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Monthly Archives: September 2021

Blewbury’s New Historical Novel

September 17, 2021

The Courage Game is a fictionalised account of the life of Gladys Hazel, who is the infamous Militant Suffragette, who lived in a bungalow in Westbrook Street. from  1939-1959 and is buried in the Blewbury Cemetery.

It has been written by Gladys’s great niece Jeni Whittaker, who has kindly agreed to come to the village on Friday 15th October to give a talk in the Vale Room at 7:00pm about her book.

The novel starts in Blewbury in 1950, where Gladys who was by then retired decides to write about her very eventful life. Her life story was something of a secret until Jeni Whittaker’s father Peter Waterfield discovered her account, when he was clearing out a potting shed in Devon many years after Gladys had died . Jeni used this account as the basis for her novel, which will make fascinating reading for anyone with an interest in Blewbury, the Suffragettes, or even what life was like for a young independent woman born in the late 1800s.

The publicity for the book states:

‘Gladys grows up in a large family, convinced she is the odd one out especially compared with pretty Rita, the sister closest to her. Then elder brother Jim invents a new game he calls the Courage Game, in which all seven of the children will be tested for their ability to keep a stiff upper lip.

Little does she know, she’ll recall this game later, comparing his little hand-made badges to those handed out by the W.S.P.U, the suffragettes. The poverty of Ireland in the 1890s is capped by the terrible conditions of the Birmingham slums where she first works as a teacher.

Heartsick at the hardship she sees all around her, she’s driven to change it, but only the Pankhursts seem to offer any hope of a woman’s voice being heard – providing they win the right to vote, that is. Enthusiastically, Gladys throws herself in, juggling her job, her burgeoning love life and her work for the suffragettes. But how long can one woman keep walking such a line without losing her balance?’

The Courage Game is available from all good booksellers. Come along to meet and hear from the author on October 15th in the Vale Room at the Village Hall at 7pm. Tickets £5 from the Post Office. Glass of wine or soft drink included. Roger Murphy, Local History Group

A great start to the school year

It has been a fantastic start to the new academic year. The teachers have worked hard to set up stimulating and safe learning environments for the pupils, who have settled back into their new routines well. We have all enjoyed being able to come together again as a school for assemblies and have especially relished being able to sing.

Here is what some of the pupils have said about the new term:

“It’s better without bubbles.”   G – Klimt class.

“It’s good that I get to see all my friends again”.  J – Banksy class.

“I like my new teachers. I’m enjoying learning about poetry in English”.   A – Picasso class.

We are currently planning Autumn term events for pupils, parents and the wider community, such as our Harvest Festival and Christmas Carol Concert.  There will be more information about these events very soon. Finally, we would be delighted to show any prospective parents around the School, who would like to see our new facilities and teaching arrangements. Please contact the School Office for an appointment.

Miss Reeder, Head of School

The Badminton Club is back!

September 29, 2021

With Covid restrictions now eased and a brand new playing surface at the refurbished Village Hall, Blewbury Badminton Club is back in action!

See graphic above for details.

CCCA News and Events

September 2, 2021

The Churn Churches Climate Action (CCCA) group is formed by people from the seven local Anglican churches (the Churn churches) and other local congregations. We care about the environment and want to take action to reduce climate change, working with other local sustainability groups.

Nations’ Climate Sunday Service: Churches prepare for COP26
This takes place at 4 pm on Sunday 5th September in Glasgow Cathedral and online. It is not just a service: it is a time when collective action and commitments from more than 1600 (and rising!) local churches across the UK, including the Churn churches, will be presented to the UK Government. See, and register to be sent details on how to watch live online at or use the link Find out more to register and attend. If you’re reading the printed version of this or have difficulties with the links, email for details.

Tree planting
The CCCA and Sustainable Blewbury (SB) are both getting involved with the Hagbourne and Upton Group for Sustainability (HUGS) tree-planting project in the autumn. This enables you to choose a small native tree for your garden. We will collect your orders in the autumn, pass the order to HUGS and then deliver your trees when they arrive in November/December. See the SB bulletin entry for more details or look at the HUGS website

Thank you for the Rain
This prize-winning film stems from the chance meeting of Julia Dahr, a Norwegian filmmaker, with Kisilu Musya, a Kenyan farmer who was using his camera to capture the life of his family, his village and the human costs of climate change. They worked together for more than 5 years to create this film, which shows Kisulu transform into a community leader and activist on a global scale. Thanks to a special Christian Aid licence, we are able to hold a free showing of this film in the Vale Room, Blewbury Village Hall, on Wednesday 13th October; doors will open at 7.15 for a prompt 7.30 start. The film will last 90 minutes, with a refreshment break in the middle. Please email to reserve a free seat.

Blewbury Climate Action

The BCA website is being restructured and revamped. It will include more news of local action, more suggestions of what you can do to reduce the effects of climate change here and overseas, and new suggestions of books to read, videos to watch, links to follow. I hope it will go live by 1st September!

