Here is the latest Community News from around Basingstoke.


This is proving to be one of the most difficult ever reports for the Community pages. As far as can be established, all activities normally covered by these reports have been suspended for the time being.

Christ Church Chineham has issued the following statement:

“Following the latest guidance from the Church of England, we are very sad to announce that all public services of worship at Christ Church have been suspended for the foreseeable future. Other groups including Coffee & Co and Sparklers have also been suspended until further notice.

We are looking into ways in which we can use social media to communicate and engage with as many of the church family as possible, perhaps by streaming live on Sunday morning, and will keep you updated about this. If anyone has any other ideas about how we can use social media in a more interactive way then we would love to hear from you. If anyone would like any advice about running their home group online, please contact Jonathan Pain who runs our WhatsApp home group.”

Since issuing that statement, the church inaugurated a YouTube transmission for their services and this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

For those who are not aware, all Hampshire libraries are currently closed and this obviously includes Chineham.

Chineham Village Club has also suspended all activities for the time being.

We shall try to report all we can discover in next week’s column!

Please keep well (and, where possible, apart) in the weeks ahead.

Fiona Biermann


THE Shop: Thanks to Ken and his team for all their hard work keeping the customers looked after. There’s a request that between 7.30 and 9 the Shop is open for the over 70s for convenience and safety.

NWR: Gill says: In view of the current health situation we have postponed our April meeting which was due to be our Diamond anniversary, looking at the 0 years, 1970 etc. We hope to hold this meeting in August and will decide on future meetings nearer their dates.

FETE: Sherfield Village Fete was due to take place on Saturday, June 13. I have received the following notice: “On Monday March 9, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic (Coronavirus), the fete committee took the sad decision to cancel this year’s Sherfield Fete. The health of our many professionals, volunteers and visitors was our priority and we saw, on the following day, that the decision would soon have been taken out of our hands. Our documented cancellation process was immediately triggered and, the next day, committee members began their agreed tasks.

“All pre-booked stallholders, services, attractions and volunteer team leaders were contacted personally, before we placed notice on the website informing our many other volunteers, villagers and visitors. At this early stage, we are pleased to be in a position to refund all stall fees in full.

“Whilst we have been very mindful of the impact on all those with an involvement or interest in the fete, it was agreed that postponement for such a large undertaking would not be feasible. This is an unprecedented situation and puts us all in uncharted territory.

“Committee members are extremely grateful for the kind and sympathetic reception our unwelcome decision has received, and we look forward with energy and optimism to a bumper Sherfield Fete in happier times in 2021.”

Chris Horton


As people start to realise the full impact of restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community, some of you are understandably anxious. I want to reassure you that a support network is being put into place and you will be able to ask for help should you need it.

The Oakley Support Network is comprised of representatives from the Parish Council, Oakley Community Association and St Leonard’s Church. We are working hard to establish a safe and effective system that will support households in Oakley, Deane, Malshanger and Wootton during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Within the next week or so each household will receive a leaflet detailing how they can access help and support; especially if people need to self isolate. The leaflet will bear the logos of the Church, Parish Council and Oakley Community Association. In this way you know it is a legitimate communication – it is not ‘junk mail’. In the coming days, a website will be launched that will provide a mechanism for ongoing communication; we will also be sending out an electronic volunteer application form shortly

We have created a Virgin Giving Page, if you would like to support us then we would be pleased to receive donations which will be used to fund the costs of the network infrastructure and its operation. We will be providing regular updates from this time on.

In the meantime, please leave a message on 01256 268700 and we will do our best to respond to urgent needs.’

Thank you to everyone who is already looking out for their friends and neighbours.

We’re all in this together.

Tiffany Wise

Hatch Warren and Beggarwood

In a country currently dominated by the impact of the Coronavirus epidemic, there are many local consequences:

BEGGARWOOD SURGERY is asking patients NOT to come to the surgery unless instructed by a clinician or the surgery. If you have a problem the surgery will contact you by phone or by video and give you further advice. You will no longer be able to pick up prescriptions from the surgery, so please sign up for online services or speak to your pharmacist. Patient Participation Group meetings are cancelled until further notice.

BUSES: following the closure of the schools to most pupils, Stagecoach has reverted to its holiday timetable. It is worth checking whether the service you are planning to use is running. Stagecoach is also asking customers, where possible, to use contactless payment methods. Any further changes will be posted on the Stagecoach website. The time restrictions on the use of bus passes have been lifted.

BEGGARWOOD CAFE IN THE PARK has closed. This will be a great disappointment to its many users but was unavoidable.

BRIGHTON HILL COMMUNITY SCHOOL is closed except for children of key workers and vulnerable children (likely to be those with Education, and Healthcare Plans or assigned social workers).

ST MARK’S SCHOOL, HATCH WARREN JUNIORS AND HATCH WARREN INFANTS have posted similar notices. The Infants school has details on its website of ways in which its pupils may learn at home. National guidance is that, where possible, children should stay at home to minimise the chance of the virus spreading.

SAINSBURY’S is allowing NHS and social care workers to shop for half an hour before the store opens each day. Anyone with NHS ID will be able to shop from 07.30-08.00 every day from Monday to Saturday. Everyone is asked not to panic buy: it results in some people not being able to buy essentials because others have built up stocks at home.

GARDEN WASTE COLLECTIONS will be suspended by the Borough Council from this week. Any missed weeks will be added to your entitlement at the end of the season..

