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HAPPY NEW YEAR! bargains!

For you, your community, your life

Save pounds on your clothes with this 99p store



money help

How you can avoid the debt trap in 2014

of events on your doorste p!


This Pipe Band who want to get the party started

pipe up for 2014!

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The courses that can help you be a brilliant parent


Get ready to celebrate the New Year

THE HOBBIT Hollywood’s new masterpiece?


January & February 2014 Thames Valley region ISSN 2049-4971

Henley, Reading & Wokingham districts



January/February 2014 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

v Editor Phil to run Half Marathon READING’S Half Marathon takes place on Sunday, March 2 and joining the thousands of participants is Xn editor Phil Creighton. He will be running the 13.1 miles in memory of his fatherin-law and stepmum-in-law, who both died of cancer last year. “Their deaths came just five months apart from each other,” he explained. “Margaret died at the end of November and the decision to enter the halfmarathon came just after that. “I wanted to do something to honour their memory and also raise funds to beat this killer disease that wrecks so many happy families.” Phil is now committed to a rigorous training programme that sees him go from not running at all to completing the race in just eight weeks. He is running in aid of Cancer Research and has set up a Virgin Giving fundraising page for people to support him. v To make a donation, log on to PhilCreighton

Now you can watch the news! BY Harold Chorley HERE is the news for 2014 ... we’re making it! Xn is taking its reporting to a new dimension with the launch of a new video news service on its YouTube channel, Xn Media. Log on to our website and you can see the news come to life! Over the past few weeks we’ve been out and about creating news reports giving you the chance to see and hear the story as well as reading all about it. And that’s not all – later this year, we will be relaunching our website, making it easier to use, including a weekly news bulletin and a what’s on guide. They are all free to watch. “Making the news is always exciting,” said Xn editor Phil Creighton. “Its such a privilege to be bringing an extra dimension to our reporting. “It’s one of a series of improvements we’re planning this year to make your favourite community magazine even better.” v See the videos yourself at www.


Be part of the Xn story Like what you’ve read? So do thousands of readers every month. Xn is a brilliant way to promote your business across Henley, Reading, Wokingham and surrounding areas. We can offer bound-in inserts, cover mounts, digital advertising and more. Call us today to discuss your needs Business and Commercial Richard McCoull 07916 588390

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This is your magazine Contact us with your stories, email write to Xn Media, 60 London Street, Reading RG1 4SQ. We look forward to hearing~ from you!

Bold as brass 30

Healthy 6

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Bananas 7 Hobbits 31

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Xn is published by Xn Media. ISSN 2049-4971 c/o Quench, 60 London Street, Reading RG1 4SQ Twitter: @xnmedia Editor & publisher Phil Creighton Writer Vivienne Johnson Photography Lynda Bowyer

Distribution Judith Creighton Contributors Michael Penny, Steve Vaughan-Turner, Steve Prince, James Hern, Martin Ceaser, Chris Carter, Jonathan Brown, Emma Major, Michael Johnson Thanks to Quench, Alan Magness, Louise Cole, Mary Brockington, Nick Crowder, Andrew Taylor, Reading Scottish Pipe Band, Broad St Tavern, Jeremy Tear, Crispin Fairbairn, Richard Becher Cover picture Lynda Bowyer 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, 2014

Royals 23 New Year 27 From the editor Phil Creighton ‘We wish you a very happy 2014—may it be full of joy and happiness’


OW are you doing with your New Year resolutions? If you’re anything like me, it didn’t get any further than a nice thought. For the past eight years, I’ve been telling Mrs Xn that this would be the year that I’d run the Reading Half Marathon again. To avoid this being a broken promise, I got my entry in before Christmas. I’ve got an ulterior motive: to raise funds for Cancer Research in memory of my wife’s Dad and Stepmum, both of whom lost their battle against the disease last year – for more see page 2. Elsewhere, it’s another packed issue, and is January and February. You’ll notice a new name among the writing team: I’m delighted that Vivienne Johnson is helping us out. It means we can do even more, including video news on our website. Keep your eyes peeled on the Xn website too: it’s going to get a facelift in time for our March issue. Exciting times ahead! We wish you a very happy 2014—may it be full of joy and happiness. We’re looking forward to reporting on your news.

Squeeze 29


4 The Main Event 6 News 12 Education focus 14 Business 16 News focus 19 Classified 20 What’s on Three pages of community events 23 Family circle 24 Sport All the latest from the Football League 25 Puzzles 26 Food Chinese New Year 27 Ethical shopping Brilliant buys to help the planet 28 Arts New plays, concerts and films

Get in touch! email stories to Deadline for March issue Friday, February 14

the main event


J U S T Charity begins at 9 9p!

Looking for a New Year deal without breaking the bank? Bargain hunters will enjoy browsing the racks of a very special charity shop, where the price is right at 99p. PICTURE STORY: LYNDA BOWYER


HE Salvation Army Reading West Corps building stands rather anonymously on Oxford Road in Reading and its somewhat quiet pavement presence belies the hive of activity which goes on inside. A busy weekly rota of activities and groups keeps the hall alive with plenty of people from the community, who use the place as a hub in their neighbourhood. The place itself has recently undergone some renovation work to further improve the facilities and enable the extension of an alreadybusy schedule. One initiative which has gone from strength to strength is the 99p Shop. Over the years, it has developed into an invaluable resource for the local community. Shelves neatly stacked with ornaments, books, toys and bric-a-brac form the backdrop for clothing rails which are well-stocked in an orderly fashion. Soothing music plays in the background, and Christian posters adorn the walls, with similarly themed cards available to purchase. The 99p shop creates much-needed income, but its existence is also about furthering the mission of the Salvation Army’s work.

Lieutenant Kenneth Guest, the Corps Officer at Reading West explains: “We like people to donate by bringing their items into the shop or using our clothing bank. We take anything in any condition – what we don’t use we recycle using an established recycling company. “I would encourage everyone to think twice before binning their things. Putting them in our own clothing bank outside our hall directly supports the work we do in Reading, so if it’s old shoes, trainers, bags and belts, put them in. “If it’s old work clothes, male or female underwear, hats or gloves – in fact anything – just put them in the clothing bank. There’s no need to be embarrassed about what you give; every donation in the clothing bank is anonymous and we raise money through it whether in the shop or otherwise.” The store is currently limited in its opening hours and Lt Guest wants to find more volunteers to help extend them so that more people in the community can benefit from its services. He’d particularly value people with either retail experience or with an eye or creative flair for fashion. “People don’t just come in to the shop to buy; they come to have a look around, to seek warmth, to chat

if they are lonely and to perhaps come for coffee,” he says. “We have our Tuesday Coffee Morning where a lot of visitors come and browse or buy before going into the main part of the Hall for coffee which acts as a pre-amble to the Lunch Club starting at 12.15pm. “We need to be able to offer more of this, so finding more volunteers for the shop will help us extend this work. “We are currently unable to open the 99p shop on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons; to be able to extend the opening hours to these times would be a huge benefit to the community, so we would like people to come forward if they are able to volunteer. “Being of Christian faith or having a real empathy with Christianity would certainly help in forging those essential relationships with our shop customers, our community and our church members, so if you can help, please do get in touch.” The Reading West Salvation Army Corps can be found at 522 Oxford Road, Reading RG30 1EG, just opposite the Brock Barracks TA Unit. v More details about the Corps and its work can be found at the Salvation Army main website at www.

the main event


Bag a bargain at one of the best value charity shops in the Thames Valley

Lt Kenneth Guest, the Corps Officer at Reading West, with some of the volunteers (above) at the 99p Store



January/February 2014 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

v Weaver’s work IF YOU’RE wanting to enjoy a sustainable work and lifestyle balance, then make a date for Monday, February 10. Reading at Work is holding a special evening meal focusing on just that. They will be welcoming the Revd Dr John Weaver, chairman of The John Ray Initiative for the event. It will be held at Bills Restaurant in Chain Street, Reading from 7.45pm. v To book email Dave@

Need a doctor? Catch the bus!

v Treasure hunt FAMILIES are invited to search for some hidden treasure. Members of St Mary’s and St Nicholas’ churches in Aldermaston and Wasing are organising a fundraising hunt around the villages on Saturday, March 8. The fun event starts and ends at Aldermaston CofE School and promises to be family-friendly. More details had yet to be announced when Xn went to press. v For more about the hunt, log on to

v Jumble sale BARGAINS will be available at a grand jumble sale being held in Reading later this month. All Saints Church in Downshire Square is organising the sale on Saturday, January 25 from 1.30pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

emotionally distressed people. Keith Stacey, Neighbourhood Inspector for Reading Town Centre and Oxford Road at Thames Valley Police said: “Over the last 10 years, there have been many innovations introduced to support the Night Time Economy which include the all night bus service, the introduction of Street Pastors, Town Safe radio etc and this facility is the latest of those.” The FIRST Stop Bus is a partnership initiative between Reading Borough Council, Reading Local Strategic Partnership, Thames Valley Police, South Central Ambulance Service, The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the NHS. In addition the project is supported by Reading Buses, Reading University, Hanover

BY PHIL CREIGHTON NEED some medicial attention? Now you can catch the bus! A new mobile health service has been launched with the aim of being the first port of call for late night revellers in Reading’s town centre. The FIRST Stop Bus is also easing the burden on underpressure A&E departments while also providing support and help to the Street Pastors who patrol Reading at weekends. It launched on the weekend before Christmas, and is now parked in Hosier Street, Reading on Friday and Saturdays between 9pm and 4am. During the day, it will be used to provide health checks and other educational purposes. It is staffed by volunteers and trained medical staff. They will attend to simple injured, stitching cuts and helping with illness and

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Display, Reading BID, South East Coaches, Reading Football Club, St John Ambulance, RVA and the Street Pastors. Sally Leonard, Street Pastors co-ordinator, said: “It will make a huge difference. Instead of having to clean people up on the pavement or in the gutter, we can take them back somewhere and respectfully clean them up” The FIRST Stop Bus was launched at the Madejski Stadium by Sir John Madejski on Saturday, December 21. The Reading FC Chairman praised it as a “great idea”. Speaking exclusively to Xn, he said: “Having the facilities right in the heart in Reading is very, very good indeed. This is such a clever idea - it’s excellent!” Dr Elizabeth Johnston, chair of NHS Reading CCG said: “The FIRST Stop Bus provides us with an opportunity to contact our hard to reach groups in a more innovative way which will help us to provide support and information around prevention.”

Could you be an ambassador? A LOCAL hospice is hoping you’ll make a New Year’s resolution to become an ambassador. Naomi House & Jacksplace Hospice are Berkshire’s local hospices for children and young adults. They are looking for volunteers who want to help the worthy cause and make a difference. They need volunteers to make cheque presentations in their local area, to go into groups to give talks (this could be to a group of four or visiting Cubs and Scouts troops or clubs and societies. There is also a need for people to place collection pots – a great way of raising the charity’s profile – as well as

find new places for the collection pots to be sited. The hospices say that they will equip you with everything you need to go and give a talk, including a training session on giving a presentation. This will give you up-to-date facts and figures, and photographs. “It is a great way of supporting the work that is carried out at the hospices, and will help reach more people who the hospices could be helping and raising the funds needed to support the children and families,” said a spokesperson for the charities. v For more details, call Lucy on 01962 763711 or email lucy.butcher@


To advertise call 01932 888417 | | January/February 2014

Will you go bananas and help spread the Fairtrade message? BY PHIL CREIGHTON FOOD lovers are being encouraged to go bananas and campaign for a fairer deal for farmers and workers in the fruit industry. The annual Fairtrade Fortnight launches on February 24 and this year the national event will be focused on the plight of banana producers. The yellow, curved fruit is the most popular in the world – every year we chomp our way through five billion of them, spending more than £550 million on them in 2012. The Fairtrade Foundation is calling for a focus on the world's fourth most important food crop as it says that not everyone is enjoying the benefits of the banana boom. It says that many banana farmers and

workers aren't earning enough to put food on their families' tables, let alone provide education or healthcare for them. To help make the issue accessible, it will be focusing on one such farmer, Foncho. The 43-year-old lives with his family in Colombia on a banana farm that has been inherited throughout generations. He spends almost 12 hours a day working on the trees and has directly benefitted from becoming a Fairtrade farmer. The Fairtrade Fortnight campaign is hoping that you'll help make Foncho famous by holding special events during the fortnight. The Thames Valley has always been a strong supporter of Fairtrade. Reading recently renewed its Fairtrade status, and more than 40 churches and 46 businesses are registered as Fairtrade Friendly. Wokingham's fairtrade campaign

Will you be a winter friend? Last winter, an estimated 31,000 people in England died as a result of cold weather – most of them over 75. Research suggests that many of these deaths could have been avoided. This year, the NHS Choices Winter Friends campaign aims to get 100,000 people to sign a pledge to “take time out this winter to look in on an elderly friend or neighbour to make sure they are warm and coping well”. One of the first to sign the pledge is the actor and campaigner Joanna Lumley, who said that: “A little help really does go a long way. You will also find, I’m sure, that giving a bit of your time in this way is hugely rewarding. “Older people can be physically frail, but they have a lifetime’s wisdom and experience to share. That’s why I’m proud to lend my support to the NHS Winter Friends Pledge.”

