St Mary’s Appeal Fund

There are some subtle yet important improvements planned to St Mary’s church which, in a nutshell, bring it from its 11th century origins straight into the 21st! We are planning to install an accessible toilet and proper catering facilities so that the building can continue to serve all the residents of Upton for another thousand years. Planning permission has been granted and the Diocese has given us a Faculty so we are ready to start fundraising.

The fundraising appeal will be launched in the church on Saturday, 6th July, beginning at 7.30 pm. There will be wine, refreshments and music and an opportunity to see the plans and comment on them. By the time of the event, all Upton residents will have received a leaflet and flyer through the door giving details of our proposals so do come along on 6th and see for yourself – we look forward to seeing you there.

Paul Batho (Chair of PCC)


London to Brighton Cycle Ride with Carl and Jane

Jane and I went up to East Croydon on Saturday and stayed in the nosiest hotel in the whole of Europe, after about 3 hours kip we got up at 4:15am up and set off, riding 5.5 miles to the start line at Clapham Common for a 6 am start, which was delayed by about 10 minutes, we finally set off in the bright sunshine and a little wind.

I was riding the 43 old BSA Tour De France road bike that I recently restored, the ride was the first time for me but the second time for the bike, the previous owner Alan Davies rode the event 15 years ago. Jane was riding her super light Carbon Trak Madone bike, and we agreed to ride at our own pace and meet at the end, so once over the start line I didn’t see Jane again until the finish line.

I was a bit concerned about riding the old bike, I didn’t really know how it was going to perform,  I hadn’t done a lot of training and I’m used to riding my much lighter Trek Madone with more and better gears I should have been better prepared.

Anyway the bike was comfortable to ride for the first 5 miles or so, then I hit a bump and the seat post slipped into the seat tube, so I fixed that and set off again then after about two miles it did it again, then again after another two miles. The problem was I couldn’t tighten up the nut enough without it is affecting the brake cable hanger which kept moving and tightening the brakes against the rear wheel.  I gave up and rode the bike with the saddle down until I got to a feed stop area that had a bike mechanic. They very helpfully sorted out the problem, and after a cheese sarnie and a cuppa I was on my way again.

Then after another 5 miles I hit a dip in the road and down it went again, but I was quite close to another feed stop ( there were lots of them on this event), this time I suggested that we make shim out of a drinks can to see if we could get that to stop the post slipping, after a bit of hunting around the side of the road I found a flattened Red Bull drinks can, the mechanic cut a couple of strips from it, fed them into the seat tube with the seat post tightened up and I was on my way again. Would it work?

After About 10 miles of riding it started to rain, and it kept raining for the rest of the ride to Brighton, first it was just light drizzle, but then it got worse, and then it poured and everyone got soaked and the riding was a bit more hazardous, the bike was performing well, the saddle seemed to be behaving itself and it was a comfortable machine to ride, even though it weighs a ton, and has old fashioned gears and not enough of them.

I managed to get up the hills at Woodmanstern, Chipstead, Nuffield got up all the hills except Ditchling, then the roads flattened out a bit or rolling lanes then riding was easier and relaxed and lot of banter and chats with other riders. I met a woman who was riding her uncles’ old bike, it was an old Raleigh with the same frame as mine just different branding.  She challenged me to race up the next hill and off we went, she was winning but I finally caught up and only just pipped her to the top.

The rest of the ride was uneventful the wind and the rain became more unpleasant and by the time I got to Ditchling I was feeling a bit despondent, and I didn’t even bother to try and cycle up the hill, though I was walking up it faster than some of those riding, one young lad was riding up doing a wheelie, most impressive. Once at the top I stopped to take photos, though there wasn’t much to see because of the low cloud then it was downhill all the way to Brighton and to the finish line, and an attack of cramp and a medal.

Jane had got there and hour and a half earlier!

It was mostly a good day out on the bike, in fact almost any day out on a bike is better than not being on one, the event was well organised, and the event crew were brilliant, just wish the weather had been better. My longest ride of the year so far, just over 59 miles.

Jane and I manged to raise about £250.00 each, Jane’s company will match her donation pound for pound so not a bad day’s fundraising so just over £750.00 in total.

Thanks very much to all of you who have supported us. The links below show how much has been raised, please note they are still open if you would like to add to the sum. We also have some cash donations which will be paid in separately.

Carl and Jane , Finches, Stream Road, Upton.

Church Improvement Project

For some time the Church Council, with the support of the Friends of St Mary’s, has been developing a scheme to provide toilet and improved kitchen facilities in the church. The hope is with such amenities in place the building will be more suitable for use by the wider community. All the required authorisations are now in place to allow the scheme to go forward.

A launch event will be held at the church on Saturday 6th July, 7.30pm to go public on the improvement plans and start the fundraising process. There will be refreshments and entertainment.

Much more detailed information will be circulated in the village later in June, but please put this date in your diary to hear and see what is proposed and enjoy some modest hospitality.


Jessie West      Paul Batho    (Church wardens)

Uptonogood? is Back


After a couple of years break, Uptonogood? will be back for 2019. The date will be Saturday the 15th June.

