Extras – March 2020

Extras that didn’t make it into the printed magazine for March 2020.

Basingstoke Civil Service Retirement Fellowship

There were 48 members and 1 visitor at the meeting held on Wednesday 5th February who were welcomed by the chairman, David Cowling. The secretary, Tony Brazier, gave details of the forthcoming trips and reminded everyone that the next meeting in March would be the AGM and that resolutions and nominations should be submitted as soon as possible. The Welfare Officer, Christine Broadbent, then gave her update on those members who had not been well and that she had visited or been in contact with.

The speaker this month was Allen Purkiss who was a police officer with Hampshire Constabulary for 30 years from 1966 and spent the majority of his time in the traffic department. He explained how policing was in his family as his great grandfather had joined the Metropolitan Police force in 1839 and after retiring received an annual pension of £33. His grandfather also served and then his father was a reserve constable during the second world war. He himself was stationed at Aldershot and Totton before moving to Basingstoke traffic in 1973 and twice received the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery Award. He went on to highlight some of the amusing, sad, dangerous, avoidable and often bizarre incidents that he was called on to deal with during his career.

The group’s next outing is on Wednesday 25th March to Dorney Court where we will have an exclusive guided tour of this Tudor Manor House which is rarely open to the public.

The next meeting is on 4th March which will be the Group’s AGM followed by a talk from Barbara Pullen from Connect to Support Hampshire. After the meeting we will, as usual, be having lunch at the Conservative Club. 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 and Deane Rotary Club


With the Royal Corps of Drums and special guests The Chelsea Pensioners, the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines gave their usual stunning performance at our Annual Charity Concert at The Anvil on 26th January.

On the day everybody won. The Band got to perform to a nearly full house in our magnificent Anvil Concert Hall. 12 Chelsea Pensioners and a group of local Army Cadets were given a great day out. The Cadets, from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Corps of Drums, all musical instrument players, were invited by the Director of music to shadow the Marines during the band’s rehearsal. From this they got a feel of how it is to be part of a professional Military Band before they watched them perform.

The audience were given an outstanding concert. The Anvil itself is a Charity which received much needed revenue from a nearly full house. And profit was made for charities supported by your local Rotary.

Some of you are doubtless aware that we have been supporting the Ark Cancer charity for a number of years and we are continuing to support this great project. However lead by our President Alf McCarthy we have started a new project to help the Cardiology Unit at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital to purchase a new piece of equipment to help with the treatment of atrial fibrillation, this will mean hundreds of patients being treated in our local Hospital instead of having to travel to Southampton or perhaps even further afield.
Our thanks to all the local folks who supported this event and hence these great charity causes. We hope you had a wonderful time, and that we see you again at our concert next January.


Winchester University will again host PeaceJam this March but this year’s youth leadership development conference will be a 1 day ‘Slam’. We will again be sponsoring a group of young people from Cranbourne School and from Whitchurch WAAG to attend. This year the inspirational speaker will be The Right Honourable Stuart Lawrence the brother of Stephen Lawrence, the black British teenager from Woolwich, south east London, who was murdered in a racially motivated attack while waiting for a bus in Well Hall, Eltham on the evening of 22nd April, 1993. There will be a programme of development workshops and action projects covering topics such as conflict resolution and water aid.To find out more see: https://peacejam.org.uk/events-winchester

Basingstoke and District Railway Society

At our first meeting this month, at 7.45pm on Wednesday 11 March, our presentation will illustrate the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway in Kent. Paul Best will recall the history of the line and the plans for the 50th anniversary of the preservation society.

At our meeting at 7.45pm on Wednesday 25 March we will welcome the return of long-standing member Richard Green with his annual presentation on the previous year’s European trip by Society members. Entertaining and informative, Pulsating Poznan will illustrate the highlights and the lowlights of the trip to Poland, with pictorial contributions of trains, trams and the city from those involved.

Our meetings are held at The Wote Street Club in New Road in Basingstoke town centre. We welcome new members to the Society and are always pleased to see non-members at our meetings at a cost of £5. 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.

Southern Co-op Announce Charities Receive £173,000 In Memory Of Loved Ones

More than 4,000 donations were made in 2019 via a free online memorial feature offered by a number of Hampshire’s co-operative funeral homes.

