September’s centenary has spurred me to learn more about the Women’s Institute, which has been an unexpected joy.All of the members I’ve spoken to, or met on my travels, have spoken so warmly about the confidence, friendship and fun they’ve gained from this organisation.
For the last 100 years, women all over the country have been serving their communities, and not just tea and cake, either, no. The more I learn about the WI, which is today the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK, the more I admire it. Giving women a voice, its members continue to campaign for the biggest issues affecting our lives. I might even join their ranks soon (if they’ll allow a bolshy single mum who doesn’t bake into their number, which, I’m told, they might!) So possibly see you there if you, too, are inspired by their story
September often feels like a new start, and the new school term (see our Education supplement for more on this!) is the ideal time to earn and hone your skills, whatever your age! Focusing, then, on Woodley Photographic Club, which starts its new year on Monday, 7th September, at 7.45pm. Tony King of the club says: “We are a well-established club catering for a wide range of photographic skills, from the beginner to the expert. We have a varied programme of events, ranging from guest speakers talking on a wide range of photographic subjects (such as wildlife, street photography, landscapes, portraits, digital photo editing skills etcetera) to competitions in print and digital display format. We also have club outings. The ethos of the club is to have fun and enjoyment from photography and our club members are always happy to help and advise. We also take part in inter-club competitions ,which give breadth and depth to the photographic experience and learning.” Interested? Woodley Photographic Club meet every Monday evening at the Oakwood Centre, Woodley, RG5 4JZ from 7.45-10pm. There is free and easy parking opposite. The annual subscription is £30 and there is an entry charge of £2 per night, including tea and biscuits and a free raffle for a bottle of wine - not bad for a night’s entertainment!)
Now to Twyford’s new Italian market, which we heralded with glee in our August edition. Updates, now! The market will be on Friday 4th September from 9am until mid-afternoon and there will be space for 19 stalls only, in the area between Waitrose and London Road – of which seven have been taken by Twyford Village Partnership food and drink business members (plus Graeme from the Barbers who is having a stall outside his premises, selling his plants). Simon Faro who runs Italia in Piazza, owners of the market, has visited twice now and is sure it will be a great success. Do make a date to stock up on Italian goodies and soak up the ‘bellissimo’ atmosphere – see you there!
Every hour of every day in the United Kingdom a man dies of Prostate Cancer and 40,000 new cases are diagnosed. For the last three years Reading Lions have organised – free of charge – a PSA test at the Reading Circle Hospital. This year more than 700 men attended, 16 of whom many received a warning to visit their doctor and 34 required immediate treatment – one was operated on within 72 hours. This life-saving event is indeed free of charge to the men being tested, but Reading Lions do have to pay for it. With all that in mind, why not go along to Hennerton Golf Club in Crazies Hill Road, Wargrave (RG10 8LT) on the 17th for a special golf day? All funds raised will go to help the Lions pay for the 2016 event next March. You could also win a car, holiday, golf clubs or a powerboat experience.
Do you have a head for heights? Home Secretary Theresa May was among the visitors to St James Church in Ruscombe over the summer when the 12th Century church celebrated its Patronal Festival. She was met by the chairman of Twyford and Ruscombe Parochial Church Council Brian Roach and St James churchwarden Bill Barnes. Then, together with her husband Philip, Ms May spent an hour looking around the church and meeting members of the congregation and others who had come to join in the celebrations. Visitors took the opportunity during the afternoon to go to the top of the 60foot church tower, which was built in 1638 and was open to the public for the first time in 20 years. Among those who made the long climb was 77-year-old Barbara Greedus, who used to live in Church Lane, Ruscombe. Barbara travelled from Aldershot to visit the church and had last climbed the tower in 1948. “My friends and I had cycled to the A4 to watch a runner with the Olympic torch go by,” she explained. “Then we cycled to St James and went up the tower. The trees are higher than they were but otherwise the view hasn’t really changed and that’s because they haven’t put up buildings all over the place.” Visitors came from far and wide. Maureen Narezzi, who was born in Oxford, now lives in Australia, but was in the area on a visit so made the trip. Erica Passmore from Tokyo in Japan, together with her children Noah and Amelie, was visiting her mother-in-law and father-in-law in Charvil and was another who enjoyed the afternoon. “We managed to get around 100 people up to the top in the three hours that it was open,” explained Mr Barnes. “We were very happy with that because we had to restrict the number who could go up at any one time for safety reasons.” Visitors also enjoyed a cream tea, a display of church artefacts and were able to view plans for a proposed parish room extension to the church.
