Page 1

December 2013

… and not forgetting Cheriton, Romsey, Stockbridge, Hursley, Kings Worthy, Littleton, Alresford, Chandler’s Ford, Micheldever, Bishop’s Waltham, and everywhere in between!

Monthly • Issue 011


FREE @winchestertoday

Merry Christmas!

The Dean of Winchester tells us why he thinks Christmas is contagious... Page 2

Why plans for the River Park Leisure Centre were described as “worse than a GCSE project” ... Page 3

Escape: We discover an oasis of calm in the Scottish Highlands. No mobile signal, no texts... Page 6

He’s Behind You! ... We take a look at how Panto was staged in the city in years gone by ... Page 11 Team With A Dream ... Page 12 Photograph of Winchester Cathedral at Christmas: Joe Low

What Price a Seat?... 15

Winchester Today - Your local FREE newspaper - out every month.



Welcome Letter from the editor We talk a lot about trains in this issue of the paper, but perhaps we should take a moment to reflect on the incredible passing of time. It’s hard to believe that it’s 25 years since the Clapham Rail Disaster in December 1988. Like most major events, I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. In fact, I was helping to bring the news to people here in Winchester, working on Ocean Sound’s Light FM. Those were the days when hardly anyone had a mobile phone, and news came through very slowly. But it emerged through the morning that two of the trains involved were from Hampshire and Dorset. One had left from Basingstoke. The other was from Poole which had made its way through Winchester and up to London. To suddenly realise that people from here were involved was to think the unthinkable. All they were doing was trying to get to work. You may have read elsewhere about one of the survivors, Alison Clark, who thinks she is lucky to be alive. She was one of those trying to get to work in London. She was on the Poole train. Three people sitting close to her didn’t survive.

Christmas Cathedral


She says she only uses trains these days when she has to - even though she knows that they are safer. I think she is right on the safety aspect; who on earth would want to go back to what we had to put up with in those days. Does anyone remember those awful trains that ran the Bath to Portsmouth route? The long corridor with doors that went into a box-type compartment with dingy lighting? Or the slam-door trains that everyone seemed to delight in trying to get off while the train was still moving. In fact, if you ever get off at Clapham you will see an old slam-door type train sitting on one of the sidings. What improvements we have made! *** Everyone at Winchester Today wishes you a Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year. All of us hope that you manage to spend some time with your family and friends and remember why we celebrate. See you in 2014!


Sunday 22 December 10am: Sung Eucharist 3.30pm: A Christmas Celebration - a short service of readings and carols to celebrate the end of the Christmas market. Monday 23 December 1pm: Britten's Celebration of Carols. Admission free, with retiring collection. Tuesday 24 Christmas Eve



11am and 3pm: Family Christmas Services. Children are invited to dress as characters from the Nativity and to join the infant Jesus at the crib. 5.30pm: Evensong and Blessing of the Crib. 11.30pm: Midnight Eucharist Wednesday 25 December Christmas Day 8am: Holy Communion 10am: Choral Mattins 11.15am: Sung Eucharist 3.30pm: Choral Evensong

WinchesterToday est.2012 Editor-in-Chief: Kevin Gover Deputy Editor: William Brougham Designers: Jamie Ludlam - Layout Editor Katie Chappell - Ad Design Assistant

The Dean’s Christmas Message to all the readers of Winchester Today: “There are few more evocative places to visit than Winchester at Christmas.

it! Happy Christmas!” The Very Reverend James Atwell, Dean of Winchester Lantern Parade picture by Joe Low

“At the heart of the historic City, the Cathedral and its Close are cloaked with a mantle of seasonal cheer as they extend a festive welcome to the whole community. “Here you will hear happy voices and squeals of delight from the Ice Rink and discover a traditional Christmas Market with a hundred twinkling chalets. “The celebration of the birth of the Child of Bethlehem continues to light up our towns and cities. The celebration of that birth can transform and light up our lives. There is something contagious about Christmas – and if you come to Winchester you will probably catch

Property Editor Adam Zuchetti Music Editor: Rebecca Rayner News & Features Correspondents: William Brougham Annabel Radcliffe Dina Burgess

Interested in becoming a sport contributor or joining the training project for 16 to 25-year-olds, Project:Alfie150? Drop us a line to Photographer: Lisa Gigante Logo and Web: Gavin Harris at Plastic Box Business Development and Marketing Consultant: David Cradduck

Winchester Today is a publication printed on newsprint, so after you have finished with it please pass it on so others can read it or take care to recycle or re-use it. Be kinder to the environment, thankyou!

Sales and Advertising: Accounts: Dilyara Gover 01962 868234 Winchester Today, Suite 123 80 High Street Winchester SO23 9AT


3 them to come back and talk to us. “The consultation has been woefully inadequate. I think that alone speaks volumes. “But I think the councillors will have seen it was standing room only here; they will have witnessed the vote – and that they will go back to the other councillors to report those facts.” James says a claim during the meeting that people in Winchester are being taken for mugs is a serious one: “None of these options are properly evidenced. We want them to be properly thought through, and for them to be properly presented, not for them to present it like a GCSE school project.”

