Issue 12, 14 March 2018

Welcome to the latest Genie Village Matters newsletter

In this issue learn more about the Goring High Street closure last Saturday, the rescheduled 'Big Litter Pick',when Goring will be on BBC TV, the local finalists in the national Deli & Farm Shop of the Year Award - plus a lot of other things you may find of interest!

Why was Goring High Street closed last Saturday morning?
The Fire and Rescue service closed the central section of the High Street on Saturday between about 9am until midday to deal with a flood in a shop as a result of a water leak.

Serious water damage to clothing, furniture and other materials on the ground and upper floors of the newly refurbished Ruby Pepper Boutique occurred due to a split in a flexible water pipe on the upper floor early on Saturday morning.

Water was seen running down the road from the shop and the quick response of the local Goring fire crew, who were on the scene within 4 minutes of the 999 call made by a key holder at about 9am, prevented the damage to the shop and contents from being much worse. The crew quickly turned off the water, cleared the shop and then mopped up, with help from neighbouring shopkeepers and others. Some water also affected the carpet of the neighbouring shop, Mary S.

Gina, owner of Ruby Pepper Boutique, would like to express her gratitude to the fire crew for their prompt action and also to everyone who came to help that morning. Gina has asked Genie to inform her customers that, sadly, it may be some time before the shop will be fully dried out, refurbished, restocked and open for business again. If any customers have enquiries about orders or collections etc, please contact Gina on 07903 019246.
Sean Absolom, Goring Fire Station’s Incident Commander, said that incidents like this can happen at any time and reinforces the need to have a full complement of local fire and rescue personnel in Goring to be on call when needed.
(See item below to find out more about being a local on-call firefighter).

Emergency First Aid Course
This Friday, 16 March

This course is specifically designed for ‘Emergency First Aid’, which will equip you with the basic knowledge to deal with the most common situations you could be faced with. The course provides you with the ability to help someone with the all important early intervention before a fully trained paramedic or doctor comes to take over.
This type of course, with a professional trainer, is usually much more expensive (£135), but it is being subsidised to provide the GAP Festival with trained First Aid volunteers.
There are still a few places left on this Friday's course, but there is a second one planned for Monday 16th April, 9.30am to 3.30pm, Goring Community Centre.
If you are interested in a place on either course or want more information, please contact the organiser straight way: Rebecca Russell, Stepping Stones for Business, based in Goring, on 0333 3210131 or email
The ‘Big Litter Pick’ is on again!
This Saturday, 17 March, 10am
(This is the rescheduled event postponed from 3 March due to the snow).

The ‘Big Litter Pick’ in Goring is part of ‘The Great British Spring Clean’ which was launched last year and is a nationwide event with the aim of bringing people together across the country to clear up the litter that blights our towns, villages, countryside and beaches, as well as our wildlife.

Please join us if you can at Goring Village Hall at 10am. All equipment supplied.  

Lead organiser, Maureen Whitcher, writes:
Last year In Goring, villagers collected 44 bags of landfill litter and 29 bags of recyclable litter from the footpaths, towpath, hedgerows and open spaces of the village. We were able to cover nearly every area in and around the village and if you know of any litter in a place that was not cleared, can you please let me know.

Holding the event on 17 March, will still count Goring as having taken part in this nationwide event, as many other communities across the UK had to cancel for the same adverse weather reason. 
Please meet at Goring Village Hall where you and your friends or family can select the area you would like to cover depending on the time you have available. Some areas can be done in half an hour. Children, accompanied by an adult, can litter pick in child-friendly areas.
We will supply litter picking equipment, sacks and gloves and our Goring Gap in Bloom group is covering the insurance of the volunteers. The Goring Gap News has generously sponsored the hire of the room and kitchen for our use for your refreshments afterwards, kindly supplied by the ladies of our W.I.
Last year’s national clean-up saw 300,000 people collect more than 1,500 tonnes of litter, an amazing amount to remove in a single day. About 2.25 million pieces of litter are dropped every day on Britain’s streets alone and the total annual cost to taxpayers for clearing this up amounts to around £1 billion.
The more villagers who turn up to help, the more areas we can cover, so please come along if you can this Saturday, 17 March, to help clean up our beautiful village and our part of the Goring Gap.
Thank you .​
Visit our Twinning Town in France
Join the Twinning Association for May Bank Holiday weekend in Bellême, Normandy

Our friends in the beautiful Normandy town of Bellême are inviting anyone living in Goring and District to visit their community and enjoy their free hospitality over the May Day holiday weekend of 5 - 7 May. The theme of this special weekend will be ‘Horses & Hospitality’.
Good hospitality is one element that can be guaranteed, as vouched for by the regular visitors from Goring over the years, but we are trying to encourage residents  to try this wonderful experience for the first time. You don’t need to speak French , as you will be paired with a suitable and welcoming host family. There will be full programme of events, entertainment, a carriage ride through a magnificent national forest, and great food and drink, including a gala dinner.
It will be a memorable trip and it’s free apart from the cost of your coach travel. The coach will leave Goring on Friday 4 May (via Portsmouth ferry) and return midnight 7 May Bank holiday Monday. The all inclusive cost will be £130.00. For more information or to book, please email the organisers  or see the Twinning website:

And about the horses - Bellême is in the Perche region of Normandy where the famous Percheron heavy draught horse originates. The itinerary will include a visit to The Haras du Pin, the oldest, most aristocratic and striking national stud in France, known as the ‘Versailles of the Horse’. It was built by order of Louis XIV in 1715 to breed horses for the Grand Stables of Versailles and the army and is in a beautiful setting of over 1,000 hectares, just north of Bellême. You don’t need to be interested in horses to be impressed by this major attraction. For further information see links to website and video: &    

Goring Gap in Bloom features in new BBC2 TV documentary
Goring will be the subject of a 30-minute BBC2 TV documentary on Thursday 10 May at 6.30pm. 

There will be a series of 15 half hour programmes screened every weekday evening over a 3-week period starting Monday 23 April. Goring Gap’s episode will be the 14th and penultimate programme in this nationwide series following communities preparing for their entry in the Britain in Bloom competition.
BBC camera crews followed the Goring Gap in Bloom team around during their preparation for the RHS judge’s visit on 12 July last year. BBC TV crews and presenter, Chris Bavin, spent many days in Goring interviewing and filming the team at work during the various projects on the new station garden, the BT site next to the car park and planting and putting up of the hanging baskets. Fortunately, Goring Gap in Bloom won a Gold in the Thames & Chilterns Regional competition, as reported last year, although the filming didn’t extend to the end of September when the awards ceremony took place.

According to programme makers, Goring looks beautiful and features many local characters, so is well worth a look. Watching the whole series, in fact, will be interesting as it captures the work of many different communities, urban and rural, large and small, all trying to improve their local environment in their different ways.

A taste of upcoming local events
There’s 'snow' reason not to enjoy local entertainment....

Local shops and entertainment really came into their own when the ‘beast from the east’ joined forces with storm Emma to make driving a challenge.  There’s plenty more on offer locally, whatever the weather, in the run-up to Easter:
South Stoke is offering the brilliant ‘Think Pink Pamper Night’ on 16 March and has an interesting film evening coming up. The South Stoke Historical Society will be showing films of life in South Stoke in the 50s and 60s on 23 March.
Woodcote has a quiz night on 23 March, being held in aid if St Leonard’s Church. Teams and individuals all welcome.

Local music offerings include Pangbourne Choral Society performing works by Mozart on 17 March, and a cello recital in Goring the following afternoon. The Spring Concert of the Goring & Streatley Concert Band is on Saturday 24 March, followed on the Sunday afternoon by the Goring Chamber Choir performing their Spring Concert, ‘Ubi Caritas’.  To round off a musical month there is Goring Unplugged on the 30th, with an extra special line-up of acoustic performers. 

For the gardeners out there, don’t forget the Greenfingers Spring Show on the afternoon of 24 March.  All are welcome to visit Goring Village Hall to view the exhibits and enjoy tea and cakes. 

These are just a taste of the events listed on the Genie calendar – take a look and find out more:

The new Christmas Torchlight Event Committee needs you!
The decision on whether to revive the event this Christmas will be made on 28 March.

Christmas Eve 2017 in Goring and Streatley was very different without the torchlight procession through the villages and carols around the bonfire. Most people missed it and there is a group of people who are willing to help organise an event for Christmas 2018, with the format being open to discussion.

For the event to be viable, however, this committee needs to grow with more enthusiastic people wanting to get involved. The deadline for the decision whether to have the event this Christmas is being made on 28 March, so please read on. 

To find out more about what’s involved or to express an interest in joining the committee or helping out at a later stage, please contact Mike Baker on or 07788 413694 or Kay Smitham on or 07887 503700 by 28 March.

A meeting will take place on this date to make a decision about the future of the event; the outcome of this meeting will be publicised in due course.

