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For you, your community, your life


of fantastic events on yo ur doorstep!

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DECember 2013 Thames Valley region ISSN 2049-4971

Henley, Reading & Wokingham districts



December 2013 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

v Free festive parking

Wondering what’s available in your community? Here’s a WINning idea

TO ENCOURAGE local shopping this Christmas, Wokingham Borough Council has announced free parking in selected car parks on the three Saturdays leading up to Christmas. BY Christopher Morris Council-owned town and village centre car parks will be offering free OKINGHAM parking all day on Saturdays December INFORMATION 7, 14 and 21. NETWORK (WIN) is Free car parking will be available at: the borough’s free  The Paddocks, Wokingham online and telephone-based service  Denmark Street, Wokingham providing information about help, (Council-managed section only) support and services available  Easthampstead Road (east and west), for adults, vulnerable adults and Wokingham families.  Rose Street, Wokingham It is divided into two sections, the  Cockpit Path, Wokingham ‘Adult Information Directory’ and the  Headley Road, Woodley ‘For Families Directory’.  Crockhamwell Road, Woodley The service is funded and provided  Lytham Road (east and west), by Wokingham Borough Council. Woodley part of the community and reach The Adult Information Directory  Polehampton Close, Twyford services and activities. In addition WIN is aimed at helping adults live as full,  School Lane, Wargrave aims to help people stay fit, healthy and active and independent lives as possible Cllr Keith Baker, executive member independent in order to prevent them – particularly those who are vulnerable. for strategic planning and highways, developing serious health or social care As a prevention service it is closely said: “We want to encourage as many problems. linked to Adult Social Care services. people to shop locally as possible.” For those using the Adult Directory An important part of WIN’s role is to WIN Advert 184x 135 landscape:Layout 1 29/04/2013 17:06 Page 1 v telephone service we will research help potentially isolated people remain


your enquiry and either call you back with the information requested or post details of services to read about. We will then try and stay in touch with a regular call back every six months to see how things are and whether there is anything else we can help with. The For Families Directory aim is to provide parents with useful information to support them with their daily family routine and for when difficult times arise. Families can contact the service via telephone, email or online directory. If you are unable to find what you need a Family Information Officer will be happy to look into this for you. Anybody can visit the WIN website or telephone the service for information. Contact WIN on the numbers below… they look forward to hearing from you! v Families can call 0118 935 2255 v Adults can call 0118 974 6772

Information for Families and Adults The Wokingham Information Network (WIN) is a free online and telephone guide to services and organisations in the Wokingham Borough: For Families • Advice and support • Children with additional needs • Childcare and early years • Health and wellbeing • Holiday schemes • Learning and development • Leisure and activities • Young people

For Adults • Carers • Day care & short breaks • Community Services • Health and wellbeing • Home and personal help • Learning and development • Leisure and activities • Transport and housing

If you offer a service and would like to be included in WIN you can register and submit your information on our website.

e. t. (0118) 935 2255

e. t. (0118) 974 6772


This month

Music 11 This is your magazine Contact us with your stories, it’s really easy: email write to Xn Media, 60 London Street, Reading RG1 4SQ. We look forward to hearing from you! Xn is published by Xn Media. ISSN 2049-4971 c/o Quench, 60 London Street, Reading RG1 4SQ Twitter: @xnmedia

Brew up 27

Editor & publisher Phil Creighton Distribution Judith Creighton Contributors Vivienne Johnson, Lynda Bowyer, Michael Penny, Steve Vaughan-Turner, Sally Hamblin, Steve Prince, James Hern, Martin Ceaser, Jon White, Christopher Morris, John O’Shea Thanks to Quench, Michael Penny, Alan Magness, Louise Cole, Mary Brockington, Rob Wilson, Reading Family Church, Nick Crowder, Andrew Taylor, Lucy Holmes, Reading Buses, Emma Major Cover picture Lynda Bowyer To advertise Hinton Media Services Ltd 01932 888417 Printed by Polestar Xn is an independent publication that aims to reflect community and Church life without bias. The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Every care is taken to ensure that the contents of the magazine are accurate but the publishers cannot accept responsibility for errors. While reasonable care is taken when accepting advertisements, the publishers cannot accept any responsibility for any resulting unsatisfactory transactions. They will, however, investigate any written complaints. © Xn Media Ltd, 2013

y r e v a u o y h s i We w ! s a m t s i r h C y Happ Angel 16 From the editor

Phil Creighton ‘With so many great events to enjoy, we hope you’ll have a very Happy Christmas!’


HE NIGHT Before Christmas was obviously set somewhere that wasn’t in the Thames Valley. In the poem, we’re told that not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. But if you look at what’s on this month, you’ll quickly realise that there are a multitude of ways to celebrate the festive season. In fact, there’s so much happening that we’ve had to move our what’s on guide to our website, This issue contains some highlights, including living nativities. I went to two last year – one organised by Newbold College, the other by St Andrew’s URC and Wesley Methodist in Reading. Both were excellent and well worth wrapping up warm to see. With so many great events to enjoy, we hope you’ll have a very Happy Christmas. Due to New Year holidays, our next issue will be available from Wednesday, January 9. See you next year!


4 The 32 days of Christmas 6 News 14 Business 16 News focus 18 Classified 20 What’s on Three pages of community events 23 Family circle 23 Sport All the latest from the Football League 25 Puzzles 26 Food Make your own Christmas gifts 27 Ethical shopping Brilliant buys to help the planet 28 Arts New plays, concerts and films

Get in touch! email stories to Deadline for Janaury issue Fri, December 20




December 2013 | | To advertise call 01932 888417


The countdown to Christmas starts here – and what better way than by joining the Living Advent Calendars in Henley and Wokingham? At 6.15pm every night until Christmas Eve, a different surprise performance will take place in a different venue. What will it be tonight? Both calendars launch at each town’s respective Town Hall. We’ve got full details on our website. If you’d like to reflect, Advent services are held at a number of churches, including Reading Minster at 6pm and St Paul’s Wokingham at 6.15pm.



One of the great traditions of Christmas is the Nativity Play and at Aldermaston, they have been performing a Medieval Mystery Play every year since 1957. Tonight is the dress rehearsal for this year’s show. For more details, turn to page 28.





Head to the newly improved Wokingham Train Station at 6.15pm to join in some carol singing, organised by Churches Together Wokingham for the Living Advent Calendar. If you want to know more about the first Christmas, then a talk by Father Paul Rowan of St Michael’s Church in Sonning Common will be helpful. It takes place in the

village’s parish hall tonight and next Wednesday at 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome. Also today, Wokingham Borough Council is hosting the Have A Safe Christmas roadshow at Asda in Lower Earley. It runs from 10am to 1pm.





Charity Thrive is holding a Christmas fair at Trunkwell Park in Beech Hill from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. It’s an opportunity to find some great presents while also helping a very good cause.

CROwthorne’s shops will open late for a fantastic Christmas shopping evening. And with many of the stores being independent, you can support local businesses as you buy presents. Crowthorne Baptist Church in the High Street will offer refreshments including mince pies. It also invites you to Get In The Picture: you can dress up as nativity characters and have your photo taken. Head to East Reading and you can take part in a Victorian Christmas at The Warehouse in Cumberland Road. The hugely popular – and free – event also takes place tomorrow evening.



It’s a busy day: Jack and the Beanstalk opens at The Hexagon today. The panto stars Dani Hamer – aka Tracey Beaker from the BBC series of the same name – and Debbie McGee, wife of magician Paul Daniels. Wokingham Methodist Church is hosting its annual Christmas Tree festival (pictured right), Holy Trinity in Theale switches on its Christmas lights and hosts a Nativity, while in Sandhurst you can visit a festive fair at the Methodist Church.



Newbold College in Binfield is opening its grounds for a spectacular

The 32 days of


s a m t s i hr

There’s something exciting happening every day this Advent ... we round up some of the fun things you and your family can look forward to. For our full guide, visit

Living Nativity experience (pictured left). The free event starts at 4pm and recreates the first Christmas, including live animals. Wrap up warm, as it’s held outdoors! It will take about 30 minutes to tour. It’s also the day of the Reading Bikers toy run from Foster Wheeler House to Barnado’s in Wokingham. The bikers ride in fancy dress to bring presents to the charity. A Santa Run is in Henley.



A not-quite silent night as the Living Advent calendars continue at 6.15pm. In Wokingham head to Oslars in Denmark Street and in Henley, visit Stuart Turner in Market Place for a mystery festive entertainment.

Give a gift that gives even more Meaningful Christmas gifts online

At a national level over the last few years many people have seen the closure of their local Christian bookshop which has meant that it’s been difficult for them to find gifts to give to their Christian and ‘pre-Christian’ friends. (Reading is clearly an exception with two Christian bookshops!) Recognising this trend, two years ago Marianne Needham-Bennett set up The Christian Gift Company to sell beautiful, practical and contemporary Christian themed gifts online. “Our customers are based all over the country, from Inverness to Eastbourne, Belfast to Plymouth and with geographical ‘pockets’ in areas where we’ve had a stand at a CRE (Christian Resources Exhibition) or New Wine event or been to Spring Harvest,” she explained. “Once people see the products and know the quality is really good they are reassured to be able to shop with us online.”

The company has gifts for men and women and plans to increase its children’s range next year. Many items are made especially for them so they are quite different from what you might find in the Christian bookshops on the high street. Among their most popular items are wooden breadboards with the words ‘Give us today our daily bread’ and ‘He took the bread and gave it to them’ on them, cards and journals, cufflinks, Psalm 23 beaded bracelets and wooden flame shaped ‘crosses’. The company gives 10 per cent of its turnover to Life Association which works with Dalits in Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh, providing work making candles and spices. “We sell ‘Gifts for His glory’,” says Marianne. “By buying a gift from us you give a gift to yourself or a friend and also to someone on the other side of the world”. v To see the range for yourself, log on to


To advertise call 01932 888417 | | December 2013








Pick me u

For you, your community, your life


Advent comes alive!




Broad Street in Reading is hosting a feast of community carol singing events this year and tonight it’s the turn of the town twinning associations to gather. Everyone is invited for the event, which starts at 6pm.



A charity Christmas fair takes place in the Civic Centre of Reading Borough Council today between 10am and 4pm. In the evening Reading Concert Singers will focus on the traditions of Christmas at its concert at St Agnes Church in Whitley. For more on this event turn to page 28.



With 12 days to go until the big day, carol singing is starting to take centre stage. Charity Launchpad will hold its annual fundraising carol concert at Reading Minster Church tonight, with celebrity guests including Matt Allwright. It’s a ticketed event. If you fancy seeing a festive film, St Thomas of Canterbury Church in Goring is holding its Pick-A-Flick club and screening Miracle on 32nd Street from 10.30am.



Trinity Church in Lower Earley is hosting a special fundraising coffee and cake day from 9.30am

Carols by Candlelight

Southcote Christian Mission

Join us for a service of readings and carols that retell the mystery of Christmas. God with us, Immanuel

Carol Service 4pm

22nd December 2013 at 6pm

Service at 10.30am to 11.15am Please join us if you can All welcome. Park United Reformed Church Palmer Park Ave RG6 1DN

Sunday 22nd December

to 5pm. Between noon and 1.30pm, it will also serve soup lunches – and it’s all to raise funds for Helen and Douglas House.



Kind-hearted members of Wesley Methodist Church in Reading are hosting a Christmas shopping special – they will look after your children while you shop. It’s aimed at school-age children (pre-school age must be accompanied) and they can enjoy arts, crafts and more while you shop. Bring a lunch and there’s a crib service at 2.30pm. It runs from 11am to 3pm. Booking is helpful. For details, call 0118 958 5030.

Earley St Peter’s Church

Church Road, Earley, Reading RG6 1EY To find out more call 0118 966 8575 Principal Services for Christmas Sunday 22nd December 6.30pm Service of Nine Lessons and Carols

Something for everyone refreshments afterwards.

Tuesday 24th December 4pm Crib Service—for all ages, but especially for the young and families


Tuesday 24th December 11.30pm Midnight Eucharist (the choir will be singing carols from 11.00pm)

Southcote Lane, Southcote

Wednesday 25th December 8am Holy Communion Wednesday 25th December 10.00am Family Eucharist for Christmas morning

Everyone is very welcome to all our services

© W.D. Watts

Packed with fireworks & family-friendly events

Diane-Louise Jordan and Tim Vine want to give than ks


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NOVEMBER 2013 Thames Valley region


ISSN 2049-4971

We want to make your community magazine EVEN BETTER but we need your help! take our simple survey on our website,




December 2013 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

The Christmas Story in Mime

Sunday 15 December 6pm-8.15pm

The 32 days of



Today is Carol Service Sunday for many, many churches. Carols by candlelight, Nine Lessons and Carols, Christingles and contemporary services are all on offer. We’ve got comprehensive listings on our website. There are also concerts taking place at the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel in Pangbourne and St Mary’s Bucklebury.

Steve Murray performs the Christmas Story in Mime Drinks and canapés from 6-6:45. Reading Community Church, Monday 384 The Meadway, Tilehurst RG30 4NX A torchlit carol singing procession will take place through the


Reading Community Church Dec 13.indd 1


Don’t miss our

Christmas Market Saturday December 14th 10.30am—12.30pm Homemade crafts and Christmas foods. Games and Sideshows for all. Christmas Café. Details: 0118 947 1370.

Christmas 2013 at St Nicolas, Earley St Peters Caversham.indd 1 14/11/2013 Sunday 1 December 12.00 People, Prayers and Potatoes Christingle Service A relaxed service with craft, songs & Christmas stories Stay for a free jacket potato lunch afterwards

streets of Finchampstead from 6pm. Starting from the Billing Avenue Parish Centre, the singers will stroll through 14:44:03 the village ending up back at the centre for refreshments. Everyone is welcome.



More carol singing tonight: Churches Together in Reading have organised a number of outdoor events this December and tonight they will be at The Triangle in Tilehurst from 5pm. Everyone is welcome.



St Barnabas Church in Emmer Green will welcome Scouts, Guides and Brownies this evening for a Christingle service in aid of The Children’s Society. In Crowthorne, the Village Singers will perform an evening of festive music at St John The Baptist Church from 7.30pm. The concert raises funds for 14:17:23 the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.



The Cameo Singers will provide a lunchtime concert at Wokingham Town Hall today, while the Civic Carol Service Sunday 15 December takes place at Reading Minster Church in 6.30pm Carols by Candlelight A beautiful & traditional service the evening. The Christmas story in words and carols A more relaxed carol singing event Christmas Eve (Monday 24 Dec) takes place in Woolhampton Village hall 5.30pm Carols round the Crib With a special Nativity from 7pm. 11.30pm Midnight Mass

Christmas Day 10.00am Christmas Celebration Worship Sutcliffe Avenue, Earley, Reading RG6 7JN 0118 966 9080

A Christmas Carol is the quintessential festive play and students from Newbold College in Binfield will be performing it tonight at 4pm and 7pm. Wokingham’s Living Advent Calendar puts its clocks back tonight: instead of 6.15pm, it starts at 4.15pm and takes place in Elms Field. Organisers have teamed up with Christ Church Wokingham to host an amazing Live Nativity (pictured right). Bring torches and wrap up warm.

Sunday 1st December

Sunday 15th December

10:30am – Reading Campus Family Service

Sunday 22nd December

morning service – everyone is invited! Sunday 15th December 10.30am – Reading Campus Family Service Sunday 22nd December 10.30am – Reading Campus Carols by Candlelight with mulled wine and mince pies. 6.30pm – Bracknell Campus Carol Service Reading Campus meets at Bulmershe Leisure Centre, Woodley, RG5 3EU Bracknell Campus meets at Farley Wood Centre, Bracknell RG42 1FW 10:30am - Reading Campus Carol Service with guest performance by Lifted Gospel Choir 6:30pm - Bracknell Campus Carol Service Reading Campus meets at Bulmershe Leisure Centre, Woodley, RG5 3EU Bracknell Campus meets at Farley Wood Centre, Bracknell. RG42 1FW


As Christmas Day gets closer, the excitement is mounting. Last year, Wesley Methodist Church and St Andrew’s URC hosted a Living Nativity, walking through the streets of Reading between the two churches – it was so successful that they’re doing it again this year. It starts from Wesley at 2.45pm and is free. In the evening, the Broad Street Tavern in Wokingham is hosting Beer and Carols. To meet demand this year it’s been extended to two hours, the first is family-friendly. It starts at 7pm.



