Village News

Sustainable Blewbury

November 28, 2019

Thermal imagingget your home imaged for free

In January we will be thermally imaging homes of all sorts, old, new and not so new, in Blewbury. Seeing where heat is leaking out can help can make your home more comfortable, save money and help towards saving the planet by reducing your carbon footprint. Contact us at info@sustainable-blewbury.org.uk or phone Eric at 07935 232 296 to be on our list or to get more information.

We need more helpers. It’s interesting work and no experience is needed to help take the images. If you want to delve deeper, you can also help us to write reports. Just contact us as above.

The Adventures of a Wildlife Cameraman

A talk by Sean Morris, Monday 27th January, Melland Room, Blewbury Clubhouse

Sean says: “For 40 years, I travelled the world, filming animals and plants for TV, often in remote and exotic locations. In 1968, seven biologists from Oxford University, united by the thrill of filming animals and plants, started a small company called Oxford Scientific Films (OSF). OSF soon became the world’s leading independent wildlife film company, and invented many of the specialist techniques now commonly used to create today’s block-buster wildlife series. The talk will be about how a handful of folk based near Woodstock achieved that, and about the fun and excitement we had while capturing some of nature’s most fascinating stories on film.”

Tickets £4, on sale in January at the Post Office. Doors open 7.30 pm; drinks will be available from the bar.

BLEWBURY FREECYCLE  FREE ITEMS TO A GOOD HOME E-MAIL TEL NO.
2 wooden wine racks, 1 black plastic compost bin and lid, 1 water butt and lid (used but still viable) Lyn Blackie blackies10@btinternet.com 850795
Large, sturdy metal Christmas tree holder Mark Vaughn mark@mvaughn.demon.co.uk 07479 290296
Green wooden square holder for real Christmas tree (stump sits in water reservoir) Jo Lakeland jolakeland.48@gmail.com 850490
Liatorp IKEA square coffee table, glass topped with 4 display spaces plus shelf 93x93x50cm Luisa Baldini Luisamarchbaldini@gmail.com 07435 252411
To freecycle your item please send a short description, email & phone number to Lydia Inglis (lydandmuz@gmail.com)

To find out more about Sustainable Blewbury go to www.sustainable-blewbury.org.uk.
Getting involved is fun and can contribute to the village and its environment. To participate, or to receive
our free Newsletter, email
us at info@sustainable-blewbury.org.uk or phone 01235 850372.

Bell ringing news from Blewbury Tower

November 26, 2019

It’s been an exciting month. Although the bells are still silent the new window is in place and is stunning!

There has been a slight delay meaning that we will not be able to ring the bells for Advent Sunday, however all will be back to normal well before Christmas. In the meantime, we have continued to enjoy Steventon’s hospitality on a Friday evening for our practice night.

The social side of bell ringing has continued with our Branch Quiz held at Brightwell Cum Sotwell. Blewbury came a creditable joint 3rd against other tower teams in the local area! The quiz master was our own Anne Hales. It was a farewell for Anne as she and her husband are moving to Cheshire. Anne has been Blewbury Chairman for the past four years, and she will be greatly missed for her ringing, commitment and humour. We all wish her and her husband well for the future.

Blewbury Film Update

We are now pleased to announce our latest donation of £1,500 to the Village Hall Refurbishment Fund which is just in time for the works to begin.

This has been our fifth year of Blewbury Film and we’ve now had over 25 BlewTube screenings. With your help, and including our latest donation, we have raised over £2,000 for the Village Hall Refurbishment Fund – well done everybody and thank you for your support!

This year we have had some great films; highlights include Death of Stalin, Manchester By The Sea, The Favourite and Darkest Hour.  Our audiences have given us great feedback on these films but we have noticed that recent numbers have been down and because BlewTube finances are marginal, we have only just been breaking even.  We don’t want to run at a loss because this means we cannot raise money for good community causes or for future Blewbury Film events. So we are going to take a pause in BlewTube screenings whilst the Village Hall Refurbishment progresses which will allow us to review the future of BlewTube.  We would therefore like your feedback, good or bad, on how BlewTube is running. We would like to know:

  • Film choice – are we getting this right? Should we have more blockbusters or more niche productions?
  • Location – what do you think about our location for Blewbury Film?
  • Ticket Price – stay at £5 or is it time to up our prices so we are not so marginal?
  • What would encourage you to attend BlewTube more regularly?
  • What should we do with future surplus funds? Are there any good village causes you would like us to support?
  • Would you like to help out with Blewbury Film as we move forward?
  • Anything else you would like to tell us?

