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Village News

Blewbury WI News April 2021

April 1, 2021

Hello everyone. Hopefully this will be the last “News” in lockdown. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we might be able to have some kind of a main meeting in April, otherwise it will be back to Zoom for the last time.

We had a very successful coffee morning in March with 14 ladies present. The Committee Members are busy putting together “Easter in a bag” gifts to be delivered to all of our members. They deserve a big “thank you”.  Lyn has a walk arranged for April, and this is her report:

Lyn’s Walk.  “I mean to have a walk in April, but to follow the guidelines it won’t happen till Wednesday, April 14th. We had a walk arranged for December but it was cancelled so I propose doing it in April.

Meet at the Village Hall at 9.30am to be at Asda car park at Great Western Park at 10am. There will be two walk leaders if needed so that should accommodate any wanting to come. There are instructions this time which need to be followed. Have a mask and some refreshments with you. MORE IMPORTANTLY this time I would like to know if you are coming. If you would be in need of a lift and if you would be prepared to offer a lift to anyone without transport. Contact me on 07733 334484 any time up until April 13th but please don’t just turn up at Asda.”

We can look forward to the Spring and  Easter and happier days.

For more details please contact our Secretary, Joy Boness  on  01235 850543  or visit our web page, where you will find more information.       Love from Cilla.

Bridge Club

I am pleased to confirm that our Wessex League team will be promoted to Division 2 next season. Well done to Captain Dermot Paddon and all who took part.

We continue to run club sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7pm on BridgeBaseOnline. Also club sessions for individuals to play against the computer on Funbridge on Mondays and Wednesdays, any time between 10.30am and 10.30pm and on Fridays over a similar time span for Novices. It is flexible – within those hours members may play at any time which suits them.

We hope members are playing more regularly during lockdown and therefore finding that their bridge is improving!

Michael Allen 851870


Revised 94 bus service from Monday 4th January

December 22, 2020

A New Year present from Thames Travel: more buses, earlier and later buses, AND 6 buses each way on Saturdays!

The revised service will run linearly from Didcot through East Hagbourne, Blewbury, Upton, Chilton to Harwell Campus and back again, but unfortunately West Hagbourne’s only stop will be at the Horse and Harrow. You can now download a pdf copy of the new timetable from the Thames Travel website at, and it should be displayed at bus stops from the official start date of January 3rd.

There will be no changes to the 94S buses on school days. As now, a single vehicle provides the entire service including the 94S School bus. The school service takes priority, which explains why the first direct bus from Blewbury to Harwell Campus does not get there until 0932. If you need to get to the Campus earlier you have to take a bus in the opposite direction to Didcot Parkway and transfer to the X32. Jo Lakeland (for Parish Transport Representative)

Paul Sibley’s Big Cycle

October 22, 2020

A massive thank you to everyone in Blewbury who supported me throughout my Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle.

Everything went smoothly, which was unexpected and I completed

968 miles in 10 days.

We managed to raise a total of £4,730 for MIND, which will do an incredible amount for a number of people. The just giving page remains open so it is possible to donate if you want to at

Thank you again,

Paul Sibley

I will be sitting down for the foreseeable!!


December 22, 2020

It’s almost Christmas and we were very much hoping that the bells would be able to ring out to celebrate the festive season. Covid-19 had other ideas!

We came out of the latest lockdown and into tier 2 meaning that ringing bells was still a no-no as people from different households couldn’t meet indoors which meant the ringing chamber was out of bounds so to speak! There was a glimmer of hope in that Richard and Gill (husband and wife) could ring and being very experienced ringers, they tried ringing two bells each and discovered that chiming was possible, albeit very hard work, they chimed the bells prior to the Advent Carol Service.

The Central Council of Bell Ringers are liaising with the government and we hope that the rules may be relaxed over the Christmas period allowing us to ring for the traditional services, fingers crossed.

We wish everyone a safe and Happy Christmas, traditions will, no doubt, be very different this year. We look forward to 2021 hoping that life will be able to return to a form of normal that includes bell ringing.