Like a GCSE project Since our last issue, the River Park Leisure Centre exhibition has come and gone - along with a packed public meeting that claimed the plans were "like a GCSE project", and that the council must go back to the drawing board. The ‘Save The Rec’ organisation say the River Park Leisure Centre development proposals are “so badly put together” as to be laughable, considering it’s such an important issue.

Save The Rec's Alex Perrin

have to be built on. But the ‘Save the Rec’ organisation now claims that there could be a further 3 secret proposals that are being withheld from scrutinisation in addition to the 4 that HAVE been made public. Almost 200 people voted unanimously at the end of the meeting to insist that Winchester City Council goes back to the drawing board.

The claims came at a public meeting held at Winchester Rugby Club on Monday 25 November. The meeting was so packed that it was standing room only.

James McConnachie is from the ‘Save The Rec’ organisation – and insisted to Winchester Today that the presentation was calm and fair: “I was utterly careful not to get antagonistic with the councillors who were present.

Feelings have been running high ever since the Leisure Centre project hinted that part of the green space at the Rec may

“We think it is really important that ‘Save The Rec’ works with the council. We have sent a very clear message. Now it is up to

Alex Perrin is also from the campaign organisation and agrees with James: "I'm delighted with how many people came, and it just shows the strength of feeling. You don't need emotion though. The proposals just don't stack up. What I'm really hoping is that those councillors who were here tonight will have witnessed just how many people were here tonight and the vote."

4th-7th December 2013 Curtain up 7.30pm (doors open 7.00pm) Cheriton Village Hall SO24 0PZ

Sold Out more than 3 weeks Tickets available online from ahead of or tel 0844 8700 887 curtain up! All tickets £9

(Over 65s concession on Wednesday 4th)

(lo-call rate, 5p per min.)

Telephone bookings cost £1.50 extra per booking for mailing etc. Telephone box office hours 9am–7pm Mon-Fri, 9am–5pm Sat.

Congratulations -

and Happy Christmas

to the Cheriton Players

Memories UK Ltd

from everyone at Scan to go to website

Scan to get tickets

Winchester Today!

This amateur production of “An Inspector Calls” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH LTD.



Purple Gets The Green Light In Winchester - Again Winchester has been awarded ‘Purple Flag’ status for the fourth year running in recognition that it offers visitors an entertaining and safe night out. Just as a Blue Flag is an indicator of a good beach, a Purple Flag is an indicator of where to go for a good night out. The national scheme recognises that a town or city is managing its night time experience and overcoming any negative public perceptions that may exist. Deputy Leader of Winchester City - Robert Humby - says he’s delighted: “Receiving Purple Flag accreditation for the fourth year in a row is a great boost for local businesses and assures all those who work hard to keep the City Centre safe that they are doing a fantastic job. “The assessment includes each year a visit to the city’s CCTV control room in Winnall, where staff work 24 hours a day to ensure that Winchester’s streets remain safe.” Winchester Business Improvement District Manager Catherine Turness says BID is proud to have played its part: “Many BID funded projects, such as the new Business Crime Reduction


Partnership and the Winchester Street pastor volunteers, contribute to a safe night out, and the variety of vibrant businesses in Winchester ensures that all ages can have an entertaining evening.” Picture: Catherine Turness, Winchester Business Improvement District Manager, Cllr Robert Humby, Deputy Leader at Winchester City Council, and Kate Raines, Head of Communications at Theatre Royal Winchester.


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Festive Cheer: The Watercress Line has made 20 families happy by donating 20 family tickets to five local children’s charities; Naomi House, Make a Wish Foundation, The Joe Glover Trust, Lucy’s Days Out and the Piam Brown Unit. The Line says it did it in recognition of the fantastic work the charities all do supporting families in need. Spokesperson Anna Wilson-Barnes says it was a pleasure: “We understand the stresses and strains that families have to cope with on a daily basis, let alone when they are dealing with illness and loss. We are delighted to


help families who are dealing with so much to take time out and enjoy meeting Santa on the train.” The families took a one hour trip on one of the Watercress Line’s popular Santa Special steam trains, with wine and mince pies for the grown-ups and a gift for every child. One recipient family says they had a fantastic time: “The weather was cold and crispy which made it all feel very Christmassy. Father Christmas was a delight and both children and adults had a wonderful time. We really appreciated that we had all the family together to enjoy the experience.” Credit: David Warwick.

Santa Drops In Early In Stanmore The Advent Fayre at St. Luke's Church in Mildmay Street in Stanmore, saw an early visit from Father Christmas, who helped our MP open proceedings. The event raised over £850 for the work of the

church in the parish. Speaking at the start of the Fair, city MP Steve Brine emphasised the strength of the community within the parish: "The event was everything it should be to mark the start of the season of Advent."

God Bless Us, Every One! David Cradduck awards 4 stars out of 5 for the production of ‘Scrooge’ (now touring) at the Mayflower in Southampton - just don’t take it too seriously... Scrooge, Mayflower, Tuesday 12 November, 2013 It might be a step too far to imagine Charles Dickens turning in his grave, given the plot of A Christmas Carol and the moral story contained therein. But, thinking about it, he wasn’t averse to cashing in on Christmas, by all accounts – publishing the story on 17th December and clocking up 5,000 sales by Christmas Eve. Well, Christmas arrived early at The Mayflower in Southampton. A highbudget, slick, no-scrimping, big band, Broadway style version of this much loved story came to town with the ageless Tommy Steele heading the cast as Scrooge. The packed audience groaned but laughed at - and with - the veteran performer’s wisecracks which were more Tommy Steele than Ebenezer Scrooge. The children’s story book picture of a Dickensian Christmas scene, created by designer Paul Farnsworth, was colourful, noisy and atmospheric. As the complex scene changes unfolded with desks and beds sliding in, doors and inns dropping down and special effects galore to feast our senses on, the whole show was a set designer’s dream. The trouble for me – and I hasten to add that this was a personal slant - was, despite being a great personal fan of Tommy Steele (I had his 45rpm

single of ‘A Little White Bull’ and wore it out through overplaying) and knowing that he has played this role many times before, I never actually believed in him as white-haired Ebenezer. Only as the white-dentured, forever young, cheeky Cockney chappy, Tommy Steele - however hard I tried. I think part of the problem was that his accent swung dramatically between East End and West End and the characterization of such a well known character cannot afford to be anything less than 100%. It has to be glowering, mean and unbelievably cruel to start and a truly reformed and lovable character by the end. Tommy was always Tommy for me. The rest of the cast were fortunate in not being so well known, perhaps with the exception of Hi-de-Hi’s Barry Howard as Marley, and faithfully stuck to their characters like glue, thank goodness. There were some really touching scenes of the Cratchett family’s and nephew Harry’s Christmases, and the crowd/chorus scenes were jolly, well choreographed and entirely convincing.

Halcro Johnston as Mr Fezziwig stole the show for me with his pure Dickens-style idiosyncratic appearance and antics, along with Sarah Joyce as Mrs Cratchett. An imposing James Head played the larger-than-life Ghost of Christmas Present and, of course, young Tiny Tim - whose voice was a lot clearer to me than some of the main characters, including Scrooge. The music, by Leslie Bricusse and directed by Stuart Pedlar was beautifully played but totally overengineered and, frankly, could have fitted into any number of big musicals. The sound balance wasn’t perfect and I occasionally had trouble picking out lyrics amongst the fine, loud and rounded orchestration. I yearned for a little more light and shade and

mused at what the original author might have made of it all? Paul Kieve’s illusions were, of course, impressive; there were one or two moments when you knew something scary was going to happen but they still took you by delightful surprise when they did. Magic is still magic after all. Nick Ritchings’ superb lighting helped with the illusion, and choreography by Lisa Kent completed the colourful, busy imagery. So perhaps my gripes with the overall effect are probably more about me being more grumpy than Scrooge. Clearly this well polished, big budget show entertained everyone of all ages, brought a smile to everyone’s

faces and will be a huge hit, especially with those who like their Christmas to be traditional Victorian theatre with a large dollop of glitz and cheeky humour. As long as you don’t take it too seriously, this old story of morals, mixed with 21st century showtime is sure to be a great favourite. Until Saturday - then playing at: 9 - 15 Dec 2013 Broadway Theatre Peterborough. 16 - 21 Dec 2013 Opera House Blackpool 23 Dec 2013 - 4 Jan 2014 Brighton Centre 6 - 11 Jan 2014 Venue Cymru Llandudno


Escape Extra- Highlands

"You need to chill out for a week", said the voice on the other Big Sand. Rain. Empty beaches. Rain. end of the phone. "Get away from Coal fire, out of the rain. the rat race." Oh, we were in Poolewe and Gairloch, And so it was that we discovered the Western Highlands in Autumn. Rain, rain and more rain. Four seasons in one day. But it didn't matter.

by the way. The converted croft cottage was stunning and can be booked through Scottish Country Cottages. You can find it all online. Just don't expect anything online when you're there. You really won't need it.

Because the scenery is wonderful as you can see. Because there's no mobile I'm not a salesman for Scotland and signal in most areas. No text messages. no-one has paid for this space. You will No mobile internet. Your phone will fall in love with the area. On this one, I 'ping' now and again, but you're think you can trust me. KG absolutely not interested. Because this is what they call bliss.



5 Minutes - They're Almost Here


"On this, the occasion of our Ruby Anniversary, I would like to take this opportunity to stick my fingers up to everyone who wrote us off and dismissed us." JJ BURNEL – The Stranglers.

It's a career which has seen these enfants terrible go from being the quintessential antiestablishment scourge of the music industry. They were banned by the BBC yet became pillars of said establishment with their performance at the 2012 6Music Proms at the Albert Hall with a full orchestra.

2014 marks a remarkable chapter in the life of new wave icons, The Stranglers.

The Ruby Anniversary Tour of the UK runs for 28 dates, including London’s Hammersmith Apollo, which the band first played in 1976.

Very few bands survive to celebrate their 40th Anniversary, and even fewer bands have a history, indeed a notoriety, to compare to these titanic figures. They emerged from various blues, jazz and classical movements, became figureheads of punk and then transcended genres to become one of the most revered alternative bands of the last four decades.

The set will see The Stranglers playing tracks from all of their 17 studio albums in a special 40th Anniversary set, starting with their debut and now iconic album Rattus Norvegicus. They will play the following shows near to us in 2014, with special guests still to be announced.

To commemorate this huge achievement, The Stranglers are embarking on a major world tour, kicking off in the UK in late February and rolling through Europe, North America and the Far East, before a series of festival appearances.

08-Mar-2014 London Hammersmith Apollo

A comprehensive series of anniversary reissues, rarities and collectors items are soon to be revealed, essential for fans old and new, continuing to mark their long, pioneering and often controversial career.

27-Mar-2014 Bristol O2 Academy

24-Mar-2014 Portsmouth Pyramid Centre 25-Mar-2014 Guildford G Live

d n a br r e i h t l a e h a For prescribe: image we




RIVERSIDE Indoor Bowls Club

This Way Please: Walkers Welcome on Viaduct Way Following the arrival of the drifting dandelion clocks on the Hockley Viaduct earlier this autumn, there are more new features. A number of directional signs for Viaduct Way have been installed along the length of the route, encouraging more walkers to explore and enjoy it. In addition, a large circular bench has been created and positioned near Hockley Bridleway Bridge for walkers who are keen to break their journey or admire the surrounding scenery.

inspired the painted dandelions. The signs and benches have all been designed and created from oak and forged steel by Hampshire artist Nicola Henshaw: “The 102 dandelions that I painted on the track bed a few weeks ago have already prompted a great deal of positive comment, and I hope that these latest features will add further enjoyment for users of Viaduct Way." Photograph: Local resident Jane White and her daughter Grace enjoying the newly installed bench at Hockley Viaduct.

Equipment provided free! .

Two more smaller benches are tucked into the recesses along the Viaduct itself, and carry the words written by a Year 6 pupil from Compton All Saints Primary School which

Great coffee - snacks wines and beers

Spaces for hire for your meeting or party Cutting-edge exhibitions downstairs in the Jewry St Gallery Become a “friend”

E including 5% off





Advertising Feature and possibly lonely. Why not pay a visit to Riverside Indoor Bowls Club and give it a go?!" ** "My name is Ryan Baker, and I'm in my 20s. I have been playing indoor bowls for 13 years and was first introduced to the game by my grandfather. I was 8 years old when I had my first game, and I carried on playing and practising with my grandfather and brother until I was deemed ready to play in friendly matches.

Riverside Indoor Bowls Club is housed in a purpose-built arena behind the River Park Leisure Centre. It has six full sized rinks, a viewing area, catering facilities and a licensed bar. Bowling indoors is played by people of all ages. It's not restricted to the retired, or people who are about to retire. In the first two years at Riverside the men's singles champions were both teenagers! Even those in a wheelchair can bowl; they use specially designed chairs. But don't just listen to us, how about the users? Here are a couple of opinions from people who know best - the members:

"My name is Jill Wells and I am semi-retired. I have enjoyed watching and participating in sport for many years, but never considered bowls. One day my friend suggested that I should give it a try. "I was made very welcome, and after the first few minutes I knew I was hooked. I looked forward to the regular visits, the gentle exercise and was trying to improve my bowling skills. All this started in 2000, and many of those people I met are now close friends. "I have now played in many friendly games and competitions in various clubs throughout Hampshire, Dorset, the Isle of Wight and national competitions. I'm still trying to improve, and the support from Riverside has been tremendous. "In the winter, I could be sitting in front of the telly with the heating on

"I was warmly welcomed by the members even though I was very young and not of a brilliant standard. I was determined to better myself as the years went by. I signed up for evening matches and took note of any advice given to me by all players. "Riverside has taught me many personal attributes as I have matured. I am confident in talking to people, I have been taught the importance of polite etiquette of the game and many social skills. "Bowls has been portrayed as an inactive sport, but I disagree with these views. Just walking up and down the rink when changing ends raises the heart rate. It allows muscles to work and stretches joints. Then there's the mental agility. You can be active during the cold months of winter. The best thing to do is give it a go before you judge the game." So, as Ryan mentioned, how about that keeping fit? According to the website Azcentral (http://

bowling-3482.html) and MayoClinic, any kind of bowling helps you slim down by speeding up your metabolism. You are exercising while walking back and forth - and your body and arms receive a weight-based workout. The act of gripping the ball helps strengthen your hands.

Come and have a go. With free introductory tasters, you really have nothing to lose! 01962 850614


He's Behind You Many of us will be enjoying the Panto at the Theatre Royal this Christmas. But did you know that there are lots of other venues in the city which have seen festive fun over the last hundred years? Mark Pitchforth is from Hampshire Record Office and invites Winchester Today along


to have a look. He's grateful that there's so much to see, all beautifully preserved instead of being thrown away or left in a cupboard. '"We're immensely grateful - it's the sort of thing that perhaps people don't realise how precious they can be - they're readily thrown away or left in the bottom drawer.

"The more time passes, the more interesting they become - everything down to the people and the advertisements, especially when you're talking about 50 or 100 years since the actual performance. "We've got a wonderful collection from the Winchester Dramatic Society. It's a really detailed study of the performances in that moment in time. They've produced folders year-by-year. The photographs of the performances are alongside the drawings of the sets and they really value their archive."

says Mark. "Along with the phone numbers. Just 4 digits!" If you would like to have a look at these items for yourself, we have included the reference numbers that you need. You can hear the full interview with Mark by following the links on our website.