Have you heard of the Workers’ Educational Association? Reading WEA is beginning its sixth year of providing adult education classes on 28th September. Up to now, the short courses of 10 or seven weeks (two hours per week) have mainly taken place at the Hamilton Centre in Hamilton Road. However, building work on the site has meant that this venue is no longer available to WEA. So, weekday classes will now take place in classrooms provided by New Directions in Caversham (in the centre near Waitrose) or South Reading (off Northumberland Avenue). The WEA is committed to a belief in education for life, and is a non-political body dedicated to inclusiveness and openness. Graham Thomas of the WEA said: “We are very grateful to New Directions and its head, Barry Wren, and to Reading Borough Council for their commitment to adult education in the borough. All our venues have access for disabled people, and most have parking on site or nearby. This year we have an outstanding programme of courses in a wide variety of subject areas, including art history, local history (one of our strongest areas), architecture, literature, music, philosophy and much else. Our tutors are highly qualified in their subject areas, and encourage participation and a questioning attitude. There is no written work and no examinations! We have been able to keep our charges to the levels we set last year and brochures are widely available (but please ignore references to Hamilton Road, as the brochure was published before we knew about the closure of this venue).” To find out more, visit www.weareading.org.uk , where you can book online, or send completed booking forms to WEA Reading, 27 Derby Road, Caversham, RG4 5HE.
Having a personal shopper sounds quite la-de-dah, does it not? This is the tempting new service offered by Hare Hatch, the Wyevale Garden Centre in Twyford (RG10 9SW), and it’s proving extremely popular with customers. Eoin Keane, horticultural manager at Hare Hatch, said: “We are inviting customers who are undertaking a garden project, however big or small, to make an appointment for a personal shopper session. It is a unique opportunity to meet with us over a cup of coffee and gain advice from our experts in a free, personalised session to help you gain the most from your garden and make your projects a success. We will offer ideas and tips, based on your own specific needs and help you to find everything that you need within the store.” Call 0844 288 5107 to arrange an appointment or visit www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk
Oooh, autumn already? Well, it’s just around the corner according to Trinity Concert Band. Make a date for their Autumn Concert at The Great Hall, Reading University (RG1 5AQ) on Saturday, 3rd October, at 7.30pm. The theme is Music of Our Time and includes John Williams’ Midway March, from the 1976 film, a new composition based on Men of Harlech, a medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best tunes, a Sea Songs arrangement of well-known shanties, and New London Pictures a composition by the British composer Nigel Hess who is famous for many TV themes. There will also be a guest soloist (Jay Bevan) to play a premiere wind band performance of Clarinet Sonatina by Joseph Horovitz. Tickets are £10 up to 24 hours before the concert and £12 on the door. Children under 16 years are free when accompanied. Tickets can be purchased by calling 0845 226 3047 or visiting www.trinityband.co.uk
Now, we love it when a plan comes together here at Round & About. Several local community groups, including Jewl Tones singing group, Charvil Women’s Club and Charvil Senior Residents’ Club are holding a tabletop sale on Saturday, 3rd October. From 2pm, head to Charvil Village Hall in The Hawthorns (RG10 9TR) where you’ll find refreshments and lots of bargains. There’s free entry and profits will go to helping these groups.
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA