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

Christmas is Coming

The Town's "Mr Christmas" (aka Stewart Parrington) has been busy fitting Christmas trees around the Town Square in the brackets installed earlier by Barry and Brian Jackman.

Stewart's months of planning, organising the brackets, getting planning permission for their erection in the Conservation Area, getting the trees are coming together in preparation for the big switch on on Saturday 9th at 3.45.

The pictures shown Stewart fitting lights in his "grotto", kindly provided by Ian Clacy, and installing the final tree.

Meanwhile, John Buckley has published the first edition of theWhitchurchweb.net, the printed sister to this website. It should be on your doormat by now with all the details of the events planned for Christmas in Whitchurch plus lots of other information about the Town. If you haven't received a copy, all the town centre shops have them and they're free!!!

Funds Raised For Cancer Relief

A fund raising event organised by Lucinda Cox, of Flower Power, raised over �500 for Cancer Relief at an "end of term event".

Pupils who had attended her floristry classes at Testbourne during the Autumn brought friends along and, following a demonstration of how it should be done, over 50 of them produced their own Christmas table decoration. It is hoped to run a follow on course at Testbourne in the Spring.

See the Town on TV

Whitchurch featured on ITV's Meridian Tonight on Thursday 30 November. A crew spent 2 hours in the Town on Tuesday filming The White Hart and our specialist shops, Glass Foolery, Gladstone's and Karen Jarmarkier. Stewart Parrington, who has devoted a large amount of time organising initiatives such as Christmas in Whitchurch and the survey of local businesses, was filmed explaining what the Town has to offer.

The theme is that small rural towns are attractive to shoppers from their own towns and visitors because they offer a personal touch with friendly knowledgeable shop staff and, for residents, no need to travel many miles, given the Chancellor's intent to raise fuel prices and high parking charges. You can see how just much is available in the town by visiting the retail business page of this site.

The item was screened this Thursday on the Southern edition of Meridian Tonight so those who receive the Thames Valley edition can see it at www.itvlocal.tv, select News and Features, search for Thursday and then select Meridian Tonight - South - Thursday. It's just before the commercial break!

Whitchurch Association Membership

Details of the new Gill Nethercott Community Centre and how townsfolk can become involved are now available. A brochure with details is here.

Whitchurch Well and Truly Lit Up

A large crowd turned out to see Whitchurch Mayor, Cllr Hugh James, officially switch on the town's lights on Saturday afternoon. Ladies Singing for Fun's rendition of many carols and Christmas songs started the ceremony and was followed by the Mayor's presenting the trophy to the Clacy's for producing the Town's Best Dressed Window. The Mayor's speech was almost, but not quite, brought to a halt by several flurries of snow. The pictures reveal that a Mr S Claus was involved.

Following the presentation the lights were formally switched on and Cllr James presented Keith Watts with over �100 raised by the Town Hall staff's tombola on Saturday morning. The Ladies then regaled the large crowd with more song whilst the assembled children (and Sir George Young, the Town's MP!) poured more of the snow over the Mayor.

A full set of pictures is here



Fire Brigade Christmas Collection

Meanwhile, Whitchurch Fire Brigade took over the Town Square for its annual Christmas music collection for charity.

Shoppers gave freely to the morning's collection.

Shared Home Ownership

The Kingfisher Housing Association is offering shared ownership of 5 two- and three-bedroom houses in Bere Hill. The buyers will own 50% of the home and pay rent to the Association on the other half.

More details can be had from the Association on 01256 302305

Bere Hill Nursing Home Reopens

The newly refurbished Bere Hill Nursing home has been formally opened by our MP, Sir George Young, and Mayor, Cllr Hugh James. The refurbished home now provides additional accommodation to that in the brand new Wessex Lodge opened last year. Together, the two buildings have space for 70 residents.

Mystery Plays

Another first, also part of Christmas in Whitchurch, were WADS Mystery Play performances. Brilliant sunlight lit the scene from somewhere near Bethlehem as 3 "wise" men, with musical accompaniment told their version of the run up to the nativity. With plenty of modern references and drum and cymbal prompts for those who may have missed the more subtle humorous points the crowds were well entertained.

No one did find the missing camel - if seen WADS would like it back. more photos are here.