIGHT exhibition at The Base, Greenham until 29 May 2023.

Hungerford Youth and Community Centre will be running their Youth Camp this half term. £8 per day per child or free for young people in receipt of free school meals, all payment must be made by Monday 22 May or places will be released to other young people. Please complete this online form here.

• Did you know that you can get an HRT prescription prepayment certificate (HRT PPC) from the NHS if you’ve been prescribed an eligible hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medicine from your local surgery? For full details go to the government website here.

• Date for the diary: Hungerford Bookshop invites you to a chat with best-selling novelist A J Pearce about her third book in the Emmy Lake chronicles, Mrs Porter Calling, as you enjoy a delicious afternoon tea at Blandy’s Bistro on Saturday 24 June at 3pm. Tickets £25 on door. Call 01488 683480 for any enquiries.

• This is the season where you might see a swarm of bees in your garden. Newbury Beekeepers Association can help collect them but please first check their website here for help with identification so you know it is honey bees you’ve got rather than wasps or tree bumble bees…

• There is still time to enter this year’s Hungerford in Bloom. It is free to enter as many categories as you wish, providing you meet the criteria on the entry form. Entry deadline is 9 June.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

• There is still time to sign up for The Kintbury 5 run/race on Sunday 21 May in aid of Kintbury Primary School is on undulating road, tracks and a private road available to run on race day only. Tracks have good surfaces with only a few potholes and some slightly gravelly surfaces at times. Adults 5 mile race starts at 10.30am and children’s races begin from 9.30am. Register here. The organisers would like to thank Hungerford Tesco for donating refreshments for all the thirsty runners at the end of the race. See their facebook page for more details.

Kintbury Bowling Club behind the Jubilee Centre is looking for experienced bowls players or complete beginners to join as the new season starts. They have roll up sessions every Monday and Thursday from Monday 17 April at 6pm. The first two sessions are free and there are bowls to borrow should you need them.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

Retiring in Hungerford

An article on p27 of this week’s NWN refers to a matter which we, and they, have covered before: the proposal to build 30 retirement flats on the old Oakes Bros site near Hungerford station. You can click here to see the application.

The main relevant concern that Hungerford Town Council has concerns parking. The submitted plans have not addressed the concerns, previously expressed by HTC and the ward members, that these were inadequate for the number of dwellings. For this reason, the then ward member James Cole (in what was probably his last act as a district councillor) called the matter in. If the officers are minded to approve the application it will therefore be decided by the Western Area Planning Committee. It’s possible, of course, that the planning officers may come to the same conclusion as has HTC in which case the developers, Churchill, will have to go away and think again.

The article noted that Churchill had conducted an online survey about the project. Obviously, private companies can spend their money in any way they choose but I don’t understand what purpose this survey was intended to serve. The results were a not-very-convincing 56% in favour of the principle of development. Unless these people make their views known on the planning portal these won’t be taken into account. Even then WBC may ignore them.

HTC may, perhaps, have other reasons for disagreeing with the project. Many would agree that what the town most badly needs is small homes, including at least some for affordable rent, suitable for young families. It’s a truism that the demographic of the country, and of Hungerford, is ageing. To build such a retirement complex could thus be seen as resounding to a deeply-felt need. The reality is that building such places will skews the demographic even more. The town is a very plant place to live and I can see that a well-located development such as this would be very popular. If there were to be a thousand such units built in Hungerford they would probably all sell. If a developer wants to make money (as, quite reasonably, they all do) then it doesn’t get much better than building high-end retirement properties in a central location in a prosperous town.

The pity is that the site, with planning permission, came up for sale about a year ago when the previous owners decided they wanted to move on. WBC could have bought it and used it to build the kind of homes that the town needs. It didn’t then feel that intervening in the housing market in such a way was within its remit. We shall see if the new administration feels differently. There certainly seems no other way that enough smaller homes will get constructed.

HTC could not request a call in on these grounds as wanting to see a completely different kind of thing built on the site is not a valid planning reason for objection. Even if it were, the Town Council, like all towns and parishes, is only a consultee in the process. It can raise concerns, it can lobby and it can nudge: but it can’t, in planning terms, decide anything. None the less, its opinions can be influential (look at the about-face on the plans for Chestnut Walk, for instance). If it has a neighbourhood development plan in place then its position is more formally and forcefully expressed as part of the local plan. Hungerford is in the home-straight of its own NDP and hopes to have this completed – “made” is the official term – by early 2024.

Penny Post Hungerford

As mentioned last week, this is normally published on the day after the first working Monday of the month but the plethora of bank holidays in early May and the knock-on effects of the election have knocked this sideways. The main post in each issue relates the the meeting of Hungerford Town Council and as this will not be able to take place until Monday 15 May, PPH will follow the day after. Normal service will be resumed in June.

If you have anything you’d like to contribute to the May edition, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk as soon as possible.

Shalbourne’s half-time report

Shalbourne’s 2023 annual parish assembly was held on 20 April and you can download the minutes here. This includes the text of the Chair’s report, which we reproduce here verbatim.

“The Parish Council is now halfway through its term in office.

“You will have noticed that one tree on the green has been pollarded and another has cut down. This follows a survey of trees on both the Shalbourne and Oxenwood greens which was done in the early 2022 year. Thanks to the work of Emma Verey and Susan Jamieson, we have a new oak which, in time, have a plaque remembering the late Queen. The original plaque which commemorates the gift of the green by Ms Beaumont to mark the Coronation of George VI is currently being refurbished.

“Speeding through the village continues to be the subject of much debate! The 20mph limit, which was originally only planned for around the school, led to a reduction in average speed of about 2mph which is in line with the national average. The problem is enforcement. We are eligible for Speedwatch and Jay Wood is looking to put a group together but it is slow work. Most of the offenders probably live locally and nobody wants to dob in their neighbours. We are looking at Electronic Speed Indicators aka smiley face/frowney face. If we went ahead, we would get on machine and have it moved between two locations.

“One problem is that they need a clear 200-yard line of sight which probably limits significantly the places where they can be deployed, it particularly rules out round the school and most of Kingston Road. Also, they add to street clutter and there is limited evidence as to their effectiveness. The PC hope to take a final decision at their meeting on 18 May. We have looked at speeding on Carvers Hill.  We were advised that we would be unlikely to get the 20-mph limit (or any limit) extended to cover Carvers Hill. We plan to discuss this with the winery when their plans are more advanced with the idea of perhaps something like a ‘Village gate’ which might calm the traffic down.

“I cannot leave this subject without commenting on the absence of construction traffic despite all the work being done at Carvers Hill winery. It is cheering when a developer takes such care.

“The inability of Wiltshire Council to tackle problems such as potholes in a timely manner reflect the lack of money available for roads. We think this problem will only get worse. The budget for speed limits, signs etc available to the area board is committed for the next two years at least. In the past Parish Councils have been expected to contribute between 10 and 15% to road projects now the figure is more like 25% it would be unfair to blame Wiltshire Council as central government is expecting local councils to do more with less money from the centre.

“I would like to say something on dog dirt…I despair!

“I would like to encourage everyone to come along, at least once, to a PC meeting. It is your village and we need your input. A lot of people have moved into the village in the last few years and it would be good to see you. We try to keep the meetings at under an hour and it is perfectly acceptable to leave early (unless you are chairman).

I would like to thank all councillors for their contributions. A mention also to our auditor, Nick Shaw Hardie, who although no longer living in the village continues to provide a free service to us, I would also like to thank all who come along to our meetings, you bring a depth of village knowledge and experience which is much appreciated. A light spring evening in April is one thing but discussing the budget on dark rainy nights in November and January is a different world…”

Reflecting on the election

The local elections are over and the results confirmed, indeed exceeded, the worst fears of the Conservatives. In West Berkshire, which we covered particularly closely, the Lib Dems took control of the council with a large majority. Both the leader and the Deputy Leader, as well as two other members of the Executive lost their seats. As for the other parties, the Green’s performance was surprisingly disappointing, being reduced from three members to two. Labour won its first ever place on the Council, Clive Taylor taking the second berth in Tilehurst Birch Copse by just one vote.

This leaves the overall results as 29 Lib Dems, 11 Conservatives, two Greens and one Labour. The administration therefore has more than twice as many seats as do the other parties combined. It remains to be seen if this will enable adequate scrutiny to take place. Here are a few thoughts on what happened and why

Reflecting on the coronation

On 10 May, Penny visited Educafé in Newbury, as she usually dies, on this occasion with Newbury College student Max Taucher who’s been doing some work experience with us this week. They started chatting to people about the recent coronation and they soon realised that the many and varied comment merited a separate article – so here it is

Community notices

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

• Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

• Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

• Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

• Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

• West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

• Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

• The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Sat 13 May Rotary’s Bring and Buy Plant Sale Croft Hall

Sat 13 May Soul & Motown Disco at Royal British Legion Hungerford

Sun 14 May Hungerford Food & Artisan Market Croft Field Centre

Sun 14 May Hungerford Town Band Annual Concert, Hungerford Town Hall

Sat 22 July Cobbs Open Air Cinema: Top Gun – Maverick

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Dementia choir at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month. See more details here.

• Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• CommuniTea (board games, chat and free hot food) at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street on Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome noon to 3:30pm.

• Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3 to 4 mile route and a 5 to 7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

• Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

• Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

• Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

• Hungerford Football Juniors U6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

• Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry. See more here.

• Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

• Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during term-time: 6pm to 7pm – Juniors (9 to 13 years), 7pm to 8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7 to 8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on https://townandmanor.co.uk/markets or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

• The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

• Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660  or hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome. See more here.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 3 April 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Inkpen Conservation Area Appraisal; financial matters; and the annual parish meeting (Wednesday 14 May).
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 6 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: matters arising from the last meeting; the Chair’s report; the Clerk’s report; the ward members’ reports; repairs and maintenance; financial matters; planning matters; footpaths; and the proposed Haven development.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: police report; speeding; planning matters; rights of way; potholes; and financial matters. Shalbourne’s 2023 annual parish assembly was held on 20 April and you can download the minutes here. (See also the separate section above.)(
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Parish Steward; the Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group; wildlife; repairs and maintenance; financial matters; the Recreation Ground; power cuts; and a co-option.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 13 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane drain; repairs and maintenance work; the A4 speed-reduction project; water treatment; the best-kept village; planning matters; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 4 May 2023

This week we look at a policing meeting, a quiz, a film, bees and repairs. We also look out for some swifts and take a look at what happens next with the local elections – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

Hungerford Youth and Community Centre will be running their Youth Camp this half term. £8 per day per child or free for young people in receipt of free school meals, all payment must be made by Monday 22 May or places will be released to other young people. Payment can be made via cash or card at the Youth centre (if you require another form of payment contact via message on their Facebook page. Please complete this online form here.

• The commerative coronation £5 Crown has already sold out the Royal Mint but luckily Hungerford Coin & Stamp Centre has a limited allocation and is taking orders at £17.50 each.

• With the Coronation and Eurovision coming up there are lots of excuses for parties.  Inklings gift shop on the High Street has plenty of partyware and decorations to help you celebrate both occasions and some lovely commemorative gifts to celebrate the Coronation. The shop will be closed all Saturday 6 May for the Coronation but open from 10am to 2.30pm on Bank Holiday Monday 8 May.  See their facebook page for more details.

• Enjoy The Great British Quiz on Monday 8 May at 7pm at Retreat Elcot Park to round off the Bank Holiday weekend. Test your knowledge of the Royal Family, map out some great British road trips and try your hand at some of British TV’s classic game shows.  Free entry with a prize of £100 Retreat voucher. Book in advance by email reservations@retreatelcotpark.com or phone 01635 800520. Full details of all their Coronation celebrations can be found here.

Hungerford Coronation Celebrations on Sunday 7 May at The Croft Green start at 1.30 with Bell ringers and a Mayor’s Welcome and continue until 7pm when the event concludes with bellringing too. Music will be provided by James and Lydia Johnson, Kat Jayne and Abbie Cleary, and the Hungerford Town Band and the Hungerford Theatre Group. Please see here for the full running order of performers. Hungerford Town Council is keen to remind residents that Chain Handybus will be offering support for those wanting to attend the town’s Coronation Celebrations.

• Children five years and over are invited to a new club at Hungerford Library. The club runs every Friday, 2.30pm to 5pm, with different activities each week. All materials are provided free. For more information please ring 01488 682660 or ask in the library.

• Hungerford Rotary invites you to their annual fundraising Plant Sale from 10am to 12pm on Saturday 13 May which is now at The Croft Hall. See here for details.

• We’ve lost nearly 97% of flower rich meadows since the 1970s and with them is gone vital food needed by pollinators like bees and butterflies. A healthy lawn with some long grass and wildflowers benefits wildlife, tackles pollution and can even lock away carbon below ground – and best of all, to reap these benefits all you have to do is not mow your lawn in May (or ideally for longer). For more information on No Mow May, click here.

• Don’t miss the opportunity to see the film Tar on Friday 12 May at the Croft Hall. The film centres on Lydia Tár, widely considered one of the greatest living composer-conductors and the very first female director of a major German orchestra. Tickets £6pp. E mail Contact@artsforhungerford.com or call Tony on 07590 555 877 for further information.

• It’s not too late to join Dementia UK’s new project to walk 31 miles in May. Head outside each day in May, watch the flowers bloom and the sun shine – all while you raise vital funds for families facing dementia. You can complete the challenge at your own pace and in your own way, with these simple steps.

• The first Hungerford Food and Artisan Market of 2023 is coming up soon on Sunday 14 May from 10am to 1pm with the usual great line-up of local stalls, live music, street food, cookery demonstrations, plant table and £1 off coffee/tea if you bring your own reusable cup. The market will be in the Croft Field as usual but as the building is still being refurbished, loos will be in The Croft Hall. See more details on their facebook page here.

• Also on Sunday 14 May, Hungerford Town Band is performing its Annual Concert at 3pm in Hungerford Town Hall. Tickets are £8 on the door and include tea and cakes. The band has qualified for the National Finals is September and this concert will feature part of their award-winning competition piece.

• This is the season where you might see a swarm of bees in your garden. Newbury Beekeepers Association can help collect them but please first check their website here for help with identification so you know it is honey bees you’ve got rather than wasps or tree bumble bees…

• The last event in Hungerford Bookshop’s Nature Writing Season is award-winning local nature writer Nicola Chester talking about her memoir On Gallows Down: Place, Protest & Belonging. The event takes place on Thursday 18 May at The Retreat at Elcot Park from 6.45 pm – 9.30pm. Enjoy a two or three course meal,  listen to Nicola and receive a signed copy of the book with each reservation. Book your place here (3 courses cost £60pp or £55 to members; 2 courses £50pp or £45 to members – wine is not included).

• The next Hungerford Repair Café will be on Saturday 20 May from 10am to 12:30pm in the Croft Hall in Hungerford. Clever volunteers will help fix your broken electrical goods, repair toys and furniture, sharpen tools and help mend clothing. Repairs and refreshments are free as we rely solely on donations from grateful members of the public to help cover our costs. If you would like to volunteer to help as a fixer or in any other capacity, please contact the organisers here.

Lou Evans is in charge of the kit at Hungerford Rugby Club and is looking for donations for the second hand box. If you have an old team tie or outgrown boots, club shorts or waterproof,  call her on 07917 058523 or bring to the club on Sunday 30 April.

• Hungerford Library is holding a prize draw to win a coronation teddy bear. Open to all West Berkshire library members, all you have to do is pop into the library with your membership card to enter. A winner will be picked in each library on Saturday 6 May.

• The Town & Manor of Hungerford want to hear your thoughts on their proposed Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve. This exciting and ambitious wetland regeneration project proposes to restore and redevelop an area of ancient water meadow to create a wetland area rich in biodiversity. Please complete the survey here. You have until the end of the June to have your say.

• The circus is coming to Welford and Wickham Primary School on Saturday 22 July. This spectacular entertainment extravaganza features jaw-dropping performances and comedy routines by original artists.  The show features different acts including acrobats, aerialists, speciality acts, magic and audience participation with loads of fun and much, much more – all hosted by the Ring Mistress and Clowns. Early Bird Tickets are on sale here.

• Quick reminder that Sunday CommuniTEA at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge St won’t be running on Sunday 7 May due to Hungerford coronation celebration that day. Every other Sunday free hot food & drinks, board games are shared from 12pm to 3.30pm – so if you’re out for a walk, why not pop in and say hello.

TVP West Berkshire invites residents to register for Thames Valley Alert, a community messaging system which provides targeted messages to be sent out to communities, including witness appeals, community events such as ‘Have Your Say’ meetings, crime prevention advice and crime updates .To register click here.

• Hungerford Town Council invotes residents and businesses to enter this year’s Hungerford in Bloom. It is free to enter as many categories as you wish, providing you meet the criteria on the entry form.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

• Thanks to Liz Barnett for an update on the Coronation Lunch – it is now being organised by volunteers led by Liz with help from Lanie Allen. Bookings are now at capacity for the Coronation Hall and no more tickets are available. You can still bring your own picnic and refreshments to enjoy on the grassed area outside the hall. There will be gazebos provided for cover but there won’t be any music. For more details please contact Liz on 07786 540753 or Lanie on 07775 804143.