A Farce about a Nativity Play that goes wrong opens at Reading College tonight. For more see page 29. There’s carol singing in two Finchampstead pubs tonight: The Queen’s Oak from 7pm and The Greyhound from 8pm.

Christmas Eve

Christmas is nearly here and there are hundreds of ways in which you can celebrate today. Most churches are holding crib or nativity services in the afternoon, while midnight services will see in Christmas Day. Check our

A Christmas Tree festival that runs up to the turn of the year opens today in Goring. St Thomas of

Network Vineyard Church Christmas Services




12pm - Reading Campus Christmas Lunch A festive lunch following our morning service – everyone is invited!




CHRISTMAS AT Sunday 1st December TRINITY CHURCH, Christmas12pm – Reading Campus es Christmas Lunch LOWER EARLEY ServAicfestive lunch following our

8 December 4pm Christingle 15 December 6pm Carols 18 December 2pm Nursery Service Nativity Christmas Eve 4pm Crib Service 11.15pm Midnight Communion Christmas Day 10am Family Worship

Canterbury Church hosts the event daily from 10am to 4pm until Sunday, December 29 (except Christmas Day). Lots of trees to see and plenty of decorations! Stoke Row Chapel is hosting Carols Round The Well this evening from 7pm.

Advertise here from just £25! *

For details, call Fiona on 01932 888417 or email advertising@ *Special promotional rate

The York Nativity Play

 

St Mary the Virgin Aldermaston

       

News The 32 days of


To advertise call 01932 888417 | | December 2013

and back to the pub for lunch.

website for full details including service times. In Caversham and Bradfield two Living Nativity events are taking place. St John’s Church is the starting point for Caversham’s, from 4pm, while Rushall Farm hosts two events at 3pm and 5.30pm. Bring a torch and wrap up warm.

29 30


Panto season continues with lots of fun plays across the Thames Valley.


Easthampstead Baptist Church is organising Turkey and Tinsel: a holiday at home for older people who would otherwise be on their own at Christmas. It takes place today and tomorrow from 10am to 4pm. Last year’s events included food, comedy, films and a visit from Father Christmas. For details:


Christmas Day

Happy Christmas! Celebrate Christmas with services all over the Thames Valley. For details, visit our website. If you’re on your own this Christmas, you don’t need to be. Likewise, if cooking a Christmas dinner will be struggle, you can enjoy hospitality. For more details, see our story on page 11.



Boxing Day

Debz Day Trips in East Reading is organising a family outing to Bracknell’s ice skating rink. The fun event is followed by a tea party at Wycliffe Baptist Church. For details, visit QNWekD. Also at Wycliffe is an opportunity to use St Stephen’s Day to pray for the persecuted church. For more, see page 8.

Christmas at Newbold

Newbold Church, Binfield will be an exciting place to be this Christmas! In December Newbold Church and Newbold College are coming together to put tmas at Newbold on threeChris varied, family-friendly Christmas events for the local community: Newbold Church, Binfie ld will be an exciting place to be this Christmas! In Newbold Church and Newbold College are comin December g together to put on three family-friendly Christmas varied, events for the local comm unity:

Experience the Living Nativity Expe

rience the Living Nativ ity between 4pm and 7pm Sunday 8 December – come anytime When: Sunday 8 December come anytime between Where: 4:00p Newb and 7:00p old Church grounds, Road, Newbold Church grounds, Popeswood eld.m.RG42 4AN .m. PopeswoodBinfi Entrance: Road, Binfield RG42 4AN No tickets needed – just come along dressed warm outdoor exper as this is No tickets needed – just come along dressed warmly asesly this isan ience which will take about 30 minut to enjoy. Take an outdoor walk throu gh the an outdoor experience which will take about 30exper minutes to enjoy. Christmas story and following the star, ience the living nativit marvel with the shepherds

y. Listen in as

the angel speaks to Mary, at the news the angels manger. There will be bring,the live Christmas wise men hearliving animals - a donke the heave Take an outdoor walk through the story experience nativity. Listen in as theseeangel nly choir singin y, goatsand and sheep. Refreshmen g, and find the baby Jesus t stalls will serve Christ in the mas fayre. All proceeds New boldmen Celebrate go to charity. speaks to Mary, see wise following themun star, with the shepherds at the news the angels bring, s! …A Com itymarvel Christmas When: Saturday 14 December 7:00p hear the heavenlyWher choir singing, and fi nd the baby Jesus in the manger. There will be live animals – m (door s open e: at 6.40pm) Newbold Church Centr e, Popeswood Road, Binfie Entrance: ld RG42 4AN FREE but by TICKET ONLY a donkey, goats and sheep. Refreshment stalls –will fayre. All proceeds go to charity. contaserve ct officeChristmas @newboldchurch .org or 01344 401792 A Community Christmas is a carol concert with a difference. One of the participated with a furthe area’s largest musical r 400 people gathering events, last year over to see in the festive seaso every generation. In additi 120 performers n together. Join us this on to traditional carols year for a programme with our orchestra there appealing to will be performances covering several music Charles Dickens’ “A Chris al genres. tmas Carol” When: Saturday 21 December - performances at 4:00p m and 7:00pm Sunday 22 December – performances at 4:00p Where: m and 7:00pm Moor Close, Newbold College, Popeswood Road, Entrance: Binfield RG42 4AN This is a “TICKET ONLY ” event. Adults - £5, childr en - £2.50, families (2 seniors (over 65) - £3 (all adults + up to 3 childr proceeds will go to charit en) - £12, y). Tickets will be availa office@newboldchurch ble from the Newbold .org 01344 401792 Church office. “Once upon a time - of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve biting weather ....” - old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak,

Newbold Celebrates! …A Community Christmas

Saturday 14 December 7pm (doors open at 6.40pm) Newbold Church Centre, Popeswood Road, Binfield RG42 4AN FREE but entry by TICKET ONLY – contact or 01344 401792

A Community Christmas is a carol concert with a difference. One of the area’s largest musical events, last year over 120 performers participated with a further 400 people gathering to see in the festive season together. Join us this year for a programme appealing to every generation. In addition to traditional carols with our orchestra there will be performances covering several musical genres.

Charles Dickens’“A Christmas Carol”

Saturday 21 December & Sunday 22 December. Performances at 4pm and 7pm Moor Close, Newbold College, Popeswood Road, Binfield RG42 4AN Ticket only event. Adults £5, children £2.50, families (2 adults + up to 3 children) - £12, seniors £3 Tickets from the Newbold Church office: 01344 401792

“Once upon a time - of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve – old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather ....”



There’s still time to take in Goring’s Christmas Tree Festival or watch Reading Rep’s Nativity Story Gone Wrong play.



Burn off those Christmas dinner calories while enjoying a walk organised by members of Trinity Church in Lower Earley. Meet at the church from 10am or from The Cunning Man in Burghfield from 10.30am for a four mile walk –


New Year’s Eve

It’s the last day of the year: why not see it out in style thanks to Douai Abbey’s concert? The Abbey will welcome Commotio for an afternoon of music by composers including Allain, Bennett, Chilcott and Duggan. It starts at 3.30pm.


New Year’s Day

Start off 2014 by joining St Andrew’s Church in Caversham for a service of reflection at noon. Keep up to date with what’s happening at




December 2013 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

v Boxing Day focus on persecution Wycliffe Baptist Church in Reading will host a day of prayer for the Persecuted Church on December 26, from 10am to 4pm. Chris Cobbold, one of the organisers, said: “Sadly, in many parts of the world, what should be a joyous time for Christians, is a time when believers face threats.” Everyone is invited to come for as long or as short a time as they wish. v Details: 0118 929 9911

v Correction THE JAC Hoedown took place on Saturday, November 30 at its new Rehoboth complex in Wokingham and not Wokingham Baptist Church as suggested in the last issue. Apologies for the confusion. v if you spot an error, please email

Students plan Page 3 protests BY PHIL CREIGHTON A CAMPAIGN to ban pictures of nude women from page three of The Sun is gathering pace. Students at the University of Reading are preparing to join a national protest and urging a boycott of the tabloid newspaper from campus premises. As Xn went to press, Hull University was the latest to announce that it was banning sales of The Sun over Page 3. The NoMorePage3 petition has a simple aim: to encourage The Sun to stop printing its Page 3 Girl feature, something it has run since the early 1970s. Started by Lucy Holmes, the campaign was launched last year in the wake of the 2012 Olympics, when the newspaper’s largest picture of the day was of a topless model rather than Jessica Ennis who had just won an Olympic medal. Since then, the NoMorePage3 campaign has started to explore the issues around the availability of soft porn, including its impact on young children. Antonia Sales is the Women’s Officer for

the Reading University Students’ Union and is backing the campaign. She said: “Our Women’s Campaign group are going to be running a ‘No More Page 3’ campaign to boycott The Sun being sold on Reading University campuses. We are going to be doing this in the new year alongside a Body Confidence and a Real Sex campaign.

We feel these all compliment one another and will hopefully educate people and get support for a boycott. “I have spoken to many people about their views on No More Page 3 and we decided that we need to act against this gross and unnecessary objectification of women.” Film and Theatre student Sam Cahalin from Ulverston, Cumbria, is also backing the campaign as he thinks that Page 3 is far from harmless fun. “I am backing the campaign simply because boobs are not news,” he explained. “It is ridiculous to think that women are still being objectified in this way in the media and the fact that it takes place in such a large scale media outlet unfortunately normalises and encourages this objectification.” Sam added that he has been involved in the campaign from its early days after seeing it appear on his Twitter feed. "It has been excellent to see the support rise for this project,” he added. v The campaign petition can be found at

Sporting questions are well answered

Table Top / Jumble Sale Tables fill up fast, book yours in advance via email or text. You can pay for your table online (see details below)

2013 Dates

2014 Dates

26th October 23rd November 21st December

25th January 22nd February 22nd March

Where: St Barnabas Church Hall, Elm Rd, Reading, RG66TS (Off Shinfield Road, opposite The Sportsman Pub car park) Book Email: OR Text: 0787 0783 259 Pay online OR

The Sindlesham Baptist Church Sports quiz took place on Saturday, November 16. More than 50 people answered the (particularly hard) interactive sports quiz questions created by Christians in Sport. Fish and chips greased the cogs of the 10 teams and energised the crowd for guest speaker Dave McNee, from Cardiff. v www.sindlesham

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT? Come and join us at Trinity Church Lower Earley on Sundays at 3pm and bring your friends. Our new service provides the opportunity to worship our Lord through contemporary music and explore issues of faith in more depth and is designed particularly for young adults, but all are welcome. It is an informal time that starts with coffee and often doughnuts! Details can be found at

Advertise here from just £25! *

For details, call Fiona on 01932 888417 or email advertising@ *Special promotional rate


To advertise call 01932 888417 | | December 2013

Help the homeless – give food, not money!

Kind hearted readers are encouraged to give food, not money to homeless people BY PHIL CREIGHTON WITH Winter starting to bite, a charity that works with the homeless is encouraging you to buy food rather than give money to people on the streets. A healthy meal or some dry dog food is recommended by Launchpad as the best way to show street homeless people that you care. And, the charity adds, if you want to give any money, you should consider donating to local charities so that the money is spent locally. There is also a national initiative with its own phone apps that can help link up homeless people to help. StreetLink. is a website, app and support line that passes on your information to local authorities so they can help connect the person to local support and services. You can download the apps for both iPhone and Android devices. In the Thames Valley area, that support includes the Churches In Reading Drop In Centre (CIRDIC), Launchpad, Faith, St Mungo’s and The Salvation Army. Amanda Rose, marketing manager of Launchpad, said: “We would suggest people buy the street homeless hot healthy food and drink. Please don't give them money – it's likely they will use it to spend on drugs or alcohol. “If they are street homeless and have a dog consider buying dry dog food for them as the street homeless will feed the dog their food (human food) if they don't have anything to eat. “And please consider donating to your local homeless charities such as CIRDIC, Faith, Launchpad, Salvation Army or St Mungo’s to make sure the money is spent locally.” CIRDIC is based in Berkeley Avenue in Reading and is open across the week. Its facilities include providing meals, clean clothing, baths and links to specialist services including health care and housing. It is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am to 3.30pm and on Saturdays from 6pm to 7pm.

v Where to get help v Launchpad: 0118 950 7656 v CIRDIC 0118 950 2536 v Willow House 0118 959 0681 WillowHouse v Faith 0118 987 2672 v Street Link 0300 500 0914 The Salvation Army in Reading runs Willow House, a hostel for single homeless people with a local connection to Reading. It only accepts referrals from Reading Borough Council and Reading Street Services; it has no waiting list. At weekends or evenings, people who find themselves homeless may make a 'self-referal' to the centre. Emergency accommodation may be offered provided there is a vacant room available and that they present no significant risk to staff or other residents. Faith Christian Group organises soup runs in the evenings as well as a tea bar on Sunday afternoons. These meet in Hosier Street, Reading – the same venue as Reading’s Market. All organisations also welcome volunteers to help run their services.

v Help CIRDIC via ASDA CHRISTMAS shoppers at Asda in Lower Earley will be sent packing when they offer to help CIRDIC this month. The supermarket is letting volunteers help pack bags for shoppers at 12 tills on Sunday, December 8 between 10am and 4pm. Shoppers will get help putting their groceries into bags in exchange for a donation to CIRDIC. Volunteers are needed to help out by offering an hour of their time. v If you can help, contact Irene on 0118 926 0279.

Take care!


Make the most of life with Philip Keohane

Helping to shape our future


HIS month I would like to comment on two topics which I have come across recently: Throughout the Reading area, our local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have been engaging with people in the local community as they formulate their plans for the delivery of care over the next five years and beyond. This is part of a national debate which has attracted much media interest. For Reading, as is the case across the UK, the NHS is trying to juggle a major dilemma. There will be an increased demand for their services in the future with an aging population and an increase in longer term medical conditions that require ongoing treatment. Against this is the backdrop of zero growth in funding support and an increased desire to have greater access to care services across the whole week. Dr Rod Smith, Chair of the Berkshire West Federation of CCGs, sums up the dilemma: “By 2015-16, the pressure caused by increases in an aging population equates to a seven per cent increase in hospital admissions and eight per cent increase in beds in Berkshire West. Based on our expectations of patient demands and a period of flat financial growth, we are likely to have an affordability gap of nearly £10 million in Reading by 2015-16.” Clearly some drastic decisions will have to be taken in order to prevent this from happening. Now is the time to have your say. Please therefore talk to your local surgery and share your views on the future of the NHS. Access to free medical care via the NHS is a legacy from us to our children and grandchildren and one we should all take responsibility for. In last month’s Xn there was an excellent piece on helping to make Reading a dementia friendly town. For anyone who has had to help look after a family member who is suffering from acute levels of dementia, they will appreciate the challenges involved in trying to accomplish even the most day to day of tasks such as getting dressed, having meals and continuing to have some social contact with the wider community. For me, a point of great sadness is that people with this condition and their carers can become increasingly isolated from the rest of us. Consequently any initiatives to help people with dementia to stay active and involved deserve our full support. The campaign is due to have its official launch in mid-January and I for one will be doing whatever I can to support it.

