Summer 2003 Newsletter

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Annual General Meeting

The AGM was held in St Barnabas Church Hall on 10 April 2003 and was attended by 58 members. Two members of the committee retired; Geoffrey Goldsmith, who had given his much appreciated time for three years, and Sue Ballard, who had contributed so much towards the Exhibition of 2000 and the subsequent Book plus her much valued support to the North Area Youth Project and as Vice Chair to the Association. Although the committee is now short of two positions, the remaining committee members had offered to continue in their roles for another year and all were duly elected. The composition of the committee for the current year is:

Chairman Paul Gallagher, 6 Tredegar Road

Vice Chairman Bob Cruickshank, 18 St Barnabas Road

Secretary Margaret Ormonde, 20 Kidmore End Road

Treasurer Bill Harper, 37 Kidmore End Road

Membership Secretary Jill Verran, 39 Kidmore End Road

Committee Anne Ayres, 203 Surley Row

Committee Vera Bodman, 15 The Ridings

Committee David Miles, 23 Tredegar Road

Committee Brian Warren, 29a Highdown Hill Road

The Treasurer presented a statement of the audited accounts, which showed that the balance in the Portman Building Society at 31 December 2002 was £3,861.93. The increase of over £1000 on last year's accounts was due to proceeds from book sales and video royalties. However, we still have to pay for the balance of the costs of the village sign. There was no proposal to alter the subscription rate, which would continue at £1 per annum. Mr Julian Pearce was thanked for auditing the Association's accounts.

The formal business of the meeting was followed by an illustrated talk from guest speaker Graham Horn, who gave a very enlightening talk on his expedition to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro in support of two charities – he had raised over £6,000 to date and on the night members of the Association contributed a total of a further £55. Afterwards members gathered around with wine and nibbles to view parts of the Emmer Green village sign, which the Berkshire Woodcarvers had kindly brought along.

Alan George Perrin : David Miles

It is with much sadness that we report the death of Alan Perrin on 22nd April at the age of 81, after a long illness borne with courage and dignity. Alan was a founder member of the Emmer Green Residents’ Association when it was formed in 1984 and was soon appointed as its secretary. He undertook his duties in a most efficient way for several years and his command of the English language and eloquent turn of phrase was most evident in his letter writing – often on contentious issues.

Alan was born in Kent, married his wife Jean in 1946 after serving as a Squadron Leader during the war. They moved to Emmer Green in 1956 and he worked for the AWRE at Aldermaston and London and finally as a senior Principal Officer at Harwell.

Alan and Jean, together with their daughters Lindsay, Nicky, Tricia and Debbie, took a big interest in the local community when they moved to St Barnabas Road and made many friends. Everyone who met Alan found him charming, sociable, humorous and generous. He will be very sadly missed.

Village Sign : Paul Gallagher

The Berkshire Woodcarvers have now completed the carvings for both sides of the sign. For those who went along to the Friends of Clayfield Copse Woodlands Day on 31 May you would have seen the Woodcarvers displaying all the elements that make up the sign. They have started making the ‘insets’ that will go down the sides of the post and these will include the school logos from Emmer Green Primary (oak sprigs), The Hill School (shield with sun rising over mountain shoulder) and Highdown School (H and S overlaid). Other logos will include Reading Golf Club, the Scouts/Guides, BBC Monitoring and that of the Berkshire Woodcarvers themselves. The post will also have a commemorative brass plaque.

In May the chairman met with David Moore, the RBC officer who masterminded the installation of the village sign for Caversham. The post will be cemented into the ground without the sign on top to ensure the latter is not damaged during this process. The concrete needs a week to set fully and the contractor will put the sign on top of the post the day before the official unveiling ceremony. It was recommended that the surround be kept flat to discourage climbing of the sign and Mr Moore hopes to get some attractive setts for the contractor to place around the foot of the post. This would also ensure that grass cutters do not bang their machinery into the post. It is expected that the post will be put into the ground in mid August and the formal unveiling ceremony will be performed by The Mayor and local resident Esme Ellingham on Saturday 6 September at 10:00. (See back of the newsletter).

St Barnabas Church Garden Party : Editor

We again participated in the St Barnabas Garden Party on 12 July with a ‘Treasure Hunt’ based on the characters from Alice in Wonderland. Also on sale for £1 were copies of a ‘Walk around Emmer Green’, which comprises a map plus three sheets full of pictures and questions about interesting features that may be seen around the village. In all EGRA made a total of £30, all of which goes towards the Amajuba Education Fund that helps students in South Africa to get degrees or professional qualifications to become doctors, nurses or teachers. If any member who was unable to get to the event and would like a copy of the Walk map and sheets, please contact the chairman.

