News: March 2013

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

Wine Quiz "Call My Bluff"

This year's "Call My Bluff" wine quiz was run by the Society on 14th February 2013. The wines were chosen by David Small. On the evening 60 members, grouped on 7 tables, had great fun in trying to decide which of the excellent wines matched the superb descriptions delivered by the Call My Bluff panel. There were 4 white and 4 red wines being tasted.

The contest was very keenly fought, with a local team headed by Janet Taylor and Traci Sharp just scraping through. They received a case of wine to share with their team.

Following the quiz, a delicious ploughman's supper, prepared by Jennifer Boulton, was served, accompanied by wine from the tastings.

The profits from the evening will be donated to this years' charity which is Urology Research.

Everyone enjoyed the evening and hopefully left knowing a little more about wine.

Update on Events for Children

Last November, we wrote to all the Society's members to ask how many members would support an event organised for children. Unfortunately, the response was too modest for us to consider arranging a children's event at this time. However, we have asked local schools to publish articles in their newsletters and the Society continues to seek new members with children. We will run another member survey next year.

Diamond Jubilee Bench

The Jubilee Bench, which was financed by the Jubilee Fund has been installed against the wall in the church yard. The Highclere Society supported the Jubilee Committee with a donation and helped to raise funds for the various celebrations. Thanks to Ron Snipp and to Derek Gandy who fitted it securely in this position. The Reverend Carolyn Petts will be saying a prayer of blessing for the Jubilee Bench after Matins on Sunday 27th January. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee will also be remembered in the village by the oak tree that has been planted by John Stoker and Mike Jenkins on behalf of the Parish Council in the Glebe. There will be photographs of the Picnic Party to view in the village hall in due course.

walkers outside red house

Click on the above image for a larger picture (opens in new window)

The Christmas Charity Walk 2012

Highclere Society and East Woodhay Society together with the organisers, Los Jubilados Luncheon Club, were delighted with the response to this year's walk from the Jack Russell, Faccombe on the 27th December, five miles of lovely countryside. This year we numbered approx 140 walkers including children, from Highclere, Woolton Hill and surrounding villages, a great turnout, considering the very wet conditions.

This year's charity was Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, and a sum of £450 was donated, for which the organisers thank all the participants.

Ian Briggs

Motown Night

On Saturday November 10th, 90 members of the Society enjoyed a fantastic night of Motown music and dancing to Steve Smart's disco. Barbara Martin and her team provided a superb American diner style supper and several local organisations, hostelries and individual donated prizes for the raffle and auction in aid of the Society's chosen charity for last year, Living Paintings. Many of those who attended donned fancy dress and there was a remarkable array of wigs and colourful flares! Undoubtedly, a night to remember!

The Society's AGM

The 2012 AGM was held in the Village Hall on the 29th November. The turnout was very good with over 50 members coming to hear what the committee had to say and enjoy a glass of wine.

Once again, the Society's year was very busy with the wine tasting evening, golf days, bulb planting, producing leaflets on local walks, the 15th anniversary event and assisting with the organisation of the village's Jubilee events. The sum of £624 (raised by raffles during the year) was donated to Living Paintings, our charity of the year. On the environmental front, the Society remains very involved in planning matters throughout the village and works with the Parish Council and Basingstoke & Deane on such matters as the Local Plan.

The Chair and the committee were re-elected. During the year, Vice Chair Jill Williams resigned after seven years and Dave Small took over the position. Those members present at the meeting elected the Reading Urology Research Fund, as the Highclere Society's chosen charity for the forthcoming year. As always, we will be holding a number of events to raise funds for this charity and we hope we can rely on your support.

Following the AGM Glenn Peacey from Hampshire County Council gave a talk on the county's Broadband project and he answered many questions from the floor. The long-term aim of the project is to provide increased Broadband speed to the rural users (20%) not covered by suppliers' plans for the (80%) urban users. This project still needs your support (see below).

Hampshire Broadband Programme

Those members who attended the AGM last month will have heard Glenn Peacey's update on the Broadband Programme. But for those who weren't able to attend, the latest position is that faster broadband speeds for Hampshire residents and businesses have come a step closer now that State aid approval has been announced and Hampshire County Council has started the formal tender process to appoint a commercial partner. The successful company will implement Hampshire's programme to bring faster broadband to areas of the county that will not be upgraded by the commercial market. An appointment is likely to be made in February/March 2013 and work will start on delivering faster broadband services in the summer of 2013.

The Council still needs as many people as possible to sign up to the campaign so that they can demonstrate to the company that wins the tender that there are plenty of potential customers who want to make use of this service. Evidence of high demand will help the programme funding go further, increasing the number of locations they are able to reach with the limited funding available. It is vital therefore, that Highclere residents register their interest with HCC. Please register at

Patrick Hedgeland

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