Kintbury Bowling Club behind the Jubilee Centre is looking for experienced bowls players or complete beginners to join as the new season starts. They have roll up sessions every Monday and Thursday from Monday 17 April at 6pm. The first two sessions are free and there are bowls to borrow should you need them.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

The Kintbury five-mile run/race on Sunday 21 May in aid of Kintbury Primary School is on undulating road, tracks and a private road available to run on race day only. Tracks have good surfaces with only a few potholes and some slightly gravelly surfaces at times. Register here.

A policing meeting

In response to the seven recent burglaries focusing on Hungerford High Street, Thames Valley Police and Crimes Commissioner Matthew Barber and Superintendent Zahid Aziz met this week with Mayor Helen Simpson, Town Councillor and Town & Manor trustee Alistair Fyfe, Hungerford Chamber of Commerce Chair Karen Salmon, and District Councillors Claire Rowles, James Cole and Dennis Bennyworth to discuss local policing concerns.

Three arrests have been made in connection to these crimes and Helen reports that TVP understands the importance of neighbourhood policing and is committed to enhancing Hungerford’s police presence following a full on-going review of the force. James Cole told us on 4 May that “it was re-assuring that Matthew Barber accepted there should be genuine increased police presence in the Tri-station that will hopefully involve more police cars in the future when they become available.”

Penny Post Hungerford

This is normally published on the day after the first working Monday of the month but the plethora of bank holidays in early May and the knock-on effects of the election have knocked this sideways. The main post in each issue relates the the meeting of Hungerford Town Council and as this will not be able to take place until Monday 15 May, PPH will follow the day after. Normal service will be resumed in June.

If you have anything you’d like to contribute to the May edition, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk as soon as possible in May.

Swift watch

Swifts are the last migrant birds to arrive in the UK and these amazing birds need our help as their traditional nesting places in building nooks and crannies are disappearing as is their food source of insects. Swifts are black boomerangs, scything and flickering through the air, often in squadrons of ‘screaming parties’  These small birds spend the first three or four years of their life totally on the wing, only landing when they are ready to breed and they are the fastest birds in level flight. Here is a guide to distinguish them from swallows and house martins.

Swifts mate for life and meet their mates at the same nest every year. If you can identify where swifts are nesting or even see them flying low please log them on the RSPB’s Swift Mapper or let the Hungerford Environmental Action Team know on heat_hungerford@yahoo.com so that new swift boxes can be installed close to where the birds might see them (see RSPB advice on how to attract swifts to new boxes).  See more details here about the Swift Town Hungerford project, spearheaded by nature writer Nicola Chester who is librarian at John O’Gaunt School and runs the school’s Eco Club.

Out for the count

The polls for the local elections close at 10pm on 4 May and, in West Berkshire at least, the count begins the following morning at 9am. The first stage, which could take several hours, is verifying all the ballot boxes. Totalling up the votes will probably start at about lunchtime with the results expected from late afternoon. It’s the Returning Officer’s hope that all the results will be declared on Friday. If not, due to the bank holiday, the process will be resumed on Tuesday. The process in West Berkshire takes place at Newbury Racecourse but is not open to the public.

You can click here to read an interview we did last month with WBC’s Returning Officer (and CEO), Nigel Lynn.

You can click here to see details of the whole voting procedure. Once the results of the district election have been decalred, the composition of the new council will be updated on this page. The full results will be summarised on WBC’s website as soon as possible after the declarations. I’ll be visiting the count during the afternoon and will have a report on this and the overall figures in next week’s Penny Post.

As well as the elections for the 43 WBC members, there are also four town and parish elections taking place. The first two, for Newbury and Thatcham, are no surprise as these are traditionally political and have contested elections (where there are more candidates than there are are seats). Two parishes, East Ilsley and Stanford Dingley, are also having contested elections because more candidates were nominated than there are seats available. In the other parishes, the elections are uncontested as the number of candidates was equal to or less than the number of seats available. These candidates will be described as having been elected unopposed.

(This is different from the way by which council may later be topped up by co-opting new members. All councillors –whether elected opposed, elected unopposed or co-opted – have exactly the same status. The only difference is if the council has General Powers of Competence which give it greater discretion in how it may act. There are two pre-conditions for this: the council must have a fully qualified Clerk; and it must have at least two-thirds of its members elected (opposed or unopposed), rather than co-opted. If either of these conditions ceases to apply, the council loses its GPC status until these are remedied.)

It’s also worth noting that no parish or town council meetings can happen until after 15 May. This is because the official swap-over day (when the old council is replaced by the new) is on 9 May. Even if the new members are already known, they aren’t formally councillors until after this date. In the case of contested elections, the composition of the council clearly will not be known until the results have been declared. In either case, there then needs to follow a notice period of at least five clear days before the new council can meet.

Community notices

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

• Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

• Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

• Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

• Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

• West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

• Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

• The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Sat 6 May Right Royal Garden Party The Jack Russell Inn in Faccombe, (a few miles south of Inkpen)

 Sun 7 May Hungerford Coronation Celebration, The Croft Green

Sat 13 May Rotary’s Bring and Buy Plant Sale Croft Field Centre

Sat 13 May Soul & Motown Disco at Royal British Legion Hungerford

Sat 22 July Cobbs Open Air Cinema: Top Gun – Maverick

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

• A new dementia choir has started at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month. See more details here.

• Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• CommuniTea (board games, chat and free hot food) at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street on Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome noon to 3:30pm.Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3 to 4 mile route and a 5 to 7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

• Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

• Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

• Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

• Hungerford Football Juniors are kicking off the new season with particular attention on emerging talent. Under 6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

• Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry. See more here.

• Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

• Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during term-time: 6pm to 7pm – Juniors (9 to 13 years), 7pm to 8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7 to 8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on https://townandmanor.co.uk/markets or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

• The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

• Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660  or hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome. See more here.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 3 April 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Inkpen Conservation Area Appraisal; financial matters; and the annual parish meeting (Wednesday 14 May).
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: police report; speeding; planning matters; rights of way; potholes; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Parish Steward; the Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group; wildlife; repairs and maintenance; financial matters; the Recreation Ground; power cuts; and a co-option.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 13 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane drain; repairs and maintenance work; the A4 speed-reduction project; water treatment; the best-kept village; planning matters; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 2 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: dog mess; reports from the Chair and the Clerk; the “claimed” public footpath at Mill Lane; planning matters; financial matters; solar panels at the Jubilee Centre; the churchyard steps; and the Coronation Hall.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 27 April 2023

This week we look at an author talk, a new number, burglaries, swifts and a youth club. We also look back at the Mayor’s reception, offer our condolences on a relegation, give you a revised date for the May Penny Post Hungerford, invite you to tune in to the next election special on Kennet Radio and give you another change to meet the seven candidates standing in the Hungerford and Kintbury ward: and as ever, there’s our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

• Join the Hungerford Bookshop on Tuesday 2 May in Hungerford Hub & Library at 7pm to hear author Annabel Christie in conversation with Susannah Simons about her book The Guilty Gardener, described as ‘a moving and often very funny green odyssey’.  Tickets cost £6pp and are available here. For more book talk inspiration, read how the bookshop is bringing stories to life,

Lou Evans is in charge of the kit at Hungerford Rugby Club and is looking for donations for the second hand box. If you have an old team tie or outgrown boots, club shorts or waterproof,  call her on 07917 058523 or bring to the club on Sunday 30 April.

• Hungerford Town Council looks forward to welcoming everyone to the Coronation Celebration on Sunday 7 May. Please see here for the full running order of performers. Don’t miss the mystery special guest at 3.40pm. The Hungerford Club will be open for drinks and BBQ, The Borough Arms pop up pub will be serving drinks abd the Thai Van serving hot food and snacks. Treats & Sweets will offer all the most popular delights from our childhoods and Caroline’s Little Kitchen will serve teas, coffee, cakes and crepes. The Handy bus will be running for free lifts from the usual remote villages – more details to come.

• The lastest West Berks Council Environment News includes boiler upgrade scheme, reducing waste at Coronation events, reusable nappies, flood risk management schemes, funding for nature projects for schools and young people, using the bus and sharing car journeys. See details here.

• Another reminder that West Berks Foodbank has a new phone number: if you need help please call 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays) The Foodbank is open in Hungerford every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway between the church and the shop next door.

• Congratulations and thanks to Keith Mayes, one of Hungerford CHAIN’S great volunteers, who ran the London Marathon in a time of 3 hours 46 minutes.  Not only was it his first marathon, but he raised £2,500 for CHAIN to go towards the replacement of their ageing Handybus. CHAIN’s objective is to have a more environmentally friendly and lighter minibus which more volunteers are able to drive.

• Just a reminder that Hungerford Wednesday Indoor Market is on every Wednesday from 9am to 3pm. Lots of antiques, vintage, collectibles (jewellery, watches, paintings, pictures, records, books, clothes, cosmetics etc) and craft stalls inside, plus market stalls outside. There is also now a lovely cafe in the main hall. Free entry.

• Officers from Hungerford’s neighbourhood policing team is continuing to investigate a series of burglaries in the town, which are being treated as linked. Overnight between Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 April, two people targeted Elaine’s Coffee Shop, Hungerford Town Hall and Mr Fry’s Fish & Chip Shop. The offenders conducted messy searches of the premises and stole cash, a safe and a computer hard drive. CCTV footage from one of the incidents has being released and officers are urging anybody who recognises the individuals to get in touch with Thames Valley Police here.

• In the next few weeks, the swifts will be returning to Hungerford and they need our help. If you had swifts nesting in your home last year please let Hungerford Environmental Action Team know on heat_hungerford@yahoo.com.  See more details here about the Swift Town Hungerford project, spearheaded by nature writer Nicola Chester who is librarian at John O’Gaunt School and runs the school’s Eco Club.

• If the London Marathon inspired you at the weekend why not set yourself a challenge and join in with the Kintbury 5 to run 5 miles on Sunday 21 May at 10.30am, with children’s races from 9.30am.

Hungerford Youth and Community Centre are pleased to be able to offer a new Youth Club for home educated kids every Tuesday morning during term time. If you haven’t already registered your child, you can do so online here.

• Hungerford Library is holding a prize draw to win a coronation teddy bear. Open to all West Berkshire library members, all you have to do is pop into the library with your membership card to enter. A winner will be picked in each library on Saturday 6 May.

• The Town & Manor of Hungerford want to hear your thoughts on their proposed Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve. This exciting and ambitious wetland regeneration project proposes to restore and redevelop an area of ancient water meadow to create a wetland area rich in biodiversity. Please complete the survey here. You have until the end of the June to have your say.

• Baby Song, designed for Mums and non-walking infants at St Lawrence’s Church Hungerford is a 6 week course that starts on Monday 5 June from 9.30am to 11am. £1 per session, For more details see their facebook page, email Hannah youth@stlawrenceshungerford.org.uk or phone 07426 829630.

• The circus is coming to Welford and Wickham Primary School on Saturday 22 July. This spectacular entertainment extravaganza features jaw-dropping performances and comedy routines by original artists.  The show features different acts including acrobats, aerialists, speciality acts, magic and audience participation with loads of fun and much, much more – all hosted by the Ring Mistress and Clowns. Early Bird Tickets are on sale here.

• Quick reminder that Sunday CommuniTEA at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge St won’t be running on Sunday 7 May due to Hungerford coronation celebration that day. Every other Sunday free hot food & drinks, board games are shared from 12pm to 3.30pm – so if you’re out for a walk, why not pop in and say hello.

TVP West Berkshire invites residents to register for Thames Valley Alert, a community messaging system which provides targeted messages to be sent out to communities, including witness appeals, community events such as ‘Have Your Say’ meetings, crime prevention advice and crime updates .To register click here.

• Hungerford Town Council invotes residents and businesses to enter this year’s Hungerford in Bloom. It is free to enter as many categories as you wish, providing you meet the criteria on the entry form.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

• Thanks to Liz Barnett for an update on the Coronation Lunch – it is now being organised by volunteers led by Liz with help from Lanie Allen. Bookings are now at capacity for the Coronation Hall and no more tickets are available. You can still bring your own picnic and refreshments to enjoy on the grassed area outside the hall. There will be gazebos provided for cover but there won’t be any music. For more details please contact Liz on 07786 540753 or Lanie on 07775 804143.

Kintbury Bowling Club behind the Jubilee Centre is looking for experienced bowls players or complete beginners to join as the new season starts. They have roll up sessions every Monday and Thursday from Monday 17 April at 6pm. The first two sessions are free and there are bowls to borrow should you need them.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

• Entries are now open for The Kintbury five-mile run/race on Sunday 21 May in aid of Kintbury Primary School. The course is on undulating road, tracks and a private road available to run on race day only. Tracks have good surfaces with only a few potholes and some slightly gravelly surfaces at times. Register here.

Hungerford’s reception

I was delighted to have been invited to the Mayor’s reception in Hungerford on 21 April. Over 80 people were present at this annual event in the Royal British Legion and no one who attended need have left hungry.

The Mayor, Helen Simpson, made a brief address in which she singled out the following people and organisations for thanks and praise:

  • The Hungerford Town Band.
  • All those involved in the town’s neighbourhood development plan, work on which continues.
  • Neale Marney whohas been servicing and maintaining the towns defibrillators for many years.
  • John Downe, who is standing down from his position on HTC.
  • Staff member Sarah Chatters, who is leaving her role at HTC (and a welcome to her successor, Molly Munroe).
  • Town Clerk Claire Barnes, Assistant Clerk Lydia Cutland, Financial Officer Sharon Prance and Maintenance Manager Roger Ballard.
  • All the other HTC councillors.
  • And finally her sons Alex and Adam and her husband Dean “who allows me to be the best version of myself.”

Penny Post Hungerford

This is normally published on the day after the first working Monday of the month but the plethora of bank holidays in early May and the knock-on effects of the election have knocked this sideways. The main post in each issue relates the the meeting of Hungerford Town Council and as this will not be able to take place until Monday 15 May, PPH will follow the day after. Normal service will be resumed in June.

If you have anything you’d like to contribute to the May edition, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk as soon as possible in May.

Punching above their weight

After eight seasons of punching way above their weight in the National League South, Hungerford Town’s relegation was confirmed last weekend with a 1-1 draw with Dulwich Hamlet, a match that produced twice as many red cards as goals. The NLS is the sixth level of the English football pyramid and Hungerford has long been by far the highest-ranked team in West Berkshire. It now has a better ground than it did in 2016 and a manager who seems keen to stay so the team could well bounce back.

Less surprising than the relegation is perhaps how the club has managed to stay at this level for so long. The NLS has teams from places the size of Oxford, Bath, Dartford, Dover, Taunton, Tonbridge and Slough, all considerably bigger than Hungerford. Largely for this reason, HTFC’s average attendance this season is the third lowest in league, almost exactly half the average of 850. Congratulations to all those who’ve helped keep the club at this level for so long – and here’s hoping for a swift return.

Amore’s clean bill of health

As anyone who’s ever run up against them will know, the regulations of the Home Office (or any government department, come to that) can be pretty fearsome. One local organisation which recently got tangled up in the red tape was Amore, the Italian restaurant on Charnham Street (A4) in Hungerford.

The accusation, which first became official at the end of 2022, was that the management had been employing staff who were not permitted to work in the country, something the restaurant denied. On 21 April 2023 it was finally announced by the Home Office that the restaurant had committed no fault, having done everything that the regulations demanded of it, and that no further action will be taken. Local ward members James Cole and Claire Rowles were in several ways instrumental in helping to get this matter resolved. A good result for anyone in the area who likes excellent Italian food…

Covering the contest

West Berkshire (and many other districts) goes to the polls in the local elections on 4 May 2023. We’ve produced a number of articles relevant to this which we hope will be of interest and use in helping you make up your mind who to vote for on the big day and you can see links to them all here. These include the need for voter ID, a list of all the candidates (with some of them answering some questions), a ward-specific questionnaire, the views of the leaders, election radio specials, a chat with the Returning Officer, some background reading and an excursion into a parallel democratic universe.

Kennet Radio’s Local Election Special

I’ve been joining Jeremy Sharp on Kennet Radio’s series of election specials which discusses various themes with invited representatives of each of the main political parties contesting seats in the elections in West Berkshire.

  • The first Local Election Special was on Friday 7 April and the theme was the environment, transport and the countryside. The guests were David Marsh (Green Party); Adrian Abbs (Liberal Democrats); Suzie Ferguson (tbc) ((Labour); and Steve Ardagh-Walter (Conservatives). You can listen to the programme by clicking here.
  • The second one on Friday 14 April covered planning, development and housing. The guests were Caroline Culver (Green Party), Alan Law (Conservative Party), Clive Taylor (Labour Party) and Tony Vickers (Liberal Democrats). You can listen to that here.
  • The third one on Friday 21 April covered governance, structure and finance. The guests were Jeff Brooks (Liberal Democrats), Charlie Coral (Labour), Lynne Doherty (Conservatives) and David Marsh (Green Party). You can listen to that here.
  • The fourth and final one will be on Friday 28 April from 4pm to 5pm and will cover health & wellbeing, social care, leisure and culture. You can tune in on 106.7FM if you’re in the coverage area: for other options, please visit the website. The programme will also be available as a listen again from about ten minutes after the show has finished.