Philip Keohane is owner & director of Home Instead Senior Care in Reading



December 2013 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

v Get the flu jab PREGNANT women, carers and people with long term health conditions are being urged to get a free flu vaccination. Flu is a highly infectious disease. In most cases, the symptoms are quite mild, but in others, they can be very serious. People should get a free flu vaccination if they are: • 65 or over • pregnant • living in a residential or nursing home • the main carer of an older or disabled person • a household contact of an immunocompromised person The vaccine is also offered for a range of medical conditions, including heart problems, kidney or liver diseases and neurological condition, for example multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy. This year, for the first time, children aged two and three years on 1 September are also being offered the flu vaccination, often as a spray in each nostril. Reading Lead Councillor for Health, Graeme Hoskin said: “Speak to your GP, practice nurse, or your local pharmacist to book a free vaccination appointment and get the best possible protection against flu this winter.” v For more visit

Church gets cold shoulders* BY BRIAN ROACH Parishioners using St Mary’s Church in Twyford will be wrapping up warm this winter and hoping the church’s ancient boiler sees them safely through to Spring. “We have been told that our 30-year-old boiler is on the verge of expiring,” said the Revd Simon Howard, Vicar of Ruscombe and Twyford with Hurst. “Apparently their normal life span is around 25 years. “We hope to raise enough money to replace it next March, but it is touch and go whether it will see us safely through the winter.” He was launching a campaign to raise the £50,000 needed for a new heating system in the church. The hope is that individuals and businesses from throughout the village and surrounding area will join the congregation in making donations and organising fund-raising activities over the next few months to raise the money. Built in 1847, the church is regularly used by the local community for a variety of activities. Weddings, baptisms and funeral services take place throughout the year. In addition it hosts a number of special events

It’s cold in here. Wrapping up warm inside St Mary’s church are, from left to right, The Vicar of Ruscombe and Twyford with Hurst, the Revd Simon Howard, St Mary’s churchwarden Alistair Vorster and the church operations manager Alan Gwynn such as last year’s Christmas Tree Festival and the highly successful Last Night of the Proms evening this year. Local schoolchildren and Twyford Scouts are among the groups who visit and the church is always full to capacity for Christmas and Remembrance Day services.

v Anyone wanting to make a donation or organise a fund-raising activity is asked to contact the church office on 0118 934 4729 or send an email to office@ v Donations can also be made in person at St Mary’s Church Centre in Station Road, Twyford.

* and cold everything else – if the heating’s off!

WINNER! Caversham Baptist Church’s website is one of the best in the country. The church has one of the most accessible websites in the country. Martyn Strong, who acts as webmaster for the site, was presented with a certificate at the Christian New Media Awards on November 9. The Salvation Army scooped top prize. v More at

v Festive fun for Lower Earley A SUMMER fun day was so successful that organisers couldn't wait a whole year to do it all again. Lower Earley Baptist Church will host a special Christmas fun day on Saturday, December 14. Activities include a Christmas market, crafts, entertainment, Wii challenges and a festive cafe. The event will end with a gathering round a huge Christmas tree for a light

switch-on ceremony and community carol singing. Hot chestnuts, drinks and mince pies will be served. The fun day starts at 12.30pm and the church welcomes stalls for its festive market. v For more details, or to book a stall at the fayre, log on to the church's new website, www. lowerearleybaptistchurch., call 0118 936 3598 or email: lebcminister@yahoo.

v Adoption charity nets award THERAPEUTIC services run by adoption charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) have been hailed as the Voluntary Adoption Service of the year. PACT scooped the top award at the annual National Adoption Week Awards run by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF). PACT offers therapy to adopted and fostered children to help them cope with the effects of abuse and neglect they have suffered in their past. Therapies are provided in

families’ homes or at PACT’s Family Therapy Room in Reading which was opened in April. PACT is raising funds to provide more therapy services and open more therapy rooms in other locations. The award was collected by PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick and Director of Adoption and Fostering Satwinder Sandhu at a ceremony in London. Jan Fishwick said: “We are immensely proud of our service.” v More:


To advertise call 01932 888417 | | December 2013


Lonely invited to enjoy Christmas Day lunches



Martin Smith performs at The Globe in early November as part of the BigChurchNightIn tour. Full story: Picture: Lynda Boywer Photography

CHRISTMAS is a time for getting together and to ensure that no one is on their own on December 25, a number of community lunches are being organised. And to help people find them, a new website has been set up. gives people the chance to search for events with 1, 10, 20 or 50 mile radius of their postcode. People can then find contact details for the organisers of their local events. Two events taking place this Christmas Day include meals at the Reading West Salvation Army and Cantley Lodge Hotel in Wokingham. Lieutenant Kenneth Guest, Commanding Officer of the Reading West Corps, based on Oxford Road, said: “Once again we shall be serving Christmas dinner on Christmas Day for those who are on their own, for those who are vulnerable and those who simply don't have the means or facilities to cook a full Christmas Dinner. Many people and families living in bedsits are more than welcome to join us." The church opens at 9am, a carol singing service starts at 10.30am with lunch at noon. People start to leave at 3pm. Sharon Elliott, who is organising the Wokingham lunch, said: "Faith in the Community and the Link Visiting Scheme are working with

the general manager of the Cantley Lodge hotel in Wokingham, to give a memorable Christmas Day lunch this year to those who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day. "This lunch is intended for local individuals, couples or families who face the possibility of being alone for Christmas. "This event, now in its third year, provides a very happy Christmas Day lunch to nearly 60 people, thanks to the generosity of the management and staff of the Cantley Lodge Hotel." Both Reading West Salvation Army and Faith In The Community need volunteers to help collect elderly people from their homes and drive them to and from the venues. Drivers need to have a current CRB check. Another lunch will be provided by Wycliffe Baptist Church and everyone is welcome to come along and join in the fun. v To help Reading West, contact Kenneth on 0118 957 6003 or email Kenneth.Guest@ v To help Faith In The Community, call Ros and Ralph Hardy on 0780 522 9515 or email v Bracknell-based supermarket chain Waitrose has been providing food for hundreds of Christmas Day lunches across the country. We’ll have more details on these lunches on our website,

Through the woods & forest glades they wander IF YOU go down to the woods today, you’re sure for a big surprise ... an urban forest church has launched in Earley. Emma Major, licenced Lay Minister for St Nicolas Earley, has helped create the new group which meets in the Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve. It is called Oakwood Forest Church and it takes its name from the nature reserve. "It includes Oakwood, a copse of medieval oak trees,” she said. “Our aim is to bring individuals of any age closer to God through positive outdoor experiences. And we welcome anyone who wants come along; from any church or none.” The group met for the first time on Saturday, November 16, and saw nine adults and 16 children gather together to explore the forest.

A young member of the Oakwood Forest Church brushes up on her leaves thanks to an outdoor activity "We had a lot of fun, a healthy dose of fellowship and some wonderful time with God,” Emma explained. The group is planning a special outdoor Nativity event for Saturday, December 21, from 3pm.

"We’ll Walk the Nativity. We’ll hear the story, meet the characters and share the joy of Jesus’ birth,” Emma said. v The group has its own website, at oakwoodforestchurch.

Still the Hunger We provide a non-residential programme, and support groups and individual sessions for those needing less intensive support 07733 300 705 |


December 2013 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

v Xn Editor Phil at men’s night EAT, drink and be merry is the instruction to men coming along to a friendship night. Network Vineyard is hosting a men’s night on Friday, December 6 at a home in Reading. Salim Yakub, who is organising the event, said: “We will have a great time of sharing, feasting, worship and enjoy an interesting talk from Phil Creighton, editor of Xn magazine.” It starts at 7.30pm. v For details, log on to www.

v Xn on the air XN editor Phil Creighton is a regular guest on Paul Coia’s Sunday morning show on BBC Radio Berkshire. In his slot, Phil looks at events taking place across Berkshire in the week ahead. You can tune in from 7am9am on Sundays.

v Burns night 2014 may seem like it’s an age away, but people in Mapledurham are already planning a Burns’ Night Supper and Dance. It will take place from 6.30pm on Saturday, January 25 at Trench Green Village Hall. Entry is £18. For details, contact Paul Corby, via www. stmargaretmapledurham. or the church office on 0118 996 8836.

‘A startling picture that should not exist today’ Think poverty in Reading is just a myth? NICK CROWDER reflects on a meeting held in Reading town hall

Experts come together for question time


here is no poverty in Reading” the Councillor declared from his seat in the Council Chambers. This was 1992, I had been invited to present to the Councillors a vision for reaching those on the margins of society – those living in poverty in a time of recession and unemployment. The Chamber was now silent, the outcome unanimous – we had a huge need in Reading and more action needed to be taken. Roll forward 21 years, and the need remains; Reading Borough Council hosted the Tackling Poverty in Reading conference at the Town Hall on November 19. More than 200 attended and an array of community organisations helped present a picture of Reading today – a startling picture of child and family poverty that should not exist in an affluent town. It demonstrated that we all still have work to do, but now, in a time of austerity, it’s personal; it’s down to you and me to make the difference. Chaired by Professor Gavin Brooks, Pro-Vice chancellor of Reading University, it opened with a welcome from Cllr Jo Lovelock. Some sobering facts were initially shared by Alison Garnham, CEO of the UK’s Child Poverty Action Group. “Children are twice as likely to be poor than pensioners, with 66% of children living in poverty within working families. The picture is going to get worse” she said, citing the £22bn estimated welfare cuts in benefit and support that will directly affect children. Reading Borough Council’s Grant Thornton said: “There are 6,400 children living in poverty in Reading; that’s 21.8% of the child population” and, with conviction, he added: “that’s shocking; let’s take a moment to stop and think about that”. “Parents go hungry to feed their children; children can’t socialise with friends and have them back for tea; decisions to heat or eat have to be taken every day. It affects everyone’s health and wellbeing”. It’s not just children being affected: it’s individuals, couples

Picture: Dr Mary Nash


By Grant Evans

Alison Garnham addresses the Tackling Poverty In Reading conference and families. Nor is it a case of “getting on your bike” to go find work, as Lord Tebbit suggested in 1981. Sue Brackley, from Reading UK CIC, stated “There are more in work poverty today than out of work. Work should be the way out of poverty.” This a pressing case for those seeking to implement the ‘Living wage’ rather than minimum wage. Thankfully today we have organisations like Christian Community Action, ReadiFood, CAB and Reading Welfare Rights Bureau (RWRB), all of whom presented on behalf of those they serve in the community. RWRB has seen a 900% increase in referring people for emergency food parcels from ReadiFood, Reading’s foodbank. Malc Pierce, Director of ReadiFood, which has 70 local agencies referring clients in need of food, said “£50,000 worth of food parcels have been given out in six months to September alone, helping 5,000 people”. Christian Community Action’s Mireille Haviland said that more than 3,000 clients come through CCA’s Support Centre doors needing help and practical assistance. Many come for a free weekly meal hosted by Caversham Baptist Church. The main session was closed with a moving personal account of a couple who live in poverty. R and G currently find support and an opportunity to volunteer from a charity helps them preserve some semblance of normal life. “We don’t know where we would be without the support we get,” said R. Whether we want to admit it or not we have poverty at our front door and we can all do something to help. Donate food or funds to the organisations on the ‘frontline’ or give the most precious gift and volunteer your time. But please, do something. Nick Crowder is the founder of Christian Community Action and co-founder of Reward Your World

Remember! Tell advertisers you saw them in Xn

A PANEL of experts joined together to answer questions about poverty for a round table discussion last month. The final Woodley Poverty Forum meeting (pictured above) was a chance for experts to discuss issues around poverty issues that had arisen from the previous meetings. An open session then evolved where participants pulled together ideas about how to work further in Woodley. It was held at Christ Church in Woodley on November 7. The panel included Reading East MP Rob Wilson; Beth Rowlands a Woodley Lib Dem councillor with an expertise in the work of the Credit Unions and Jo Black from Christians Against Poverty. One of the crucial responses from earlier meetings had been that the stigma attached to those in poverty who are variously described in the media as depraved and not deprived should be removed. Rob Wilson said that the Government were currently targeting a small number of specifically identified families but he and other panellists agreed that some in the poverty trap needed to be educated at an early stage about managing finances and home life. Many at the meeting pledged to buy food every week for the Woodley Food Bank and several volunteered to help. Staff from The Rainbow Café, based at Christ Church, will run cookery sessions about managing food on a budget. v A longer version of this story is at


01932 888417 | | December 2013


Foodbank hours go up to meet demand

Play time! Children enjoy the very first St Peter’s Road Play Street event in October. Picture: Lindsay Padbury BY VIVIENNE JOHNSON Squeals of delight and shrieks of laughter were heard in Earley when more than 40 children played football, rode their bikes and drew chalk paintings in the street. St Peter’s Road was the playground for the first St Peter’s Road Play Street on Friday, October 25 – and it was hailed as a great success. Tonya Curtis, a local mum, said: “It’s brilliant. Kids are

having a wonderful time, adults are having a great time getting to know people in the community. It’s just lovely.” Rachel Helsby had the initial idea for a play street and approached Lindsay Padbury who has organised street parties in St Peter’s Road. “We had to get 70% of our neighbours in the street to approve to shut the road,” Lindsay explained. All the hard work was worth it: “We have a fantastic

community in East Reading,” Lindsay said: “An event like this only works because people make it work.” Parkers’ estate agents were also involved and helped with insurance and publicity. The Play Street will be held on the last Friday of every month and a section of St Peter’s Road is blocked off to allow children to play. v A longer version of this story with more pictures is at

A MEMBER of the Reading Central Salvation Army band helps ensure we will always remember, as part of the Corps’ annual festival of remembrance, held last month. For more details and pictures, log on to our website, PICTURE: LYNDA BOWYER

A NEW Foodbank has proved so necessary that it is being forced to extend its opening times from December 1. The Wokingham Foodbank, which is based in Rose Street, only opened in the summer, but already it is seeing an increase in clients. To meet demand and to make it easier to receive food donations, it will open its doors for longer from this month. David Atkinson said: “Because of the increasing demand for the Foodbank services, and to reduce congestion in our small premises, we have decided to increase the number of Foodbank openings and to separate the times when we receive food donations from the times that we need to spend with those who need food. From December 1, it will give out food parcels on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 1.30pm to

3.30pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 11.30am. It will open for food donations from 11am to 1pm on Monday and Friday mornings. Wokingham Foodbank is located at 10 Rose Street, Wokingham, and is opposite the Methodist Church. It is staffed entirely by volunteers. David added: “Donations of food to feed those who are in difficulty, and funds to allow us to continue to operate the Foodbank, are always welcome.” The Foodbank is also appealling for more donations – but no beans, soup, pasta or tomatoes. It would particularly appreciate toilet rolls, baby formula, paper towels, nappies (all sizes), christmas puddings, washing powder, sanitary towels and tampons, brandy sauce, washing-up liquid. v For more details, to offer food, log on to www.

Christmas @ Greyfriars You are warmly invited to Greyfriars Coffee Shop For Christmas Lunches from around the world Details are on our Facebook page and website! We would love to plan for your celebration please call on 0118 951 6709 Pop in for Sandwiches from 11:30am Soups and Daily Hot Meals from 12 noon—2pm Opening Hours: Monday to Friday; 10am—3pm Address: Greyfriars Centre, Friar Street, Reading RG1 1EH Email: Website: - Click on Resources Tab You can find us where the IDR/ Distribution/Caversham Road joins Friar St Next to Greyfriars Church & Opposite Chatham Street Q Car Park

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December 2013 | | To advertise call 01932 888417


Supporting the local economy together

Special shopping evening in store RETAILERS in Reading will extend a warm welcome to older and disabled people during a Christmas shopping evening in the town centre on Monday, December 2. The festive shopping event, organised by Reading Borough Council in partnership with The Oracle and the British Red Cross, aims to make shopping an easy and enjoyable experience for older and disabled residents. Every year the Council invites retailers to put on special offers, discounts, giveaways, refreshments and entertainment throughout the evening. Shoppers will be treated to a welcome reception at the

Oracle’s Shopmobility Suite. Wheelchairs will be available for people to use on the night, donated by the Red Cross and The Oracle. Entry restrictions to St Mary’s Butts, West Street and Friar Street – which usually end at 7pm – will end at 6pm specifically to allow blue badge holders to take full advantage of the special evening. Cllr Pete Ruhemann, Chair of the Access and Disabilities Working Group, said: The special shopping evenings in the town centre are always very popular.” It runs from 6pm-8pm. v For more, call 0118 937 2771 or visit whatson.

City Deal boost for young people Young people in Wokingham Borough will benefit from better skills and employment advice and training thanks to a £2.3million City Deal. The funding will be used to reduce youth unemployment by providing additional apprenticeships, improved liaison between business and young people, dedicated support to young job seekers and better information, advice and guidance services. The deal has been signed by the six Berkshire unitary authorities and the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and will benefit young people across the region. In Wokingham Borough


there are between 150 and 190 young people who are not in employment, education or training and there are also concerns that some young people are under-employed – those who are in short-term contract jobs or jobs that are below their skill levels or work few hours per week. Wokingham Borough deputy leader Rob Stanton said: “The Wokingham Borough is an incredible economic success story – but, our duty is to leave no man – or woman – behind and at the moment a small number of young people are not benefitting from our overall strength.” The precise details of the City Deal are to be finalised.

Have a rewarding bus ride!

