Monthly Archives: November 2018

Village Hall Refurbishment

November 23, 2018

We are back on track. We have an outline plan to refurbish the hall within its current footprint and have submitted a planning application. We are now working on the detail.

The aim is still to create a village hall fit for another generation of which we can all be proud. The plan envisages replacing the floors, ceilings, doors and single glazed windows; rewiring and installing new lighting, heating and ventilation; insulating the main hall loft and replacing and insulating the flat roofs; installing a new kitchen and toilets and modernising the decor internally and externally. There are some enhancements we would like to include, if we can afford them, the main one being to relocate the Vale Room toilets to the Vale Room store and replace the toilets with a new store accessible from the main hall. We have set a budget of £400,000.

We could start work in July but we will not have all the money we need (even for a refurbishment without any enhancements) and we will have to proceed in two phases. It will be simpler, less risky and cheaper to wait until later in the year to give us a chance to raise all the money we need and do the job in one phase. This would mean starting in the autumn. The main challenge facing us, whether we proceed in one or two phases, is to raise all the remaining money required between now and then. If we fall short we will still proceed but without some or all of the enhancements we would like to include.

Thanks to the efforts and donations made so far and with the support of the Parish Council, we already have £240,000 in the bank. We will re-apply for £80,000 previously pledged to the earlier scheme. This leaves £80k still to identify and secure. This will have to be found from further funding bids, more village fundraising and personal donations. If we can find another £30,000 from within the village, we can approach third party funders on the basis that two-thirds of the funding has been raised internally, which strengthens our position. We are talking to people who are organising events which could support the hall and personal donations can be made to the Hall Refurbishment Account (details on the village website

There will be a village meeting in April, when we will have a detailed design and cost estimate. This will be an opportunity before we commit to discuss the plans, including the options for enhancements and phasing, and to review how the fundraising is progressing. In the meantime, if anybody has comments or ideas for fundraising, please do get in touch.

Steve White


November 30, 2018

The Village Carol Concert at St Michael’s Church will be on WEDNESDAY 19th DECEMBER. 8pm

Everybody is welcome to come and join in the singing of traditional Christmas Carols and listen to the choirs, orchestra and the brass band and hear a few festive readings. The concert starts promptly at 8pm but come earlier if you want a seat!

Musicians:  players of all standards are invited to join our orchestra so please contact Lindy Farrell on 01235 413631 ( to let her know you’d like to take part. All players should come along on the evening at 7.15pm with music stand and instrument ready to rehearse at 7.30pm.

The Go Active Gold Community Spirit Award

November 29, 2018

The Go Active Gold Community Spirit Award in The Vale of White Horse was awarded to Blewbury at a recent event and the certificate below presented to the chair of the Parish Council.

Well done Blewbury and the residents who regularly take part. Thanks go to the instructor Jo Cassells, all the other organisers of this very worthwhile scheme, the bulletin and the clubhouse. There are hopes that other sports and courses will become available soon.

Here is a summary of what was said at the event.

Village: Blewbury

More about the Village:

Blewbury Village has been one of our new villages for 2018. We have set up a few activities in the village which have been well attended by residents.

The Nordic walking Event saw a great number of participants take part and enjoyed a scenic walk around the local countryside. The local Blewbury Bulletin has always been accommodating, regularly promoting our sessions and we have had a positive relationship with Blewbury Clubhouse which has enabled us to run our two very successful Chair Yoga and Senior Circuits classes.

Link to Go Active video


November 30, 2018

We have had warnings from our head office of the latest scams to con people.

One is when someone alleging to be from your bank, building society, tax office, police or other law enforcement agency, saying that you owe them money, and telling you to buy gift cards, iTunes vouchers or to buy Euro or other currency, and either give them the codes over the phone or they will send a courier/taxi to collect it. Another scam is allegedly from your bank telling you that your bank card will be collected by courier, and it’s been corrupted and they need to send another one. Another scam is someone calling to tell you that you are a suspect in a police investigation, and need to withdraw a large amount of money to avoid going to court! Please warn your family and protect any vulnerable people from these horrible people!

Christmas opening hours

We will be closing at lunchtime on Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve, and closed on Saturday 29th December. Otherwise we are open as usual in the run up the big day! Payments for tax credits, child benefits and other allowances will be paid into accounts on the previous working day if your payment day is on a  bank holiday! Emergency top ups for gas/electric may call my mobile 07825 154842. Don’t get cold please!

