How on earth have we got to August already? It doesn’t seem two minutes ago since I was making pointless new year’s resolutions about jogging and abstinence. And now, suddenly, we find ourselves in the middle of summer. I am writing this having spent most of the weekend blowing up and filling up a paddling pool (with no outside tap this truly is a faff), only to discover the pool is punctured so having to traipse into town to buy a new one and start the whole process again. Still the sun is shining, and both paddling pool and my glass are now full. Long may all of this continue!
Are you involved with a community group in West Oxfordshire that could do with a funding boost? West Oxfordshire District Council’s Cabinet has just agreed more than £65,000 in grant funding for community-led capital projects, and will be awarding more grants later in the year. Recent grants handed out include £37,500 to help redevelop community space at the back of the Long Hanborough Methodist Church and £6,353 towards a project to provide an outdoor gym and a large slide at Hailey Recreation Ground. Northmoor Village Hall was given £4,460 to improve its facilities, Kencot Village Hall was allocated £3,080 towards building a storage area to the rear of the hall and Cassington Parish Council was awarded £13,845 towards improvements at the sports pavilion. The next round of community facilities grant applications will be considered by the council in November and applications must be made by Tuesday, 15th September. Visit www.westoxon.gov.uk/communities or call 01993 861080.
Volunteers are sought to help manage Deer Park Wood, an 11-acre wildlife site on the western edge of Witney. The site has been managed and maintained by the Witney Woodland Volunteers since 2010, with West Oxfordshire District Council support. The volunteers have planted more than 400 native trees and 200 hedgerow shrubs, created eight wild flower meadows, made bog gardens and nurtured a fruit orchard. The group meets for a couple of hours every Monday throughout the year to plant trees, shrubs and seeds and cut back undergrowth, as well as weed and litter-pick public footpaths and spaces. If you would like to get involved as a volunteer or make a donation visit www.witneywood.org.uk
Volunteers are needed to provide temporary homes for cats who have been neglected, abandoned, or mistreated. The Oxfordshire branch of the RSPCA is appealing for foster carers. Call Rosemary on 01865 821749 or 07887 475403.
Back to Witney and a community information day is being held in the town’s Market Square on Saturday, 22nd August from 9.30am until 12.30pm. A range of local organisations will have stalls offering free advice and information on issues ranging from cold-callers and doorstep crime, to recycling and waste. For more information about the event, call 01993 861640.
Waste management and the Washington family – both topics will be discussed by Witney U3A this month. The group for anyone no longer in full-time employment, will hear talks from Sian Stokes on Waste Management in Oxfordshire on Thursday, 6th August and on Sulgrave Manor and the Washington Family by Martin Sirot-Smith on Thursday, 20th August. The group’s talks take place at 2pm in Witney’s High Street Methodist Church. For full details see www.witneyu3a.org.uk
There’s a new exhibition at the Oxfordshire Museum designed to help you rethink your waste in innovative ways. Everything in the Treasure From Trash exhibition was once something else, with waste paper, metal, glass, textiles and rubber all remade into sustainable, useful, and often beautiful objects. The exhibition will be on at the museum in Woodstock until the start of November.
Woodstock will elect a mock mayor in a centuries-old fun-filled tradition on Saturday, 8th August. The ceremony, which culminates in the mock mayor being thrown in the River Glyme, starts at 3pm and will feature a procession and traditional games followed in the evening with live music and a barbecue at The Black Prince pub.
Also on at Blenheim this month is a Festival of Transport. The event will start on Sunday, 30th August with a Classic Car Show and on Monday, the classic cars will be joined by motorcycles, minis and VWs, hot rods and American vehicles, plus kit and sports cars. 10am until 5.30pm both days.
