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The strong sense of community in Burnham

PUBLISHED: 10:52 16 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:52 16 May 2017

The listed Burnham War Memorial features a bronze figure of a soldier by prominent sculptor Leonard S Merrifield

The listed Burnham War Memorial features a bronze figure of a soldier by prominent sculptor Leonard S Merrifield

MAUREEN MCLEAN

Simply enjoy a stroll around Burnham High Street and it’s clear that the South Bucks village has a strong sense of community

Sitting as it does between Maidenhead and Slough, both of which are in Berkshire, the South Bucks village of Burnham could have easily been swallowed up over the years. But adjoining the majestic Burnham Beeches, it’s kept a traditional identity, particularly in the High Street area where truly local shops and interesting architecture remind us still of times past.

Some buildings date back to the 17th and 18th century and parts of others are even older, such as St Peter’s Church with its roots in the 12th century. It’s been a busy little place for over 200 years, although the blacksmiths, saddlers, tailors and shoemakers have given way to more modern delights. Even so, many of the intriguing little stores ensure ‘window shopping’ is a tempting treat. Burnham Business Association supports all this with events and projects throughout the year. And there’s small market every Wednesday from 8am to 3pm.

You can tell you’re in a ‘proper village’ when it still has a traditional butchers, and this is certainly true of Burnham, where Burrowes family butchers is run by Jay Burrowes and Jack Andrews. Local residents – and some who have travelled to collect favourites – know all about the produce, from prime cuts to delicious, meaty sausages such as ‘The Burnham Banger’. Burrows have just launched an outdoor catering service for parties, with everything from barbecues to banquets and hog roasts.

Of course, if you’re going to enjoy all that, plus the cakes and tea or coffee from the nearby cafes, a little exercise is in order and we caught up with residents using the gym equipment outside in Burnham Park. They meet on Fridays at 10am for free sessions including a bit of exercise. There’s also a teacher at the group at 11.30am on Tuesdays.

Among them was Christine Billingham, administrator for the Burnham Health Promotion Trust, which this year will mark 20 years, see bhpt.org.uk. And with The Simply Walk scheme, part of a countywide initiative, now running for 15 years in Burnham they will be having a ‘birthday tea’ and walk to celebrate in the summer.

What’s clear is that the local people, whether it’s the parish council, Community Association (2016 marked its golden jubilee) or groups of residents with common cause, ensure that Burnham retains its village identity, and much of this is down to the host of activities organised at Burnham Park Hall, the library, church and beyond.

Whether you want to learn to play bridge, tap dance, or gain karate skills, all can be found here, alongside a host of other activities from tea dances to stage shows. The sense of community is underpinned by causes such as The Burnham Foundation, whereby residents leave gifts in wills or provide donations. The trustees then support a wide range of voluntary groups and charities in the village, see burnhamfoundation.org.

Find out more about what’s happening in Burnham at burnhambeacon.co.uk

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