On Christmas Day William (Bill) Dent-Robinson celebrated his 105th birthday.
Originally from Cumbria, William came south to go to Reading University and in 1933 took up a teaching post at Didcot Co-educational Secondary School where he met his future wife, Winifred, who taught Mathematics. In 1936 he joined the newly built St Birinus Secondary Modern School for Boys and is the sole surviving member of the original staff. He has lived in the village for 70 years.
During the Second World War, William served in the Royal Air Force. He undertook wireless interception and intelligence work near the front line in Europe and took part in the D-Day landings. In 1946 he returned to St Birinus as Head of the Geography Department. He was acting Headmaster for a year and for two decades was Deputy Headmaster. He retired in 1973. There are a huge number of his ex-pupils who live in and around Blewbury who remember ‘Robbie’ with great affection and hold him in very high regard.
On Sunday 11 Dec our Reindeer and Santa’s gathered at Blewbury School for our 2nd Annual Santa Fun Run.
The crowds were entertained with festive tunes by Blewbury Brass Band and after a warm up led by David Whitlock of Get Fit the Santa’s (led by two cheeky Elves) were let loose around the village on a 5k course. Everyone completed the course and received a medal and our winners were …
1st Male = Richard Savage – 20.57 1st Female = Emma Chorlston – 26.12
1st Male (U16) and overall winner = Morgan Smith – 20.42 1st Female (U16) = Beth Ireland – 23.17
Thank you to everyone that took part and to all our helpers on the day. All profits raised will go to Blewbury School. Lisa Shayler
Photo: Bernard Mattimore
Roundup of our activities in 2016
Projects: Our newest project is the Mike Edmunds Community Orchard on Tickers Folly Field, which is being planted this month and has attracted a lot of interest. Hedge-laying continues for its third winter. We used our apple-juicing equipment to make a huge amount of juice in six sessions plus hires, much of it from apples that would have gone to waste. The weekly Blewbury Garden Market had a good year, selling surplus produce, preserves, home-made bread and cakes, etc. (A smaller, winter version runs on Saturday mornings at the Post Office.) The Woodway Permaculture Orchard Garden is producing quantities of soft fruit and some vegetables, and the fruit trees are starting to yield as well. The Energy Initiative thermally imaged 20 houses, especially for new occupants and for checking improvement work. (See separate advert for imaging in January.)
Events: We had a willow-weaving workshop to make lovely garden structures and then a table-top sale selling items people no longer needed or wanted. In June we were at Blewbury Family Fun Day with pond-dipping for children and an exhibition about the community orchard that was also at the VPA annual show. In late autumn we had a very successful footpath leaf-clearing – see separate article in this issue.
Talks: We had four talks in 2016. Rose Somerset told the story of our local landscape – the North Wessex Downs AONB. Richard Roslyn talked about and illustrated the beauty of trees. Graham Scholey told us about the ecology and conservation of otters, and Marianne Suhr shared her expertise on how to sustainably insulate old houses. Profits from ticket sales for the first two talks were donated to the Village Hall Refurbishment; from the third to WaterAid and from the fourth to Blewbury Pre-school.
Other activities: Although not ‘official’ SB activities, members of the Core Group have worked on important activities closely related to our interests. For the newly approved Blewbury Neighbourhood Plan, most of the Core Group helped in creating this important document for the future of the village. Another was saving local bus services, together with our neighbouring villages in forming the Downland Villages Transport Group after the county council ended all subsidies for buses. Finally, there was involvement with the Village Hall Refurbishment to help ensure that it is as energy efficient as possible.
Help! SB is run by our Core Group. We especially need someone who can help with publicity, and someone (who might or might not be the same person) to help update our websites to more modern technology. If you are interested, please contact us at email@example.com, or phone Jo (850490) or Eric (850558).
|BLEWBURY FREECycle – FREE ITEMS TO A GOOD HOME
|Box of 6 Sainsbury water filter cartridges – NEW
|Old child’s chair, spindle back and legs, seat 28 cm high, back 59 cm high. Would be lovely stripped, treated for woodworm and polished.
|BT Digital Baby Monitor 200. Works perfectly except that Parent Unit will not charge up, so it needs to be used sitting in the charger.
|Da-Lite brand Projector screen, 4 foot square
|Brown wooden framed signed hunting print: ‘North Cotswold from Spring Hill’ By John King (136 of 250). Size 23″ high, 31″ wide. Published by the North Cotswold Hunt.
|Large wheelie suitcase, burgundy colour, one strap missing but otherwise more or less as new.
|To include your item, send short description, email & phone no. to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line ‘Freecycle’
We welcome new members. If you would like to become involved in Sustainable Blewbury, or to receive our free Newsletter, please contact us at: email@example.com
Your local village gardening club
Our annual social on the 3rd December was enjoyed by everyone who attended, including the tasty chilli prepared by Karen to go with the Mexican evening. The quizzes and games also went down well with everyone a winner!!
