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News Archive - April 2007


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Spring Clean is a Major Success

Volunteers prepare to collect rubbish

A huge crowd, including many from the Town's Youth Groups, turned out on a sunny Sunday afternoon to spruce up Whitchurch and were duly photographed by the local press.

Basingstoke and Deane District Council provided dayglo tabards, gloves, litter pickers, bin liners and natty things to keep the bin liners open - but strangely the staff assigned to pick up bags of rubbish had been instructed not to assist in any other way. The volunteers were quickly briefed by Mike Stead and moved off in 6 teams to their allotted areas.

Photo courtesy of the Basingstoke Gazette

Safety cover was provided by WPC Paula Osmond and PCSO Helen Rutherford for those working on roadsides and Mayor and Mayoress Hugh and Jenny James were there to provide moral and physical support.

After some 2 hours hard but rewarding toil, which have made some of the parts of Whitchurch a lot tidier than they had been, the workers returned to the White Hart for welcome refreshment.

Well done to all who turned up and especially to the Steads for the organisation, as ever.

Meanwhile .......

Burnt out waste bin

At the same time as large numbers of the community are working to improve the environment, others are heading in the opposite direction.

Just at the side of Winchester Street by the entrance to the new Community Centre , all that remains of a council waste bin are two pieces of molten plastic. This was paid for by the community charge payers of Whitchurch; the vandals are burning our property. This is the same place that signs to the new Centre and the Silk Mill Bridge were vandalised not long ago. Is the new Centre going to last long if it has to contend with the mindless vandalism that seems to go on in the area?

This is only one of eight bins destroyed in the last few weeks, the latest being an industrial sized bin in the Bell Street Car park. The Fire Service has been called to each one and are cheesed off with the situation. The matter is now being treated as arson, if you know anything please contact WPC Paula Osmond on 07768 866416 or call Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

First Ramble of Spring

The moving forward of the clocks and the spring like weather should make the Whitchurch Ramblers' first walk of the year a pleasant occasion. For those who haven't tried a Wednesday Walk, just turn up at Bell Street Car Park at 7 pm ready for an enjoyable open air social occasion. The walk on 4th April is a fairly gentle 3.4 miles to (and from) The Hangings/Bere Mill. For details of all the Ramblers' activities visit their website at

Smarter Ways Of Working…Support Your Town!

We live in an increasingly congested part of the country. The daily commute typically only manages to offer up stress, unproductive lost time and increasing travel costs whilst at the same time helping to pollute the atmosphere through such as CO2 emissions. One other factor important to a town like Whitchurch, is that the significant amount of 'out-commuting' (working outside the town) can leave the town devoid of people during the day thus lessening the spend on the High Street and lowering the numbers using local amenities.

Yet many households and an increasing number of local facilities (e.g. the library, the White Hart) are now connected to the Internet via Broadband where business and trades people can securely access their email and 'office' systems without leaving the town.

To accelerate and further encourage this 'smarter', more family friendly, way of working, Working 4 Whitchurch (W4W) is exploring the possible demand for a local Town Centre based 'Community Work Centre'. This would be a small internet connected 'serviced office' where you can simply 'drop-in' or pre-book a desk together with secretarial support services if you need them.

Outlining the proposed service, Stewart Parrington said "The aim is to offer local support services for start-up businesses and target use of the Community Work Centre for anyone whose home may not be conducive to home based working. We want to encourage more home based working generally as we believe it is win-win - for families, for those with caring responsibilities trying to get back into the work-place, employees, employers (increased productivity), for the Town and even the planet. We plan to include the 'Community Work Centre' as part of our bid to SEEDA. If we are successful, the initial set-up and running costs can be largely financed externally, but we urgently need to get a feel as to how many local people might support the new facility. Longer term, we would look for local contributions to help cover running costs"

To register your interest in the proposed Community Work Centre, please use the contact page

New Trophies for New Show

New trophiesThe new Spring Show is to be held on 14th April and the organisers commissioned Glass-Foolery to create a trophy for each section

The beautiful results can be seen to the left and are clockwise from the top left, cut flowers, floral art, pot plants, children, photography and culinary. They are currently on show in the shop.

The show will be held in the Methodist Hall and is open to the public from 2.15pm. Entries are welcome and the full details can be downloaded here. Entry forms are also available in the Old Paper Shop, House n Home and Flower Power. It's easy to enter, there's a novice class in floral art and you only need one cut flower for each class. Call Brigitte Broad for more information on 892577.