I'm looking at the beautifullydrawn pictures from Sleeping Beauty in 1961: "The important thing is that they actually kept them as well and that's important... it's lucky for us because we now have this wonderful record." It's not just artefacts from the 1920s and 1950s - there are also some great Theatre Royal programmes of productions from the 1970s. But in all honesty, I'm fascinated by the 1925 poster of the Dick Whittington performance at Hyde Parish Hall - which then 'upgraded' a few days later to the Guildhall.

Winchester Dramatic Society 'Sleeping Beauty' drawing Hampshire Record Office, 90A04W/A2/1

I also love the adverts in the other programmes from the 1950s: "Very simple messages,"

1925 Hyde poster Hampshire Record Office, 105A07W/3/

Ever considered fostering‌ but thought you wouldn’t qualify?

Montage of Winchester Dramatic Society programmes Hampshire Record Office, 138A07W



Shelving the Body began life as a research project for Darraghs MA at Central Saint Martins in London. The project took on a rather alternative approach by challenging the human association with furniture.

Team With A Dream

Photo shows (L-R) Nicola Manuel, Darragh Casey and Emily Cotton.

The ‘Team With A Dream’ this edition meets some people who know and love the city well from their work at the Winchester School of Art. They’re now trying to get a publication funded through the ‘Kickstarter’ scheme which will look at a whacky project called ‘Shelving The Body’ - you can see all about it on Kickstarter and searching for the project. But in the meantime...

Media Manager. We were studying together at Winchester School of Art in the Graphic Arts pathway. After a few months we introduced a new team member, Hannah Astill: Editor and then in 2013 to, Bronwen Rees: Creative Director. The team really has grown through time, and it’s a great one!

How did you three meet?

Really, really lovely. Winchester is a perfect place to study the creative sector as it’s got a great surrounding to it. With great connections to the bustling capital, London, and housing quaint art shops and galleries

Soapbox Press was created in early 2012 by Emily Cotton: Marketing & Campaigns Manager and myself, Nicola Manuel: Production & Social

What was your time like in Winchester?

you have it all. Who doesn’t love Winchester at Christmas time as well? It really shines during the festive season. How do you intend to keep links with the city?

Through the process of sketches, tests, photographs and videos, Darragh has successfully engineered the progression of his project into a series of shelf portraits. Having spoken to Darragh in a little more depth, we collaborated to create a platform for his work. In addition to his striking work, it was the thought process behind the creation that seemed to fit the mentality of Soapbox Press. We recognise the value of looking ‘behind the scenes’ of a creative’s work, because the final piece doesn’t always tell the whole story. How much do you need to raise? We need a total of £2500 to make sure the book is printed.

What got you into Kickstarter? It all began when the collaboration between Darragh and Soapbox Press was initially started. We knew of various websites, and after asking a few friends for advice, the name of Kickstarter kept appearing. We love the feel that Kickstarter has and the projects that people show on there! With a camera, a few lines rehearsed and a spectacular shelf we were able to record the video and commence the project. How did previous publications go? In June 2012 we published our debut book the Winchester Journals, which included ten selected articles written by students of Winchester School of Art. The book is now in several shops, galleries and libraries and reached profit within two months of being printed. A success we were all really proud of!

The place holds many good memories of university life and so the links of keeping in touch maintains itself really. Of course our first publication was launched in Winchester and we have a few stockists in the town so it’s vital to keep that contact going. What exactly is the project and what will it do?

Book your Christmas Party at Loch Fyne Bristol and you could win an overnight stay for 2 with dinner and breakfast at one of our Milsoms Hotels. For the chance to win, please keep this advert and mention the competition at time of booking. (Terms & conditions apply) Loch Fyne Seafood & Grill

Portsmouth : 02392 778 060 / Winchester : 01962 872 930


Escape: Here’s the second of our UK discoveries - William Brougham enjoys a bracing Autumn break in the Paris of the North: Blackpool.

If Brighton holds the title of Londonon-Sea then surely Blackpool can call itself Vegas-on-Sea. What the town may lack in museums, galleries and even fine dining it certainly makes up for with its Golden Mile of roller coasters, bright lights, slot machines, piers and amusement arcades. Blackpool is one of the few English seaside resorts where you get three piers in the same town and the holiday season continues long after the summer has ended thanks to its famous illuminations, Tower and Pleasure Beach. It is a place where families, couples and singles can feel equally at home. The Lancashire town first became a popular seaside resort in the 1840s when a railway was built which linked it to the industrialised areas of Northern England. It made it easier and cheaper for holiday makers to visit. By the 1880s its promenade had piers, trams, donkeys, pubs, theatres and much more. It continued in popularity for many decades to come. By the late twentieth century Blackpool, along with many British seaside resorts, became affected by the popularity and affordability of overseas package holidays but it does manage to still attract millions of visitors each year. Getting there can be quite a journey as it takes about four hours to get there from Winchester with at least two or three changes on the way. But it is worth it as there is plenty to do. If you book in advance you can often save on the fare. Blackpool is certainly not short on hotels with its well-known promenade full of places to stay from the grand Imperial Hotel to small bed and breakfasts. My particular favourite is the family run Lyndene Hotel. It offers packages from as little at £116 per person all together if staying from Monday to Friday. Pensioners are sometimes offered discounts at certain times of the year. The hotel is located overlooking the sea front between South Pier and Central Pier so it is in a very good location. Prices include bed and breakfast and a five course dinner which is excellent value. The hotel also has two lounges which have up to three shows per night. The Rod Stewart and Dame Shirley Bassey tribute acts were particularly impressive when we were there. The town is never short of attractions

and you can save money on them by purchasing a Blackpool Resort pass which will set you back as little as £52.50 for six attractions or £77.50 for nine. You can save as much as between £35 and £50 doing this. Included in the price are places such as Blackpool Tower, the Pleasure Beach, Sea Life and Madame Tussauds.


Escape- To Blackpool Close to Madame Tussauds is Sea Life Blackpool which includes 50 spectacular displays and at least 2,000 aquatic creatures. Whether you love sharks, turtles or jellyfish there is guaranteed to be something for you. Blackpool’s Winter Gardens is certainly somewhere to visit. This large entertainment complex hosts several buildings including the Opera House Theatre, the Empress Ballroom and the Pavilion Theatre. The first Royal Variety Performance to be hosted outside London in 1955 took place at the Opera House Theatre. In the 1930 the Pavilion Theatre was used as a cinema to show what was often referred to as the talkies. Blackpool is known for its Summer Season but shows take place throughout the year at the town’s many venues including the Grand Theatre. One of the more popular venues for putting on shows all year round is Funny Girls which is burlesque cabaret bar featuring female impersonators and professional male dancers. The funny Girls cast have appeared at the Royal Variety performance twice and on many television programmes. It was a full house on the night we went and is arguably one of the most glitzy and glamorous cabaret shows that I have attended.

Blackpool’s best known monument is its tower which does bear a resemblance to the Eiffel Tower. This is no coincidence. It was indeed inspired by its Parisian cousin and the Lancashire town is even sometimes even referred to as the Paris of the north. That is where any of its similarities with the French capital largely end. Personally, I may risk a few raised eyebrows but I prefer Blackpool Tower as I feel it has more colour and personality. This Grade I listed building opened in 1894. When it was completed it was the tallest building in the United Kingdom at 518 feet and nine inches. The top of the tower is known as the Blackpool Tower Eye and that reopened in 2011 following refurbishments. The indoor area has a glass floor and has breath taking views of the sea front. Those who can brave the winds can climb up to the further two outdoor levels. Before going up in the lift to the top you will be shown a visually impressive 4-D film about Blackpool and the local area. Another popular feature of the building is its world famous Tower Ballroom. Many readers will remember it as hosting the BBC series Come Dancing for many years and more recently it has been the location for some episodes of its more modern counterpart Strictly Come Dancing. Many international dancing championships take place here. Another notable feature of the ballroom is its Wurlitzer organ. The base of Blackpool Tower hosts the Tower Circus which first opened in 1894 and continues to this day. The circus ring is one of only a few left in the world that can be lowered into a pool of water allowing for dancing fountains during the show. The animals are long gone but the clowns and a live band continue to provide much fun and mayhem. At Madame Tussauds Blackpool you can hang out with many celebrities and well-known figures or at least their wax work doubles. It can be found near Blackpool Tower and opposite Central Pier.

world. Many of the trams are quite modern now but you can still ride one of the traditional trams during weekend, Bank Holidays and during the summer. During the Illuminations some of the trams are redecorated with bright lights and will come in all shapes and sizes. No trip to Blackpool is complete without a ride on one of the trams. Children, teenagers and dare devils will love Blackpool Pleasure Beach which is one of the most visited tourist attraction in England with about 5.5 million people coming to enjoy the various rides annually. You can find adrenalin-fuelled rides with names such as the Big One, Revolution, the Big Dipper and the Grand National. When the Big One was first built in 1994 it was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. Infusion is the first roller coast to be suspended entirely over water.

One of the best ways of getting from Blackpool Tower or North Pier to the Pleasure Beach is on one of the resort’s famous and often colourful trams. The line dates back to 1885 is one of the oldest tramways in the

The Irish Sea may be slightly too chilly in which to swim but when the tide goes out and the sun is setting in the evening it is a rather beautiful view as its reflection glistens on the many puddles of water on the sand. Standing there and watching it I forgot for a couple of minutes that I was in busy and lively Blackpool. It felt a million miles away but that was quite possibly my most beautiful memory of the trip. However, that is Blackpool. It means so many things to different people and the visitors keep on coming.

This is a place full of firsts and in 2003 the Pleasure Beach opened its first four star hotel called the Big Blue Hotel which has even won Loo of The Year.

Transport: Trains: From around £47 return planjourney/search

Last but not least once the summer has gone the tourists do not disappear and Blackpool does not become a sleepy seaside town like many around the United Kingdom. Between late August and November the town hosts its vibrant and brilliant Illuminations. At night time the sea front promenade shines brightly with multi-coloured lights in all shapes and sizes. The annual Illuminations have been going since 1879 and switched on each year by a celebrity. Blackpool also has its own Christmas lights which are great fun too.