Reading Buses’ James Freeman (third from left) launched a new reward scheme for bus users BY PHIL CREIGHTON IT PAYS to get the bus – in more ways than one. Reading Buses has launched an innovative new scheme that rewards customers for taking the bus. But the points that you earn for using public transport can be exchanged to benefit charities as well as yourself. To obtain the points, customers need to have a SimplyBus smartcard, such as the Saver 10, SimplyUni or Solo Cards - all are available from the Travel Shop in Broad Street Mall and from Reading Buses' website. They are preloaded with journeys, saving time and money for bus users. Working with Reward Your World and MoLo Rewards, Reading Buses' scheme offers discounts in Reading shops, including Quantum Web Cafe in Smelly Alley, Decathlon and The H Room Salon. Points collected on each journey can be redeemed in a range of retailers, including John Lewis and Marks & Spencer – or exchanged as cash for charities. Reward Your World chief executive Dan Gipple

said that the scheme was about making people think about their community. One way in which this will happen will be at a charity collection Reading Buses is backing at Madejski Stadium on Sunday, December 8. Every volunteer who helps will receive 10,000 Better Points as a way of thanking them for their help. MoLo’s chief operating officer Chris Davies said that local businesses signed up to the scheme offered different discounts every month. A smartphone app alerts users to these special offers. James Freeman, chief executive of Reading Buses, launched the new reward scheme at Reading Town Hall on Friday, November 15. "We really believe that Reading Buses Rewards is a significant way to show our loyal customers how much we appreciate them," he said. "I hope that all SimplyBus cardholders will sign up to Reading Buses Rewards and reap the benefits of the scheme." v For more details, log on to

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December 2013 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

Amazing Grace

Grace Dearing, who asked for food for the homeless instead of birthday presents

When a girl from Bradfield Southend decided to ask for food for the homeless for her fifth birthday instead of presents, her family leapt into action to give her a special birthday treat. Grace Dearing, who turned five on November 2, was inspired to be generous after learning about a friend of the family whose children ask friends for food to take to a food bank. Grace said she thought it was a lovely idea and maybe she could do the same. This was back in the summer and her parents were surprised that she was still asking in September if she could have food for her birthday. She felt that with so many toys and didn't need any more but wanted to help others who have nothing. Grace visited Launchpad in central Reading on November 12 to deliver the food with her mum Kimiko and both her Grannies. She helped to unload the car into the charity's food cupboard and then was taken on a tour of Launchpad. The food Grace delivered will be used to support the Severe Weather Emergency Project. v For more details, log on to www.

v Calypso Christmas fun

v Talk on Syrian Christians

IF YOUR idea of a bright Christmas is anything but a snowy one then enjoy a taste of the sunshine at a Caribbean Style Christmas Concert. Trinity Church in Lower Earley will welcome the African Caribbean Society, Wokingham on Saturday, December 14. Starting at 7.30pm, entertainment includes the Reading Community Gospel Choir, Jeff Hinds on Steel Pan and other local singers and musicians. Entry is free and there will be Caribbean Christmas refreshments. Everyone is welcome and there is no need to book.

A LECTURE will focus on what’s happening in Syria, with a particular focus on Christians. The talk will be given by the Revd Tim Clark and takes place on Wednesday, December 4, from 7pm at St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, London Road, Reading RG1 5BD.

v Volunteers needed Home-Start Reading is looking for volunteers to visit young families. A free Preparation Course starts on Tuesday, January 21, from 10am-1pm at St Matthews Church, Southcote. v Call 0118 956 0050, email hsreading@ or visit

Children offer their help twice over BIG-HEARTED pupils from St Joseph’s College Prep School in East Reading used harvest to help others across the world. They collected food for the Churches In Reading Drop-In Centre, and also held a market in aid of CAFOD, the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development. Stalls included cakes, name the teddy, guess how many sweets in the jar, books and sticky darts. It was organised by Year Five pupils. "It was really fun to do the fundraising, even though it took quite a lot of work,” said Year 5 student, Eilidh Macintyre. CAFOD representative, Linda Heneghan, visited the school to give a talk on CAFOD’s work. She was so impressed by their efforts she blogged about it on the CAFOD website. Grace Hope, Head of Prep School, said: “Year 5 pupils excelled themselves – not only with a beautiful and thought provoking assembly but with the originality of the fundraising activities.” The school raised £390 on the day. v A longer version of this story can be found on A pupil from St Joseph’s with a food given to CIRDIC. The schol also raised money for CAFOD

Party keeps

You can’t beat a birthday bash for fun! That’s exactly what happened when Care For The Family celebrated its 25th in Reading. Phil Creighton explains. Pictures: LYNDA BOWYER


undreds of people from across the country descended on Reading late last month to simply say thank you. They gathered at The Hexagon for a silver anniversary celebration of Care For The Family, hosted by former Blue Peter presenter Diane-Louise Jordan. The event, held on Saturday, November 23, opened with live music from Graham Kendrick and his band. He encouraged people to join him in singing a medley of his work, including Meekness and Majesty and Shine Jesus Shine. Comedian Tim Vine presented the Supergrandparent Awards, a new initiative that aims to reward grandparents who have gone more than the extra mile. Before the event, Care For The Family founder Rob Parsons cut a special

anniversary cake and everyone could enjoy a slice. Diane-Louise was a consummate host and resplendent in a gold dress. She shimmered and sparkled on stage as she helped the audience look back at life in 1988 and then interviewed Rob and Diane Parsons on the highs and lows of the charity’s first 25 years. Rob said of his role in leading and founding Care For The Family: “It really has been the most amazing privilege.” UK director Katharine Hill said: “Over the past 25 years, Care For The Family has been there for the ups and downs of family life.” And now, the countdown has begun to the golden anniversary. v For more on Care For The Family, including access to its parenting resources and details of courses, log on to www.

News focus

To advertise call 01932 888417 | | December 2013

it in the family

Diane-Louise Jordan, Graham Kendrick and Tim Vine helped lead the party celebrations as Care For The Family marked its 25th birthday at The Hexagon in Reading. Before the We Give Thanks Event got underway, Rob and Diane Parsons cut a specially made birthday cake, while guests mingled and were able to buy resources to help their family life

twitter: @ellbphotography tel: 0118 384 2129 web:




December 2013 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

Trades directory v Situations vacant

Opportunity for a Part Time Co-ordinator starting January 2014 School Pastor Project at The Willink School, Burghfield Common TiM is looking for a part time Co-ordinator to work 4-8 hours a week flexibly Opportunity Part Time Co-ordinator starting January 2014 to manage for thisaproject on an ongoing basis. School Pastor at The Willink School, Common The rate of Project pay is £10.50 an hour, andBurghfield the contract is for 12 months in the

first instance. TiM is looking for a part time Co-ordinator to work 4-8 hours a week flexibly to manage this project School on an ongoing basis. Project Pastors work in small teams to walk around the school

and surrounding areaan forhour, an hour or so, at present twice a week. work The rate of pay is £10.50 and the contract is for 12 months in the They first instance. with the school to support students by providing a listening ear or calming

Project School Pastors work in small teams to walk around the school and surrounding influence. The project launched in spring 2013 and has been well received area for an hour or so, at present twice a week. They work with the school to support within and outsideaof the school. is totally inclusive the way it operates. students by providing listening ear or Itcalming influence. Theinproject launched in spring 2013 and has been well received within and outside of the school. It is totally inclusive in TiM is a registered charity, comprising Christians from various local the way it operates.

churches who work together on community projects in the Burghfield Mortimer Area. charity, TiM works with the Ascension (Street Pastors and TiM is a registered comprising Christians fromTrust various local churches who work together community projectsthis in the Burghfield Mortimer Area. TiM works with the Schoolon Pastors) to deliver project.

BRINGING COMMUNIT Y TOGETHER To advertise call 01932 888417

Be part of the Xn story

Deliveries: central Reading, Sonning Common & Oxford Rd Volunteers needed to help us share our Good News! Every month, Xn strives to bring the Thames Valley an inspiring and encouraging mix of news, features and information. We need your help to get the magazine into the community. If you could spare a couple of hours once a month to help us deliver copies to a small cluster of venues it will help us – we can tell even more good news stories. Think you could help? Get in touch with us today! For details, email

Ascension Trust (Street Pastors and School Pastors) to deliver this project.

Role: To organise rotas and manage the working of the project, to assist

Role: To organise rotas and manage the working of the project, assistrelevant in recruitment in recruitment and training, to work with the school andtoother and training, to work with the school and other relevant agencies (including theand agencies (including the Ascension Trust), to keep records, publicise Ascension Trust), to keep records, publicise and help to develop the project. The Cohelp to develop the project. The Co-ordinator will be fully supported in their ordinator will be fully supported in their role.


Profile: The ideal candidate will be someone who has a passion for working with young Profile: The ideal candidate will be someone who has a passion for working people, has good management skills and who is a Christian in good standing with a local with young people, has good management skills and who is a Christian in church.

good standing with a local church.

Find out more.

Find out more.

To request an application form and a full role description please email: To request an application form and a full role description please email:

Closing date for applications.

Closing date for applications.

Deadline for applications is 14th December 2013. References will be taken up with Deadlineeither for applications is 14th December 2013.We References will be taken interviews before Christmas or early January 2014. hope the successful up with interviews either before Christmas candidate will be in post during January next year.or early January 2014. We hope

the successful candidate will be in post during January next year.

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Why not promote your health and fitness classes in our January issue? Call Fiona on 01932 888417 or email *Special promotional rate

Remember! Tell advertisers that you saw their ad in Xn

Bookshop Bookshop Manager – ManagerJobJob Share Share Greyfriars Christian Bookshop is part of Greyfriars Church, a large evangelical fellowship in the town centre of Reading. We are seeking a dynamic personality with Greyfriars Christian a passion for the Word ofBookshop God who is is part ableof to adapt to Greyfriars Church, a large evangelical fellowship changes in the retail market. in the town centre of Reading. We are seeking a • Job share position- 30 hours dynamic personality with a passion for the Word • Supported voluntary stafftoand existing Job of God whoby is able to adapt changes in the Sharemarket. partner retail • Responsible for all aspects30 ofhours bookshop Job share positionmanagement Supported by voluntary staff and existing Job Share partner • To develop new opportunities to meet the needs of Responsible for all aspects of bookshop the Christian and wider communities in Reading management • A resource for churches, schools, and individuals To Berkshire develop new opportunities to meet the in central needs of the Christian and wider communities in Reading Closing date 13 Dec 2013 A resource for churches, For details and application formschools, contact and individuals in central Berkshire Anna Hobby, tel 0118 9516703; email Background Closing informationdate on Greyfriars be found at 13 Deccan2013 For and application form contact

Anna Hobby, tel 0118 9516703; email Background information on Greyfriars can be found at


To advertise call 01932 888417 | | December 2013

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To advertise call 01932 888417

v Relationships

v Resources

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Faith in the Community (Wokingham) – helping Christians work together to transform their local communities. Phone Sharon Elliott 07843 091950

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Living life to the full

Based in Reading 18 Hours per week Salary: circa £7,000 p.a. dependent on background and experience

Support Prospects is aWorkers Christian charity working in partnership with over 200 churches transforming the lives of people with disabilities so that they live their £6.70 to £7.95 dependent onlearning roles/service lives to the full. The Prospects Ministry Team seeks to make the love of God Reading (additional 25p per hour paid as a location allowance) known to the 1.5 million people with learning disabilities in the UK. This is largely Prospectsthrough is a Christian charity helping transformlocal the lives of people with Bible achieved awareness raising andtoequipping churches for effective learning disabilities bysupport. breaking down the barriers that limit individual choice. We teaching, worship and are entering a new and exciting phase in our Reading based services as we open a Prospects is seeking to appoint an experienced Administrator with a strong new facility and refurbish existing buildings. Our services focus on the delivery of Christian commitment, who can contribute vital and prayer ministry of ourhave small a Christian service, provided at the request to of the families individuals who team. You will be responsible the Lead will support network specifically chosen us as theirto provider. AsAdministrator an employer, and we recognise anda value of 200potential church-based groups. Youchance will alsotobemake responsible for lasting organizing andincotrue - offering you the a real and impact what ordinating Ministry Skills and Development training days and MakatonWe training days. is a supportive, dynamic empowering working environment. seek people Additionally will answer correspondence and telephone enquiries including who will helpyou us deliver a service which will include praying for, and with the people enquiries relating to DBS disclosures. A confident self-starter, with an eye for we support. detail, you be a good planner and organiser. Youinwill be everyday computerneeds literate with You will bewill supporting and encouraging the people their with a experience in using MS Office, workinghave with initiative, a website.and preferably person-centred approach. You databases will also beand motivated, have experience working with people with learning disabilities, though this is To apply for a full of information pack and application form, please email Esther not essential for more junior roles. There will be Kuganja at or write to an heropportunity at Prospectsfor forprofessional People with development through69, attaining QCF/NVQ qualifications. Learning Disabilities, Honey End Lane, Reading RG30 4EL Contact Neil Jackson to obtain a recruitment pack at: Prospects, Closing Date for applications: Thursday 19th December 2013.c/o Prospects, 69 Honey End Lane, Reading RG30 4EL. Email: Interviews: week commencing Monday 13th January 2014. All posts posts are are subject subject to to aancheck enhanced All by thecheck DBS. by the Disclosure & Barring Service. No agencies please. Please note this is an extension to a previous job advertisement. Previous applicants need not apply.

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v Carpet cleaning Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning. Trained and fully insured. Free, no obligation estimates. A.G Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning (0118) 3779149 or visit www. Member of Trading Standards Buy with Confidence scheme www. Mention Xn and 5% of total order goes to GREAT ORMOND STREET HOSPITAL

v Funeral directors A.B. Walker & Son – Berkshire’s leading family funeral and masonry service. MILES & DAUGHTERS. The family funeral service. All areas covered. Owned and run by the Miles family. E SARGEANT & SON. Family orientated funeral directors of distinction. Serving Maidenhead, Slough, Windsor and surrounding areas since 1712. www.esargeant.


v Private tuition Private Tuition in English Qualified, specialist English teacher. Many years of experience in an ‘outstanding school’. Available to teach Years 7-13 (GCSE & A Level). Contact Julie - 0118 973 0528.

v Building solutions Colman and Co. Building Solutions. All aspects of building work undertaken: • Kitchens / Bathrooms • Loft Conversions / Extensions • Free Estimates and Planning Telephone Darren on 07799 613892.

v Property services Chambers Property Services. Offering a wide range of building services including electrics, decorating, general repairs and renovations. Quality work, professional & value for money. Free quotes. www. 07760122129 chambersrg10@

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December 2013 | | To advertise call 01932 888417


Keeping you in touch with each other

there’s much, much more online! Special Christmas events guide! We can’t fit everything into the print edition, so log on to for all your Christmas events

Sunday, December 1 CALCOT – St Birinus Church, Langley Hill RG31 4XR. Carol service. 4pm. Details: www. CAVERSHAM – St Peter’s, The Warren. Advent Carol service. 6.30pm. Details: www. GORING – St Thomas of Canterbury Church. Come and Sing advent carols. Practice from 1.45pmn. Performance 4pm. All welcome. READING – Deaf Centre, Cardiff Road. Deaf church. 10.30am. Details:

READING – Reading Minster Church, St Mary’s Butts. Advent Carol service. 6pm. Details: www. READING – St Giles in Reading, Southampton St. Advent carols. 4pm. Details: READING – St Bart’s Church, St Bartholomew’s Road. Christingle service. 4pm. Details: www. READING – Christ Church, Christchurch Road. Advent carol service. 1pm. Details: www. SHINFIELD – Shinfield Players Theatre, Whitley Wood Lane


HENLEY – Baptist Church, Market Place. Teddies Music Group for under fives: songs, stories and instruments. 10.30am. £3, £2 for siblings. Details: 01491 577414. HENLEY – Christ Church, Reading Road. Open house for coffee & teas. Lunch from noon. 11am-2pm. Details: 01491 577733. HENLEY – YMCA Henley Pavilion. Nomad Henley presents Flying Frog after-school club for Years 5-7. £1. 4pm-5.30pm, termtime. Details: www.

Tuesdays CROWTHORNE – Methodist Church. Coffee morning hosted by Churches Together Crowthorne. 10am. HENLEY – Baptist Church, Market Place. Knit:two Together. 11am-1pm.