Let us know what you think on BlewTube@Gmail.com or talk to either Peter or Paul if you see them. Your feedback will not be made public so feel free to say what you think. Thank you again for all your support.  Without our helpers and audience we could not have had such an enjoyable first five years or have raised as much money for the village hall. We look forward to future screenings and to seeing you all again soon.  – Peter and Paul,   Blewbury Film

In association with the Blewbury Players. Profits to the Village Hall refurb.

BLEWBURY AND UPTON VILLAGE PRODUCE ASSOCIATION

– Your Local Village Gardening Club

Our Annual General Meeting took place on 6th November and this is an extract from the annual report:

“At a Committee meeting in October the members seriously considered closing the Village Produce Association. The general consensus was that people’s attitude to gardening and gardening clubs has changed over the years and rather than ‘growing your own’ people rely on the quick fire method of a trip to the garden centre and buying ‘ready made’ plants for the garden. It’s accepted that people have less time to spend in the garden given the numerous activities available for families these days. However, it was agreed that the Annual Show still appears to be a popular event and therefore, the committee agreed to continue to run the Show and thus the VPA will remain operating for the foreseeable future. We will also continue to have a selection of garden tools available for use by residents for a donation. Details of the tools and who to contact will be displayed at Blewbury Post Office and on Maggie’s notice board at Toad Hall, Upton.”

We hope that residents of both Blewbury and Upton will continue to support the Annual Summer Show and the date for next year’s event is the 4th July – so please pop the date in your diary. Show Schedules will be available after the New Year to give everyone plenty of time to plan what they want to exhibit. I have been asked to continue our Monthly News in the Blewbury Bulletin and Upton News and hopefully we will have outings next year which will be advertised together with any other VPA news. Also, I’ll keep you posted via my aimless ramblings about my allotment on New Road, Didcot. Did you know I have hens?  Yes, they have got names – I’ll let you know what they are next month.

To end 2019 our ANNUAL SOCIAL takes place on SATURDAY 7thth DECEMBER – 7.00pm at UPTON VILLAGE HALL.  Our theme this year is “Around the World with the VPA ”. Food, quizzes and indoor games are the order of the evening with great fun for a family night out.  Full details and tickets available at Blewbury Post Office, or you can telephone and book your ticket with Margaret Maytham – 01235 850126 or Eileen Bracken – 01235 510095.    Please advise of any dietary requirements you may have, at the time of booking your ticket.

Tickets will need to be booked by Tuesday 1st December at the latest.

Post Office News

It looks as though the Royal Mail strike has been halted for the moment, but it’s still best to get your Christmas mail posted early, particularly for countries that have had adverse weather conditions, as there are sure to be holdups!

Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA & the Far East have a recommended last posting date of 11th/12th December, Europe Is just a couple of days later! 2nd class is 18th December and 1st class on the 20th, Blewbury & Upton post is 15th December, a bargain at 25p per card, post boxes in usual places! (Pubs, shops and churches)

Please remember to have your items ready to post on arrival at the counter, with airmail stickers and customs labels as appropriate, (non EU countries). Letters to Santa/Father Christmas can be sent to his home address, Santa’s Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ, but the deadline is Friday 6th December.

Lots of gorgeous Christmas stamps, also Gruffalo, Forestry Commission, Elton John etc, and the new Star Wars stamps out on the 28th November.

The Christmas elves have told us that they will be up to mischief in the Post Office, see if you can spot them? Adoption packs are available!

Christmas/New Year opening times in next Bulletin! Love Karen & Maggie

Bridge Club

I am pleased to be able to report that we WILL be playing bridge on the evening of Thursday December 12th, Election night.

The Election Officer has kindly allowed us to use the Vale Room and kitchen, provided no-one enters the main hall other than through the main entrance for the purpose of casting a vote.

The Christmas Party will be held on Sunday 8th December, 5 for 5.30pm in the Village Hall. Help in setting up would be appreciated from 4.30. Once again, members are requested to bring some food along and to indicate what they are planning to bring on the notice which is now on display on the Vale Room noticeboard. We shall, once again, be playing Military Bridge, and it is hoped that as many as possible will attend in order to support this fun evening. We usually finish by about 9pm.

Congratulations to Malcolm Cochrane and Mike Brown who, at the time of writing, were 17th nationally out of about 1,500 pairs on the Thursday night Children in Need Simultaneous Pairs event. Michael Allen 851870

WI News

Christmas just around the corner. So much to do! Following is a list of our planned events for December and we would happily welcome any new Members to come and join us.

