Village News

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 http://bit.ly/VHRefurb).

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

Marion Mills to retire

January 17, 2019

As parents already know, after 22 years as Headteacher of Blewbury School, Marion Mills has announced that she is retiring at the end of the current term.

Anyone who knows Marion will be aware of her exceptional commitment to the School and to the children. During her tenure she has focused on giving the children a broadly based education in addition to the conventional “three Rs”. This has involved contact with schools in many other countries including Finland, Spain, Uganda, Poland and Germany and every year a succession of teachers and pupils from abroad have visited Blewbury School and given our children a taste of languages and cultures from around the world. As a result, our School has received the International School Award from the British Council a stunning eight times in succession. This is, quite literally, a world record.

She has also been committed to helping the children to develop as people and to this end every year has enthusiastically organised residential weekend trips away to activity centres across the country for virtually all the children in Classes 4 to 6. Under her leadership our children have broadened their belief in themselves whilst enjoying abseiling, aerial walkways, body boarding, bushcraft, climbing, canoeing, night walks, nature walks, pond dipping and the occasional zipwire.

Behind the scenes she has worked tirelessly for the good of the education community as a whole. She has chaired the Didcot Partnership of schools for many years, a role which has grown in importance with near collapse in Local Authority support for schools due to funding cuts in recent years. Under her leadership, money has been raised to a fund the Didcot Early Nurturing Centre (the “Den”) which provides short-term, focused help for children who are struggling, for whatever reason, with a conventional school environment. The Partnership also does important work supporting schools with educational psychologists and facilitating training opportunities for school staff.

And of course, she has led the school for all these years in the fundamentals of a good education which, at primary level, means reading, writing and maths. A whole generation of children owe the beginning of their educational journey into adulthood to Marion’s leadership. It is sobering to think that some of the children who passed through her care in her early years will now be old enough to deliver their own children into the school.

In summary, now is the time for the children past and present, the staff, the governors and the wider community to say a heartfelt thank you to Marion for her many years of commitment. We wish her well in her hard-earned retirement. She will be a difficult act to follow but the governors are already underway with the process of identifying her successor. Andrew Hewson, Chair of Governors

Project Resound update

January 22, 2019

Many of you may have seen the scaffolding outside the west window of the church over the past month whilst our stained-glass window artist and her team have been measuring up for the new glass elements. They have now taken the paper templates back to South Wales so that the glass-making and window assembly can commence. Phase 2 of the project is underway!

Meanwhile with £32,741 raised to date we are now ready to start work on further fund-raising for Phase 3. This is to remove the old window and install the new one; currently planned for the early autumn. With this in mind, please support our next events:

PROMISES AUCTION WITH INTRODUCTORY WINE TASTING

Saturday 11thMay: 7pm – Blewbury Village Hall

Our very own Wine Man (Ian Hewson) is coming to kick off an evening of promises with a brief introduction to some delicious wine served with canapes. We have many promises already made for fantastic experiences, vouchers and gifts suitable for birthday presents and anniversary celebrations. These will be listed in the next issue of the Bulletin. There is still an opportunity for local businesses to promote their services and further promises from individuals will be very welcome. Please contact Jackie on 07968 707240 jakm58@btinternet.com or Richard on 07767 463285  richloyd1@gmail.com as soon as possible to offer support.

Tickets will be available for tables of 10 (and sold individually) from 10am on Saturday 6thAprilat the Post Office. £10 per ticket including wine and canapes.

THE FASCINATING WORLD OF THE HONEYBEE BY ROB NICKLESS

Wednesday 10thApril – 7:30pm – The Manor Barn, The Manor, Berry Lane, Blewbury

Visiting from the Meadow Honey Farm in North Moreton, Rob is Vice Chairman of the Bee Farmers’ Association UKand will provide an expert’s insight into bees, beekeeping and honey production.

Tickets £6 incl. a glass of wine or soft drink and samples will be available from the Post Office from 1stMarch.

Further events are being planned: please save the dates!More information to follow.

8thJune 2019 – Richard Good’s Friends and Charlotte Brennand concert.

6thJuly 2019 – Concert in the Church

We still have lots of work to do so if you would like to make a donation to Resound then a gift aid form can be downloaded from the Blewbury website from a link in the recent article http://blewbury.co.uk/project-resound-launched/and/or you can donate on JustGiving https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/Resound.

