Issue 147    Sept 1st   to December 1st 2020


Dear Mr Editor,

Well, well, a proper Lockdown, with no ChainMail demands since February, gave your correspondent plenty of time to think about what to say.  Net result:  there is nowhere Grumpy would rather have been living than in Hungerford.  The town has demonstrated in the last 5 months the qualities that endear it to so many of its inhabitants.

Geordie Taylor has worked wonders with his team of volunteers.  Notably the younger members of the community have appeared with increased visibility in the shops that remained open, such as Tescos, the COOP etc where they have worked tirelessly and amiably to help the community members who depended on the essential stores.  I continually admired their cheerful assistance of those who, like me, are of advanced years with dependants who are on the extremely vulnerable lists and so doubly  welcomed their piloting, shepherding and willingness to help.

Add to this feature the fact that Hungerford enjoys, without charge,   two green lungs represented by The Common and Freeman’s Marsh,  both of which offer residents of all ages and their dogs and families an opportunity to  take exercise  whenever the sun [as it mostly did] was  shining.  Now, following  the relaxation,  one can  have a refreshment en route at The Down Gate where Lauren and her ebullient team  have resumed their cheerful  service; even the menu has expanded.

Of course there remain a few niggles for Grumpy and his mates to grizzle about. There seems to be an increasing  and worrying tendency  to drop litter on every verge  or picnic place; two bin-liners a day of bottles, coffee -beakers, fag-packets etc are accumulating on The Common; so much of it evidently jettisoned from cars. Quite apart from defacing the  sward and contrasting with its otherwise welcome appearance including, in some places, the recently sown wild flowers, dont the perpetrators realise that the cattle are consuming the trash and sometimes are even doing themselves expensive and potentially fatal harm?  Yes,  the Tossers should please take their  litter home and others, if you are public-spirited, perhaps you can carry a bag and pick up anything that self-evidently needs removal.

Other events vary from the positive to the sad.  The  Hungerford Youth & Community Centre, supported for the last decade  [since WBC withdrawal]  through thick and thin by The Town Council, by The Town & Manor and  by other local funds and businesses, as I have often mentioned in these columns, has just been recognised for its merits by The National Lottery who have awarded it a 5-figure sum  to help its further development  over the coming 3 years.  Someone who worked tirelessly with me on this project, in the Council and elsewhere across the community,  was the late lamented Roger Thomson; we shall all miss that booming voice and smile.

Finally, another job was recently well-executed in Hungerford by WBC [who admittedly get few plaudits from me] and Volker:  the relaying of  the severely pot-holed Park Street from High Street to The Common was achieved in four days  but notably with the helpful and polite staff involved ensuring that emergency services could still reach  anywhere requiring access.

Yes, I am optimistic about the impetus that can be achieved in Hungerford as the Town  now seeks to recover from the crippling effect of the pandemic;  I wish every one of your readers success as they surely will  participate with their respective contributions to the town returning to its former glory.

Pip pip!