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Blewbury News

Scarily good scarecrows!

September 16, 2020

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.

Vale of White Horse District Council Update

Hello! We hope that you and your families are keeping safe and well, now that children are back at school and more people are returning to their workplaces.

Although it feels as though things are returning to normal, many residents are still feeling the impact of coronavirus in one way or another. If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for help: the council’s Community Support Hub is still available, see contact details below. There is also new emergency assistance funding available from the council for voluntary and community groups who are helping those in need. On that note, a huge thank you to Blewbury Good Neighbours and The United Charities of the Ancient Parish of Blewbury for your essential support for local residents throughout the past few months.

Savages have also done a fantastic job throughout the pandemic, continuing to provide delicious fresh fruit and veg to residents from Blewbury and beyond. We hope that residents were able to make use of the “Eat Out To Help Out” scheme in August, to enjoy meals and drinks at The Blueberry, The Red Lion and other local venues. We recently met up for our first in-person catch-up in months over coffee and cake at the wonderful Style Acre Tea Rooms – a real community asset, we encourage you to support their crowdfunder if you can. Please do continue to support the lovely local pubs, farm shops and other local suppliers as much as possible, to ensure that they can keep going through these difficult financial times. Shopping locally is also better for the environment, particularly when it comes to locally grown, produced or sourced products, as they have travelled far fewer miles to get to your doorstep.

As always, we will keep you updated on council matters and the council’s response to COVID-19 through these newsletter articles, as well as on our dedicated councillor Facebook Page: Cllrs Hayleigh Gascoigne & Sarah Medley. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any issues or concerns – our email addresses are and

COVID-19 Community Support Hub

Whilst we don’t know how long the UK’s response to and recovery from COVID-19 will take, we do know it’s likely to be some time. One of the roles of the Community Hub when it was first set up was to help provide vital support to shielded residents (along with others who also need support), and even though the guidelines for those shielding has changed, we want all of our residents to know we’re still here to provide support and advice. The hours have changed due to demand, so it’s no longer open over the weekends and now reflects standard office hours of Monday to Thursday 8.30-5pm and Fridays 8.30-4.30pm. A summary of the number of COVID-19 cases across Oxfordshire, broken down to district level, is available on the following website and will be updated on a weekly basis each Wednesday:

To contact the Community Support Team:
call: 01235 422 600 Monday to Thursday 8.30-5pm and Fridays 8.30-4.30pm

Remember, for the most up-to-date coronavirus information relating to district council support and any changes to services, please take a look at the dedicated Vale webpage for updates:

Cycling Update

Councillors and staff at the Vale have been taking part in “Cycle September” – a global event with a friendly competitive element, to help more people realise the benefits of riding a bike. More information can be found on If you took part in this yourself, or if you would like to spread the word about your favourite cycling routes around the local area, we would love to hear from you. One of our favourite local routes for cycling is along the Harwell link road, with its dedicated cycle path separated from the road, and beautiful views of the Didcot landscape and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We were pleased to see the new cycle-only access scheme on Chilton Road in nearby Upton, however we are continuing to push for better cycle provision in and around Blewbury, particularly given that the Active Travel plans that the County Council are working on across Oxfordshire still don’t specifically include plans for this area:

Car Park charges – Vale Cabinet puts local business recovery first

Vale of White Horse District Council’s Cabinet has prioritised supporting local businesses recovering from COVID-19 ahead of addressing the council’s own longer-term financial pressures in deciding about changes to car park charges across the district. Earlier this month, Cabinet considered a range of options for the district’s council car parks.  After listening to feedback from local residents and businesses, Cabinet members unanimously agreed to retain two hours free parking across the district in order to ensure that town centre shops and cafes can continue to benefit from the scheme while they recover from the pandemic.

Vale Cabinet Re-organisation

Leader of the Council, Cllr Emily Smith has made some changes to the Vale’s Cabinet that came into effect on 1 September.  You can read her public statement on the changes on our website here.  The new cabinet member responsibilities are below:

  • Councillor Emily Smith: Council Leader
  • Councillor Debby Hallett: Deputy Council Leader and Corporate Services and Transformation
  • Councillor Andy Crawford: Finance and Corporate Assets
  • Councillor Neil Fawcett: Strategic Partnerships and Place
  • Councillor Helen Pighills: Healthy Communities
  • Councillor Judy Roberts: Development and Infrastructure
  • Councillor Bethia Thomas: Community Engagement
  • Councillor Catherine Webber: Climate Emergency and Environment

Planning for the Future consultation

The government has started its consultation to overhaul the planning system and reform the way development is allowed. Its stated aims are to streamline processes, achieve community engagement early in the process and increase the use of technology in consultation and provide interactive maps, so it is more open and transparent. It suggests the reforms will drive our economic recovery, help build green, high quality homes and develop a framework of national green infrastructure standards.

