Extras – December 2019

Extras that didn’t make it into the printed magazine

Basingstoke and District Railway Society

We end this year’s programme of public meetings of the Society at 7.45pm on Wednesday 4 December with a presentation by Dave Coxon on the Old Dalby Test Track. Dave will describe the history of the route from Melton Mowbray to Nottingham from its opening in 1879 to closure in 1966 and its subsequent use for research and testing

Our meeting on Wednesday 18 December is a members-only buffet and movie evening. Do come along and join the Society to watch Train of Events featuring Jack Warner. Our normal meetings resume at 7.45pm on Wednesday 8 January 2020 with a rail journey across Secret Siberia.

Our meetings are held at The Wote Street Club in New Road in Basingstoke town centre. We welcome new members to the Society and we are always pleased to see non-members at our meetings at a cost of just £3. More information about the Society, membership and our programme of meetings in 2020 can be found on our website at www.bdrs70d.com or telephone 01256 331002.

Pain Clinics

The Basingstoke & District Disability Forum recently identified a lack of Basingstoke based support groups for people affected by the condition fibromyalgia. We responded to this need by creating two new Chronic Pain Support Groups, both take place once a month. We run our evening sessions on the first Tuesday of the month from 6pm to 8pm at Popley Fields Community Centre. The daytime sessions take place on the third Mondays from 1pm to 3pm at The Roger Morris Centre, Eastrop Way. Booking is not required, you are welcome to come along if you are affected by any chronic pain condition or are a carer of someone suffering with such a condition.

The sessions are an opportunity to meet people with common experiences or concerns in a relaxed environment and to provide each other with encouragement, comfort and advice. Some sessions include the opportunity to take part in an activity or hear from a relevant speaker. For more information about what’s on please check our website www.bddf.org.uk, call us on 01256 423869 or email info@bddf.org.uk

Basingstoke Civil Service Retirement Fellowship

There were 57 members and 1 visitor at the meeting held on Wednesday 6 November who were welcomed by the chairman, David Cowling. The secretary, Tony Brazier, gave details of the forthcoming trips and reminded those going to the Christmas Lunch to return their menu choices as soon as possible. The Welfare Officer, Christine Broadbent, then gave her update on members who had not been well and had been contacted.

The speaker this month was Pete Lemon from the Blue Lamp Trust’s Bobby Scheme which is a registered charity providing a free home safety and security survey to assess the work needed to make a home safe and secure for vulnerable and elderly people. They will, if necessary, fit door and window locks, spy holes, window alarms, door chains and smoke detectors, all free of charge. He explained that the charity is supported from their base in Eastleigh by the emergency services and here in North Hampshire by Motorola Solutions and went on to go through a number of important fire and security points that we should all be aware of. He covered internal and exterior security, the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, telephone scams, cold callers and internet scams. At the end of his talk he gave out leaflets summarising the scheme after which he answered a number of questions. Further information can be found at www.bluelamptrust.org.uk or by calling 0300 777 0157.

The next meeting is on 4 December when we will be having our Christmas buffet with entertainment provided by Simon Williams and his Magic. The group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at Brookvale Village Hall from 10am to 12noon and all retired Civil Servants, their relatives and friends are welcome. Further details about the group and information about our trips can be obtained by contacting csrfbasingstoke@gmail.com.

Basingstoke Gang Show – Meet your local cast!!

Basingstoke Gang Show returns to The Haymarket for its 27th stunning, variety show spectacular with a production of classic to contemporary performances showcasing the very best of local talent in the Scout & Guide associations; you can expect to be delighted by magnificent live music & LOL comedy.

Basingstoke Gang Show is recognised as the best-selling and longest running ‘family variety show’ in our region and showcases an extremely talented cast – recognise any of the cast living in your area pictured here?

This best-selling amateur production is not to be missed. The 11 performances, many over February half term week 2020, will entertain audiences as you laugh out loud, tap your toes and sing along to the songs that you love.

Intrigued? Book your tickets early for your family and friends to experience this feel good family show at The Haymarket.

Show dates: Thursday 13th to Saturday 22nd February 2020 (excluding Sunday 16th).  Matinee performances on Saturday 15th and 22nd February.

Ticket prices: Adults £20.00, Children £14.00. Last night (Saturday 22nd) all seats £21.

Early Booking Discount (book by 31st December 2019) to save £2.00 off each ticket by quoting code ‘BGS2020’ for performances on Thursday 13th, Monday 17th, Tuesday 18th February 2020.

Group booking discount of £1.00 off each ticket for every 10 purchased before 31st January 2020. Discounts not available with online bookings. One discount only, per booking.

Take a look at the Basingstoke Gang Show website www.basingstokegangshow.com

Linguatastic Language School

Of course, each household in the UK has its own traditions when it comes to celebrating Christmas, but generally speaking, the main day for spending time with the family and for opening presents is 25th December.  

However, other countries do celebrate in other ways and on other days and this time, we’d like to focus on what happens in Spain.

Christmas starts slightly earlier in Spain. On 22nd December, the Spanish Christmas lottery “El Gordo” (“the fat one”) is drawn.  It is the biggest and one of the oldest lotteries in the world, having started in 1812. Standard tickets cost €20 and tend to be bought by groups.  Much of Spain stops for the big draw which is broadcast live on TV (with school children singing the numbers as they are drawn).

Most people will attend Midnight Mass or ‘La Misa Del Gallo’ (The Mass of the Rooster) on 24th December. It is so-called because it is said that a rooster crowed the night that Jesus was born. Christmas Eve is known as Nochebuena and in the days before, children sometimes take part in ‘piden el aguinaldo’ where they sing carols, hoping to get some money from neighbours!

Most families eat their main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve before the service. The traditional Spanish Christmas dinner used to be ‘Pavo Trufado de Navidad’ (turkey stuffed with truffles), although nowadays people enjoy seafood, often lobster.

Children do receive some presents on Christmas Day (which Papá Noel brought), but most are received at Epiphany on 6th January.

On 28th December, it’s ‘Día de los santos inocentes’ or ‘Day of the Innocent Saints’, which is very like April Fool’s Day. People (and media) try to trick each other into believing silly stories and jokes. If you trick someone, you can call them ‘Inocente, inocente’.

Basingstoke Lions Club – October 2019

We scored three strikes and two spares this month. Strike one was the performance at the British Legion by Ali Mac. What a brilliant group they are. Not only did our charity fund get a significant boost, but the band got two more bookings from attendees, and both our Club and the British Legion intend to include them in future programmes.

Strike two was one of the members achieving octogenarian status for which she was showered with cards, flowers and jewellery which rendered her speechless. (Unfortunately this is too expensive an approach to use on some of the others).

Strike three, we inducted a new member into the Club. She was first read the riot act (code of ethics) by the President and then welcomed by the whole Club. This welcome was redoubled when, at the end of the business meeting, she produced two beautiful homemade cheesecakes. (Truly the way to a Lion’s heart is through its stomach!) She has been a supporter for many years and we are delighted that she has now felt able to join us.

Spare one was a bloke who came along to the meeting to look us over. But we doubt whether he’ll convert into a strike.

Spare two was another bloke who got talking to our organisers when he brought old specs to our stall on World Sight Day. Our display showed not only how Lions across the world have contributed to the battle against blindness, but many of the other ways in which we in Basingstoke have served our local community. He joined us for a dinner meeting and will attend a business meeting in November to see if we are as riotous as we appear.

World Sight Day: Was very successful as usual, boosted by Breeze FM and Helping Hands for the Blind Community Radio who supported it throughout the day, and then Hampshire TV where our organizer, Ann Vicars, gave a very good talk on the work of both Lions International and the Basingstoke Lions. Even I learned something.

Christmas Cash Collections: Given the weather conditions we normally encounter it is not surprising that these take their toll on the members. But we continue because it enables us to give a little extra to those organisations which are directly involved with the disadvantaged and elderly. The people of Basingstoke have always supported us very generously, and, should anyone feel able to offer us a 2 hour shift, please contact Baz Morgan at hathawaybaz@gmail.com who will probably be able to accommodate you. Many thanks.

Melvin Jones Fellowship Award: This recognizes outstanding community service given by an individual member of Lions Clubs International. This month it was awarded to Denis White who has given 48 of his 97 years to the service of the people of Basingstoke. We celebrated (which is something at which we excel). Well done Denis!

2020: We have a blank canvas! Any suggestions?

Remember you too can help to make a difference to the lives of others by joining us via www.basingstokelions.org.uk

Read Easy Basingstoke

Read Easy UK is a registered charity, established to help adults learn to read or to improve their reading skills.  5 million adults in England and Wales have reading or writing skills below that expected of an 11-year-old. 

Poor reading skills can lead to poverty, homelessness, crime, low self-esteem, mental health issues and isolation.  People who can’t read are 5 times more likely to be unemployed and 4 times more likely to experience long-term unemployment: other issues include being unable to help their children and to reach their own potential in life.

How can Read Easy help?  By providing free 1-1 tuition from a trained Reading Coach with half hour sessions twice a week, on a confidential basis, people can learn to read fluently in 9 months to 2 years.   We have a phonics based programme with additional learning activities in which readers work at their own pace.  They are equipped with the reading skills that enable them to progress at work and with life.  Read Easy can help dyslexic readers learn to read.  Many of our readers who complete the course go on to further learning.

If you know somebody who would benefit from our programme, or if you would are interested in becoming a Reading Coach, please contact us:

By email: Basingstoke@readeasy.org.uk or by phone: 07592 450789

Visit us online: readeasy.org.uk

Probus Hears about Life in the Modern Army

The British army has advanced considerably in the last century. It also has the benefit of working alongside the RAF and Navy to ensure victory in the field. But what will it be like in twenty or thirty years’ time?

This is the question posed by Lt Col Richard Grover MBE who told of his experiences as an officer in today’s infantry regiments at the latest Probus Club meeting.

Richard gave many examples of what his life has been like, starting with his first posting to Northern Ireland. He had respect for the police force who used water cannons to good effect against rioters of either side but when the shooting started the army had to step in.

In Afghanistan one night thirty Taliban attempted to over run their base. Richard praised the NCOs, the back bone of the British army, who took the fire fight to the enemy suffering no losses. During their time there, of his company of 130 men, eleven lost their lives and 30 suffered wounds, some life changing. As a result of his activities Richard Grover, a major at the time, was awarded the MBE.

In Iraq they were involved with the post war clear up of Basra. The vagaries of the British weather became a plus point in the climatic extremes encountered.  The summer heat reached 50 degrees and without air conditioning was difficult to cope with but the winters were cold.

Somalia was different being an operation trying to prevent internal conflict and influence matters to keep the Russians at bay.

Recent time at the Staff College considered the increasing use of cyber attacks and fake news. It is important to counter Russian influence and that of the Chinese in Syria and Africa.

The positive interaction between the British population and the military, mainly becoming clear around Remembrance Day in November, has to be managed carefully. Tax payers need to continue to support the army that consumes 25% of the defence budget. It is reassuring that the British military are apolitical and therefore will always follow the ruling of which ever shade of government is in power.


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