Village News

Blewbury School is on top of the world!

Blewbury Church of England Primary School is the first school in the world to be awarded the prestigious British Council International Award six times in a row. This is a remarkable achievement for a small village primary school in rural Oxfordshire, and it is having a big impact on a wide range of school activities.

The news has already travelled far and wide, and we are currently receiving requests from schools around Europe to visit and set up partnership arrangements. From February 29th – March 3rd, for example, nine teachers and twenty four pupils from Finland, Germany and Spain, will spend the week in the School as part of an Erasmus Plus Programme. The programme for the week will, on Wednesday 1st March, include the School’s third Global Partnership Network Event, where UK teachers can visit Blewbury to learn about developing a global emphasis in their own schools. (Teachers interested in this programme can see more at http://www.blewbury.oxon.sch.uk/about-us/global-understanding)

The full programme for this special international week will allow the visitors to take part in a range of workshops. Much of the time they will be working together with Blewbury School teachers and pupils to create art, music, drama, dance and film, all with the purpose of exploring the international project theme – ‘Communication, Cooperation and Collaboration for All Together’. A major  aim of these workshops is to allow them to develop ideas that they can go on to use in the future in their own schools throughout Europe.

Head Teacher Marion Mills, who is working to secure a seventh British Council International award for the school in 2018 is passionate about the need to expose children to global issues and for them to experience cultures other than their own. Ms Mills says: “Young people today live in a global village and we want to offer them a rich experience to help them understand the challenges that face them in their future lives. Our children and teachers gain a great deal from receiving visiting teachers and pupils. They can also travel themselves, so that they can explore other cultures more deeply. We are very proud that this work has received recognition, and even prouder of the children and families in our community who support us year on year with these highly successful programmes” Head teacher Marion Mills has been recognised for her outstanding contribution by the British Council.

School Governor Roger Murphy, a former Professor of Education at Nottingham University commented, “It is a great honour for a small village school like ours to be attracting such international acclaim. The governors are delighted that Blewbury Primary School has received such high commendation. We are keen to share this innovative work with the many visitors who want to come to see it in action, so they can understand the truly positive impact this work has on the children, not just in school but in their lives and their approach to the community they live within.”

Village Hall Refurb: Reviewing our options

You may have heard by now that we were badly let down by our builders pulling out on the very day they were due to start work. We can only apologise, particularly to all our donors and supporters, and we are grateful to them for continuing to support the project.

It is now clear that the market price for the work is more than we can afford and we are in the process of reviewing all the options to reduce costs before re-tendering the job.

We are still aiming to complete the refurbishment next year and it may be that, in the light of the delay to phase 1, we complete the whole project in one go. We won’t make that decision until we are clear about the revised scope, price and progress on raising the money.

We have over £230,000 in the bank or firmly pledged and another £85,000 previously granted, which we will either need to re-apply for or have re-confirmed, once our revised plans are clear. We still then need to raise another £200,000. The progress we have made and the money raised so far give us a strong platform for the further grant applications we need to make. We’re grateful for the personal donations which are still being made and we have had a number of brilliant ideas and offers of help for fundraising events.

We are disappointed that phase 1 is not progressing as we expected, but all the planning done and money raised so far put us in a strong position to keep the project as a whole on track.   Steve White

Happy 100th!

Born in Swansea, South Wales, on March 8th 1917, Glennys moved to Blewbury in the mid 1980s with her husband Frederick (Mick) Bungey.

Mick himself, who hailed originally from Ireland but who had spent most of his life in the West Country, took some persuading to make the move, but for Glennys it was an opportunity to be closer to her brother Malcolm who at that time was living in Bracknell. On discovering that one of the Dibleys tenants was emigrating to New Zealand, they set about selling their house in Cornwall and before long had moved into the bungalow that Glennys still calls home after 31 years. She and Mick, along with Stan Cole and Philip Randall, were instrumental in the move to change the status of Dibleys residents from renters to owners, a process that was completed in 1988 with all the properties being bought by their tenants. With the security of home ownership and the reassurance of centrally managed maintenance, heating and other services, she recalls that Mick often referred to Dibleys as their ‘haven’. She still feels that way about it today, and hopes that all those residents younger than her (i.e. everyone!) ‘will be as happy here as I have been’.

To mark her 100th birthday, her nephew organised a ‘proper English tea party’ here in the village, which was attended by many old friends and family including her brother Malcolm, who was 91 last month, and her great-great-nephew, Edward, who at Christmas reached the grand old age of two!

Photo shows Glennys, seated, centre, enjoying a recent family visit at Dibleys.