Details: 01491 577414

Wednesdays CAVERSHAM – Baptist Church. Time 4U: coffee for parents, fun for pre-school children. 10am-11.30am. Term-time. Details: www.caversham HENLEY – Youth Centre. Nomad Henley presents Flying Frog after-school club for Years 5-7. £1. 4pm-5.30pm, termtime. Details: www. READING – Abbey Baptist Church, Abbey Square. Coffee and Chat: drinks, cakes and friendly faces. 11am-12.30pm. Free, donations accepted. STOKE ROW – Independent Chapel. Art painting group. 10am. Details: www.

Thursdays GORING - Goring Free

RG2 8PN. Amdram is Murder, a Murder mystery supper evening, 7.30pm, tickets £12. Details: www. or 0118 975 8800. SWALLOWFIELD – All Saints. Christingle service. 10.30am. WOKINGHAM – St Paul’s, Reading Road. Advent lessons and carols. 6.15pm. Details: WOODLEY – Network Vineyard, Bulmershe Leisure Centre, Woodlands Avenue RG5 3EU. Christmas service followed by hog roast. 10.30am. Details:

Church. Drop-in coffee, cake and companionship morning 10.30am12.30pm. All welcome HENLEY – Rugby Club. Nomad Henley presents football for Years 9-11, term-time. 4.30pm-5.30pm. Details: www. HENLEY – Baptist Church, Market Place. Teddies Music Group for under fives: songs, stories and instruments. 10.30am. £3, £2 for siblings. Details: 01491 577414. SWALLOWFIELD – All Saints’ Church. Church open for visitors, 2pm-6pm. Until end of October. TILEHURST – St Catherine of Siena, Wittenham Avenue. Thursday lunch club. 12.30pm. Every other Thursday: Tea dance, 2.30pm4.30pm. Details: www. stcatherines-tilehurst.

Fridays BRACKNELL – Methodist Church, Shepherds Lane. Coffee mornimg. 9am-12.30pm. All welcome. CAVERSHAM – Baptist Church. Friday lunches: three-course lunch that won’t break the bank. 12.15pm-1.30pm. All welcome. Details: www.caversham HENLEY – Christ Church, Reading Road. Coffee morning. 10.30am. Details: 01491 577733. TILEHURST – St Catherine of Siena, Wittenham Avenue. Friday Friends: circle dancing, games, singing, tea and cake. £3.50. 2pm-4pm. Details: www. stcatherines-tilehurst.

Saturdays LOWER EARLEY – Baptist Church. Saturday Morning Cafe. 10.30am-noon.

Submit your events to Monday, December 2 ALDERMASTON – St Mary’s. The York Nativity Play. Dress rehearsal. 8pm. Tickets free, if available. Details: aldermastonnativity@

Tuesday, December 3 LOWER EARLEY – Library. Pottery Pals: craft session. £4 plus cost of pottery item. Booking essential. 10am-noon. Details: 0118 931 2150. WOKINGHAM – Train Station. Churches Together Wokingham community carol singing. 6.15pm. Wear warm clothing. All welcome.

Wednesday, December 4 BRACKNELL – The K2 Building, Church Road. Christmas Encounter: talks, carols, personal stories and a buffet lunch. 12.30pm. Details: READING – St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, London Road, Reading RG1 5BD. The Plight of Christians living in Syria, a talk by the Revd Tim Clark. Organised by the Wessex Synod World Church Group. 7pm. SONNING COMMON – St Michael’s. Reflections for Advent with Father Paul Rowan. Continues next Wednesday. 7.30pm. Details: www.saint TILEHURST – St Mary Magdalen, Rodway Road. Reading Concert Singers present a Christmas Concert: Christmas Traditions plus carols old and new. 7.30pm. £8, under 16s £4. Tickets on door or by calling 0118 942 5290. Details: WOKINGHAM – Library. Pottery Pals: craft session. £4 plus pottery item. Booking essential. 10amnoon. Details: 0118 978 1368.

Thursday, Dec 5 ALDERMASTON – St Mary’s. The York Nativity Play. 8pm. Tickets free, if available. Details: as Monday. BEECH HILL – Trunkwell Park RG7 2AT. Christmas evening fair in aid of Thrive. 6.30pm-8.30pm. Details: 0118 988 4844. BRACKNELL – The Old Manor, The Ring. Men’s curry night. 8pm. Details: 07749 713355. CAVERSHAM – St Andrew’s, Harrogate Road. Eucharistic service with prayers of healing and wholeness and laying on of hands

and anointing. 7.30pm. Details: WOKINGHAM – Market Place. Farmers Market with hamper raffle, drawn at 1pm and in aid of Wokingham Scouts and Guides. Details: 0118 974 0882. WOODLEY – Library. Pottery Pals: craft session. £4 plus pottery item. Booking essential. 10amnoon. Details: 0118 969 0304.

Friday, December 6 ALDERMASTON – St Mary’s. The York Nativity Play. 8pm. Tickets free, if available. Details as Monday. BEECH HILL – Trunkwell Park RG7 2AT. Craft fair and coffee morning in aid of Thrive. 11am-2pm. Details: 0118 988 4844. BUCKLEBURY – St Mary’s RG7 6PR. Spanish Carol Service. 7pm. CROWTHORNE – High Street. Christmas shopping evening including Get In The Picture event at the Baptist Church. Evening. EARLEY – Brookside Church, Brookside Close. SixSixty craft evening. Details TBC. Details: www. TADLEY – Methodist Church. Christchurch Players present Sinbad, a pantomime. 7pm. £6, £4. Details: 0118 981 6106. READING – Wesley Methodist Church, Queens Road. Squeezed In with Ben de Souza & friends. Tickets: £8 (£5 concessions) on the door. 7pm. In aid of Wesley Mission Project for Amankwatia Village, Ghana. READING – 83 The Mount RG1 5HL. Network Vineyard Men’s Fellowship evening with guest speaker Phil Creighton, editor of Xn. Details: 0118 966 9782. READING – The Warehouse, Cumberland Road. Victorian Christmas. Free. 7.30pm. Details: WOKINGHAM – Methodist Church, Rose Street. Festival of Christmas Trees with stalls, tree quiz and more. 10am-4.30pm. Details:

Saturday, December 7 ALDERMASTON – St Mary’s. The York Nativity Play. 8pm. Details as Monday. CAVERSHAM – Caversham Court Church Road RG4 7AD. Pick up a Scots Pine Christmas Tree, plus Holly, Mistletoe, Willow & logs from sustainable sources. Prices from £5. 10am-2pm. Organised by ECONET. Details: www.

Take time out and enjoy a cuppa and a chat! Come and join us on Wednesdays!

You can’t beat a good cup of coffee and a chance to chat – and that’s what you can enjoy at Coffee & Chat, a brilliant new coffee morning in Reading’s town centre! • Meet old friends, make new ones • Everyone is welcome • Tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits all available • Wednesdays 11am-12.30pm

Abbey Baptist Church Abbey Square, Reading (behind Reading Central Library) (0118) 957 2197

CALENDAR CAVERSHAM – St Andrew’s Church, Albert Road. Christmas concert by candlelight with the Caversham Ensemble. 7.30pm. £17/£19 on door. Details: 0118 948 4112 or EARLEY – Earley St Peter’s Church, Church Road. The Friends Christmas Concert: readings, music, mince pies and carols. 7.30pm. £3, children £1. Details: EMMER GREEN – St Barnabas. Christmas fair. Entry by donation. 2pm-4pm. Details: www. READING – St James Catholic Church, Forbury Road. Chorate chamber choir Advent concert. 7.30pm. Free entry, retiring collection. READING – St Mark’s Church, Cranbury Road. Concert. Doors open 6.30pm. Adults £6. OAP’s £4 under 16s £4, under fives free. READING – Argyle Community Church, Argyle Street. Christmas Fayre and The Great Reading Mince Pie Bake off! Noon-3pm. Details: READING – Irish Centre. Fundraising dance in aid of the poor and homeless. 9pm-1am. £5. Details: READING – The Warehouse, Cumberland Road. Victorian Christmas. Free. 7.30pm. Details: SANDHURST – Sandhurst and Yateley Methodist Church, Scotland Hill. Christmas fair with Santa’s Grotto. 10.30am-2.30pm. Details: www. THEALE – Holy Trinity. Nativity in Falcon Yard and Christmas light switch-on. Time TBC. Details: WOKINGHAM – TradeMark Windows, Off Molly Millars Lane, Oaklands Park, Fishponds Road. Berkshire Woodturning Association Christmas Craft Fair includes charity table in aid of Cancer Research. 10am4pm. Free entry. Details: www. WOKINGHAM – Methodist Church, Rose Street. Festival of Christmas Trees. 10am-4.30pm. Details: WOKINGHAM – The Artsbar, Cantley Lodge Hotel, Wellington Road RG40 2AN. More Arts Christmas Arts Market. 10am-1pm. Details: WOODLEY – Christ Church, Crockhamwell Road. Reading Spring Gardens brass band in concert. 7.30pm.

Sunday, December 8 ALDERMASTON – St Mary’s. York Nativity Play. 7pm. As Monday. BEECH HILL – St Mary The Virgin. Christingle service. 5pm. BEENHAM – Village. Christmas light switch on. 5.45pm. BINFIELD – Newbold Church Centre grounds, Popeswood Road. Experience The Living Nativity between 4pm. and 7pm. Outside event so dress warmly. Details: or 01344 401792.

To advertise call 01932 888417 | | December 2013

readifood ReadiFood are teaming up with Waitrose to collect food from local stores. Volunteers are needed to help with the collections.

Oxford Road – Saturday, Dec 7, Sunday, Dec 8 Hourly slots each day from 11am onwards If you can help please ring or email the office. For more collections, see ad on back page.

v For details, contact Alison Peyton on (0118) 987 2672. email CAVERSHAM – St Peter’s, The Warren. Parade and Toy Service in aid of Reading Family Aid. 9.45am. Details: ENGLEFIELD – St Luke’s Church. Family Church Toy and Christingle service. 4pm. All welcome. Details: KIDMORE END – St John The Baptist Church. Christingle service. 4.30pm. Details: READING – Tesco, Oxford Road. Churches Together Reading community carol singing with the Reading West Salvation Army band. 1pm. ROTHERFIELD PEPPARD – All Saints Church. Music and readings for Advent. 6.30pm. Details: www. SANDHURST – Baptist Church, Yorktown Road. Sandhurst Churches Together family carol service. Time TBC. SONNING COMMON – St Michael’s, Peppard Road. Carol Concert with the Pangbourne & District Silver Band. 5.30pm. £5. children free. Details: 0118 972 4249. WOKINGHAM – TradeMark Windows, Off Molly Millars Lane, Oaklands Park, Fishponds Road. Berkshire Woodturning Association Christmas Craft Fair. 11am3pm. Free entry. Details: www. WOKINGHAM – Methodist Church, Rose Street. Festival of Christmas Trees with stalls, tree quiz and more. Noon-4pm. Details: www.

Monday, December 9 READING – Abbey Baptist Church, Abbey Square. Reading@Work prayer lunch. 12.30pm. Details:

Tuesday, Dec 10 EASTHAMPSTEAD – Easthampstead Baptist Church, South Hill Road. Community carol singing. 7pm. Details: or call 01344 487744. READING – Broad Street. Reading town twinning groups carol singing event. All welcome. 6pm. WOKINGHAM – Norreys Church, Norreys Avenue. Over 50s group: Christmas Entertainment with Jack Connors. 2pm. All welcome. www.

Wednesday, Dec 11 CAVERSHAM – Methodist Church, Gosbrook Road. Book launch: In The Shadows of Victory: Ride The Rollercoaster of Holy Week, by Deacon Becky Lovatt. 10.30am. CAVERSHAM – Town centre. Late night shopping night including special events. Caversham Baptist Church to host a craft fair with coffee, cake and carols. 5pm-9pm. CROWTHORNE – Methodist Church, Duke’s Ride. Coffee and Carols with Serendipity. 7.30pm. Details: www. crowthornemethodistchurch. READING – Council Chambers, Civic Centre. Christmas Craft Fayre 10am-4pm free entry. Details: or 0118 322 8592. SONNING COMMON – St Michael’s. Reflections for Advent. 7.30pm. Details: www.saint STOKE ROW – Independent Chapel. Wednesday@8 social group. Christmas special. 8pm. Details: WHITLEY – St Agnes Church, Northumberland Avenue. Reading Concert Singers Christmas Concert. 7.30pm. Details: www.

Thursday, Dec 12 ALDERMASTON – Parish Hall. Family Christmas singalong. £1, under 11s free. 7.30pm. EASTHAMPSTEAD – Easthampstead Baptist Church, South Hill Road. Community carol singing. 7pm. Details: or call 01344 487744. GORING – Canterbury Room, St Thomas of Canterbury Church. Pick-A-Flick: Miracle on 32nd Street. 10.30am-2pm. £3. Details: 01491 872109. READING – Reading Minster Church, St Mary’s Butts. Launchpad Carol service. 6pm. Details: www. READING – Broad Street. Churches Together Reading presents carol singing with the band of Reading Central Salvation Army. 7pm.

Friday, December 13 LOWER EARLEY – Trinity Church, Chalfont Close. Coffee and Cakes. 9.30am-5pm. Soup Lunch served Noon-1.30pm. Proceeds to Helen and Douglas House. Details: www.

Saturday, Dec 14 BINFIELD – Newbold Church Centre, Popeswood Road. Community Christmas carol concert. Free, ticket only. office@newboldchurch. org or 01344 401792. CAVERSHAM – St Andrew’s Church, Albert Rd. Christmas Fair. 2pm. CAVERSHAM – St Peter’s, The Warren. Christmas market. 10.30am-12.30pm. The Sainbury Singers Christmas concert. 3pm. Free, retiring collection. Details: LOWER EARLEY – Baptist Church, Maiden Place. Christmas fun day.

12.30pm-5pm. Details: www. or call 0118 936 3598. LOWER EARLEY – Trinity Church, Chalfont Close. African Caribbean Society of Wokingham’s Caribbean Style Christmas concert. Free entry, free Caribbean refreshments. 7.30pm. Details: READING – Reading Minster Church, St Mary’s Butts. Reading Phoenix Choir Carol Concert. 5pm. Details: READING – St Luke’s Hall, Erleigh Road. Christmas fair. 10.30am. READING – Wesley Methodist Church. Christmas shopping creche and Activity Day. 11am-3pm. Details: 0118 958 5030. SHINFIELD – Shinfield Players Theatre, Whitley Wood Lane RG2 8PN. Charity Christmas concert. 7.30pm, £5. Details: www. or 0118 975 8800. SINDLESHAM – Bearwood College. Trinity Concert Band Christmas concert. 7.30pm. £12 advance, £10 on the door. Details: SONNING COMMON – Chiltern Edge School. South Chiltern Choral Society, with Sonning Common Primary School Choir present Born in Bethlehem. £12, under 18s £6. 7.30pm. Details: Mary 0118 9874346 or www.


SOUTHCOTE – Coronation Square. Community carol singing with Reading West Salvation Army Band and the Choirs of Southcote and Manor Primary Schools. 6pm. All welcome. Details: 01491 671357. TWYFORD – St Mary’s Church RG10 9NT. Twyford Singers’ Christmas concert. 7.30pm. £8, £4. Details: 0118 934 5985 or 0118 934 2406. WOKINGHAM – Methodist Church, Rose Street. Carols for Christmas with the Forest Singers. 7.30pm. £8. Details: www. WOKINGHAM – Town Hall. Christmas singalong with the REME Band. Free entry, donations in aid of Mayor’s Charity. 11am-noon. Details: 0118 974 0882.

Sunday, December 15 BUCKLEBURY – Church. Enharmonic Choir presents Messiah In An Hour. 7pm-8pm. Free, retiring collection. CAVERSHAM – Grace Church, Peppard Road RG4 8TR. Carol service for all those young at heart. 4.30pm-5.15pm. Details: www. CROWTHORNE – Edgbarrow School. Network Vineyard presents a carol service with Nativity. 4pm. Details: www.wokinghamvineyard. org. FINCHAMPSTEAD – Village Memorial Hall. Finchampstead Society Carol Concert. 7.30pm.

