Community Yearbook

1 Thursday, 21 January, 2021


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‘Celebrating a year in the life of our community in 2020 through the pages of the Newbury Weekly News ’

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2 Thursday, 21 January, 2021


Newbury Weekly News

It’s a real honour for local trio

PEOPLE fromWest Berkshire were recognised in the New Year Honours List. Among them was the chief executive of the NHS Simon Stevens, who was given a knighthood. Sir Simon moved to Newbury with his parents at the age of 11, and attended sixth form at St Bartholomew’s School, where he was head boy in 1983/84. Mr Stevens described his upbringing in Newbury as “a very happy time in my life” . The Cabinet Office said: “Simon Stevens is an outstand- ing chief executive of the English National Health Service, successfully leading it over the past six years through the most economically chal- lenging period in its history.” Lambourn racehorse trainer Nicky Henderson (pictured) was appointed an OBE for his contribution to the sport. Mr Henderson is a five-time

Welford Park’s famous snowdrops attracted hundreds of visitors

Mayor’s symbolic gift

Newbury has links with the 460-year-old independent school, located in Horsham, West Sussex, through the West family, dating back to the 17th century. John West was a wealthy merchant and a charity was set up under his wills to provide pensions and scholarships for the blind and poor.

NEWBURY mayor Elizabeth O’Keeffe presented a symbolic gift to a Christ’s Hospital school scholar, continuing a long-standing tradition. Mrs O’Keeffe made the presentation of a £10 book token to Honey Frampton following Newbury Town Council’s carol service at St Nicolas’ Church. WEST Berkshire was ranked in the top 10 areas to be a girl in the UK. The district was placed sixth in Plan International UK’s State of Girls’ Rights report. The charity, which strives to advance children ’s rights and equality for girls all over the world, assessed local authori- ties on educational attain- ment, child poverty, child obesity, teenage conception rates, NEET status (not in education, employment or training) status and disabil- ity-free life expectancy. The Orkney Islands was placed top, while Blackpool was bottom. West Berkshire was placed fifth in terms of disability- free life expectancy in the UK

John Darvell leads the dance class

New year, new dance NEW Year, fresh goals... and why not, said contemporary dancer John Darvell, make one of them learning to dance with West Berkshire-based company NOCTURN. The company had been leading the charge of building a vibrant and welcoming contempo- rary dance community in Newbury for more than five years, with regular weekly classes in the Corn Exchange Learning Centre aimed at adult beginners, the over-55s and teenagers. Now, they were ringing in the New Year by expanding with another new class within the state-of-the-art dance and performance space at Newbury College. The Forum at Newbury College featured a sprung dance floor, mirrored walls and a free car park, which NOCTURN artistic director John Darvell believed would bring a wealth of new opportunities and growth for the company. He said: “I’m so thrilled to expand our offer with a new class in this wonderful space, which will allow us to meet the tremendous demand and passion for dance in and around Newbury.”

company which produces wheelchair accessible vehicles – working her way up to managing director, until her departure in 2008. She then set up the Accessible Motor Company – now trading as Fleximobility– and has worked for the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Convertors Association (WAVCA) for the past 14 years.

champion trainer and he tweeted: “It is a tremendous honour, not just for me, but us all at Seven Barrows and I am hugely grateful.” A Wash Common woman who has devoted more than 30 years of her life to improving services for disabled people, was honoured with an MBE. Linda Ling, 69, spent 25 years at Gowrings Mobility– a

Good place to be a girl

Sundial row breaks out THE Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service angered Hungerford Twinning Association after its contractors broke a sundial gifted to the town – then refused to pay for it. The sundial was donated by French twin town Ligueil 10 years ago and was a feature on the old fire station wall. When the new tri-station was built to replace it, there was reportedly an agreement that the sundial would be carefully removed and then replaced. But it was found broken in two and apparently discarded beneath a pile of rubble. A stonemason said the ornament is beyond repair and a replacement would cost £3,540.

and fourth for NEET status. West Berkshire Council leader Lynne Doherty (pictured) said the rating reflected the work of the district’s schools and educa- tion support addressing issues such as consent, social media and online safety.