The Christmas relaxation of the Covid rules permits church bells to be rung for a limited time, and Blewbury bellringers will be ringing 6 bells (the maximum permitted) on two occasions. We will ring at 11.05 pm on Christmas Eve for the Midnight Mass service which commences at 11.30 pm. We will also ring for 15 minutes at 9.45 am on Christmas morning. We do not recall any Christmas Day since the Second World War when bells have not been rung out over the village.  Please note that there is not a physical service in the church on Christmas Day, and we request that you do not enter the church while ringing is taking place please. We hope that you will enjoy this brief sound of hope in this most difficult year. We wish you all a happy Christmas and a more joyful New Year.

Richard Loyd, Tower Captain


Blewbury Pre-School: 50th Anniversary, Lottery and Logs

It’s Blewbury Pre-School’s 50th anniversary in 2021 and we’d love to hear from anyone who has memories of the pre-school.

You may have attended as a child, or perhaps you used to help out as a parent, or maybe helped on the committee, or were a member of staff?  We’d love to hear from you! Please email with any stories or photos you’d be happy to share.

We also plan to launch the Blewbury Pre-School Lottery in 2021. Anyone aged 16 or over will be able to take part. For just £5 per month you’ll be entered into a monthly lottery with a chance to win one of three cash prizes. The lottery money will be split 50:50 between fundraising and prize money. The proceeds going to the village pre-school will help fund equipment and resources, and to meet any other funding needs. We’re asking people to sign up for a whole year as annual members. We plan to sell a maximum of 200 lottery numbers each year. If all 200 lottery numbers are sold, the prizes each month would be: 1st prize £250, 2nd prize £150, 3rd prize £100. The remaining £500 per month would go to the pre-school.  Please email and we’ll send you a sign-up form in the New Year.

Finally, did you know you can support Blewbury Pre-School by ordering quality hardwood for your log burners?  It’s £100/£60 for a full/half trailer load delivered (or £75/£50 for a full/half trailer load collected).  Further reductions available if you prefer to split logs yourself. Single nets of logs are also available outside pre-school for £5.  Email orders to:

A Monument Restored

October 22, 2020

The Geo(rge) Knapp memorial, a splendid old survivor in St Michael’s churchyard, is back in place, after two months of technically very demanding work.

The principle problem was damp-rot (see picture below), which had entered the structure at several points and was so severe and accelerating that, if restoration had been delayed for another year, in all likelihood it would have been impossible.

It was necessary to replace the top and bottom rails with fine sycamore, and the top and bottom edges of the board with an inch of walnut. This was a hair-raising process, as the boards were crumbling almost as fast as they were worked upon (rather like an OXO cube!) At least 8-10 flaking and unstable previous re-paintings of the lettering had to be removed, which revealed that the letters had “drifted” slightly from their original positions. It was amusing to discover  that the sign board itself was an old, re-used, Elm floor-board!

The finials which surmounted each side-pillar were seriously damaged, and letting water in at each end: these were replaced with butt-jointed (and pegged) close-grained walnut. In addition, four drip-rails were added to the main rails to deflect rain run-off.  Over many years a great number of nails and screws had been bashed into the rails, which had caused great damage…and let in even more water.

The main consideration, after removal and replacement of all rotted timber (which included the lower ends of the side-pillars, which had been buried and needed considerable strengthening), was to render all the joints of the assembled structure totally waterproof. Then came the enjoyable part of the project: the “re-antiquing” of the new work to match the remaining original parts. Decades of previous experience had shown that stains are generally useless for this type of work, and flexible waterproof acrylic colours were used. These have excellent adhesion and resistance to fading. Both the grain character and colour were painstakingly recreated, even to the extent of a couple of fake bird-droppings and several straggling lichen patches! All joints, rail surfaces, finial tops and side-post buried-ends were given 8 coats of flexible waterproof acrylic varnish, but only after the entire Memorial had thoroughly dried out, and all mould and rot destroyed. Phew!

Many thanks to Peter Saunders, Father Jason, Marianne Suhr, and Calley for their help and support.

