News: April-June 2017

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

Highclere Society Summer Barbecue - Now Open to Guests

Sunday 25th June 2017. The Highclere Society BBQ will be held again at last year's very popular location, the Old School House, by kind permission of Phil and Sally Wrigley. The BBQ is now open to guests. So why not bring family or friends of all ages to this friendly village event.

We have had many new members join in the last two years but sadly only a few have so far participated in the BBQ. Should you have any reservations about attending for the first time this really is a perfect event to get to know new people. If you would prefer we can ensure that you sit with someone who lives close to you or perhaps someone in a similar situation to yourselves. Please be assured that you will be made very welcome.

We kick off with a complimentary Pimms on arrival between 1 and 1.30pm - no earlier please we won't be ready! Our excellent outside caterers will provide a BBQ that will include homemade sausages and 1/4lb burgers with cheese, chicken & pepper kebabs, teriyaki salmon, a chunky vegetable paella, a selection of salads, breads and rolls. To follow you can enjoy strawberries with cream and delicious homemade profiteroles.

There will be a pay bar and background music throughout the event. For your comfort, all seating and tables are under gazebos to protect you from the sun (or rain). There is an enclosed tennis court which will be equipped with games for children. Parents of younger children will be seated overlooking this space.

All the proceeds of the raffle with a range of excellent prizes, will go to this year's chosen charity, Newbury Samaritans. It would be appreciated if you could walk to the BBQ but parking is available. Member prices: £17.50 for adults and £7.50 for your children 5-16 years with under 5s free. Guests of members for an additional £2.50, so £20 for adults.

To book: Please be aware that there is no entrance by payment on the gate. Email patrickhedgeland* with the name of each member for whom you are booking, anyone else with whom you wish to share a table and any vegetarian options required. It is not booked until paid, so to be sure please make the payment. Contact Patrick for details of payment options.

We hope to see you there.

Highclere Society Golf Day

This year's spring golf tournament was at Sherfield Oaks Golf club on the 21st April. The weather was perfect for golf, dry fresh and not much wind, with the course in good condition. 16 golfers competed and played very well and produced a number of good scores.

The overall winner was Nick Haste with 40 points, an excellent score. Prizes also went to Dave Small for the longest drive and James Hirst for nearest the pin. Special prizes were awarded to Bob Small, Mike Palmer and Mike Durkin.

The next Golf Society day will be in the autumn of 2017.

Annual Wine Tasting Quiz 1st April

The annual Wine Quiz was again presented in the "Call My Bluff" style, with excellent wines chosen by David Small. 72 members, grouped on 10 tables, had great fun in trying to decide which of the excellent wines matched the extravagant descriptions delivered by the Call My Bluff panel, Clive Sanders, Krista Dick and Mike Gowlett. There were 4 white and 4 red wines being tasted. Ian Briggs led the Quiz with his usual flair.

The contest was very keenly fought, with Table 3 coming first, comprising of Isy, Ian, Ron, Sarah, Philip, Karen and Nick. The winners received 6 bottles of wine.

Following the quiz, a delicious ploughman's supper, organised by Janet Taylor, Traci Sharp was served, accompanied by wine from the tastings. Everyone seemed to enjoy the evening and hopefully left knowing a little more about wine.

The evening's profits will be donated to this year's charity, Newbury Samaritans.

Westridge Studio - Latest Updates

The plans to improve and update Westridge Studio have been submitted to Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council and are currently under consultation. Due to the ever increasing costs of all the proposed works we are going to have to fund raise and apply for grants to cover our commitments to deliver an exciting venue for all the arts here in Highclere.

Our first and ongoing money making venture will be a 100 Club.

Numbers 1-100 will be sold for £12 each per annum (just a £1 per month). A monthly draw will take place on the 1st of every month once all the numbers are sold. One prize of £50 per month will be distributed to the owner of the winning number. Please register your interest by email to: westridgestudio* ASAP. Numbers will be allocated on a first come first served basis and we would like to know if you would be interested in receiving future emails regarding events about Westridge Studio.

Our second event will be an Arty Farty Lunch (Safari style) on Sunday 21st May 2017.

