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.
Binfield Memorial Hall has an interesting history and is still a cherished part of village life. The hall played a pivotal role in events to remember the century-old days of the First World War. Originally a modest working men’s club, dating from the very beginning of the 20th century, plans were agreed during the Great War for the building to be extended to become a facility for the use of all the local community. Architects were engaged, after a competition to choose a suitable design, and an appeal was launched in 1918 for funds to enable the work to begin. A house-to-house collection failed to raise a significant sum – such were the lean times which followed the deprivations of war – but, with the help of generous donations from the trustees and major village families, a smartly revamped building began to take shape in the heart of the village in 1919. Binfield Memorial Hall was officially opened on April 26th, 1920. Thank you, Terence Dilliway, for getting in touch to share this story – it’s always good to hear the history of local buildings.
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!)
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 concert theme is Music of Our Time and features music by living composers. The programme will include John Williams’ Midway March, from the 1976 film, a new composition based on the famous tune Men of Harlech, a medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best tunes, a foot-tapping 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 the 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 by a paying member of the audience. Tickets can be purchased by calling 0845 226 3047 or visiting www.trinityband.co.uk
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.
Now to Thames Valley Ancient Egypt Society, who this month welcome Dr Aidan Dodson to the Oakwood Centre in Woodley. On September 19th, Aidan will give a lecture entitled ‘Houses of Eternity: Egyptian Royal Tombs over Three Millennia’. The lecture will trace the history of the King’s tomb along the range of the Nile presenting monuments from the stupendous to the insignificant tracing the King’s journey from this world to the next. So there you go, you need wonder no longer. The talk starts at 2pm and if you’re visiting as opposed to being a fully fledged member then a £3 donation is invited.
Caversham Horticultural Society’s popular autumn show at Emmer Green Primary School will take place on Saturday 12th September. Details of show categories can be found on the website www.caversham-horticultural.org.uk or can be picked up at the Oakley Road allotment trading shed (Saturdays 10–11.30am). Plenty of time to get growing and show off your produce!
From history to Hairspray now, and Reading Operatic Society are staging this feelgood theatrical favourite. The group’s production takes place at The Hexagon in Reading from 23rd to the 26th September 2015. If you’ve never seen it, the setting is 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, and the quirky teenager Tracy Turnblad is a big girl with big hair and even bigger heart with only one passion: dancing. Promising an uplifting message for an audience of all ages, this version of Hairspray is directed by Alex McWilliam with Anton Gwilt and musical director and Emma-Jane Taylor choreographing. It’s curtain-up at 7.30pm or there’s a matinee on Saturday 26th September at 2.30pm. Tickets are £22 (concessions £20) and you can book through the society and avoid the booking fee by calling Jean Theobald on 0118 926 7135. Visit www.readingops.co.uk
Why not catch up with some friends over a cuppa in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support? The charity is asking for people to host a coffee morning in aid of its work. All you need to do is invite some friends, and ask them to make a donation for the coffee and cake you serve. This year the official coffee morning date is Friday 25th but you can hold yours on whatever date is most convenient for you and your guests. For full details and to sign up for a free coffee morning kit see www.coffee.macmillan.org.uk
If you don’t know about Reading Town Meal by now, firstly, where have you been? And second, I had better tell you about it; it’s important. The meal is a wonderful celebration of ‘growing your own’, and it’s returning to Forbury Gardens in Reading on Saturday, 3rd October from noon to 4pm. A tasty meal made from local produce and cooked by Reading College catering students will be served up free to over 1,000 lucky diners. Family fun activities, live music and competitions make this a great day out. You can also help make it happen by donating your spare veg – even a small amount – or volunteering on the day. See www.readingtownmeal.org.uk or call 0118 9586692.
On the 5th, is Michael Howell will be giving an Organ Recital at St Thomas Church in Goring. Go along for 7pm when Michael will be playing works including Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in B minor, Mendelssohn’s 4th Sonata and Franck’s Chorale no. 3 in A minor and some popular transcriptions. The recital will be followed by refreshments in the Canterbury Room. There’s no charge for the recital, but there will be a retiring collection for church expenses.
Last but certainly not least – I attended an End Of Life workshop in Sonning last month which was fascinating, moving, and well worth sharing. The next event, at Sonning Common Health Centre, takes place on Wednesday, September 16th, starting at 2.30pm, to discuss the taboo practicalities of end-of-life care. This is a vital event, and watch this space for more in Round & About on this issue. Book a free place by calling SCHC on 01189 722188.
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA