There was a meeting of Abingdon Town Council this evening. I could not get there but will do my best to do a report by reading committee minutes
The most significant current happening at the Town Council are the plans for the old part of the Guildhall. Once Abingdon Music Centre have moved out, the old Magistrates Court would be redeveloped as an extension to the County Hall Museum with space for art exhibitions.
The old staircase near the Roysse Room could also become a lift giving access to the upstairs rooms like the old Council Chamber.
The remaining money left from the £1.2m, given as a parting gift by the VWHDC (Vale of White Horse District Council) when it handed over the Guildhall, would be spent on the old part of the Guildhall. There are also proposals from the leader of the Town Council, Cllr Mike Badcock, that the Museum and Guildhall Committees combine and operate as one committee.
However there seem no plans for the new part of the Guildhall, closed down currently to save on business rates and other expense.
Another venture the Town Council is involved with is the South Abingdon Children’s Centre. They have offered a grant of £90K over three years to secure its future, and, before parting with the money, have asked some questions about governance to the group called Abingdon Carousel who are planning to run the centre.
It is important that this centre be open by September and continue to operate for the community and children that needs it.
On the Market Place on Saturday, there was a sponsored cycle ride with 16 static cycles raising funds for local charity Against Breast Cancer.
The Friends of Abingdon Community Hospital had had a good morning and were just packing up when I walked by.
Also on at the weekend was the Carswell School Fete and the Exbourne Road Street Party. They were all sat down for their Sunday lunch when I cycled by.
Thanks to Tony for this report …
Retired Abingdon churchman and scientist Dick Barnes, 96, received his British Empire Medal (awarded in HM The Queen’s New Year Honours) from the Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, John Harwood today (26th June 2017). High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Jane Cranston, complete in ostrich feathers, read the citation, “for services to the community in Abingdon”.
Dick Barnes is pictured with his British Empire Medal, with his wife Doreen (right) and daughter Ros Mennie.
Dick has served the church in Abingdon for more than 60 years, including 16 years as churchwarden. He led Morning Prayer at St Nic’s every Friday for 15 years. He was active in the Abingdon Archaeological and Historical Society, and was Secretary of the Friends of Abingdon. In 2008 Dick received the Berkshire Local History Association’s Judith Hunter prize for his extensive research into the long gone Fitzharris Manor.
Dick launched the village newspaper “Drayton Chronicle” in 1972, and more recently he was a member of the research team who produced the interpretative posterboards now on view at strategic sites around the town.
Equally worthy of recognition would have been Dick’s work on early pioneering computers, including the world’s oldest computer still in regular use. In 2012 he attended the launch at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park of the refurbished “Witch”, now billed as the world’s oldest working computer. He is the only one still alive of the three scientists who built it.
Dick’s wife Doreen deserves honours in her own right for her years of work for the Citizens Advice Bureau.
The fourth Abingdon food festival on Saturday the 24th June was the biggest yet. The first two took place at the Miele Experience Centre, and the second two at Rye Farm Meadow, beside Abingdon Bridge
The event is organised by the Rotary Club of Abingdon Vesper. There was a small entrance fee of £3, and programs and raffle tickets also went towards helping raising funds towards their local and international projects – described at their stall and on their web site. Rotary members volunteer their time and skills towards the Rotary motto “Service Above Self”. In their big tent cookery demonstrations were going on throughout the day.
There were 60 or 70 exhibitors with food and drink on offer, quite a few of them local including from Abingdon: Ask, Dream Doors, Loose Cannon, Majliss, White Horse Leisure, and Wildwood Kitchen. There were lots of free samples to be tried before purchasing on many stalls, but Wildwood were giving away a selection of salads.
At the centre of the festival was an area with picnic tables where a number of groups played music.
There were also a number of good causes with stalls including the Oxford Food Bank – pictured above. They collect fresh food from wholesalers and supermarkets that would otherwise be thrown away and deliver it to around 80 charities, including the Abingdon Food Bank, supplementing the tins and dry food they store at Christchurch on the Northcourt Road.