Our next Repair Café is from 2 pm to 4pm on September 19th at the Village Hall.

Please see the BCA website for details of what you can bring, and how the Repair Café works. And we should be able to serve refreshments, unless Covid regulations are re-imposed.

Jo Lakeland Email

Blewbury Table Tennis Club is Back in Action!

Hello everybody. We are happy to inform you that the table tennis club has had a couple of months playing table tennis in the beautifully refurbished Blewbury Village Hall each Tuesday from 5-7 pm.

We have been taking steps to remain Covid safe and have plenty of ventilation etc.

We would love to welcome anyone who would like to join us – novice or expert – and we now have a resident coach who has moved into the village and who is happy to offer tuition if you would like any.

We just pay by the session. £1 if you are 18 or under. £3 for everyone else – with special family discounted rates if you come in a group. Roger Murphy, Club Chair

Blewbury Local History Group

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 14 September at 8pm in the History Room (at the back of Robinsons) and it is open to everyone.

We are currently collecting information on the farming heritage of Blewbury and would welcome any information on this topic from villagers. Blewbury has always been a farming community and it is only relatively recently that the village has diversified into other areas. If you have any photos or experiences or memories of farming in the village or on the Downs we would really love to hear from you. Please come to the meeting or contact me on or by phone 01235 850728. We are sure there is a lot of information within the village and we are very keen to collect it before it is forgotten. We hope to see or hear from you soon. Mary Gaines – Group Secretary

Lights on at Blewbury Tennis Club

Blewbury Tennis Club has installed court lighting at the club. By using the latest high tech, low spill, LED components, extended play and coaching can now take place for people of all ages and abilities all year round.

To celebrate this special occasion, renowned British tennis player, Tim Henman OBE, will be the guest of honour for the big Switch On. Everyone is invited to join in the fun on Tuesday 5 October 6-8pm so do join us if you can although booking is essential via

We’re delighted to be hosting this event in partnership with Style Acre, a local charity supporting 250 people with learning disabilities and autism across Oxfordshire. The occasion will be celebrated with musical accompaniment from Blewbury Brass Band, drinks, refreshments and a raffle. And if you fancy a spot of tennis, bring your racket along and stay for our club social from 8-10pm.

This project has been made possible through support from the LTA, which provided both a grant and a loan for the project, National Tennis Association, the club’s coaching partners, Vale of the White Horse District Council, whose funding contributed towards the project and of course Luminance Pro who supplied and installed the lighting.


Blewbury and Upton Village Produce Association

Your Local Village Gardening Club

It’s a while since I last put pen to paper on behalf of the VPA. As you are all aware, because of Covid-19 the VPA has been unable to hold its summer show for the past two years and very little else besides. We did have a Christmas craft competition last December and a spring bonnet competition this year. However, neither of these events were particularly well supported. The Committee will be meeting soon to decide the future of the VPA and the decision will be announced at the Annual General Meeting which will be held in November.

Although I haven’t been busy with the VPA, the allotment and hens have had to be tended daily. The veggies have struggled with the strange weather we’ve had through 2021. It hasn’t stopped the weeds growing in abundance!! However, the peas were great and broad beans were successful after battling with blackfly – they didn’t like being dosed with washing up liquid!! and a good supply has gone into the freezer. Courgettes and marrows (the real thing) were coming out of my ears and it’s amazing how difficult it is to give them away. Onions have done well and are currently completing their drying in the greenhouse. Blackcurrants and gooseberries were good and most of them are now sitting in the cupboard as jam – I love toast and jam – although not too good for the waistline! Potatoes and leeks are doing OK and the sweetcorn is coming along nicely. For some reason French beans, carrots, beetroot and tomatoes are not so good this year. Still, one has to be grateful for what has grown well.

The hens are doing well, but they are affected by the variants in the weather and they certainly don’t like it when it’s windy. Pumpkin, (I recently discovered she’s called a dominant amber), is in the process of moulting and there’s white feathers all over the run. Holly who is nearly eight years old is still the boss and keeps the other three in order. They are great fun and are pets more than egg producers.

DID YOU KNOW? Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) wrote: “I plant rosemary all over the garden, so pleasant is it to know that at every few steps one may draw the kindly branchlets through one’s hand and have the enjoyment of their incomparable incense”. Happy Gardening – Keep Safe Eileen


Blewsing – Blewbury Choir

We are delighted to announce that BlewSing will recommence this month (September). We meet fortnightly at the Melland Room 7.30 – 9.15 p.m. Dates for this term are September 9th, 23rd, October 7th, 21st, November 4th, 18th, December 2nd, 16th.

The choir always sings for pleasure. There are no auditions and no requirement to read music; the only requirement is simply a love of singing. We need to know who is coming along so, if you would like to join us and/or would like further information, please contact Sheila Loy on 850537 or or visit