NEWS FLASH: Celebrating the Queen's 90 years with tough questions

HM Queen_1Our village historian, Nick Allen, has written a brain numbing Treasure Hunt to celebrate HM The Queen's 90th birthday.  It consists of 21 questions about Adderbury, its history and some royal connections.  It will take an hour or two of walking, cycling or driving round the village to work out the answers to the clues.

The question sheet will cost £5.00 and can be collected from Church House between 9:30 am and 1:00 pm or from The Institute between 9:30 am and 3:30 pm on Saturday 4 June 2016.  A prize of a bottle of champagne will be awarded to the first set of correct answers to be drawn out.

Completed sheets can be returned to Church House until 1:00 pm and The Institute until 3:30 pm or posted through the letter box in the side door of Church House after 1:00 pm.

Our grateful thanks to Nick Allen for penning this mind teaser and good luck to everyone participating.  Nick Allen's book Adderbury: A Thousand Years of History is available in the library.

Adderbury Map Nick Allen

NEWS FLASH: We exceed our fund raising target

Thumbs Up1Focal needs to raise £9,000 per annum to cover the cost of library staff hours and to continue to fund Saturday opening which we have always paid for.

Draft accounts to 31 March 2016 show income for the year less fund raising costs as £9,436.  These accounts are subject to further work to estimate the Gift Aid due from HMRC, currently estimated at £575 and any final adjustments.  They will then be subject to Independent Examination and presented at the AGM on 27 September 2016.

Our income for the year includes one tenth of a payment from a life patron and one fifth from a legacy received in 2014/15 and one fifth from a business patron received in 2015/16.  The purpose of spreading large sums is to ensure we maintain our strategy of regular fund raising.

Thanks to everyone who has helped us exceed our target BUT we have less than 100 Friends of the Library while Adderbury's population is around 2,500.  We welcome any resident of Adderbury or the surrounding villages who wishes to become a Friend of the Library.  The subscription is £20 and an application form is  on this web site.

NEWS FLASH: Developer's donation to Focal

16_03_19 Hamberley presentation

Pictured above is a cheque presentation to Focal by Hamberley, developers of the care home on the Banbury Road opposite Twyford Road and facilitated by Adderbury Parish Council.

The developers agreed to contribute a sum to the Parish Council towards local community needs and the Parish  Council asked that £2,000 of the total be allocated to Focal to support our fund raising target.

We are most grateful to the Parish Council for suggesting Focal as a beneficiary and to Hamberley for providing the funds.  We hope to establish a good relationship with the care home when it opens with our visiting library service.

Featured in the picture above are (from left to right):

Ann Lyons (Parish Councillor), Peter Holcroft (Development Director, Hamberley), Diane Bratt (Parish Council Chairman), Keith Mitchell (Focal Chairman) and Paddy Lehman (Parish Councillor).


NEWS FLASH: Job vacancies

Job Vacancy_1We have vacancies on our Executive for people willing to support our fund raising for the library.

We meet once per month on a Saturday morning from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon and we hope individual members will take responsibility for an area of our work outside of our monthly meetings.

Sarah Wright has recently stood down as our Secretary due to her job making increasing demands on her time.  She has been brilliant at getting out our monthly agenda and minutes and helping with the member records.  IT skills make this a relatively easy job.  Please contact Keith if you are interested.

Stuart Phipps has also had to stand down due to his work commitments and he has provided valuable expertise on IT matters.  Anyone with a little time to spare who could help us with our web site and IT generally would be most welcome. Please contact Keith if you are interested.

We run a social fund raising event in most months and need a few more people to take the lead for one or two of these per year.  The more people who can lend a hand, the less any one individual has to do so volunteers to join us either on the Executive or to take the lead for a fund raising event would be most welcome.

If you would like to know more, contact Keith Mitchell at first instance on: or on 01295 811257.

EVENT UPDATE: Blenheim talk 18 March 2016

Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace

Holding this event in the afternoon proved very popular.  We filled the 20 places available and sadly had to turn a number of late bookings down.  We hope to repeat the talk before too long so those disappointed this time should have another opportunity to learn about Blenheim.

The speaker was Peter Gill, a Blenheim guide and part of their education team. Those attending learned about Winston Churchill's connection with Blenheim as his birthplace and early home.  They also heard about the first Duchess of Marlborough, per passions and prejudices.

The talk was followed by tea and cakes.

Thanks to Peter Gill for giving up his time and to Chrissie Garrett for organising the event and hosting it.