Thank you   Project Resound Team

Blewbury’s social media app

September 3, 2018

Blewbury has become the first village in the UK to launch its own social network! It allows all the village’s interest groups to interact with the community through a single, easy-to-use, smartphone app.

Selected local groups, such as the Blewbury Bulletin, Parish Council, BVS, Blewbury Players, Blewbury School, Sustainable Blewbury and others can now publish pictures, videos, articles and links into a news feed.

There’s also a community feed open for anyone to post into – e.g. items for freecycling, babysitter requests, etc  – and anyone can comment, share or like posts as you might on Facebook.

Other features include an events list, a local businesses directory, with more to come. The app can also be used for other things in future – such as local promotions, fundraising and campaigning.

Simply search for ‘Blewbury’ in the Apple/Android app store, download the app, create a profile, and you’re ready to go.

In answer to the question ‘why do this when we have Facebook?’, the app’s administrator, Matt Phillips, says “many people have stopped using Facebook altogether, while recent changes to its algorithm mean unpaid posts on pages (such as the BVS) will typically reach just 5-10% of people who ‘like’ that page”.

“There are house rules”, says Matt. “The app needs to be a safe public space, so be civil. No anonymous profiles: please sign up using your real names. Respect others’ privacy when posting photos (as you would on any social network). Note the app is rated 17+ but kids won’t be blocked and I hope parents will sign them up. Finally, please, no commercial services posts – I hope more businesses will join the directory.

“I’d appreciate it if you could download the app, play around with it, and encourage others to do so. It will only become properly useful when it has a good number of people using it. Any feedback, questions or suggestions for how it could be improved, I’d love to hear from you.”

Matt can be contacted at blewburycommunity@gmail.com or on 07972 219515

App download links

For iPhone:
https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1426438362

For Android:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.co.disciplemedia.blewbury

[Please note: Exciting as this new venture sounds, it is not in any way connected with the Blewbury Bulletin. Please direct all comments and enquiries to Matt Phillips, using the contact details above.]

BLEWBURY TABLE TENNIS SUCCESSES!

January 22, 2019

Thanks to everyone for such an enthusiastic response to the three Blewbury Table Tennis Club Taster Sessions!

We had 25+ people at each session, which meant that our four borrowed tables were all in use right through each of the evenings. We had participants varying in age from 8 – 80+ and a really good mix of standards. We are aiming to cater for anyone however experienced or inexperienced. An added bonus at our January session was a visit from an ex British top 100 ranked table tennis player, Justin Mead, who gave us lots of encouragement, tips and coaching as well as a big box of top grade balls!

Based on this response we are now going to go ahead with Tuesday evening sessions every week from 6-9pm in Blewbury Village Hall with the opportunity for people to drop in for whichever part of the evening suits them. Why not start the new year with a new Blewbury activity? You will be very welcome if you want to join us. Session fees: £5 Adults. £3 Under 18s.

Sustainable Blewbury


Climate for electric cars? –  A talk by Anthony Simpson, Mon. 25th Feb., 8.00pm at Blewbury Manor Barn

With concerns in our towns and cities about air quality, as well as the growing threat of climate change, the shift away from diesel and petrol towards electric vehicles has started. Are they really more environmentally friendly? Can our electricity system cope? Find out about the latest developments, and perhaps consider whether you are ready to go electric! Tickets £6 (including a glass of wine) from the Post Office, or on the door (if not sold out).

Thermal imaging – February 2019

Would you like a warmer home and lower heating bills? Thermal imaging can find where your heat is escaping. Or, have you made some improvements and would like to check that they are effective? Sustainable Blewbury volunteers have been doing this every winter since 2009 – we have imaged more than 200 homes in Blewbury.

If you’d like your home thermally imaged in February, email us at info@sustainable-blewbury.org.uk or phone Jo Lakeland (01235 850490). This service is FREE.

Green drinks – Monday 4th February, from 7.30 pm at The Blueberry

Green drinks are a friendly chat over a drink, to ask questions or tell us what you think about green topics: anything from issues in and around the village to energy problems, climate change, biodiversity, or what SB does. Everyone is welcome, it’s completely informal, there’s no agenda, just come and chat.