  • Wednesday, 4th    Scrabble at Susan’s. 7.30pm. Please ring beforehand.
  • Wednesday, 4th Lyn’s Walk. Come and walk the river (without getting your feet wet) on the other side of the tracks in Didcot. Catch the 9.10am bus, at the Blueberry, to Didcot Parkway. Bring money for coffee and your bus pass if you have one.
  • Friday, 6th Craft evening at Liz’s. 7pm. Please bring a bottle & nibbles.
  • Friday, 6th Talking Science Lecture at RAL Harwell. 1.30pm. Energy and climate change. Sarah James. STFC. Energy Research Unit.
  • Monday, 9th WI Christmas Lunch at Hadden Hill Golf Club.  12.30pm.
  • Monday, 16th Mah Jong at Sharon’s 2.30pm. Please ring beforehand.
  • Wednesday, 18th Coffee & Mince pies & Raffle at Maggie’s. 10.30am.
  • Monday, 30th Mah Jong  at Cilla’s. 2.30pm

For more details of any of our events, or if you wish to join us, please ring Cilla on 851966 or visit our web page, http://blewburywi.wordpress.com where you will find more information.

Blewbury Pre-School needs your help

October 31, 2019

Blewbury Pre-School is proud to have been open since 1971, educating generations of children from here, the surrounding villages and Didcot.

We are a registered charity, and as such, the management committee is made up of volunteer Trustees. We run our Pre-School with funding from three sources:

  • Government ‘free hours funding’ for every 3-4 year old for 15-30 hours per week
  • fees directly paid by parents/ carers for two-and-a-half year olds
  • fundraising by the management committee & staff and other financial donations

Sadly there is a significant gap between what it costs to have a child at Pre-School and what the government provides as part of the 15 free hours for 3-4 year olds (or 30 free hours if both parents work). The level at which these ‘free hours’ are funded was set and frozen in 2015, and now only just covers our staffing costs. Government rules on free childcare means we are not allowed to charge top up fees to make up any shortfall. Pre-schools across the UK are therefore having to find other ways of making up the difference or risk becoming unsustainable. According to the National Day Nurseries Association, the rate at which early years providers are closing has increased by 66% since the introduction of the free 15/30 hours funding scheme. Government data backs this up, stating the number of early years providers fell by almost 10,000 between 2016 and 2018. Indeed MPs have warned that “severe financial strain has been placed on private and independent nurseries offering the government’s flagship free 30-hours scheme” and “childcare in England risks becoming the preserve of the wealthy, unless a £660m funding gap in a free childcare scheme is plugged.”

Fundraising is therefore vital to Blewbury Pre-School’s continued existence and our volunteer management committee and staff have worked tirelessly to cover the gap in funding the provision of our early years education.

Here’s a few examples of how increases in costs over the last few years have impacted the Pre-School budget:

  • the minimum national living wage has increased from £6.70 in 2015 to £8.21 in 2019 – an increase of 23%
  • as an employer, pension auto-enrolment for all members of staff became mandatory in 2017
  • both the minimum national living wage and auto-enrolment pension contributions are set to go up again next year, with a further increase planned the following year
  • since 2018 Oxfordshire County Council stopped its commercial waste removal service, so we now must pay for a professional waste and recycling management service

Then there’s the increases in costs of things we’re all familiar with, such as utility bills, rent, annual boiler servicing, building repairs when something breaks unexpectedly, and the cost of replacing worn out equipment – all of which have hit the Pre-School’s budget significantly in the last year.

The result is that Blewbury Pre-School needs your help. In order to continue to offer the same high standard of care and education to all long into the future, we’re planning a big fundraising push on the run up to our 50th anniversary year. If you would like to help, or offer a donation of any kind, please contact the committee by emailing chair@blewburypreschool.co.uk. We’d love to create an Alumni or Friends of Blewbury Pre-School group!

Thank you for your consideration – we are extremely grateful for all your continued support.

Blewbury Croquet Club

The lawns are now in use again after the autumn treatments.

The 2019 AGM was held at the Melland Room on 15th October at which it was agreed that the club is in a good shape financially with well kept lawns. Paul Wolff, Chairman, thanked the committee and all the members who had helped with various maintenance and other jobs without which the club could not function nearly as well.

The club trophies were given out by Coral Richards, President. The Player of the Year was awarded to Peter Allan who not only won the Association Croquet (AC) Prebendal Manor Trophy, the local round of the AC All England Handicap competition but also won the Greek Open Championship, held in Corfu! As a result of all this his handicap dropped during the course of the year from 16 to 9.

Paul also presented the past Chairman, Deirdre Cochrane, with some flowers and thanked for all her work as Chairman for many years before she had to step down last year.

Last, but not least, the afternoon finished with tea and cakes.

For more details please contact David Long, secretary, 07484 360169, david.long@btinternet.com

Blewbury School Update

October 8, 2019

The Interim Executive Board of Blewbury Primary School has released the attached letter as an update for those who were not able to attend the recent Community Meeting at the School.

It provides a summary of some recent developments at the School including the progress being made in relation to a conversion to becoming an academy before the end of 2019.

Click here to link to the letter.