Twelve questions for seven candidates

Hungerford and Kintbury is a three-member wards and in 2019 all three councillors were Conservatives. However, two of them, Claire Rowles and James Cole, will not be standing again on 4 May. This is not because of any lack of dedication to the area or ineffectiveness while in office – by common consent they were superb advocates for their ward – but because of the well-publicised deterioration of their relationships with the party’s local HQ. This, coupled with the fact that the 2019 result was a lot closer than in many other wards, makes the contest in Hungerford & Kintbury of great importance to the outcome of the election in the district as a whole.

How that will play out is anyone’s guess: all the electors in this ward can do is choose the people that they most want to represent them with the three most popular ones becoming ward members. To help you make your decision, we asked all seven candidates some questions about how they would deal with matters that would directly impact the ward, rather than general local party politics. You can read their answers here: we hope you find them useful. You’ll note that each candidate has supplied an email address in case you want to ask them questions yourself.

Community notices

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

• Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

• Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

• Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

• Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

• West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

• Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

• The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Fri 28 Apr Arts for Hungerford film night: She Said.

Sat 29 Apr Hungerford Nursery School’s 5K Run for King Charles III

• Mon 1 May Hungerford Rotary’s Classic Vehicle Show Hungerford Rugby Club.

• Mon 1 May Shalbourne May Day Fair and Shalbourne Plant Sale.

Sat 6 May Right Royal Garden Party The Jack Russell Inn in Faccombe, (a few miles south of Inkpen)

 Sun 7 May Hungerford Coronation Celebration, The Croft Green

Sat 13 May Rotary’s Bring and Buy Plant Sale Croft Field Centre

Sat 13 May Soul & Motown Disco at Royal British Legion Hungerford

Sat 22 July Cobbs Open Air Cinema: Top Gun – Maverick

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

• A new dementia choir has started at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month. See more details here.

• Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• CommuniTea (board games, chat and free hot food) at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street on Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome noon to 3:30pm.Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3 to 4 mile route and a 5 to 7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

• Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

• Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

• Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

• Hungerford Football Juniors are kicking off the new season with particular attention on emerging talent. Under 6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

• Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry. See more here.

• Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

• Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during term-time: 6pm to 7pm – Juniors (9 to 13 years), 7pm to 8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7 to 8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on https://townandmanor.co.uk/markets or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

• The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

• Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660  or hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome. See more here.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 3 April 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Inkpen Conservation Area Appraisal; financial matters; and the annual parish meeting (Wednesday 14 May).
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: police report; speeding; planning matters; rights of way; potholes; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Parish Steward; the Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group; wildlife; repairs and maintenance; financial matters; the Recreation Ground; power cuts; and a co-option.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 13 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane drain; repairs and maintenance work; the A4 speed-reduction project; water treatment; the best-kept village; planning matters; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 2 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: dog mess; reports from the Chair and the Clerk; the “claimed” public footpath at Mill Lane; planning matters; financial matters; solar panels at the Jubilee Centre; the churchyard steps; and the Coronation Hall.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 20 April 2023

This week we look at a broken tradition, Johnny Morris, a quiz, an auctioneer and a teddy bear. We also invite you to tune in to the next election special on Kennet Radio, give you another change to meet the seven candidates standing in the Hungerford and Kintbury ward, repeat a plea for a new kind of politics and introduce you to the Tutti Boys: and as ever, there’s our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

• If you were curious about the celebrations in Hungerford on Tuesday (Tutti Day), see the photos in this week’s NWN of what the Tutti ‘Men’ (Kate Edwards and Simon Lee-Edwards), got up to, accompanied by Orangeman Arron Scarlett and the Tutti ‘Girls’. For a historical perspection have a peek at this delightful 1991 video narrated by Johnny Morris, which endeavours to explain the ancient customs of Hungerford and how they are linked to 20th century life while maintaining the unique traditions. For a much shorter and more recent video, see Penny’s here from 2017. In a nutshell John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, who owned much of the land around Hungerford in the 14th century, gave the rights of market and fishing to the people (the ‘commoners’) of the town. In 1617 the manor of Hungerford was passed to feoffees (trustees) who administered the estate, much as the Trustees of the Town and Manor charity do today. The Town and Manor has kept alive the Hocktide traditions which have died out in virtually every other town in the country.

• This year’s Tutti Day saw a break in tradition and the launch of what might become a new cast of characters involved on the day. See more below.

Save the Date. A reminder that on Sunday 7 May from 2pm to 7pm, Hungerford will be celebrating the Coronation of King Charles on the Croft Green. Food and drink and live music will ensure a good time is had by all at this special time. Further info here

• On the topic of the Coronation, Hungerford Library is holding a prize draw to win a coronation teddy bear. Open to all West Berkshire library members, all you have to do is pop into the library with your membership card to enter. A winner will be picked in each library on Saturday 6 May.

• Enjoy Live Music at The Borough Arms Hungerford on Saturday, 22 April from 9pm for a fantastic live music event featuring Two Complicated.

• Don’t miss Hungerford Town Football Club‘s last Pie, Chips & Quiz Night of the season on Thursday 27 April. Food served at 7pm, quiz starts at 8pm. £10 per person, with a maximum of 6 people per team.

• The Town & Manor of Hungerford want to hear your thoughts on their proposed Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve. This exciting and ambitious wetland regeneration project proposes to restore and redevelop an area of ancient water meadow to create a wetland area rich in biodiversity. Please complete the survey here. You have until the end of the June to have your say.

• Don’t forget that the Government’s Emergency Alert trial will be carried out this weekend. The test alert will take place at 3pm on Sunday 23 April, will be received on mobile phones, along with sound and vibration for up to 10 seconds. You will receive a message on the home screen which will say” This is a test of Emergency Alerts, a new UK government service that will warn you if there’s a life-threatening emergency nearby”. If you live with an abusive partner and have a secret or secondary phone, here is advice on how to switch off the alerts so they don’t reveal the existence of your phone.

• Shalbourne Activities Group invites you to an evening with Clive Stewart Lockhart on Tuesday 25 April at 7pm and hear him talk about his life as an auctioneer and antiques adviser. Tickets are £6 pp and £5 for members from Shalbourne Stores.

• Fancy a 6 week programme of Baby Song, designed for Mums and non-walking infants at St Lawrence’s Church Hungerford? The sessions start on Monday 5 June from 9.30am to 11am. £1 per session email Hannah youth@atlawrenceshungerford.org.uk or phone 07426 829630.

• The name has changed, but there’s still free hot food & drinks, board games and time to chat at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge St , every Sunday (except Sunday 7 May) from 12pm to 3.30pm. Everyone is welcome at Sunday CommuniTEA – if you’re out for a walk, why not pop in and say hello.

The Jack Russell Inn in Faccombe, a few miles south of Inkpen, welcomes everyone to celebrate the coronation at their Right Royal Garden Party on Saturday 6 May from 2pm to 7pm with fun for the whole family including field games, bouncy castle, face painting, pop-up bar, live music and BBQ.

• In the next few weeks, the swifts will be returning to Hungerford and they need our help. If you had swifts nesting in your home last year please let Hungerford Environmental Action Team know on heat_hungerford@yahoo.com.  See more details here about the Swift Town Hungerford project, spearheaded by nature writer Nicola Chester who is librarian at John O’Gaunt School and runs the school’s Eco Club.

• Friends of St Lawrence’s invite you to join their Quiz Night at The Croft Hall on Friday 21 April at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10 pp and include a ploughman’s supper. Cash bar. Maximum 6 people per team. Please book with Iris Lloyd on 01488 686372 or iris@irislloyd.co.uk or David Small on 01488 684287 or david@dagsmall.co.uk

• Everyone welcome at Hungerford Cricket Club‘s outdoor nets training every Thursday at 6pm. New players are particularly encouraged.

• On Wednesday 26 April at 7pm Hungerford bookshop is hosting a talk by Leif Bersweden as part of their Nature Writing Season called Where the Wild Flowers Grow at the Hungerford Hub & Library. From a young age, Bersweden spent his afternoons hunting for and cataloguing the plants in his local area. But it is a landscape that is fast disappearing. Climate change, habitat destruction and declining pollinator populations mean that the future for plant life looks bleaker than ever before. Tickets cost £6 pp and you can book here.

Cobbs Open Air Cinema returns for a summer season on Saturday 22 July with Top Gun: Maverick. Tickets are now on sale at a cost of £12.95 pp, booking fee £1. See here for full details.

TVP West Berkshire invites residents to register for Thames Valley Alert, a community messaging system which provides targeted messages to be sent out to communities, including witness appeals, community events such as ‘Have Your Say’ meetings, crime prevention advice and crime updates .To register click here.

• Hungerford Town Council is pleased to advise that applications are now welcomed for the annual grant scheme for 2023/2024. The grants will be allocated in June/July and the deadline for applications is 28 April 2023. As last year, the grants will be administered through The Good Exchange. For more details see grant guidelines here.

• Hungerford Town Council invotes residents and businesses to enter this year’s Hungerford in Bloom. It is free to enter as many categories as you wish, providing you meet the criteria on the entry form.

If you don’t have the accepted form of photo ID to be eligible to vote at the elections on 4 May, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate by 25 April. See more information here.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

• Thanks to Liz Barnett for an update on the Coronation Lunch – it is now being organised by volunteers led by Liz with help from Lanie Allen. Bookings are now at capacity for the Coronation Hall and no more tickets are available. You can still bring your own picnic and refreshments to enjoy on the grassed area outside the hall. There will be gazebos provided for cover but there won’t be any music. For more details please contact Liz on 07786 540753 or Lanie on 07775 804143.

Kintbury Bowling Club behind the Jubilee Centre is looking for experienced bowls players or complete beginners to join as the new season starts. They have roll up sessions every Monday and Thursday from Monday 17 April at 6pm. The first two sessions are free and there are bowls to borrow should you need them.

Kintbury’s annual Plant and Cake Sale will be on Saturday 22 April at 3 Wallingstons Road. Weather permitting there will be a selection of stalls outside selling garden related items, bric-a-brac and local art and crafts including fine artwork, T-shirts for the Coronation, glass ornaments, candles and soft toys. Entry £1 to include refreshments; seating is available and you are welcome to stay as long as you like. All proceeds will go local causes and the sale relies on contributions: so if you are finally getting outside to do some gardening, please drop off your surplus (bare root or potted-up plants) at any time during April. Garden items welcome the week before the sale. Cakes and savouries the day before or on the day. See here for more details and how to contact organisers Jane or Kate.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

• Entries are now open for The Kintbury five-mile run/race on Sunday 21 May in aid of Kintbury Primary School. The course is on undulating road, tracks and a private road available to run on race day only. Tracks have good surfaces with only a few potholes and some slightly gravelly surfaces at times. Register here.

A new politics

We recently received an interesting open latter from Peter Tompkins, one of the candidates for the Hungerford and Kintbury ward, which also appeared in this week’s Newbury Weekly News. His main point is that politicians should work together more. “We need,” he writes, “a politics that starts with agreement, rather than argument. We need a politics based on respect for each other, rather than just identifying our differences. My suggestion is that we begin every political debate by talking about all the things we agree on. When we understand how united we can be, we realise how much we actually can achieve when we work together and we create the space to listen to each other, even to challenging and diverse opinions.”

The problem we have currently is that, as Brian mentioned in this separate post, there is a distinct sense that by dint of winning an election the ruling party has acquired a monopoly of the truth; also that there is a wider municipal truth that is contained within the council and that opinions from anyone outside the bubble are not seen as being relevant, particularly if they disagree with the prevailing wisdom (we must stress that this is general observation and not a political one). Housing is a case in point. We’ve mentioned several times, and will do so again now, that the current system may be excellent at providing three- and four-bed homes but is not doing so well at providing affordable and, in particular, social-rent ones. According to the most recent Private Eye, 0ver 200,000 social-rent homes have been sold through the Buy to Rent scheme and not replaced.

Peter Tompkins agrees. He rightly reminds us that a number of desirable changes are down to central government and so can form no part of a useful local debate. He adds that what “our council does have the power to do is to create a new generation of council-led affordable and sustainable homes. And I think this, more than anything, could have a positive impact on housing issues in Hungerford and Kintbury.” This is, or ought to be, an apolitical issue, though a return to municipal house-building may be seen as tainted with big-state socialism. The way I would prefer to see it is as investment for the future, as HS2, sewerage upgraders and solar farms are. WBC is planning to build a large solar farm itself, so the idea of intervening in the market clearly isn’t anathema.

On this point, he says that WBC “has already started piloting projects, the people working on it are dedicated, caring and hard working. But I want to bring even more energy and urgency to this task.  If elected, I pledge to dedicate myself to helping resolve housing issues for the people of Hungerford and Kintbury”: and on hopes, by implication, for the whole district as well.

He adds two other points. One – understandable given the election – is to mention that his great grandfather was a butcher in Hungerford and that his great grandmother chaired Hungerford Town Council in the 1940s. Local credentials never hurt. The other is to pay tribute to two of the local councillors who will not be standing on 4 May, Claire Rowles and James Cole whom he described as “inspiring” and that they will be “sorely missed.” Let’s see who makes the cut to fill their big shoes.

Tutti Boys make history

John O’Gaunt School rang the historic, Hocktide changes in Hungerford this Tuesday, for Tutti Day. For the first time in the ancient tradition’s history of celebrating this agricultural custom of tithing and commoners’ rights, the ‘Tutti Girls’ included two boys. Harry Lardner and Aidan Flanagan had special waistcoats and ties made for them, and joined fellow John O’Gaunt students Samantha Maidment, Holly Hammond and Lexi Thorp among the colourful Tutti Poles of flowers and oranges, and their tithing baskets.

Honouring the tradition at a festivity banned by Henry VIII, reinstated in Elizabethan times and then largely forgotten across the country by the 1800s, Hungerford’s Hocktide Court and traditions are now a unique celebration in the country.

Along with the Orangeman and attendants, the ‘Tutti folk’ visit over a hundred properties that hold Commoner’s Rights, dutifully collecting ‘tithes’ which were traditionally rents but now it’s a symbolic kiss in exchange for an orange from the Orangeman. It’s a long tradition held by John O’Gaunt School, too. In its own 60 years, many staff and former students of the school have been Tutti Girls … but never before, Tutti Boys.

Covering the contest

West Berkshire (and many other districts) goes to the polls in the local elections on 4 May 2023. We’ve produced a number of articles relevant to this which we hope will be of interest and use in helping you make up your mind who to vote for on the big day and you can see links to them all here. These include the need for voter ID, a list of all the candidates (with some of them answering some questions), a ward-specific questionnaire, the views of the leaders, election radio specials, a chat with the Returning Officer, some background reading and an excursion into a parallel democratic universe.

Kennet Radio’s Local Election Special

Brian has been asked by Jeremy Sharp from Kennet Radio to join him for a series of election specials which will be broadcast on Kennet Radio. In each programme they will be covering a different theme and to discuss this Kennet Radio has invited representatives of each of the main political parties contesting seats in the elections in West Berkshire..

The next one will be on Friday 21 April from 4pm to 5pm and will cover governance, structure and finance.

You can tune in on 106.7FM if you’re in the coverage area: for other options, please visit the website. The programme will also be available as a listen again from about ten minutes after the show has finished.

Twelve questions for seven candidates

As mentioned before and as I’m sure you’re aware, West Berkshire is going to the polls on 4 May to elect all 43 members who will then serve for the next four years.

Hungerford and Kintbury is one of the three-member wards and in 2019 all three councillors were Conservatives. However, two of them, Claire Rowles and James Cole, will not be standing this time. This is not because of any lack of dedication to the area or ineffectiveness while in office – by common consent they were superb advocates for their ward – but because of the well-publicised deterioration of their relationships with the party’s local HQ. This, coupled with the fact that the 2019 result was a lot closer than in many other wards, makes the contest in Hungerford & Kintbury of great importance to the outcome of the election in the district as a whole.

How that will play out is anyone’s guess: all the electors in this ward can do is choose the people that they most want to represent them with the three most popular ones becoming ward members. To help you make your decision, we asked all seven candidates some questions about how they would deal with matters that would directly impact the ward, rather than general local party politics. You can read their answers here: we hope you find them useful. You’ll note that each candidate has supplied an email address in case you want to ask them questions yourself.

Community notices

A new dementia choir is starting at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month from Monday 17 April. See more details on West Berkshire Directory here.

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Fri 28 Apr Arts for Hungerford film night: She Said

Sat 29 Apr Hungerford Nursery School’s 5K Run for King Charles III

• Mon 1 May Hungerford Rotary’s Classic Vehicle Show Hungerford Rugby Club.

• Mon 1 May Shalbourne May Day Fair and Shalbourne Plant Sale.

 Sun 7 May Hungerford Coronation Celebration, The Croft Green

Sat 13 May Rotary’s Bring and Buy Plant Sale Croft Field Centre

Sat 13 May Soul & Motown Disco at Royal British Legion Hungerford

Sat 22 July Cobbs Open Air Cinema: Top Gun – Maverick

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

Board games, chat and free hot food at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Streeton Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome 12-4pm.

• Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3-4 mile route and a 5-7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

Hungerford Football Juniors are kicking off the new season with particular attention on emerging talent. Under 6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry.

Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during termtime: 6pm-7pm – Juniors (9-13 years), 7pm-8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660 hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 3 April 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Inkpen Conservation Area Appraisal; financial matters; and the annual parish meeting (Wednesday 14 May).
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: police report; speeding; planning matters; rights of way; potholes; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Parish Steward; the Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group; wildlife; repairs and maintenance; financial matters; the Recreation Ground; power cuts; and a co-option.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 13 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane drain; repairs and maintenance work; the A4 speed-reduction project; water treatment; the best-kept village; planning matters; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 2 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: dog mess; reports from the Chair and the Clerk; the “claimed” public footpath at Mill Lane; planning matters; financial matters; solar panels at the Jubilee Centre; the churchyard steps; and the Coronation Hall.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 13 April 2023

This week we look at Tutti Day, Shelley, cricket, May Day and a sad farewell. We also invite you to tune in to the next election special on Kennet Radio, give you another change to meet the seven candidates standing in the Hungerford and Kintbury ward and introduce you to the proposed Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve: and as ever, there’s our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

If you’ve heard that Hungerford’s Tutti Day is coming up on Tuesday 18 April but you’re not sure what its all about see our brief introductory video here and a documentary from 2017 (nothing has changed since then).   Tutti Day, is the highlight of Hocktide, the medieval British tradition now only celebrated in Hungerford thanks to the Hungerford Town & Manor charity. At 9am you can watch the Tithingmen set off and see the ancient Hocktide Court in action, 1pm is the traditional Hocktide Luncheon with toasts and Plantagenet Punch. From 3pm to 5pm there are Children’s Tutti Day Crafts and a chance to meet the Tithingmen in the United Reform Church. Don’t miss the entertaining free Hungerford Town Band concert from 7.30pm in Hungerford Corn Exchange. At 9pm the Tithingmen return to the Three Swans.

 The Retreat Elcot Park invites you to a fantastic evening on Monday 17 April: a specially commissioned play Percy Shelley – A Life reveals the great Romantic poet’s strong family connection to The Retreat. Tickets are just £15 (£12 for members) and you can also book before or after the show a traditional Taste of Argentina dinner to celebrate International Malbec Day. To book, call 01635 800520 or email reservations@retreatelcotpark.com.

• In the next few weeks, the swifts will be returning to Hungerford and they need our help. See more details here about the Swift Town Hungerford project, spearheaded by nature writer Nicola Chester who is librarian at John O’Gaunt School and runs the school’s Eco Club.

• Friends of St Lawrence’s invite you to join their Quiz Night at The Croft Hall on Friday 21 April at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10 pp and include a ploughman’s supper. Cash bar. Maximum 6 people per team. Please book with Iris Lloyd on 01488 686372 or iris@irislloyd.co.uk or David Small on 01488 684287 or david@dagsmall.co.uk

• Don’t forget the Shalbourne May Day Fair on Monday 1 May from noon to 4pm at Shalbourne Sports Field. Bouncy Castles, BBQ, Dog Show and  as usual, the wonderful Shalbourne Plant Sale.Free Entry.

The John O’Gaunt Pub has a two for £20 deal with two full size courses for £20 from Monday to Thursday evenings. Call 01488 683535 to book your table.
• You may have heard the very sad news that Jonathan Bacchus has died. A regular supporter of Hungerford events with a keen wit, kind heart and skilled pen (for instance his Turkey Isn’t Just for Christmas song), he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with Rachel and the rest of his family.
• Listen to the Downlands Racing Show on 4LEGS Radio on Friday 15 April from 12pm to 1pm for a Grand National preview to help you find the winner of the big race. Regular hosts Pat Murphy and Chris Carter Brennan will be joined by one of the great legends in the saddle, Colin Brown. The weekly show is sponsored by Sporting Agenda and can be heard on 4legsradio.org.uk by clicking Listen Live (between 12pm and 1pm) or Listen Again any time afterwards.
Hungerford Cricket Club is getting ready for the new season and particularly the start of outdoor nets training which will be every Thursday from now on at 6pm. Everyone welcome and new players are particularly encouraged.

• On Wednesday 26 April at 7pm Hungerford bookshop is hosting a talk by Leif Bersweden as part of their Nature Writing Season called Where the Wild Flowers Grow at the Hungerford Hub & Library. From a young age, Bersweden spent his afternoons hunting for and cataloguing the plants in his local area. But it is a landscape that is fast disappearing. Climate change, habitat destruction and declining pollinator populations mean that the future for plant life looks bleaker than ever before. Tickets cost £6 pp and you can book here.

TVP West Berkshire invites residents to register for Thames Valley Alert, a community messaging system which provides targeted messages to be sent out to communities, including witness appeals, community events such as ‘Have Your Say’ meetings, crime prevention advice and crime Updates .To register click here.

• One of the most significant barriers to people seeking help, is fear of others knowing about their difficulties. Read Easy Swindon & West Berkshire exists to help those who have trouble with reading, whatever age. Find out more about the support they provide adults who want to learn to read by visiting their website here

• On Saturday 13 May by popular demand Royal British Legion Hungerford Club have a Soul & Motown disco evening from 8pm to 12am. £3pp on the door – non members are welcome.

• Hungerford Town Council is pleased to advise that applications are now welcomed for the annual grant scheme for 2023/2024. The grants will be allocated in June/July and the deadline for applications is 28 April 2023. As last year, the grants will be administered through The Good Exchange. For more details see grant guidelines here.

• For an indulgent Easter treat visit the Milkshake Bus at Cobbs Farm which is open from 10am to 3pm Wednesday 12 to Sunday 16 April.

• Can you spare Friends of Hungerford Primary School a little time with a few odd jobs at Hungerford Primary School from painting to weeding? Regardless of your skill or ability they would be most grateful to anyone that could lend a hand on their Make a Difference Day on Saturday 22 April from 10am – 4pm.

Hungerford RFC U13s are holding an Open Evening as an introduction to playing U13s League Rugby in 2023-24 on Wednesday 19 April from 6.15-8pm. If interested contact Fraza-Jane Robins on 07818 447366 (email fraza-janerobins@hotmail.co.uk ) or Mike Cooper on 07808 763002, (email mikecooper21@hotmail.com).

• Hungerford Town Council invotes residents and businesses to enter this year’s Hungerford in Bloom. It is free to enter as many categories as you wish, providing you meet the criteria on the entry form.

Save the Date. A reminder that on Sunday 7 May from 2pm to 7pm, Hungerford will be celebrating the Coronation of King Charles on the Croft Green. Food and drink and live music will ensure a good time is had by all at this special time. Further info here

If you don’t have the accepted form of photo ID to be eligible to vote at the elections on 4 May, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate by 25 April. See more information here.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

Kintbury Bowling Club behind the Jubilee Centre is looking for experienced bowls players or complete beginners to join as the new season starts. They have roll up sessions every Monday and Thursday from Monday 17 April at 6pm. The first two sessions are free and there are bowls to borrow should you need them.

Kintbury’s annual Plant and Cake Sale will be on Saturday 22 April at 3 Wallingstons Road. Weather permitting there will be a selection of stalls outside selling garden related items, bric-a-brac and local art and crafts including fine artwork, T-shirts for the Coronation, glass ornaments, candles and soft toys. Entry £1 to include refreshments; seating is available and you are welcome to stay as long as you like. All proceeds will go local causes and the sale relies on contributions: so if you are finally getting outside to do some gardening, please drop off your surplus (bare root or potted-up plants) at any time during April. Garden items welcome the week before the sale. Cakes and savouries the day before or on the day. See here for more details and how to contact organisers Jane or Kate.

Coronation plans are shaping up with the football club and Jubilee Centre hopefully hosting an event on Saturday 6 May. On Sunday 7 May there will be an 11am service at St. Mary’s Church followed by a lunch at the Coronation Hall. Details coming soon.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities – from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

• Entries are now open for The Kintbury 5 mile run/race on Sunday 21 May in aid of Kintbury Primary School. The five mile course is on undulating road, tracks and a private road avalable to run on race day only. Tracks have good surfaces with only a few potholes and some slightly gravelly surfaces at times. Register here.

The Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve

In 2018, the Town and Manor of Hungerford bought 16 hectares (40 acres) of ancient water meadow between the Charnham Park road and the River Kennet. The land has been unused since the 1970s and is, for farming purposes, of poor quality. The T&M’s exciting plan is to turn this into a wetland area, to be known as the Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve which will offer vital wildlife habitat, natural flood defences and an education centre open to visitors yearround. Subject to raising funding and obtaining the necessary permissions, it’s envisaged that this will be completed by about 2026.

This article explains more about the project and also provides a link to a brief survey which the Town and Manor requests that you complete in order to have your say on the project. You don’t need to live or work in Hungerford to take part.

Kennet Radio’s Local Election Special

I’ve been asked by Jeremy Sharp from Kennet Radio to join him for a series of election specials which will be broadcast on Kennet Radio. In each programme we shall be covering a different theme and to discuss this Kennet Radio has invited representatives of each of the main political parties contesting seats in the elections in West Berkshire..

The first Local Election Special was on Friday 7 April from 4pm to 5pm and the theme was the environment, transport and the countryside. The guests were David Marsh (Green Party); Adrian Abbs (Liberal Democrats); Suzie Ferguson (tbc) ((Labour); and Steve Ardagh-Walter (Conservatives). You can listen to the programme by clicking here.

The next one will be on Friday 14 April and will cover planning, development and housing. The guests will be Caroline Culver (Green Party), Alan Law (Conservative Party), Clive Taylor (Labour Party) and Tony Vickers (Liberal Democrat Party).

You can tune in on 106.7FM if you’re in the coverage area: for other options, please visit the website. The programme will also be available as a listen again from about ten minutes after the show has finished.

Twelve questions for seven candidates

As mentioned last week and as I’m sure you’re aware, West Berkshire is going to the polls on 4 May to elect all 43 members who will then serve for the next four years.

Hungerford and Kintbury is one of the three-member wards and in 2019 all three councillors were Conservatives. However, two of them, Claire Rowles and James Cole, will not be standing this time. This is not because of any lack of dedication to the area or ineffectiveness while in office – by common consent they were superb advocates for their ward – but because of the well-publicised deterioration of their relationships with the party’s local HQ. This, coupled with the fact that the 2019 result was a lot closer than in many other wards, makes the contest in Hungerford & Kintbury of great importance to the outcome of the election in the district as a whole.

How that will play out is anyone’s guess: all the electors in this ward can do is choose the people that they most want to represent them with the three most popular ones becoming ward members. To help you make your decision, we asked all seven candidates some questions about how they would deal with matters that would directly impact the ward, rather than general local party politics. You can read their answers here: we hope you find them useful. You’ll note that each candidate has supplied an email address in case you want to ask them questions yourself.

Community notices

A new dementia choir is starting at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month from Monday 17 April. See more details on West Berkshire Directory here.

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Mon 17 Apr Hungerford Memory Singers, Hungerford British Legion

Tue 18 Apr Tutti Day

Sat 29 Apr Hungerford Nursery School’s 5K Run for King Charles III

• Mon 1 May Hungerford Rotary’s Classic Vehicle ShowHungerford Rugby Club.

 Sun 7 May Hungerford Coronation Celebration, The Croft Green

Sat 13 May Rotary’s Bring and Buy Plant Sale Croft Field Centre

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

Board games, chat and free hot food at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Streeton Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome 12-4pm.

• Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3-4 mile route and a 5-7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

Hungerford Football Juniors are kicking off the new season with particular attention on emerging talent. Under 6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry.

Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during termtime: 6pm-7pm – Juniors (9-13 years), 7pm-8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660 hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 3 April 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Inkpen Conservation Area Appraisal; financial matters; and the annual parish meeting (Wednesday 14 May).
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: police report; speeding; planning matters; rights of way; potholes; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Parish Steward; the Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group; wildlife; repairs and maintenance; financial matters; the Recreation Ground; power cuts; and a co-option.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 13 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane drain; repairs and maintenance work; the A4 speed-reduction project; water treatment; the best-kept village; planning matters; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 2 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: dog mess; reports from the Chair and the Clerk; the “claimed” public footpath at Mill Lane; planning matters; financial matters; solar panels at the Jubilee Centre; the churchyard steps; and the Coronation Hall.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 6 April 2023

This week we look at odd jobs, Easter activities, an open evening, grants and repairs. We also draw your attention to the recent Penny Post Hungerford newsletter, introduce you to the seven election candidates in the Hungerford and Kintbury ward, provide an update on Chestnut Walk and invite you to tune in to an election special on Kennet Radio: and as ever, there’s our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

• Hungerford Town Council is pleased to advise that applications are now welcomed for the annual grant scheme for 2023/2024. The grants will be allocated in June/July and the deadline for applications is 28 April 2023. As last year, the grants will be administered through The Good Exchange. For more details see grant guidelines here.

• Hungerford Library is offering free activities this Easter Holidays: Children’s crafts on Tuesday 11 April from 10.30am to 12noon and Rhymetime on Wednesday 12 April 10am and 11am. No need to book, just come along when you can. Please note that the Library will be closed on Good Friday 7 April,  but is open as usual Saturday 8th April.

• For an indulgent Easter treat visit the Milkshake Bus at Cobbs Farm which is open from 10am to 3pm Wednesday 5 to Sunday 9 April and Wednesday 12 to Sunday 16 April.

• Can you spare Friends of Hungerford Primary School a little time with a few odd jobs at Hungerford Primary School from painting to weeding? Regardless of your skill or ability they would be most grateful to anyone that could lend a hand on their Make a Difference Day on Saturday 22 April from 10am – 4pm.

• Plenty to see on the canal this weekend as the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race passes through Hungerford on Good Friday & Easter Saturday.  As well as waving to canoes, come along the towpath to the Croft Field to see the 1st Hungerford Scout Group checkpoint – there will be cake.

See here for spring news from Barr’s Yard on the A4 just outside Hungerford.

• Hungerford Bookshop will be hosting an event on Wednesday 12 April at 8.30pm at Hungerford Town Hall as part of the Nature Writing Season collection. Between the Chalk and the Sea is a chance to hear Gail Simmons talk to Nicola Chester, about a journey in search of our walking heritage.

Hungerford RFC U13s are holding an Open Evening as an introduction to playing U13s League Rugby in 2023-24 on Wednesday 19 April from 6.15-8pm. If interested contact Fraza-Jane Robins on 07818 447366 (email fraza-janerobins@hotmail.co.uk ) or Mike Cooper on 07808 763002, (email mikecooper21@hotmail.com).

• Hungerford Town Council invotes residents and businesses to enter this year’s Hungerford in Bloom. It is free to enter as many categories as you wish, providing you meet the criteria on the entry form.

• The Shalbourne May Day Fair on Shalbourne Sports Field on Monday 1 May will feature, as usual, the wonderful Shalbourne Plant Sale.

• If you have a project about nature restoration, nature connectedness and pro-environmental behaviours or community cohesion and connection, the RSPB are excited to announce the launch of the Save Our Wild Isles Community fund, supporting communities around the UK that are helping to bring nature back to life. Only 5% of UK land is protected for nature, and communities across the UK play a crucial part in helping to restore nature, whether it’s creating community gardens, or protecting local wildlife. Find out how to apply here.

Save the Date. A reminder that on Sunday 7 May from 2pm to 7pm, Hungerford will be celebrating the Coronation of King Charles on the Croft Green. Food and drink and live music will ensure a good time is had by all at this special time. Further info here

• Congratulations to Hungerford resident Olivia Simmonds for setting up a new Hungerford Memory Singers group is for everyone affected by dementia, in memory of her mother. They will be holding their first Sing-along at the Hungerford British Legion on Monday 17 April from 10.30 – 12 noon and on the third Monday of the month thereafter. See here for more details and how to book your place.

• Quick reminder that tickets for the traditional Hocktide lunch in the Town Hall on Tuesday 18 April will be available for the public from 21 March at Crown Needlework (opposite the Town Hall). This is part of  Tutti Day, the highlight of Hocktide, the medieval British tradition now only celebrated in Hungerford thanks to the Hungerford Town & Manor charity. At 9am you can watch the Tithingmen set off and see the ancient Hocktide Court in action, 1pm is the traditional Hocktide Luncheon with toasts and Plantagenet Punch. From 3pm to 5pm there are Children’s Tutti Day Crafts and a chance to meet the Tithingmen in the United Reform Church. Don’t miss the entertaining free Hungerford Town Band concert from 7.30pm in Hungerford Corn Exchange. At 9pm the Tithingmen return to the Three Swans.

• Given the success of the Hungerford Repair Cafe, you might be interested in taking part on the BBC’s Repair Shop. Ricochet Casting is currently looking for individuals and communities to take part in upcoming filming for BBC 1’s show. They can repair various objects such as furniture, clocks, toys, tools, ceramics, leather, artworks, shoes, musical instruments, radios and much more and your item doesn’t have to be antique or expensive, just something special to you with a heartfelt story.You can apply online by visiting here or emailing applications@ricochet.co.uk.

• Do you know a vulnerable person who receives scam or nuisance calls and would like to be able to protect them from such calls? If so you can apply to have a call blocker fitted for free from the Trading Standards team – if you live in West Berks, regularly receive scam or nuisance calls and have care or support needs due to factors such as age, mobility or mental health. Contact Public Protection Partnership now to ask for more information on 01635 519930 for Trading Standards or email tsadvice@westberks.gov.uk

If you don’t have the accepted form of photo ID to be eligible to vote at the elections on 4 May, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate by 25 April. See more information here.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

Kintbury’s annual Plant and Cake Sale will be on Saturday 22 April at 3 Wallingstons Road. Weather permitting there will be a selection of stalls outside selling garden related items, bric-a-brac and local art and crafts including fine artwork, T-shirts for the Coronation, glass ornaments, candles and soft toys. Entry £1 to include refreshments; seating is available and you are welcome to stay as long as you like. All proceeds will go local causes and the sale relies on contributions: so if you are finally getting outside to do some gardening, please drop off your surplus (bare root or potted-up plants) at any time during April. Garden items welcome the week before the sale. Cakes and savouries the day before or on the day. See here for more details and how to contact organisers Jane or Kate.

Coronation plans are shaping up with the football club and Jubilee Centre hopefully hosting an event on Saturday 6 May. On Sunday 7 May there will be an 11am service at St. Mary’s Church followed by a lunch at the Coronation Hall. Details coming soon.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities – from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

• Entries are now open for The Kintbury 5 mile run/race on Sunday 21 May in aid of Kintbury Primary School. The five mile course is on undulating road, tracks and a private road avalable to run on race day only. Tracks have good surfaces with only a few potholes and some slightly gravelly surfaces at times. Register here.

Kennet Radio’s Local Election Special

Brian has been asked by Jeremy Sharp from Kennet Radio to join him for a series of election specials which will be broadcast on Kennet Radio. In each programme they will be covering a different theme and the discussion panel will include representatives of each of the main political parties contesting seats in the elections in West Berkshire..

The first Local Election Special is this Friday 7 April from 4pm to 5pm and the theme will be the environment, transport and the countryside. The guests will be David Marsh (Green Party); Adrian Abbs (Liberal Democrats); Suzie Ferguson (tbc) (Labour); and Steve Ardagh-Walter (Conservatives). You can tune in on 106.7FM if you’re in the coverage area: for other options, please visit the website. The programme will also be available as a listen again anytime podcast from about ten minutes after the show has finished broadcasting.

Hungerford’s newsletter

As usual at the start of the month we produce Penny Post Hungerford, the best guide to life in the town. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. There are all the usual features (including news from the Town Council, the retailers, the schools and the voluntary and community groups) as well as a couple of separate items which we look at in a bit more detail below.

If there’s anything you’d like to see included in the May issue, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by the end of April.

Twelve questions for seven candidates

As you will doubtless be aware, West Berkshire is going to the polls on 4 May to elect all 43 members who will then serve for the next four years. Hungerford and Kintbury is one of the three-member wards and in 2019 all three councillors were Conservatives. However, two of them, Claire Rowles and James Cole, will not be standing this time. This is not because of any lack of dedication to the area or ineffectiveness while in office – by common consent they were superb advocates for their ward – but because of the well-publicised deterioration of their relationships with the party’s local HQ. This, coupled with the fact that the 2019 result was a lot closer than in many other wards, makes the contest in Hungerford & Kintbury of great importance to the outcome of the election in the district as a whole.

How that will play out is anyone’s guess: all the electors in this ward can do is choose the people that they most want to represent them with the three most popular ones becoming ward members. To help you make your decision, we asked all seven candidates some questions about how they would deal with matters that would directly impact the ward, rather than general local party politics. You can read their answers here: we hope you find them useful. You’ll note that each candidate has supplied an email address in case you want to ask them questions yourself.

A date for Chestnut Walk

Regular readers of Penny Post will be aware that for the last couple of years we have been reporting on the progress – or, more often, the seeming lack of it – on the re-development of the former care home at Chestnut Walk in Hungerford which closed in 2017. Since then, a joint venture between West Berkshire Council and Sovereign Housing has been set up with the aim of re-developing this site and Phoenix Court in Newbury. In September 2021, plans were finally submitted: these were, however, roundly criticised by both Hungerford Town Council and the ward members for lacking ambition with regards to their sustainable features in the light of the climate emergency which WBC had declared.

Over the following 18 months, two factors (which in many ways worked against each other) became increasingly clear. The first was that the rise in energy prices showed just how important it was to ensure that the tenants of these homes, many of whom would be on low incomes, should have heating provided by something other than oil or gas. The second was that inflation will now make these homes far more expensive to build than would have been the case in 2017. This in turn caused a problem for WBC, which is obliged to get the best value for any assets it disposes of (in this case, the land which would be sold to the joint venture). Last year, it recognised that it might get no money at all from this scheme. This is in many ways encouraging as it recognises that the term “value” can be defined in ways other than cash. The main value here will be to the community, particularly the tenants.

Fortunately, the last week has seen a step forward in this saga. Click here for a statement from Sovereign and a couple of reactions from Councillors who’ve been much involved in this issue.

Community notices

A new dementia choir is starting at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month from Monday 17 April. See more details on West Berkshire Directory here.

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Sun 9 Apr Family Easter Disco Party Hungerford British Legion

Tue 18 Apr Tutti Day

Sat 29 Apr Hungerford Nursery School’s 5K Run for King Charles III

• Mon 1 May Hungerford Rotary’s Classic Vehicle Show Hungerford Rugby Club.

 Sun 7 May Hungerford Coronation Celebration, The Croft Green

Sat 13 May Rotary’s Bring and Buy Plant Sale Croft Field Centre

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

Board games, chat and free hot food at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Streeton Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome 12-4pm.

• Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3-4 mile route and a 5-7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

Hungerford Football Juniors are kicking off the new season with particular attention on emerging talent. Under 6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry.

Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during termtime: 6pm-7pm – Juniors (9-13 years), 7pm-8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660 hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 3 April 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Inkpen Conservation Area Appraisal; financial matters; and the annual parish meeting (Wednesday 14 May).
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: police report; speeding; planning matters; rights of way; potholes; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Parish Steward; the Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group; wildlife; repairs and maintenance; financial matters; the Recreation Ground; power cuts; and a co-option.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 13 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane drain; repairs and maintenance work; the A4 speed-reduction project; water treatment; the best-kept village; planning matters; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 2 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: dog mess; reports from the Chair and the Clerk; the “claimed” public footpath at Mill Lane; planning matters; financial matters; solar panels at the Jubilee Centre; the churchyard steps; and the Coronation Hall.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 30 March 2023

This week we cover a score, a lunch, a league, a river project and a hares’ run. We also look back at the recent town meeting and look forward to the publication of the April Penny Post Hungerford newsletter: and as ever, there’s our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

• All are invited to enjoy the last simple Lent lunch of soup, bread and cheese in aid of West Berks Foodbank at 12.30pm on Friday 31 March at St Lawrence’s Church.

Hungerford Town Football Club’s 4 for a score deal is now available for Saturday’s National League South game against Bath City FC at Bulpit Lane. Get your ticket, programme, meal (burger & chips, sausage & chips, pie & chips or chicken & chips) plus a pint for only £20. Book online here.

• Hungerford Bookshop’s next author talk is at Hungerford Town Hall on Tuesday 4 April from 7pm to 8.30pm with Susan Ronald, the acclaimed author of Hitler’s Art Thief.  Tickets available here.

Hungerford Leisure Centre are giving residents the opportunity to try something new and make new friends by offering a Three-day Pass today to put their facilities to the test. Call 01488 683303 for more details.

• On Sunday 2 April everyone is invited to join the Annual Town Litter Pick which is now starting from The Downgate (not The Town Hall as previously advertised) at 10am. All volunteers will be provided with the appropriate equipment to spruce up Hungerford. Organised jointly by Hungerford Town Council and Town and Manor, the focus will be on the Common as the cows will be back there soon, and it is important to make sure their grazing area is free from litter.

• A heads up that the Hungerford Landlords Invitation Pool League will start on Wednesday 17 May. The deadline for team entry will be Wednesdy 3 May. The first season is free to enter to see how it all goes. Please contact Jamie here for more information.

• With effect from this week British Red Cross shops (Hungerford) will be open from Wednesday to Saturday 9am to 4.30pm each day and closed from Sunday to Tuesday.

• Herongate Club are supporting Colin from Terrace View who will be offering free hot meals for children during the Easter school break. For four days Terrace View Cafe are providing free hot meals for pupils from Hungerford Primary School and John O’Gaunt School on Tuesdays 4 and 11 April, Thursdays 6 and 13 April between 11.30am and 1.30pm. Any child who is usually eligible for a free school meal can request a yellow voucher that will allow them to receive a free meal at the Terrace View Cafe on any or all of the four days. Alternatively, any child wishing to purchase a meal for only £3 can request a blue voucher. The £3 payment will be made on the day at the cafe, not at the school, and the parents who would like their children to receive a voucher should contact either Jane Butler at the primary school or Zoe Hopkins at the senior school.

ARK – Action for the River Kennet needs your tokens. From Saturday 1 April if you make a purchase in Hungerford Tescos, you will receive one token per transaction and can vote for their ARK River School 2023 project. Last year their River School project worked with 1,500 local children, getting them outdoors enjoying and learning about their chalk stream. This year they want to get even more children, their families and local groups such as Brownies, Cubs and others discovering connecting with and valuing the amazing wildlife that lives in the chalk streams on their doorstep.

Shalbourne Gardening Club welcomes guests to their next monthly meeting in Shalbourne Village Hall (opposite the shop) on Tuesday 4 April. It is free to members and visitors pay £3. See more details here.

• Hungerford Hares’ Tuesday evening club runs are back. Club sessions provide a varied, friendly addition to running routines. They run two routes most Tuesdays, a 3-4 mile route and a 5-7 mile route. Sessions leave at 7.30pm from the Hungerford Triangle Field (Rugby Club). See more details here.

• Hungerford residents are reminded that the UK Government now have an Emergency Alert system to warn people when lives are in danger and a test will take place UK wide on Sunday 23 April which will see us receive a welcome message on our mobile phones. You do not need to do anything when you receive the message – this is just a test. The service is more effective if it has been tested before use. See more details here.

• Hungerford’s Celebration of the King’s Coronation will be on Sunday 7 May from 2pm to 7pm on The Croft Green (between Hungerford Club and The Croft Hall). Food and drinks available with live music and various acts including Hungerford Town Band, Hungerford Theatre Group, Local DJ, Kat Jayne (singing songs from her new album) and a very special guest… All welcome. Free entry.

• Quick reminder that tickets for the traditional Tutti Day lunch in the Town Hall on Tuesday 18 April will be available for the public from 21 March at Crown Needlework (opposite the Town Hall). See here for details. Tutti Day is the highlight of Hocktide, the medieval British tradition now only celebrated in Hungerford thanks to the Hungerford Town & Manor charity.

• Hungerford Town Band can next be heard on Tuesday 18 April in Hungerford Corn Exchange for a free Tutti Day concert for the people of Hungerford. The very light and entertaining programme will start at 7.30pm. For more details, please follow the band’s facebook page.

• Hungerford Bookshop’s season of Nature Writing kicks off with BBC 1 nature presenter Mike Dilger from The One Show on Thursday 6 April as he discusses his new book One Thousand Shades of Green: A Year in Search of Britain’s Wild Plants at The Retreat, Elcot Park. The evening includes 2 or 3 course private dining supper and a signed copy of the book.

Hungerford Rotary Club is holding a bring and buy plant sale on Saturday 13 May and are hoping that the good people of Hungerford are able to let them have a few of their spare plants. Are you thinning out any beds or borders? Are you taking any cuttings? Are you planting any seeds? You can deliver them to the Croft Field Centre on Friday 12 May from 4 to 6pm. If you would like them to collect your contributions, please email plantsale@lrstudio.co.uk.

• Who is striking and when? Find out about the strikes this month and how they will affect you with the UK Strike Action Calendar which lists all currently planned regional and country-wide strikes.

If you don’t have the accepted form of photo ID to be eligible to vote at the elections on 4 May, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate by 25 April. See more information here.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

• Condolences to the residents who had their tyres slashed in the early hours of Wednesday morning. About 18 cars were targeted and police have been informed. Please notify them if you have a door cam that happened to catch anything.

Coronation plans are shaping up with the football club and Jubilee Centre hopefully hosting an event on Saturday 6 May. On Sunday 7 May there will be an 11am service at St. Mary’s Church followed by a lunch at the Coronation Hall. Details coming soon.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities – from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

• Entries are now open for The Kintbury 5 mile run/race on Sunday 21 May in aid of Kintbury Primary School. The five mile course is on undulating road, tracks and a private road avalable to run on race day only. Tracks have good surfaces with only a few potholes and some slightly gravelly surfaces at times. Register here.

The town meeting

Hungerford Town Council held its Annual Town Meeting on Wednesday 29 March in the Corn Exchange. The council was joined by many Hungerford organisations who welcome this opportunity to showcase and share information about their individual areas of expertise. Mayor Helen Simpson thanks all those who came out (on a wet evening) to celebrate the tremendous volunteer work within the community. Hungerford certainly punches well above its weight. Town and Manor Trustee Chris Scorey announced an exciting wetland reserve project, currently in planning stage, between Charnham Park and the River Kennet. Other groups included Hungerford Neighbourhood plan team, The Hub, Arts for Hungerford, The Adviser, Foodbank, Chamber of Commerce, First Responders, Thames Valley Police, West Berkshire Council/ Public Protection Partnership, Youth and Community Centre, HEAT, HAHA Allotments, Smarten Up Hungerford, Youth Council, Penny Post and Hungerford Food Community (if you liked the Cheese and Chilli Bread & Butter Pudding samples on their table, here is the recipe).

April edition of Penny Post Hungerford 

Our April Hungerford monthly newsletter will go out on Tuesday 4 April and will include interviews with the seven candidates standing as District Councillors for the Hungerford and Kintbury ward. If you have any news or requests to contribute to the newsletter, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk

Community notices

A new dementia choir is starting at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month from Monday 17 April. See more details on West Berkshire Directory here.

The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Sun 2 Apr Hungerford Town Litter Pick

Sat 8 & Sun 9 Apr Lambing Weekend at Foxglove Farm, Inkpen.

Sat 1 Apr Mountain/Bluegrass music with Hickory Moon at The Plough in Shalbourne from 7.30 pm.

Thu 6 Apr An evening with BBC nature presenter Mike Dilger, The Retreat, Elcot Park.

Sun 9 Apr Family Easter Disco Party Royal British Legion Hungerford Club (non-members welcome).

Sat 29 Apr Hungerford Nursery School’s 5K Run for King Charles III

• Mon 1 May Hungerford Rotary’s Classic Vehicle Show Hungerford Rugby Club.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

Board games, chat and free hot food at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Streeton Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome 12-4pm.

Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays at 11am and Fridays at 10am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, and leg, bums & tums courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

Hungerford Football Juniors are kicking off the new season with particular attention on emerging talent. Under 6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry.

Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during termtime: 6pm-7pm – Juniors (9-13 years), 7pm-8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660 hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 6 March 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Inkpen Conservation Area Appraisal; financial matters; and the annual parish meeting (Wednesday 14 May).
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Parish Steward; the Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group; wildlife; repairs and maintenance; financial matters; the Recreation Ground; power cuts; and a co-option.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 13 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane drain; repairs and maintenance work; the A4 speed-reduction project; water treatment; the best-kept village; planning matters; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 2 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: reports from the ward members; planning matters; financial matters; the coronation; streetlights; the “response from political party following our letter to them regarding recent claims they had made in a leaflet delivered to some parishioners in Kintbury”; the annual newsletter; and some “nasty correspondence”.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 12 January and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: speeding; planning matters; rights of way; potholes; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 23 March 2023

This week we cover a band, a coronation, a nature presenter, a bench and some lunches. We also take a look at the new Liftshare programme which is being introduced in the area, reflect on another successful repair café and remind you about the annual town meeting on 29 March: and as ever, there’s our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

• To provide vital help to pet owners who are struggling to feed their animals as everyday living costs continue to rise, The Blue Cross shop near the canal in Hungerford is appealing for donations of all kinds of pet food (for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds) to be distributed to needy residents via West Berkshire Foodbank.

Hungerford Legal & Finance Centre invites local businesses to their free Protect Your Business event this Thursday 30 March in the Magistrate’s Room at Hungerford Town Hall from 4.30pm to 6.30pm. You will be able to find out how to ensure the smooth running of your business. Whether you are worried about financial security, shareholder agreements, cyber threats and indemnity insurance there will be somebody in the room who can help guide you to the answer. The event will help you to put in place things that will mitigate future problems and get back to growing your company. Register your place here. If you can’t make the event, contact HLFC on 01488 508008 or info@hungerfordlegalandfinancialcentre.com to make an appointment for a chat in their office down the alleyway next to Hungerford Bookshop.

• Hungerford’s Celebration of the King’s Coronation will be on Sunday 7 May from 2pm to 7pm on The Croft Green (between Hungerford Club and The Croft Hall). Food and drinks available with live music and various acts including Hungerford Town Band, Hungerford Theatre Group, Local DJ, Kat Jayne (singing songs from her new album) and a very special guest… All welcome. Free entry.

• Congratulations to Hungerford Town Band for its well deserved success last Sunday 19 March when it was placed second out of 18 bands in the London and Southern Counties Regional Qualifying round of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. Playing Stephen Bulla’s work Chorale and Toccata, the band qualified for the national finals in Cheltenham in September. Musical Director Tim Crouter said “The band has worked incredibly hard and gave their all on a very musical piece. There were moments in the performance that were ‘delightful’ said one of the judges.”

The band can next be heard on Tuesday 18 April in Hungerford Corn Exchange for a free Tutti Day concert for the people of Hungerford. The very light and entertaining programme will start at 7.30pm. For more details, please follow the band’s facebook page.

• Plans are progressing well for a friendship bench to be installed on the canal wharf.

Shalbourne Cinema in Shalbourne Village Hall is showing Good Luck to You, Leo Grande this Friday 24 March at 7.30pm. This comedy drama is directed by Sophie Hyde, the film features brilliant performances by Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack. Certificate 15.

• Hungerford Bookshop’s season of Nature Writing kicks off with BBC 1 nature presenter Mike Dilger from The One Show on Thursday 6 April as he discusses his new book One Thousand Shades of Green: A Year in Search of Britain’s Wild Plants at The Retreat, Elcot Park. The evening includes 2 or 3 course private dining supper and a signed copy of the book.

Peter A Harris is a presenter on Kennet Radio 106.7 currently broadcasting to the Newbury and Thatcham area on FM. Ofcom has granted KR permission to broadcast to Hungerford on FM too: however, they need a building to put the aerial on. It needs to be high in the town to get the required result, on a residential or commercial property.  If you feel you could possibly help, please email julian@kennetradio.com

Hungerford Antiques & Flea Market is back on Sunday 26 March with another market full of interesting and unusual items for you to browse and buy. Free to enter, from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

Faye Harland is planning BBC Radio Berkshire’s coverage of the King’s Coronation and is keen to speak to people with memories of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. If that’s you or someone you know,  drop her an email faye.harland@bbc.co.uk

• On Saturday 29 April Hungerford Nursery School is organising a 5K Run for King Charles III. Adults can enter for £5 per person or Family Quest allows a family of four to compete in a more family friendly way at the same price. Register here.

Inkspots Pre-school in Inkpen is urgently seeking a new treasurer. If you can help this group that supports many local families, please call 07380 409666 or email Keri at k.j.elkins@hotmail.com for more information.

• Proposals for the improvement of Hungerford and Thatcham town centres were considered at the WBC’s Executive meeting on Thursday 23 March. As mentionned last week (see below), work will then start to raise the funds to bring the schemes to fruition. But realistically it is likely that any further progress will have to wait until the after the council elections on Thursday 4 May.

Hungerford Town Football Club is fundraising for Prostate Cancer UK on Sunday 30 April, from 12 noon with a live match, live music from Shuffle Play, a raffle and an auction.

• All are invited to enjoy a simple lunch of soup, bread and cheese in aid of West Berks Foodbank every Friday this month at 12.30pm at churches in Hungerford: Friday 24 March at United Reformed Church Rooms and Friday 31 March at St Lawrence’s Church.

• Hungerford Rugby Club girls had a taste of the big time when they were special guests at Worcester Warriors’ Allianz Premier 15s fixture against Wasps. Their maroon and black shirts had a familiar look for Warriors players Carys Cox and Cara Brincat, who both began their rugby career playing mini-rugby with Hungerford. See here for more.

• Quick reminder that tickets for the traditional Tutti Day lunch in the Town Hall on Tuesday 18 April will be available for the public from 21 March at Crown Needlework (opposite the Town Hall). See here for details. Tutti Day is the highlight of Hocktide, the medieval British tradition now only celebrated in Hungerford thanks to the Hungerford Town & Manor charity.

• On Sunday 2 April everyone is invited to join the Annual Town Litter Pick. Starting from the Town Hall at 10am, all volunteers will be provided with the appropriate equipment to spruce up Hungerford. Organised jointly by Hungerford Town Council and Town and Manor.

• Do you speak in public as part of your job? On Saturday 15 April at 10am Hungerford Youth and Community Centre present Voice for WORK: Solutions for Success. Teachers, lawyers, fitness instructors, call handlers or event planners – all professional voice users – are encouraged to sign up and learn how to project safely and effectively and use your voice with more confidence in professional work. To book please email joneskiefer@msn.com

Hungerford Rotary Club is holding a bring and buy plant sale on Saturday 13 May and are hoping that the good people of Hungerford are able to let them have a few of their spare plants. Are you thinning out any beds or borders? Are you taking any cuttings? Are you planting any seeds? You can deliver them to the Croft Field Centre on Friday 12 May from 4 to 6pm. If you would like them to collect your contributions, please email plantsale@lrstudio.co.uk.

Hungerford Hares Running Club is very pleased to announce that its new Beginners Course starts on Tuesday 11 April at the Rugby Club, Hungerford at 7:30pm. The programme is led by England Athletics qualified run leaders who will take you from minimal running ability to running 5km (3.1 miles) over the course of eight weeks.

Newbury Soup Kitchen will be outside the Hungerford Town Hall Tuesdays 6 to 7pm offering food support for people needing a little extra help. Takeaway soup, snacks, and a listening ear and outreach. This is a 12 week trial to see if this kind of support is needed in the town.

• Who is striking and when? Find out about the strikes this month and how they will affect you with the UK Strike Action Calendar which lists all currently planned regional and country-wide strikes.

If you don’t have the accepted form of photo ID to be eligible to vote at the elections on 4 May, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate by 25 April. See more information here.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

• Kintbury Primary School invites dog lovers to their fundraising Dog Show on Saturday 25 March. See poster for class details. Judges will be local best-selling author Gill Hornby and Headteacher Mrs McDonald. The PTA also requests cake donations to be dropped into the school office on Friday 24 March for the cake sale at the dog show.

• Give away instead of give up this Lent by donating to West Berkshire Foodbank. Donations can be left in the plastic box inside the porch at St. Mary’s Kintbury and at the Easter Fair at the Church on Saturday 18 March. There will also be a collection box at the Market at Kintbury Jubilee Centre on Sunday 12 March.

Bestselling author Gill Hornby from Kintbury will be talking about her Regency-set novel Godmersham Park over supper to broadcaster Hannah MacInnes at Sunday Times Hotel of the Year, The Retreat, Elcot Park on Thursday 23 March at 7.30pm.  Two course supper and complimentary signed book costs £50 and a 3 course supper costs £60. Please call 01635 800520 to book.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities – from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

• Music lovers, don’t miss the Opus 2 Choir’s performance of The Crucifixion at St Mary’s Church on Saturday 25 March. See event details here.

• Entries are now open for The Kintbury 5 mile run/race on Sunday 21 May in aid of Kintbury Primary School. The five mile course is on undulating road, tracks and a private road avalable to run on race day only. Tracks have good surfaces with only a few potholes and some slightly gravelly surfaces at times. Register here.

Becoming Liftshare-aware

Many experts think that transport solutions such as lift sharing and on-demand buses are the best way forward to reducing our carbon emissions and air pollution problems. These schemes are particularly appropriate for rural communities such as ours but they are different to what we’re used to, namely jumping in a car, hiring one for our exclusive use or looking up a bus timetable.  They also require a critical mass of users before the benefits are truly felt. But the time for these schemes has definitely arrived: the climate emergency is forcing us to change some of our transport habits and digital communications now enable such solutions to work in a way that would have been impossible even a decade ago.

West Berkshire Council is currently piloting the Liftshare scheme for residents in Hungerford, East Garston, Great Shefford and Chaddleworth. As we are down to one car these days, we will occasionally be looking for lifts ourselves and Brian is also happy to offer lifts on his regular trips from East Garston, via Great Shefford to Hungerford so they will be on the system soon. It’s easy to register so hopefully we can get used to the idea of planning ahead a bit more before we travel. Of course there will still be many times when we grab the car keys and rush out of the door but if we need any motivation to change our habits, it’s worth reading this week’s report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

If you are often travelling alone and wondering how inefficient it is when others are probably doing similar journeys, or you don’t have a car and could do with a lift, then this could be for you. You only share with people who you choose to connect with so you remain in complete control.  Only residents with West Berkshire postcodes can sign up to the group so it’s very much a local initiative which will give residents the confidence to try it out.

This is a positive step for the community, the environment and your bank balance too. Please find out more and give it a go by signing up for free here. For it to work, those who are happy to share their journey need to sign up as well as those who would benefit from receiving a lift, otherwise the matching up doesn’t happen.

Repair Café success

Last Saturday morning the Croft Hall in Hungerford opened its doors once again to help people mend their broken things. Visitors and volunteers mended a total of 32 items, and volunteers gave advice on how to fix another 10. Overall we saved about 92kg of broken products going into landfill. Organiser Mike Gilbert said “we don’t compete with local businesses offering repairs or alterations, but we try to help where something could be fixed at home using tools available to everyone”.

It is becoming clear that this regular event is not only fulfilling a local need but also that visitors and volunteers really enjoy the occasion. One woman brought in a vintage typewriter that had a broken carriage to be fixed, and commented “Brilliant! and fun to find out about the machine.” The volunteers relish the many challenges that are brought to their desks and enjoy meeting and chatting with the people who bring them in. Coffee and cakes are popular in the café area where people wait to have their items looked at.

If you would like to volunteer at the next Repair Cafe on Saturday 20 May, or to know more about what it does do, please click here where you will find dates and contact details.

The town meeting

A final reminder that Hungerford’s Annual Town Meeting will be on Wednesday 29 March at 7pm in the Town Hall.

This is a great opportunity to learn about the Skate Park Upgrade, Croft Field Refurbishments, meet The Mayor, local councillors, police representatives as well as other agencies. See the town council’s facebook page for more details.

Community notices

A new dementia choir is starting at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month from Monday 17 April. See more details on West Berkshire Directory here.

Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Wed 29 Mar Hungerford’s Annual Town Meeting 7pm in the Town Hall.

Sun 2 Apr Hungerford Town Litter Pick

Sat 8 & Sun 9 Apr Lambing Weekend at Foxglove Farm, Inkpen.

Sat 1 Apr Mountain/Bluegrass music with Hickory Moon  at The Plough in Shalbourne from 7.30 pm.

Thu 6 Apr An evening with BBC nature presenter Mike Dilger, The Retreat, Elcot Park.

Sun 9 Apr Family Easter Disco Party Royal British Legion Hungerford Club (non-members welcome).

• Mon 1 May Hungerford Rotary’s Classic Vehicle Show Hungerford Rugby Club.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

Board games, chat and free hot food at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Streeton Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome 12-4pm.

Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays and Fridays, 11am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit as winter approaches. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, stretch and leg burns & turns courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

Hungerford Football Juniors are kicking off the new season with particular attention on emerging talent. Under 6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes plus the indoor market in the Town Hall from 9am to 3pm with lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse. Free entry.

Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during termtime: 6pm-7pm – Juniors (9-13 years), 7pm-8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660 hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 6 March 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the Inkpen Conservation Area Appraisal; financial matters; and the annual parish meeting (Wednesday 14 May).
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 2 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: reports from the ward members; planning matters; financial matters; the coronation; streetlights; the “response from political party following our letter to them regarding recent claims they had made in a leaflet delivered to some parishioners in Kintbury”; the annual newsletter; and some “nasty correspondence”.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 12 January and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: speeding; planning matters; rights of way; potholes; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 9 January and you can read the minutes here. ings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 8 November 2022 and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 16 March 2023

This week we cover scouts, two lunches, litter, photos and a repair café. We also remind you about the town’s annual meeting later this month to which all are invited, take a look at the latest letter from Sovereign to its tenants and consider what the next steps might be with the town-centre strategy: and as ever, there’s our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

Ist Hungerford Scouts thank the community for their donations of candles and tins which they have turned into mini trench stoves for Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership to send to Ukraine. Scouts learnt how important these stoves are during the country’s power outages to help civilians and soldiers warm and dry up, boil water and heat food. See more here.

• Quick reminder that you have until next Wednesday 22 March to have your say on West Berkshire’s draft Local Transport Plan that focuses on creating places for people, providing sustainable access for all, decarbonising transport and supporting sustainable growth. If you have any questions or require a different version of the survey, please email Transport Policy Team on ltp@westberks.gov.uk.

• Due to higher than expected staff absences this week, including staff sickness, Hungerford Surgery is providing additional appointments for those patients with an urgent need to see a GP, and can offer online consultations with the Push Doctor service.

• All are invited to enjoy a simple lunch of soup, bread and cheese in aid of West Berks Foodbank every Friday this month at 12.30pm at churches in Hungerford:  Friday 17 March at Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church, Friday 24 March at United Reformed Church Rooms and Friday 31 March at St Lawrence’s Church.

Latest news from Bedwyn Passenger Train Group on rail strike action, how to claim refunds and the campaign to pressure GWR to return more direct IETs (Intercity Express Trains) from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to Paddington.

• The new West Berkshire Liftshare platform has been launched as a pilot scheme for residents in Hungerford, East Garston, Great Shefford and Chaddleworth. If you are often travelling alone and wondering how inefficient it is when others are probably doing similar journeys, or you don’t have a car and could do with a lift, then this could be for you.

Sharing journeys using Liftshare is flexible and you only share with people who you choose to connect with – you remain in complete control.  Only residents with West Berkshire postcodes can sign up to the group so it’s very much a local initiative which will give residents the confidence to try it out.  This is a positive step for the community, the environment and your bank balance too! Please find out more and give it a go by signing up for FREE here: westberks.gov.uk/liftshare. For it to work, those who are happy to share their journey need to sign up as well as those who would benefit from receiving a lift – otherwise the matching up doesn’t happen.

Hungerford’s next Repair Café this Saturday 18 March from 10am to 12.30 pm in the Croft Hall is an opportunity to get your broken electrical goods, toys, furniture and clothes fixed and tools sharpened. Repairs and refreshments are free as they rely solely on donations from grateful members of the public to help cover their costs. If you would like to volunteer to help as a fixer or in any other capacity, please contact them using the details on their web page.

Friends of Hungerford Primary School request donations of good quality mens, ladies or children’s clothing, accessories or shoes for their Bag2School fundraiser. Please drop them at Hungerford Primary, Main Reception Gate, before 9am on Thursday 23 March. They are also selling flowers for Mother’s Day at 3pm this Friday 17 March.

• Quick reminder that tickets for the traditional Tutti Day lunch in the Town Hall on Tuesday 18 April will be available for the public from 21 March at Crown Needlework (opposite the Town Hall). See here for details. Tutti Day is the highlight of Hocktide, the medieval British tradition now only celebrated in Hungerford thanks to the Hungerford Town & Manor charity.

• A heads up for all cat owners that a law is to be introduced that they must microchip their pets or face a fine. Owners are being given until June 10, 2024, to microchip their cat or face a fine of up to £500 under the Government’s new animal law.The compulsory microchipping of felines will make it easier, say animal charities, for lost or stray animals to be reunited with their owners and returned home safely. There are over nine million pet cats in England, with as many as 2.3 million estimated to currently be unchipped.

• On Sunday 2 April everyone is invited to join the Annual Town Litter Pick. Starting from the Town Hall at 10am, all volunteers will be provided with the appropriate equipment to spruce up Hungerford. Organised jointly by Hungerford Town Council and Town and Manor.

• Don’t forget Hungerford Wednesday Indoor Market is open every Wednesday from 9am to 3pm. Entry is free and there are lots of antique/bric-a-brac/craft stalls to browse indoors plus the market stalls outside. 

• BBC Radio Berkshire is looking for your photographs of the county to be wrapped around one of their vehicles. See their facebook page for details.

HTFC Crusaders Bar & Members Lounge are looking for ad hoc/occasional bar staff. Please contact Hungerford Town Football Club if interested.

• Do you speak public as part of your job? On Saturday 15 April at 10am Hungerford Youth and Community Centre present Voice for WORK: Solutions for Success. Teachers, lawyers, fitness instructors, call handlers or event planners – all professional voice users – are encouraged to sign up and learn how to project safely and effectively and use your voice with more confidence in professional work. To book please email joneskiefer@msn.com

Hungerford Rotary Club is holding a bring and buy plant sale on Saturday 13 May and are hoping that the good people of Hungerford are able to let them have a few of their spare plants. Are you thinning out any beds or borders? Are you taking any cuttings? Are you planting any seeds? You can deliver them to the Croft Field Centre on Friday 12 May from 4 to 6pm. If you would like them to collect your contributions, please email plantsale@lrstudio.co.uk.

Hungerford Hares Running Club is very pleased to announce that its new Beginners Course starts on Tuesday 11 April at the Rugby Club, Hungerford at 7:30pm. The programme is led by England Athletics qualified run leaders who will take you from minimal running ability to running 5km (3.1 miles) over the course of eight weeks.

Newbury Soup Kitchen will be outside the Hungerford Town Hall Tuesdays 6-7pm offering food support for people needing a little extra help. Takeaway soup, snacks, and a listening ear and outreach. This is a 12 week trial to see if this kind of support is needed in the town.

• Who is striking and when? Find out about the strikes this month and how they will affect you with the UK Strike Action Calendar which lists all currently planned regional and country-wide strikes.

If you don’t have the accepted form of photo ID to be eligible to vote at the elections on 4 May, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate by 25 April. See more information here.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

• Kintbury Primary School invites dog lovers to their fundraising Dog Show on Saturday 25 March. See poster for class details. Judges will be local best-selling author Gill Hornby and Headteacher Mrs McDonald. The PTA also requests cake donations to be dropped into the school office on Friday 24 March for the cake sale at the dog show.

• Give away instead of give up this Lent by donating to West Berkshire Foodbank. Donations can be left in the plastic box inside the porch at St. Mary’s Kintbury and at the Easter Fair at the Church on Saturday 18 March. There will also be a collection box at the Market at Kintbury Jubilee Centre on Sunday 12 March.