Bus and Tram: http://www.

Blackpool is the perfect place to visit for all ages. If all the activities mentioned in this article have not exhausted you there is always the many amusement arcades where you will hear the sounds of people spending money in order to try and win more money in one of the towns many slot machines partly giving the town its nick name the Golden Mile. Coral Island and Funland amusement arcades are two of the best known. They are always busy. The town is rare in that it has three piers. They are South Pier, Central Pier and North Pier. My own favourite is the Central Pier which includes a large ferris wheel and many shops. The South Pier is opposite the Pleasure Beach and houses a theme park and the North Pier includes s shopping arcade, a tramway and the North Pier Theatre.

quite a few American style diners too. I did, though, have the most delicious Chicken Jalfrezi that I have tasted at the town’s Soul Suite Restaurant which also features DJ’s and live bands.

The town is full of bars, restaurants and clubs. You will find local beers as well as international ones in its many bars and clubs. Blackpool may not be known for its fine dining but you will find plenty of restaurants serving a staple English diet of steak and kidney pie or Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. It goes without saying that fish and chips are readily available. You will be harder pressed to find many restaurants selling overseas food though as with any party town you will find your fair share of kebab cafes and restaurants. There are also a few Indian and Italian restaurants dotted around. The resort also has

Accommodation: The Lyndene Hotel: From £116 per person if staying from Monday to Friday Food: Soul Suite: Attractions: Blackpool Resort Pass: http://www. Blackpool Tower: http://www. Blackpool Tower Circus: http://www. the-blackpool-tower-circus.aspx Blackpool Tower Ballroom: http://www. the-blackpool-tower-ballroom.aspx Empress Ballroom: http://www. The-Empress-Ballroom.htm Madame Tussauds Blackpool: http:// Sea Life Blackpool: http://www. Winter Gardens: http://www. Blackpool Pleasure Beach: http://www. Theatres: Opera House Blackpool: http://www. The-Opera-House.htm Pavilion Theatre: http://www. page/102/The-Pavillion-Horseshoe.htm Grand Theatre: http://www. Funny Girls: http://www. Blackpool Illuminations: http://www.





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What Price a Seat?

leaves Winchester at 10pm, leaving many passengers feeling vulnerable as they arrive home.

Kevin Gover with additional reporting from Delores William

One customer, Joanne Lewis from Winchester, raised the issue of the poorly lit car park and the dark access road from it out onto the Andover Road.

Anyone who has been to the railway station recently will have seen lots of work going on, particularly the bridge over the tracks and the redevelopment of the car park. Clearly, some serious investment is going on here. But will it help anyone get a seat on the 0748 to London? You don't stand on coaches and you don't stand in planes. Why should it be any different on a train? Is anyone happy spending more than £50 to get

Winchester Station Manager, Danny Maile, who also attended the meeting has agreed to work with customers and Mr Brine to urgently address the issue. Speaking after the event, Steve explained why he arranged the event: "I know from my interaction


development and improvement." What about that standing then? Well, it took our reporter all of a few minutes to find some unhappy commuters at London Waterloo. A man from Winchester came into Waterloo around 0930 and so missed the rush hour. But he told us he understands why people get annoyed when they pay full price for their ticket and then have to stand. But he thinks it the nature of the beast, as they can’t put more carriages on because of the length of the platforms. He also said he wouldn’t stand; he feels that you wouldn’t be able to brace yourself if there was an emergency

The exit from the station towards Andover Road - not exactly a place of safety

to London at peak times and having to stand? More on that later. In the meantime, future capacity, fares, customer services and passenger safety were all on the agenda in Winchester as the boss of South West Trains answered questions from local rail passengers. Winchester & Chandler’s Ford MP Steve Brine organised the ASK SWT meeting which gave around seventy people the chance to put their question to Managing Director, Tim Shoveller. The event in St Paul’s Church in Fulflood, raised a wide range of issues including future investment planned by the company and its impact on capacity for currently packed commuter services out of Winchester station. The meeting heard how SWT plan to spend some £300m in the 20142019 period which it says will make a tangible difference to passengers. There was widespread discussion also around the level of customer service offered to travellers, including the way information is conveyed, on-train staff, ticket offices and the condition of many train toilets. One key talking point was passenger safety around Winchester Station, especially for women travellers returning late at night. At present the last member of staff

with SWT these past three years what an incredibly complex business running a railway is and I wanted to give local passengers a chance to hear about some of the investment plans in place which should see real improvements in the next few years. "But I also wanted to give my constituents the chance to put their question directly to Tim and challenge him on some of the issues we commuters face on a daily basis. “I think on the whole we have a good train service from this area, especially to London, but there are many issues around the way customers are handled, the availability of seats on some of the busiest early morning trains and clearly the subject of safety late at night needs addressing urgently. "There was useful discussion around this point and some positive suggestions put forward; I am already making plans to take this forward with the Winchester team and would welcome further feedback from train users.” Tim Shoveller, Managing Director for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, said: "It was great to see so many of our customers in Winchester last night, and it was a really valuable opportunity to engage with so many passengers. I always welcome the chance to get first hand feedback from our customers and it was great to get some views on our services and provide people with an update on our future plans for

and that you could end up bouncing around the carriage. A commuter from Dorset told us that he managed to get a seat, but says he would have been really annoyed if he had been forced to stand. He says it is "appalling" that there are not enough seats, especially as his ticket cost him just over a hundred pounds. He said he understands they don’t have enough rolling stock but it’s not good enough. A young commuter told us that he is healthy enough to stand, but that would be unhappy to stand. He says that he "pays an extortionate amount of money", and its extremely uncomfortable to have to stand for an hour. For that reason he comes in just after the rush hour. Clearly, not everyone is happy on the up line from Winchester.

