A newsletter to members of the Beckley & Area Community Benefit Society
JULY 2019


A little later than intended, here is our newsletter for July - looking forward also to August and beyond.


In this newsletter (click on each item to go to the full article)
Construction work / development at The Abingdon Arms

Construction work / development at The Abingdon Arms

‘More than a Pub’ programme

‘More than a Pub’ programme

Good Neighbour Scheme

Good Neighbour Scheme

Community Engagement

Community Engagement

Looking forward

Looking forward


Building works (2).jpg

Accessible toilet block

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At last we can say that The Abingdon Arms’ new toilets really are nearing completion! All being well, the new block will be opened in early August, if not before, following which the temporary toilets will be removed, the car park resurfaced and opened fully. Although toilets are just toilets, prepare to be impressed! Classic Builders have done a great job. At last we will be able to provide modern, fully accessible facilities for people who are infirm, have disabilities, or who have babies who need changing…….

Again we thank everyone, customers, neighbours and pub staff alike, for your patience.

Other construction work at The Abingdon Arms

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Front door – The pub’s front door has been replaced, widening access and improving security.

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Pub sign post - We are taking this opportunity to replace the post supporting the pub sign because the old oak post was rotting.

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Cycle racks - Four secure bike racks will be installed in front of the pub, partly with the intention of encouraging more customers to cycle to The Abingdon Arms rather than drive.

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Notice board / local map display board - A glass-fronted notice board has been commissioned, and will be installed on the roadside wall of the new toilet block. This will enable BACBS to post information, including ‘More than a Pub’ programmes, more visibly. Alongside it we will install a board to display a map of the area marking a number of walk routes from The Abingdon Arms.

These routes will be displayed also on the BACBS website, complementing the small, folding laminated maps of the Otmoor area which we commissioned and are selling very well – have you purchased one? Our map identifies pubs, shops, commemorative plaques and – just in case – cardiac defibrillators (see below). Perfect for local walking, and a great gift, the maps are on sale for £4.50 from The Abingdon Arms, Stanton St John and Islip shops, and other Otmoor pubs - The Crown at Charlton on Otmoor, The Nut Tree at Murcott, The Talk House at Stanton St John, and The White Horse in Forest Hill.

We have not yet decided which walk routes to display. Would you like to suggest one, or more? Could you help with our community walks programme? Are you willing even to consider applying to be a local pathway warden? Please let Mike Hobbs know asap -

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‘More than a Pub’ programme at The Abingdon Arms

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Jazz at The Abingdon Arms - Our monthly Sunday evening jazz sessions have developed a reputation in our area and further afield, and a regular core audience, because we host some great musicians and offer a relaxed early evening atmosphere at The Abingdon Arms. This month, on Sunday 21st July, 6.30-8.30pm, we will welcome for the first time jazz stars Stuart Henderson on trumpet and Tom Berge on keyboard, accompanied by firm favourite Raf Mizraki on bass. Amazingly, although we have been presenting the Sunday jazz sessions for over 18 months, this will be the first featuring the trumpet! It won’t be the last ………

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Community coffee mornings, lunches, afternoon teas - The idea behind these regular events at the pub is to bring together neighbours and old friends, and make it possible to meet and make new friends. This is what a community is all about! The Women and Men of Beckley lunches will be held next on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th August respectively, from 12.30pm. Community coffee mornings will be held on Fridays 12th July and 9th August, 10-11.30am. Community afternoon tea will be taken on Wednesdays 31st July and 28th August, 4-5.30pm. We hope to see you there.

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Community walk - The July community walk will be led by Cathy Davies on Sunday 28th July, leaving from the front of the pub at 2.30pm. The route is yet to be decided, so please check our website in advance: There will be no walk in August, but we’ll be back in action in September. We recommend also ‘Walk the Moor’ on Sunday 7th July – a walk taking in the seven towns of Otmoor: see

Cultural programme - We’ve had some excellent talks recently, but there are no literary sessions scheduled for July and August. There is much to look forward to however in the late summer and autumn:

Delarivier Manley (c1670-1724): a local favourite before The Favourite ’ by Prof Ros Ballaster (29th September)

Edgar Allan Poe: poems and stories for Halloween’ by Dr Peter Malin (27th October)

Littlemore Hospital: from Pauper Lunatic Asylum (1840s) to Mental Health Facility (1990s)’ by Prof John Stewart (24th November)

As we’ve said before, we welcome suggestions for future sessions. Could you propose a speaker or a subject, or are you willing to speak about a subject close to your heart? Please email Mike Hobbs:

July’s MtaP programme is attached, and please see updates at

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Good Neighbour Scheme (2).jpg

Good Neighbour Scheme

John Stradling and Cathy Davies, who are coordinating the BACBS Good Neighbour Scheme, have been busy arranging the security checks that were necessary before we could begin offering lifts. We are starting small with ten drivers, and initially targeting lifts to Islip Surgery and to BACBS-organised events at The Abingdon Arms. The BACBS GNS will complement but not compete with the schemes provided already for Horton cum Studley, Noke, Woodeaton and Islip.

GNS lifts are free, but passengers will be asked to pay a small mileage charge (45p per mile) to cover fuel expenses. There are two ways to contact the service: phone the dedicated line 07514 791910 (if there is no reply, please leave a message with your number) , or email If you know of anyone who might need such a lift, do let us know.

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Community engagement (2).jpg

Community Engagement

Sam Francis and other volunteers have almost finalised the Welcome Pack for people moving into our community’s area. This will offer a tangible welcome to newcomers, providing information about the area and local amenities – including our community pub, The Abingdon Arms, and its ‘More than a Pub’ programme. Sam would welcome help in identifying the amenities available in our villages and in identifying new arrivals across our area, particularly from villages other than Beckley. Please volunteer to help, look out for new neighbours, and contact Sam at:

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Looking forward

Defib (2).jpg

Defibrillator / resuscitation training - As our Otmoor map shows, there are defibrillators available in Beckley, Sandhills, Horton cum Studley, Murcott, Charlton on Otmoor, Oddington and Islip. But if someone close to you collapsed with a cardiac arrest, would you know how to use one? We are arranging a training / refresher session for our community in September/October. Further information will follow.

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Community survey - It is two years since The Abingdon Arms was opened fully for business by Aimee and her colleagues. It is three years since we surveyed the community to ask what you wanted of the pub. So the BACBS committee believes it’s time to review progress, how we are doing, and what you want of BACBS in the future. So in September we’ll initiate a survey of BACBS shareholders and residents of our wider community. We trust you will contribute to the survey.

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Apple supper & cider tasting – We are delighted to announce that BACBS is teaming up with the Beckley Orchard Group to host an Apple Supper and cider tasting at The Abingdon Arms in the autumn. Make a note of the date: Saturday 26 October. You don’t have to live in Beckley or be a member of the Beckley Orchard Group, or even to be a regular cider drinker, to join in and enjoy!

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