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December 2013 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

MAPLEDURHAM – St Margaret’s Church. Carol service. 6.30pm. MIDGHAM – St Matthew’s. Carol service. 6pm. PANGBOURNE – Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel. Pangbourne Choral Society’s 40th Anniversary Season Christmas Concert. £12.50. 7pm. Tickets Premier Pet Stores, Pangbourne, calling 0118 322 8592 or emailing READING – Argyle Community Church. Argyle Street Community Carol Singing – meet at church at 6pm, followed by hot drinks and cookies. Details: www. SONNING COMMON – Chiltern Edge School. South Chiltern Choral Society. 2pm. As yesterdya. TILEHURST – Reading Community Church RG30 4NX. The Christmas Story in Mime with Steve Murray. 6pm. Details: www. WOODLEY – St John The Evangelist, Church Road. Carol service in Spanish. 1pm. All welcome.

Monday, December 16 CAVERSHAM – Caversham Court Gardens. Annual Christmas carol concert. 7pm, free entry. Mulled wine and mince pies available. Details: or 0118 322 8592. FINCHAMPSTEAD – Billing Avenue Parish Centre. Torchlit carolling procession through village, led by St Mary & St John’s Church. 6pm. SOUTHCOTE – Southcote Christian Mission. Women Aglow special meeting: Janet and Eric Minor. 7.15pm. £3. Details: www.

Tuesday, December 17 CALCOT – Kennet Valley Free Church, Carters Rise. Christingle service. 4.30pm. Details: 0118 954 2673 or READING – Reading Minster Church, St Mary’s Butts. BBC Berkshire Carol Concert. 7.30pm. Details: READING – New Hope Community Church, York Rd, RG1 8DU. Community Carol Singing starting at New Hope 6.30pm. TILEHURST – The Triangle. Churches Together Reading presents community carol singing. 5pm.

Wednesday, Dec 18 CROWTHORNE – St John The Baptist, Waterloo Road. Crowthorne Singers Christmas concert in aid of Muscular Dystrophy Research. 7.30pm. £5. EVERSLEY – Warbrook House. St James’ Choir carol singing. 7.30pm. Ticketed event. Details: 0118 973 2174. MIDGHAM – Village Hall. Coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Care. 10am-noon. All welcome. Details: 0118 971 3710. READING – Reading Minster Church, St Mary’s Butts. Reading Minster Midweek Choir presents Nine Lessons and Carols. 6.15pm. Details: www.readingminster. TILEHURST – Methodist Church, School Road. Carols round the piano. 2pm and 6pm. Details:

Thursday, Dec 19 EMMER GREEN – St Barnabas. Community carol singing – all welcome. 4.30pm St Luke’s Residential Home, 5.30pm Chiltern Court, 6.30pm Lyefield Court. READING – Abbey Baptist Church, Abbey Square. The Julian Meeting for silence, reflection and contemplation. 10am-10.45am, followed by coffee. All welcome. READING – Reading Minster Church, St Mary’s Butts. Reading civic carol service. 6.30pm. Details: WOKINGHAM – Town Hall. Lunchtime concert of Christmas music from The Cameo Singers. Noon. £2, includes refreshments. Details: 0118 974 0882. WOOLHAMPTON – Village Hall. Carol singalong. 7pm. Details: www.awb.

Friday, December 20 BEENHAM – Beenham School Hall, Mt Pleasant RG7 5NN. Beenham Wind Orchestra Annual Christmas Concert. Details: www. GORING – St Thomas of Canterbury Church. Christmas tree festival. 10am-4pm. Until December 29. Details: www.thomandmary. STOKE ROW – Stoke Row Chapel. Carols round the well. 7pm.

Details: www.stokerowchapel.

Saturday, Dec 21 BINFIELD – Newbold College, Popeswood Road. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. 4pm, 7pm. £5, £2.50. Details: office@ or 01344 401792. CROWTHORNE – The Co-Op, High Street. Carol singing. 10am. CROWTHORNE – Woodmancote, Pinewood Avenue. Out To Tea: a tea party for older members of the community. Free, transport available. 2.30pm-4.30pm. Details: THEALE – The Co-Operative. Community carol singing. Time TBC. All welcome. Details: www. WOODLEY – Christ Church, Crockhamwell Road. Monthly quiz night. 7.30pm. Details: 0118 926 8143.

Sunday, December 22 For a full list of carol concerts, visit the Xn website BINFIELD – Newbold College, Popeswood Road. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. 4pm, 7pm. As yesterday. FINCHAMPSTEAD – Wellington College Chapel. Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. 4pm. GORING – St Thomas of Canterbury Church. Christmas tree festival. 10am-4pm. Until December 29. Carol service. 4pm. Details: www. READING – From Wesley Methodist Church. Living Nativity through the streets of Reading, ending up at St Andrew’s URC. 2.45pm. Details: READING – Reading Minster Church, St Mary’s Butts. Nine Lessons and Carols with the Rt Revd Andrew Proud, Bishop of Reading. 6pm. Details: www.readingminster. WOKINGHAM – Broad Street Tavern. Pints of View presents Beer & Carols. 7pm. All welcome, including families from 7pm-8pm.

Monday, Dec 23 FINCHAMPSTEAD – The Queen’s Oak and The Greyhound Pubs. Carol singing, 7pm (Queen’s Oak), 8pm

(Greyhound0. GORING – St Thomas of Canterbury Church. Christmas tree festival. 10am-4pm. Until December 29. READING – Reading College, King’s Road. Reading Rep with Mischief Theatre presents The Nativity Play Goes Wrong, a farcical take on the traditional Christmas Story. £12, £10 concessions. 7pm. Details: 0118 375 0280 or www.

Christmas Eve For a full list of services, visit the Xn website

BRADFIELD – Rushall Farm RG7 6DL. Christmas Eve In The Barn: The John Simmonds Trust presents a simple celebration of Christmas for all the family. Dress warmly, bring a torch. 3pm and 5.30pm. Details: 0118 974 4547. CROWTHORNE – St John The Baptist Church, Waterloo Road. Crib service. 3.30pm. Midnight mass. 11.30pm. Details: www. CAVERSHAM – St John’s, St John’s Road. Nativity Live! Ends at Caversham Methodist Church. Come dressed for occasion. Free. 4pm. FINCHAMPSTEAD – Sports Club, Village Memorial Hall. Christmas carols for all the family in aid of local charity. 7pm-8pmish. GORING – St Thomas of Canterbury Church. Christmas tree festival. 10am-4pm. Until December 29. READING – Reading Minster Church, St Mary’s Butts. Blessing of the Crib, a service for the young. 2pm. Carols around the Christmas Tree. 10.30pm. Midnight Mass with the Rt Revd Andrew Proud, Bishop of Reading, 11pm. Details: www.

Christmas Day For a list of services and events, visit the Xn website

Boxing Day READING – Wycliffe Baptist Church, Kings Road. Day of prayer for the persecuted church. READING – From Wycliffe Baptist Church, Kings Road. Debz Day Trips presents an ice skating in Bracknell trip. Details: 07963 044201.

Saturday, Dec28 LOWER EARLEY – Trinity Church, Chalfont Close. Walking group meets: walks of about 4 miles. All welcome. 10am. Details: www.

Monday, Dec 30 EASTHAMPSTEAD – Easthampstead Baptist Church, South Hill Road. Turkey and Tinsel: activities for the elderly. 10am-4pm. Details: www. or call 01344 487744.

New Year’s Eve UPPER WOOLHAMPTON – Douai Abbey RG7 5TQ. New Year’s Eve concert with Commotio, directed by Matthew Berry. Includes works by Allain, Bennett, Chilcott and Duggan. 3.30pm. £10, £7. Details: 08455 218218. READING – The Globe, Portman Road. Special dynamic New Year’s Eve service for the whole family followed by an after party with cocktails and free mince pies. After party includes Nu Chapter. From 9.30pm. All welcome. Details: READING – All Nations Christian Centre, Berkeley Avenue RG1 6JE. Watchnight service from 10pm. Details: READING – St Mark’s Church Hall, Cranbury Road. New Year’s Eve party. 7.30pm-1am.

New Year’s Day CAVERSHAM – St Andrew’s, Albert Road. New Year’s Day service. Noon. Details: www. EARLEY – Earley St Peter’s Church, Church Road. Holy Communion. 9.15am. Details:

Saturday, January 4 FINCHAMPSTEAD – St Mary and St John’s Parish Centre, Billing Avenue. Epiphany Party. More details TBC.

Friday, January 10 SHINFIELD – Shinfield Players Theatre, Whitley Wood Lane RG2 8PN. The Amazing Adventures of Sinbad. A panto. £10. Details:

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To advertise call 01932 888417 | | December 2013


Keeping you in touch with each other


At Reading FC with Steve Prince

Christmas is defining…

The Revd Mike Smith is the new Rector for Caversham faith-full lives.” and inclusive outlook – The Revd Mike Smith will symbolised by three values be licensed as Rector of of Inclusive, Generous and Caversham Thameside and Life-giving – and I look forward Mapledurham at St Peter’s enormously to discovering Church, Caversham, on more of how those values Sunday, March 16. All are might help us together to welcome at the 3.30pm reach out beyond our natural service. boundaries to live confident,


The Revd Luci Heyn, curate from the United Benefice of Goring and Streatly with South Stoke, has been appointed as Team Vicar in the Hermitage Team in Newbury. Luci will continue in her present post until after Christmas and will be licensed to the Hermitage Team in late January.


Bishop Philip Egan, the Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, is seeking volunteers to participate in a new Framework for Collaboration. The first two Diocesan Teams that he is establishing will focus on: • Justice, Peace and Social Responsibility • Marginalised and Inactive Catholics • Formation for Mission • The Inter Religious Group • Dept of Educational Chaplaincies • Hospital Chaplains • The Court of the Gentiles • The Liturgy Team The overall vision is to promote the mission of the Church in the wider world. There is a recruitment procedure to follow and a training day for volunteers will be held on Saturday, February 8, 2014. If you are willing to help email:


The Royals’ Prince

Churches Together in Reading is inviting people to a special service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The venue will be Tilehurst Methodist Church and take place at 6.30pm on Sunday January 19. It will be led by the Revd Andy Moffoot of Tilehurst Methodist Church and Michael Penny, Chair of Churches Together in Reading. For further information, call 01491 671357.


Do you enjoy singing in church, but don’t have the time to commit to being part of the choir or the music group? The Nave Choir at All Saints Church in Wokingham could be just the ticket. Every so often, this open-access, unauditioned choir will assemble to sing anthems and other pieces as part of our regular worship. The choir made its debut at a special service held on Sunday, November 24. If you’re interested in joining, log on to www. and click on Nave Choir.


Reading Minster Church’s choirs are gearing up for a busy few weeks – and they have vacancies for new members. The Minster’s director of music, Peter West, said: “We are looking for more members – boys and men.” As well as choirs that sing on Sunday, there is a choir that meets on Wednesdays. If you have a child or know of someone who would be interested in becoming a chorister then email

Picture: JonCandy/Flickr

new Rector has been announced for Caversham and Mapledurham parish. The Revd Mike Smith will start his new ministry in March, when he becomes the parish priest for St Peter’s, Caversham, St Margaret’s, Mapledurham and St John the Baptist, Caversham, and leads the Church of England’s ministry to the parish. Mike is married to Rachel, who is also a priest, currently leading her own parish in Loughborough, and they have two boys aged six and three. “Since the invitation from the Bishop of Reading, it has become more and more clear that Caversham Thameside and Mapledurham is right for the next stage of my ministry and the place God is calling me,” Mike said of his appointment. “In hearing the call of God to come and join the church in Caversham and Mapledurham, I have been struck by the openness shown, the broad



n the world of football Christmas is referred to as a defining point in the season. For example, in the Premier League the team that is bottom at Christmas virtually always gets relegated. According to most of the media, hope disappears at Christmas if you are at the foot of the league! At the top of each league things are beginning to shape up in a way that reveals which team is likely to be successful with either a Championship or at least promotion. Christmas signals the ‘business’ end of the season. And then the transfer window re-opens again… The Royals are once again competing for promotion back to the Premier League and, with a little more consistency, we have good reason to look forward to an exciting end of season. The Christmas period will also be a significant marker as to how things are developing. APPRECIATION I have recently attended Sports Chaplaincy UK’s Annual Conference and it’s exciting to see how the impact and appreciation of chaplaincy is growing across so many sports in the UK and beyond. Despite being told that we are living in an increasingly secular society that has less and less time for God and spiritual life, there is significant evidence that the approach of sports chaplains across the nation is working to provide invaluable support to people working in sport. Chaplains aim to be good news in our respective ‘worlds.’ Thinking of good news, this is what Christmas is about. For the history of mankind, it is certainly defining! The point at which God becomes flesh and blood, and enters our world and provides a way of our restoration into relationship with Him, as well as freeing us from the effects of living in a corrupted world. By receiving Jesus and identifying with Him, we can then be good news to others by loving in the same way God loves us. There is a sense in which every Christian can live and serve as chaplains in our communities. A chaplain is usually identified and given credibility and authority to act in their designated roles but the heart and vision for chaplaincy is to try and represent God in the specific world we are called to work and serve in. Is this not the heart of our mission as Christians? May this Christmas be a defining moment for you because of Jesus. I hope that it’s certainly defining for the Royals as we move into 2014.

Come on URZ!!

Steve Prince is Reading FC Chaplain AND THE Pastor of Brookside Church



December 2013 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

Thames Valley Churches Football League

For the latest, log on to or follow on Twitter @TVCFL

Albion take advantage as rivals slip Carstairs Strikes Back

BY James Hern


esults in November have seen Tilehurst Albion move clear of title rivals at the top of the Thames Valley Churches Football League table, as Brookside St Laurence, Bethel United and West Reading CFC all suffered their first defeats of the season. Bethel United beat Brookside St Laurence with two late goals at the beginning of the month, only to lose to West Reading CFC the following week after they themselves conceding a last minute goal. Albion face a tricky December though with tough games against both Bethel United, Brookside St Laurence.

Priest Wins it for Bethel

On November 2, Bethel United moved into second place while ending Brookside St Laurence’s own winning streak with an entertaining 4-3 victory. Danny Lynch gave Bethel an early lead before Brookside pulled a goal back after 30 minutes, but Bethel struck again just before half time when Daniel Priest reacted quickest to bundle the ball into the net. Brookside St Laurence came out strongly in the second half and scored two quick goals to take a 3-2 lead. Bethel again responded strongly and soon levelled with a neat finish from Paul Alexander. Having won their first three games of the season with last minute goals, Brookside were on the receiving end this time as Shane Newton poked home Dominic Smith’s through ball to secure Bethel three points. Tilehurst Albion remain top of the league after a 7-0 victory over Norreys. James Hern scored five goals for Greyfriars FC in their 6-1 victory over West Reading Reserves. Matthew Bradbrook scored Friars fourth early in the second half before Hern added two more late on. Kerith FC fought back to win 3-2 against Reading Saints despite going a goal down when Matt Blake opened the scoring. Tom Klitgaard and Matt Douglas struck before half time, with Will Day adding a third early in the second half. Wycliffe Wanderers got back to winning ways with a hard fought victory against Finchampstead.

Albion rampant; West Reading stutter

A week after their 6-1 win, Greyfriars FC were brought back down to earth with an almighty bump

on Saturday after an 11-0 loss against League leaders Tilehurst Albion. In wet conditions, Albion were on top from the start, keeping the ball well and carving Greyfriars apart with quick and accurate passing. Current league champions West Reading CFC suffered their first defeat of the season, losing 5-3 to Wycliffe Wanderers. Wycliffe found themselves 4-0 up at half time – however, Wycliffe started to relax, and in the last 15 minutes, Jamie Carstairs, Gary Woodward and Tom Green all scored for West Reading. With Bethel United recording a 3-0 win over Finchampstead to go second in the league, Brookside St Laurence climbed to third with a 6-1 win over Reading Saints. A spirited Saints side were in the game at half-time, as Dan Hare scored to cancel out a Steve Magness opener. However, it was Brookside who came out the strongest in the second half as goals from Ben Sheppard, Joe Hare, Courtenay Isaacs and Ben Blackledge (2) secured an important victory. Barry Agar scored twice against his former side to ensure Norreys picked up the points in their derby clash against Kerith FC. George Weeks scored the other goal in a 3-0 victory.