Thanks to the generosity of those who have recently lost a loved one, £173,300 was donated via the feature offered by The Co-operative Funeralcare branches in Hampshire which are part of Southern Co-op.

In 2019, the donations averaged around £42 per donation. The most generous donations by loved ones were via The Co-operative Funeralcare in Eastney, Portsmouth, with an average of £438 per donation.

The memorial page also allows friends and family to set up a personal tribute page to light virtual candles, share memories, stories, photos and videos of loved ones.

Steve Pearce, Chief Operating Officer for funeral care at Southern Co-op, said: “The charities people chose to donate to can be a reflection of something their loved one held dear to them or a charity that supported them at a time of need.

“We know that people donated to 351 different charities last year but what we can’t quantify is how many people that went on to help. The donations would have made a difference to thousands of people’s lives and this is incredibly special.”

A total of £330,000 was donated by families across the south of England in 2019 via the free online service offered by Southern Co-op – the regional, independent co-operative.

Hampshire based charities to benefit from the contributions include Rowans Hospice which received £25,300 and provides free care and support to adults who have a life-limiting illness and their families; Phyllis Tuckwell which received £16,650 and cares for terminally ill people and their families throughout West Surrey and part of North East Hampshire; Portsmouth Hospitals Charity which received £8,570; St Michael’s Hospice in North Hampshire which received £3,020; Wessex Heartbeat which received £2,250 and ensures that people being treated at the Wessex Cardiac Centre are provided with the best possible care and support; and Hampshire Asbestos Support & Awareness Group which received £2,200.

Funeral homes in Hampshire offering the free online memorial feature include The Co-operative Funeralcare in Alton, Andover, Basingstoke, Bishops Waltham, Cosham, Emsworth, Fareham, Farnborough, Fleet, Gosport, Rowner, Leigh Park, Hayling Island, Liss, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Widley, Whitchurch and Portsmouth in Copnor, Eastney, Fratton, North End, Paulsgrove, Somerstown and Southsea.

For more information about online tributes, visit www.funeralcare.co.uk/tributes-and-donations.

Mad March Hares, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

Despite the chill in the air, it’s clear that spring is tantalisingly close. One of the most delightful signs of the season has to be the sight of mad March hares batting at one another with furious, furry fists.

While this strange ritual may look like a hostile feud, it is actually a precursor to courtship. The pugilists are usually the females, who fend off amorous male admirers by boxing with them. It is also thought that female hares use this technique to test the strength of their prospective partner before deciding whether to choose him as a mate.

Hares are slightly larger than rabbits, with longer, more powerful legs, and larger ears with distinctive black tips. They are most common in open grassy or arable fields, particularly near to woodland fringes or hedgerows where hares can find shelter. With many arable fields still bare, March is by far the best time of year to see these beautiful animals at their theatrical best.

For the most part, hares hide in long grass to conceal themselves from predators, but they are capable of impressive athleticism. Hares are can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour at full pelt and, when threatened, they will leap sideways and backwards over hedges to escape their pursuer.

It appears that being able to run at lightning speed is an excellent survival strategy. Hares are an ancient species, and fossil records show that their ancestors roamed the earth with the dinosaurs. It is thought that they were brought to the UK by the Romans, but have since become naturalised (which means that they are now established in the UK and are considered to be native).

Like many other species, changes in agriculture have seen a dramatic decline in hare numbers. This is why we work with farmers across our two counties to help make their land more wildlife friendly – including providing cover and grazing for brown hares.

If you’re hoping to get a ringside seat at a mad March boxing match, get up early to increase your chances and stay down wind so your scent doesn’t give you away.  Find out more about your local wildlife on our website: hiwwt.org.uk

People Love Living In Basingstoke and Deane

People love Basingstoke and Deane as a place to live, according to the latest residents’ satisfaction survey.

The borough council carries out research with a representative sample of residents from across the borough to give a picture of what matters most to them, how well the council is doing and what it could do better. Over 1,100 face-to-face interviews for the latest survey took place in November and December last year.

And the results show an overwhelming 95% of people are satisfied with their local area, compared to 94% in 2017 and higher than the national average of 81%, with 89% feeling a sense of belonging to the borough.

The news comes as the borough outlines an ambitious Council Plan, agreed by Cabinet tonight (Tuesday 11 February), to ensure Basingstoke and Deane remains a great place to live and work over the next four years, setting strong foundations for decades to come.

And this follows the borough being named in the top 50 places to live in Britain in Halifax’s annual Quality of Life survey, based on the area’s employment rate, earnings, housing affordability, health and wellbeing, education, traffic and crime rates.

In the residents’ survey, 80% were satisfied with the way the council runs things, compared to the 2017 figure of 78% and putting the borough higher than the 64% for the South East and 63% for England. And 73% feel well informed about the services the council provides, higher than 61% for the South East and 59% for England, with 62% agreeing that the council provides value for money, topping the 48% national average.

The top five things that make somewhere a good place to live, according to residents, were low levels of crime and antisocial behaviour, clean and litter free streets, health services, affordable housing and shopping facilities. At the top of the list of things that need improving were affordable housing, road and pavement repairs, public transport, health services and activities for teenagers.

Council Leader Cllr Ken Rhatigan said: “It is great to hear that the majority of people who live in Basingstoke and Deane love it here, but we are determined to do everything we can to make it an even better place to live, work and visit.

“We’ve set clear priorities in our Council Plan to do what residents have told us is most important to them, including through the survey. It is important that we are all working together as a team and everyone can do their bit by reporting things like fly-tipping, taking steps to cut carbon emissions and recycling all they can. Residents, businesses and partners are at the heart of our plans to improve the borough.”

For more information about the Council Plan and residents’ survey see www.basingstoke.gov.uk/priorities.

Probus Hears Tales of a Roving Reporter

How would you react if a “live” radio microphone was thrust in your face needing a response to some world events or home grown problem currently in the public domain?

Who are these people seeking opinions from the public and who broadcast replies to regional, national and world wide audiences? Many inquisitors become well known working for the BBC, especially if on TV, whereas radio reporters, having no visible presence, have a lower profile which might be of benefit in their private lives. One such was Alan Jones who was the latest speaker at the Probus Club of Basingstoke.

Alan chose to join their ranks in his late thirties and after completing a specialised training course in journalism he discovered he had a “face for radio”. Always working as a freelance journalist for the BBC, his new career endured more than twenty years. During this time he provided over 25,000 reports for many national radio programmes and the regional BBC Radio Solent. He worked as a reporter, producer and presenter but carved out a niche of his own as a roving reporter travelling across the south and central southern England. He had a specially adapted mobile studio which was sometimes thought to be a TV Licence detector as it had several aerials, one of which could be extended to over 30 feet high.

We were introduced to a nervous Bishop at the top of the partially built Portsmouth Cathedral, uncovered the naked truth of nudity in Alton, wrestled with snakes on the Isle of Wight, boarded warships at sea, and a lunatic Frenchman who wanted a Guinness Book of Record for using a drum kit at altitude in an old Dakota. He had to use a high wire “tight rope” interviewing an artiste of the Moscow State Circus, questioned exhibitors at a rabbit show when the producer demanded that the rabbits could be heard making a noise and walking with Royalty when HM Queen opened the finally built Portsmouth Cathedral. During his entertaining talk Alan took his audience on a journey of adventure, mishap and fun, proving that “if something can go wrong, it probably will, especially if you are holding alive microphone”.

For more information about the Probus Club of Basingstoke see www.probusbasingstoke.club or phone their Secretary Jonathan Ratcliff on 07501 271547 for an informal chat.

Put A Spring In Your Step And Get Healthy!

Take a step towards a healthier lifestyle by taking a stroll on an organised walk this spring.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is encouraging local people of all ages to join in one of its 26 healthy walks which take place around the borough.

There will soon be one more when a new Winklebury walk starts in May, going from the Sycamore Centre at 11.15am every first and third Monday of the month.

The weekly Healthy Walks programme offers a gentle way to begin exercise. A choice of short walks at a medium pace and longer walks at a fast pace are on offer at many locations including Tadley, Overton, Eastrop and Oakley.

All walks are free and led by a trained walk leader and have a backmarker so you can comfortably join in with no fear of being left behind – there’s even a refreshments and a chance to socialise afterwards on some routes.

The walks are part of the national Walking for Health initiative, a partnership between the Ramblers Association and Macmillan Cancer Care, to encourage everybody to get active.

Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture and Partnerships Cllr Simon Bound said: “The Healthy Walks programme offers great opportunities to make the most of the benefits of getting out and about in the fresh air.

“Walking is a wonderful way to meet new people, improve your fitness and boost your mental wellbeing, with the bonus of enjoying some of the loveliest countryside in our borough.

“The timetable of free walks offers times and dates to suit everyone, so why not take a positive step forward and get involved?”
If you would like to find out more call Elinor Gold on 01256 845284, email healthwalks@basingstoke.gov.uk or visit www.basingstoke.gov.uk/healthwalks
For further information on this release please contact: Donna Jones, Communications Officer, on 01256 845220 or email donna.jones@basingstoke.gov.uk

For all media enquiries call 01256 845220 or email communications@basingstoke.gov.uk

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @twitter.com/BasingstokeGov and Facebook /BasingstokeGov

Save Our Hampshire Libraries

Local residents voiced their opinions on the proposed closure of Chineham Library at the Consultation drop in on Tuesday 4th February. Hundreds of people went along to share their views on the proposed closure with the Head of Hampshire library services.

Children at Great Binfields Primary school  and some from ‘The Friends of Chineham Library’ Facebook group,  had been busy creating posters for display in Tesco’s window and handwriting 100’s of letters to Maria Miller MP, outlining why they believe the library should remain open. We admire these young people who want a chance for their opinions to be heard too. We hope Hampshire County Council are listening.

The proposed closure of 10 libraries and the withdrawal of all funding and support for so called ‘community’ libraries, threatens to leave Hampshire, which already has one of the lowest library per resident ratio in England in an even worse state.

Hampshire County councillor, Sean Woodward,  who will eventually make the decision to close or not close our libraries, responded to the case of Chineham on ITV saying that the consultation was still open and the council was keen to offer areas under threat of closure the ‘opportunity’ to take on ‘community’ libraries. What he didn’t say was that council support is being withdrawn from community libraries. No money, no librarian support, no new books, no access to services. It’s an ‘on your own approach’ which could mean the end for Chineham Library if this unsustainable model is considered. It is a council’s legal responsibility under the Museums and Libraries Act to provide a comprehensive service to residents. Yes we accept that the way people use libraries is changing, but is 1 library in Basingstoke fulfilling that duty to the residents?

What can we do?

  1. Fill in the Council consultation. Do one for every member of your household including the children. It can be found here: https://www.hants.gov.uk/aboutthecouncil/haveyoursay/consultations/library-consultation

Paper copies can be picked up in the library

  1. Write or email:

Maria Miller MP maria.miller.mp@ parliament.uk

Elaine Still, elaine.still@hants.gov.uk

Sean Woodward sean.woodward@hants.gov.uk

  1. Contact the Friends of Chineham library (find us on facebook) or email us at friendsofchinehamlibrary@gmail.com

Yours, with hope, The friends of Chineham Library

Update from Chineham Medical Practice Patient Participation Group February 2020

Do you ever need health care in a hurry? Even though the emergency department at the hospital might seem the easiest choice, opting for a more appropriate service can often be more convenient and save you time. For example, you can get help and advice virtually from your GP. Simply submit an E-consult via the practice website https://chinehamsurgery.webgp.com/ and a GP will respond with advice, prescription or when necessary make an appointment. This can often avoid delays and having to wait for an answer. The practice can also help you access medication reviews and health check reviews such as for high blood pressure through this service – just make sure you answer the questions as fully as possible.

Pharmacies and minor injury units can also help, whilst A&E is the best choice in a life-threatening emergency. Find out more about how to ensure you always use the right service for you here, or you can download and read our new Urgent Care Guide, which has all the information about where to go and what to do when you need help in North and Mid Hampshire if you’ve had an accident or illness. Call the NHS on 111 if you’re unsure of the best place to go and a fully-trained adviser can help you make the right decision. More information and a handy guide for when you need help in a hurry can be found at https://northhampshireccg.nhs.uk/need-nhs-help-in-a-hurry.htm.

If you are interested in finding out more about joining the groups please contact: Karen Nicholls Tel: 01256 479244


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