3 Thursday, 21 January, 2021 Team Kennet mark 20th anniversary TEAM Kennet athletics section celebrated its 20th anniversary. And the club marked the occasion by launching its new running vest and T-shirt with a group photo of juniors and coaches. In 2000, Team Kennet Triathlon Club was reborn under athlete Nick Bull and chairman at the time Dennis Hub ard. The club changed to its current position offering triathlon and athletics to juniors and seniors, and after six years Hubbard moved away, with Bull taking over the running of club to this day. The club has gone from strength to strength and now boasts nearly 450 members, with more than 50 volunteers. Team Kennet was the second club in the UK to gain the special Club Mark Achievement and also helps fund the popular Newbury Parkrun. Over the years the athletic section has achieved a great deal and has become one of the strongest junior clubs in the UK, winning more than 60 Junior League matches. The Juniors have twice won the Wessex Young Athletes League – which covers six counties– and won the Oxford YA Junior League twice. In 2018, the club had its first junior world- ranked number one– Ben East– with a new UK record and new distance landmark achieved with a throw of 70.66m. Altior ruled out SEVEN Barrows trainer Nicky Henderson announced that Altior , one of jump racing’ s biggest names, would not run in the Unibet Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton. Altior was suffering from an abscess on his withers and it could be another week before he can have a saddle on his back. It was hoped the 10-year-old would bounce back in the race, having seen his 19-race winning run ended by Cyrname in Ascot’s 1965 Chase in November. Targets including the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase and the Ladbrokes Desert Orchid Chase also came too soon. Altior was aiming to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham for a third straight year.


Newbury Weekly News

Dad’s special delivery Pc’s posthumous award Pc Harper’s bravery was recognised with a certificate

A POLICE officer who was killed on duty in West Berkshire was given a posthumous honour by his colleagues. Pc Andrew Harper died after being dragged along the A4 by a vehicle on Thursday, August 15, 2019 at the cross- roads of Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill, near Sulhamstead. He had been attending reports of a burglary in Bradfield Southend. The 28-year-old had married his childhood sweetheart Lissie just four weeks before he died.

from his colleagues at the Police Federation Roads Policing Awards at a cere- mony. Mrs Harper received a stand- ing ovation as she took to the stage to receive the award on her husband’s behalf. The National Chair’s Certifi- cate was awarded for Pc Harper representing“ the very best of Roads Policing and policing in general” by the national chairman of the Police Federation John Apter.

MUGA plans scrapped enough, he also had to remove the umbilical cord which had become wrapped around the baby’s neck. Mr Sim said: “Jade was 11 WEST Berkshire Council abandoned its plan to reopen Newbury’s Faraday Road football ground as a multi-use games area (MUGA). Instead, the ground, which was previously home to Newbury FC as well as boys and girls junior teams, will be turned into flats as part of the plan to redevelop the London Road Industrial Estate. The council said it wanted to reopen the ground as a MUGA, featuring two five-a- side pitches, 4m-high secure fencing and eight floodlights, but it scrapped that plan because it was“ unpopular” and would have cost £130,000. A NEWBURY man described the moment he safely delivered his baby daughter by the side of the A339. James Sim and his wife Jade were on their way from their home in Clifton Road to the Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital to have their second child. But baby Aria had other ideas – and decided she couldn’t wait to meet the outside world. Mr Sim, 35, had to stop just before the Star Inn pub in Kingsclere, where his wife gave birth in the back seat of his Audi two-and-a-half hours after her first contraction. If that wasn’t traumatic

days overdue so we were expecting her to go into labour, but we had no idea it was going to happen so fast. “She had her first contraction at 8.30am and I started getting ready casually because we thought we had plenty of time. “We had to battle through the

Newbury traffic and when we got to Kingsclere Jade shouted that she was coming. “I could see the head was showing, but the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck so I had to use my fingers to get behind the cord and pull it over her head.”

Vigil for bush fire victims

A VIGIL was held in Newbury town centre in solidarity with those affected by the fires in Australia and floods in Indonesia. Around 50 people attended the event in Market Place, where a minute’s silence was held after speeches from local climate change campaigners. The fires in Australia destroyed entire villages, caused thousands of people to leave their homes and killed one billion animals. The vigil was also for those affected by the floods in Indonesia, which are reported to have killed at least 66 people and displaced more than 36,000 in Jakarta, the capital. Both the fires in Australia and

Greggs help for homeless

Newbury Soup Kitchen founder Meryl Praill said: “With the colder weather, these vouchers will give a bit more flexibility for someone in need of a hot drink or hot meal outside our usual meal sessions or charities who open throughout the week. “Matthew Groves, manager of the Greggs store, supports Newbury Soup Kitchen every week, organising food donations for our sessions. “He always goes above and beyond his role as manager to help where he can.”