Over the past years the event has raised around £50K for the village and helped fund the Village Hall, new play area, and pump track. Other local organization’s involved with the day have also benefited including Blewbury School, Hagbourne Scouts, and Didcot Air Cadets. Uptonogood? is a celebration of mountain biking and attracts around a 1000 riders of all ages from 4 to 80!

To pull off the event requires one key ingredient however, the good folks of Upton! The routes are fully marshalled to ensure the safety of participants and this requires some 50 volunteers on the day.

If you would like to be part of this year’s event please contact Bob Lott or Mike Tibbetts on or complete our volunteering page online https:/www./

Olive Prior

We are sorry to announce the death of Olive Prior, formerly of Upton, at the age of 91.  Olive and Harry Prior lived for many years at Wychwood on the corner of Newmans Close and Fieldside.  Olive was initially a lively and active member of the community who took a great interest in her fellow villagers.  Unfortunately life became more difficult for her when she was in her 80s, and following Harry’s death in 2015 Olive moved to a care home in Newbury.  Despite various health problems and failing eye sight Olive was settled and generally contented there but on 22nd March 2019 she was admitted to hospital where she died peacefully a few hours later.

Peter Gardiner

It was with great regret that we learned of Peter’s death; he had been a good neighbour, kind, obliging and convivial, when he and Juliet lived at Willows, in Stream Road, across the stream from us.

Peter, we soon found out, was another English teacher, and had actually taught a friend of ours when he was at Charterhouse.   Such are the concatenations of coincidence, even in a small village.  And his love of English Literature showed in so many ways.  He master-minded a number of Readings on a theme, and I always marvelled at the breadth of his sources;  in their new home in Goring, he spoke of a group who met to discuss poetry, even when Parkinson’s was taking its toll.   He acted with Blewbury Players, too.

Other contributions to the village were pieces of historical research in local record libraries, his civic-minded litter collection on his regular walking of the footpaths, his service as the transport representative for the village – he and Juliet rarely used their car and set a great example by using the bus to shop and even to visit the dentist, along with suggestions for planting the circuit of the Recreation Ground.

He cared for his garden in his headmasterly way: everything was strictly under control. But he had a genuine love and knowledge of plants, too.   We had many interests in common, so conversation was always easy. We even did the same crosswords – and we also agreed they were getting harder by the year. He was an impeccably courteous and convivial host, an ardent environmentalist, a much missed asset to the village community, and we in Upton who remember him send Juliet and their family our deepest sympathy in their loss.

Malcolm Wright, with some help from Margaret Maytham.

Friends of St Mary’s Good Friday Walk

The Good Friday walk, which has proved popular over the past five or so years, will take place again on Friday
(naturally!) 19th April. We will start at 2.00pm from the church and aim to
get back there by about 4.00 for some hot cross buns and tea.
Last year a goodly number of Uptonians braved the wind and rain and had a
splendid time, defying everything nature could throw at us. This year, things
can only get better!
If you could let Paul (851251) or Jessie (851206) know you’re planning to
come along that will allow us to calculate roughly how many hot cross buns
to buy. But if you’re not sure, just turn up anyway – we have never run out
Paul Batho

Thank You to the Grass Cutting Team

A very big thank you to Simon Powell, John Dickens, Derek Vockins, Diane Rabbetts, John Lightfoot, Mike Collins, Rob Traynor, Peter Head, Stuart Fraser, Bob Lott, Paul Batho, Richard Clayton, Kieron Humphrey, Nick Thackray, Mike Brown and team leader Graham de Wilde for their efforts in maintaining the Recreation Ground and several of our footpaths in good order throughout another summer. A special thanks to Graham who with help from Rob Traynor has spent many hours beavering away on manual tasks in and around the Recreation Ground and the Village Hall keeping the whole area neat and tidy and a credit to the village.

This year turned out to be a very unusual one for the cutting of the main recreation ground. Everything was going okay until the first week in June and after that it was not cut again until a few days before the village fete in early September. Since then it has not been cut. As a result of the reduced number of cuts some of the mowing group didn’t get to cut at all but a big thank you for “being there” if required. The small children’s playground was cut a few times and has been helped by the thinning of the copper beech, the removal of a large tree at the corner of Station Road and some of the trees on the bank of Station Road have also been cut back so there’s much more light in the area now which should help the grass.

Record Poppy Collection

Thank you so much for your very generous donations to this year’s Poppy Appeal. This year marked the centenary of the Armistice and the village responded by donating the magnificent sum of £690.42, the highest total we have ever collected. My grateful thanks to the collectors for braving the cold and dark weather to raise this record amount. Helen Weston Poppy Appeal Organiser.

Christmas Carols and Readings

Christmas Carols Carols, festive tales, mince pies, mulled wine….just in case you had missed it, the Christmas season is, by popular request, back for the 2018th time! And there’s no better way to get into the Christmassy mood than by coming along to the Upton Carols and Readings event in St Mary’s on Saturday, 15th December at 4.00pm. All the above, plus excellent company, will be there and we look forward to seeing as many Uptonians as possible to start the Christmas celebrations in style. The event is organised by the Friends of St Mary’s and there is no charge – just come along and enjoy the atmosphere, the carols, readings (for old and young) and refreshments.

Happy Christmas all! Paul Batho