There is a significant amount of work involved in ensuring the event runs safely and smoothly, and the current group is not big enough to manage all the tasks required. Without more volunteers to join the committee, the traditional event bringing the two villages together will not be possible.
There are a variety of tasks to be undertaken, some bigger, some smaller. Tasks in the run-up to the event include organising road closures, recruiting and briefing marshals, liaising with emergency services and arranging for materials to build the bonfire, amongst others.
We also need more people in the days leading up to, on the day itself, and afterwards, to support the event. This includes building the bonfire, acting as a volunteer marshal, and helping with the clean-up. Again, without enough people to take on these roles, the event isn’t viable.
Christmas is a busy time for many, and this event has been an integral part of the villages’ celebrations for many years. We hope these local celebrations can continue, but we can’t do it alone. If we don’t manage to secure at least four more people to take an active role in the organising committee then the event, sadly, will not be able to proceed.
If you want to ensure the torchlight event can continue and are willing to join the team to shape its future, then we want to hear from you - before 28 March.

Thank you.
The Torchlight Event Committee
Tickets go on sale for the Gap Festival on 5 April (22 March for Friends of the Festival)
The programme is complete and with over 40 amazing events, workshops, demonstrations and talks to entertain, educate and inspire.

This is the 3rd festival and the previous two sold out all events, some very quickly. We suggest you keep an eye on the website ( which is continually being updated and soon the full programme will be able to be viewed. The 36-page printed programme will be dropped through letterboxes around Easter time.
If you would like to become a Friend of the Festival, you will be able to enjoy a number of tangible benefits, including 20% discount off food at The Miller of Mansfield (see below), priority booking, 2 weeks before tickets go on sale to the general public. (Friends are supplied with a code to use with the online ticket service) and priority entry (5 minutes before the doors open to all events for which tickets have been purchased).
The Miller of Mansfield is giving 20% off all food purchased by Friends of the GAP Festival, when presenting their voucher, with no limit on how many people are paid for by the Friend. The discount vouchers are issued exclusively to Friends when they sign up on the festival website  Existing Friends will be given these vouchers too. For more information, click www.
The Goring Grocer
Finalist in Deli & Farm Shop of the Year Award

The popular deli in Goring High Street is one of 6 finalists in the ‘Newcomer of the Year’ category of this national award for the best delicatessen in the UK. The winner will be announced on April 16 at the NEC, Birmingham.

We wish Caroline & Stuart Pierrepont and their staff the very best of luck!

All the finalists for ‘Newcomer of the Year’:  The Goring Grocer (Goring on Thames, Reading), Blair Drummond Smiddy Farm Shop (Blair Drummond, Stirling), Great Cornish Food Store (Truro) , Love Cheese (York), Low Howgill Butchers & Deli (Appleby-in-Westmorland), The Lambing Shed Farm Shop and Café (Knutsford)  
Keep an eye open for suspicious or inappropriate activity

There has been a recent act of vandalism at the bottom of the Bridle Way, at the corner of Cleeve Road and Mill Road at the north of the village.  Fence posts along the property border have been maliciously sawn off.  A few weeks prior to that, fence panels were kicked in along the same path, damaging personal properties of Goring residents.  This follows on from several months prior in which the local police were able to catch vandals who had done damage in South Stoke and all along the Ridgeway Path into Goring.  These individuals were made to do service in restitution.

If anyone was witness to these or other acts of vandalism, please contact the police.  Also, please keep an eye open for suspicious or inappropriate acts and report them.

STOP PRESS:  Thames Valley Police have just issued an alert relating to an incident in Station Road, Goring, where a garage was broken into. You can read it here.
Could you shape up?
Goring needs more local, on-call firefighters

If you’re 18 or over, fit and interested in finding out more about serving the community in this way, just pop around to Goring Fire Station in Icknield Road any Wednesday evening between 7pm - 9pm to have a chat.

You’ll be doing a professional job and will receive the same training as the full-time firefighters. It can be challenging work, but a very rewarding job which also includes rescue, flood relief and dealing with other types of emergencies. You will often be working along side the other emergency services, so you will be serving your community in a very special way.

Being an on-call firefighter is a paid and a professional role. You would carry a beeper and be called out to respond to incidents (shouts) when alerted. On average, you could be expected to be called out two or three times each week for about an hour at a time, this can be at night or during the day.

Every week you are encouraged to attend a drill night in Goring (Wednesdays 7pm - 9pm) to take part in training exercises and carry out equipment maintenance. You may also spend time working in the community to help reduce the risk of fires and incidents by attending local events and performing Safe and Well checks. To apply you need to be over 18, live or work five minutes of the Icknield Road, Goring fire station and be able to respond at a moment’s notice.

Click on these links to find out more:

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Village Matters reports on topical events and items of interest to local residents. There is no specific publication schedule, as it goes out ‘as and when’ sufficient material justifies a newsletter. Unless stated otherwise, the items will refer to Goring-on-Thames, Streatley, South Stoke and the surrounding villages.

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