Village News

Blewbury School: Habitats and SATs

This term is proving to be a busy one throughout Blewbury School, with all the classes undertaking different tasks whilst keeping a common theme – Habitats.

In Key Stage 1, Class One have been dashing all over the place with a trip to Farmer Gows activity farm in Faringdon, learning about the different animals and their behaviour. They have had an outing to release their frogs back into the wild having watched them emerge and grow from spawn, and next week are off to visit the farrier in East Hagbourne. After each trip, they report on what they have seen and produce some wonderful work.

Class Two have been looking at “mini-beasts”, or slugs, snails and stick insects to you and me, and will be moving to bigger animals and their surroundings later this term.

Class Three have made bug hotels from wood, bark and bamboo which has definitely been a hit with them, although the squeamish amongst us probably won’t be checking in anytime soon!

Meanwhile, in Key Stage 2, Class Four have been studying how various species adapt to their habitats and how they evolve to adjust to their conditions and environment. They have been studying the life cycle of butterflies and ladybirds and some flowers, whilst also learning about food chains and the water cycle.

Class Five have been studying the classification of living things and have had a go at pond dipping in the newly refurbished pond (thank you Gus Mills) to learn about aquatic life, particularly looking at how animals adapt to their surroundings and can camouflage themselves.

And Class Six… well, Class Six have been taking their SATs, the National Curriculum Assessments which all pupils must undertake. These comprise of four key areas, Maths, Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling, and are certainly no pushover, so, for those of you who are wondering, here are a couple of questions from previous papers….

“Identify the missing number. 12.5 ÷ ? = 7.5 ÷ 1.5”. Or how about this one: “how many vertices does a square based pyramid have?” Don’t worry if you are struggling to answer the questions because you would be in good company. Schools Minister Nick Gibb was asked this SATs question live on the radio. In the sentence “I went to the cinema after eating my dinner” – is “after” a preposition or subordinating conjunction?” Unfortunately, Mr Gibb chose the incorrect answer, which is why all the teachers at Blewbury School begin preparation well in advance of the tests so our children get a deep understanding of numbers, grammar and English, whilst maintaining the balance between achieving successful SATs results and imparting a well-rounded, experience-rich education!

My final words must be a resounding “good luck” to Class 3 who are just about to start their SATs as I write – aged 7!

Michael Evans Class 6 Link Governor

PS – the answers (to save you Googling them) are 2.5, 5 and subordinating conjunction.

The photo, courtesy of Eric Eisenhandler, shows images captured by video camera traps purchased for the school by Sustainable Blewbury.

Village Hall Refurb: Getting back on track

We have now received a quantity surveyor’s report which confirms that we can make substantial savings in the cost of the project.

We will have to make compromises in a number of areas but we should be able to retain most of what we want within a budget of £500,000 – a new post office, new storage alongside the Main Hall, new toilets and storage around the Vale Room, new insulation, lighting and heating and modern décor, both inside and outside. We may not be able to increase the size of the kitchen, although it will be completely modernised; we may delay upgrading the flat roofs, as they are currently performing adequately; and we will simplify specifications wherever we can, while ensuring good quality. Before we can get back on track, we will need to incorporate these changes into a revised design and validate the cost with the market. We will then decide the timescale, including whether we phase the work. We will then go flat out to raise all the money we need. If we can’t, we won’t move the post office and we’ll do without the new Main Hall storage.

As far as funding is concerned we have recently received a number of generous contributions. The Bridge Club has donated £2735, on top of the £6000 they have already given, the BVS have contributed their year-end surplus, a further £1500, and the Ben Waters’ concert, organised by Gay O’Nolan, raised £3005. This means that we have raised a total of £74,000 through personal donations and fundraising and, with more fundraising events planned, we are on course to raise over £100,000 in this way. We are all very grateful for everybody’s hard work and generosity. Taking account of grants previously approved and the contribution from the Parish Council, the challenge remains to raise a further £200,000 of grants.

Thank you for your patience and continuing support. I hope I can report more progress when we Bulletin resumes after the summer break.

Steve White

End of an era as Freda hangs up her cassock

A special Choral Evensong was held on Sunday 26th March to mark the retirement of Freda Chapman as Choir Mistress of St Michael’s Church after more than 30 years.

The Church was full of well-wishers and past and present choir members and Freda was very pleased that most of her family were able to be there especially as it was also Mothering Sunday. Over the years, Freda has encouraged many young choristers to fulfil their singing talents.

A collection had been made from the congregation and the choir and the photo shows Father Jason presenting Freda with a certificate from the Royal College of Church Music in appreciation of her years of service, a large bouquet of flowers and a cheque. Freda had chosen her favourite hymns and it was a lovely service and an appropriate tribute to her long service.

Freda is also, of course, our ‘poet in residence’ at the Blewbury Bulletin.

Photo: Bernard Mattimore

Style Acre Summer Fete returns!

Enjoy a lovely day in Blewbury at the Style Acre Tearoom Summer Fete at our tearoom at Savages Garden Centre. With something for all the family, including a BBQ, bouncy castle, live performances, games, a cake competition and much more, it’s an event not to be missed! The fete takes place on Sunday July 23rd, starting at 11am and finishing at 3pm. Our Tea Room is a social enterprise which provides work opportunities for adults with learning disabilities. All the money raised from the fete will go back into our Tea Room to enable us to continue to provide the work opportunities we do.

If you would like to enter our cake competition or would like more information please contact Chris at or call 01491 827593.

