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Max Hastings

Max Hastings Operation Biting
Max Hastings Operation Biting

Next Thursday military historian Sir Max Hastings, who lives near Hungerford, will discuss his newest book Operation Biting, at Herongate (7pm-8.30pm) Operation Biting was one of the most thrilling British commando raids of the Second World War II, and probably the most successful. In February 1942 RAF intelligence was baffled by a newly-identified radar network on the coast of Nazi-occupied Europe, codenamed Würzburg. The brilliant scientist Dr RV Jones proposed an assault to capture key components. The nearest accessible enemy set stood upon a steep cliff at Bruneval in Normandy. Winston Churchill enthused, as did Lord Louis Mountbatten, chief of Combined Operations. A company of the newly-formed Airborne Forces was committed to the operation, which took place on the night of 27/28 February. Amid heavy snow 120 men landed, some of whom were misdropped almost two miles from their objective. They nonetheless launched the assault, dismantled the German radar, and after three nail-biting hours in France and a fierce battle with Wehrmacht defenders, escaped in the nick of time by landing-craft across stormy seas to Portsmouth. Max Hastings recounts this cliffhanging tale in a wealth of previously unchronicled detail. Max Hastings will be speaking about his book at this Hungerford Bookshop event, before taking questions from the audience . A glass of wine or soft drink is included with your ticket.

Charlie Cook's Favourite Book
Charlie Cook's Favourite Book

Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book

Charlie Cook‘s Favourite Book tours to the Corn Exchange Newbury from tomorrow (Friday) to Sunday. The show is based on the original book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Charlie loves reading. Especially books about pirates. But his sister hates it - it’s boring! Can Charlie convince her that reading is fun? Perhaps if she read a book about a pirate, who is reading a book about Goldilocks, who is reading a book about a knight… Delve into a range of books with Charlie Cook, brought to life with puppetry and enchanting songs, and perhaps you will be able to help his sister discover the wonderful world inside a book… Come along before the show for a fun pre-show workshop.

Pangbourne Choral anniversary gala concert

Pangbourne Choral Society’s Summer Concert at the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel on Saturday (7.30pm) markstheir golden anniversary and the choir’s evolution into a well-respected amateur group of singers who love what they do. Current PCS music director Sara Benbow will share the conductor duties with PCS founding director Ralph Allwood and two directors who did so much to shape and develop PCS choral accomplishments over many years – Bob Barsby and Jonathan Brown. “It will be a real thrill to look back over 50 great years with Ralph, Bob and Jonathan,” said current PCS chairman Sir Brian Hoskins, “and to look forward with anticipation to the new challenges and enjoyment which Sara Benbow has brought to our community, which has become apparent in just a few months since her appointment in September 2023.”


PCS also wish to mark its gratitude for and recognition of the vital support given by Pangbourne College in terms of use of facilities and crucially by many past college music directors. Some of the programme pieces seek to commemorate this link and current headmaster Thomas Garnier, a talented singer in his own right, will be one of the soloists at this concert in this, his final term before retirement. The programme includes works by Mozart (Ave Verum), Haydn (from the Creation), Brahms (from German Requiem), as well as Parry (I was glad), Handel (Zadok The Priest), as well as works by Chilcott (Shenandoah), Howells (Jubilate), Mendelssohn and Michael Kamen. Sara Benbow said: “I am delighted to be celebrating this major milestone with PCS members and conductors, and it also looks as if quite a few past members will be returning to sing on the night, such is the affection for Pangbourne Choral Society and its long tradition of promoting the best values of community choral singing to the highest standards.” Tickets (£15, £8 under-18s, available from Garlands Organic & Natural, Pangbourne, PCS website and members and also on the door.

Folk at ACE Space

Aussie contemporary folk duo Charm of Finches’ exquisite sibling vocal harmonies plus their impressive musicianship and impeccable song writing has garnered much critical acclaim. They return to ACE Space tomorrow (Friday) having performed to a sell-out audience there last year. For this UK tour Charm of Finches are supported by Mia Kelly from Quebec, who writes and performs in both French and English.Mia enthrals listeners with a distinctive blend of folk, rock and blues and is making her mark in the Canadian folk music scene. Charm of Finches rapid rise in popularity means that this next tour could be the last chance to see them in an intimate venue such as ACE Space. Don’t miss this opportunity. https://acespace.org.uk/charm-of-finches-2/

Wonderful Waterperry

This weekend Waterperry Gardens, a summer go-to place for many Newbury arts-lovers, hosts Handmade Oxford 2024, bringing together over 150 of the most exciting UK-based makers featuring a curated selection of fine arts and craft including Jewellery, Fashion & Textiles, Ceramics & Glass, Sculpture, and more. Handmade Oxford also offers a packed programme of craft workshops, demonstrations, and engaging talks, which will keep visitors occupied throughout the festival whilst enjoying the beautiful gardens, there will certainly be something for everyone. Live music by local musicians and local artisan food will add to the fun festival atmosphere. Friday and Saturday,10am-5pm, Sunday, 10am-4pm. Visit the What’s On page on www.waterperrygardens.co.uk for more information and booking details.

Dance showcase

ACE Dance Studios brings together aspiring and creative young and contemporary dancers from across Berkshire and the South of England. From its inception in 2003, ACE has showcased a dynamic, varied and innovative portfolio of dance throughout the country and to this day continues to push boundaries for youth dance. For this show, ACE Dance Studios share their entire year’s repertoire, which includes work created by professionals and their own incredible ACE team. A fitting finale to a year of creativity and hard work. Doors open an hour before the performance starts, with the bar starting service at the same time. Doors to the auditorium usually open half an hour before a performance.

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