Some ways to be a Winter Friend Drop in on an older neighbour or friend once a

week – more often if it turns very cold. Pick up a Talk Before You Walk leaflet from your GP and use it to explain to your neighbour how to get the most appropriate help when needed, whether it’s calling the NHS 111 service, talking to a pharmacist or their GP, going to hospital or calling 999. Check their home is warm enough – around 21°C (70°F) for the living area and about 18°C (65°F) for bedrooms. See if they are receiving their Winter Fuel and Cold Weather Payments. Make sure they’re eating well and have some non-perishable foods, such as tinned meals and soups that they can heat up if they can’t leave the house for a few days. If they’re over 65 and haven’t had their free flu jab, maybe give them a lift to their doctor. v For the full list of NHS Choices ideas on how to be a Winter Friend and more about the Winter Friends Pledge visit the campaign website: livewell/winterhealth/.

wound down in 2009, after meeting all its objectives, but there is strong support for Fairtrade in the town. Henley is working on renewing its status. Former Henley Mayor Jeni Wood told the Henley Standard in October: "I should like Henley to become a Fairtrade town where we ordinary people can make a difference to the much harder lives of food producers thousands of miles away.” Many churches are also Fairtrade accredited, including Christ Church in Henley and All Saints Wokingham. Reading's Fairtrade Steering Group will once again be organising a series of special events during Fairtrade Fortnight. The programme had yet to be announced as Xn went to press, but in previous years they have included talks from Fairtrade producers, films, tasting sessions and quizzes. It has a dedicated website, www., which includes a directory of Fairtrade stockists and supporters.


v Race night SCOUTS and Guides leaders are preparing for a fundraising night out at the races … in Wokingham Town Hall. On Friday, February 7, the Market Place venue will be transformed into a racetrack for one night only. During the evening, which starts at 7pm, there will be eight races and other activities including alternative bingo and a fish ‘n’ chip supper. All profits from the evening will go towards the Wokingham Town Mayor’s Charity – Scouting & Girlguiding in Wokingham. Tickets cost £12 and can be ordered in advance from Kerry Chadwick (Girl Guides) on 07976 300097 or Lynn Smith (Scouts) on 0118 961 9393. Organisers are also looking for businesses and individuals to sponsor races and horses. In exchange, they will receive publicity on the night from the host and in the programmes. For more details, email Nikki Payler at npayler@



January/February 2014 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

The word on the streets

v Foodbank needs toiletries CROWTHORNE foodbank urgently needs men’s and women’s toiletries, especially deodorants, toothbrushes, toothpaste and shampoo. It also requests nappies, baby wipes and cleaning items such as laundry liquid capsules, anti-bacterial spray and toilet clearner. In its first year of operation (December 2012 to November 2013) it helped feed 1,058 people – 695 adults and 363 children.

HUNDREDS of people, plus sheep, goats and donkeys walked the streets of Reading to celebrate Christmas. St Andrew’s URC and Wesley Methodist Church teamed up for a fun-filled Living Nativity on Sunday, December 21. Live Nativities also took place in a very wet Elms Field in Wokingham on Saturday, Decmeber 20 and in Caversham on Christmas Eve.

v Quiz night A QUIZ with a fish and chip supper will help raise much needed funds for the Children’s Society. The charity will be the benefactors from the night which will be held at The Cornerstone in Norrey’s Avenue, Wokingham from 7pm on Saturday, January 25. Tickets cost £11 and include the meal and a drink from the bar. A raffle will be held and there will be prizes for the best and worst teams. v For more details or to reserve your tickets, call Dickon Snell on 0118 978 1044.

SEE THE LIVING NATIVITY with our video at

Waitrose support brings festive cheer

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COMMUNITY groups teamed up with Waitrose to make it a very happy Christmas. The Bracknell-based supermarket made donations to hundreds of festive lunches across the country. Grace Church Caversham (top) welcomed 35 people on Christmas Day, while a lunch at Cantley Lodge Hotel in Wokingham (bottom left) hosted nearly 60. Cabaret singer Lynne Turner sang for 30 people at Suffolk Lodge Care Home in Wokingham. For more, log on to


To advertise call 01932 888417 | | January/February 2014


Simon and Sangeeta’s Christmas carol Meridian TV stars Simon Parkin and Sangeeta Bhabra helped the Salvation Army by compering its carol concert at The Hexagon on Saturday, November 30 – and they were a big hit. Pictures: Lynda Bowyer

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Children led a Nativity, music came from the Reading Central Band and Songsters, Anna Lamplough and her band and Catherine Wyles. Money raised went to community projects supported by the Salvation Army, Reading Sports Aid, Reading Page Your Way 17:06 1 and The White Ribbon Campaign. Tickets for this year’s concert, on Saturday, November 29, have already gone on sale:

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

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January/February 2014 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

v How love is changing Iraq FOR most of the past 20 years, we’ve heard bad news about Iraq. Now here’s your chance to hear good news. Sarjon Toma, who works for Iraqi Christian Aid partner REACH, will share stories of hope when he speaks at a fish ‘n’ chip supper on Friday, March 14. Jessica Hall, regional Christian Aid co-ordinator, said: “It’ll be a brilliant chance to meet together as churches from across the region and hear first-hand about lives transformed by love in Iraq.” Entry is by a donation of £6 and booking is essential. It takes place at Wycliffe Baptist Church in King’s Road, East Reading. Parking is available. For details, contact Jessica at the Oxford regional office by emailing or calling 01865 246818.

v Volunteer Still the Hunger is looking for a volunteer to work two days a week to help with fundraising for three months in the first instance. For details, call Beverley Hutton on 07733 300 705 or email beverley@

Stuart’s Big Night In

Unity Week’s division focus BY PHIL CREIGHTON

TWO top performers came to The Globe in Reading for an evening of music. Stuart Townend and Philippa Hanna dropped in on Friday, November 29 as part of the BigChurchNightIn tour. They sang some of their latest songs and entertained crowds with their skilful tunes. Now, the focus is on the BigChurchDayOut, which returns to Wiston House in East Sussex from May 24 and 25. For more, log on to PICTURES: LYNDA BOWYER

AN INTERNATIONAL week that promotes friendship among churches will be marked across the Thames Valley later this month. The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be held from Saturday, January 18 to Sunday, January 26 and will this year focus on the theme Is Christ Divided? Using reflections and material devised by the Churches of French Canada, churches in the Thames Valley will be exploring issues around Christian disunity, asking tough questions such as whether disunity is acceptable to God. Organisers from the World Council of Churches say that the biblical text chosen for the week is key for the ecumenical movement. The week will be marked in Reading by a special service which will be held at Tilehurst Methodist Church from 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. Everyone is invited

to come along. Michael said: “I am really looking forward to the service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. “We have six or seven people taking part from different Christian traditions and it is always edifying to listen to the different music they have chosen, and then to see which passages of the Bible they read, and what they have to say about it. Each one is always far better than Thought For The Day.” Churches in Henley will be using a prayer leaflet to encourage each other. Mike Hails, secretary of Churches Together in Henley, said: “Church members will be praying for each other, The Revd Canon Martyn Griffiths of St Mary’s Church [in Hart Street] will be putting a leaflet together to help people in their prayers.” Wokingham Churches also usually organise a special service during the Week, but details had yet to be finalised as we went to press. v For more on the week and to access resources, log on to

v Gathering to return

v Keen walkers wanted

A POPULAR conference is looking forward to an in tents experience as it plans to meet under canvas this summer. The Gathering will be moving from The Pavilion in Reading’s Oxford Road to Reading Rugby Club in Sonning when it meets in August. Organised by the Barnabas Network of Churches, which includes Reading Community Church in Tilehurst, the new site will have space for hundreds of happy campers. Guests can stay on site, use nearby hotels and bed and breakfasts or commute over every day. The event will include activities for children and young people. One of the speakers will be Pastor Michael Maiden, who has spoken at previous Gathering events. Full details have yet to be released, but the event will be held from Monday, August 4 to Friday, August 8. v For more details, log on to www.

KEEN walkers are being asked to put their best foot forward once again and help a local drug rehabilitation centre. Last year, more than £20,000 was raised for Yeldall Manor during its inaugural Walk For Freedom – now organisers from the Hare Hatch-based centre are looking for volunteers to sign up for this year’s event. Taking place on Saturday, May 10, the 27-mile walk will follow the River Thames from Windsor to Yeldall. Participants will raise funds for the charity’s Good Samaritan Bursary Fund, which helps fund treatment for men who want to break free from their alcohol or drug addictions. For more details, or to sign up, contact Sue Hedger at Yeldall by emailing or calling her on 0118 940 1093. v The centre is also looking for professional driving instructors who are willing to offer subsidised lessons for residents on the second-stage programme.


To advertise call 01932 888417 | | January/February 2014

If you kneel down

in the woods today It’s church, but not as we know it! The Oakwood Forest Church encourages people to explore nature, whatever the weather, on the third Saturday afternoon of every month Picture: Phil Creighton BY VIVIENNE JOHNSON Have you knelt down in the woods today? If not, take a leaf from Oakwood Forest Church. A denomination free, new project in Reading that takes church outside of four stuffy walls and puts it in the beautiful surroundings of Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve – or ‘God’s Cathedral’ as Emma Major, Licenced Lay Minister(LLM) at St Nicolas’s church calls it. Emma first encountered the idea while on a holiday in the New Forest. She and her family went to the New Forest Forest Church where she was blown away by attending a service in the middle of the woods. When she came home she thought about her experience and longed to go back. “I kept thinking I need this closer,” she said. “Then I realised that we can do it closer. I’m a 15-minute walk from a nature reserve, why can’t we do it there?” Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve is made up of ancient woodland known as Oakwood, it also has grassland, a large lake, a brook, an old woodland pond and surrounding wetland habitat. The area supports a large amount of wildlife including over 100 species of butterflies and moths, more than 50 species of birds, 50 species of fungi and 20 species of trees.  The area became a nature reserve in 1996 through English Nature and is a Site of Urban Landscape Value and contains Wildlife Heritage Sites. A lot of animals that live there are being protected. They include the Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Small Copper butterfly. Treecreepers, Bullfinch, Woodpeckers, Kingfisher, Tawny Owl and Song Thrush birds. Bats are present along with White-clawed Crayfish, Water Vole, Common Shrew, Crickets and Stag Beetles. In the spring you can see drifts of Bluebells and, as the weather warms

up, Wood Anemones, Marsh Marigold, Yellow Loosestrife, Opposite-leafed Golden Saxifrage and Honeysuckle. Oak, Crab Apple, Wild Service, Hornbeam and Hazel grow there. Realising the nature reserve was such a special place Emma told friends and colleagues from other churches about her idea. “I just started speaking to people and it got off the ground,” she says. It now meets on the third Saturday afternoon of every month, and everyone is welcome. Is meeting in the woods ‘real church’? What if people start hugging trees? Emma laughed and said: “I don’t mind if people hug trees, why shouldn’t they? “There are eight medieval trees in Oakwood. They were acorns 400 years ago, that’s awesome. I want to thank God for that and all that tree sheltered and nurtured since it’s been around. “We don’t water anything down, but meeting God doesn’t mean it has to follow a set liturgy or be in the church building. We meet on a Saturday afternoon and we do it differently.” Emma remembered the last time Oakwood Forest Church met. “As we walked around the top end of the lake the wind suddenly dropped, the rain stopped and everywhere was dead calm. Just a pure smooth surface on the lake. We stood still and I said ‘Look how calm this is. We need calm in our crazy lives. This is a place we can come and just be.’” v Forest Church meets at the nature reserve car park in Marefield, Lower Earley, at 3pm on the third Saturday of every month. For more about Oakwood Forest Church you can join its Facebook Group. v For more about the forest church movement, log on to v To find out more about Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve, log on to

J OIN THE Oakwood Forest Church with our online video news report at


Airport chief flies in BY CHRIS CARTER The speaker at the next Reading Christian Men’s Group (RCMG) breakfast meeting has a high flying job. As chief executive of Heathrow Airport, Colin Matthews is frequently in the headlines. Security safeguards, flight cancellations, noise pollution, managing a team of 8,000, not to mention fighting the corner for a third runway in the current expansion debate – they are all in a day’s work for the man at the helm of the world’s third busiest airport. Is it possible to reconcile so many conflicting concerns and retain a focus on daily operations? And what difference does it make that Colin Matthews is a Christian? With the title Plane Speaking, Colin’s talk on Saturday, February 8, will take the form of a discussion session, in which he will touch upon aspects of his working life and how he arrived at the post he now holds.

Colin Matthews heads up Heathrow Airport He will describe in particular how strategic decisions, leadership and even runway politics need to be guided by values and beliefs. The talk takes place in the RCMG’s 20th anniversary year – at the Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning Lane, Sonning from 8.30am. v Bookings can be made by contacting John Broady at 45 Kings Road, Caversham, RG4 8DS (0118 954 3879) or by calling John Ledger on 0118 986 1917 no later than Tuesday, February 4. Tickets are £8; cheques should be made to Reading Churches Men’s Group (“RCMG”).

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


January/February 2014 | | To advertise call 01932 888417


Helping your children to have the best start in life

Your views wanted for Council’s Special Educational Needs survey PARENTS, carers, teachers, head teachers, governors and voluntary sector representatives are being invited to input into a new Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) strategy 2014-2017 for Reading. The consultation is being launched in response to locally identified priorities and proposed national changes in the Children and Families Bill regarding the support given to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The refreshed strategy will include an evaluation of current approaches, ways to build on existing strengths, and a new local action plan. An online survey is available

education options

by logging on to: www.reading. The consultation process will also include a series of conferences and face-to-face events in Reading which starts this month. The consultation period ends on Friday, February 21. CllrJohn Ennis, Reading Borough Council’s lead councillor for education, said: “We are keen to hear from SEND parents, teachers, governors and the voluntary sector on how we can narrow the achievement gap for SEND children and ensure that children and young people with special needs achieve well, lead happy and fulfilled lives, and have choice and control. “I would encourage everyone with an interest in SEND to get involved and have their say.”

Helping every pupil to thrive Luckley House School’s Headmistress Jane Tudor writes: About two years ago, I heard a well-respected educator say that “qualifications change lives, but learning is more important”. Since then I have often pondered the meaning of this statement. On the simplest level it is the fact that the better a young person’s qualifications, the better their chances of securing well-paid employment leading to a better standard of living. But what about learning – why is learning more important? Again the simple answer is that the more ready an individual is to learn, the better their chances of adapting to the demands of employment, and from this, climbing the ladder, to again, ensure better material outcomes for the individual and their family. This seems to be a single dimension view of education and one that perhaps ignores the fact that life is more than our ability to achieve in the world of work. It is also a view that puts too much emphasis on outcomes that can be recorded on certificates and ignores much of what makes us fulfilled people. Good schools take account of the need to

provide a good education, leading to the best possible qualification outcomes, alongside a real sense of community. Much of the joy of being part of a school community is the fact that every member of the school is an individual with their own talents and abilities. The best schools celebrate this, and nurture and encourage every young person to find and develop their own talents. The importance of good learning lies in each individual being able to learn so that they can thrive. We must never forget that we have each been created as an individual.