Proposals include:

  • a 30 per cent discount to homes sold through the First Homes system with an emphasis on key workers
  • scrapping Section 106 agreements and introducing a new National Infrastructure Levy, with local decision making on infrastructure spending.
  • every area across England will have a Local Plan and can develop design guidance and/or codes, which will be binding on development decisions
  • strengthening planning enforcement and sanctions through a rule-based system.

There is a lot of discussion in the press about the proposed reforms, but we encourage you to read the consultation paper, link below, and get your comments to the Government by the deadline, 29 October 2020.

Richard Blackford introduces ‘Blewbury Air’

August 5, 2020

Our composer in residence, Richard Blackford, has produced his first film – a seven-minute introduction to his recent piece for piano and cello, Blewbury Air, which he calls “a love song to the village of Blewbury”.

Blewbury Bulletin: now available to download

March 25, 2020

Partly in response to the virus outbreak, but mostly because this is the 21st century, the Bulletin is now available as a digital download. Just click on ‘The Bulletin’ in the top menu bar and select ‘Download the Bulletin’.

Blewbury Pre-School AGM, Lottery & Logs

September 28, 2020

Blewbury Pre-School’s Annual General Meeting will be on Thursday 8 October at 7.30pm and everyone from the village is very welcome to attend.

This year, due to covid-19 safety measures, it will be hosted online via video link. If you would like to receive the link to join the meeting, please email

At the AGM we’ll be announcing all the details of how you can sign up for the Blewbury Pre-School Lottery – with a chance to win cash prizes each month – so do join us if you can!

Pre-School continues to run its normal session times for all 2½ – 4 year olds: 9am-12noon or 9am-2pm, Monday to Friday. Please email if you would like to secure a place for your child, or go to for further information.

Don’t forget you can also help support Blewbury Pre-School by ordering quality seasoned hardwood for your log burners: £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 also available outside Pre-School for £5. Email orders to:

Blewbury and Upton Village Produce Association


– 12th DECEMBER 2020 –

The competition is open to everyone in the family so it can be a combined effort

The table decoration can be any size and shape with all types of decoration and accessories.

The wreath can be any size and include all types of accessories.

Both items must be entered into the competition

  1. If you wish to enter, please record your name, address, phone no./email etc, by MONDAY 30th NOVEMBER at either Blewbury Post Office, Maggie Maytham at Toad Hall, Upton (Tel: 850126) or send your details to the VPA email address:
  2. Place your name and details in envelopes and attach one to each of your entries.
  3. Deliver your entries between 10am and 10.30am on Saturday 12th December to Blewbury Village Hall.
  4. Judging will take place at 11.00am
  5. Collect your entries between 45am and 12 noon.
  6. The winner will be advised on collection of their entries and the medal presented. It will be also be announced in the next editions of the Blewbury Bulletin and Upton News.
  7. All Covid-19 restrictions/regulations at the time of the event will be strictly adhered to.

For Covid-19 safety the Committee will NOT be opening the competition for members of the public to view the exhibits.   We will take photographs.  If there is a total Government lockdown again at the time of the event, it will have to be cancelled.

If you have any queries or require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Eileen Bracken at the VPA email address:  or call on 0777 518 5322.


Sustainable Blewbury


Apple Juicing:  This seems to be an unusually good year for apples. If you have a very large crop, we suggest that you hire our equipment to use at home. Hiring costs just £10 for 24 hours in Blewbury and Upton, £15 per day elsewhere. We provide detailed instruction sheets. To book our kit, or for more information, contact Eric at or 07935 232296.

We are also holding public juicing sessions on Sunday afternoons at Blewbury Manor from 2 to 4 pm for people who do not have huge quantities of apples. Remaining dates are 4th and 18th October. Please bring your apples prepared and ready to be juiced: wash windfalls, remove bad bits (but there is no need to remove cores). We can pasteurise your juice so it will keep for up to a year – for this you need glass screw-top wine or drink bottles. Pasteurisation takes a while, so if you would like us to pasteurise please arrive before 3 pm. You can also freeze your juice in plastic bottles. Costs: £1 per pressing (bucket or large basket of apples), pasteurising 30p per bottle.

Blewbury Garden Market: We restarted our Saturday morning stall on 29th August. We plan to continue through 26th September. We are not using our gazebo, so we are dependent on the weather. Bring fresh produce or bread or other baked goods to sell at 9.00 am. Open for sales from 9.15 to 11.15 am. You set pricing for your goods; you keep 90% while 10% is held for our running expenses.