Local Plan (Part 2) – Public Consultation

The Vale of White Horse District Council has published Part Two of its local plan for consultation, giving residents in the district a chance to influence how decisions are made on local planning applications.

Part One of the plan, which explained where the main housing sites in the district could be built and identified the infrastructure needed to support them, was adopted in December last year. Part two includes the detailed policies the council will use when making day to day decisions on planning applications. It will also explain how it proposes to accommodate 2,200 homes for Oxford that they have agreed to plan for within the Vale.

Residents can read the draft version of the Local Plan 2031 Part Two and find out how to make comments at www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/LPP2. Paper copies are available at libraries and district council offices. There will also be a drop-in exhibition at the Cornerstone, Didcot on Wednesday 5 April from 1 to 7pm.

The consultation is now open and the deadline for comments is 5pm on 4 May.

Neighbourhood Development Plan: Blewbury votes ‘Yes’!

The voting in the Blewbury Neighbourhood Plan referendum was as follows:

Total votes cast: 562
‘Yes’ votes: 531
‘No’ votes: 31
Turnout: 42.9%

This means that the village’s answer to the question ‘Do you want the Vale of White Horse District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Blewbury to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?’ was a resounding ‘Yes’.

Congratulations to everyone on the Neighbourhood Plan team and everyone who helped achieve this successful outcome.

Main Photo: The team and supporters drink a toast to the result. (Thanks to Bernard Mattimore)

Photo below: The official announcement

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UNITED CHARITIES OF THE ANCIENT PARISH OF BLEWBURY

Following recent advertisements, the Charity is pleased to announce that Sarah Donne has been appointed as Clerk to the Trustees. Correspondence should be addressed to her at Godwins, Bridus Way, Blewbury, OX11 9NW or emailed to sarahdonne@btinternet.com

Information about the Trustees

It is 25 years since Audrey Long was elected as a trustee in 1992, making her the longest-serving. Mark Palethorpe and Ann Dendy were elected in 2009, followed by Louise Brimacombe (Aston) in 2010, Jackie Maguire and Sheila Loy (Chair) in 2012 and Liz Hardy (Upton) in 2014.

BLEWBURY AND UPTON VILLAGE PRODUCE ASSOCIATION

Your Local Village Gardening Club

Well, it doesn’t seem possible I’m writing for the March issue of the Blewbury Bulletin and Upton News already!! Where is the time going? In the meantime we have three of our Committee members giving 20 minute talks on keeping chickens on allotments, how to produce top class compost and growing and propogating snowdrops. The talks take place at Blewbury Manor Barn at 7.30pm on THURSDAY 2nd MARCH.

When I drive through Blewbury I always have a quick glance at the allotments – they do look a bit sad at the moment. My allotments (2) in Didcot are ready and waiting for the broad beans and peas which are germinating in the greenhouse. Given the weather I can’t do much more – hopefully March will be a warmer month. The planting plans are ready for this years veggies. Can’t wait to get everything up and running.

Don’t forget the VPA has a selection of tools available for all residents in Blewbury and Upton to use for a donation. You will find the list on the back of the programme which is enclosed with this copy of the Blewbury Bulletin. We also have a projector which can be hired for a £5 donation. Contact details are on the programme.

Don’t forget to put the two dates of our outings in your diary and full details will be issued in the Blewbury Bulletin and Upton News prior to the event.

SATURDAY 17th JUNE (day visit) – TRIP TO GARDENERS’ WORLD LIVE AT THE NEC BIRMINGHAM

SATURDAY 12th AUGUST (day visit) – DAY VISIT TO KEW GARDENS, LONDON

DID YOU KNOW? The first garden gnomes were introduced to the UK in 1847 by Sir Charles Isham, who brought back 21 terracotta figures from Germany and placed them in the gardens of his home, Lamport in Northamptonshire. Only one of the original batch of gnomes survives. Lampy, as he is known, is on display at Lamport Hall and is insured for one millions pounds!  Happy Gardening,  Eileen

BLEWBURY WI NEWS

Hi All, March is almost here. With all the Spring bulbs shooting through and primroses and snowdrops in full flower, and the days gradually getting longer, we will soon be out in the garden looking forward to Spring. The Wi events for March are listed below and any new members would be very welcome to join us.