NEWBURY’S Greggs store helped a local charity feed rough sleepers. Newbury Soup Kitchen has been giving out £10 food vouchers to rough sleepers for Greggs Bakery in Northbrook Street. The vouchers were donated by Newbury Christadelphi- ans, who are based in Lower Way, Thatcham. The Christadelphians support Newbury Soup Kitchen throughout the year with other projects and donations.

floods in Indonesia have been linked to the climate emergency, and scientists predict more wildfires and extreme floods will occur as global temperatures rise. Elliott Clarke, four , at the climate vigil in Newbury’s Market Place


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4 Thursday, 21 January, 2021

FEBRUARY Star of the silent era Newbury Weekly News

World ’s most stunning wildlife photography THE world-renowned photography exhibition Wildlife Photographer of the Year, on loan from the Natural History Museum in London, opened at The Base in Greenham. Wildlife Photographer of the Year 55 featured exceptional images that capture fascinating animal behaviour, spectacular species and the breathtaking diversity of the natural world. While inspiring curiosity and wonder, the images also remind us of the fragility of our planet and our responsibility to protect it. Corn Exchange director Grant Brisland said before leaving on his current sabbatical Down Under: “It’s a delight and privilege to bring this exhibition to The Base, particularly as the previous instalment launched the building last year and was enjoyed by more than 3,500 people. “It’s always a really beautiful exhibition and reminds us what an extraordinary planet we live on. “As we individually and collectively take steps to reduce the impact we have on the environment, these pictures remind us of what we’re aiming to protect for future generations.” Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the most prestigious photography event of its kind, providing a global platform that has showcased the natural world’s most astonishing and challenging sights for more than 50 years.

A COMMEMORATIVE plaque was unveiled in Northbrook Street to mark the life and work of a silent screen legend. Stewart Rome, who appeared in 150 movies between 1913 and 1950, was born in Newbury in 1886. His father was an auctioneer and his grandfather served as town mayor

End of an era as court is demolished IT was the end of an era as Newbury’ s former magistrates’ court building was demolished to make way for flats. It was once a bustling courthouse operating five days a week, incorporating adult and youth courts and a county court. The building in Mill Lane was mothballed in 2016, despite a campaign to save it. At the time it was sug ested that victims and witnesses would be spared a journey to Reading by using a camera system in West Berkshire Council offices. However this never materialised and solicitor Mike Davis, of Newbury’s oldest established law firm, Charles Hoile, said there were fewer local magistrates as a result of the closure, as many did not want to travel to Reading or Slough. It’s a great place to live WEST Berkshire was been named in the top 50 best places to live in Britain in 2020. The Halifax Quality of Life survey ranked the district as the 41st best place to live, factoring in the area’s employment rate, earnings, housing affordability, health and wellbeing, education, traffic and crime rates. West Berkshire Council leader Lynne Doherty – who has lived in the area since she was 15– said it was a great place to live and raise a family. “In my opinion it’s the number one place to live,” she said.“It’s the opportunity to have good housing, good schools, nice town centres, low unemployment and great access to London and other parts of the country.” Other local areas that featured in the list include Wokingham, which came 10th, South Oxfordshire 21st and Wiltshire 28th, while East Hertfordshire was ranked the best place to live.

between 1869 and 1870. Christened Septimus Ryott, he attended St Bartholomew’s School, then a boy’s grammar. Though he trained as an engineer, Mr Rome ultimately became an actor, taking to the stage in Australia. After returning to the UK in 1912, he signed up with Hepworth Pictures, the produc- tion company of cele-

would adopt a warmer persona in his later, sound-era films. He died in his home- town in 1969.

working group, Anthony Pick, said: “The town council is pleased to commemorate this son of Newbury who achieved national prominence as an early major star of the British cinema. “This is especially so as, with the changes in the film industry, the names of its early stars are now not well known.”

Mr Rome’s life and work were commemorated with the blue plaque outside 58 Northbrook Street, the former site of a much-loved cinema. Chair of the town council’s heritage

brated filmmaker Cecil Hepworth. His career was characterised by reinvention. Whereas Mr Hepworth tended to cast him in unsympathetic – even villainous– roles, Mr Rome

Dennis the menace STORM Dennis caused severe disruption across West Berkshire and North Hampshire as heavy rain and strong winds battered the area. Homes were left without power, roads were flooded and trains were delayed in multiple locations. While the worst effects of the storm were felt in many of the rural villages, Newbury itself did not escape unscathed. Parts of Northcroft Park were submerged, while the A339 at Kingsclere, close to Sandford Springs, was virtually impassible. On Sunday, rail links between Newbury and Reading were suspended after the line became waterlogged. The River Enborne burst its banks, swamping a bridge along Ecchinswell Road in Bishop’s Green, while Theale was among the worst- affected areas in the district.