Stephen Reid

Old Basing and Lychpit

ST MARY’S CHURCH services and activities have been suspended until further notice. However, the church is open from 9am each day for personal prayer. There will also be morning prayers at 9.15 on the church’s Facebook page – St Mary’s Old Basing and Lychpit.

THE FOODBANK is still being supported by St Mary’s and the following items are particularly welcome: UHT fruit juices, full cream milk and semi skimmed milk plus dried milk powder and evaporated milk. Nappies sizes 5 and 6, shampoo, microwave and packet desserts, crackers and small packs of toilet rolls are also in short supply.

OUR LOCAL CO-OP in Belle View Road, like many of the larger supermarkets, will be opening at dedicated shopping times for the vulnerable, elderly or key workers. Please contact 01256 362 845 for more details,

THE CROWN PUBLIC HOUSE has opened a Pop-in Farm Shop selling eggs, Cheddar Cheese, fresh meat, fish, milk, fresh fruit and vegetables plus a wide variety of breads. Toilet paper and a selection of wines and beers will also be available. The Crown also offers a take away menu from Tuesday to Saturday from 6-10 and Sunday from midday-4pm. The Pop in Farm Shop is open from10am-7pm. To check for availability or make an order please phone 01256 321424.

THE BOLTON ARMS PUBLIC HOUSE is also offering help and assistance, especially to the elderly or vulnerable. The pub’s suppliers provide a wide range of products from raw ingredients to toiletries and drinks including of course alcoholic beverages. Items can be delivered as soon as they arrive which is usually within 24 hours of being ordered. The pub can also provide a range of home cooked foods. If you are in need of any of the above mentioned items please contact: or phone 01256 819457 or 819555 (both phones have answerphones).

Elspeth Lee

South Ham

South Ham/Berg Estate Councillors Surgery: Due to the Coronavirus crisis and Government advice all Surgeries are cancelled for the foreseeable future. However, if you require the assistance of a councillor please contact Cllr Colin Regan on 07796225618 or Cllr Gary Watts on 07738710518.

Volunteers Required: Westside Community Centre are looking for volunteers to join a scheme to support the elderly and vulnerable South Ham residents during these difficult times. This will consist of helping with the shopping etc and is supported by the Citizens Advice and Age Concern. If you are interest then ring Nicky on 464571.

Colin Regan


SILCHESTER DIG the talk by Professor Michael Fulford planned for tomorrow March 27 at 7.30pm in the Hall is now postponed to a later date.

COMMUNITY CHOIR rehearsals now postponed, we will keep everyone informed as circumstances change. Keep singing at home!

SILCHESTER MAGAZINE the April, magazine has been produced and is on sale now. This is due to the very hard work of our team plus other helpers and the sterling efforts of our Editors. Thanks to you all. We have no plans to produce another magazine until this pandemic moves away from UK. You may still send in copy by 13 if you have any news to share.

VILLAGE MARKET due on 4th April is also cancelled.

SILCHESTER CHURCH remains open for prayer, or just a quiet rest.

I am now under “house arrest” but thank many of you who have offered help in so many ways. This is very much appreciated.

Nancy Jones


I was a little exercised as to what to write this week as so many of my usual features have been cancelled and anyway I wouldn’t exhort you to go to them.

One of the interesting features of this fast moving scenario is the way in which our learning curves have become vertical - I knew nothing of virtual video conferences last week, now I’m on two!

People are using so much ingenuity to allow us to buy, experience, communicate and generally live a full life in the circumstances.

Pity those in the mid 1300s who endured the Black Death without modern communication. We need to be careful that we do not create a two-tier society, online and not.

If you are aware of the latter, give them a call occasionally. I’ve decided I’m going to become a hoarder.

I’m going to hoard the following: the acts of kindness from family, friends, acquaintances and complete strangers; the funnies people are posting that make me laugh out loud; the empty cereal boxes etc that the home-schoolers can use for junk modellers - I might put them at my gate for dog walking parents to take as they cross to Down Grange; the memories from a long life.

What I’m not going to do is think of myself as vulnerable (however I’m classified by the state - over 70, lifelong cerebral palsy, new hip etc etc).

If anyone thinks I can help in any way, The Gazette knows how to contact me. If your glass is half empty, I’m sorry, but mine is at least half full!

Diana Manville

Ellisfield and Farleigh

POSTPONED: for most of us this sums up the state of our calendars for coming months. Most village events have been cancelled with some moving online, Ellisfield Parish Council hope to hold a ‘Virtual Meeting’ on Monday, March 30 open to remote access by members of the public as well as councillors and clerk. See village notice boards and websites for further details as they arise. Early initiatives to move church services outside and hold daily yoga sessions on Lower Common seem to have been curtailed by latest government guidance, hopefully to be reviewed in three weeks if the situation improves.

Parish Clerks Sylvia and Peter Raine have asked for volunteers in various areas of the village to make contact with their neighbours and offer help and assistance. These volunteers have contacted their neighbours by phone/email/flyer offering to collect prescriptions/urgent supplies, post mail or just a friendly phone call.

NEW Life continues in the fields, the lambs are arriving thick and fast, the hedgerows are lined with primroses, celandines, wood anemones and there are daisies on the lawn suggesting it’s time to start mowing. Despite my best efforts to spot the first bluebell, I was beaten to it by Steve Gould who has posted a photo on the Ellisfield Village Facebook page. If your daily exercise is a walk in the spring sunshine, these things are there for all to enjoy and hopefully lift our spirits in these difficult times. Stay safe and well everyone.

Jacqueline Matthews