BLEWBURY FREECYCLE   
FREE ITEMS TO A GOOD HOME
E-MAIL TEL NO.
32″ Sony Bravia tvVal Stevens valerie.ahs@gmail.com01235
440236
3 sheets MDF: all 3ft x 2ft
(915mm x 610mm) & approx 4 mm
thick.
Not new but clean and unused.
Chris Whatmore
editor@blewbury.co.uk
01235
851055
To freecycle your item please send a short description, email &phone
number to Lydia Inglis
lydandmuz@gmail.com

Go to www.sustainable-blewbury.org.uk 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 info@sustainable-blewbury.org.uk or phone 01235 850372.

BLEWBURY LOCAL HISTORY GROUP

Even though the group has been going since before 1970, we are still finding new things about the village.

For example, Roman artefacts are regularly found in fields just outside the village envelope. Why are so few coins etc found for the period from about 900 to 1600AD? How many active suffragettes lived here before 1930? We may never find answers, but we can have fun trying to find them. Our meetings are very informal and new members are always welcome. Next meeting is Tuesday, February 12th at 8pm in the History Room, Parsonage Lane.

Contacts: Mark markpalethorpe@talktalk.net; Audrey 850427/ audreyrosettalong@gmail.com.

Blewbury WI News

Hello to everyone. Happy New Year to you all. A good start to the year, weather-wise? Blewbury WI is very pleased with the fact that we have fund raised £766 for the Resound Project in St, Michael’s Church. We are now a “1%er” and will have a mention in the book. We would love to welcome any new Members to the following events in February.

  1. Tuesday, February 5th   Lyn’s Walk.  Meet at the Village Hall at 9am. with bus passes and coffee money. An alternative walk to Didcot – coffee at Great Western Park – bus to Didcot Parkway – 94 bus back to Blewbury. Hoping for a dry day.
  2. Wednesday, February 6th   Scrabble at Graeme’s. 7.30pm. Please ring beforehand.
  3. Friday, February 1st    Craft evening at Liz’s. Please ring beforehand. 7pm.
  4. Friday, February 8th   Talking Science lecture at RAL Harwell. “Let there be light” John O’ Hagan. 1.30pm.
  5. Monday, February 11th. Coffee at Doreen’s. 67 Ladycroft Park. Tel. 850332. 10.30am.
  6. Wednesday, February 27th  WI Main Meeting in the Vale Room.  7.30pm. Speaker, Stewart Lindford. “The Remarkable Story of the Winsor Chair.”
  7. Mah Jong. Every Monday afternoon at 2.30pm.  Ring Judy for details.

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, http://blewburywi.wordpress.com where you will find more information.       Love from Cilla.

BLEWBURY AND UPTON VILLAGE PRODUCE ASSOCIATION

Your village gardening club

Known as ‘the VPA’, we are one of the oldest organisations in Blewbury & Upton – it started in 1947. Every resident in both villages is automatically a member of the VPA. MEMBERSHIP IS FREE !! Activities include: **ANNUAL SUMMER SHOW**, **OUTINGS**, **ANNUAL SOCIAL** Our Programme is available at Blewbury Post Office or with Margaret Maytham in Upton – call 01235 850126.

WE HAVE TOOLS AVAILABLE FOR USE BY ALL RESIDENTS 0F BLEWBURY & UPTON FOR A DONATION TO THE VPA: For Fertiliser Distributor / Long Arm Pruner / Garden Roller/ Gazebos / Lawn Scarifier & Aerator / Electric Leaf  Vacuum, contact Margaret Maytham on 850126. For Petrol Mantis Rotavator + various attachments, contact Andrew Forman  on 850219. HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON

Bellringing News from Blewbury Tower

2019 is here and in some ways the festive season seems along time ago. There were many occasions that the bells rang out during this time in celebration. We also had time before Christmas to enjoy a Christmas meal at The Blueberry; the theme was Hawaiian and saw an array of brightly coloured shirts and a few grass skirts! Many thanks to Michael and Sarah Winter for organising.

A quarter peal was rung on Boxing Day during the Boxing Day Walk, which was an opportunity to congratulate Wing Commander James Doyle (son of Gill Loyd, our treasurer) on his MBE awarded for services to the RAF. In what now seems to have become a tradition, we rang out the old and rang in the new on New Years Eve and now look forward to continuing to ring during the year both on Friday practice nights, visitors always welcome, and for Sunday services as well as other occasions.

January sees what is hoped will become a tradition: a Benefice Outing to ring all the bells in the Benefice on the same day including those churches with only chiming bells plus ringing at two other local churches, this year Cholsey and Brightwell-Cum-Sotwell. This is not only a bell ringing opportunity but also a social event with lunch, tea and an evening meal as part of the day.