OPEN MORNINGS Tuesday 18 March 2014 Thursday 8 May 2014 Contact the Registrar to book Bursaries and Scholarships available

Luckley House School, Wokingham Tel: 0118 978 4175 Email:

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Trinity is ready to grow after The Abbey is a vibrant and a very successful first term welcoming community A NEW school that launched in September is already looking at expanding. Trinity Christian School, which meets in specially designed school rooms in the building of Arcade in central Reading, aims to nurture and develop pupils’ creativity, imagination, independent thinking, discernment, ability to communicate and powers of reasoning. Some of the first parents to sign their children up to the school say that they have already seen the benefits. Neil Jeffers said: “We have been delighted with the first term of Trinity Christian School. Our seven-year-old boy and five-year-old girl have been very happy with their move. “They feel secure, supported and free to learn and explore. Their reading, writing and arithmetic have leaped ahead, and they are significantly ahead of where we would expect them to be. “With small class sizes and individual attention, it feels to us as if they complete as much work in a week as they did previously in half a term.” And they feel that the benefits are wider than just the children’s academic development. “Friends have commented to us on how much more confident and outgoing they seem,” Neil continued. “As Christians, we see

the obvious benefit they receive from an environment which seeks to nurture them and teach a Christian curriculum.” Neil says that Trinity’s small class sizes are a big advantage and the children are not missing out on socialising with their peers. “They are involved in swimming lessons, ballet, church, and have many other opportunities to develop friendships; and we believe that the school will grow quickly,” he said. Neil also feels that the school’s fees are incredibly reasonable. “For what you are getting, the fees are only 30-40% of what you would pay in most private schools in Reading.” Trinity Christian School is holding some taster mornings so children can try the lessons out for themselves. For details, call 0118 947 0366 or email

The Abbey School is a vibrant and welcoming community of almost 1,100 girls aged 3-18. Unrivalled academic excellence is achieved in a warm and supportive pastoral environment and an exceptional extracurricular programme enables girls to develop their interests and talents. A balanced approach to life and learning ensures that girls go on to lead successful, fulfilling lives. The Abbey is consistently one of the country’s top-performing schools academically. In 2013 52% of GCSE papers received an A* grade (85% A*/A). At A-level 95% of papers were graded A*-B, while the International Baccalaureate Diploma average score of 39 points confirms the school’s worldclass delivery of the IB programme. 85% of Sixth Form students took up places at the prestigious Russell Group of universities. From Nursery to Sixth Form, the school’s ethos is centred on empowering girls to become confident, independent and enthusiastic learners. Outside the classroom extra-curricular opportunities play an important part in the school community, with Music, Drama, Art and Sport plus myriad interest clubs contributing to a happy, energetic atmosphere that is highly valued.

The curriculum is enriched by trips and expeditions that offer girls the chance to develop their independence and experience different cultures. From Year 3 girls enjoying their first overnight visit to an adventure centre, to Sixth Form girls planning and taking part in an unsupported Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition, or visiting our link school in Uganda, Abbey girls travel widely and well. Recent developments at The Abbey include the opening of an internationalstandard all-weather sports pitch, plus a smaller pitch at the Junior School, which are contributing to the high standard of sport enjoyed throughout the school. We have also opened a superb new site for Reception and Year One girls, providing an inspiring educational environment and an excellent outside space for girls to explore. In September 2014 our new Headmistress Mrs Rachel Dent will take up her post following Mrs Stanley’s retirement. Mrs Dent is committed to continuing and developing the School’s warm, welcoming atmosphere and strong sense of community. Our Spring open events offer an excellent opportunity to experience the Abbey and to talk to our students and staff. Please visit for full details.

Trinity Christian School is a new independent primary school. In September, the school will be expanding so extra places are available. Ofsted November 2013: Good in all areas ‘Good and often outstanding teaching ensures pupils make good progress in their learning.’ ‘Teachers nurture their pupils, expect high standards and challenge pupils to achieve well in all areas of the curriculum.’ ‘The provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is excellent.’

‘Pupils’ behaviour and personal development are good and often outstanding. This is as a result of a nurturing ethos that places pupils’ spiritual and moral well-being at the centre of their pastoral care and emotional development.’ If you would like your child to attend one of our Taster Mornings this term please contact us at 11 Glebe Road, Reading, RG2 7AG Email: Call: 0118 9470366

The independent day school in Reading for girls aged 3–18

Junior School and Nursery Open Morning Friday 7 February 9.15 - 11.00am Visit our website for times of Head’s talks and further information. Individual tours are available throughout the year. Please contact Admissions on 0118 987 2256 or



January/February 2014 | | To advertise call 01932 888417


Supporting the local economy together

Donations help stroke charities KIND hearted staff from a company that offers specialist care and support services to older people and those with a disability have raised funds to help stroke victims. Wokingham-based Optalis gave cheques for £134 each to three local stroke clubs. They were presented by managing director Andrew Pickup. The charities are: • Wokingham Stroke Club, chaired by Borough Mayor Cllr UllaKarin Clark • Woodley and Earley Club • Life After Stroke Together (LAST). Optalis staff raised £402 during December through

by holding a charity pub quiz and two raffles. The activities were organised by Optalis’ own Community Involvement Group. Claire Giles, treasurer for LAST Stroke Club, said: “LAST is a self-funded group for stroke survivors with communication challenges. “We rely heavily on family and friends to fund and organise our various activities, so we’re delighted to be included in a share of the funds raised by Optalis staff. “The group extends its warmest thanks for their efforts, and rest assured – all will be put to good use.”

Vineyard plants new base

A READING-based church that has been without a permanent home for 20 years is looking forward to planting its new base. Network Vineyard Church (NVC) have bought Woodley Hill House in Earley. Church pastor Rob Gardiner said: “NVC has played an active part in the life of Reading and Bracknell since we were founded nearly 20 years ago.

“As we have grown over that time, we have rented a succession of school and sports venues. Having a permanent base in the community will give us the ability to do so much more in showing the love and power of Jesus Christ. “We are delighted to be taking stewardship of Woodley Hill House and the exciting opportunities it will open up.”

Tinsel is just the ticket for Joseph

Joseph and Sarah Jane Creighton won a Kindle Fire HD in Reading Buses Christmas photo competition and collected their prize hours before the big day. The tablet wasn’t the only

treat as James Freeman, MD of Reading Buses, allowed them to sit in the driver’s seat of a Reading bus. To enter the #tinseltravel contest, Joseph, 3, his six-yearold sister Sarah Jane and dad

Phil took a Christmas tree on to a Purple 17 bus. They were just one entry in the contest which saw people dress up in Santa and elf hats, tinsel and more. For more on this story, log on to

Beware of cold callers TRADING Standards at Reading Borough Council are advising local residents to be on their guard if they receive phone calls out of the blue, after a local consumer was contacted twice in the space of an hour. The cold calls can be about anything. These range from informing people that they have got a computer virus that only the caller’s company can fix (which is impossible for them to know), to offers of ‘free’ burglar alarms with an alarmingly high annual fee for monitoring and call outs. Paul Gittings Reading’s Lead Councillor for Consumer Services, said: “If you get a phone call you are not expecting, or from a number you don’t know, Trading Standards advice is to think for a second about why they must be calling. It is usually to sell you something so people should be on their guard. Help and advice is available from the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506.”

There are a few things residents can do to reduce nuisance telephone calls: • Make sure you are ex-directory (to arrange, contact your phone service supplier) • If you are not already registered with the Telephone Preference Service, join today, by calling 0845 070 0707 • Get a telephone with a caller display function – you can use it to more easily chose which calls to answer • In extreme cases, perhaps for elderly or vulnerable family members, invest in a device that blocks calls from any unknown telephone numbers. Search for ‘call blocker’ on the internet for further details • Don’t forget to just say ‘No thank you’ to calls that do get through. v If you need help, call Trading Standards on 08454 040506 or log on to www.

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Celebrating the other Bard

v Burns suppers v ST ANDREW’S URC is holding a Burns Supper on Saturday, January 25 at its London Road church. As well as a meal, there will be entertainment to enjoy. The fun starts from 7pm. For more information, log on to www.

Saturday, January 25 is a date marked in the calendar of every Scotsman – it’s Burns night: an evening of poetry, toasts and dancing. VIVIENNE JOHNSON finds out more Main picture: LYNDA BOWYER


ipe Sergeant Charlie Sim, 74, is hoping he doesn’t run out of puff this month. Charlie is a piper with the IHS Reading Scottish Pipe Band, who will be playing at several Burns Night Suppers around Berkshire. “We are always busy around Burns Night,” Charlie said. “We call it Burns Fortnight.” Burns Night is a special event in the Scottish calendar that marks the life of poet Robert Burns. At each meal, haggis is ceremonially piped in, before a poem is read to it. The evening also includes speeches and dancing. This year, the Reading Scottish Pipe Band will be performing for, among others, Finchampstead Scout Group, St Sebastian’s Dance Group and at Arborfield Village Hall. The band look impressive in their uniform which includes a black jacket (doublet), tall feather bonnet and kilt in the deep red, dark blue, green of the Cameron of Erracht tartan. Each uniform costs £2,000 and the band will be playing a concert in Reading Town Hall on Sunday, April 27 to help pay for them. The pipers and drummers have a huge music catalogue to learn as they always play from memory. “Most of the songs are traditional but we do play some modern music,” Charlie explains. “Sailing by Rod Stewart, Mull of Kintyre and also Christmas carols.” Pipers continue to compose and some of the newer melodies commemorate distressing occasions. “There is a tune called The Bells of Dunblane which marks the Dunblane school

massacre and Piper Alpha was written about the explosion and fire on the North Sea oil rig that killed 167 men,” Charlie says. “The Sands of Kuwait and The Crags of Tumbledown Mountain were written by members of the Scots Guard to commemorate military battles.” The Reading Scottish Pipe Band has travelled the world and played at festivals and special occasions in many countries. They have played many times in France, Germany and Spain, as well as Serbia, Sardinia, Japan, Italy and Romania. The band has also played in front of millions of people. “We represented Great Britain at the Olympics,” Charlie recalls. “We played at the closing ceremony with Eric Idle playing Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life. All we were paid was an Oyster Card! “It was a good experience though. When Andy Murray won his Gold medal, we were all watching on a big screen and performed Flower of Scotland for the crowd.” It’s not just about the Olympics. “We are always looking to welcome new members,” Pipe Major Ron Paterson says. “We have about 50 members, of which eight are ladies. The eldest member is piper Bill Simpson who enjoyed his 90th birthday last month, the youngest is drummer Verity Jackson, 14. “People travel from as far away as Middlesex, Wiltshire and Surrey to play.” v To find out more about, log on to www.readingscottish. org. They meet in St Andrew’s URC, London Road, Reading.


v in Mapledurham, a Burns’ Night Supper and Dance will take place from 6.30pm on Saturday, January 25 at Trench Green Village Hall. Entry is £18. For details, contact Paul Corby, via or the church office on 0118 996 8836. v THE Henley branch of the NSPCC is planning a fundraising Burns Supper, which is provisionally planned for Friday, January 24. For more details, log on to v DUNSDEN Village Hall is holding a Burns fish ‘n’ chip supper with quiz on Saturday, January 25. Starting at 7pm,tickets are £10 and include a meal, which could be Haggis. Tickets can be purchased from Binfield Heath Stores or from or telephone 0118 947 0339.

v Try Scottish Dancing Scottish Dancing sessions are held every Monday in the Victory Hall in Beenham. They start at 7.45pm and run until 10pm. Organisers promise a warm welcome. v For details, Betty on 0118 971 3541 or e-mail Jackie:

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Courses to help families Marriage courses v The Beatles might have sung Will you Still Need Me When I’m 64; for any couple want to ensure that true love lasts then taking part in a Marriage Course will help make this come true. Reading Family Church in London Street, Reading, will be turning its offices into a safeplace for couples who want to give their relationships an MoT. Over seven sessions, it aims to help keep your love on the road and not see it get a flat tyre or a blow out. Sessions run from February 25, and continue through to April 29. Each evening runs from 7.30pm to 9.45pm and places are limited, so booking is essential. It costs £70. For more details, email kathryn.twine@ v Wycliffe Baptist Church in East Reading is also running a Couples Course for any couple who wants to invest in their relationship. It takes place over seven sessions involving talks and work books and there is no group work or discussion other than with your partner. It will cost a donation of £20. Dates and venue to be confirmed – but probably Friday evenings in February and March. To express interest or find out more please email laura@ or call 0118 929 9911.

Parenting under 10s v PARENTS of children aged 10 and under can get some practical and useful insights in how to look after their children better thanks to a new course. Kerith Community Church is launching The Parenting Course on Monday, January 13, from 7.30pm. The sessions look at meeting children’s needs to setting boundaries and everything in between. As well as a speaker, there will be the opportunity to take part in discussions. The course is suitable for all family types. Parents can come alone or as a couple.

For more details, log on to the Bracknellbased church’s website at

Parenting Teenagers v The Parenting Teenagers course begins at Trinity Church, Lower Earley on Monday February 24. The course is for all parents, step-parents, or carers of children aged 11 to 18 and sessions run from 7.45pm to 9.45pm on Monday evening for five weeks. Course leader Ann Baker said: “No role we undertake in life is more important than parenting and parenting teenagers is harder than ever for most parents today. Discovering we are not alone in the challenges we face and picking up ideas from other parents can make a huge difference. “Join us for five evenings of DVD presentations, practical tips and relaxed discussions over tea, coffee and cakes.” To book your place or for more information call Ann on 07960 395666 or e-mail

Grief and loss v PEOPLE who have lost a loved one by death or relationship breakdown can receive support, love and care thanks to a monthly group that meets in Emmer Green. The Living With Loss sessions are held from 2pm-3.30pm on the first Friday of the month. People can attend as often or little as they wish and receive help in a supportive environment. It is held in the St Barnabas Parish Centre in St Barnabas Road. For more details, call Gillian Wilson on 0118 947 8772. v A CRUSE Bereavement Social group meets on the first Saturday of each month at English Martyrs Church in Tilehurst. Sessions run from 2pm to 4pm and anyone facing a loss is welcome. The group also organises various activities and outings during the year for those who have had a bereavement and need support.

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Escape from Are you feeling the financial squeeze after Christmas? There’s no need to turn to loan sharks and pay day loan companies to get help, as VIVIENNE JOHNSON explains


think that more people get into debt at Christmas than any other time because they try to show their love and affection by buying things, and almost the bigger the better.” That’s the view of Jo Kay, Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Debt Centre Manager for East Reading. She continues: “People feel pressurised into buying big presents and that can lead to all sorts of trouble, especially if you have to put it on a credit card or get a pay day loan to pay for it all.” Research by the Independent Money Advice Service suggests that one in three adults will start 2014 in debt because they overspent at Christmas – and one in 10 adults are still paying for Christmas 2012. People then turn to pay day loans to make ends meet. In May 2013, His Holiness Pope Francis spoke out against the way money is used in the world. The financial system “tyrannises the poor and turns humans into expendable consumer goods,” he said, adding, “money has to serve, not rule”. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Revd Justin Welby, has also spoken about money-related issues. He referred to “the devastating effects of debt” and “called for better regulation of the pay day loan industry”. Jo and the team at CAP are just one such organisation that can help you work out a budget and stay out of debt.

“Problems start when you are not aware of where money is going or you are overspending,” she says. “Having too big a Sky package or mobile contract. “Then there’s too much coming out and there’s not enough money to go around.” Jo knows how easy it is to suddenly find yourself short of money, even if you think you are on top of things. “Something always comes up,” she says. “There will be another school cost or something wrong with the car, or the bus pass goes up.” CAP offers a free service and will help anyone regardless of religious beliefs. They ensure that nobody receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of race, nationality, religion, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or disability. Jo’s advice if you are thinking of getting a pay day loan is to “think what can I afford to buy and what can I afford to repay? “Ideally we would ask that people save and look ahead and not go for credit at all, but if you were to compare a Credit Union with a pay day loan there would be no comparison – you would go for the Credit Union.” Community Savings and Loans (CSL) is Berkshire’s Credit Union. The Rt Revd Andrew Proud, Bishop of Reading, recently started to save with them. He said: “I’ve joined the Berkshire Credit Union – and I would really encourage you to do the same – not because you need to save, but because if you save with them, many more people can be helped to avoid debt.” Credit unions make a good alternative to pay day loans by providing loans to members at

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5,000%. very It is not low surprising rates of that many interest. borrowers, who They are already in also financial trouble, are provide unable to meet the members repayment costs and with help become more and more in and support debt. on managing If you are worried about their financial money, do not ignore the problem. affairs (if required). Contact CAP or CSL to speak to Credit union members make regular people who understand your savings, as little or as much as they situation and are in a position to wish. sing valuable resources throughhelp. high costs? × These savings then form a common “If you need a food parcel as pool of money which loans are consultancy nsulting is a from Christian-based a short term measure then I will made to members. You can borrow certainly sort that out” said Jo Kay d from canahelp – at no cost to you few pounds up to £10,000 of CAP. If you are one of the third and the money is repayable from six of the population who are in debt months up toOur five years with include: no fees, services “having your head in the sand is the no hidden charges no penalties. Ø Freeand audit of your telecommunications worst thing you can do. It is better Part of theØattraction of pay day Free audit of current electricity and/ with yourself, be to be honest 71 loans is that they and easy or are gasquick contracts realistic and get help.” 3312 to apply for, Ø butEasy the interest on them comparative to understand v Reading Family Church is running a is very high. They are frequently rd@ quotations CAP Money course over three weeks for a 30-day management loan of z more than £30 Ø Professional of future this month.contracts £100 which is equivalent to an APR of Each evening session is aimed


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sing CCA (Christian Reading Borough nsulting is a Christian-based consultancy Community Council’s Winter Watch d can help – atAction) no cost to you CCA has support centres in every one of its charity shops. For Our services include: details, visit

The Winter Watch campaign runs until March 31 and helps people struggling to keep warm in the Ø Free audit of your telecommunications cold. Call 0118 937 3747, or email Free audit of current electricity and/ ReadingØFrontline 71 or gas contracts Provides expert assistance to those 3312 Rent arrears who areØinEasy Forunderstand more detailscomparative rd@ call 0118 956 quotations 9300 or log on to Reading Borough Council helps z Ø Professional management oftenants future contracts struggling with their rent.

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Who owns these famous faces? at helping you learn or improve your budgeting skills. It starts at 8pm on Tuesday, January 21 and continues until February 11. For more details, contact Karen@ v Henley Baptist Church will run a course on Tuesdays from February 11. Sessions are held in its d:two centre in Market Place and start at 7.30pm. For details, visit

CELEBRITY supporters of a children’s charity are sharing their childood memories – and snaps – to raise awareness of the critical need for foster parents. Barnardo’s is launching its Create My Memories campaign this month which sees shopping centres projecting images of some famous faces, showing what they were like when they were children. Those taking part include Dame Helen Mirren Plan ahead. Now is the time to be and EastEnders actress Nina Wadia (pictured thinking about saving money for above, left and right), Amanda Howard, Joanna Christmas 2014. Lumley and Russell Howard. Set realistic expectations. Most Other famous faces will be showing their of us aren’t the Beckhams and support by talking about their past in a specially aren’t in their league. Educate commissioned video. These include Birds of a the children that they will get Feather actor Lesley Joseph, the new Doctor realistic presents for birthdays & Who Peter Capaldi and Girls Aloud singer Nicola Christmas. Roberts. Make it yourself: Home-made Ø Are you losing valuable resources through high costs? This video will be used in an appeal to the × public presents are so lovely and it from Barnardo’s, asking them to help create happy doesn’t have to be Consulting electrical. Prelco is a Christian-based consultancy childhood memories for children who are currently Know where your money is and can help – languishing at no cost tocare you in the UK system. going week by week. Stick to a The aim of the campaign is to find 9,000 budget. The spending that you can more foster carers in the UK – new research has Our services include: control most throughout the year found that the number of children in the care is your food shopping. If you’ve got Ø Free audit of your telecommunications system has continued to rise for the seventh year that nailed then you’re half way Ø Free audit of current electricity and/ in a row with more than 90,000 children in care Tel:for 0118 996 8171 there Christmas. or gas contracts across the UK. Mob: 07974 003312 Have free fun; enjoy a video and Ø Easy to understand comparative v The campaign will be launched on popcornpaul.elford@ on the sofa with the e-mail: quotations Monday, January 13. For more details, log on to kids. doesn’t have to be fancy or Ø Professional management of future contracts expensive JO KAY

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Heating expert Frank Ferris and the historic radiator

700-year-old church marks 150th anniversary

Why a radiator is really hot stuff By Brian Roach An ancient object hidden away inside St Mary’s church in Twyford is causing much excitement among a specialist group of experts. It’s not a rare work of art or ancient document. It’s a radiator. Not just any old radiator, but an extremely rare example of Victorian manufacturing. Building services expert Frank Ferris describes it as “a real treasure”. The find came to light as the church, built in 1847, prepares to replace its existing boiler and heating system before it breaks down entirely. An expert in church buildings spotted the importance of the small radiator and that’s when Mr Ferris was called in to investigate. He is a member of the Chartered Institution of Building Engineers heritage group and runs their web site. “It is a wonderful example of Victorian engineering,” he said. “It was made by Rosser

and Russell. The company was only set up in the 1860’s, which is probably when this radiator was manufactured. The company still exists today, using the latest information technology to provide building services for organisations such as the BBC and the Metropolitan Police. “I have visited around 500 churches during the course of my job and it’s the first example of this company’s early work that I have ever seen – it would have been unique at the time,” said Frank who travelled from Bristol to visit St Mary’s. Because of its historical value the church now plans to keep the radiator, which still works, when the rest of the heating system is removed. “We might even get round to putting a little plaque above it to show future generations just how special it is,” said the Revd Simon Howard, vicar of Ruscombe and Twyford with Hurst. v For more information, or to make a donation to the heating appeal, call the church office on 0118 934 4729.

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Malcolm Summers pictured second from right with (from left) Heather Dyer, author of a previous Greyfriars history, The Revd Joy Atkins, associate vicar of New Hope Community Church, and the Revd Canon Jonathan Wilmot, Vicar of Greyfriars Picture: Paul Hayward A CHURCH that is more than 700 years old celebrated its 150th anniversary in December. And that’s not a Christmas cracker riddle, nor was the building finished in a leap year. Greyfriars Church in Reading’s town centre dates back to 1233, when the Abbot of Reading granted the grey-clad friars land to build a big friary church. At a special service, held on Sunday, December 1, members of the church celebrated 150 years since its restoration. This was accompanied by publication of a new history of the church, and a cake specially designed by Greyfriars member Angela Bevan depicting the Greyfriars vision “to know Christ Jesus and to make Him known”. The book, History of Greyfriars Church Reading by Malcolm Summers, traces Greyfriars’ story. The church is known as the most complete example of Franciscan architecture in England still in use as a church, yet in 1862 the building was “worn and dilapidated” with parts “completely covered with ivy” - and the roof was missing.

In December 1863 the Revd William Whitmarsh Phelps restored Greyfriars as a Church of England parish church. The book reveals ups and downs of Greyfriars life, such as the choir practice in 1865 that ended abruptly when a gas lamp blew a hole in the floor. Remarkably the choir, vicar and family sustained only superficial cuts and bruises. v The History of Greyfriars Church, Reading is published by Downs Way Publishing. It costs £10 and is available fromGreyfriars Bookshop. For more details, call 0118 951 6703 or email:

Women invited to take some time out WOMEN looking for a bit of peace and quiet are invited to join in a retreat day at the end of March. God Is Light; In Him There Is No Darkness At All is the focus of the day, which has been organised specifically so it fits around the school run. Organiser Karen Washbourn said: “The timings are such that

ladies who need to do school drop off or pick up whether mother or grandmother can easily attend. The day fits around these times but also people are welcome to come earlier for coffee and stay later.” The event takes place on Friday, March 28, at St Katherine’s, Parmoor, Frieth,

Henley on Thames RG9 6NN. The sessions start from 9.30am and continues until 2.30pm, although people can stay until 4pm. Entry is by a suggested donation of £30, to cover costs including refreshments. v For details, email Karen at or call 07952 064186.


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v Window cleaning STANDARD AND BAPTIST WINDOW CLEANING. Windows, Frames, uPVC, Solar Panels, Conservatories, Conservatory Rooves. A one off or regular, town and country service for 20 Miles around Reading. (0118) 954 7238

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

v Marketing Creative thinker inspires results. • Award winning copywriting • Business development • Creative network • Mentoring Contact Hyperbole. 0118 966 6600. john@hyperbole.

BRINGING COMMUNIT Y TOGETHER To advertise call 01932 888417 v Clothing alterations DOES THAT DRESS NEED TO BE MADE WEARABLE? I can help. Also to shorten trousers, jeans, shirts, jacket sleeves, replace zips. Anything else? Contact me! Awesome Alterations. 0118 926 0603.

v Wills & Lasting Power of Attorney OMEGA WILLS. We are a Christian, family run business providing a personal caring service at a fair price. Home visits available. For Further information call: 0845 040 5872 or e-mail:

v Help wanted WANTED – personal assistant/ mothers help/nanny. A housebound mum with two school age children needs help four afternoons weekly from 3-6pm. Excellent rate of pay. January 2014 start. Involves childcare with afternoon school run; cooking family meals; some housework; tasks for disabled mum. Needs to be reliable, uses own initiative, experienced with children. Contact Ju on 07805 252361.

NEW FOR 2014! All Trade Directory adverts will receive a FREE advert on the Xn website. To advertise in our next issue or to find out more email v Carpets callaghan carpets and flooring. Home pattern service from a reliable family company. Carpets, vinyls & commercial flooring 40 years’ experience. www.callaghanflooringandcarpets. or (0118) 962 8527. Mention Xn and 5% of total order goes to YeLDALl manor

v Carpet cleaning

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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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

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.

v Piano accompaniment EXPERIENCED PIANO ACCOMPANIST available for music exams and recitals. Judith Creighton www. or 07957 193366.

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 Plumbing Patterson Plumbers. Bathroom installations, heating installations, plumbing repairs, free quotes, no job too small, over 60’s discount. Professional, reliable & honest. www.pattersonplumbers. 07921 572652 info@

v Counselling Philippi Trust Counselling and Training. Level 2 Introduction to Counselling courses. Starting dates January/February 2014, January 2014, May 2014 Contact 0118 966 7422 or

vD  riving lessons


Driving Tuition. Lessons for beginners or those who are test ready. Pay as you go or get discount for block booking. Over 4 years experience. Contact Robin Gowers by txt on 07973730990 or email:

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January/February 2014 | | To advertise call 01932 888417


Keeping you in touch with each other

there’s much, much more online! We’re best for local events

We can’t fit everything into the print edition, so log on to for more events


CAVERSHAM – Grace Church, Peppard Road. Pop-in Café for seniors. Includes tea, chat and homemade cakes. 2.30pm-4pm. Details: www. gracechurch 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. READING – St John and St Stephen, Orts Road, RG1 3JN. Monday Monsters toddler group: arts, crafts, singing, games and more. 12.45pm-3pm. Donation of 50p. Term-time only. Details: MondayMonsters1

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 READING – The Warehouse, Cumberland Road. Men’s Lunch Club. 12.30pm-2pm. £3. WHITLEY – Christ The King Church parish centre, Northumberland Avenue. 60’s Plus Club: bingo, tea, biscuits, chat and more. 1pm3.45pm. Details: Danny Apap 0118 967 1344 or

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. READING – Wycliffe Baptist Church, King’s Road. Jacket potato café. 11am-2pm. STOKE ROW – Independent Chapel. Art painting group. 10am. Details: www.

Submit your events to Wednesday, January 8 EMMER GREEN – St Barnabas Church. Alpha Course launch night: food and discussion. 7pm. Details: 0118 947 5744 or alpha@saintbarnabas.

Thursday, January 9 Thursdays GORING – Goring Free 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. READING – Reading Central Salvation Army, Anstey Road RG1 7JR. Craft group. 11am-2pm. Details: www.readingcental. READING – Wycliffe Baptist Church, King’s Road. Jacket potato café. 11am-2pm. SHINFIELD – Baptist Church, Hollow Lane. Coffee morning – all welcome. Details: www.shinfieldbaptist. 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. READING – The Warehouse, Cumberland Road. Take A Break: Come and meet others and have a chat and a cuppa. 10am-noon. WOKINGHAM – St Paul’s Parish Rooms, Reading Road. Prayers and Bears toddler group. 1.30pm3.30pm. £1 per family. Details: 0118 979 2122.

Saturdays LOWER EARLEY – Baptist Church. Community cafe meets, suitable for families and more. All welcome. 10am-12.30pm. www.lowerearley

Email your events to editor@

HENLEY – Badgemore Park Golf Club. The Filling Station with guest speaker Sue Wilmott. From 7.30pm. Details: henley@

Friday, January 10 SHINFIELD – Shinfield Players Theatre, Whitley Wood Lane RG2 8PN. The Amazing Adventures of Sinbad. A fun-filled show of slapstick fun, music dance and story of love through different countries of the world. £10. Details: uk or 0118 975 8800.