Bestselling author Gill Hornby from Kintbury will be talking about her Regency-set novel Godmersham Park over supper to broadcaster Hannah MacInnes at Sunday Times Hotel of the Year, The Retreat, Elcot Park on Thursday 23 March at 7.30pm.  Two course supper and complimentary signed book costs £50 and a 3 course supper costs £60. Please call 01635 800520 to book.

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities – from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

• Music lovers, don’t miss the Opus 2 Choir’s performance of The Crucifixion at St Mary’s Church on Saturday 25 March. See event details here.

• Entries are now open for The Kintbury 5 mile run/race on Sunday 21 May in aid of Kintbury Primary School. The five mile course is on undulating road, tracks and a private road avalable to run on race day only. Tracks have good surfaces with only a few potholes and some slightly gravelly surfaces at times. Register here.

The town meeting

A reminder that Hungerford’s Annual Town Meeting will be on Wednesday 29 March at 7pm in the Town Hall. This is a great opportunity to learn about the Skate Park Upgrade, Croft Field Refurbishments, meet The Mayor, local councillors, police representatives as well as other agencies. See the town council’s facebook page for more details.

Sovereign’s letters

I mentioned a couple of times recently about some alarming letters that were sent last month to some Sovereign residents in Hungerford, and perhaps elsewhere. The first letter warned of massive hikes in the service charges, in some cases of over 200% (unlike with the rent, there’s no limit to how much these can be raised by). This was followed by a second letter saying that the first letter had been wrong as the utility charges hadn’t been split correctly and that a third, correct, letter would be sent by the end of the month. These duly arrived, dated 28 February. The increases are still steep but not as bad and was first suggested. Why the wrong letters were sent out in the first place, and to residents for whom the news would be particularly unwelcome, is a matter that I hope Sovereign has looked into and fixed for the future.

The third letter includes a web link and a phone number for those who need help with the new rates. If you are raising this or any other matter with Sovereign, you might also want to keep your ward member/s (aka district councillor/s) and your town or parish council informed of how you’re getting on as they may well be able to help.

Making the place in Hungerford

As mentioned several times previously, Hungerford (and Thatcham) have been the subject of an exercise variously known as a place-making and a town-centre strategy. These have now been completed and will be presented to WBC’s Executive on 23 March for formal adoption. You can see the header page for that item in the Executive’s agenda here. The final draft of the strategy document for Hungerford can be seen here.

I understand that, once the plans have been approved, the next stage will be the setting up of a working group in order to look at the details of what’s needed and apply for grant funding. Given that the pre-election “purdah” period starts at 8am on 24 March and that any discussion of our announcements about this would be regarded as falling foul of the regulations (in that they might confer a political advantage) it’s likely that any work on this in the next six weeks will be behind the scenes.

I spoke to Councillor James Cole, who’s been much involved in the project since it started, about how he sees the next steps.

“I think that given the length of time that WBC permitted the consultants to write this report they did a very good job,” he told me.  That is not to say that it is a perfect job – given the time allowed that would be very unlikely – but it is an extremely good discussion document that the town can now work with and deal with the practicalities. We all know some of the proposals may prove to be impractical, but this is not a “done deal” and we have an excellent starting point if WBC’s Executive does approve it at their next meeting on 23 March.

“If that does happen it will then be down to a small group of representatives of the town to work with West Berks staff – and I hope with the same consultants because they showed that their knowledge of what was happening elsewhere could be of real benefit to Hungerford – to turn at least some of the proposals in the document into reality. It will be quite a challenge for the town and for anyone that gets involved in the process. I see this as a program of projects that may take quite a number of years to materialise, but equally I see it as well worth doing and a real opportunity for the future of Hungerford.”

Community notices

A new dementia choir is starting at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month from Monday 17 April. See more details on West Berkshire Directory here.

Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

Lunch for seniors and vulnerable adults can be booked at Redwood House with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. If you can help serve the meals or collect them from The Fair Close Centre in Newbury please see here for more details.

West Berks Foodbank’s number is 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). Hungerford Foodbank collection point is open every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway next to the church.

Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

• Fri 17 Mar Film Night Aftersun, The Croft Hall

Sat 18 Mar Hungerford Repair Cafe, Croft Hall

Sat 18 Mar Car Boot Sale Chilton Foliat Primary School

Wed 29 Mar Hungerford’s Annual Town Meeting 7pm in the Town Hall.

Sun 9 Apr Family Easter Disco Party Royal British Legion Hungerford Club (non-members welcome).

• Mon 1 May Hungerford Rotary’s Classic Vehicle Show Hungerford Rugby Club.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

Board games, chat and free hot food at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Streeton Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome 12-4pm.

Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays and Fridays, 11am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit as winter approaches. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, stretch and leg burns & turns courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

Hungerford Football Juniors are kicking off the new season with particular attention on emerging talent. Under 6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during termtime: 6pm-7pm – Juniors (9-13 years), 7pm-8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft.

The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660 hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Kintbury Bridge Club meets Thursday afternoons in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. Cost is £2 per week. Contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 6 March 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 2 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: reports from the ward members; planning matters; financial matters; the coronation; streetlights; the “response from political party following our letter to them regarding recent claims they had made in a leaflet delivered to some parishioners in Kintbury”; the annual newsletter; and some “nasty correspondence”.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 31 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the conservations area; financial matters; and the 2023-24 precept (unchanged at £14,000).
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 12 January and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: speeding; planning matters; rights of way; potholes; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 9 January and you can read the minutes here. ings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 8 November 2022 and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 9 March 2023

This week we cover the town meeting later this month, the repair café (ditto), Hocktide, a plant sale and running for beginners. We also take a look at some of the questions asked of WBC’s CEO at the recent Town Council meeting, flick through a couple of newsletters (one of which is ours) and nip back to Notrees in Kintbury: and as ever, there’s our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

• This week’s March Hungerford newsletter includes latest news from Hungerford Town Council, independent businesses, events, community groups and lots more.

Hungerford’s Annual Town Meeting will be on Wednesday 29 March at 7pm in the Town Hall. This is a great opportunity to learn about the Skate Park Upgrade, Croft Field Refurbishments, meet The Mayor, local councillors, police representatives as well as other agencies. See the town council’s facebook page for more details.

• Do you want improved health services in Hungerford? Hungerford Surgery is actively seeking patients to join their Patient Participation Group (PPG) in order to have a voice and get involved in the way your health service is run. Please see here for more details.

If you have a 2-3 year old, looking for a nursery place, the highly-rated Hungerford Nursery School is having an Open Afternoon on Tuesday 14 March from 3.45 to 5pm, to give you a chance to explore its facilities.

Quick reminder about the lunch service now being provided at Redwood House in Hungerford by Age Concern Newbury for seniors and vulnerable adults whether or not they live at Redwood House. Please pre-book with James Wilcox at jwilcox@fairclosecentre.org or 07972 058 378. This service is made possible by a brilliant volunteer team but they need a few more helpers to welcome and seat the guests, serve the food and clear up afterwards (no cooking will be required). They also need a couple of drivers to join the rota to pick up food from the Fair Close Centre in Newbury. If you can help please see here for more details.

• The James Ballantyne Memorial Fund has awarded Chilton Foliat Primary School £1,000 to go towards their water sports day. James lived in Hungerford Newtown andwas an ex-pupil at Chilton Foliat Primary School and an engineering and rafting enthusiast, who participated for many years in the Crafty Craft Race on the canal. He tragically died in a car accident in 2015.

Hungerford’s next Repair Café is on Saturday 18 March  from 10am to 12.30 pm in the Croft Hall so take along your broken electrical goods, toys, furniture and clothes or tools that need sharpening. Repairs and refreshments are free as they rely solely on donations from grateful members of the public to help cover their costs. If you would like to volunteer to help as a fixer or in any other capacity, please contact them using the details on their web page.

It won’t be long until Hocktide, the medieval British tradition now only celebrated in Hungerford thanks to the Hungerford Town & Manor charity. The highlight of Hocktide is the  traditional Tutti Day lunch in the Town Hall on Tuesday 18 April and tickets will be available for the public from 21 March at Crown Needlework (opposite the Town Hall). See here for details.

• A heads up that West Berks Foodbank has a new phone number.  If you need help please call 0808 208 2138 (phoneline open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except bank holidays). The Foodbank is open in Hungerford every Wednesday 1-3pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street – through the alleyway between the church and the shop.

Thames Valley Police news for drivers: free webinairs for older drivers on 11, 13 and 14 March to address concerns including eyesight and impairment. Also BMWs and Mercedes are apparently being targetted for theft in West Berkshire so keep them locked and keep your keys out of view away from your front door to avoid keyless car theft or “relay theft” is when a device is used to fool the car into thinking the keys are close by. This unlocks the car and starts the engine.

• Do you speak public as part of your job? On Saturday 15  April at 10am Hungerford Youth and Community Centre present Voice for WORK: Solutions for Success. Teachers, lawyers, fitness instructors, call handlers or event planners – all professional voice users – are encouraged to sign up and learn how to project safely and effectively and use your voice with more confidence in professional work. To book please email joneskiefer@msn.com

Hungerford Rotary Club is holding a bring and buy plant sale on Saturday 13 May and are hoping that the good people of Hungerford are able to let them have a few of their spare plants. Are you thinning out any beds or borders? Are you taking any cuttings? Are you planting any seeds? You can deliver them to the Croft Field Centre on Friday 12 May from 4 to 6pm. If you would like them to collect your contributions, please email plantsale@lrstudio.co.uk.

Hungerford Hares Running Club  is very pleased to announce that its new Beginners Course starts on Tuesday 11 April at the Rugby Club, Hungerford at 7:30pm. The programme is led by England Athletics qualified run leaders who will take you from minimal running ability to running 5km (3.1 miles) over the course of eight weeks.

Newbury Soup Kitchen will be outside the Hungerford Town Hall Tuesdays 6-7pm offering food support for people needing a little extra help. Takeaway soup, snacks, and a listening ear and outreach. This is a 12 week trial to see if this kind of support is needed in the town.

• West Berkshire residents are invited to take part in the draft Local Transport Plan survey about priorities and objectives to improve transport facilities and travel options. As a Local Authority, West Berks has a statutory duty to publish a Local Transport Plan (LTP), which contains a strategy and an intervention plan. Have your say on the LTP survey page here by midnight on Wednesday 22 March. If you have any questions or require a different version of the survey, please email Transport Policy Team on: ltp@westberks.gov.uk.

• Who is striking and when? Find out about the strikes this month and how they will affect you with the UK Strike Action Calendar which lists all currently planned regional and country-wide strikes.

If you don’t have the accepted form of photo ID to be eligible to vote at the elections on 4 May, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate by 25 April. See more information here.

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

• Give away instead of give up this Lent by donating to West Berkshire Foodbank. Donations can be left in the plastic box inside the porch at St. Mary’s Kintbury and at the Easter Fair at the Church on Saturday 18 March. There will also be a collection box at the Market at Kintbury Jubilee Centre on Sunday 12 March.

Bestselling author Gill Hornby from Kintbury will be talking about her Regency-set novel Godmersham Park over supper to broadcaster Hannah MacInnes at Sunday Times Hotel of the Year, The Retreat, Elcot Park on Thursday 23 March at 7.30pm.  Two course supper and complimentary signed book costs £50 and a 3 course supper costs £60. Please call 01635 800520 to book.

• Lots of local producers and stalls to browse at the Market & Fayre at The Jubliee Centre on Sunday 12 March.

• Kintbury Primary School invites dog lovers to their fundraising Dog Show on Saturday 25 March. See poster for class details. Judges will be local best-selling author Gill Hornby and Headteacher Mrs McDonald.

• Enjoy Kintbury Village Market and Fayre on Sunday 12 March from 10am to 2pm at Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Free entry, fresh food and gifts for all the family.

• Kids movie Lyle, Lyle Crocodile will be showing at The Coronation Hall Kintbury at 4pm on Saturday 11 March.£4 per person. Under 3s go free and refreshments available.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

Kintbury Bridge Club meets every Thursday afternoon in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. The cost is £2 per week. For more information please contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities – from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

• Music lovers, don’t miss the Opus 2 Choir’s performance of The Crucifixion at St Mary’s Church on Saturday 25 March. See event details here.

• Entries are now open for The Kintbury 5 mile run/race on Sunday 21 May in aid of Kintbury Primary School. The five mile course is on undulating road, tracks and a private road avalable to run on race day only. Tracks have good surfaces with only a few potholes and some slightly gravelly surfaces at times. Register here.

The CEO of WBC at HTC

As usual, Hungerford Town Council (HTC) met at the start of the month and our report the following day filled in the background to some of the issues. You can read this here.

HTC generally invites a guest speaker to address the meeting before the formal business gets under way and this month it was WBC’s CEO Nigel Lynn. He admitted that he was still learning about a district with which he was fairly unfamiliar when he took the reins in late 2021 (his previous job had been at Arun Council in Sussex) and was hoping to visit most if not all the West Berkshire’s 55 town and parish councils (there are actually 62 parishes in the district but seven of these are non-precepting and don’t hold meetings).

At the HTC meeting he was asked or told about, five specific matters. These were: EV charge points in the town (a long-running saga which has been mentioned at each HTC meeting for at least a year); the letters received by Sovereign Housing tenants last month which announced very steep service-charge increases but which were then withdrawn, to be replaced by we currently know not what; problems with WBC’s Housing Team; youth provision in the town; and rates charged to the Curve at the Hungerford Hub (which was resolved less than 24 hours after the meeting). Click here to see the full report of this and the other main aspects of the meeting.

Hungerford’s 75th

The above-mentioned report of HTC’s recent meeting and other activities is but one of the the matters covered in the March issue of Penny Post Hungerford. This is the 75th edition of this publication which has been published every month since January 2017 – back then Theresa May was PM, Donald Trump was US president (though hadn’t been inaugurated when the first PPH was published), Leicester City were still league champions and Covid was slowly, secretly and silently mutating in a bat, a pangolin or a test tube, depending on your point of view. You can click here to read the most recent Penny Post Hungerford if you didn’t get it.

As well as HTC, matters covered included the town’s independent businesses, the need for lunchtime volunteers at Redwood House, the regular monthly diary for JoG’s head Richard Hawthorne, a special offer on red wine from GrapeSmith, guidelines about dogs and ground-nesting birds, jobs, courses, activities and news from a wide range of the town’s schools, charities and voluntary groups. We even have some wise words from Noel Gallagher.

If there’s anything you want to contribute for the April edition, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by the end of this month.

Kintbury’s claims

In this column on 2 February (click here and scroll down), we reported on an item that had been raised in Kintbury Parish Council’s January meeting, that “it was noted that a flyer for a local political party has been put through local residents’ doors informing them that they saved the care home. As this was not the case, a letter would be sent to the political party from the Parish Council regarding this.”

At the February meeting (Item 15), KPC considered the response from the political party describing what it had done to help save the care home. the minutes list these, before concluding that KPC “did not feel that the actions outlined by the political party constituted a significant role in the reversal of WBC’s decision to close Notrees and felt that the headline and article were misleading. We made our views known to the political party. It was agreed that we would outline the outcome in the minutes of the Parish Council meeting and cover it in slightly more detail in the forthcoming annual newsletter to allow the parishioners to reach their own decisions.”

Froxfield’s newsletter

Please click here to see the most recent (February/March) edition of this. The main items both concern the A4, that very un-ignorable aspect of the village: the speed-limit survey and the traffic survey. Other items include a new Clerk, a lottery grant application, a coronation picnic, the logs on the water meadows, on-demand bus services and contacting Wiltshire Council. If you’d like to be added to the newsletter’s circulation list, email v.body@froxfield.org.

Community notices

A new dementia choir is starting at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month from Monday 17 April. See more details on West Berkshire Directory here.

Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

Walkers, horse-riders, off road cyclists please be mindful of your impact on ground-nesting birds this spring and summer. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Priory Road is continuing its weekly Saturday morning Warm Space provision throughout February.  See here for details of when all the Hungerford churches and library are open and everyone is welcome.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

The lane closure at the top of Hungerford High Street will remain in place for up to nine months. The closure follows a serious collision which caused damage to Snippit’s Barbers and neighbouring buildings last month.

• The British Red Cross shop near the railway bridge on the High Street has an urgent appeal for winter stock donations.

• Local charity Eight Bells has an opportunity for Community Navigator Volunteers in Hungerford to provide community support, with a focus on looking after mental health and reduce social isolation. Please click here to find out more.

The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Sat 11 Mar Hungerford Community Cook-In, Croft Hall 

Sat 11 Mar Broken Dolls fundraising gig, The Railway Tavern

Sun 12 Mar Combe Manor Barns Wedding Fair

Sat 18 Mar Hungerford Repair Cafe, Croft Hall

Sat 18 Mar Car Boot Sale Chilton Foliat Primary School

Wed 29 Mar Hungerford’s Annual Town Meeting 7pm in the Town Hall.

Sun 9 Apr Family Easter Disco Party Royal British Legion Hungerford Club (non-members welcome).

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

Board games, chat and free hot food at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Streeton Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome 12-4pm.

Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays and Fridays, 11am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit as winter approaches. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, stretch and leg burns & turns courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

Hungerford Football Juniors are kicking off the new season with particular attention on emerging talent. Under 6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during termtime: 6pm-7pm – Juniors (9-13 years), 7pm-8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660 hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 6 March 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 2 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: reports from the ward members; planning matters; financial matters; the coronation; streetlights; the “response from political party following our letter to them regarding recent claims they had made in a leaflet delivered to some parishioners in Kintbury”; the annual newsletter; and some “nasty correspondence”.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 31 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the conservations area; financial matters; and the 2023-24 precept (unchanged at £14,000).
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 12 January and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: speeding; planning matters; rights of way; potholes; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agenda and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 9 January and you can read the minutes here. ings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 8 November 2022 and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 2 March 2023

This week we cover a book event, board games, Ukraine, dog walkers and hares. We also report on recent discussions at the Town Council about safety on the High Street, learn about an alarming letter which some local residents have received about ground rent charges  and drop in on an elaborate and part-retrospective application in Inkpen: and as ever, there’s our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

 Bestselling author Gill Hornby from Kintbury will be talking about her Regency-set novel Godmersham Park over supper to broadcaster Hannah MacInnes at Sunday Times Hotel of the Year, The Retreat, Elcot Park  on Thursday 23 March at 7.30pm.  Two course supper and complimentary signed book costs £50 and a 3 course supper costs £60. Please book your table early on 01635 800520 so the hotel can take your menu choices.

The lunch service now being provided at Redwood House in Hungerford by Age Concern Newbury is proving very popular. A two-course hot meal is offered to seniors and vulnerable adults whether or not they live at Redwood House. This is made possible by a brilliant volunteer team but they need a few more helpers to welcome and seat the guests, serve the food and clear up afterwards (no cooking will be required). They also need a couple of drivers to join the rota to pick up food from the Fair Close Centre in Newbury. If you can help please see here for more details.

• Just a reminder for anyone looking for something to do on Sunday afternoons, everyone is welcome 12-4pm for board games, chat and free hot food at the Methodist Church Hall, Bridge Street.

• Following the amazing success of the Ukraine collection at Hungerford Youth & Community Centre last month, Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership are collecting again from Chilton Foliat Primary School on Tuesday 7 March. Please see here the list of donations requested and the drop-off times.

• Hungerford Food Community are hosting another community cook-in at The Croft Hall on Saturday 11 March where people gather to learn delicious vegetarian recipes under the supervision of a chef using ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. This month the chef is Nin Dulai and her recipes will be Punjabi-inspired. Book for free here (donations welcome on the night).  

• The British Red Cross shop  on Hungerford High Street has been collecting books signed by the author… and now they are going on sale on Monday 27 February. If you are interested please call in to the shop or ring the shop on 01488 68275.

Year 9s youth sessions start on Thursday 23 March at 6pm, at Hungerford Youth and Community Centre at a cost of £1 per person. Complete this form if your teenager is interested in going. If you would like to volunteer to help out at this session, please text Youth Worker Dion Fillingham on 07719 822641

Hungerford Rotary Club is holding a Bring and Buy plant sale on Saturday 13 May and are hoping that the good people of Hungerford are able to let them have a few of their spare plants. Are you thinning out any beds or borders? Are you taking any cuttings? Are you planting any seeds? You can deliver them to the Croft Field Centre on Friday 12 May from 4 to 6pm. If you would like them to collect your contributions, please email plantsale@lrstudio.co.uk.

Phoenix wood fired pizza will be back at Royal British Legion on Friday 3 March with their delicious pizzas.

Arts for Hungerford stages all genres of music, cinema, theatre and spoken word events, run entirely by volunteers. They currently need sound engineers and people interested to learn about lighting to join their friendly professional team. For more details please get in touch at contact@artsforhungerford.com or Tony on 07590 555 877. Follow them on facebook for their upcoming films and gigs.

Now we are officially in spring, dog walkers need to be mindful of their impact on ground-nesting birds. Of course dogs love to romp but skylarks and nightjars are endangered species and if an adult is disturbed they will not return to their nest, leaving their chicks to die. Dog walkers on Freeman’s Marsh are requested to please only let your dogs off the lead where permitted, and please ensure your dog is under control at all times. Please see more details here about national requirements for dog walkers between 1 March and 31 July.

Hungerford’s next Repair Café is on Saturday 18 March  from 10am to 12.30 pm in the Croft Hall so take along your broken electrical goods, toys, furniture and clothes or tools that need sharpening. Repairs and refreshments are free as they rely solely on donations from grateful members of the public to help cover their costs. If you would like to volunteer to help as a fixer or in any other capacity, please contact them using the details on their web page.

Hungerford Hares Running Club  is very pleased to announce that its new Beginners Course starts on Tuesday 11 April at the Rugby Club, Hungerford at 7:30pm. The programme is led by England Athletics qualified run leaders who will take you from minimal running ability to running 5km (3.1 miles) over the course of eight weeks.

Hungerford Town Council is looking for individuals from all backgrounds and experiences to put themselves forward for election to make a change in the community and become a councillor. You will find everything you need to know about the role here .

Newbury Soup Kitchen will be outside the Hungerford Town Hall Tuesdays 6-7pm offering food support for people needing a little extra help. Takeaway soup, snacks, and a listening ear and outreach. This is a 12 week trial to see if this kind of support is needed in the town.

• Quick reminder that there will be no trains between Reading and Westbury until 3 March due to extensive planned engineering works at various locations. See details of bus replacement services at gwr.com/travel-information

Would you like to share your skills? There is an opportunity to train the next generation at Newbury College and get all the support and benefits you need for a secure future. Click here to find out more.

There is a great opportunity to join a free creative wellbeing walk led by artist Simon Jardine. The walks are designed to promote mental wellbeing and at the same time to do something creative, with short stops to paint and tea and coffee. Walks will start from The Croft Hall, Hungerford at 10am on Tuesday 7, 14, 21 and 28 March. Book in advance by emailing gemma.taylor@westberks.gov.uk

• West Berkshire residents are invited to take part in the draft Local Transport Plan survey about priorities and objectives to improve transport facilities and travel options. As a Local Authority, West Berks has a statutory duty to publish a Local Transport Plan (LTP), which contains a strategy and an intervention plan. Have your say on the LTP survey page here by midnight on Wednesday 22 March. If you have any questions or require a different version of the survey, please email Transport Policy Team on: ltp@westberks.gov.uk.

• Who is striking and when? Find out about the strikes this month and how they will affect you with the UK Strike Action Calendar which lists all currently planned regional and country-wide strikes.

If you don’t have the accepted form of photo ID to be eligible to vote at the elections on 4 May, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate by 25 April. See more information here.

• Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Kintbury News

• On Wednesday 5 April at Kintbury Jubilee Centre, there is an Easter Holiday Club from 9am to 3pm for 4-11 year olds, with multiport’s, an Easter egg hunt, arts and crafts and team games at a cost of £28 per child. Contact nicki@wikids.co.uk or phone 07879 413325.

• Give away instead of give up this Lent by donating to West Berkshire Foodbank. Donations can be left in the plastic box inside the porch at St. Mary’s Kintbury and at the Easter Fair at the Church on Saturday 18 March. There will also be a collection box at the Market at Kintbury Jubilee Centre on Sunday 12 March.

• Lots of local producers and stalls to browse at the Market & Fayre at The Jubliee Centre on Sunday 12 March.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

Kintbury Bridge Club meets every Thursday afternoon in the Coronation Hall for relaxed, social bridge for all abilities. The cost is £2 per week. For more information please contact Chris Doyle on 07738 756181 or kintburybridgeclub@gmail.com

Kintbury Jubilee Centre is home to a wide range of clubs and activities – from sword fighting to netball. Follow their facebook page for latest news.

• Music lovers, don’t miss the Opus 2 Choir’s performance of The Crucifixion at St Mary’s Church on Saturday 25 March. See event details here.

• Entries are now open for The Kintbury 5 mile run/race on Sunday 21 May in aid of Kintbury Primary School. The five mile course is on undulating road, tracks and a private road avalable to run on race day only. Tracks have good surfaces with only a few potholes and some slightly gravelly surfaces at times. Register here.

Hungerford’s traffic

On 27 February, Hungerford Town Council’s Highways and Transport Committee held a two-hour meeting which was also attended by Gareth Dowding from WBC’s Highways team. The two main issues covered were “the safety of High Street and consideration of traffic calming measures” and “consideration of complaints concerning parking on footways and verges.” The minutes will appear here in due course.

The matter of street safety has got right up to the top of HTC’s in -tray mainly because of a serious accident on 13 December 2022 which resulted in structural damage to buildings near the junction with Atherton Road. A contraflow, which will remain in place for some time, is one obvious legacy of this prang. This was the most spectacular incident but far from the only one. £70,000-worth of damage was done to another house in the High Street in December 2019 and there have also been several cases of buildings neat the Park Street roundabout being clipped by HGVs.

Gareth Dowding revealed two things that might be a surprise to many. The first is that many of these incidents don’t appear in the Police reports (which he promised to pass on to HTC), as these only records accidents where there was an injury. The second is that, despite these incidents, the number of accidents on the A338 in Hungerford is quite low for an A road. Hungerford, of course, has two of these, the north-west A338 (which includes the High Street) and the east-west A4, the two are roads being one and the same between The Bear and the roundabout by Barrs Yard.

A number of identified problem areas and possible solutions were discussed at the meeting. It was also proposed that a traffic survey be done while the temporary traffic lights are in place and continuing after they’re removed. The members agreed to “look at all the pros and cons of the above, who owns [the properties or assets involved] and the cost for improvements.” HTC has also set up a working group which will make it easier for members of the public to get involved in the discussions.

Regarding the other issue, Gareth Dowding said that parking on footways and verges constituted obstruction and is thus a police matter and added that WBC wants permission to enforce this regulation itself but the Department for Transport has delayed the change. Short of issuing appeals to drivers to park more considerately there’s very little that can be done on this until regulations change. It certainly seems unlikely that the police are going to be enforcing this in any consistent way given current staffing and budget pressures.

Alarming letters

It seems that Sovereign tenants in Hungerford and Lambourn and perhaps elsewhere have received letters from the housing association saying that the rents and service charges are going to be raised, perhaps by 100%.  It appears that this was followed by another letter saying that the first letter had been sent out wrongly (whether it was the right letter to the wrong people or a wholly wrong letter I’m not sure) and that a third letter would follow. At the time of writing, this doesn’t seem to have been received by anyone. It will be an anxious time, waiting for the next update. Will this news it reveals be better, or even worse?

The rent rises are, I understand, capped at 7%pa so this is unlikely to be too savage a blow. Service charges, however, are not capped although they do need to be justified. The problem is for those living in flats or other accommodation where the energy costs are paid by Sovereign and reclaimed through the service charge. These people may have something more serious to contend with.

A number of residents have, I understand, already contacted Sovereign to say that the charges they have in mind are simply not affordable. My advice is that if you or anyone you know has received such a letter to do the same – push back and see what happens. If Sovereign is currently unsure of what its position is or ought to be, as this letter confusion suggests, this is your chance to influence what happens. It’s also worth letting your ward member/s and you town or parish council know what’s happening. In many cases, including in Stratfield Mortimer and Hungerford, these have proved to be very effective advocates in such disputes.

Another retrospective

WBC’s Western Area Planning Committee met on 1 March to consider a part-retrospective application for a wide range of works at Deerbourne in Inkpen. These were on top of extensive changes that had taken place over the last five or so years. You can the agenda papers here, which includes a video of the meeting. The details of the application can be seen here. Many of the objections involved the considerable noise that past works had caused and the future ones were likely to; also a mounting concern about when these major renovation works would end and what the finished result was going to be.

The work done so far (some of which was granted in advance and some retrospectively) includes dredging the lake; adding a two-storey extension, garaging. a tree house and two cabins; building a boiler house to power a steam room; putting in six submerged gas tanks, an indoor pool and a sunken garden; and conducting major re-landscaping and tree felling. That’s quite impressive on its own: but wait for this:

The latest application was for “Retention and alteration of a swimming pool building to include internal and external alterations as well as the enlargement of the plant room, laundry room, entrance hall and sunken courtyard. Retention of two external stair structures to the sunken courtyard. Retention of tennis court enclosure. Retention of repaired wall around the wall garden as well as the BBQ and pergola within it and lean-to on its north-eastern side. Removal of temporary boiler building and erection of a permanent replacement single storey boiler building within the garden wall. Retention of underground gas tanks and pipes. Reinstatement of construction compound/hardstanding area back into a field and provision of a reinforced grass track from the existing driveway to the underground gas tanks. Reinstatement of previously removed western boundary hedgerow.” No one can accuse the plan of lacking ambition.

The applicant was present at the meeting with his agent: both appeared to admit, without saying this in so many words, that the previous one (pre August 2021) had made mistakes. This was a point that ward member James Cole also made in his five-minute presentation. He also congratulated the applicant for having recently engaged with the neighbours (though this should perhaps have happened some time ago) and praised the work of the two planning officers who have “taken this project on and made sense of it.” He added that “this time we have a Construction Management Plan that sets out how things will be done.” That’s fine if it’s adhered to. As Councillor Cole observed, “promises have been made before and there is much scepticism in the community because of the past actions.”

The most unsatisfactory business of the matter for many of the members, including Councillors Abbs, Benneyworth and Cant, was the retrospective nature of the application. I can see it must be deeply frustrating and does more than perhaps anything else to undermine the integrity of the planning process. It rapidly became clear, however, that WBC might be on very thin ice if it refused the application and if there were an appeal.

A number of conditions were added, including on when there work can be done – these too need to be enforced. It was also asked if one condition could be to ensure that there would be no further breaches that would lead to another retrospective application. One of the officers, however said that this was not legally possible.

The situation is thus one in which an applicant with deep pockets can get what he wants to a large extent simply by doing it and then asking permission for it; that the council will (understandably) be very reluctant to refuse something if there’s a chance it will lose on appeal; and that there’s no condition it can impose to avoid the whole cycle from starting all over again. At least the applicant and the neighbours are now talking to each other. This cordiality might, however, last only until the cranes and diggers return.

Community notices

A new dementia choir is starting at Hungerford British Legion on the third Monday of the month from Monday 17 April. See more details on West Berkshire Directory here.

Hungerford Nursery School, like many nurseries, have greatly suffered from cuts to funding, and so raising money is vital in order to stay afloat and maintain a high quality level of care. Please make donations to their fundraiser page.

Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Priory Road is continuing its weekly Saturday morning Warm Space provision throughout February.  See here for details of when all the Hungerford churches and library are open and everyone is welcome.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

Newbury Soup Kitchen is running a free food session outside Hungerford Town Hall from their mobile van on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm. See here for more details and how to volunteer to help run this service.

The lane closure at the top of Hungerford High Street will remain in place for up to nine months. The closure follows a serious collision which caused damage to Snippit’s Barbers and neighbouring buildings last month.

• The British Red Cross shop near the railway bridge on the High Street has an urgent appeal for winter stock donations.

• Local charity Eight Bells has an opportunity for Community Navigator Volunteers in Hungerford to provide community support, with a focus on looking after mental health and reduce social isolation. Please click here to find out more.

The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Sat 11 Mar Hungerford Community Cook-In, Croft Hall 

Sat 18 Mar Hungerford Repair Cafe, Croft Hall

• Regular Events

• Hungerford Historical Association hosts fascinating monthly talks and non-members are welcome. See details here.

Lego Club at Hungerford Library in the morning, first Saturday each month. Children under eight years old are welcome, but must be accompanied.

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

Over 50s swimming lanes on Tuesdays and Fridays, 11am at Hungerford Leisure Centre – a great way to keep fit as winter approaches. They also offer aerobics, stretch, indoor cycling, stretch and leg burns & turns courses. Book via leisurecentre.com or ring 01488 683303.

Hungerford Rugby Club runs Mixed Ability Rugby sessions for 12 to 17 year olds. These inclusive sessions are designed for youngsters with or without learning disabilities to have fun and make friends. Contact Jo or Josh at Hungerfordtigers@gmail.com for more information.

• Hungerford Youth Club There are application forms at Hungerford  Youth & Community Centre (next to the Leisure Centre) or simply complete an online form. There are several sessions during the week for different age groups and more volunteers are always welcome. See the HYCC’s facebook page for more details.

Hungerford Football Juniors are kicking off the new season with particular attention on emerging talent. Under 6 training is on Saturdays from 9.30am to 10.30am at Hungerford Primary School Field. Boys and girls are both welcome. See more.

Hungerford Juniors Lionesses invite girls in years 7 or 8 (in Sept 2022) to football training on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:15pm . For more details please contact Michelle Tallack on shellitallack@gmail.com.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

Kaleidoscope safe space for special needs children, second Saturday of each month. Hungerford Methodist Church. See more here.

Hungerford Netball Club at Hungerford Leisure Centre/John O’Gaunt School on Monday evenings during termtime: 6pm-7pm – Juniors (9-13 years), 7pm-8pm – Seniors (14+ years). Contact hungerfordnetball@btinternet.com or facebook.com/hungerfordnetball

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

The Crown & Garter in Inkpen hosts a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winning team or person will receive a prize. To take part: £1 per person or £5 per team. For more information, call the pub on 01488 668325.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page. One regular group is the English Language Café at Hungerford Library on the first Friday of the month from 5pm to 6.30pm. For more information, please contact the library on 01488 682660 hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found here. Penny Post’s most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 6 February 2023) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 31 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the conservations area; financial matters; and the 2023-24 precept (unchanged at £14,000).
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.