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This winter, the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the completion of one of the artist's most famous paintings. 'Swan Upping at Cookham', 1915-1919, was inspired by the sounds Stanley Spencer heard from Holy Trinity Church as Cookham villagers made their way down to the River Thames nearby.
Spencer had drawn up detailed sketches of the imagined scene in 1915, but was only halfway through the oil painting when he was forced to leave the village to serve in The Great War. Spencer's dream was to finish the work. This he achieved in 1919 -100 years ago. The thought of it waiting in his bedroom in Cookham gave him comfort on the battlefield.
The title of the painting refers to the ancient ritual of Swan Upping, which takes place each July when swans and their cygnets are lifted from the river and marked to show ownership by either the Vintners or Dyers Companies. Unmarked swans belong to the Queen.
Tate have loaned this masterpiece to the Gallery from 7 November until 22 March 2020 as the focal point of the Painting by the Thames: Swan Upping at Cookham exhibition. It will hang by other Spencer works relating to the river, including a little seen study.
Reading Refugee Support Group are inviting everyone to join them as they celebrate their 25th anniversary in the stunning Reading Concert Hall this month. The Reading charity has been supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the town since 1994, and is marking the milestone with a jam-packed evening of celebrations in one Reading's most spectacular venues.
Women in Power Lunch with Clare Balding - 8 November
Cliveden, near Maidenhead
As part of Cliveden's ongoing Women in Power series of events to celebrate the centenary of former Cliveden resident Nancy Astor becoming the first female MP to take her seat in Parliament, Clare Balding talks about her career as an award-winning broadcaster and author. Arrive at midday for a drinks reception followed by an insightful talk by Clare and a delicious two-course lunch in the French Dining Room.
Head just over the border to start your Christmas shopping in style as around 150 designer-makers showcase the very best of British contemporary craft. This is an indulgent day out, packed with seasonal charm and exquisite gift ideas not found on the High Street, with Christmas entertainment.
TV favourite Ed Byrne brings his latest sell-out Fringe show to Reading. Join Ed as he takes a long hard look at himself and tries to decide if he has any traits that are worth passing on to his children.
Meadow Quilters Christmas Fair for Thames Hospice - 24 November
Charvil Village Hall
There will be many stalls including homemade gifts by Meadow Quilters, a tombola, wood-turned items, jewellery, honey, cheese, stained glass, skincare products and more. Tea, coffee and cakes will be sold throughout the day.
Santa Dash - 24 November
Bachelors Acre, Windsor
Kick-start Christmas with Windsor's 5km Santa Dash, taking in the Long Walk, the Castle, Queen Victoria and Windsor's great shopping streets. Includes a free Santa suit or children's reindeer antlers and a medal. All proceeds are donated to Alexander Devine Children's Hospice Service. Start at 9am and finish with great offers on winter warmers at some of the fantastic eateries in Windsor.
Don a Santa suit and dash to raise vital funds for Thames Hospice so they can continue providing compassionate care and support to local families this Christmas and beyond. Run or walk 3k, 5k or a more challenging 10k route. There will also be a special visit from Santa and his sleigh, children's entertainment, music and refreshments.
This year is set to be bigger and better than ever before with the introduction of Ladbrokes Gentleman's Day on the Friday and the return of the biggest day of Newbury's Jump season, Ladbrokes Trophy Day on the Saturday. New this year is the Winter Garden Terrace, which will have gins, beers and ciders to try and acoustic music. The new Carnival Marquee in the Grandstand Enclosure is the place to be if you want to listen to expert tipsters before the racing, enjoy a ride on the retro carousel and get into the Christmas spirit with an array of festive food and drink offerings. The resident DJ will perform a special set each evening on the Winter Garden Terrace.