Saturday, January 11 BEENHAM – Victory Hall. Village market including stalls, refreshments and more. In aid of upkeep of hall. 2pm-3.30pm. Details: 0118 971 4822. BINFIELD – From car park, Binfield Shopping Centre. Men’s monthly country walk, lasts approximately an hour. Come dressed for rain and mud. 7.45am. Details: Clive Betteridge 01344 450260. READING – Reading Central Salvation Army, Anstey Road RG1 7JR. Jumble Sale 10.30am. Details: SHINFIELD – Shinfield Players Theatre, Whitley Wood Lane RG2 8PN. The Amazing Adventures of Sinbad. Details as yesterday. SHINFIELD – St Mary’s Church Hall. Ringers Quiz night. 7.15pm. £10, under 18s £6. Teams of up to six. Details: Jill Grindal 0118 988 2158.

Sunday, January 12 CROWTHORNE – St John The Baptist, Waterloo Road. Holy Land, Unholy Conflict: listening to the cry of the Palestinian Church, a talk by Su McClennan from Embrace the Middle East. 8pm. All welcome. Details: www. FINCHAMPSTEAD – St James’ Church Centre. Contrast Youth Group (Secondary School age). Arrive and leave to suit. 6.30pm-9pm.

Details: Cathy 0118 973 0707. SHINFIELD – Shinfield Players Theatre, Whitley Wood Lane RG2 8PN. The Amazing Adventures of Sinbad. As Friday. SONNING – St Andrew’s Church. Sonning Bell Ringers open event: explore the church tower and learn more about bellringing. From 11.30am. Details: Pam Elliston on 0118 969 5967, andrew.elliston@

Monday, January 13 BRACKNELL – Kerith Centre, Church Road. Parenting Course for parents with children aged 10 and under. £10 to cover costs of manual and refreshments. Details: www.kerith.

Tuesday, January 14 FINCHAMPSTEAD – St Mary & St John’s Parish Centre, Billing Avenue. Tea and Chat: pop in, sit down and relax over a cup of tea, some cake and friendly chat. All ages welcome. No charge. 2pm.

Wednesday, Jan 15 CROWTHORNE – St John The Baptist, Waterloo Road. Christingle Epiphany Toy Service in aid of The Children’s Society and PACT. Come dressed as the Wise Men. 10am. Details: www. EMMER GREEN – St Barnabas Church. Alpha Course. 7pm. Details: 0118 947 5744 or alpha@ READING – Greyfriars Church, Friar Street. Christianity Explored course launch night. Details: www.

Thursday, January 16 GORING – St Mary’s Church. Pick-a-Flick club for retired folk: Mrs Doubtfire, includes light lunch. From 10.30am. £3. Transport available. Details: 01491 872109. READING – Greyfriars Church, Friar Street. Alpha Course launch night. Details: WOODLEY – Christ Church, Crockhamwell Road. Monthly quiz. 2pm. Details: 0118 926 8143.

Friday, January 17 READING – New Hope Community Church, York Road RG1 8DU. Book club: all welcome, just turn up. 7.30pm. 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 SHINFIELD – Shinfield Players Theatre, Whitley Wood Lane RG2 8PN. The Amazing Adventures of Sinbad. As Friday, January 10. THEALE – Holy Trinity Church. Parish New Year party and meal. Venue tbc. 7.30pm. Details: www.

To advertise call 01932 888417 | | January/February 2014

tune in ON sundayS!

Wednesday, January 29

Hear Xn editor Phil Creighton at 8.25am every Sunday on BBC Radio Berkshire

Thursday, January 30

Saturday, January 18 LOWER EARLEY – Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve, Marefield RG6 3DU. Oakwood Forest Church. 3pm. All welcome, dress for the weather. Details: oakwoodforestchurch. READING – Harvester, Prospect Park RG30 2ND. Reading Family Church men’s breakfast from 9am. Details: geoff.mark.white@ READING – Reading Central Salvation Army, Anstey Road RG1 7JR. Songster fundraising meal. 7pm. Details: READING – Concert Hall. Aldworth Philarmonic Orchestra presents Beer, Bulbs & Biscuits concert. 7.30pm. Details: www. SHINFIELD – Shinfield Players Theatre, Whitley Wood Lane RG2 8PN. The Amazing Adventures of Sinbad. As Friday, January 10.

Sunday, January 19 OWLSMOOR – St George’s Church, Owlsmoor Road. Ecumenical service for the Week of Prayer For Christian Unity. 6.30pm. FINCHAMPSTEAD – Sports Club Social Bar, Finchampstead Memorial Hall. Men Behaving Dadly. 8pm. Details: 0118 973 0133 SHINFIELD – Shinfield Players Theatre, Whitley Wood Lane RG2 8PN. The Amazing Adventures of Sinbad. As Friday, January 10. SPENCERS WOOD – St Michael’s Church. Christingle Service. 10am. All welcome. Tilehurst – Methodist Church, School Road. Churches Together in Reading Service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with Michael Penny and Revd Andy Moffoot and others. All welcome. 6.30-7.30pm. Details 01491 671357. WOKINGHAM – Methodist Church, Rose Street. Alpha Course introduction night. 6pm. All welcome. Details: www.

Monday, January 20 BINFIELD – All Saints Church. The Julian Meetings for silent, contemplative prayer. 8pm. All welcome. Details: Elizabeth 07855 074594. HENLEY – Christ Church Centre, Reading Road RG9 1AG. Busy Bees Craft Group. 2pm Details: www. READING – Reading Family Church, London Road. Bible School – first of 10 monthly sessions exploiring the big pictures from The Bible. 7pm-9.30pm. Details: Karen@ SOUTHCOTE – Southcote Christian Mission, RG30 3BL. Reading Aglow

Find out what’s happening in the week ahead by switching on Paul Coia’s show on BBC Radio Berkshire every Sunday morning from 7am. Phil presents his pick of the week around 8.25am. meeting with Doreen Henry, area president for London and the South East and Karen Allen: A Vision for 2014 and Beyond. 7.15pm. £5 on the door, first meeting free. Details: www.

Tuesday, January 21 WARGRAVE – St Mary’s Church Parish rooms. Christianity Explored – first of seven weeks. 7.30pm. Details: 0118 940 2300.

Thursday, January 23 CAVERSHAM – Caversham Heights Methodist Church. Cinderella: a pantomime in aid of DrugFAM and other charities. £7.50, under 16s £5. Details: 0118 947 3935. HENLEY – Kenton Theatre. Henley College presents A Marvellous Night: an evening of music featuring College students and special guests. £5. 7.30pm. Details:

Friday, January 24 WHITCHURCH – The Ferryboat. Men’s meal with guest speaker Carl Beech from CVM. 7.30pm for 8pm. £15 for two-course meal. Details: Chris Alcock 07821691684 or

Saturday, January 25 BINFIELD – St Mark’s Church. Men’s breakfast: What Is God’s Favourite Car? 7.30am-8.45am. Details: CAVERSHAM – Caversham Heights Methodist Church. Cinderella: a pantomime in aid of DrugFAM and other charities. £7.50, under 16s £5. Details: 0118 947 3935. CROWTHORNE – St John The Baptist Church, Waterloo Road. Children’s chocolate bingo. 2.30pm-4pm. Details: www. EARLEY – Earley St Peter’s Church, Church Road. The Chiltern Brass Quintet in concert. 7pm. In aid of Brass For Africa. Details: www. or 0118 966 8575. MAPLEDURHAM – Trench Green Village Hall. St Margaret’s Mapledurham presents a Burns’ Night supper. 6.30pm. £18. Details: www.stmargaretmapledurham.

READING – The Pavilion, Oxford Road. HisKidz: dads and lads session for under fives. £1 donation per family. 10.30am12.30pm. Details: www.citylifecp. READING – All Saints, Downshire Square. Jumble sale. 1.30pm. Deatils: 0118 959 4273. WOKINGHAM – The Cornerstone, Norreys Avenue. Quiz night with fish n chip supper. 7pm for 7.30pm. Prizes for best and worst teams. £11, includes food and drink. Teams of up to eight. In aid of Children’s Society. Details: Dickon Snell 0118 978 1044.

Sunday, January 26 STREATLEY – St Mary’s Church. Ancient and Modern music recital with Frances Brewett-Taylor and friends. £5, retiring collection. Details: www.thomasandmary. WOODLEY – Christ Church, Crockhamwell Road. Monthly games afternoon – all welcome. Details: 0118 926 8143.

Monday, January 27 BURGHFIELD – St Mary’s Church RG30 3TG. Bradfield Deanery Spiritual Development group presents Paul’s Enduring Legacy, a talk by the Revd Robert Morgan. 8pm.

Tuesday, January 28 BINFIELD – St Mark’s Church. The Silver Service, followed by a hot lunch. Transport available. Noon. Details: Margareta Hawkins 01344 411681. FINCHAMPSTEAD – St James’ Church Centre. Fledgelings’ Toddler & Baby Group, warm welcome assured. 1.45pm. Details: 0118 973 0133. FINCHAMPSTEAD – St Mary & St John’s Parish Centre, Billing Avenue. Tea and Chat: pop in, sit down and relax over a cup of tea, some cake and friendly chat. All ages, welcome. No charge. 2pm. HENLEY – Christ Church Centre, Reading Road RG9 1AG. Teddy Praise: story and singalong for little ones followed by fish finger sandwiches. Bring a teddy. Free, donations welcomed. 11.30am. Details: www.christchurchhenley.

READING – Reading Family Church, London Street. Alpha Course: explore the Christian faith, enjoy cake and ask questions. 8pm. Until April 2. Free. Details: scott@ MIDGHAM – Village Hall. Coffee morning. 10am-noon. All welcome. Details: 0118 971 3710.

READING – Reading Family Church, London Street. Daytime Alpha Course: explore the Christian faith, enjoy cake and ask questions. 10.15am-11.15am. Creche available. Until April 3. Free. Details: scott@

Friday, January 31 SWALLOWFIELD – Parish Hall. The Russell Players present Captain Hook’s Revenge. 7.30pm. £8, under 16s £5. Details: 0771 050 0491 or

Saturday, February 1 BINFIELD – Jack O’Newbury Skittle Alley RG42 5PH. St Andrew’s Parish, Sonning Skittle night. 7.30pm. £10.50. Details: 0118 961 1188 (booking deadline January 19). READING – Argyle Community Church, Argyle Road. Sat Caf:


community cafe with tea, coffee, cakes, friendship and games for the children. 10.30am-12.30pm. Free, donations welcomed. Details: www.argylecommunitychurch. com. SANDHURST – Sandhurst & Yateley Methodist Church, Scotland Hill. Charity concert in aid of The Leprosy Mission. 7pm. Free entry. Details: Robert Godden 07543 800921. SWALLOWFIELD – Parish Hall. The Russell Players present Captain Hook’s Revenge. 2.30pm and 7.30pm. £8, under 16s £5. Details: 0771 050 0491 or www. WEST ISLEY – The Ridgeway car park (West). Carey Baptist Church presents Look At The Birds: a guided owl walk around the The Ridgeway near West Isley. 2pm-4pm. Free. Dress for the weather. Details and 2014 programme: www.

Sunday, February 2 ALDERMASTON – St Mary’s. Family Christingle service. Children will be given a Christingle, adults to bring their own candle. 4pm. Details: READING – Reading Deaf Centre, Cardiff Road. Reading Deaf Church meeting. 10.30am. Deatils: www.

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January/February 2014 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

SONNING – St Andrew’s Church. Christingle service for the feast of Candlemas. 10.30am.

BEECH HILL – Memorial Hall. Village tea party. 3pm. All welcome. BRACKNELL – Kerith Centre, Church Road. CAP Money Course: get help with managing your finances. First of three weeks. 8pm. Details: BRACKNELL – Kerith Centre, Church Road. Marriage Course over seven weeks. 7.30pm. Details: www.

St James’ Church Annual Church Concert. Evening. Details and tickets: 0118 973 0133. READING – Argyle Community Church, Argyle Road. Reading Phoenix Choir and Oxford Road Community School present Sing Out! 7pm. £5. Details: 07736 465294 or readingphoenixchoir. com. SWALLOWFIELD – Parish Hall. The Russell Players present Captain Hook’s Revenge. 2.30pm and 7.30pm. £8, under 16s £5. Details: 0771 050 0491 or www.

Thursday, February 6

Monday, February 10

Tuesday, February 4

HENLEY – Badgemore Park Golf Club. The Filling Station with guest speaker Sue Wilmott. From 7.30pm. Details: henley@

Friday, February 7 EMMER GREEN – St Barnabas Church Hall, St Barnabas Road RG4 8RA. Living With Loss group for people who have lost a loved one. 2pm3.30pm. Details: Gillian Wilson 0118 947 8772. SWALLOWFIELD – Parish Hall. The Russell Players present Captain Hook’s Revenge. 7.30pm. £8, under 16s £5. Details: 0771 050 0491 or WOKINGHAM – Town Hall, Market Place. Race Night in aid of Mayor’s charity: Scouting and Guiding Wokigham. 7pm. £12, includes fish and chip supper. Details: npayler@

Saturday, February 8 BINFIELD – From car park, Binfield Shopping Centre. Men’s monthly country walk, lasts approximately an hour. Come dressed for rain and mud. 7.45am. Details: Clive Betteridge 01344 450260. BRACKNELL – Kerith Centre, Church Road. A Leaders Gathering with John Burke: aimed at church leaders who want to develop the local church. Details: www.kerith. CROWTHORNE – St John The Baptist Church, Waterloo Road. Pudding evening. 7.15pm for 7.30pm. £5. Details: www. FINCHAMPSTEAD – Memorial Hall.

READING – Bills Restaurant, Chain Street. Reading At Work presents Sustainable Work and Lifestyle, a talk by the Revd Dr John Weaver, chairman of the The John Ray Initiative. 7.45pm. Details: Dave@

Wednesday, Feb 12 STOKE ROW – Independent Chapel. Wednesday@8 social group hobbies and interests evening. 8pm, all welcome. Details: www.

Friday, February 14 ALDERMASTON – Parish Hall. Aldermaston Players Edwardian Music Hall with meal. 7pm. £22.50, includes food. Details: or 0118 981 5815. FINCHAMPSTEAD – Memorial Hall. Corpus Christi Church Wokingham presents Aladdin. Dress rehearsal: pre-bookings only, in aid of charity. £5. Details:

Saturday, February 15 ALDERMASTON – Parish Hall. Aldermaston Players Edwardian Music Hall. Details as yesterday. FINCHAMPSTEAD – Memorial Hall. Corpus Christi Church Wokingham presents Aladdin. 1pm and 5pm. £5. Details: LOWER EARLEY – Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve car park, Marefield RG6 3DU. Oakwood Forest Church. 3pm. Dress for the weather. Details: oakwoodforestchurch.

