Reading MP Matt Rodda says “Cycling should be for the many, not just the brave.”

Matt Rodda, Labour MP for Reading East and shadow minister for transport (buses), took part in the Active Travel debate in Parliament on 9 July. The Whitley Pump called “house!” at the end of his speech, having completed at least one line in any direction as well as all four corners of our political buzzword bingo card, with a bonus prize for the mention of Reading.

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RCLC awarded grant from the Henry Smith Charity

By Jason Hilbourne.

The Reading Community Learning Centre (RCLC) on London Street, a charity that helps ethnic minority women in Reading and their families, has been awarded their largest ever grant. The Henry Smith Charity has awarded them £95,500  over three years to fund the centre’s running costs.

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Councillor James asked why council can’t keep traveller camps out of public parks

Travellers camp at Long Barn Lane in 2018

At the Katesgrove Community Association (KCA) meeting on 10 July, Katesgrove councillor Sophia James was asked what Reading Borough Council (RBC) could do to prevent travellers from re-occupying public sites. Travellers have cycled their encampments between Rabson’s Rec, Long Barn Lane and Waterloo Meadows several times over the last few years.

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Reading ward boundaries will change by 2022

Ward boundaries in Reading will be reviewed by the Boundary Commission (LGBCE) this year. The review is required because five of Reading’s 16 wards have an electorate size more than 10% above or below the borough average. These wards include the south and east Reading wards of Church, Redlands and Whitley.

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A spellbinding ‘King Lear’ at Reading Abbey

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

King Lear at Reading Abbey (2019). Photo (c) Richard Brown.

The prodigiously talented Progress Theatre Company are staging Shakespeare’s King Lear in the atmospheric surrounds of Reading Abbey this month. This harrowing tale of human folly is directed with shimmering insight by Dan Clarke, assisted by Louisa Cowell and Matt Urwin and produced by the inspirational Carole Brown.

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New Directions adult education rated “good” by Ofsted

Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, inspected New Directions on Northumberland Avenue in June and rated it as good.

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Excavations well underway at 62-68 Silver Street

David Sanchez of Thames Valley Archaeological Services

Archaeological excavations are underway at 62-68 Silver Street in Katesgrove, next door to where mediaeval tileries were discovered earlier this year. David Sanchez of Thames Valley Archaeological Services told the Whitley Pump that there were new discoveries on this site. They had found evidence of metalworking and four layers of occupation: modern, Victorian, seventeenth century and mediaeval.

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First view of ‘The Last Abbot’ at Reading Abbey

‘The Last Abbot’ preview at the Reading Abbey, June 2019. Image (c) Reading between the Lines

The fabulous Reading Between the Lines (RBL) theatre company, led by Dani and Toby Davies, and fresh from their Cultural Award for Henry II, are embarking on another historical drama to further develop the cultural identity of Reading, in collaboration with second year history students. The Last Abbot, penned by prodigious playwright Beth Flintoff, examines the intriguing tale of Hugh Faringdon, the bloodily executed last abbot of our newly re-opened abbey… was he true or treacherous?

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