Why 2016 was a fantastic year for Twyford

PUBLISHED: 12:10 08 November 2016 | UPDATED: 12:36 08 November 2016

With permission of the THRU-Christ Church Office © 2016 Josef Litt

With permission of the THRU-Christ Church Office © 2016 Josef Litt

© 2016 Josef Litt

Our editor is a resident of the village and looks back on a busy 2016 in this thriving community

What a year it’s been for Twyford – our MP who somehow managed to turn up for everything from cake-cutting to fun runs despite being Home Secretary – became Prime Minister and is still juggling her diary to fit in local events with what is now an international stage at a crucial time in Britain’s history.

But 2016 is not over yet and there’s plenty more to come before the calendar turns.

There’s been a change of name for the busy and highly successful Twyford Village Partnership to Twyford Together, reflecting its ever-growing ‘job description’ as the organisation linking residents, charities, churches, social groups and businesses there as well as organising its own awards and initiatives.

And, notable as it is, Theresa May’s achievement is not the only matter marking out the village. It was runner-up in the ‘Britain’s Best Village High Street’ competition, resulting in a visit to London’s Admiralty House for the team led by Gordon Storey, Twyford Together’s business leader. Twyford, and fellow runners up, Brigg, were just pipped by West Kilbride.

And some things – not always the best ones – have pretty much stayed the same. Sheeplands, the popular garden centre and gathering spot for local residents, remains under threat in a long-running wrangle with Wokingham Borough Council over planning breaches. The petitions from thousands of Sheeplands fans keep coming and the whole thing could now well be heading for The Supreme Court.

Then there’s been the fact that the village seems to be at the epicentre of the Crossrail works, with regular pile-driving thumps in the wee small hours waking those residents nearest to it. You sometimes think that Crossrail will be celebrating its 10th anniversary of operation before the Sheeplands saga is sorted.

Beyond all that there has been an awful lot to celebrate in this busy village, not least the Twyford Business & Community Awards, now in their sixth year and held at the ever popular Buratta’s, with RG10 magazine sponsoring the business winners. We definitely have a deserving Roll of Honour here, with ‘Oscars’ going to local businesses and, suitably in this Olympic year, gold medals to residents.

The Twyford 2016 Role of Honour

• Business of the Year: Ballards Newsagents; runners up: Floor Store and Parkers

• Community Award: Barnes Fitness

• Business Support Award: TW Computer Services

• Best Individual Performance Award: Charlotte Hollidge

• New Business Award: Riverways Farm

• Charity Support Award: Hennerton Golf Club

• Gordon’s Award 2016: Mullie

• Twyford Tradesmen Together Award: Chambers Property Services

• Best New Member: Davis Tate

• Health and Wellbeing Award: Fit and Able

• Twyford Parish Council Citizen of the Year: Tom Toy of 1st Twyford Scouts


• Andy Nicholls of WBC, who nominated Twyford for the Great British High Street Award.

• Ren Kapur of X-Forces, which helps ex-service people start businesses, made an MBE for services to entrepreneurship in the Birthday Honours.

• Jane Holmes, who leads Building for the Future, which provides support and activities for disabled children and received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

• Chris Bingham, founder of the village’s highly successful Bingham’s Brewery.

• Ian and Wendy Stafford, for Twyford in Bloom, they are known as the ‘Guerilla Gardeners’ for turning up and planting flowers on strips of land they find.

• Neil Robertson, the Defibrillator Award for his work to expand the delivery of life-saving equipment in the village.

• Bill and Karen Suter, Life Time Achievement Award, having served thousands of customers at the Duke of Wellington pub before moving on in the summer.

• David Brownlow, the local entrepreneur and philanthropist received the Outstanding Performance Award for his unstinting support of local causes.

Twyford’s new book

Looking for a Christmas gift for those who love Twyford and Ruscombe, or used to live there? Just out is a splendid record of life in the adjoining villages from the earliest times to the modern day. Author Audrey Curtis was supported by members of the Twyford & Ruscombe Local History Society as she carried out extensive research.

Twyford and Ruscombe through the Ages is available in Ballards newsagents, £9.95, see trlhs.org.uk.

Twyford in pictures

Photographer Gareth Jones of Sports-alive Photography organised a competition to capture Twyford with local lenses and had a tough job deciding the winners with a panel of judges. Pride of place must go to Josef Litt, whose magnificent study opens this feature, with Laura Griffin and Tony King in the runners-up spots for the Twyford & Environs section. First spot in the Natural Environment and Wildlife category went to Sammy Ostrowski (runner-up Stuart Scott) and Amanda Law took top spot in the mobile section (runner-up Tony Gil). Helen Paps produced photos which took both places in the travel section.

Christmas celebrations

Not to be missed is the Twyford Christmas Fair from 6 to 9pm on Friday, 2 December 2016, in the centre of the village with dozens of stallholders and lots of entertainment.

The bi-annual winter wonderland of Christmas trees will appear again in St Mary’s Church from 1 to 4 December when over 60 twinkling trees decorated by local community groups will be on display. The Christmas Tree Festival is open daily with free entrance, Thursday and Saturday 10am to 5pm, on Friday from 10am to 9pm and Sunday 10.30am to 4.30pm.

Farewell to the Howards

Over 200 parishioners from Twyford, Ruscombe and Hurst gathered in St Mary’s Church to bid farewell to their vicar, the Rev Simon Howard, and wife Bridget. After 11 years living in Ruscombe, Simon has become the chaplain at Lee Abbey in the Exmoor National Park.

Among gifts presented to them was a painting of a tree which was completed during the service by “the babies, toddlers and children you have helped to grow during your time here.” Every child left a fingerprint on the trunk of the tree.

Sheeplands: On we go

A new petition in support of Hare Hatch Sheeplands garden centre has been presented to Wokingham Borough Council in the campaign to get a certificate for lawful use covering expanded facilities at the site. It was handed over to council leader Andy Couldrick by Patrick Heather, the man who presented the first one containing over 12,000 signatures.

The council refused to consider that, saying they did not accept petitions on planning matters.

Sheeplands owner Rob Scott says: “This second petition, which gathered over 2,500 signatures in just a few weeks, has been produced with assistance from the council and we hope it will lead to a public debate.”

Watch this space on this one.

It will run and run

No not the Sheeplands Saga, but audience enjoyment of Twyford & Ruscombe Theatre Group productions. Their pantomime on 12 and 13 January will be a re-written version of the Twyford classic ‘The Dragon’s Egg’.


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