Trees : Editor

Following the report at the AGM regarding trees felled by the Council in Peppard Road and Courtenay Drive, some members may have a noticed that yet the Council has felled another of Emmer Green’s more attractive trees. This time a lovely Beech tree on the small green near Fallowfield Close. The Council have informed the Association that the tree was weakened by the fungus Ganoderma and presented ‘an unacceptable safety risk’. Although the Council say the stump was not sound it does appear, to the untutored eye, to be pretty solid. However, they have said that the Council’s ‘tree gang’ will try to notify the Association about future tree work in Emmer Green. Hopefully this will allow wider consultation to be undertaken with members, particularly if the reason for felling is not on the grounds of safety.

Allotments : Editor

Throughout the work by the Council on the Grove Road allotments the Association have contacted RBC staff in charge of the work to monitor progress. All of rubbish was taken away in two skips during April, the land then levelled and the new plots marked out and the back hedge and ditch tidied up. Following this the plot-owners rotovated the prepared ground and everything is now looking very smart and cultivated. The Council have since put some palings into the gaps in the hedge bordering Grove Road and at the same time they installed two new access gates. They have promised to plant new hedging in the gaps in the autumn, leaving the palings to protect the new growth.

North Area Youth Project : Editor

The Association extends a welcome to new youth worker Lee Middleton who we hear is already making a significant contribution to the Project. Although we understand Lee is concentrating his efforts at the Amersham Road Centre it is reassuring that the trainee, Liz Heading, now has support if required at the Emmer Green Centre. Unfortunately, with the retirement from the committee of Sue Ballard and the Association’s disengagement from Council committee work, there is no current input to the NAYP management team from the Association.

Planning Issues : Editor

In September, plans were submitted to the Council for a development of 35 flats/maisonettes on the former Heathcroft site in Marshland Square. The developer appealed against the Council’s refusal for planning permission and an inquiry was held on 10 June. We still await to hear the outcome of the inspector’s decision.

White Horse : Editor

Two issues here! The first is that we are pleased to see that, following our representation; the Council have marked the pavement edge alongside the pub with white paint. Since the bollards were removed there have been several minor accidents with people with impaired sight missing their footing and in one case we understand a wheelchair missed the edge of the narrow pavement. The other issue is that of loud music from two speakers installed on the pub wall to entertain patrons in the garden. Representation has been made to both the pub staff and the Council to keep the volume within reasonable limits so that local householders are not inconvenienced.

Safer Caversham Forum : David Miles

Although taking over a year to action, the Distraction Burglary project on how to prevent bogus callers robbing older people, particularly those living on their own, is now successfully implemented. Additional advice is being put together about recommended handymen and other sources of help. The proposed new youth shelter in Amersham Road to hopefully reduce anti-social behaviour has been approved and already installed. The new youth worker will manage the shelter and advise the police on acceptable activities around the facility.

The 12-month terms of office as chairman and vice chair of the Forum by David Miles and Paul Gallagher have been completed and, although David generously chaired two further meetings, the roles have now been passed to members of the Ealing Family Housing Association.

Flooding - Kiln Road : Editor

After a spell of heavy rain in early June it was reported that flooding was reoccurring again at the end of Kiln Road where it meets Peppard Road. The Association notified the Council and were pleased to be informed that they were already aware of the problem and had scheduled their maintenance team to clear the drain. We understand that there are about 18,000 gullies across the borough maintained by a team of 6 workmen using two gully-emptying vehicles plus a jetting unit. To ensure all gullies are emptied and clean once a year means that they have to deal with about 350 each week. So if Kiln Road is jetted out before the next heavy rain we must thank this very busy team.

Emmer Green Book : Margaret Ormonde

The first edition of the of Emmer Green, Past and Present was published towards the end of 2001 and completely sold out within a month. The second edition has now been printed and is on sale locally or via the Secretary. Once again it is proving to be extremely popular and folk who missed out first time round have been highly delighted that it is available again. Although a short article appeared in a recent issue of the Henley Standard some of the factual information was slightly incorrect. Regardless, it was very nice to have some publicity. For more information please contact Margaret Ormonde, Tel (0118) 9470922 or by e-mail:

Association Web Site : Margaret Ormonde

This is the third summer for the Association’s very own website It is a very useful source of local information, concerns and activity in the area. The current issues forum is updated on a monthly basis, and there is an opportunity to read minutes of all the meetings. There is a useful list of contacts and links for anyone new to the area or just wishing to join the association.

Details are given about the Emmer Green Book, Past and Present, which has recently been re-printed. A separate Emmer Green Community site gives residents the opportunity to make a contribution either by leaving messages on the forum, or by sending in photographs taken in Emmer Green. Contributions already received include some fascinating aerial shots. But any photo is welcome, be it of your pet, family, garden or something special to you.

Highdown Web Site : Editor

Members should also note that Jane Moody at Highdown School continues to update the Emmer Green history pages with the information provided by the Association. Jane has put a lot of work into this site and it really does look very good and is very informative. The Association is extremely grateful to both Jane for her hard work, and to Highdown School for continuing to host this material.