©Ralf Schneider - Wildlife Photographer of the Y ear


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5 Thursday, 21 January, 2021


Newbury Weekly News

Tree-felling was ‘act of vandalism’

“The work you have carried out has had a devastating impact on this beautiful part of Newbury.” The route, just over half-a-mile long, runs from Speen – through Speen Moor Plantation and the flood meadows of the River Kennet – to the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal. Benham Estate rural operations manager

THE decision to cut down dozens of trees along a pathway was described as“ a disgusting act of ecological vandalism”. Speen Moors permis - sive pathway was closed for six months for restoration work, but upon reopening in January it was discov - ered that a significant proportion of ash trees along the pathway had been chopped down.

Searching for a bargain

least loss. The programme presen - ter was Natasha Raskin Sharp. Four local teams from Thatcham, Compton, Kintbury and Burghfield Common had bought items in Hungerford Arcade, with the help of Mr Forrester and his business partner Neil Shuttleworth, with any profits they made going to the Alexander Devine Children ’s Hospice. The eventual winners Bridget Lungley, from Kintbury, and her sister Rose Doe, made £30 profit on their three items. Mrs Lungley said:“We really didn’t expect that. It’s surprising how stressful it is watching as each item goes under the hammer.” well-known figure in Aldworth, as is her son, Hugh Macaulay. The Bell was last crowned National Pub of the Year 30 years ago and Mr Macaulay said: “It was a wonderful time then, as it is now – you just can’t believe it. When asked what the secret was to running Britain’s best pub, Mr Macaulay said: “Good beer, good customers, community spirit to the whole thing – there are lots of little things.”

IT was standing room only in the Special Auction Services (SAS) auction rooms where the crew from BBC1’s Bargain Hunt were filming five episodes of the programme. SAS director Thomas Forrester was in charge of proceedings in Plenty Close, Newbury, at the monthly Antiques & Fine Art auction as the lots chosen by the contestants went under the hammer– sometimes to cheers as a profit was made or to groans when the final bid fell short. Antiques experts Raj Bisram and David Harper were on hand to champion the blue and red teams as they battled it out to see who could make the most profit, or the THE Bell Inn at Aldworth was named Britain’s best pub by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). The inn, which has been run by the same family for 250 years, beat off competition from 47,500 other pubs from all over the UK. Judges hailed The Bell for its “strong community focus, relaxed ambience and great beer”. Owner Heather Macaulay is a

Izzy claims club’s first national medal IZZY FRY clinched Newbury Athletic Club’ s first-ever medal at the English National Cross Country Championship at Wollaton Park, Nottingham. The championships have been taking place since 1876 and the 19-year-old middle-distance runner claimed second place in the junior women ’s race. Newbury AC’s previous best performances came more than 35 years ago when Steve Smith placed fourth in the under-15 boys race and Commonwealth Games gold medalist Jon Solly finished seventh in the senior men ’s race. Fry’s career is on a dramatic upward curve. Earlier this month Fry, who is coached by Mick Woods, finished fourth in the Belgium Cross Cup on her senior England cross country debut, while last year she was placed fourth in the European under-20 Championships 5,000m in Sweden. She also helped Great Britain to victory in the under-20 team event at the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon in December. Fry and race winner Amelia Quirk from Bracknell AC took on the race from the start, quickly separating themselves from the rest of the high-quality field. Quirk, last year’ s winner, managed to establish a small gap in the second half of the race in one of the muddiest nationals on record to take the victory from Fry by just four seconds.

Grant Baker admitted that the pathway looks unsightly, but said many of the ash trees were diseased, at significant risk of falling and posed a health and safety risk. Mr Baker said it was part of a project to provide a safe and enjoyable community area while maximising the potential for habitat creation and rejuvenation.

In a letter to the landowners, Benham Estate, Green Party district councillor David Marsh described the move as heart - breaking. He said:“For me, and many others, you have completely ruined the area. Much of it – for example the places where dogs like to swim– is unrecognisable.

Tributes paid to popular DJ

TRIBUTES were been paid to Newbury Town Council employee and Kennet Radio presenter Tony Hiller, who died aged 30. Mr Hiller’s sudden death sent shockwaves through the community that he did so much for. Whether it was around town at an event or behind the DJ decks at Document House, the 30-year-old was a familiar face to many in the town. Mr Hiller had a variety of technical roles at Newbury and Thatcham’ s community radio station, Kennet Radio, including DJ, co-presenter and producer. He worked as corporate services officer for Newbury Town Council, where his responsibilities included graphic design,

Bell is best pub in UK

marketing, social media management and website design. The council’s chief executive, Hugh Peacocke, said: “Tony was a great member of the team and had a huge amount to offer. He was well-liked by everyone for his sense of humour and his willingness to help. Tony will be remembered very fondly by us all.”