Cost per person will be £20. For those of you who haven't been on a Safari style lunch before, we all start at one venue for a welcome drink where you are given an envelope telling you where you are going for your starter and your hosts will then give you an envelope telling you where you are going for your main course before returning to the original venue for a dessert and coffee. It's very social and a lot of fun. If you would like to be host for either a starter or main course please say when you book. Those who do not host are asked to contribute a pudding and a bottle of wine (per couple). Hopefully it should all be within walking distance in Highclere. Further details and booking by email to: westridgestudio*

There will be other events throughout the year that we hope will interest everyone and the Trustees and Committee hope you will support us with our endeavours.

Update on Superfast Broadband

Over 130 broadband connected homes across Highclere and Woolton Hill are still unable to order 'Superfast broadband'. These 130+ lines were originally connected directly to the exchange, which is not enabled for fibre-based broadband. It is believed that many of the connections were moved to the new fibre-enabled cabinet installed outside the exchange several months ago. However, it appears that the engineering routing records were not updated correctly by Openreach when the lines were moved. There has been a campaign running for over three months asking the Hampshire County Council Rural Broadband team, BT and Openreach to resolve the issues.

We appealed to HCC throughout December and January but got nowhere! At Kit Malthouse's Broadband Summit on 3rd February, we managed to get a commitment from the BT Manager responsible for the Superfast Broadband roll-out across Hampshire for his help - but, also, with no actual success delivered! Out of sheer frustration, in mid-March, we managed to break through the defences of Openreach (they will not normally talk with end-users) and we now have active support from the Programme Director - Infrastructure Delivery South West, Solent and M4 Corridor! So, finally, we seem to have someone prepared to listen to us and investigate the issues.

Whilst we don't yet have a commitment regarding timescales, we are hopeful that some of the administrative errors may be resolved reasonably quickly. And we have a commitment that all other connections will be resolved by engineering changes, if required. Therefore, Superfast Broadband should be coming soon to all the 130+ old 'Exchange Only' lines. If you would like to have updates about the on-going resolution of the problems, please contact Mike Palmer (michael.a.palmer* or 255578) who will add you to his growing email distribution list.

Update - May 2017

The good news is that Openreach have now started the work to bring Superfast Broadband to many more of the remaining houses and premises with 'Exchange Only' lines in Highclere and Woolton Hill. The forecast is that the physical engineering work should be completed by the 10th or 11th May. Updating of the systems and data records is expected to be completed by the end of May.

It is not yet confirmed exactly how many of the 130+ EO lines will become 'fibre-enabled' by the end of May but the expectation is that all 118 lines identified as being 'In Scope' within our local postcodes on Openreach's website will be enabled eventually. The remaining EO lines will need to be followed up separately with Openreach.

Individual users will need to check the "When Can I Get Fibre" page on Openreach's website and the websites of their own service providers to determine when orders can be placed for Superfast Broadband.

Mike Palmer will continue to track progress and update his spreadsheet based on the Openreach website but, effectively, he is now bowing out and leaving it to individuals to check progress for their own lines.

Highclere Parish Church Calendar 2018

We still need more photographs of interesting scenes from within the parish boundaries of Highclere to make a calendar for 2018. Springtime is an ideal opportunity to get out and about with your phone/camera. Walks around the lanes and along the footpaths, across the fields and through the woods to capture the loveliness of the area we live in.

Please post your photographs (with your name and contact details on the reverse of each one) through the post box at Highclere Village Hall on the Andover Road. Alternatively a gentleman who lives in Highclere has now offered to accept and process photographic entries for the Calendar 2018 electronically. The photographs already printed and posted through the village hall post-box will be included and more most gratefully accepted in that format but if you would like to enter online (no more than 6 per person please) with your contact details clearly stated, please use the following email address:- hcalendarphotos*

The closing date for all entries will be 31st August 2017. There will be an opportunity to see the entries displayed at an Open Evening either in Highclere Village Hall or the Dunlop Room early in September and for people to vote from the chosen 12 which one will be printed on the front cover. More details to follow.

Please continue to submit your photographs. Further information can be found on the Highclere Parish Website:

Patrick Hedgeland

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