Clubs & Societies

Blewbury WI

December 28, 2019

Here we are—the very first WI News for the New Year.

First of all I would like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2020. Following is a list of events that will be taking place during January 2020 and we are looking forward to welcoming many new Members to join us.

  • Monday, December 30th Mahjong at Cilla’s. 2.30pm.
  • Friday, January 3rd Craft Evening at Liz’s. 7pm. Please bring bottle & nibbles.
  • Monday, January 6th Scrabble at Cilla’s. 7.30pm.
  • Thursday, January 13th Coffee at Style Acre. 10.30am
  • Friday, January 17th Talking Science Lecture at RAL Harwell. 1.30pm. “ Genesis of a Queen: Queen Mary 2 “ Dr. Stephen M Payne OBE. Designer Queen Mary 2.
  • Wednesday, January 22nd Blewbury WI Main Meeting 7.30pm. In the Melland Room. Speaker Andy Kempe. “The Curious Case of the Commons” A detailed history of Greenham Common – and a lot more.
  • Monday afternoons at 2.30pm.For venues please contact Sharon (850412 )

There will be no Lyn’s Walk during January.

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, where you will find more information. Love from Cilla

Bell Ringing News from Blewbury Tower

It was worth being patient over the bell ringing, the new window is amazing!

A quarter peal, (a Resound auction promise), was rung on Monday 9th December to celebrate Cilla Maguire’s 85th birthday, on the first day that we were allowed to ring after the window installation. Regular Friday practice night resumes on Friday 13th and Sunday service ringing from 15th.

Quarter peals will be attempted on Saturday 14th December in all four Benefice Towers to remember local ringing legend Cliff Garlick who died recently. Cliff rang at Hagbourne and was one of our regular visitors at Friday night practices. He was an inspiration to so many of us with his ringing expertise and his humour, we will miss him.

The ‘Resound’ window and reflective banners will be dedicated by the Bishop of Dorchester on Tuesday 7th January at 7.00 pm (see the Church section in this Bulletin). Bell ringers from Westminster Abbey will be ringing a full celebratory peal (3 hours ringing) starting at 2.15 pm so do listen out for the bells.

Of course your local band will be ringing for the many traditional Christmas services, as well as ringing ‘in’ the New Year. We hope that you enjoy hearing the bells ringing out again and wish everyone a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year.

Blewbury and Upton Village Produce Association

  • Your Local Village Gardening Club

Well, another year is almost at an end and the VPA concluded its 2019 programme on Saturday with its social at Upton Village Hall. The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone, with good food and plenty of fun and games. Not only did we have residents from Blewbury and Upton but we were supported with residents from Chilton, Harwell and Didcot. The teams were pretty competitive when it came to the quizzes and games with Upton being the winners, well done Upton. We are now looking forward to 2020 and making plans for the annual Summer Show being held on Saturday 4th July. It is hoped that the refurbishment of the Village Hall will have been completed and we will be exhibiting in a newly refreshed building. If not, then it will take place in Blewbury School, so whatever happens it will still take place. If anyone would like an electronic copy of the Schedule, it is available now, contact the VPA via the following email address:

Paper copies will be available early in the new year at Blewbury Post Office or by contacting Margaret Maytham in Upton. We want everyone to have plenty of time to study the Schedule and decide what they would like to exhibit.

If you read last months bulletin you may recall I mentioned my allotment in Didcot, together with my hens, and said I would keep you posted via my aimless ramblings. There’s not a lot to say about the allotment other than its very wet and I have a few leeks and brussels sprouts which I dig up as and when I need them. I have onions and potatoes stored at home. The onions are very tasty but not particularly large. My potatoes did really well despite the hot dry summer and I have some which are amazingly large and are delicious as jacket potatoes – nice and fluffy. I pickled some of my beetroot, red cabbage and shallots which I have been enjoying over the past few weeks. I managed to get most of the plot cleared before the heavy rains came and have some purple sprouting broccoli growing well for the spring. We have so many pigeons lurking around who enjoy them for breakfast that I have had to make sure I keep them netted. I also said I would tell you about my hens, unfortunately I’ve run out of space this month, so I’ll tell you how I got involved with my hens next month.

On behalf of the VPA Committee may I take this opportunity to wish all the residents of Blewbury and Upton a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

DID YOU KNOW? Percy Bysshe Shelley (1819 – 75) wrote: “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” and

Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906 – 2001) wrote: “Perhaps I am a bear or some hibernating animal underneath for the instinct to be half asleep all winter is so strong in me.” Happy Gardening Eileen

Blewbury Local History Group

November 28, 2019

We frequently receive queries about previous village residents, which is always a pleasure because nearly always we find the family or the house remembered. Last month there was a question about Irene Mawer who we had very little information on. However, thanks to several people in the village we now have quite a lot of information, and we are very grateful to them. Irene lived for a time at Highclere/Highcleve now called Cotterills, with a lady called Doris Balfour; Doris later lived at Forge Cottage. There seems to have been some connection with Eileen Crowe and a car hire or taxi firm at 3, Berry Lane. Any more information would be welcome and we will certainly keep in touch with the person who made the first enquiry.

At our November meeting we expanded on the possibility of their being a tannery sited on Eastbrook House land at some point. A villager of extended years recalled their being an ancient fallen down cob wall along the path at the bottom of the gardens there. It ran alongside what was the East field. The base of that wall was constructed of cow horns and as a small boy he used to remove them (for purpose unknown). A tannery would need water and there isn’t any there so we are discounting that possibility. The wall is now gone but the horns may remain.

We also heard about the discovery of an Iron Age site in East Hagbourne opposite the school dating from 700-500 BC. This led to a discussion on village layout and the fact that Blewbury’s did not change for around 1,400 years.

Visitors are always welcome at our meetings. Our next meeting, Tuesday Dec. 10th, will be our Christmas one, with a glass of wine and a mince pie, at 8 o’clock in the History room at the rear of Robinsons in Parsonage Lane. For more information contact Audrey on 850427 or Mark at

Sustainable Blewbury

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 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.

2 wooden wine racks, 1 black plastic compost bin and lid, 1 water butt and lid (used but still viable) Lyn Blackie 850795
Large, sturdy metal Christmas tree holder Mark Vaughn 07479 290296
Green wooden square holder for real Christmas tree (stump sits in water reservoir) Jo Lakeland 850490
Liatorp IKEA square coffee table, glass topped with 4 display spaces plus shelf 93x93x50cm Luisa Baldini 07435 252411
To freecycle your item please send a short description, email & phone number to Lydia Inglis (

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


– 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.

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, where you will find more information.