6 Thursday, 21 January, 2021

Newbury Weekly News

Hocktide celebrations are off

and that the latest advice is that the risk of infection is expected to be at its peak in April or May, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone the traditional Hocktide celebrations. “This will include cancellation of the Hocktide luncheon and associated traditions such as the ale tasting, Tutti Day and the Constable’ s Parade.” Constable to the Town & Manor Nicholas Lumley said:“It is with a heavy heart that I am postponing the great Hungerford tradition of Hocktide. “I may well be the first Constable to have to do this, but I strongly believe it is in the best interest of Hungerford.”

THE coronavirus outbreak led to the postponement of Hungerford’ s popular Hocktide event for the first time in living memory. The difficult decision was taken by the Town & Manor of Hungerford, whose trustees hope to stage the event in autumn instead of its usual date on the second Tuesday after Easter. Chief executive of the Town & Manor charity Jed Ramsay said: “It wasn’t an easy decision, but the majority or responses we’ve had have been understanding.” The charity said:“Given the serious nature of the coronavirus (Covid-19),

Battle stations at Shaw

public and there was a lot of interest to see characters who would’ve been present at the battle of 1644. “The characters went through some military drills with their replica arms and visitors could meet some of the other living history characters.” The Battles of Newbury took place in the 1640s as part of the English Civil War and were fought between Royalist forces loyal to King Charles I and Parliamentarians.

MORE than 250 visitors turned out at Shaw House to learn what life was like during the Battles of Newbury in the 17th century. The Earl Rivers Regiment – who are members of The Sealed Knot, the oldest re-enactment society in the UK – dressed up as soldiers, doctors and even a ‘drunk’ before demon- strating how swords, muskets and pikes were used in Civil War battles. Shaw House manager Nik Stewart said: “We had 260 members of the A FORMER soldier recounted the moment he gave CPR to a stranger who had been hit by a car. Mike’s training and experience on the battlefield kicked in when he came across the incident outside St John ’s Church, Newbury. “I saw a number of cars parked strangely and just knew something was wrong,” he explained. “We were always taught to look for the absence of the norm. I looked down and saw a man flat on his back with blood all over his head. “It was obvious I had only just missed what happened, so I knelt down and did the drill of shaking him, talking to him. I was trying to take his pulse and he let out a funny gasp.” Mike, pictured, who now works as an

Silence descends on the streets

LOCAL streets fell eerily silent. Shop shutters were down and pub and restaurant doors locked. Closed signs could be seen everywhere in West Berkshire and North Hampshire – and nobody knew how long the lockdown would last. In place were the biggest restrictions on daily life ever seen across the country in peacetime, as the coronavirus pandemic claimed more lives every day. But amid the gloom, individuals and organi- sations stepped forward to help the most vulnera- ble in our community. The Newbury Weekly News is calling on people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary,

Toast to a Fleet Street pioneer ALDWORTH toasted the launch of villager Clare Hastings’ Hold The Front Page!: The Wit and Wisdom of Anne Scott-James. A former Aldworth villager, the late Anne Scott-James started her career working for Vogue , she went on to become the first woman’s editor on Picture Post , before leaving to set up her own page on the Daily Express in 1954. Anne – the mother of author Clare Hastings – divided her time between a cottage in Aldworth and London. This is a candid behind-the-scenes look at the first woman of Fleet Street. Published by Pimpernel Press, Hold The Front Page!: The Wit and Wisdom of Anne Scott-James is available from Amazon in hardback, priced £14.99.

Ex-soldier saves a stranger

keep safe and be good neighbours, while maintaining social distancing. Remain calm, follow Government advice and we will get through this together. Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation to announce

tough new measures for at least three weeks in a bid to crack down on the spread of the disease. As the time of the lockdown, a total of 422 people had died in the UK of Covid-19. There were 12 confirmed cases of the disease in West Berkshire.

engineer at Vodafone, didn ’t think twice and began chest compressions, before the injured man“gasped and grunted and began breathing again” . “I do not know any of the people present on the scene but thank God we were there at that time and with- out a doubt saved that man ’s life.”