A mum from Oxford is encouraging people to turn their old car into cash to raise money for the charity her family started after her son was diagnosed with brain cancer. Sally and Andrew Hall founded Blue Skye Thinking last July in response to their four-year-old son Skye being diagnosed with medulloblastoma, an aggressive and cancerous brain tumour. Sadly, in 2014, Skye died peacefully at home aged five. The charity is raising funds so all children diagnosed with brain tumours will have a better chance of survival and quality of life. Visit www.giveacar.co.uk/charities/blue-skye-thinking
And an Oxfordshire man, whose daughter has leukaemia, is appealing for people to register as potential blood stem cell donors. Arun Kumar and his wife Helen, from Wheatley, have launched the appeal to try to find a suitable donor for their daughter. Two-and-a-half-year-old Elsie was diagnosed with myeloid leukaemia in Down’s syndrome (MLDS) last October and went into remission following treatment. Unfortunately she relapsed in April, and now needs a blood stem cell donation to get better. Elsie, who is being treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital, is an only child so doesn’t have any siblings who could have a matching tissue-type, and is therefore dependent on finding a matching donor amongst those who have registered to be on standby to donate blood stem cells. Her parents are appealing for people to register as potential blood stem cell donors with charity Delete Blood Cancer UK to help find a perfect match for Elsie and others like her. To find out more see www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk/en/a-match-for-elsie
A trust founded in memory of 18-year-old Emma Curtis-Smith is staging its final fundraising event – a summer festival on Saturday 5th and Sunday, 6th September at Chipping Norton Cricket Club. Since it was formed in 2005, Emma’s Trust has awarded more than £100,000 to more than 9,000 local young people and organisations that, like Emma, have a passion for sports and performing arts. This event will see the best local bands, dance, children’s workshops and traditional fair rides, fun inflatables, food stalls, a community market and drama sessions for children by Chipping Norton Theatre, go-karting, and animals from Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm. Entry to the Saturday festival is free and tickets for Sunday’s gala concert start at £10. www.emmastrust.com
Pop to Combe and treat yourself to a homemade cream tea. As in previous years, this popular fundraising event will see village organisations and charities taking it in turns to run the teas, which will include a cup of tea or coffee, home-made scone, cream and jam, and a generous serving of cake. They will be served in the Reading Room from 2.30pm until 5pm every Sunday afternoon this month.
Enjoy an afternoon exploring Bridewell Organic Gardens which will be opening up to the public on Sunday, 23rd August. The walled garden and vineyard at Wilcote will be open from 2pm until 5pm. Plants and refreshments as well as Bridewell organic wine and produce. £3, free for children. To find out more call 01993 864530 or see www.bridewellorganicgardens.co.uk
Or for an entertaining evening of outdoor theatre head to Cogges Manor Farm on Wednesday, 26th August. The Festival Players will perform one of Shakespeare’s best comedies As You Like It on the manor house lawn, starting at 7pm. People can bring their own picnic or enjoy refreshments from the Cogges kitchen and bar. Tickets cost £12.50 for adults and £8.50 for children, and are available online at www.cogges.org.uk or by calling 01993 772602.
Find out about the role of pollinators at a Wychwood Project event on Saturday, 15th August at Honeydale Farm, Station Road, Shipton-under-Wychwood. The Pollinator Walk, which starts at 11am, will take in the farm’s fields of flowers and grasses that encourage bees and other pollinators. People can also hear about conservation work on the farm, and following the walk there will be a buffet or barbecue. Children and dogs are welcome, and it will cost £10 per adult, £5 if you are a Wychwood Project member, and under 14s go free. To book online please visit www.wychwoodproject.org/cms/content/events
Wychwood Project’s Forest Fair on Sunday, 6th September, taking place at Lodge Farm, on the Ditchley Estate. The fair will boast fun, craft demonstrations, music and food. There will also be Morris dancers, Aunt Sally, ferret racing, a coconut shy, Hatwells Fun Fair, games, local food producers and Witney Town Band. There will also be 30 community and conservation groups promoting ways in which people can do their bit for the environment. Proceeds go to the Wychwood Project’s conservation work.
A primary school teacher from Witney has launched a range of travel books aimed at children. Shirley Dixon, who has taught literacy in the local area for 35 years, hopes the guide and activity books can keep children both informed and entertained on their travels. The books, which blend interesting facts about the history, culture and geography of some of the world’s top holiday destinations with puzzles and activities, have been well-received at trials in Oxfordshire schools and have already been picked up by Virgin Atlantic as part of their in-flight kids’ pack. Visit www.quiltyguides.co.uk
Carterton Lions will hold their next car boot sale on Saturday, 29th August on the Recreation Ground, Alvescot Road. Pitches cost £6 for a single and £12 for double and trade, and booters can set up from 8am. Sale 9am-12.30pm, and entry is free. Call 01993 772241.
The Carterton Triathlon is back, building on the success of the event two years ago. New this year is an improved bike route, and the event is also running an Olympic-length triathlon incorporating a 1,500-metre swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run. At Carterton Leisure Centre on Sunday, 30th August, there will also be a sprint distance (a mere 400m swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run). Visit www.better.org.uk/leisure/carterton-leisure-centre
Lastly, if an Olympic distance triathlon isn’t a challenge enough, how about an Immortal Full Distance Triathlon? The event, which comprises a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and 42km run, will be held at Farmoor Reservoir on Sunday, 16th August. And if you don’t fancy competing (who does?!), it should be great to watch. Find out more at www.immortalsport.com/event/immortal-full
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA