News: May-June 2012

Below are selected items from our May and June newsletters. Members of the society receive the full newsletter and other regular updates by email ahead of them appearing on this website

Saturday 10th November 2012

In view of all the events that are taking place to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in addition to all the regular summer fetes and events and the fact that most of the Society's committee members are training hard for the Olympics(!), there will be no summer barbecue this year. Our next social event will take place on Saturday 10th November.

WHAT'S GOING ON? You HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE (well, through the HS Newsletter) that there's going to be some DANCIN' IN THE STREETS (well, actually in Highclere Village Hall). SOMEDAY WE'LL BE TOGETHER! And that day is Saturday 10th November. You've GOT TO BE THERE so REACH OUT AND TOUCH your computer and send an email to to reserve your tickets. You won't HEAR A SYMPHONY but you will hear DJ Steve Smart playing the very best .... you've guessed it ....MOTOWN songs ALL NIGHT LONG! Further details to follow in future newsletters.

Another date for your diary: 24th September - Autumn Golf Day. Keep checking the diary page for details of the Society's and other local events.

Highclere's Diamond Jubilee Picnic Party

On Saturday 2nd June, around 400 people enjoyed a picnic party in Crowshott Paddock. The event was a huge success despite the rather inclement weather! A lively performance by the Julie Ludgate Band ensured the grass dance floor was bustling with villagers of all ages and the finale by DJ Steve Smart was a rousing (but extremely soggy) rendition of Land of Hope and Glory followed by the National Anthem! Many thanks to Amanda Harborne for hosting the party in Crowshott Paddock and to all the Jubilee Party committee members, in particular to Ron and Heather Snipp, Heather Whitworth and Joanna Thompson. Highclere Society contributed £500 towards the cost of the Picnic.

Living Paintings Charity Concert

On Sunday 27th May, the Living Paintings fund raising concert by held in the village hall. The Watership Cantabile performed to an audience of about 70 people who all helped to raise the sum of £709.05 for this amazing charity. Christine Leah, a HS committee member, and Rachel Kent, the fund raising manager for Living Paintings would like to thank everyone who gave their support. Rachel writes:

"We were so delighted to be chosen as the Highclere Society's chosen charity for 2012 and are so grateful for this opportunity to both receive donations but also to raise awareness of the free service that we provide to blind and partially sighted people. This gratitude extends to The Watership Cantabile and their musical director David Holland who provided such an inspirational evening of entertainment with their 'World Tour in Music and Prose'. To raise £709.05 is amazing and please extend our huge thanks to everyone who gave up their time and energy and in particular to Christine and Jennifer who ensured that we all had such an enjoyable and relaxing evening".

Highclere Parish Annual Assembly 2012

The Highclere Parish Annual Assembly took place at Highclere Village Hall on 10th May 2012. The meeting was introduced by the recently re-elected Chairman of the Parish Council, Russ Castle. The Rev. Christine Dale explained how the Highclere Charity allocates its fund of £250, with donations to St. Thomas' Infant School and Woolton Hill Junior School libraries.

The first speaker was Tim Boschi, Head of Community Services at Basingstoke & Deane; he discussed some of the key findings from the Penwood Community Consultation questionnaire. He emphasised that there is no firm plan at this stage. The Community Event in Penwood last October, and the questionnaire, was part of the process to identify options. A plan will then be drawn up in consultation with Highclere Parish Council and Sentinel. Tim said that the outline plan options should be produced during the summer of 2012 but there is also the possibility of existing resources being refocused to address some of the issues highlighted in the questionnaire. Each point in the questionnaire will be investigated, guiding what will be proposed. Russ Castle added that it is the beginning not the end of the process. The Community Consultation Action Plan can be viewed at

Glenn Peacey from Super Broadband Hampshire then spoke about the plan to bring Superfast Broadband to 90% of the UK population by 2015. Highclere should be in the 90% achieving 24 MB. There is Open Procurement and first round of tenders has not yet been addressed. The first stage of the project would be installing new fibre optic equipment at the Telephone Exchange in Highclere. The more people who register that they want Superfast Broadband the quicker it will arrive in Highclere. If you have not already registered please go to

The Hampshire County Councillor, Tom Thacker, gave his report and a report from Basingstoke & Deane Borough Councillors', Horace Mitchell and John Izett, was read out by the clerk.

Finally, PC Matt Deery gave an update on crime statistics (crime down in the Parish) and a successful year for catching criminals. He thanked Neighbourhood Watch, who he said could play a more important role in the coming years, and mentioned that the No Cold Calling Zone in Penwood Heights was proving successful. He also stated that the trial of telephone number 101 had now been rolled out nationally. Ring 999 for emergencies and 101 for police assistance. New cross county border collaboration could mean that there would be attendance from Thames Valley.

For full details of the meeting please see the Highclere Parish Council website for the minutes.

Do you want a youth group and will you volunteer?

Highclere Parish Council and Highclere Society together with East Woodhay Parish Council and East Woodhay Society are aware that there is very little provision for youth in our area. The Parish Councils can help and there are support services in Basingstoke and maybe grants etc. To take this forward we require dedicated volunteers keen to meet and discuss and then encourage wide community support thereafter. Please reply with any offers to the Parish Clerk parishclerk*at*

Faster Broadband for Hampshire

It is coming - but your vote is STILL needed!!! Following on from the report in an earlier newsletter , Hampshire County Council have now advised that they have secured £10m to fund the Faster Broadband for Hampshire programme. The core aim of the broadband programme is to ensure that 90% of premises in Hampshire have access to 24Mb/s (Megabits per second) or faster broadband and the remaining 10% have access to a minimum of 2Mb/s by 2015. The implementation process is due to start in 2013 and the roll-out schedule will be based upon a number of factors including public demand. It is therefore imperative that businesses and individuals continue to register their interest at So far, just 153 people have registered their interest from this area, which is almost the lowest number of registrations around the whole county!

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