Last posting dates

Postal  services to Libya & Somali are suspended, while postal services to Canada are disrupted at the moment by strike action. We recommend extra early posting! Here are the last recommended posting dates:

  • 26th November – operational BFPO’s • 4th December – Africa & Middle East • 7th, Cyprus, Malta, Asia, Far East, Eastern Europe • 8th – Caribbean, Central & South America • 10th – Greece, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand • 14th – Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Poland & USA , static BFPO’s • 15th – Finland & Sweden • 17th – Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland • 18th – 2nd class inland, Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg • 20th – 1st class inland & Parcelforce 48 • 21st – Parcelforce 24 • 22nd – Special Delivery.

Santa’s post box is up and running (Father Christmas, Santa’s Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ). All letters to this address should be sent by 7th December, and you will need a stamp!

General info/Reminders

All non-EU parcels need a customs label on, all international airmail items need a blue airmail sticker on, all parcels & recorded items need the senders address on them, please do this BEFORE you get to the counter, the people behind you will appreciate that, we do not have time to stick all your stamps on for you, nor do we wrap or address your parcels unless you have a valid reason! Please don’t moan at us about the price of stamps, we know!

We have had a broken HTC phone handed in, and some money, if either of these could be yours, please pop in and give a description/ amount to claim them!

We have several ‘elf on a shelf’ ready for adoption, (in hiding for obvious reasons), lots of Christmas cards, paper, sticky tape & packaging supplies! Love from Karen & Maggie 


Thanks to all those who came on the village walk on November 11th. It was a very successful event, and we all learned something new about the men who served in WWI.

At our next meeting we shall be making arrangements for the speaker we have invited in February to talk about her suffragette aunt, Gladys Hazel. Going further back in time, we shall be discussing the latest metal-detecting finds in the village. What’s the oldest metal or pottery find in your garden? Come along for some expert advice. Last meeting before Christmas, wine and mince-pies on offer.

Next meeting is Tuesday, December 11th  at 8pm in the History Room, Parsonage Lane.

Contacts: Mark at or Audrey 850427 or

Sustainable Blewbury

Autumn village leaves clear-up – Sunday 2nd December, 2–4 pm

Every autumn we clear slippery leaves from our lovely footpaths and make it a fun event for all the family. A great way to do your bit to help keep Blewbury beautiful. (Let us know If you can take a few bags of leaves to compost.)

Meet at the Playclose at 2 pm. Bring rakes, barrows and leaf scoops if you have them, or borrow ours.
Afterwards there’s free tea/coffee/juice and home-made cake for volunteers at The Blueberry, from 3.45 pm.

In case of bad weather on 2nd December this will be postponed to Sunday 9th December and publicised widely.

Thermal imaging – February 2019

  • Would you like a warmer home and lower heating bills? Thermal imaging can find where your heat is escaping.
  • If you have already improved your insulation, would you like us to check that it’s effective?

To have your home thermally imaged by Sustainable Blewbury volunteers in February, email us at or phone Jo Lakeland (850490). This service is FREE, so it’s best to book soon.

Community orchard news

Earlier this year we had the misfortune to have four trees uprooted and stolen from the orchard. We have now received three of the replacement trees, and planted them on 18th November. The last tree, a Windsor pear, is being specially grafted for us and will be available next March or April when we will be back to a full complement.

Green drinks – Monday 3rd December, from 7.30 pm at The Blueberry

What are ‘green drinks’? Not crème de menthe or a kale smoothie, but a chance to talk over a drink, ask questions or tell us what you think about green topics: anything from issues in and around Blewbury to climate change, biodiversity, or what SB does. Everyone welcome, completely informal, no agenda, just come and chat.



Plum Tamarin double wooden children’s swing + slide for ages 36 months to 7/8 years, with extra Plum baby swing seat for 12 months to 25 kg.

Jo Lakeland

01235 850490
To freecycle your item please send a short description, email & phone number to Lydia Inglis (

Go to to find out more about Sustainable Blewbury.
Getting involved is fun and can contribute to the village and its environment. To participate, or to receive
our free monthly Newsletter, email
us at or phone 01235 850372.


Hello to everyone. Autumn has gone, Winter is here. Short days, long, cold nights. But at Blewbury WI we have lots of events during December, and we would love some new Members to join us. All would be made welcome at the following events.