A Blewbury Wood: What’s happening regarding the possibility of creating a community woodland on the old sewage site at the end of the concrete path going north from the Village Hall? We are still waiting for Thames Water to confirm whether and how we can proceed, but we have taken an important step forward: the local farmer who owns the land around the site has confirmed that he is in agreement with the project going ahead. So, many thanks to Chris Kauntze; these projects have no hope of proceeding without local support. And a number of villagers have offered their help when this does move forward, so we can be confident that it will be a real community activity.
It is, though, quite a daunting prospect. The site is seriously overgrown with scrub and it will be hard work to establish the conditions necessary for woodland planting, especially while trying to respect the existing bird, mammal and insect life. But that is a good challenge!               John Ogden

Tower family-size slow cooker, with recipe book Nina Hutchins 85124907710 225299
Dresser: 94cm wide, 42cm deep, approx 177cm high. Pine, modern and in good condition.  Can deliver within the Blewbury area. Alison & Ken Clark 850541
Bosch Classixx6 VarioPerfect washing machine. Perfect working order. Mark Palethorpe 35908707813 251174
If you have any items to freecycle please email a short description, plus your email and phone number, to Lydia Inglis ( using ‘freecycle’ as your subject.

Getting involved in Sustainable Blewbury can contribute to the village and its environment. To participate, or to receive our free bi-monthly Newsletter, email or phone 01235 850372.

Blewbury Local History Group

September 29, 2020

There are times when we feel overcome with papers, letters, books, photos. And now Covid. Time to think carefully about how best to preserve our past and make it accessible to more people.

With that aim in view, we have decided to scan and digitise most of the records we have so that ANYONE can look at them without having to lift dusty heavy files and boxes around. We have started on this task; many thanks to Jane Barrett who has already scanned a whole pile of documents. Sounds dull? Not so, with all sorts of interesting documents turning up. The main driver of this has been Mark Palethorpe who we are all going to miss enormously when he leaves at the end of September.

We hope to meet in the history room on Tuesday October 13th; maximum number of 6 so please contact me before then if you wish to come. First six only but will arrange Zoom meetings in later months. Contact Audrey on 850427 or

Bridge Club – October 2020

September 28, 2020

The Annual General Meeting of the Club will be held using Zoom at 7pm on Thursday 8th October.

Invitations to join the meeting will only be sent to those members who express a specific wish to be involved – it is important, therefore, that if you do wish to take part, you inform either the Chairman or Secretary at least a week in advance.

Similar advance notice should be given of any nominations for Officers or new Committee members, and for any items which a member would like to raise which may not be covered by the agenda – copies of the Minutes of the last AGM, and an Agenda, have already been circulated by email. If you have not received these and would like a copy please contact the Chairman or Secretary. The Accounts will likewise be circulated.

In order to help with running the meeting smoothly, notes on each Agenda item will be sent out in advance, thereby hopefully reducing much routine discussion.

By the time you read this we are hopeful that a Virtual Blewbury Bridge Club will have been formed, and weekly Tuesday evening sessions will have commenced on Bridge-Base Online from 7.30pm. Given suitable demand, this may well be extended to Thursday evenings, and consideration given to Novices sessions on Friday evenings with the added use of Zoom to promote discussion of the hands and feedback.

It is planned to maintain the current Funbridge sessions by either bringing forward the start time to allow members to play in both events if they wish, or perhaps to re-schedule to different times of the week altogether. More news of this will be sent out by email. Michael Allen 851870

Post Office News – October 2020

Apparently there are rumours about us closing? Not to our knowledge: we are still open Monday to Friday mornings 8.30am until 12 noon!

Two potential new members of staff are about to embark on their training, so hopefully we will be able to open in the afternoons and on Saturday mornings very soon. Maggie is working full-time in Hagbourne, as Steve has had a nasty accident and is off work until December.

We have beautiful Rupert stamps out now, glorious Bugs in early October, and we are expecting the Christmas stamps in shortly, which will be on sale in early November. The basic rate for Europe is now £1.45 and for the rest of the world £1.70. Royal Mail have reported an increase of 40% in mail since March, so there are still delays to the service and we ask that ALL mail is processed by 11.30 am every day. We still have people rushing in at closing time, when we are struggling to clean and cash up.

Anyone with a Post Office card account will be receiving letters that this service is closing. Just fill out the form and have your pension and allowances paid into a bank account; you can still get your money out at the Post Office, and pay in cash or cheques very easily.

We have heard from the High Court that Post Office Ltd (POL) have once again asked for a delay in Court Case No 4, (the one that decides if we are actually employed by POL, or still classed as ‘agents’ with no sick pay, no pension or rights). POL have lost the last three cases decisively, and have little hope of winning this one either! They still take tax and national insurance out of my ‘renumeration’ as they call it!

In the meantime, please note that we rely on sales from the shop to support paying for staff, as POL do not pay for them and I have to pay them from my allowance (which is a pittance I can tell you). So please help us by buying a few cards or something, when you are next in. Christmas stock is on its way! We’re trying hard to stock up with more recyclable goods, with less glitter and plastic!

Love Karen & Maggie