Whitchurch's Old News - What happened in Whitchurch in January 2006

New Restaurant Opens

The Old Brewery Inn in Bell Street has been transformed into the new Blue Ginger Bengali Restaurant.

It's open 7 days a week between 12noon and 2pm and in the evenings from 6 until 11. Some more details are here

14 Jan

Support Needed - Charity Ball

Charlotte Soos is urgently looking for the support of the townsfolk of Whitchurch to help fund her trip to Uganda with Explorer Scouts to build a school in a deprived area of Uganda.

The fund raising will be entirely pleasurable, for �25 you can have a wonderful meal which starts classical musical, after the meal there will be a disco until midnight.

Please support this very worthwhile event. For more details call Julie Soos on 895519

Taekwondo Classes for Children in Whitchurch

 Following on from its success with classes in Overton and Basingstoke, Overton and Basingstoke Taekwondo Club will open new classes on Saturday 21st January at Testbourne Community Centre.  These classes will be specifically focused on providing high quality and fun training in the Korean Martial Art of Taekwondo for children aged 7 � 14.

As well as being a fun and exciting martial art, Taekwondo can also help students develop greater fitness, flexibility and improve concentration and discipline. For those interested in competing, the opportunities exist to participate in all levels from local events up to the Olympics with the necessary talent and dedication.

The Lead Instructor, Lynne Firth, has over 18 years experience of Taekwondo, has an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check and holds insurance with the British Taekwondo Council.  As a parent of young children Lynne understands how to provide a varied and exciting class and how to meet the demands of encouraging and motivating children.

The training will be from 10 - 11am every Saturday.  The first class is free and after that training is just �3.00 per class.

Further details can be obtained from Lynne Firth on 01256 895701 or via

Testbourne Multi-Gym

Paul Bushell is keen to let everyone know about the newly refurbished multi-gym in Testbourne Community Centre; this being an ideal time to put any New Year fitness resolutions into practice. More details are here.

Basically the fitness gym is divided into two types of fitness equipment.

1. Cardiovascular- which is associated with health benefits; including maintaining a healthy heart, obesity, high blood pressure, lung function, joint problems and many more.
2 Resistance - Generally targeting specific muscles by overloading them and encouraging stronger fibres to develop. Health benefits include improved posture, strength and joint stability.

Generally it is beneficial to exercise on both the cardiovascular and resistance machines to get an overall fitness gain. This does however depend on your medical circumstances (which are looked at during your induction). It is recommended that you should be active every day. However you should aim to exercise moderately (elevating your heart rate) 5 times per week for 30 mins, or vigorously (heart rate beating fast) 3 times per week for 20 mins.

To join an induction needs to be arranged at a convenient time for both parties. This will include par-q medical questionnaire. Providing this is ok, the rest of the induction will include demonstrations on how to use the equipment, advice on the best methods for each individual and a programme card issued for you to structure your workout. A door entry card specific to each individual will then be issued to the customer for them to use at their leisure.

The multi-gym is easily accessible to all Whitchurch residents and is very good value for money

The Whitchurch Potato

A "potato" with a difference is being organised as part of the Whitchurch Potato Festival. It is in fact the prize (or more precisely 3 prizes) in a raffle. Each prize will comprise meals for at least 2 at more than one of the town's eating houses, which have generously donated meals as prizes.

So you could win meals for at least 2 at The White Hart,  Blue Ginger Bengali Restaurant, The Royal Pizza and Kebab House, The Harvest Home,  Long Meadow Sports Centre, The Bell and The Railway Hotel.

Tickets will be available soon.

Growing Potatoes is child's play

Jemima, Freddy, Elizabeth and Oscar plant some early potatoes

Just to show how easy it is, pupils at The Oaktree Nursery have been planting some early potatoes. The nursery won the junior gardening trophy for their gardening prowess at the Whitchurch Gardens' Association Show last year. You can plant some first early potatoes in containers now, for a crop in June. Or wait until March to put them in the garden.

There will be lots of varieties (nearly 140!) to suit every taste at the Potato Days on 28 and 29 January, full details here and every child not only gets into the days free but also gets a free Smile potato and the chance to win prizes in lots of competitions.

The children's competition is in the Annual Show again this year on 19th August.

Jan 28 & 29th

Potato Day puts Whitchurch on the Map

Whitchurch featured on the BBC's weather map on Friday 27 January so that visitors to the 8th Hampshire Potato Day could find their way to the town. Whether (no pun intended) that attracted them is not known but 1,600 adults with many children made the journey from all over the South to buy seed potatoes at Testbourne Community Centre.

The reason they came so far was that there were more varieties available to amateur growers than anywhere else in the world - over 140.