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7 Thursday, 21 January, 2021

Newbury Weekly News

Charities’ aid for rough sleepers

Crusaders cash crisis HUNGERFORD Town chairman Patrick Chambers had to reduce the playing budget significantly, due to ongoing constraints at the club. The Crusaders were nine points from safety at the bottom of the National League South with 11 games remaining. Home games against Hemel Hempstead and Concord Rangers were postponed and Chambers said:“ In recent weeks we have struggled to cover player wages and now we have lost both the Hemel and Concord games, we have reached a tipping point. “It’s time we met reality head on and reduce our budget significantly. Sadly I have had to ask Ian [Herring] to try and move some players on ASAP to stop us getting deeper into financial difficulties.”

ROUGH sleepers were given extra support during the coronavirus pandemic thanks to a new task force set up by West Berkshire Council and partner agencies. The group was set up to ensure that homeless people continued to be given help, especially when services are impacted. Among the support were the distribution of health packs to rough sleepers and food provision by charities, including the Newbury Soup Kitchen and Loose Ends. These charities enhanced their service to protect vulnerable residents. The council said:“We know that some people will be anxious about the current situation and we want to ensure those rough sleepers who need it can access help.” Working alongside the council were groups including Two Saints, Eight Bells for Mental Health, Newbury Soup Kitchen, Loose Ends, the Community Furniture Project, West Berkshire Homeless and Healthwatch West THE Hare & Hounds at Speen was sold to new owners. The previous incumbents, Jonathan and Jean Nelsey, have called ‘time’ after 13 years. Mr Nelsey, aged 57, said:“ Sometimes you just know when the time is right and you’ve done all you can. “When we bought it, it was falling to bits and we’ve built it up into a thriving business.” The business was been sold to the coach- ing inns chain Grosvenor Pubs Limited. The 267-year-old Hare & Hounds was crowned Restaurant & Bar of the Year at the 2018 Newbury Weekly News Best in

Corn Exchange shuts its doors

audience members and staf members is paramount to us as we navigate these unprecedented times. We are closely following government advice and will reopen as soon as possible. “We understand you may be disappointed if you have booked to see a show or film or have signed up to a workshop or class during this period.”

Dragon rescue STAFF at a Newbury vets attempted to reunite a bearded dragon with its owner. The exotic lizard was handed into Falkland Veterinary Clinic by a woman who discovered it in her garden shed. Bearded dragons need to be kept in a warm environment and this one was lucky to have been discovered before succumbing to the cold. However, Falkland staff gave him a warm home in an incubator and, with the exception of a broken leg he was in good physical condition. The clinic’s senior nurse, Gary Lewis, said: “We’ll keep him for a week before we try and rehome him, but a couple of staff have expressed an interest, so that could be a route we can go down.” NEWBURY’S Corn Exchange theatre closed until further notice due to the Covid outbreak. The arts venue said: “Advice from the UK Government has changed very significantly and we regret to announce that the Corn Exchange and the Learning Centre will close until further notice. “The safety of our participants, volunteers, performers, artists,

Berkshire. Councillor Hilary Cole, West Berkshire Council’s executive member for housing, said:“Together with our partners we are determined to support rough sleepers and ensure that they are protected and cared for during these challenging times.” Newbury Soup Kitchen provided food for rough sleepers Business Awards. Mr Nelsey previously said: “I first saw this pub as a 21-year-old and I said then, one day I would love to own it and extend it. “It was just a pipe dream at the time, but now I feel incredibly lucky and proud to have been able to actually achieve it.” The jewel in its crown is The Barn, which opened in January 2015. It provides the pub with an expansive restaurant and wedding venue leading out on to a well-kept terrace and garden. The 2015 renovations also included a new lounge area, the Pantry dining area and The Library bar dining area.

Best Barr none again DAVE Barr won the men ’s singles title for the first time since 1984 at the Newbury & District Closed Table Tennis tournament, held at Newbury College. Barr, pictured, beat second seed Sam Rick in straight sets after a thrilling final. Ricks, however, had a tremendous tournament as he won four out of his five finals. Around 50 Newbury & District League players contested 12 events during a long day of highly- competitive table tennis. The Division 1 singles event was won by Mike Jones, who beat Jamie Cole in four sets. Ray Beeks beat Richard Hudson in four sets to win the Division 2 singles, while in the Division 3 singles Dave Martin beat Dan O’Neill.

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8 Thursday, 21 January, 2021

Newbury Weekly News

Swan is shot by thug

Everybody loves Sammy! EVERYONE loves Sammy Wasuwa. He’s a keyworker, out in all weathers with his mobile sweeping gear, keeping our town centre clean and his work has never been more vital. Well-known for his ready smile, before the pandemic he was always happy to stop to chat to shoppers. He carried out his tasks in the pouring rain and was kitted up in protective clothing . Mr Wasuwa, who lives with his wife and two daughters, and has a son in Canada who is a doctor looking after Covid-19 patients.

“I regularly feed the swans, and these ones in particular I feed twice a day. It came to me for its regular feed and I noticed blood on its neck. “I was throwing it food and it couldn’t eat – it was struggling to pick the food up. “Then I noticed on one side of its face it was really swollen, and when I looked closer there was a black pellet. “People are alert and vigilant about what other people are doing at the moment, so I wanted to see if anyone noticed anyone with a gun.”

A SWAN was shot by an airgun in West Mills, Newbury, leaving it unable to eat and requiring surgery. The bird was found on the River Kennet by Emma Bateman and was taken to Swan Support in Datchet where it underwent an operation to remove the pellet. It remained at the centre for a few weeks to recover before being returned to the river. Mrs Bateman said:“ It’s a terrible thing – who would shoot a swan?

Home school success

centre to the public. The centre usually also relies heavily on the local community for donations of pet food and accessories, but that income streamwas also severed, which meant costs increased as their residents stayed with them for a prolonged period of time. With a virtual learning platform established, Mrs Wilson said staf, pupils and parents had adapted brilliantly. Mrs Wilson video-briefed staf on updates, as well as sharing their news through a weekly virtual presentation video. She hoped the weekly pupil update would “give them a chance to see what others are doing and remind them about some of the things we have been focusing on this term”. Mrs Wilson said that Trinity would support key workers of children from families in the Newbury Academy Trust.

A REHOMING centre in Great Shefford had to turn animals in need away for the first time. The National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) at Trindledown Farm struggled to survive amid the coronavirus lockdown. THE headteacher of Trinity School, Newbury, spoke of how pupils, parents and staff adapted to teaching during the pandemic. Schools were closed down on Friday, March 20, in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19. Exceptions were made for children whose parents are key workers like NHS staff, police and delivery drivers, who need to be able to go to work and children who were “most vulnerable”. Trinity headteacher Charlotte Wilson said the school had needed to adapt very quickly

Emily Ambrose

Timely delivery

NEWBURY bassoonist Emily Ambrose was making good use of the current enforced time at home by getting to grips with a brand new Mollenhauer contrabassoon. When The Cherubim Trust received a generous donation enabling them to buy this enormous instrument, they asked if the talented young musician would give it its first concert outing in the summer. Fortunately, it arrived in the UK from the German manufacturer just before the current lockdown began, meaning Emily could make the most of having extra time to practise while schools are closed. The Cherubim Trust loans professional- calibre instruments to aspiring musicians aged between 15 and 25, who cannot afford an instrument that matches their potential. Fifteen-year-old Emily, a member of The National Youth Orchestra and a student at the Junior Department of The Royal Academy of Music, plans to audition for Conservatoires after finishing school.

to provide pupils and the school community with a virtual education.

Clapping for carers

Centre is forced to refuse animals in need

and Clap for Carers. It came as the Covid-19 crisis intensified, placing even more strain on care workers. At around 8pm, there were emotional scenes in Gloucester Road, and people across the district applauded the carers for 10 consecutive Thursdays.

PEOPLE across the district stepped outside their doors and clapped, banged pans and rang bells in a nationwide celebration of NHS and care staf . It was the second time in a fortnight that West Berkshire and North Hampshire residents came out of isolation to show their appreciation

Having to close its doors to the public meant an abrupt halt to vital income from visitor entrance fees, the charity shop, café sales and rehoming fees. The West Berkshire centre was caring for 60 animals which could not be rehomed until staff were allowed to reopen the


Photo credit Steven Marwick

Since May 2020 when we re-opened as a takeaway you have suppor ted us at the Café, and when we were able to open the Tower for visitors to the heritage site, you enjoyed our WWII exhibition. Sadly we had to close the exhibition in the later lockdowns. The year has been a challenge for all and we are very grateful you have continued to visit the takeaway.We are proud to be a par t of the community and we look forward to welcoming everyone back into the Tower for the café and exhibitions. Please check on our website for details of when we will be able to open our doors and welcome you back into the Tower. So in the meantime, please continue to visit the takeaway, which suppor ts the charity and helps keep the heritage site alive. We are open:- Wednesday 11:00 – 3.00 Thursday to Sunday 10:30 – 3:00 You can now donate by credit card at the café window, or visit Full details on our website, where you can enquire about joining our volunteers.