Elvis Lives in Whitchurch

Well almost, Elvis impersonator, Miguel Olivares-Alvarez, will be performing at the Blue Ginger Restaurant on Thursday 19th April. Normally seen at top venues in London, Miguel will be serenading diners for a special evening from 7.30pm onwards.

Testbourne Fund Raising for Uganda

Since 1977 there have been links between the Diocese of Winchester and the poverty stricken district of Mityana in Uganda. A charity has been set up which has the aims of relieving poverty, advancing education for children and advancing the Christian religion.

Last year, Testbourne School became involved through a rather fortunate event when Rev Dodie Marsden brought Rev Michael Lubowa of Mityana, who is currently studying in the UK, into Testbourne School to meet the School Council. The Council was very impressed with Michael and his tales of life in Uganda. So much so, that, after several e-mails to Dodie it was suggested that Testbourne and Mityana Secondary School should become partners.

By the end of last summer term outline plans were in place for a visit by a group of Testbourne pupils. Mrs Janet Evans went to Mityana in November to lay the foundations of the link and plan the visit. The result was that the Testbourne-Mityana Project was born. The current aim is to raise £2,400 to provide two 100,000 litres water tanks for the school as well the visit by 14 pupils, scheduled for October of this year. The pupils have to raise £14,000 to pay for their flights, expenses etc.

A whole range of fund raising events is planned, the main ones being a May Ball on 19th May and an all day rock concert, Testbourne Rocks, inside and outside the school on 7th July. Details of all the group’s activities are on its website at It already has gained sponsorship from John Dollin in the town and other businesses and groups in the area, but more are always welcome, please use the contact page – particularly welcome would be auction and raffle prizes for the May Ball.

New Show is a Success

floral artThe first Spring Show, run by Whitchurch Gardens' Association, filled the Methodist Hall on Saturday. Beautiful flower arrangements greeted visitors as they entered the room and led them on to tables covered in daffodils tulips and other Spring flowers. Colourful children's drawings, tasty cookery items and photography completed the display.

Mayor Hugh James very kindly presented the trophies to the section winners and complimented the exhibitors on their ability to produce such a colourful display, despite the early Spring's attempts to finish off the daffodils weeks ago. The trophies were all produced by Glass-Foolery and were designed to represent the sections see below.

The winners of the sections were, Floral Art, Jo Dixson, followed very closely by newcomer, Diana Ward; Cut Flowers, Jo Dixson; Pot Plants, Graham Burgess and Gillian Anderson; Children, Rachel Rahman; Culinary, Mary Hopgood and Photography, Jo Dixson. Jo also took the trophy for the most points in the show.

International News - Local dog keeps his head in a crisis

Keano's head stuck in wallWhitchurch hit the international news on Friday 20th, when Keano the husky got his head trapped in a wall.

The story appeared locally, on the BBC, whose picture appears on the left, then in the Irish press and finally as far away as Uruguay and and Japanの装飾用穴あきレンガから首を出してみたら抜けなくなった犬 , before finally appearing in Monday's Times.

Keano, a six-month-old male husky, got his head stick in an ornamental wall, whilst trying to be friendly with the dog next door. A neighbour told Keano's owner and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service were called. They used a bolster to chisel off the part of the wall that was trapping the dog, whilst the owner kept Keano calm.

Names have been withheld to prevent unnecessary embarrassment!

It's Pond Dipping Time

children pond dippingWhen the Millennium Green was built, three sites were excavated so aquatic wildlife could survive. If you want to pond dip and you have no nets, then join the Friends of the Meadow (£5 per family) and you will be advised where you can obtain them when you come down to the meadow.

If you want to practice and see what sort of things you might catch then have a look at the Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds' site. It's also very useful to check what you have found.

To join the Friends use the contact page.

Whitchurch eYe - Spring Edition

eye logoThe Spring edition of Whitchurch Town Council's newsletter, the eYe, will shortly be delivered to your door. Moving with the times, the Council has posted a copy for you to download here. (It's a bumper edition so is 1.6Mbytes).

It is now one of the items that can be downloaded using the menu buttons to the left of this page.

Whitchurch Improvements - Have Your Say

Hampshire County Council, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) and Whitchurch Town Council are teaming up to improve the town centre, assist the local economy and develop tourism. They are making £120,000 available.

A bid to South East England Development Agency is being put forward under the auspices of the Whitchurch Association for funds to match this. This could mean £240,000 to be spent on improving the town centre. The grants follow on from the work which produced the Town Health Check and its Action Plan.