Once in Testbourne they could not only buy from the extensive range of tubers but also sample local offering from Dunley Wines, Tufton Plants and Harroway Organic Gardens. From further afield there were Australian seeds, heritage plants and seeds and a compound to prevent potato scab, there was also a chance to taste some not yet released varieties from the Netherlands. On the educational front, Chris Bird from Sparsholt College talked entertainingly on how to grow potatoes and Testbourne's Food Technology teacher, Sophie Cole showed how to cook what the gardeners expect to grow. She was rewarded by being seen on BBC TV on Sunday evening. (Meridian TV also gave the event coverage but wasted much of the item on the day's organiser.)

Children were well catered for with vegetable printing provided by Mike Fisher from Steventon and puzzles and quizzes organised by Barbara Cooper with the Friends of Whitchurch Primary School.

Refreshments provided by the ladies of Whitchurch were very popular and Testbourne PTFA members ensured safe parking for the hundreds of cars.

On Sunday the Potato Princess, Tracy Cheek, dressed by Karen Jarmarkier, was escorted by Community Police Constable Paula Osmond in a luxury Ferrari furnished by Sovereign Cars to be crowned at the Silk Mill by the Mayor, Councillor Irene Clarke.

On arrival at Testbourne, the newly crowned Potato Queen handed out free potatoes to children to encourage them to take up gardening.

The town's eateries that generously donated meals as prizes for the Whitchurch Potato raffle were pointed out to visitors as good places to eat and already one visitor has praised the food on a internet bulleting board.

The main problem for gardeners was which to choose

Whitchurch Community Awards

On Monday 30 Jan Whitchurch's Mayor, Councillor Irene Clark, presented Community Awards to 5 citizens, in a ceremony that has been held since 1994 to honour those who work for the good of the local Community, or who inspire others through their achievements.

Recognised this year were Jane Pattenden and Anne Barnes, for many years' work for 1st Whitchurch Scouts, Steve Boxall, for 30 years years service in the Whitchurch Fire Brigade, currently serving as the sub-officer in charge (despite being eligible for retirement), Joseph Paxton for his musical activities in church and around the town, recently taking over as Director of of All Hallows' Church Choir, and Phil Cooper for organising Potato Days, his work on the Gardens' Association and recent work with the Whitchurch Association. The full citations are here.

Stargazing in the Meadow

Around 60 stargazers from the Town and around turned out to view the heavens on Monday 30th. Andover Astronomical Society provided the telescopes which allowed those assembled to view Saturn at its most spectacular. Shepherds Pie was provided by Longmeadow Sports and Social Club to fortify the masses on a cold but, luckily, clear night.

Graham Burgess pronounced the event a success and plans to have more similar events in the future.

Volunteers for Whitchurch's Heritage Centre Required

So.....interested in local history? Want do your bit for the Town? Want to join like minded souls once a month or so to help develop ideas for the new heritage display area in the new Community Centre/Library? Whitchurch Association would like to hear from you - nothing onerous typically around 2 hours of your time per month. Please contact Harriet Titcomb  by or drop a note into the Town Hall letterbox.

School Governors Required

Testbourne Community School currently has vacancies for both partnership and co-opted governors.

Governors play an important role in overseeing the running of the school and
the school currently has vacancies for both partnership and co-opted governors. If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact us to find out more.

You can telephone on 892061 and ask for Paul Welch or contact him by

Gardener 90 Not Out!

Friends, family and members of Whitchurch Gardens Association joined Ernie Bromley to celebrate his 90th birthday in a lunch at the Harvest Home on Saturday 18th.

Ernie put his survival down to the support he has received over the years from his wife Brit.


Whitchurch's New Town Councillors

Whitchurch Town Council has 2 new members, Councillors Andy Alferovs and John Markham.  Both will be on the Leisure & Environment Committee.

Full details of the Town Council and its roles and responsibilities are on the Town Council's page, its members and committees are here.

The next Community Wardens' Surgery will be held from 3 - 4pm in the Town Hall on 23 Feb, details of the monthly surgeries are in the Events Diary.


Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has just notified the Town Clerk, Cathy Burt, that because the new Green Garden Waste Collection Service is commencing in March, the old green waste sacks, which you have been able to purchase from the Town Hall, will no longer be collected as from 31st January 2006.  

Because there was such short notice of this cessation, green waste sacks were still being purchased in bulk up until the middle of January.  If anyone is left with a stock of these bags, we are instructed that they can phone the Civic Offices on 01256 844844 and a refund will be arranged.  Anyone who has not yet done so, may also get information and/or sign up to the new scheme by phoning the same number, or via the Basingstoke website here.

On behalf of the Borough Council, Whitchurch Town Council apologises for your inconvenience.


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