Edward Fitzgibbon (07964 663732)


December 1, 2020

Quite a few Blewbury residents have moved house within the village numerous times. However, whether any of them have relocated as many times as our Post Office must be in doubt.

Will there be further twists to this tale of exploration around Blewbury? Who knows? If you can add further details or indeed corrections to this account the Local History Group would be pleased to hear from you.It isn’t known exactly when the Blewbury Post Office first opened, but it was certainly operating in Carramores, on Church Road, by 1887, and we have a photograph of the earl 1900s (top) to illustrate that. If you look closely at the front of Carramores today you can still see the bits of metal protruding where the Post Office sign used to be displayed. In 1914 it moved to Upstone’s Shop (see below) in Treble House Terrace on London Road, where no doubt it benefitted from more passing trade.

Upstone’s Shop and Blewbury Post Office in Treble House Terrace in the 1920s

In 1924 it then moved to Fir Tree Cottage, on the other side of London Road, where a new purpose built extension had been created for it by Jesse Dunsden, and the village telephone exchange was located in the Dunsden’s living room!  After Jesse Dunsden retired in 1943 it then crossed London Road again to take up residence in Laurel Bank where it was run by George & Rose Smith. George was a relative of Jesse Dunsden and Rose was an Upstone, and together they were the parents of Derek Smith, whose book A Blewbury Life is the source of much of the information in this article.

Then in 1968 the Post Office moved to Old Wheelwrights for 24 years with Ann Edwards and then Marion Armstrong in charge.  After 74 years of trading and crossing the London Road, the next move, in 1992, was to Prior’s Village Shop, in Chestnuts in Church End. With the eventual closure of Prior’s Shop the Post Office moved to the Village Hall, where it has lived ever since October 18th 2001.

Roger Murphy on behalf of the Blewbury Local History Group

Scarily good scarecrows!

September 16, 2020

From the Blewbury Village Society:

What fun Worzel’s Weekend was! Thank you to the 24 households that put time, energy, and bundles of creativity into their scarecrows.

We know that many people greatly enjoyed walking the scarecrow trail, and it was wonderful to do something as a community in a year of many cancelled events. Judging was made enormously difficult by the high quality of scarecrows across the board, but the three winning entries are shown here. The main photo above shows On The Beach at Bankside, winner of ‘Most outstanding in their green field (most imaginative use of junk materials’. Next, below, is Woody on Staycation at Brooks End, ‘Overall Winner & Most Shared Scarecrow #worzelsweekend’

And finally, here is Amity Island at 2 Eastfields, winner of Furthest afield (on holiday) scarecrow and most ingenious choice &/or representation of a holiday destination’!

To see the complete set of scarecrows, head over to the BVS Facebook page.

Winners will receive their prizes in due course. Thank you to Style Acre tea room for sponsoring our Most Shared Scarecrow category with a voucher.

While we aren’t in a position to put on our usual autumn events (Comedy Night and Bonfire Night) due to COVID, the BVS Committee is resuming our monthly meetings to start brainstorming and planning what we can do as soon as conditions allow. We would be delighted to have some new faces and fresh ideas on the committee – you can commit as much or as little time as you like with no pressure. In a usual year, we put on a wide range of events in the village for all ages, and depend on many volunteers to make them happen. If you would like details, please contact us at

Richard Blackford introduces ‘Blewbury Air’

August 5, 2020

Our local composer in residence, Richard Blackford, not only writes beautiful music; now he films it too!

For his first foray behind the camera, he has produced a seven-minute introduction to his recent piece for piano and cello, Blewbury Air. “This is a love song to the village of Blewbury, where I’ve lived for many years,” says Richard as he cuts between beautiful shots of village wildlife and scenes from the studio where his composition was recorded by pianist Adrian Farmer and cellist Rafael Wallfisch.

Blewbury Air has three movements: On the Water’s Edge, Incantation with Bells, and The Wind in the Branches. While  these are all strongly contrasted in mood, Richard says that “they have an overall lyrical, positive and sunny – sometimes playful – feel”.

To watch the film, click here.