Work is still going on to finalise our 2017 programme and exact details will be in the next issue of the February of the Blewbury Bulletin and Upton News. We can only arrange these events if we have the support of the local community – so please do pop the dates in your 2017 diary. This is what we have planned.
Thursday 2nd March – A Meeting with “Three ’20 minute talks” being given by committee members. Venue expected to be Blewbury Manor Barn – 7pm to 9pm.
Saturday 17th June – Visit to Gardener’s World Live at the NEC, Birmingham – Group ticket price: Adult £18 and Over 65 £16.50 Plus travel cost, expected to be £10 per head.
Saturday 8th July – ANNUAL SHOW
? August – Visit to Kew Gardens, London (date to be confirmed)
Sunday 22nd October – Cake & Plant Sale at the Apple Day with Sustainable Blewbury at the Red Lion
Wednesday 1st November – Annual General Meeting
Saturday 2nd December – Annual Social
Have a happy Christmas and peaceful New Year and we look forward to seeing you at our meeting in March.
DID YOU KNOW? The wood of the ASH TREE is remarkably strong and flexible, and is excellent for construction because it doesn’t split when manipulated. In the past it was used to make stagecoaches, railway wagons, cartwheels, oars, early aeroplanes and the frame of the Morris Minor car! Happy Gardening Eileen
A week of sub-zero temperatures should have killed off a few slugs and snails but perhaps not their eggs.
However, it is a good start to winter. Also this year there seemed to me to be very little aphid activity, although I don’t recall seeing a lot of ladybirds eating the few that I did see. White fly were also not such a problem on the brassicas, so from that point of view a good year! Fingers crossed for 2017.
On the other hand, the weeds proliferated… bindweed was everywhere, and if not taken in hand very regularly, began to cover everything. It is particularly difficult to extract from the middle of gooseberry and raspberry patches, as of course is couch grass, despite my best efforts. It might be best to remove every other plant so that the weeds can be removed. After the canes have been cut down would be the best time, room to move then.
My broad beans have started to show in the greenhouse growbags; hopefully they will not get too leggy before it is time to plant them out in early spring.
The brassica patch is really rather pathetic; the suffering they endured in their early life has resulted in a very small growth of sprouts and a couple of paltry cabbages. There might be one cauliflower, I’ve not dared to look inside the curled leaves yet. The leeks have done reasonably well considering they went in rather late but there is a lot of coarse green and not a lot of white, which is annoying. I obviously didn’t plant them deep enough!
Compost corner: after a mammoth harvesting of leaves from the village footpaths recently, most of them ended up at the allotments. We’ve filled both bays and taken a few away but the remainder are going to be taken to Agrivert and turned into compost at their depot in Ewelme, a good solution all round as it will then come back to us as ready made compost at the next Compost Giveaway in spring. Angela Hoy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
By the time you get to read this, we will just have a few days to go for Christmas postings, (hurrah).
Last date for posting 2nd class is Tuesday 20th & 1st class is Wednesday 21st, last Special delivery Thursday 22nd for delivery on Friday morning (last acceptance time is 4.30 pm).
We will be open as normal, Christmas Eve, 9.30 – 12 noon, and we will re- open on Wednesday morning (for a half day), also New Year’s Eve/Hogmanay (also a half day) & we will be closed on Monday 2nd January too! If you have an electric/gas key, and need an emergency top up, ring me (850219) don’t sit in the cold or dark!
The Didcot scout post couldn’t get itself organized this year, with only Harwell & Steventon being covered.
We also have tickets for the New Year’s Eve party in the village hall!
Please can people take extra care in the village hall car park? There are always lots of people walking through, children going to school, patients for the doctors, or Post Office customers, some cars are whizzing through at great speeds, please take care. Some of our customers have reported people riding bikes/scooters with no lights on, in the dark, often in dark clothing, including a young lad who cycles round Bridus Mead, Bridus Way & Besselslea, he doesn’t look, and just speeds round in a circle!
Happy Christmas to you all, and a prosperous New Year! Love from Karen & Angela
Our December meeting raised a few things, glasses included.
The disappearance in the village of the Berkshire accent, a question of how many houses have cellars (in a wet village it’s a surprise any do), our ability to identify individuals living here in the mid 1400’s being amongst them. One of the members has mounted our village postcard collection in a very large album too so we can view them properly.
A New Year will bring new enquiries and projects. If you would like to join our meetings they are free to attend with no membership fees either and you have the resources available not only of our archives but some exceptionally knowledgeable people. Our next meeting is January 10th at 8pm. Contact either Audrey Long on 85427 or Mark Palethorpe (email@example.com)