Community Orchard Opening, Village Picnic and Barbecue

Sunday 11th June, Tickers Folly Field, from 12 noon

Sustainable Blewbury, with support from Blewbury Primary School PTA and the Pre-school, are celebrating the opening of Blewbury’s Community Orchard with a party – a village picnic and barbecue. There will be music from Blewbury Learner Brass Band and a range of activities for all ages.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy the PTA barbecue or bring their own picnic. We will have a real ale bar (the ‘Wagon Inn’, backed by the Blewbury Wagon) serving local beers, apple juice and soft drinks. There will also be a stall selling cake using orchard and garden fruits such as apples, plums and berries.

Some of the activities planned include:

  • Pre-school annual sponsored kite flying and picnic
  • Tug of war
  • Welly wanging
  • Story teller
  • Pond dipping
  • Information about the orchard, local environment and other Sustainable Blewbury activities

So come along, party in the orchard and make it a great village event!

Sustainable Blewbury

Community Orchard Opening, Village Picnic and Barbecue – Sunday 11 June, Tickers Folly Field, from 12 noon:
see separate article in this issue for more information.

Blewbury Garden Market: Now running (for our 8th year!) at Blewbury Garage every Saturday morning from 9.30 to 11.30 am, with fresh garden fruit and veg, bedding plants and seedlings, flowers, home-baked bread and cakes, free-range eggs, preserves and honey, all locally produced. Bring us anything you’d like to sell between 9.00 and 9.30. We’d love more volunteers to help run the stall – email or talk to us at the Garage if you’d like to join in!

Blewbury Primary School wildlife recording: We have purchased two bird-nesting boxes equipped with video cameras and two video camera traps for the school, and we will be working with the children to observe and record village wildlife. We haven’t had any nesting birds yet, but the camera traps (which work in colour during the day and infrared at night) have already recorded a variety of local fauna – badgers, foxes, muntjacs, rabbits, etc. – and their behaviour.



Pair of extending ladders, hardwood with aluminium rungs, good condition. Unextended length approx 12 ft

Brian Lewis

01235 851564
To freecycle your item please send a short description, email & phone number to Lydia Inglis (

To find out more about Sustainable Blewbury, go to If you’d like to get involved in what we do, or to receive our free Newsletter, contact us at

VPA news




Our Annual Summer Show is an opportunity for everyone in Blewbury and Upton (and surrounding villages) to take part and enter home grown fruit, vegetables and flowers, to enter cooking, handicraft, photography and to take part in many other categories. We would love to see as many young people as possible entering the competition – age groups start from 5 years old!!

Exhibitors display their entries early on Saturday morning, they are then judged during the morning and the Show is then opened to the public at 2.30pm. The winners are announced at 4.00pm.

You will find The Schedule with the Entry Form at Blewbury Post Office or you can ring Margaret Maytham in Upton on 01235 850126 or Eileen Bracken on 01235 510095 for more details.

Each year we have a special display and 2017 is no exception. This year we will be having a special exhibition of botanical illustrations by local artists, together with a variety of other paintings also painted by artists in the area.

We are grateful for the previous support and enthusiasm shown by the residents of Blewbury and Upton and we are hoping for a huge number of entries this year.

There are many new residents in Blewbury and Upton who may be reluctant to take part – do please have a go!! The Show has a long standing tradition and fosters pride and friendly competition amongst the villagers.


DID YOU KNOW? “Britain is the only country that grows apples expressly for cooking” and did you also know? “You need roughly 35 to 40 apples to make eight pints of cider”. Happy Gardening, Eileen

Blewbury WI News

Hello again. “June is bursting out all over”! Warm sunny days and all the beautiful gardens to visit in Blewbury. Below is a list of the events during June, and all new members would be very welcome to join our happy group.

  • Friday June 2nd – Craft evening at Liz’s. Call first. 7.30pm.
  • Monday June 12th – Scrabble at Babeth’s. 7.30pm.
  • Wednesday June 14th – Lyn’s Walk. We have 2 walks in mind, but, as yet, haven’t decided which one to take. Both have been walked by some before and are outside the village. Meet at Blewbury Village Hall at 9am. Both walks will involve lunch at the end of the walk.
  • Wednesday June 14th – Coffee at Style Acre. 10.30am.
  • Friday June 23rd – Talking Science lecture at RAL Harwell: Black Holes, Science, Fact, Fiction or Fantasy. Chris Done. 1.30pm.
  • Monday June 26th – visit to Manor Herb Farm. Date and time to be confirmed.
  • Wednesday June 28th – Wl monthly meeting. 7.30pm at the Vale Room. Speaker, Dr. Janice Kinroy: Oxford, Past and Present.

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.

Bridge Club

Please note that there will be no bridge on Thursday 8th June due to the Hall and Vale Room being required for the election. Neither of the other two of our recent alternative venues is available that night.

Friday evening Novices sessions have now ceased for the summer and are expected to re-commence in September.

The Handicap Pairs competition finishes on Tuesday 20th June. We shall thereafter be playing match pointed pairs on the middle Tuesday of the last 4 months of the playing year as part of the ladder competition.

Michael Allen.  851870

Post Office News

A big “thank you” to everyone who has donated their Sainsburys Active Kids voucher for my girly guides, we have just a few more days to collect any remaining ones floating around!

We will be closed for the Bank Holiday on Monday 29th May. Any allowances paid on that day will be available on the Friday before. We will also be closed on Saturday 17th June as we are both unavailable that day!

First Trust Bank go live in branch sometime in June, all transactions available, also Cahoot cash deposits via your card, Halifax cheque deposits & Co Op business banking too. ToTo Smart energy top ups available from 5th June.

All Home shopping returns (marked R24 or 48) and Tracked Returns (24 or 48) all must be processed through our system in order to generate the “Certificate of Posting”, we need the weight of the parcel to start the process, so please put them on the scales when asked?

We have “Watermill & Windmill”stamps on sale in late June! We will also continue to accept any old style £5 notes, we have until October for the old £1 coins!  Love from Karen & Angela