Headlines for December 2019 Issue

Caversham Remembers William Marshal ‘The Greatest Knight who ever lived’
On Caversham bridge, on November 7th a superb plaque in memory of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, was unveiled, marking 800 years since William died in 1219. William Marshal, said to be ‘the greatest knight who ever lived’, spent much of his life in Caversham. He was renowned for his fighting skills, knighted in 1166 and his military accomplishments were said to be legendary. He was undefeated in tournaments, served five kings, was one of the curators and signatories of the Magna Carta and became Regent of England. Caversham and District Resident’s Association (CADRA) decided that this great knight of Caversham should be ….. (Read more)

Scout Christmas post
The ‘Scout Christmas Post’ provides a cheaper service than the Royal Mail. The 89th Reading Scouts have been running this service for over 35 years, raising funds for the Scout Groups. Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, and Explorers take on the responsible job of delivering Christmas Cards posted in…. (Read more)

Mapledurham playing fields an update
At the end of October, a wonderful new children’s play area opened in Mapledurham playing fields following the closure of the old playground in June to allow…. (Read more)

The RISC World Shop
Five years ago, I moved to Reading from the American South. My first winter in this country was hard. Reading’s urban landscape, damp weather, and dark winter afternoons challenged me. While I acclimatised, I spent many afternoons volunteering at the World Shop. I was cheered by the orange walls and colourful scarves, by the scent of incense, by conversations with the staff at RISC (‘Reading International Solidarity Centre’) and other volunteers, and by countless cups of fair trade coffee and hot chocolate from the ‘Global Café’. Though I had begun to volunteer out of loneliness, as I folded scarves, unpacked pottery and dusted shelves, I could not but help reflect on…. (Read more)

Caversham Remembers
On 10th November over 400 people assembled at Caversham War Memorial in Christchurch Meadows to remember all those whose lives were lost in the First World War (1914 – 1918) and in all the wars and conflicts since. …. (Read more)

Bravery award for local shopkeeper
Readers may have already seen the Reading Chronicle of 17th October 2019 with a page 2 story dramatically headlined ‘Bravery award for hero shopkeeper: grabbed gun and chased off robber’. Our hero shopkeeper is familiar to many in Caversham Heights: he is Satheech Elanganathan, the proprietor of Woodcote Way Stores and Newsagent since May 2011. This is…. (Read more)

Quakers in Reading
The subject of the October talk was ‘Quakers in Reading’. The speaker was Naomi Iliff. Naomi was educated at a Quaker school and is a member of the Reading Meeting. Quakerism is the common name for the Religious Society of Friends that was established in England by George Fox in the 1640s. He was born in 1621, the son of a family of Leicestershire weavers. Fox had become dissatisfied with the doctrine of the established Church because he believed its structures of priests, buildings and formal services were an encumbrance between Christians and their faith. The services at Quaker meetings are held in communal silence, but this does not mean that nothing is happening: it is an …. (Read more)

The history of Reading Gaol
Surprisingly, there was only one event for the Caversham Heights Society during October. This was on the 16th when members were enthralled by a talk given by Terry Dixon, an enthusiastic local historian and guided tour leader around different parts of Reading, on ‘The History of Reading Gaol.’
There has been much discussion about the fate of Reading Gaol during the past few years. Local MP, Matt Rodda, has promoted a petition (currently 7,000 signatures) and he is pressing the Government to preserve it as an important piece of the town’s history. The Ministry of Justice is obliged to obtain ‘best value’ for the site, but rather than allowing it to be auctioned off to the highest bidder for potential housing or other commercial use, Matt is campaigning with the Borough to reserve it for community use. As of now, no final decision has been made.
Before talking specifically about Reading Gaol, Terry Dixon talked about other gaols in the town, such as St Mary’s Castle Street that was used briefly to imprison John Bunyan…. (Read more)

The frozen Thames
I am writing this in October, and already there are news reports saying that the winter of 2019-2020 will be the coldest for years, with predictions about the return of I do not believe that anyone can know this so far in advance . . . any more than I can believe people who say that a good crop of holly berries now means that we shall have a hard winter. Whatever happens, it seems highly unlikely that the coming winter will be anything like as cold as some of the winters recorded in the past.
The last winter when it was possible to walk from Reading to Caversham over the ice on the Thames seems to have been in 1963 – or so I am informed by the denizens of a certain Caversham public house which I frequent. None of them actually seems to have done it, but I have been assured that it was done.
The photograph I have chosen to illustrate this theme comes from the album of William Wing, an architect who had his office in Bridge Street, Caversham. The album is in the collection of Reading Central Library, and thanks are due to them for allowing me to use it. The view is from Caversham Bridge around 1900, looking downstream towards Fry’s Island…. (Read more)

Jo Lillywhite exhibition
Jo Lillywhite will have an exhibition from 16th November at The Caversham Picture Framer. Jo works predominantly with acrylic and pastel, and she mainly paints colourful landscapes and animals. She is based in South Oxfordshire: the local landscape inspires her work, with themes which she returns to regularly like the…. (Read more)

Supporting women in Gaza
A small group of women met in Caversham in October to support the women of Gaza with breast cancer. This was in support of the Amos Trust’s “Women 4 Women” appeal, launched to coincide with breast cancer awareness month.

The Gaza strip is just 25 miles long and up to 7 miles wide, making it slightly smaller than the Isle of Wight. It is home to 1.8 million people. A 10 year long Israeli blockade has restricted goods and materials entering Gaza and severely limits the movement of people across the border. In this time cancer rates have risen…. (Read more)

Friends of the Holy Land: 10th Anniversary Service
The Friends of the Holy Land (FHL) marked its 10th anniversary in Coventry on Saturday 16th November. An ecumenical service was held in Coventry Cathedral and this was followed by lunch and the National Conference at the nearby Welcome Centre. With its administrative headquarters in nearby Kenilworth, the decision to mark this significant milestone in Coventry was both convenient and fortuitous. With the modern cathedral adjacent to the ruins of the medieval foundation destroyed in the war, the two sites of worship symbolize conflict and destruction yet manifest a true spirit of reconciliation and humanity. The FHL’s theatre of operations, amongst the Christian communities of Palestine and the West Bank with their outliers in the Gaza strip, attempts to sustain support and healing…. (Read more)

Caversham late night shopping event
On Friday 6th December from 5.00pm-8.30pm Caversham will be welcoming visitors to their annual late night shopping event. Many of the shops will be open late and there will be stalls from Caversham Artisans and Farmers Market. Santa will be welcoming guests to his special Grotto in the Caversham Emporium. He is a ‘Reverse Santa’, which means he will be accepting gifts from visitors which will be distributed to local children …. (Read more)

Eco Tips – Shopping for presents
At this time of the year, many of us are looking for that special gift for friends and family. The obvious option is to visit local shops, town centre malls or increasingly to look on-line. But there is an alternative which will save you money and may provide a unique gift, at the same time reducing waste and protecting our environment. Pre-owned goods are available in local charity shops at a fraction of the cost of new items … (Read more)

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