FIXTURES KICK OFF 10.30am on Saturdays v December 7 v December 21 Tilehurst Albion v Bethel United Wycliffe Wanderers v Kerith FC W Rdg Reserves v B’side St Laurence West Reading v Finchamp’ Baptist Reading Saints v Greyfriars FC

West Reading v Greyfriars FC Wycliffe Wanderers v B’side St Laurence W Reading Reserves v Norreys

v December 14

Tilehurst Albion v Finchamp’ Baptist Bethel Unitedv v Norreys W Reading Reserves v West Reading Kerith FC v B’side St Laurence Greyfriars FC v Wycliffe Wanderers

Reading Saints v West Reading B’side St Laurence v Tilehurst Albion Kerith FC v Bethel United Finchampstead Bap’ v W Rdg Reserves Wycliffe Wanderers v Norreys

v January 11

On Saturday, November 16, West Reading CFC returned to winning ways with a hard fought 3-2 victory over title rivals Bethel United. An exciting game saw West Reading come from behind twice with goals from Jamie Carstairs and James Murdoch and sealed three points with a last minute winner from Carstairs. A last-minute goal from William Day completed a dramatic finish in Kerith FC’s game against Greyfriars FC. In a hard fought game, James Hern opened the scoring for Greyfriars early on with a fierce left footed shot from outside the area. Kerith responded well, but found Friars’ goalkeeper Rob Tebby in fine form. The second half exploded into life in the last 10 minutes: Alex Stanlake scored his first goal for Greyfriars, heading in a Hern cross to give his team a 2-0 lead. Stung into action, Kerith struck back with only minutes left through a scrabbled Lee Berry goal, before Day’s late equaliser. Having beaten West Reading CFC last week, Wycliffe Wanderers played West Reading Reserves, looking to win their third game in a row. Wycliffe started slowly, and very soon found themselves 2-0 down to a very highly determined Reserves team. The first played through the middle, after robbing Wycliffe captain Richard Saint of the ball, and slotted into the net. The second came from a ball over the top, which caught out the Wycliffe defence, easily finished for 2-0. Wycliffe came back at the Reserves, hitting the woodwork twice and bringing out the best in the Reserves keeper, before Neil Healy scored to bring the difference back to one. After half time Wycliffe stepped up a gear as the Reserves tired, with Owen Bravey, Mike Sharpe and former Reserves player Chris Hayman scoring, along with a further two from Healy to secure a 6-2 victory, a scoreline that might have been higher but for the heroics of the Reserves keeper. A Ben Sheppard hat-trick ensured Brookside St Laurence maintained their title challenge with a 5-0 victory at Finchampstead. Steve Magness and Courtenay Isaacs also found the net. Norreys won their second game in a row with a 3-1 victory over Reading Saints. George Weekes scored twice with Barry Agar adding a third.

league TABLE P W D L F A W D L F A GD PTS Tilehurst Albion 8 3 2 0 26 5 3 0 0 20 1 40 20 B’side St Laurence 7 3 0 1 14 9 3 0 0 15 4 16 18 Bethel United 7 2 1 0 7 2 3 0 1 9 7 7 16 Wycliffe Wanderers 7 2 0 1 13 8 2 1 1 13 7 11 13 West Reading 7 4 0 0 22 8 0 1 2 4 10 8 13 Norreys 8 2 0 1 6 3 2 0 3 13 20 -4 12 Greyfriars FC 8 1 1 3 13 21 2 1 0 5 3 -6 11 Kerith FC 8 3 0 2 16 11 0 1 2 6 11 0 10 Reading Saints 8 1 0 3 8 14 1 0 3 7 10 -9 6 Finchampstead Bap’ 8 0 0 4 1 16 0 0 4 1 16 -30 0 W Reading Reserves 6 0 0 1 1 3 0 0 5 7 38 -33 0 Table correct as of November 23, 2013

top SCORERS Jamie Carstairs West Reading Jake Nicholls Tilehurst Albion

13 12

Neil Healy Wycliffe Wanderers James Hern Greyfriars FC

12 8

William Day Kerith FC James Murdoch West Reading

8 6

Michael Bembridge Wycliffe Wanderers George Weeks Norreys

6 5

Danny Lawrence Tilehurst Albion 5 Courtenay Isaacs B’side St Laurence FC 4 Matt Blake Reading Saints



Sabeel Asghar Tilehurst Albion


To advertise call 01932 888417 | | December 2013


Pit your wits against our brainteasers



Answers are on p31

Place 1 to 9 in each white cell. To choose the right number you need to work from the clues in around the edge. The numbers below the diagonal lines are the sums of the solutions in the white cells immediately beneath. The numbers above the divide are the sums of the solutions immediately to the right. Rows and columns do NOT have to be unique. Thus, if a 3 is shown as a clue there will be two cells waiting for you to put the digits 1 and 2 in them – the only possible sum that will equal 3. The final rule is that no number may be repeated in any block. For example, if the clue is 4, the only possible solution will be 1 and 3 (or 3 and 1), never 2 and 2.

Numbers are substituted for letters in the crossword grid. Below is the key with two letters solved. Try to complete the first few words to give you more letters, or look for a frequent number that might reveal a common letter. As you find letters, enter them in the key and into the grid. Cross off the letters in the A to Z list.

Steve Vaughan-Turner

STR8TS Str8ts


3 3




9 1


1 1 4



Very Hard


9 3

6 1 1 4 5

9 7

5 4



How to beat Str8ts – Like Sudoku, no single number 1 to 9 can repeat in any row or column. But... rows and columns are divided by black squares into compartments. 2 1 4 Each compartment must form a straight 6 4 5 a set of numbers with no gaps but it can be 4 5 in any order, eg [7,6,9,8]. Clues in black cells 4 3 6 2 remove that number as an option in that row and column, and are not part of any straight. 3 5 2 1 Glance at the solution to see how ‘straights’ 2 1 3 are formed.

© 2011 Syndicated Puzzles, Inc.



6 1

5 3 2 2 1 1 5 4

9 2 4 8 6 9 3 7 5 9 4

© 2011 Syndicated Puzzles, Inc.

6 7


To complete Sudoku, fill the board by entering numbers 1 to 9 such that each row, column and 3x3 box contains every number uniquely. For many strategies, hints and tips, visit for Sudoku and for Str8ts. If you like Str8ts and other puzzles, check out our books, iPhone/iPad Apps and much more on our store.

Our Frank spent simply ages printing off all the ecards we got this Christmas!



December 2013 | | To advertise call 01932 888417


 ptimising health , vitality & wellness with Christine Bailey, O nutritionist, chef and food/health consultant

v Cook up some festive cheer It’s hard to avoid the Christmas indulgences over the festive holidays but If you’re looking to keep it healthier this year and get the children involved Nutritionist Christine Bailey suggests some festive ideas.


or my family, Christmas has always been a time for traditions and family get-togethers. As a child I remember spending hours in the kitchen with my mum creating home made sweets to give as presents. Now, with my children, we still bake festive treats and it's the perfect way to kick start the festivities. Whether it’s homemade mincemeat, Christmas puddings, cake or chocolates making your own means you can focus on the ingredients and cater for allergies too. So this year ditch shop bought sweets – homemade gifts are much more personal and will be welcomed by friends and family.

You can also keep them healthier too: instead of your usual sugar switch to a slower releasing, low glycemic option such as coconut sugar, xylitol, dried fruit or sweet freedom. Rather than refined flours switch to wholemeal flour or for a grain free option, almond and coconut flours are delicious in cakes and muffins. Sneaking in ground nuts and seeds provides additional protein and healthy fats as well as valuable energy supporting nutrients such as zinc and magnesium. If you’re looking for some fresh ideas there are a range of recipes on my website. Alternatively book on to one of our festive cookery days to get you inspired. For more, visit

v Superfood truffles These little chocolate nuggets are packed with super foods designed to nourish and energise the body. Makes 16 truffles Preparation time: 10 minutes Chilling time: 4 hours 115g/½ cup cashew or almond nut butter 60g/¼ cup sweet freedom or honey 2tbsp raw cacao powder 60g melted dark chocolate 30g/¼ cup goji berries soaked in water for 30 minutes then drained 2tsp maca powder Pinch of sea salt ½ tsp vanilla extract 1tsp super greens powder eg: wheatgrass, optional 1tsp ground cinnamon 30g shelled hemp seeds 30g mulberries or dried cherries, cranberries

Place the cashew nut butter, sweet freedom, cacao powder and melted chocolate in a food processor and combine. Add the remaining ingredients and process to form a dough. Chill in the fridge for about 4 hours until firm, or place in a freezer to firm up.

When the mixture is firm use a spoon to scoop out walnut size balls. Roll into balls and place on a sheet of baking parchment. Roll the truffles in a little shredded coconut, crushed pistachios or dust with cacao powder.

Per truffle: 102kcal Protein 2.6, Carbohydrates 6.8g sugars 3.9g, total fat 7.7g saturates 1.6g

v Figs dipped in chocolate A simple light dessert perfect if you struggle with chocolate cravings. Use ripe fresh figs and a really dark chocolate for a healthy indulgent treat. Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 5 minutes Serves 2-4 4 ripe figs, quartered 100g dark 75% cocoa chocolate 60g pistachios, finely chopped Break the chocolate into pieces. Place in a bowl and put over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted. Place a piece of baking parchment on a tray. Dip the figs into the melted chocolate so that it reaches halfway up.

Dip into the chopped nuts. Place on the tray and repeat with the remaining figs. Place in the fridge until ready to eat.

Per fig: 231kcal, Protein 4.3g, Carbohydrates 18.6g sugars 18.4g Total fat 15.4g saturates 5.3g


To advertise call 01932 888417 | | December 2013


Changing the world, one purchase at a time Everything stops for tea! The Village Shop at Beech Hill has created its very own special blends of tea, including a special Winter blend. You won’t find these tasty loose-leaf tea anywhere else – and they make a fantastic cuppa!

Support local farmers and find a locally sourced turkey for the Christmas table. Log on to www. for a fantastic, interactive map that pinpoints all of Britain’s brilliant turkey farmers and highlights the ones in your area.


This Zandra Rhodes dress is made from 100% organic Fairtrade certified cotton, £119 from

Wilko’s new Sustain range is inspired by the 70s with its floral and fruit patterns that symbolise simpler times and colours that make a vintage statement. It includes these Christmas decorations

Levi Strauss & Co has announced the new Dockers Wellthread process, aimed at offering responsible sourcing. The ground-breaking approach combines sustainable design and environmental practices with an emphasis on supporting the wellbeing of the people who make the clothes. For more visit www.

TRAVEL Reading pilgrims take in Rome, Florence and Assisi For a group of travellers, a visit to Italy has special significance. One of the adventurers explains

The view of Rome from the Vatican


n mid-October, a group of 51 Reading area parishioners set out on their pilgrimage to Rome. Unlike the usual holiday in search of sun and sights, a pilgrimage is usually a journey to places of particular religious significance in order to find some personal spiritual understanding. After Jerusalem, Rome has a very special place in our religious history as the home of the Catholic Church. We had a whistlestop tour of some of the ancient sites, visiting the Colliseum, the Pantheon, and the Catacombs, and the ruins of the Roman Forum. By contrast we then saw the four major basilicas of Rome – St Peter’s, St John Lateran, St Mary Major and St Paul outside the walls. Our very knowledgeable guide, Richard, was able to explain the history and significance of these monumental churches. Each day we celebrated Mass

together, often in small chapels within these buildings, which put into perspective the meaning and purpose of our visit, and allowed for moments of reflection and contemplation. For our Sunday Mass we were able to share with the students and staff of the English college, which has, through the centuries, provided priests for the English and Welsh Church. We were met by a newly ordained priest of our diocese, Father Ben Theobald, who gave us a guided tour. Our trip to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine chapel was one of the special highlights of the visit. We were able to see Michaelangelo’s amazing frescoed ceiling and the glittering collection of

paintings and artefacts assembled there. The planned highlight of the trip was to have been the audience with Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square. However, appalling Italian crowd control, coupled with the ‘Francis Factor’ – the popularity of the new Pope – meant that we were part of a crowd of 120,000 people, jammed together, all waving tickets for seats, which were already full! We eventually managed to push and shove our way out to safety, and only a few managed to see the Pope. This was a particular disappointment. We moved from Rome to Assisi, a beautiful hillside town, where the peace and quiet of its setting were in direct contrast with Rome. Here we were able

to move around more easily, to visit the places special to the lives of St Francis and St Clare. Personally, I found this part of the visit slower-paced and more spiritual. The highlight of the tour for me was the visit to the upper and lower basilicas of St Francis with their sublime frescoes, covering all the walls and the ceilings. This was a very significant visit in the year of our new Pope Francis, and because most of us had been unable to see him in person, we were able to pray for him at the tomb of St Francis. During our stay at Assisi, we had a day trip to beautiful Florence where the wonderful mixture of lovely buildings, churches, paintings in the Uffizzi Gallery and shopping made this a very special day out. Each person on the trip will have different special memories and moments. The sharing of the experiences as well as of meals, drinks and conversation all made the trip very memorable. Many thanks to Father John O’Shea, who carefully planned and guided the visit, and protected us from the difficulties on the way.



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Music, drama, comedy with a local perspective

v Underworld for the new year OPERA At Bearwood is planning to launch 2014 with a visit to the Underworld. The talented group, directed by Ali Marshall, will perform Offenbach’s Orpheus In The Underworld in January. This production will be performed in costume but with limited sets and a piano accompaniment. It will be sung in the English Language. You can catch the show at Bearwood Theatre in Bearwood College on Saturday, January 11 and Sunday, Janaury 12 at 2.30pm, with an evening performance at 7.30pm on Saturday. Tickets cost £15 with concessions available. For details, log on to www. or call 07580 352006.

v It’s panto time the Shinfield Players are looking forward to an amazing adventure next year as it presents its annual pantomime. The am dram company will present The Amazing Adventures of Sinbad, written and directed by Carol Vockins. Performances take place over two weekends: Friday, January 10 to Sunday, January 12 and Friday, January 17 to Sunday, January 19. v For full details, log on to

v Carols on CD READING Phoenix Choir has produced a new CD of Christmas carols ahead of its festive concert. The Midnight Clear includes 21 favourites such as Deck The Hall and Away In A Manger. CDs cost £10 or it can be downloaded from iTunes for £7.99. To get a taste for the CD, listen to the choir perform the carols live at its concert. It takes place at Reading Minster from 5pm on Saturday, December 14. Entry is free, with a retiring collection for Daisy’s Dream. v For more details, log on to

community play

Shepherd’s golden moment in Nativity Aldermaston’s Nativity is quite a tradition and, as VIVIENNE JOHNSON finds out, its appeal lies in its consistency


POPULAR Nativity play is returning for its latest curtain call and, for one of the cast members, there’s a golden glow about the show this year: for it’s his 50th time portraying a shepherd. The 14th Century York Nativity Play has been acted out in Aldermaston for 57 years without a break and always under the guiding hand of Pat Eastop MBE. In 1957, Pat arrived in Aldermaston with her young family and, inspired by the beautiful 12th Century church of St Mary the Virgin, Aldermaston (one of John Betjemin’s favourite places), looked around for something special to celebrate Christmas. She found the York Nativity play, which is part of the York Mystery Plays cycle. For the last 50 of those performances Leslie Woodley has played the part of the Third Shepherd. “His commitment is an inspiration to us all” said Pat. Leslie’s niece, Melony Bush also carries on the family acting tradition. She plays the part of the Second Maid taking over the role from her mother Jenny, who recently died. Live music plays an important part in the play. “The choir looks forward each year to singing the music, aware of how much it enhances the play. The words and music combine to make the play a very special event and a moving preparation for Christmas,” said Peter Denny who directed the choir from 1990-2012. The new Director of Music is

A scene from the Aldermaston Nativity – the play has been performed at St Mary’s for 57 years Friday December 6 and at 7pm The whole village gets John Mountford. He is organist on Saturday, December 7 and involved with the play. at Bradfield College and also Sunday, December 8. On Nativity Play nights the taught at Loretto School where Tickets are free, and the route leading from the village he formed the school’s first performances sell out fast. hall to the church is lit up in Jazz Band. They are available by You won’t see any shepherds celebration. emailing Rebecca Fowler The Church of St. Mary wearing tea towels either. at the Box Office at the Virgin is decorated and The players wear medieval aldermastonnativity@hotmail. also specially lit to add to the style costumes, designed in com. atmosphere. 1957 by the late Isobel Hall There will be a collection for Performances are at 8pm and painstakingly looked the restoration of the church on Monday, December 2, after by the wardrobe and The Children’s Society. Thursday, December 5 and department.