From the Plan several projects have emerged these are:

Develop the Visitor Economy:

  • install brown tourist signs on A34
  • publish a town amenities guide and a heritage trail leaflet
  • provide new signage and information boards
  • install commemorative plaques, and supporting works of public art

Improve the Town Centre Environment:

  • make footways safer
  • repave the Town Hall forecourt to assist elderly and disabled
  • improve the appearance of the Bell Street car park and Great Lane area as the main arrival point to the town
  • remove unattractive street clutter
  • provide grants to improve property fronts in the town centre

Support Local Businesses:

  • provide facilities for more business use of the internet
  • provide locally based small business support
  • develop on-line e-learning and e-commerce on the community website

Appoint a part time Town Manager to manage projects and champion the town

A leaflet giving this information will shortly be delivered to your door and you have until Friday, May 4 to let BDBC know how you feel. A copy of the leaflet is here and you can send your response by e-mail.

The final budget and legal matters will eventually govern what can be done.

Whitchurch Country Market moves to Gill Nethercott Community Centre

Whitchurch Country Market will be in the Gill Nethercott Centre every Friday from 11th May from 10.00 - 11.30am. For all your needs in organic vegetables, eggs, cakes, jams, local grown plants and a good variety of crafts and cards. Plus the opportunity meet up with your friends for coffee or tea.

Gill Nethercott Community Centre Opens

cuuting the ribbon

Around 200 people came to see the interior of the new Community Centre for themselves and see Paul Nethercott cut the ribbon to officially open it.

The Centre, full details of which are here, was admired by many smiling citizens on a wonderfully sunny day.


Chamber music accompanied the festivities, the Youth Project provided a chocolate fountain, the County Market had a display of its wares whilst the proud members of the Whitchurch Association showed off the Town's new pride and joy.

Mayor, Cllr Hugh James, explained the history of the project and then handed over to Paul Nethercott, who cut the ribbon to officially open the Centre. The crowds then tucked into a buffet kindly provided by the White Hart.


In the car park, members of WADS advertised their next production, the Titfield Thunderbolt, appearing in costume with a bus whose vintage matched that of the play.

Ladies' Pamper Day


The ladies of Whitchurch had a whole day to be pampered at Testbourne, thanks to the PTFA.

Many beauticians and therapists were on hand to make them feel much better and benefit the PTFA's funds.

hand massage

Photographed here are Margaret Dove demonstrating the Bowen Technique, Gemma Rees performing a facial and Peter Dawson doing hand massage.

They were just 3 of the 28 stalls which offered such things as massage, pedicures and manicures,skin care and make up, colour styling, meditation, tarot and palm reading, colour reading, various jewellery stalls, handmade handbags, beaded bags, hand decorated garden tools and gifts and much much more.

Organiser, Hilary Bond, says the event raised just over £500 for school funds.

Annual Town Assembly

On Tuesday evening the Town's organisations and representatives explained what had happened during the last year and their plans for the future.

Starting with a report on the Town's Council's activities and plans from Mayor, Cllr Hugh James, the meeting heard reports from the Police, Borough Councillors, the Whitchurch Association with Working 4 Whitchurch, The Town Hall Trust, the Whitchurch Welfare Trust, the Parish Hall Committee, the Millennium Meadow Trust, and the Whitchurch Youth Project. The new Community Centre featured in several of the reports, as did requests for volunteers particularly from the Youth Project and Neighbourhood Watch.

During the reports particular praise was justifiably heaped on PC Paula Osmond, Town Clerk Cathy Burt and Assistant Town Clerk Pat Cooper.

Gateways in Place

new gateway At long last the Town's gateway signs are in place. The gateway sign are on the 5 main routes into the Town and incorporate speed limit signs which have been out of Town on both Winchester Road and Newbury Road. So the Town should now appear more welcoming to visitors and residents alike and, if the limits are adhered to, a little safer. new gateway

Library Ready to Move

Whitchurch library will close its doors in Bell Street at 1pm on 5th May and reopen in its brand new location beside the Silk Mill on 23 May. There's lots more room in the new location and 6 internet access points. Opening is at 10am and everyone is invited to come along and join in the fun. Special activities on the day will be a lucky dip to win a variety of prizes, free balloons, a 'name the duck' competition and a ‘borrow one get one free’ offer on DVDs.

Loans will be extended to cover the period of closure. More details from 01256 892598.

Surplus Supermarket Vouchers Wanted

Do you have any supermarket vouchers for computers or sports equipment that you don't want? Testbourne Community School would like them. Just drop them off at House 'n Home, Mon-Fri 8.30am - 5.30pm Sat 8.30am - 5.00pm

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