Sunday, February 16 FINCHAMPSTEAD – Memorial Hall. Corpus Christi Church Wokingham presents Aladdin. 2.30pm. £5. Details:

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Monday, February 17 SOUTHCOTE – Southcote Christian Mission, RG30 3BL. Reading Aglow meeting. 7.15pm. £5. Details:

Xn is a fantastic vehicle to promote any special events, concerts, gatherings or parties you are holding – and with adverts starting at just £25 for local, community groups and charities, it’s great value. For details email today

Wednesday, Feb 19 BINFIELD – Memorial Hall. The Binfield Bards present The Beauty Sleeping, a pantomime. 7pm. £7, concessions £6. Details: Karen Hatt 07541 930997.

Thursday, February 20 BINFIELD – Memorial Hall. The Binfield Bards present The Beauty Sleeping. Details as yesterday. GORING – St Mary’s Church. Picka-Flick club for retired folk: On Golden Pond. includes light lunch. From 10.30am. £3. Transport available if requested. Details: 01491 872109. READING – Anderson Baptist Church, Amherst Road. Family fun night. 6pm-10pm. Details: www.

Friday, February 21 ALDERMASTON – Parish Hall. Aldermaston Players Edwardian Music Hall with meal. 7pm. £22.50, includes food. Details: or 0118 981 5815. BINFIELD – Memorial Hall. The Binfield Bards present The Beauty Sleeping. Details as Wednesday. READING – New Hope Community Church, York Road RG1 8DU. Book club: all welcome, just turn up. 7.30pm. Details: www.

Saturday, Feb 22 ALDERMASTON – Parish Hall. Aldermaston Players Edwardian Music Hall with meal. 7pm. £22.50, includes food. Details: or 0118 981 5815. BINFIELD – St Mark’s Church. Men’s breakfast. 7.30am-8.45am.

BINFIELD – Memorial Hall. The Binfield Bards present The Beauty Sleeping, a pantomime. 2pm, 7pm. £7, concessions £6. Details: Karen Hatt 07541 930997. READING – The Pavilion, Oxford Road. HisKidz: dads and lads session for under fives. £1 donation per family. 10.30am12.30pm. Details: www.citylifecp. READING – Reading Central Salvation Army, Anstey Road. Walking group: walk of no more than 4½ miles, avoiding steep climbs. Come dressed for the weather. All welcome. 10am. Details: Michael Bennett 0118 984 4818.

Sunday, February 23 WOODLEY – Christ Church, Crockhamwell Road. Monthly games afternoon – all welcome. Details: 0118 926 8143.

Tuesday, February 25 BINFIELD – St Mark’s Church. The Silver Service, followed by a hot lunch. Transport available. Noon. Details: Margareta Hawkins 01344 411681. HENLEY – Christ Church Centre, Reading Road RG9 1AG. Teddy Praise: story and singalong for little ones. Free, donations welcomed. 11.30am. Details: www. READING – Reading Family Church, London Street. Marriage Course: give your relationship an MoT. Seven-week course. 7.30pm9.45pm. Until April 29. £70. Booking essentia. Details: kathryn. .

Friday, February 28 SONNING COMMON – St Michael’s Church. A Celebration of Marriage, for couples, engaged, widows or married. 7.30pm. All welcome.

Saturday, March 1

Pre-paid funerals through Berkshire’s leading family funeral directors offering peace of mind and financial security - Quote XN 13 and request a brochure today. The UK Market Leaders in funeral planning Head office 0118 957 3650

READING – Argyle Community Church, Argyle Road. Sat Caf: community cafe with tea, coffee, cakes, friendship and games for the children. 10.30am-12.30pm. Free, donations welcomed. Details: www.argylecommunitychurch. com.

Sunday, March 2 READING – Reading Deaf Centre,

Cardiff Road. Reading Deaf Church meeting. 10.30am. Deatils: www. READING – ACROSS TOWN. Reading Half Marathon.

Tuesday, March 4 WOODLEY – Christ Church, Crockhamwell Road. Pancake Party. Full details to be announced. Details: 0118 926 8143.

Wednesday, March 5 BRACKNELL – Kerith Centre, Church Road. Alpha Course launch night, continues over 10 weeks. 10am or 7.30pm. Details: www. BRACKNELL – Kerith Centre, Church Road. Freedom In Christ course: continues over 13 weeks. £20 per person to cover costs. 7.30pm. Details:

Friday, March 7 EMMER GREEN – St Barnabas Church Hall, St Barnabas Road RG4 8RA. Living With Loss group for people who have lost a loved one. 2pm3.30pm. Details: Gillian Wilson 0118 947 8772. HENLEY – Christ Church Centre, Reading Road RG9 1AG. Women’s World Day of Prayer service: Streams in the Dessert. 1.30pm. Details: www.christchurchhenley.

Saturday, March 8 ALDERMASTON – Primary School. Family-friendly treasure hunt, starting and ending at the school. More details to be announced. Details: EMMER GREEN – St Barnabas Church, St Barnabas Road. Reading Central Salvation Army band in concert in aid of the church’s organ appeal. 7.30pm. Details: uk. SONNING – Pearson Hall. 1st Sonning Scout Group fundraising quiz night. 6.30pm. £6, includes food. Bar available. Adults only. Details: Mike Watts 07889 080134 or quiz@ .

Friday, March 14 HARE HATCH – Yeldall Manor RG10 9XR. Celebration service for the work of Yeldall Manor. 7.30pm. Details:


To advertise call 01932 888417 | | January/February 2014


Keeping you in touch with each other

The UK becomes Lynn’s parish BY VIVIENNE JOHNSON Lynn Chetcuti, formerly Associate Pastor of Network Vineyard, Bracknell is starting the New Year with a new challenge as the whole of the UK becomes her parish. Having served part time on the board of Natural Church Development, UK (NCD) for 3 years, she has accepted a fulltime role with the organisation. “Jesus is the only one who grows our church,” explained Lynn, “but there are many things that get in the way. NCD provide tools that help church leaders and members identify the things that are

inhibiting growth, and then empower them to address those factors.” NCD work with all denominations and styles of church.


ALL SAINTS Church in Rotherfield Peppard has called someone from Down Under to become its House of Duty Priest. The Revd Susan Cooper, a priest in the Local Shared Ministry parish of West Rotorua in the Diocese of Waiapu, New Zealand, has been appointed by the Bishop of Dorchester. Her start date has yet to be confirmed. Susan knows the area quite well as her grandfather was Vicar of Streatley in the 1950s.


A BURGHFIELD church will be welcoming a special guest for a talk about the Apostle Paul later this month. The Revd Robert Morgan, an Emeritus member of the Oxford Theology Faculty, will be speaking at St Mary’s Church in Burghfield on Monday, January 27. Starting at 8pm, his talk will explore Paul’s Enduring Legacy and have a particular emphasis on the Letter to the Galatians. It has been organised by the Bradfield Deanery Spiritual Development Group.


A Lent book launch has raised funds for Royal Berkshire Hospital’s Buscot Ward. Last month, Deacon Becky Lovatt, from Caversham’s Methodist churches, held a coffee and cake morning to launch her book, In the Shadow of Victory. The event raised £81, and will be given to the Ward, which works with premature and ill babies. Profits from book sales will also be given to the appeal. For more details, or to purchase a copy of Becky’s book, log on to


The Revd Lorraine Colam became a chaplain at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in December and has moved on from her role at St Catherine’s of Siena Church in Tilehurst.

“It’s about developing the culture that is right for you, in your church,” said Lynn. v For more details on the services NCD provides, log on to


PANCAKES will be available to enjoy at a fun food evening on Tuesday, March 4. It will be held at Christ Church in Crockhamwell Road, Woodley. For more details, log on to


THE two head choristers at Earley St Peter’s Church in Earley have been successful in recent Royal School of Church Music Silver Medal examinations. Isy Irvine (Distinction) and Vanessa Bell (Merit) were awarded their medals at a special service in the church and their certificates were given out at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford.


IN ANTICIPATION of another cold winter, the Parish of Bradfield, Bucklebury & Stanford Dingley Churches have decided to combine some services. The church of St Andrew’s Bradfield will join St Peter’s in Southend Bradfield at 10am on Sundays. St Andrew’s will be used for worship once again from Mothering Sunday, March 30.


St Nicholas Church in Hurst is undergoing a major refurbishment project and, until early April, will be meeting at St Nicholas School hall for services.


The Revd Anna Harwood has been appointed as the next full-time Associate Priest to All Saints Church in Wokingham. Anna is currently serving in the benefice of Twyford and Ruscombe with Hurst; she will take up her role at All Saints in June.


The Revd Mike Smith will be licensed as Rector of Caversham Thameside and Mapledurham at St Peter’s Church, Caversham on Sunday, March 16 from 3.30pm.


v Have your say on Abbey Quarter PEOPLE are being asked back a fresh bid to help conserve Reading’s historic Abbey Quarter, as Reading Borough Council prepares to bid again for Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) money. The Council is in the process of pulling together proposals for the conservation and promotion of the town’s Abbey heritage – a unique site of both local and national importance, and a key destination for residents and visitors of Reading. An online survey has been published at abbeyquarter and asks people how significant they think the Abbey is in heritage terms, whether they support the Council’s HLF bid to conserve the Abbey Ruins and Abbey Gate, and if they have any suggestions that would help the Council’s bid for funding. People have until January 31 to complete the survey forms.

Volunteers from Clarify help sort donations for ReadiFood

Clarify gives Christmas cheer to ReadiFood THE Friday before Christmas was the busiest day yet for ReadiFood’s little helpers. The charity which provides emergency foods to families and individuals in desperate need had to deliver 50 packages on December 20. To ensure that all these deliveries got through, the charity received help from Clarify, a Theale-based business development specialist for the enterprise technology industry. More than 40 volunteers got stuck in, creating parcels, sorting donations and checking food as well as delivering parcels that made people’s Christmas. A week earlier, ReadiFood had received help from Microsoft staff. The charity, like other foodbanks, has benefitted from ongoing donations

given during supermarket collections at Tesco and Waitrose, as well as from churches and community groups. These collections will continue over the coming months and volunteers are needed to help staff them. The first collection takes place at Waitrose Twyford over the weekend of February 15 and 16. On the weekend of March 1 and 2, Waitrose Caversham will be collecting. Waitrose in Oxford Road, Reading will welcome donations on March 15 and 16. Then, on April 5 and 6, it will be the turn of Waitrose Woodley. Other dates will be available and are on the ReadiFood website. v To pledge support, log on to or call 0118 987 2672.

v Men’s leader to speak at dinner AN 18th Century inn with lots of atmosphere is the setting for a special men’s evening. Carl Beech, the national director of CVM, will speak at a meal organised by men from St Mary the Virgin Church in Whitchurch. It takes place at

The Ferryboat Inn on Friday, January 24 from 7.30pm. The evening includes a twocourse meal and costs £15. v For details and tickets, call Chris Alcock on 07821 691684 or send an email to



January/February 2014 | | To advertise call 01932 888417

Thames Valley Churches Football League

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

Finchampstead’s late winner for Philmar BY James Hern



FTER a week out for the Philmar Cup contest, it was business as usual for the Thames Valley Churches Football League last month. With lots of goals being scored in some thrilling games, the teams go into 2014 with just seven points between the top five – the title race is still wide open.

Temple blow knocks out Saints

The weekend of November 30 saw the league take a back seat to the Philmar Cup. Finchampstead Baptist Church earned their first victory of the season with a 1-0 over Reading Saints – and they left it late too. Their winner came in the 89th minute after Dave Temple tapped in having reacted quickest after a fierce shot by Mark Helan could only be parried by the Saints keeper. There was still time for Saints to claim an equaliser deep into injury time, however it was not clear whether the whole ball had actually crossed the line. League leaders Tilehurst Albion sealed top spot in their group with a convincing 9-0 win over West Reading CFC Reserves. Steve Hannah and Adam Fay both hit hat-tricks, Charlie Baines scored two and Ian Golbourne added the other. Goals by Michael Bembridge and Dean Williams were not enough for in-form Wycliffe Wanderers, who went down 4-2 at guest side Brentford. Wycliffe started strongly, creating several attacks down their left, one of which culminated in Bembridge scoring from close range, but Brentford responded well, pulling level with a smashing shot from 25 yards and then taking the lead with another great strike. Wycliffe responded themselves but found the offside flag prevented a first equaliser, before Chris Hayman had his spot kick saved by the Brentford keeper’s legs. Early in the second half, the home side went further ahead, stealing possession and swiftly moving the ball forward where it was coolly lobbed over the advancing Wycliffe keeper, Richard Langley, and into the empty net. Wycliffe spurned several chances to get back into the game before Williams struck with a similar lobbed goal from Langley’s long punt up-field, but Brentford killed the game when Langley was robbed of the ball and it was crossed for the easiest of tap-ins. Philmar Cup holders Kerith FC also lost to a London

Top two go through to knock-out stages, rest to Colin Lowery Trophy. For results, visit the website Group 1 1 Tilehurst Albion (Philmar Cup) 2 Brentford (Philmar Cup) 3 Wycliffe Wanderers (Colin Lowery Trophy) 4 West Reading Reserves (Colin Lowery Trophy)

Group 2

All teams tied on 3 points, league placing decided by Cup Rule G 1 Greyfriars FC (Philmar Cup) 2 Kerith FC (Philmar Cup) 3 South Ealing (Colin Lowery Trophy)

Group 3

All teams tied on 3 points, league placing decided by Cup Rule G 1 Brookside St Laurence (Philmar Cup) 2 Norreys (Philmar Cup) 3 Bethel United (Colin Lowery Trophy)

Group 4

1 West Reading CFC (Philmar Cup) 2 Finchampstead (Philmar Cup) 3 Reading Saints (Colin Lowery Trophy)

based team, losing 3-2 to 10-man South Ealing. Ben Findlay and William Day scored second half goals for the TVCFL side but by then they were three goals down. They had several chances to pull level, enough to win the tie, but the result means that Greyfriars FC top the group after all three teams finished on three points. Another team topping their group is Bethel United, 4-2 winners over Norreys. Kingsley Goodridge and Shane Newton each scored goals but a Daniel Priest double ensured victory. In the final match, Neither side could prevent West Reading CFC from topping the group, but Finch will be hoping the win can boost their league campaign.