Work progressing on the footbridge over the lines at Winchester.

Would you like to join a friendship club for people in the South? Brendoncare Clubs are devoted to giving older people the opportunity to meet new friends, take part in activities and enjoy club outings. Here are the clubs running in your area. Why not come along and try out one of the activities and see how you can become a member....we’d love to welcome you there. Allbrook Good Companions Club (Eastleigh) St Peter’s Church Hall, Shakespeare Road, Boyatt Wood, Eastleigh SO50 4FP 2nd & 4th Tuesdays, 2pm-4pm Badger Farm Friendly Club (Winchester) Badger Farm Community Centre, Badger Farm Road, Winchester SO22 4QB Alternate Thursdays, 2pm-4pm Romsey Companions Crosfield Hall, Broadwater Road, Romsey SO51 8GL Alternate Mondays, 1.30pm–3.30pm Romsey Tuesday Luncheon Age Concern Centre, 24 Linden Road, Romsey SO51 8DB Every Tuesday, term time, 11.30am-1pm Weeke Gaiety (Winchester) St Barnabas Church, Fromond Road, Weeke, Winchester SO22 6DY Alternate Fridays, 2pm-4pm

We really enjoy our weekly meetings, this club is great and we thank Brendoncare for making it possible. Margaret Townsend

If you enjoy meeting new people and would like to know more about joining as a member or helping as a volunteer, we look forward to hearing from you. For more information, please contact Norma, Clubs Administrator on 01962 852133 or visit Registered Charity No: 10913454




Peter Leamore is the Area Manager for DC Leisure, and says the group has a commitment to raising participation in sport: “These facilities have been required as a result of an increase in football provision locally. The facilities are of a fantastic standard and we hope to see both daytime and evening usage increase over the next year.”

Since our last issue, two new all-weather pitches have been opened in Whiteley, thanks in part to Winchester City Council and the Hampshire FA. More importantly, they seem to have had an immediate effect on the local young in the instant impact. Free community community. football, corporate matches and club football have all taking Th e p i t c h e s a r e a t place since they first started Meadowside Leisure Centre to be used. The pitches already and cost £80,000. They’ve operate at 70% capacity during been funded mostly by DC peak periods. Leisure, with Winchester City Council contributing £10,000 Coaching has been provided and Hampshire FA providing by the Saints Foundation which a football-foundation grant of has been working alongside £3,000 for new goals. local young people to develop their football skills and The facilities have had an Steve Brine is no stranger to Winchester Rugby Club although he has not yet been persuaded to pull on a shirt, shorts and boots. He regularly brought his daughter to ballet classes at the North Walls Park clubhouse and may well have noticed that the social and changing facilities were in need of a serious makeover.


Sport boss at Winchester City Council, Robert Humby, welcomed DC Leisure’s commitment: “These pitches will have a real impact on the community and help provide local people with more opportunity to become involved in sport.”

Many of the attendees are from Whiteley Wanderers FC, the local community charter standard club who have over 270 young people involved in their teams. The club will continue to use the facilities For more information on the which will provide them with project or to make a booking a home-base all year round, at Meadowside Leisure Centre helping solve travel problems please contact 01489 577464. for parents and players.

being made by the senior, junior and mini teams and was taken on a tour of the Club. He admitted to being ‘seriously impressed’ with the club and the plan in place to take it forward:

Move over my friend... Winchester City's Lerone Plummer helps lead the charge in City's 4-0 away win at Totton and Eling on Saturday 30 November 2013

“I think it’s important to remember that clubs such as this don’t have to exist,” said Steve Brine. “They do because of the hard work and leadership put in He visited the ground shortly by, mainly, volunteers. before Winchester’s home game against London Cornish to It was useful to hear of the view the recently refurbished club’s plans and the thriving minis accommodation and discuss the section which bodes well for the implications for the Club of the future.” proposed Riverside Leisure Centre development. Mark says he was pleased with the visit: “I was delighted to show Rugby Club chairman Mark Steve around our Club, especially Castle and Tom Shewry, who’s functioning on a match day. chairman of the mini’s section, explained how volunteers have “We also appreciated the carried out a major wash and opportunity to express our brush up programme. concern over the proposals for the Leisure Centre and the potential He also heard about the progress impact on the Club“.

project:Alfie150 is giving young people aged 16-25 free training in all aspects of media - radio, print and online. Register for a place now on our next training start date (Sunday 26 January 2014) on

(L to R) Tom Shewry, Steve Brine MP, Mark Castle.

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Winchester Today - December 2013  

The online version of the December 2013 version of Winchester Today

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