  • Monday, 3rd Mah Jong at Graeme’s.  2.30pm.  Please ring beforehand.
  • Wednesday, 5th Lyn’s Walk. Meet at Village Hall  9am.  For a different walk to Didcot. Bring pennies for coffee and your bus pass if you have one. The walk will be possible even if it has rained in the days before.
  • Wednesday, 5th Scrabble at Rosemary’s. 7.30pm.  Please ring beforehand.
  • Friday, 7th Craft Evening at Liz’s. 7pm. Please ring beforehand.
  • Wednesday, 12th Blewbury WI Christmas Lunch at The Blueberry.
  • Friday, 14th Talking Science lecture at RAL Harwell. “The star of Bethlehem – an astronomer’s view.” Dr. Barry Kellett. 1.30pm.
  • Monday, 17th Mince pies and coffee at Maggie’s.  10.30am.  Raffle.
  • Mah Jong is held every Monday at 2.30pm.

For more details of any of our events, or if you wish to join us, please ring Karen on 850219 or visit our web page, where you will find more information.       Love from Cilla. 



 Your Local Village Gardening Club

Well, we’ve almost reached the end of 2018!! The VPA Committee held its Annual General Meeting on the 7th November. The Members of the Committee conducted the business and all agreed to continue to run the VPA for another year, with Eileen and Karen swapping jobs – Eileen is now Chair and Karen is Show Secretary.  Thank you to all of you who attended the meeting and thank you to Richard Roslyn for a very interesting update, with some beautiful pictures, on his work in the garden at Blewbury Manor.

Tickets are still available for our ANNUAL SOCIAL which takes place on SATURDAY 8th DECEMBER (7PM – 10pm) at UPTON VILLAGE HALL.  The theme this year is “France”– with delicious home-made food – I promise it’s not frogs legs and snails!! (Dietary requirements catered for – please let us know when buying your tickets). We have quizzes, games and lots of fun planned. Tickets have been held at last year’s price of £9 per person. Contact Karen at Blewbury Post Office or ring Margaret Maytham in Upton on 01235 850126 or contact Eileen on 01235 510095.

Our programme for 2019 is being finalised and we have some interesting visits planned.  Details will be in the next Blewbury Bulletin.

DID YOU KNOW ? James Boswell (1740-95) wrote “In an orchard there should be enough to eat, enough to lay up, enough to be stolen and enough to rot on the ground.” And George Bernard Shaw (1856 -1950) wrote “Be like the sun and meadow, which are not in the least concerned about the coming winter.” Happy Gardening Eileen


Bridge Club

The Christmas Party will be held in the Village Hall on Sunday 9th December, 5 for 5.30 pm. You do not need to come with a partner – everyone can be accommodated. it will be Military Bridge as usual. A list of suggested food is being displayed at each bridge session in the Vale Room which you may volunteer to bring along to the party – all reasonable expenses will be reimbursed by the Treasurer. Please enter your name next to what you wish to contribute. Prizes will be available and cups for the annual competitions presented.

Congratulations to Mike Brown and Richard Bird who, on provisional results, came 84th nationally out of over 1,800 pairs, with 63% in the Children in Need Simultaneous Pairs on 15th November. Michael Allen  851870


November 5, 2018

It doesn’t seem possible that we can already be at the end of our first half term of this year. As usual we have been very busy and have had quite a flurry of new pupils this September with children joining not only in the Foundation year but throughout the school.

Our theme this year is ‘Survival’ and this term we have been looking at climate; this work has taken different forms throughout the school. One class has looked at temperate trees, another class has looked at Antarctica whilst another has looked at vegetables that grow in our climate and linked this with the RHS Big Soup Challenge.

We were pleased to be able to host the Sustainable Blewbury Celebration and we linked the work that the pupils did for this in with our harvest festival. Food miles and sustainable production of food was one of the many themes.

We have again be recognised for our International and global bias in our curriculum and have been awarded our 7th International School Award. We are now the only school in the world to have received this award seven times; continuously since its conception. Each award lasts for three years with assessed work in the final of those years.

We are also pleased to announce that we have been awarded another Erasmus + project and we are linked with schools from Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. We have just held our first organisational meeting and in March there will be a growth in school population when 10 pupils from each of the countries visit the school. Our pupils will be able to travel to Spain this year and Germany and Holland next academic year.

We have already had two teachers visit from Sardinia this year and will have two more from Finland in November. We have also gained a grant for travelling to job shadow and train in Europe over the next two years.

As ever the summer term last year saw successful trips to Shropshire for our Year 4/5 and Year 6 pupils, as well as a residential visit to Hill End near Oxford for our Year 3 children. These trips really do help with the ‘Resilience’, ‘Responsibility’ and ‘Resourcefulness’ elements of our curriculum approach, giving confidence to our pupils and helping them to be good risk takers and problem solvers. In November, 75 pupils will be undertaking the first residential of this year in Staffordshire – non-stop outdoor activities but more about that next time.    Marion Mills