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Back in the day: We delve into our archives to see what was going on 10 years ago, 25 years ago and 50 years ago this week





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More than 200 Kennet School pupils took to the stage in 2004 for the school’s annual dance production. The first half of the programme featured groups of pupils from the various year groups. The second half featured a dance drama entitled The Journey of Ulysses, following the Greek hero’s trials as he attempts to be reunited with his wife Penelope and son Telemachus
More than 200 Kennet School pupils took to the stage in 2004 for the school’s annual dance production. The first half of the programme featured groups of pupils from the various year groups. The second half featured a dance drama entitled The Journey of Ulysses, following the Greek hero’s trials as he attempts to be reunited with his wife Penelope and son Telemachus

10 years ago – May 15, 2014

Queen Melissa

This area has often been described as one of great beauty – and now, just to prove it’s true, two local girls have scooped the top titles in the Miss Berkshire 2014 competition.

Silchester resident and former pupil of The Hurst Community College, Melissa Gibbons, aged 19, was crowned Miss Berkshire at the competition final, held at the Genting Club, Reading.

“I was gobsmacked when I won,” said Miss Gibbons, an event organiser for business and customer relations firm Mary Gober International.

“The girls that I met at the pageant were so amazing and so beautiful, I didn’t even think I would place.”

While she performed well in each round, in which participants were required to wear a designer red dress, a black dress and formal evening wear, it was her speech, in which she vowed to raise funds for armed forces charities, that sealed the deal with the judges.

25 years ago – May 13, 1999

Storm warning

A former Newbury schoolgirl and her five-year-old son survived the Oklahoma tornado after taking shelter in their walk-in wardrobe.

When Mrs Nicola Hart heard the extreme weather warnings, she hid in the small room with her son, Zachariah, because it had no windows and would be safe from flying glass.

Her mother Mrs Carol Roberts, from Newtown Common, said this week: “All she could recall was hearing a horrendous noise and the sound of the wind, and then deathly silence.”

Mrs Hart (nee Roberts), who attended St Gabriel’s School and St Bartholomew’s Sixth Form, met her American husband when they both worked at the former Greenham air base.

The couple moved to the United States in 1988, and Mrs Hart had been living in their new home for just four weeks when the tornado struck last Tuesday.

Now the house is unrecognisable and most of their belongings have been lost. Mrs Hart does not know if anything could be salvaged from the wreckage.

Mrs Roberts said: “Zachariah’s bed was sucked out of the window, but they were very lucky because from her house on, none of the houses exist anymore.”

50 years ago – May 16, 1974

Winkle pickers

Sufferers of kidney disease are to get help from an unexpected source – winkles.

To be precise, it is the lack of winkles which is helping the fund to buy kidney machines.

The help – a cheque for £40 – is coming from the members of the Newbury area’s strangest club – the Ibex Winkle Club.

The club has 50 members who each has a winkle shell. Any member who cannot produce his winkle when challenged by another member has to “shell out” a 10p fine – and that’s how most of the money has been raised.

The club is based at the Ibex public house, Chaddleworth, but members can be challenged to produce their winkles anywhere and at any time.

It started when one of the regular customers returned from a holiday in Cornwall with a present of winkles for landlord Mr Ben Cox and it was his idea that a club should be formed using the winkles.

Since then, members have been challenged in the pub, at dances, on the roadside, and even in the middle of a field during harvesting.



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