  • Tuesday, 7th Lyn’s Walk. An urban walk to the North of Didcot starting at Didcot Parkway at 10.30 am. Catch the 10.14 bus from The Blueberry (10.08 from Upton). Don’t forget your bus passes and pennies for coffee, hopefully.
  • Wednesday, 8th Coffee at Style Acre. 10.30 am.
  • Wednesday, 8th Scrabble at Bernardine’s. 7.30 pm.
  • Wednesday, 22nd Monthly meeting, AGM, and Social Evening at the Manor Barn, 7.30 pm.
  • Friday, 24th RAL Harwell Lecture, 1.30 pm. Discovering the Universe from beneath the surface — Emma Meehan.
  • Mah Jong sessions are held every Monday afternoon at 2.30 pm.

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

Sustainable Blewbury

Tree planting: With the new Community Orchard planted, Sustainable Blewbury is starting another tree-planting project on a triangle of land adjacent to the Chalk Pit.

In recent years, volunteers have transformed the Chalk Pit and Rubble Pit Lane into habitats that are now a Local Wildlife Site. Our new plan is to connect up wildlife corridors running east – this is the first step. We’ve been awarded 100 saplings by the Woodland Trust, including rowan, silver birch, hawthorn, hazel, dogwood and wild cherry. They will provide berries for birds and beautiful blossom for everyone to enjoy. The land is owned by Beeswax Farming, who have been very supportive and given permission to plant the trees. Now we need you! Planting will start the weekend of 11–12 March; we may also need help to prepare the site. If you are interested, please contact John Ogden, jogden@blewbury.net or 850372.

Hedge laying: In late January we coppiced hazel for stakes and binders from Juniper Valley and then began laying the hedge alongside the cemetery in Bohams Road. It has been quite a difficult task as there was a lot of top-heavy growth – but it’s now complete and should regrow as a thicker and healthier hedge. Thanks to Carole and Anthony Allen for access to Juniper Valley and to Collin Craig for carting all the stakes and binders to the village. If you’re interested in helping please contact Alex Musson, ahmusson@gmail.com.

Willow weaving: The next of Lawrence Graham’s willow weaving workshops is on Saturday 24th April from 10am to 4pm, this time teaching basket making. The cost is £40. If you’d like to take part please contact Kathy Edmunds, kathy_edmunds@btopenworld.com or 850337. Be warned – this is very popular and some places are already booked, but apply anyway and if full you’ll be put on a waiting list for the next one.

Dates for your diary:

  • Sustainable Blewbury AGM and new projectsThursday, 6 April, 7.30pm, School Hall. We will be showing you our new projects for the school children and other developments in the village.
  • Talk by Prof. George Jeronimidis on Biomimetics for sustainability – Mid-May, Manor Barn. How did shark skin help Airbus A380s take off? How do lotus leaves help to keep tall buildings clean? Event details soon.
  • Community Orchard village picnic and grand opening – Sunday, 11th June, Tickers Folly Field. Details

BLEWBURY FREECYCLE

FREE ITEMS TO A GOOD HOME

E-MAIL TEL NO.
Length of ACTIS foil membrane for insulation (roof or wall) 5m x 1.6m

Lydia Inglis

lydandmuz@gmail.com

07801 932393
Tefal electric steamer only used twice.

Norma Banks

colin_norma@btinternet.com

851054
Desk top computer stand, black, with drawer. Height 4”, Width 28”, Depth 14” anne@annemillman.co.uk
To freecycle your item please send a short description, email & phone number to Lydia Inglis (lydandmuz@gmail.com)

We welcome new members. If you would like to become involved in Sustainable Blewbury, or to receive our free Newsletter, please contact us at: info@sustainable-blewbury.org.uk

 

POST OFFICE NEWS

The builders should have started “phase 1” of the Village Hall refurbishment plan by the time you all read this.

I have had a letter saying that Post Office Ltd have given the fund almost £10k to help with the Post Office part of it, a big thank you to Steve & Jane! If you have an idea for a fundraising event (for phase 2) please let us know andwe will put it to our fundraising team!

Please take extra care parking at the Village Hall, particularly during school drop off (between 8.30am & 9am) at pick up time (2.45pm to 4pm), and taking extra care in the entrance road (Heather Way) as parents are parking along here, making it a single roadway, & often driving/parking on the pavement, making it very dangerous for other parents & children.

We have Windsor Castle stamps on sale now, and David Bowie ones in March. We still have a few special 50p’s, Beatrix Potter commemorative ones, & Squirrel Nutkin, so cute! (known in the trade as BU, bright & uncirculated!) Royal Mail often put their prices up in early April, (first Thursday of the financial year), so if you want to stock up, at current prices, we have plenty in stock! Any marked 1st or 2nd are automatically revalued at the new price, still a better interest rate than many banks! (approx. 2%)        Love from Karen & Angela