9 Thursday, 21 January, 2021

Newbury Weekly News

So near yet so far for couple

Queen’s Award for Xtrac

“So to receive such prestigious recognition for the highly-skilled accomplishments of our people is a very welcome boost to morale for all of us. “And it’s particularly good news, of course, for our fast-growing High- Performance Automotive business unit, headed by James Setter, which led the implementation of the winning Integrated Lightweight Electric Vehicle transmission project.” While global motorsport takes a temporary pause, Xtrac deferred its celebrations and joined the UK motorsport industry’s efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic by repurposing parts of its factory and staff to manufacture medical ventilator components for the Ventilator Challenge UK initiative.

THATCHAM-based company Xtrac received the Queen ’s Award for Enterprise. Xtrac, a vehicle transmission specialist, won the award in the innovation category for its development of an Integrated Lightweight Electric Vehicle (ILEV) gearbox range spearheaded by chief executive Adrian Moore. The company, based in Gables Way, is a world-leader in the design and manufacture of transmission systems and driveline components for top-level professional motorsport and high-performance automotive applications. Mr Moore said: “Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has afected us like all other businesses in our industry, in the UK and around the world.

From gin to hand sanitiser Just three days before extraction, however, the FOR three weeks, Newbury couple Ella Tomkins and Jessica Warr traversed the length and breadth of the country, on the run from a team of specially- trained ‘hunters’ . The girls were taking part in Channel 4 reality TV series Hunted , aiming to avoid detection for four weeks to scoop a share of the £100,000 prize money. They camped in the wild and took shelter in strangers’ houses, desperate to keep hidden from the hunters.

Olympic dream dies FOR British athletes, the news of the postponement of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games as a result of the coron- avirus pandemic was hugely disappointing. The amount of training and preparation they put in for their event – both physically and mentally – is enormous. It’s no different for Newbury brothers Matt, 30, and George Rossiter, 28, who were both selected to represent Great Britain in rowing events in Tokyo this summer. George, who was named in the pairs squad, said: “Although it’s disappointing, everyone knew the severity of it all and nobody was getting ahead of themselves or too excited. “It puts us in a situation where another year has been added on to the cycle.” The brothers, who train in Caversham, moved back to their parents’ house in Donnington where they continued their training. No escape for Blues NEWBURY Blues head coach Paul Archer was disappointed his side were unable to complete a great escape in South West Premier. The RFU announced that all rugby in England would be concluded and that the playing record would determine promotion and relegation. Unfortunately Blues were one of two teams in the relegation zone and as a result they’ve dropped down to level 6. “It was the right decision to end the league, but we’re disappointed ,” said Archer. “ We didn’t get a chance to pull of our big escape, as we left ourselves with too much to do.”

devastated to be caught so close to the finish. She said: “We were absolutely gutted – when you get as far as we did, you start believing you can do it.”

duo – who had returned to Newbury to replenish supplies– found them- selves cornered in wood- land and were captured. Jess admitted they were

Racing to the rescue

A MEALS on wheels hub was set up at Newbury Racecourse to provide food for the most vulnerable elderly people in West Berkshire during the Covid-19 crisis. The racecourse teamed up with Age Concern Newbury & District and Swift Couriers to create the hub in a dedicated area. The hub used available kitchens and chefs at the racecourse to support the

A NEWBURY gin distillery has been making its first deliveries of hand sanitiser to frontline workers in the town. The 137 Gin Distillery, run by Pete Lumber at The Newbury pub, on Bartholomew Street, began producing the all-important sanitiser after seeing an online plea from Fair Close Centre. Gin blogger and Thatcham resi- dent Debbie Burgess suggested the switch from gin to sanitiser to Mr Lumber and the pair worked hard to raise money for the expensive raw ingredients. Mrs Burgess set a target of £3,000, which was boosted by a £1,000 grant from Greenham Trust, and production was to the recipe set out by the World Health Organisation. The duo were joined by councillor Steve Masters (Green, Speen),

escalating number of vulnerable people who required the service. The racecourse also

who was searching for hand sani- tiser for local voluntary groups. “We saw that Steve had put out a post saying he wanted hand sanitiser for Fair Close, particu - larly the drivers for meals on wheels,” Mrs Burgess explained. “We have had people coming forward to donate any surplus hand sanitiser they have and empty plastic bottles are being donated too.”

“We want to play our part as much as we possibly can for the most vulnerable groups within our local community and have the resource and extensive space here at the racecourse to allow us to assist with a coordinated and safe response to the unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in.

“Working closely with the team at Age Concern Newbury & District and Swift Couriers, as well as the West Berkshire CCG, hopefully we can ease some of the pressure on the services across the district and provide much larger quantities of meals to the most vulnerable.”

donated £1,000 worth of food from its existing supplies. Newbury Racecourse chief executive Julian Thick said: “There is a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety around the current Covid-19 pandemic.

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