Discover the origins of our Christmas traditions A SMALL but perfectly formed choir is inviting to you explore the origins of Christmas at two carol concerts this month. The Reading Concert Singers will be singing a selection of festive music at its Christmas Traditions events. It includes

talks explaining the origins of some of the food and drink featured in the carols sung. Both concerts start at 7.30pm and take place on Wednesdays. On December 4, you can join them at St Mary Magdalen

in Tilehurst. A week later, on December 11, they will perform at St Agnes Church, Whitley. Entry is £8 or £4 for under 16s. v For details call 0118 942 5290 or visit www.


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It’ll be alright on the Christmas night


T’LL be alright on the night. At least that’s what Reading Rep Theatre is hoping for when it presents a play about a play that doesn’t go alright on the night. The Nativity Play Goes Wrong is every Sunday School leader’s worst nightmare – will it be tea towels at dawn? Will the wise men turn out to be foolish? And will the innkeeper actually have room at the inn after all? The play is receiving its world premiere at Reading College this Christmas, and promises to put a smile on even the most stressed-out Christmas play organisers in town. It’s about the struggles of a theatre society as they attempt to stage a fantastic production of the Nativity Story. With the birth of Jesus being well documented and schools, churches and community groups everywhere performing the same tale in the same detail each year for centuries, it should be a shoo-in for an easy show. But, as the Script Over Scripture Society (S.O.S) finds out, what can go wrong, does: on its opening night nothing is going to plan. Despite a collapsing manger, a deranged donkey, and a director on the brink of hysteria, the show must go on! The farce is aimed at the whole family and with performances between

Chris Currie plays Chris Bean, the director of The Script Over Scripture Society, in the farce The Nativity Play Goes Wrong

Picture: Katie Blagden

Christmas and New Year, the show will bring some festive cheer. The play will be directed by Readingborn Nicholas Thompson, artistic director of the Old Red Lion Theatre and Reading Rep’s associate director. It has been written Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields and

their previous plays have enjoyed sell-out runs in London and Edinburgh. Reading Rep aims to present everything from classics to new writing, revivals to musicals and to help champion the arts in the Reading area. Artisticdirector Paul Stacey said: “We are delighted to be offering such an eclectic season for this coming year. “After the success of last year’s free ticket scheme, once again 10% of Reading Rep tickets will be given to local community organisations for free. “The breadth and ambition of this season’s productions reflect the support Reading Rep has received from local audiences as well as Reading Borough Council, Reading College and Arts Council England.” Reading Rep will perform the show at Reading College’s Performing Arts Centre from Sunday, December 22 to Saturday, January 4, with performances every day except for Christmas Day. Performances are at 2.30pm or 7pm. There will be both a signed performance on Thursday, January 2 and a relaxed performance on Saturday, January 4. Tickets cost £12, £10 for concessions and group bookings are available. v For details, log on to www.readingrep. com or call the Reading Arts box office on 0118 960 6060.


Scamps celebrate 10 years of dancing A band for barn dances celebrated its 10th birthday with a barn dance. East Reading-based The Scamping Rogues invited former members, friends, neighbours and fans to a special celebration of its milestone. Around 100 people scamped along to the music and enjoyed a celebration feast. The Scamping Rogues comprises members of St John

& St Stephen’s Church in Orts Road in Newtown and exists to raise funds for charity. It launched when the church held a weekend at The Wycliffe Bible Translators centre in High Wycombe – organisers asked the church music group to put on a barn dance. Since then, the band has played 73 times for churches and charities as far away as Banbury, Aylesbury, Cobham and Horsham.

They play for free so long as money is being raised for charity or the dance is to help a church reach out to its local community. The anniversary dance raised more than £1,200, which will be split between Communicare and The Philippi Trust. v For more on the band, log on to www.scampingrogues. org or search for the group on Facebook.

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v Enjoy a winter warmer READING Festival Chorus is warming up to extend a warm welcome to you and prove that it’s hot stuff. The choir is hosting an evening of music designed to kindle the heart during the cold days of December. The programme includes Vivaldi’s Gloria, Haydn’s Little Organ Mass and Purcell’s O Come Ye Sons of Art. The concert takes place on Saturday, December 7 from 7.30pm at Wesley Methodist. Tickets cost £14 or £10 for concessions. Under 16s pay £2. v For details, log on to www.

vConcert for charities CHORATE Chamber Choir will give an Advent concert at St James Church, Reading on Saturday, December 7, from 7.30pm. Admission: Entry is free and a retiring collection will be taken for Number 5 Youth Counselling & Information and Mongu Project Zambia. v For full details, log on to



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Bethelehem calls for choir


A showcase of musical talent

The Twyford Singers, led by conductor Helen Styles (centre)

A VISIT to Bethlehem – where the Christmas story started – is on the cards for anyone attending the South Chiltern Choral Society’s latest concert. The Society will perform Bob Chilcott’s On Christmas Night, plus Born in Bethlehem – an arrangement of Christmas spirituals . The choir will welcome soprano soloist, Aneesa Chaudry, a jazz trio and Ian Westley on the organ. The children of Sonning Common Primary School Choir will have a special part to play in the performance through their contribution to On Christmas Night, as well as having a spot of their own.

There will be the usual opportunity for the audience to join in singing traditional Christmas carols and in the interval there will be mince pies and glasses of wine to enjoy. The South Chiltern Choral Society’s conductor will once again be Gwyn Arch – his 48th consecutive Christmas concert. There will be two performances: from 7.30pm on Saturday, December 14 and from 2pm on Sunday, December 15. Tickets cost £12 or £6 for under 18s. v For details, call 0118 987 41346 or log on to www. southchilternchoralsociety.


YOU ARE invited to enjoy a European Christmas thanks to the Twyford Singers. The talented choir, led by Helen Styles, will be performing its festive concert at St Mary’s Church in Twyford on Saturday, December 14 from 7.30pm. The programme includes traditional carols such as the French Il est né le divin enfant and the 14th century German carol Quem Pastores Laudavere, arranged by John Rutter. Also being performed will be the joyful Hodie Christus Natus Est by Sweelink and Rutter’s Candlelight Carol. The choir will also lead some carol singing. Tickets cost £8 or £4 for under 16s. They can be bought on the door or by calling 0118 934 5985 or 0118 934 2406. For more details, log on to


A 40th anniversary concert in Pangborne will help benefit the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Pangbourne Choral Society will be returning to the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel on Sunday, December 15 for its Christmas Concert. Organisers promise a great celebration of Christmas in a warm atmosphere. Carols will be mixed with pieces from Handel’s Messiah and Vaughan Williams’ Christmas Fantasia. All money raised from the evening will go to the League of Friends of Royal Berkshire Hospital. Tickets cost £12.50, and include a programme,a glass of wine and a mince pie. They can be bought from Premier Pet Stores, Pangbourne, by calling 0118 322 8592 or by emailing


CONCERTS in Caversham returns to St Andrew’s Church in Albert Road on Saturday, December 7. The concert by candlelight features soprano Susanna Fairbairn, trumpeter Robert Vanryne and violinists Julian Tear and Xuan Du. The programme includes Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, Bach’s Concerto for two violins and Pachelbel’s Canon. Mulled wine and mince pies will be served during the interval. Tickets are £17 in advance or £19 on the door, with a £2 discount for concessions. Entry is free for under 16s.

For details, log on to www.


THE Sainsbury Singers will hold an afternoon Christmas Concert at St Peter’s Church in Caversham on Saturday, December 14, as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations. The fun starts at 3pm, entry is free and donations will be shared between the group and St Peter’s organ fund. For details, visit


Crowthorne Choral Society’s Christmas Concert takes place at St John The Baptist Church in Waterloo Road, Crowthorne on Saturday, December 7. Starting at 7.30pm, the concert features Messiah, Part 1 with additional Christmas music to enjoy. The evening’s soloist will be Jennifer Snapes and the organist will be Oliver King. Tickets cost £12, students are £2. For more details, call: 01344 778185 or log on to


A CELEBRATION of Christmas takes place at All Saints Church in Wokingham just days before the big day. Wokingham Choral Society will perform its ever popular Celebration of Christmas Carols & Music on Saturday, December 21, from 7.30pm. The programme include’s Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and features Benjamin Woodward on the organ. Tickets cost £9, over 60s £8, Students and under 18s £5. They can be bought from the Wokingham Information Centre, Newbury Building Society’s Wokingham branch; Bookends, Wokingham or from


HENLEY’S Choral Society will continue its 40th anniversary celebrations with a Christmas concert later this month. It is teaming up with Chaconne Brass and St Mary’s School Choir for the evening of music on Tuesday, December 10. Starting at 7.30pm, the programme includes excerpts from Handel’s Messiah, carols to sing and wine and mince pies. It takes place at Christ Church, Henley. For tickets, call 01491 572795 or visit

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To advertise call 01932 888417 | | December 2013

Moviewatch Sandra pulls you in ...

An exquisite and effortless show

Cinema with Martin Ceaser

Henley Symphony Orchestra Reading Concert Hall, Sunday, November 10

Sandra Bullock is lost in space in Gravity

v Gravity (12a)

of the most serious roles I have seen her in. This is no Miss Congeniality and even her butch, short haircut emphasises the point. (To be honest I would watch a film of her staring at a cardboard box). The 3D effects are used to excellent effect and add a sense of reality and grittiness to the plot. At one point the film is shot from Stone’s helmet visor and you feel for a moment as if you are there yourself, while at others you feel you really are inside the space station or dodging debris. This is no fast-paced action movie, nor is it a rom-com, although there are a few gentle gags that develop the humanity of the characters along the way. It is a beautifully crafted, focused thriller as one woman battles against the odds in a desperate fight for survival. Along the way Kowalski sacrifices himself so Stone might live (John 15:13 anyone?); Stone discovers inner strength and resources she never knew she had, overcoming the temptation to give up and die; we get a feel for the cold beauty of space and the sense of awe at seeing “the sun come up over the Ganges” (Kowalski), contrasting the warmth of home with the silent chill of space. Significant quotes? “You have to learn to let go” (Kowalski), “It was a hell of a ride” (Stone). Wisdom for life, perhaps? The Revd Martin Ceaser is minister of Crowthorne Baptist Church

Stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney


hen you cast Hollywood Royalty Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in your film, you don’t really need anyone else. When you cast them in a film with the earth viewed from space as the backdrop, you definitely don’t need anyone else. A masterpiece of CGI and special effects, with a stunning music score, Gravity keeps your attention as it racks up the tension. Dr Ryan Stone (Bullock) and Mission Commander Matt Kowalski (Clooney) are the only two survivors of a catastrophic collison with debris of a Russian satellite that had been blown up by its owners. Their space shuttle is damaged beyond repair, and there’s only so much oxygen in their suits, with 90 minutes until the debris comes back having completed its orbit of the earth. Together they reach the now deserted International Space Station. Stone then finds herself alone and has to make her way safely back to earth or die, alone, in space. As she says, “either way, it will be one hell of a ride”. It takes a very special actor to keep our attention when there is no one else on screen, but Bullock is magnificent in one



Elgar’s Falstaff Symphonic Study, Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No 2 and Beethoven’s 7th Symphony formed the programme for the Henley Symphony Orchestra’s first visit to Reading Concert Hall. In Falstaff, departing from his accustomed compositional style, Elgar introduces a level of complexity that makes it more ‘modern’ and less accessible. But it is brilliantly orchestrated. The HSO, under Ian Brown, did it full justice, overcoming many challenges, especially in the opening movement. Here, the cellos, and principal Alison Wagland’s solos, were outstanding. The serene second movement offered some respite, its central solo violin theme performed exquisitely by leader David Burton.

A lively, string-dominated third movement shook things up again, while the fourth introduced impactful tuba and trombone writing. Weber’s contrasting clarinet concerto was masterfully dispatched by the already established young clarinettist, Julian Bliss. His tone was supreme and his staccato articulation and fast runs effortless. The overall rendition of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony was tight and relentless. The Allegretto might arguably have started slower, allowing time for intensity to grow, but was beautifully played. The HSO’s next event is their Christmas concert at Christ Church, Henley, on December 15. v For full programme and membership information visit www. henleysymphonyorchestra. Trevor Howell v For a longer version of this review, visit

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s a m t s i hr celebrate with us!

Churches Together in Earley and East Reading invite you to celebrate this Christmas St Nicolas Church, Sutcliffe Avenue

THE LIVING NATIVITY Sunday December 22nd Join a Nativity drama meeting the animals from 2.45pm at Wesley Methodist Church and then walking with Mary and Joseph, wise men and shepherds, singing carols on the way to St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, London Road.

Sunday, 15th December 6.30pm Carols by Candlelight Christmas Eve 5.30pm Carols round the Crib Nativity 11.30pm Midnight Mass Christmas Day 10am Christmas Day Festival Communion

Trinity Church, Chalfont Close, Lower Earley Sunday, 8th December 4pm Christingle Sunday, 15th December 6pm Carols Wednesday, 18th December 2pm Nursery Service Nativity Christmas Eve 4pm Crib Service 11.15pm Midnight Communion Christmas Day 10am Family Worship

Wesley Methodist Church, Queen’s Road Sunday, 15th December 5pm Christingle Sunday, 22nd December 10.30am Carol service 2.45pm Living nativity Christmas Eve 11.30pm Midnight Communion Christmas Day 10am Christmas Day Celebration

Earley St Peter’s Church, Church Road

Sunday, 22nd December 6.30pm Service of Nine Lessons and Carols Christmas Eve 4pm Crib service (especially for the young) 11.30pm Midnight Eucharist (Carols sung by the choir from 11pm) Christmas Day 8am Holy Communion

10am Christmas Communion for all ages

Abbey Baptist Church, Abbey Square Sunday, 15th December 6.30pm Carols by Candlelight Christmas Eve 11.30pm Midnight Communion Christmas Day 10.30am Christmas Day Celebration

Anderson Baptist Church, Amherst Road Sunday, 22nd December 10.30am Acting out The Christmas Story 6pm Carols by Candlelight Christmas Day 10.30am Christmas Morning Worship

Lower Earley Baptist Church, Maiden Place, Lower Earley Sunday, 22nd December 10am The Christmas All-Age Special Service

For directions & further details:

Christmas Eve 6pm Carols by Candlelight Christmas Day 10am Family Service

Park United Reformed Church, Palmer Park Avenue Sunday, 22nd December 10.30am Morning Worship 6pm Lessons and carols by candlelight Christmas Day 9.30am Christmas Day All-Age Special

Our Lady of Peace and Blessed Dominic Barberi Church Christmas Eve 5pm Children's Carol Service 11.30pm Midnight Mass, with carols sung from 11pm Christmas Day 9am and 11am Masses

St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, London Road

Sunday, 15th December 6.30pm Service of Lessons and Carols Sunday, 22nd December 11am Christmas Worship 3pm Living Nativity on the local streets Christmas Eve 11.30pm Midnight Service Christmas Day 10.30am Christmas Day Family Service

Salvation Army, Chalfont Close, Lower Earley Christmas Eve 11.30pm Carols by Candlelight Christmas Day 9.30am Christmas Day Service

Reading Quaker Meeting, Church Street Sunday, 15th December 10.30am Meeting, carols and shared lunch Sunday, 22nd December 10.30am Meeting for worship

St Luke's Church, Erleigh Road Saturday, 21st December 4pm Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi Christmas celebration Sunday, 22nd December 6.30pm Carols by Candlelight, with our children’s and adult choirs Christmas Eve 4pm All-Age Crib Service, especially for younger children 11.30pm Midnight Mass, with mulled wine served from 11pm Christmas Day 10.30am Christmas Celebration: Holy Communion and Carols for all ages

St Bartholomew's Church, St Bartholomew’s Road Christmas Eve 4pm All-Age Crib Service, especially for younger children

St James Roman Catholic Church, Abbots Walk Christmas Eve 6pm Christmas Family Mass 11.30pm Christmas Night Mass Christmas Day 11am Christmas Day Mass

St William of York , Upper Redlands Road Christmas Day 9am Christmas Day Mass at St Williams

Network Vineyard Church, Bulmershe Leisure Centre, Woodlands Avenue Sunday, 15th December 10.30am Special Christmas Family Service Sunday, 22nd December 10.30am Carol Service with Gospel Choir, Mince Pies & Mulled Wine

Churches Together in Earley and East Reading

Xn December 2013  

Community magazine for Thames Valley region including Reading, Henley, Wokingham. It's packed full of good news :)