Hare’s hat-trick lifts Brookside

On Saturday, December 7, it was League action again – and a top of the table clash. Leaders Tilehurst Albion entertained Bethel United and the game proved to be a close one. Albion remained top after a narrow 2-1 victory, with Charlie Baines and Ian Golbourne finding the net for the IBIS-based side. Brookside St Laurence kept pace with Albion, moving above Bethel into second place following their

FIXTURES KICK OFF 10.30am on Saturdays v January 18

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

v February 1 B’side St Laurence v Greyfriars FC Finchamp’ Baptist v Norreys Wycliffe Wanderers v Reading Saints Kerith FC v West Reading W Reading Reserves v Tilehurst Albion

v February 8 Wycliffe Wanderers v Bethel United Reading Saints v Tilehurst Albion

W Reading Reserves v Kerith FC Greyfriars FC v Finchamp’ Baptist Norreys v West Reading

v February 15 Greyfriars FC v West Reading Tilehurst Albion v Kerith FC Norreys v W Rdg Reserves Bethel United v Reading Saints B’side St Laurence v Wycliffe Wanderers

v March 1 W Rdg Reserves v Greyfriars FC Bethel United v B’side St Laurence Reading Saints v Kerith FC Wycliffe Wanderers v Finchamp’ Bap’ Norreys v Tilehurst Albion

7-4 victory over winless West Reading CFC Reserves. West Reading CFC’s first team bounced back from their defeat last time out, recording a 5-0 home victory over Finchampstead Baptist Church. James Murdoch led the way with two goals while Joe Hill, Gary Woodward and Alex Higginson added the others. Greyfriars FC have fallen away from the chasing pack after three defeats in four games, their latest loss a 3-1 defeat at Reading Saints. Saints were worthy winners, dominating the early exchanges and making the most of their opportunities. Tom Vaux curled a sweet left-footed shot inside the far post after ten minutes and Andrew Campbell doubled the lead soon after when his pacy, inswinging corner evaded everyone. Greyfriars gradually recovered but could not find the net. Saints’ Matt Blake was rewarded for his strong running throughout when he toe-poked home the goal that sealed victory, as Greyfriars committed more bodies forward in search of a goal to lift them. However, all they had to show for their effort was a late penalty from James Hern.

Norrey’s first XI

There were just three games on the Saturday before Christmas – but of all them were crackers. Norreys climbed up the table with an impressive 11-2 win over West Reading Reserves CFC. George Weeks and Adam Toft both scored hat tricks while there were braces for Sean Saxty and Jacob Potter. Matt Loxton also scored. Chris Dodd and Will Doe scooped some consolation goals for West Reading, who remain rooted to the bottom of the table. At the other end of the table, it was a clash between Brookside St Lawrence and Wycliffe Wanderers. Once again, there were plenty of goals in an entertaining contest. A brace from St Laurence’s Courtenay Isaacs combined with goals from team mates Ben Blackledge and Matty Belcher saw them beat Wanderers 4-2. Owen Bravey scored for Wanderers, with their other coming from an own goal. Greyfriars took on West Reading, but neither side could find a winning goal – the contest ended 2-2 and a vital point for each. v The league is back in action on Saturday, January 11 with five fantastic fixtures planned. We’ll have a round-up in our March issue.

league TABLE P W D L F A W D L F A GD PTS Tilehurst Albion 10 4 2 0 28 6 4 0 0 21 1 42 26 B’side St Laurence 10 3 0 2 14 10 5 0 0 26 10 20 24 Bethel United 10 3 1 0 9 2 4 0 2 13 9 11 22 West Reading 10 5 1 0 29 10 1 1 2 8 13 14 20 Wycliffe Wanderers 10 4 0 2 20 12 2 1 1 13 7 14 19 Norreys 10 2 0 1 6 3 3 0 4 24 24 3 15 Greyfriars FC 10 1 1 3 13 21 2 2 1 8 8 -8 12 Kerith FC 10 3 0 3 16 14 0 1 3 6 14 -6 10 Reading Saints 10 2 0 4 14 19 1 0 3 7 10 -8 9 Finchampstead Bap’ 10 1 0 4 4 16 0 0 5 1 21 -32 3 W Reading Reserves 10 0 0 3 7 21 0 0 7 7 43 -50 0 Table correct as of January 3, 2014


Jamie Carstairs Jake Nicholls Neil Healy James Hern George Weeks James Murdoch William Day Matt Blake Michael Bembridge Courtenay Isaacs Ben Sheppard

West Reading Tilehurst Albion Wycliffe Wanderers Greyfriars FC Norreys West Reading Kerith FC Reading Saints Wycliffe Wanderers B’side Saint Laurence B’side Saint Laurence

Ian Golbourne Tilehurst Albion

15 12 12 9 9 9 8 7 7 6 6 6


To advertise call 01932 888417 | | January/February 2014


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




2 5


9 1 2 6


6 7 4



7 3 5


2 5

7 1

9 6 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.

1 © 2011 Syndicated Puzzles, Inc.

9 6


9 6

5 8 4 3 5 3 2 2 1 1 5 4

3 4 2


5 9

© 2011 Syndicated Puzzles, Inc.

STR8TS Str8ts

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.

New Year’s resolution? But you said in your sermon that God loves me just the way I am



January/February 2014 | | To advertise call 01932 888417


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

v Celebrate a healthy Chinese New Year Celebrate happiness and prosperity with the Chinese New Year. Nutritionist Christine Bailey serves up a simple, healthy dish


he Chinese New Year, also called Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is probably the most important traditional Chinese festival. It is a time for celebration, family reunion and to wish each other happiness, good health, peace and prosperity. This year marks the year of the Horse and begins on Friday, January 31. Chinese New Year is actually a two-week celebration steeped in tradition and like many celebrations and holidays, much of it centres around food. The Chinese New Year is filled with dishes that symbolise happiness. Foods served often have names based around good luck, prosperity and fortune. This is why fish is often

served (the pronunciation of ‘fish’ is similar to ‘abundance’). It is also traditional to serve fish with the head and tail intact, to avoid bad luck and to ensure a good start and finish to the year. Nian Gao (glutinous rice cakes) are steamed sweets made of glutinous rice flour, brown sugar, and oil. Some versions have white sesame seeds, red dates, or nuts in them (the dates are said to bring prosperity). Vegetarian dishes are also served to cleanse the body to start the year. Mandarins and tangerines are also symbolic of Chinese New Year and often presented as a gift of abundance, fortune and luck. They are also excellent sources of vitamin A and C great for immune health.

v Chinese Chilli Prawns with Noodles For the Chilli sauce: 250ml water 5tbsp low sugar tomato ketchup 2tbsp tamari, wheat free soy sauce 1tbsp honey 2tsp cornflour FOR THE STIR fry: 2tbsp olive oil or coconut oil 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1tbsp fresh root ginger, grated 2 red chillies, deseeded and diced 1 red pepper, sliced Handful of shiitake mushrooms sliced 300g cooked prawns 3tbsp water 1tbsp lime juice Handful of coriander 250g egg noodles, rice noodles or buckwheat noodles, cooked and drained 1tsp tamari

Mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan and sauté the garlic, ginger and chillies for 30 seconds. Add the pepper, mushroom and prawns and stir for a couple of minutes. Noodles are traditionally eaten for luck and symbolise long life. For a healthier option try wholemeal or soba noodles made from buckwheat flour. Traditionally they are served as long as possible to symbolise a long life. Melon seeds and lotus seeds are another popular food eaten during the festivities thought to boost fertility. Available in Asian stores, melon seeds are often substituted with pumpkin seeds when they’re unavailable. A great source of manganese, phosphorous, and magnesium to keep the body energised. The Lantern Festival marks the end of the Chinese New Year, and is celebrated on the 15th day of the first lunar month. Traditionally Yuanxiao dumplings, glutinous rice

Add the chilli sauce, lime juice, water and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked noodles to the wok and toss together with the prawns. Drizzle over the tamari and scatter over the coriander. Pile into bowls to serve. balls, are eaten to signify family unity. Whether you celebrate Chinese New Year or not, there is much we can take from the celebrations. A sense of togetherness with family and friends, having gratitude for what we have, an optimism for the year ahead and a desire to bring happiness to others. Why not try our simple Chinese inspired recipe above? It’s easy to assemble and perfect for friends and family. v Christine runs Healthy Eating Cookery Demonstrations and Hands on Days in Wokingham. She also sees clients in Reading and Harley Street. For more information contact Christine by emailing christinembailey@ or logging on to her website, www.


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Changing the world, one purchase at a time This fairly traded Orla Kiely Flower Girl Print, £99, will be available from People Tree in February. For details, call 020 7042 8935 or log on to

Sopacdi Fairtrade Ground Coffee from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is part of Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range and comes out of a three-year project supported by DFID and Comic Relief. A tin costs £3.49.

Essential offers one of the finest quality ranges of canned fruit chunks which is ethically-sourced and produced organically in Sri Lanka. The four varieties are Mango, Pineapple, Papaya and Tropical. Each costs £1.59 and can be found in health food stores, or from www.

Frusions, by Rocks Drinks, are organic fruit and vegetable drinks that come in four delicious flavours – Blackcurrant & Beetroot, Carrot & Orange, Apple & Ginger and Tomato & Cherry. They can be bought from Ocado and independent health food stores priced at £3.49


Easy Bean’s Chickpea Crispbread are gluten- and wheat-free and come in three flavours: Moroccan Spice; Seeds & Black Pepper. Available from Holland & Barratt this month. Details:

The Chinese New Year gets ready to gallop in The year of the horse will soon be under starters orders and, for the Chinese community in Reading, it’s a time to be together. VIVIENNE JOHNSON explains


HE Chinese New Year gallops in on Friday, January 31 with the Year of the Horse. Legend has it that each year has an animal associated with it because Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on New Year’s Day. Only 12 turned up and he named a year after those that came. The animals in the Chinese calendar are the dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, and rooster. The Chinese calendar is the oldest in the world so, rather than 2014 as it is for us, the year is 4712. Chinese New Year is a time for enjoying good food with your family – see Christine Bailey’s recipe on page 26. Red features prominently in the celebrations: Children are given Lucky Money in red envelopes and everyone wears their best red clothes. The colour red symbolises fire which legend says drives away bad luck. Friends and family meet for shared meals and even the food served has a secret meaning. If you want a long life eat noodles, egg rolls for wealth, if you eat chicken you will find

The Chinese New Year will be celebrated across the Thames Valley at the end of January Picture: irum/

happiness and marriage and if you want a lot of children eat seeds. After two weeks the celebrations end with Teng Chieh, the Lantern Festival. Chinese lanterns are lit and carried around. They are turned into works of art by being painted with pictures of birds, animals, flowers and scenes from legend and history. The highlight of the Lantern Festival is the Dragon Dance. Some dragons are 100ft long and made of silk, paper, and bamboo with people underneath to make the dragon dance. A New Year celebration wouldn’t be the same without fireworks and the custom started because it was believed that flames and noise would frighten evil spirits away. The Chinese community in the Thames Valley enjoys celebrating and a one such gathering can be found at Reading Chinese Christian Church (RCCC). “RCCC started life as a Bible study

group in 1971 and have been meeting at Wycliffe Baptist Church, King’s Road, Reading for 27 years,” said Dr Xiao Xian Chen, Chair of the group. RCCC uses Chinese New Year to reach out to as many people as possible. “There are over 60 Chinese takeaway shops in our area and many Chinese speaking university students. Each is invited to all the special events we are arranging,” said Dr Xiao Xian. “This year we have speakers coming from the United States. At the end of January we will be celebrating the traditional Chinese Spring Festival with a speaker from Canada.” The church is flourishing, as Dr Xiao Xian explains. “RCCC has 100 members,” he said. “Most people come from mainland China and Hong Kong as well as Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.” And with the New Year event about to get under way, you can be sure that the

fellowship will keep galloping along in years to come. The students and teachers at Reading Chinese School are also excited about Chinese New Year. “We have held Chinese New Year celebrations in the past and they are a highlight event at the school” said Dr Yan Liu, Headteacher. For the first time this year, the celebration will be open to the public. “It will provide an opportunity for people from the wider community to learn about Chinese culture,” he explained. There will be workshops where you can learn traditional Chinese dance and kung fu, Chinese painting, calligraphy, origami and how to play Guzheng, a traditional Chinese Instrument The lion dance will be performed and the students will be staging Chinese song and dance. The school started 35 years ago with 10 students, it now has 200 students and 17 classes where people from five years old to adult can learn Mandarin or Cantonese. “Our aim is to provide an education in the Chinese language and culture for people of all ages and backgrounds,” Dr Yan Liu said. v If you are interested in learning Mandarin or Cantonese email Dr Yan Liu at readingchineseschool@hotmail. com. The school meets on Sundays at Highdown School, Emmer Green. v For more on the Reading Chinese Chistian Church, visit



January/February 2014 | | To advertise call 01932 888417


Music, drama, comedy with a local perspective

v These organists will entertain MEMBERS of the Berkshire Organists Association are getting ready to hit the pedal and perform for you this month. On Saturday, January 11, the President’s Social Afternoon will take place at St Andrew’s URC in London Road, Reading. During the event, the President will speak about the harmonium and its repertoire before leading a quiz. Roy Woodhams from Cranleigh will perform on Friday, January 17 from 12.15pm for a lunchtime concert at Reading Minster Church in St Mary’s Butts, Reading. Entry is £2. Reading’s Concert Hall is the venue for another lunchtime concert, this time from 1pm on Wednesday, January 22. It will be given by Eleni Keventsidou and feature music by Bach, Alain and Reger. Entry is £4.50 plus a 25p booking fee


Then on Sunday, January 26, a recital by Frances Brewitt-Taylor will be given at St Mary’s Church in Streatley. The programme juxtaposes music from before 1750 with pieces written in the last 25 years. It comprises organ music by Stanley, Couperin, Buxtehude, Handel and Bach, Alan Ridout, Andrew Carter, Noel Rawsthorne and Colin Mawby. In addition Suzanne Smith will sing an aria from Messiah and Christine Richardson will play the flute in company with the organ in a piece by Colin Mawby. Frances is director of music at St John the Baptist, Kidmore End and has been musical director of Goring Chamber Choir for the past 20 years. The concert starts at 3pm and entry is £5. Afterwards, there will be tea and cakes. Proceeds will be divided by the church and the Stroke Association. v For more details, email programme secretary at

community playS

It’s pantomime time – oh, yes it is! Local groups are getting the magic beans and daft costumes out. PHIL CREIGHTON is behind you


T’S panto time again and communities are coming together to perform some much-loved tales with a real hint of silliness, joy and songs to banish those postChristmas blues. Members of Caversham Heights Methodist Church are having a ball with their preparations for Cinderella. The fun family show will be performed at the Highmoor Road Church from Thursday, January 23 to Saturday, January 25. The Thursday and Friday shows are at 7pm, the Saturday starts at 4pm. Tickets cost £7.50 or £5 for children. For details, call Janet on 0118 947 3935. The pantomime is aid of DrugFAM, a charity that supports families, carers and friends affected by substance abuse. It holds local support meetings at Gosbrook Road Methodist Church, the sister church to Caversham Heights. Parishoners from Corpus Christi Church in Wokingham have been busy rubbing magic lamps and sorting out the laundry in preparation for its production of Aladdin. It will be performed at Finchampstead Memorial Hall during half-term and tickets are already on sale. The dress rehearsal performance on Friday, February 14 starts at 7.30pm and is a charity performance for group bookings only – entrance by donation on the door. On Saturday, February 15 there will be performances at 1pm and 5pm, on Sunday, February 16, curtain up is at 2.30pm. Tickets cost £5.

A festive farce of a different kind took place at Reading College between Christmas and New Year. Reading Rep’s production The Nativity Play Goes Wrong! offered a satirical take on the staple of many children’s Christmas plays. You can read our review – and watch a video review of The Hexagon’s pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk – at our website, To order tickets, visit the church in Sturges Road, Wokingham, For more details, log on to The Binfield Bards are up for all things bright and beautiful as they present The Beauty Sleeping. The new take on an old favourite is written by Peter Nuttallin in association with Lazybee Scripts. It will be performed at

Binfield Memorial Hall from Wednesday, February 19 to Saturday, February 22. Evening shows start at 7pm, with a Saturday matinee at 2pm. Tickets cost £7 or £6 for concessions. For tickets, call Karen Hatt on 07541 930997. The Russell Players are presenting Captain Hook’s Revenge over two weekends at the end of January. The action-packed show features a punk fairy and

plenty of slapstick. The show will be at the Parish Hall in Swallowfield on Friday, January 31, Saturday, February 1, Friday, February 7 and Saturday, February 8 at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets are £8, £5 for under 16s and can be bought from Swallowfield Post Office. v For details, call the box office on 0118 988 4920 or visit


Trinity Concert Band looks forward to looking back A LOOK back at musical highlights from 2013 forms the backdrop of Trinity Concert Band’s first concert for 2014. The band will perform a selection of audience favourites – and it’s all in aid of Brass for Africa.

At the concert, Jim Trott will give an update on the charity’s work. Jim’s composition SONrise will also be performed. It’s a duet which will be performed on trumpet by his son, Angus, and Trinity’s musical director Paul Speed.

It will be held at Trinity Church in Lower Earley from 7.30pm on Saturday, February 8. Tickets are £10 or £12 on the day. Under 16s are free. v For details, call the box office on 0118 969 0925 or log on to


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Concert has enough Witt to get on to the airwaves

A CHOIR’S concert was so successful that it received a festive airing on the radio. Patients listening to Hospital Radio Reading could hear The Witt Studio Chorus’ Behind The Mask concert over the Christmas period. The sell-out concert was held at Wesley Methodist Church in Reading on Friday, November 29. The evening featured scenes

from some of the world’s most famous operas and musicals. More than 100 people performed in the show, which was also broadcast live on the radio station. “This was a first for both the hospital and The Witt Studio,” said Studio Directors Louise Morgan and Anthony Witt. “We’re delighted it proved to be a great success.”

The Chorus is now making plans for its next concert, which will be held on Friday, March 28, again at Wesley. The programme will feature excerpts from La Traviata, The Gondoliers and a special tribute to Mary Poppins. In fact, it sounds supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. For more details, log on to

v Countdown to a fun afternoon quiz AFTERNOON quiz fans should set their videos to record Countdown later this month and instead head out to Woodley to get their quizzical fix. Christ Church in Woodley is hosting its monthly quiz event on Thursday, January 16 from 2pm. Each month alternates between afternoon and evening sessions and takes on a familiar format: December’s was based on Name That Tune. The church is also hosting a games afternoon on Sunday, January 26 and Sunday, February 23. For more details, log on to www.christ-church-woodley. v The church will also be the venue for a Countdown in Reading content on Saturday, April 19. The event will be held in aid of Mercy Ships and be based on the game show. For more details, log on to

v Ring the bells


Gentle Ben squeezes up support By Jonathan Brown Ben de Souza is a gifted young musician. He plays the accordion in both classical and folk styles. He is also a member of Wesley Methodist Church in Reading, for whom he put on a concert on Saturday, December 7 – the same day as his audition for the Royal Academy of Music, making it quite a busy time. His programme ranged from Bach to Piazzola and Scottish folk tunes and it enthralled the audience, who were also treated to some vocal items presented by members of the Taplow Youth Choir. It was all in aid of the church’s Amankwatia project. Amankwatia? It’s a village in central Ghana. Its livelihood is producing cocoa that ends up in Divine Fairtrade chocolate. But the village is lacking some basic amenities, as Derek and Joan Pike, Wesley’s Traidcraft reps, found when they visited in 2012.


IF YOU want to tickle your little grey cells then a Shinfield quiz night will be very apealing. Members of the St Mary’s Church bell ringing team are hosting their annual quiz night on Saturday, January 11. Starting at 7.15pm, the evening includes a two-course supper as well as the taxing questions. It will be held in the church hall. Tickets cost £10 and include a raffle, or £6 for under 18s. Teams are for up to six people and help can be given to place you in a team. v For more details or to book a place, call Jill Grindal on 0118 988 2158 or email jillgrindal@

v Cheers for 3Bs! Ben de Souza, right, gave a concert in aid of the village of Amankwatia (above) Inspired by their welcome, but challenged by the need, they returned to ask the church for help in getting the village basic sanitation and an improved water supply. Ghanaians in Wesley’s congregation used contacts at home to get the project professionally managed. And the church set out to raise

money. They baked; they had dinner parties; they had concerts; the children collected small change, and others donated (not just in Wesley but in other church groups in Reading and elsewhere). The chief and people at Amankwatia are enthusiastic about the project and are ready to contribute their

manual labour to make it a self-help project. The fundraising is now within sight of the total of £8,000 target. Work on the first stage will start soon. The project has brought the church closer together, pooling its resources and looking forward to the outcome. And the chocolate is simply Divine.

Biscuits, Beer and Bulbs will be celebrated in music at a concert later this month. The Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra and Singers will give a performance of Michael Betteridge’s work devoted to Reading’s cultural treats. The evening of music takes place from 7.30pm on Saturday, January 18 at Reading’s Town Hall. v For details or to order tickets, visit www.



January/February 2014 | | To advertise call 01932 888417


Concert is as bold as brass


Phoenix rises for busy 2014

THE READING Phoenix Choir has a busy start to 2014, including a visit to the Brandenberg Festival and local events. The singers will be performing a mix of classical favourites and popular hits at the Festival on Saturday, January 18. The concert takes place at St Clement Dane in the Strand, London. They will then perform on home turf as they lead a singing workshop at Reading’s Argyle Community Church on Saturday, February 8. The Sing Out! Workshop and concert will see them team up with the Oxford Road Community School for an

evening of fine tunes and fun. It starts at 7pm and tickets cost £5. A concert will be performed at Maidenhead’s High Street Methodist Church on February 22, before another concert at Wokingham’s Methodist Church on Saturday, March 15. The Reading Phoenix Choir is committed to the development of singers of all ages and the celebration of choral music – and it is with this in mind that it offers its Sing Out! worskhops. They include singing tuition and vocal workshops as well as the performance. v For more details, log on to www.readingphoenixchoir. com

The Chiltern Brass Quintet will be at Earley St Peters later this month


ONE OF the first concerts for 2014 will take place later this month. The Chiltern Brass Quintet will bring a selection of traditional and jazz-influenced music to Earley St Peter’s Church on Saturday, January 25. The evening of music starts at 7pm and will raise funds for Brass For Africa, which supports life changing music projects for the children in three orphanages in Uganda and Liberia. A donation will also be given to the church. Chiltern Brass is a quintet based in Reading and made an appearance at the Henley Festival last year. Members Paul Speed and Maddie Cottam (trumpet); Elin Davies (French Horn), Ross Anderson (trombone) and John Watts (tuba) are making their Earley St Peter’s debut. v Ticket prices had yet to be announced as Xn went to press. For more details, call 0118 966 8575 or log on to


A CHOIR that takes its name from its repertoire is rehearsing hard for its March production – and it welcomes newcomers to join the cast. Mostly G&S sing mostly Gilbert and Sullivan and other operettas and the rarely performed Princess Ida will be showcased at The Oakwood Theatre in Woodley from March 27-29. Choirmasters Jill and John Lawes said: “In our entertaining concert version of the show the music is of primary consideration. There is no dialogue to learn, no make-up to apply and costumes are of a very token nature if used at all.” v If you are interested in taking part in the show, log on to to find out more. Alternatively, call John Lawes on 0118 988 2526 or 07739 709413.


A FREE concert will help raise funds for a charity that works with Leprosy sufferers. Sandhurst & Yateley Methodist Church will open its doors for an evening of music on Saturday, February 1.

Starting at 7pm, entry is free but there will be a retiring collection for The Leprosy Mission. v For details or to reserve a seat, call Robert Godden on 07543 800921.


A TRIP to an Edwardian Music Hall is on offer as the Aldermaston Players prepare to present their first show of 2014. There will be four performances of the trip down memory lane, starting on February 14 and 15, then again on February 21 and 22. They all take place at Aldermaston Parish Hall and include a meal. Doors open at 7pm, with the meal starting at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £22.50 and include the food. v For more details, log on to www. or call 0118 981 5815.


CONCERTS in Caversham returns for its 2014 season on Saturday, March 15. The evening is titled Mostly Mozart and features music from The Caversham Ensemble. It starts at 7.30pm. A programme of some of Mozart’s best known chamber-music including duos, trios and quartets for strings, oboe and piano, including his sublime oboe quartet and the joyful piano quartet in Eb major. v Tickets for all concerts may be purchased from: Waltons the Jewellers, Prospect Street, Caversham (cash only) or by calling 0118 948 4112 or 0118 946 3202.


AN ORCHESTRA that specialises in wind instruments is looking out for new members. The Beenham Wind Orchestra rehearses every Friday in term time from 7.30pm in Beenham School. The orchestra is not exclusively wind instruments – there are vacancies for string bass and percussion. v For details, contact Simon Witcomb on 0118 971 2210 or email

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To advertise call 01932 888417 | | January/February 2014

Moviewatch Jackson’s cornered Tolkein Cinema with Martin Ceaser

Martin Freeman once again plays Bilbo Baggins

v The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (12a)

quite good cinema, with Benedict Cumberbatch providing a very well-spoken voice-over for Smaug. Coupled with the Dwarves’ quest, we are given an insight into the unexplained (in the book) absence of Gandalf, as he explores reports of a growing darkness and encounters the Dark Lord Sauron (also voiced by Cumberbatch). This diversion creates a much darker feel to the story, as well as setting things up for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It feels a little heavy and at times breaks up the flow of the main story, with Bilbo and the Dwarves. The ending of the film is sudden – an unexpected, cliffhanger designed to make us come back and watch part three, There and Back Again, due out later this year. The usual themes of loyalty, courage and friendship, betrayal and greed can be found in the film, along with a study on the nature of evil (a person or a force) and its unstoppable rise if good people simply do nothing. Unlike the first Hobbit movie, this one moves quickly, is more violent, less humorous (although there is a good line about Gimli the Dwarf), and has a darker feel to it. It will be interesting to see how Jackson stretches out the last few chapters into another epic movie. The Revd Martin Ceaser is minister of Crowthorne Baptist Church

Stars Ian Mckellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Sylvester McCoy


fter a slightly confusing beginning in 2012’s An Unexpected Journey, this second Hobbit film picks up the story of the Dwarves’ quest to recover their rightful home under the Lonely Mountain. As a film it works well, with plenty of action to keep the attention. The screenplay and the scenery are, as you would expect from Peter Jackson, excellent, and the music as atmospheric as ever, with some good turns from Armitage (Thorin), Freeman, (Bilbo) and Mckellen (Gandalf). It was also good to be (re) introduced to Orlando Bloom’s Legolas, just as fast and flighty as in the Lord of the Rings films. If you are expecting it to be faithful to Tolkein’s book, you will be a little disappointed. Jackson tweaks the plot to make the story more appealing to a cinema audience, introducing Bard the Archer much earlier, and creating a romance between the dwarf Kili and an Elven warrior called Tauriel (played by Evangeline Lily), something else not in the original. The closing scenes of the film are also embellishments on the book but again make



Festive fanfare an assured debut Henley Choral Society St Mary’s Church, Henley Sunday, December 10 Henley Choral Society’s 2013 Christmas Fanfare exemplified the positive impact of attention to detail on confidence and execution. Ben Goodson, the Society’s new musical director, was thoroughly prepared and his uncompromising emphasis on quality was echoed by guest ensemble Chaconne Brass, St Mary’s School Choir and organist James McVinnie. Excerpts from Handel’s Messiah provided a meaty challenge to the choir. From the opening And the Glory Of The Lord one could tell that Goodson had coached a mellower, more holistic sound from the singers. Much of the Handel was about split-second precision, the various fugues providing a platform for tight discipline. Goodson’s tempi were invariably comfortable, while his firm, supportive hold gave the choir a secure base from which to express themselves.

The bar was set high by the sopranos, a force to be reckoned with. Chaconne Brass gave flawless renditions of their own witty carol arrangements. The tuba was played with the dexterity of an instrument 10 times smaller. St Mary’s School choir also appeared extremely well rehearsed and, with all eyes glued to conductor Keren Milanovic, produced a delightful result. Of their six songs, Christmas Calypso was especially successful. Space was found for quirky readings by Jan French and Myles Carter, as well as audience participation with traditional carols. v Many from this sell-out concert will be back in the spring to hear what Ben Goodson will bring to the Fauré Requiem and Poulenc’s Gloria. For details, visit v The Society needs more male singers. For details, call 01491 576929 Trevor Howell

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Xn jan14  

Community magazine for Thames Valley region including Reading, Henley, Wokingham.