Peter Gill's wife is a guide at Broughton Castle and we hope she might give a talk about this local historical site later in the year.

We raised £138 from this event to help to keep our library open.  Thanks to all who supported the event.

NEWS FLASH: Meet the Author series

Meet The AuthorIt should come as no surprise that we have plenty of successful authors here in Oxfordshire and, as a result of starting to get to know some of them, we plan to run a regular feature called MEET THE AUTHOR in our events programme.

This will take various formats, possible with a couple of successful authors having a conversation and taking questions or with an author telling us about their latest book and how they got to write and publish it.

There will always be a book signing opportunity and some suitable refreshment to accompany good company and an interesting speaker.

Here are some of the authors we have identified and whom we hope to encourage to come to Church House to share their experience with us.

William Ryan
William Ryan

William Ryan is an Irish writer living in London. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and the University of St Andrews and worked as a lawyer before becoming a full-time author  His first novel, The Holy Thief, was published in 2010. His second novel, The Bloody  Meadow, was published in 2011. Next came The Darkening Field in 2012, The Twelfth Department in 2013 and The Constant Soldier in 2015.  They have been shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year Award, the CWA New Blood Dagger, the Irish Fiction Award and twice for the Ireland AM Irish Crime Novel of the Year Award. His latest book is due out this year and is based in Nazi Germany.  We hope to hear more from William in Church House. William  lives in London with his wife and son but has family connections here in North Oxfordshire.

I Let You GoClare Mackintosh was a police officer for twelve years with time in the CID and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant and is now a full-time author.  Her first novel, I Let You Go, was published in 2015 and was listed as a Sunday Times Bestseller and was the fastest selling title by a new crime writer in this year. It has been selected for both the Richard and Judy Book Club and ITV’s Loose Women’s ‘Loose Books’. Her second book is called I See You and is due to be published in August 2016.  Watch this space and we hope she might join William Ryan in talking about authorship.

Sharon \bolton
Sharon Bolton

Sharon Bolton is the author of the Lacey Flint series of crime novels. Lacey Flint is a detective constable in the Metropolitan Police and the novels take you into the darker side of London.

She has published Now You See Me in 2011, Dead Scared in 2012, Lost in 2013 and A Dark & Twisted Tide in 2014.  Publication of her next novel - Here Be Dragons - is imminent. Sharon lives in Oxfordshire.

Bruce Duncan
Bruce Duncan

Bruce Duncan lives very locally.  He was born and educated in South India.  He enjoyed a long and distinguished military career.   His final posting was as the British Defence Attaché, Jordan. Away from the demands of military life, he took every opportunity to explore the landscape and meet the people of each country he visited. He explored the desert; ate with Bedouins; slept under the stars near the pyramids of Meroe in Sudan. He spent an unforgettable Christmas with his family at the beautiful hill station of Kodaikanal in India where he first went to school.

In 1988, life took a different turn. Arriving in Kuwait just after the end of the Iran/Iraq war, tensions were high and storm clouds were building on the political horizon. After international negotiations with Saddam Hussein broke down, Duncan and his family experienced the full horrors of the unanticipated and brutal Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.  This is the subject matter of his book The Loan Soldier.  We hope Bruce will be able to join us for a Meet The Author session in Church House.

Lindy Woodhead
Lindy Woodhead

Lindy Woodhead worked in international fashion public relations for over 25 years. During the late 1980s she spent two years as the first woman on Harvey Nichols' board of directors. Lindy retired from fashion in 2000 to concentrate on writing.  Her first book, War Paint (Virago), a biography of Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, was published in 2003. In 2007, she published Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge. She is a regular contributor to The Spectator and The Times Saturday Magazine. A Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, she is married with two sons and lives in south west London and south west France.  She has connections with Bicester.


EVENT UPDATE: Waddesden IT girls talk 25 February 2016

IT Girl_324 people enjoyed an informative and interesting talk about several talented ladies who had a connection with Waddesden Manor. The Manor was built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild between 1874 and 1885 to display his outstanding collection of arts and to entertain the fashionable world.  The presenter was Maureen Paterson, a guide at Waddesdon. Maureen started as a Room Warden in Nov 2007 and 18 months later was chosen to become a House Guide. After 3 years of training she now undertakes private and pre-house tours.

The ladies had in common astonishing determination to improve their lifestyles and status and, with the exception of one, did so through seeking fame on the stage and then taking advantage of advantageous liaisons! The audience was riveted throughout by these inspiring and sometimes desperately sad stories.

Our thanks to Maureen Paterson for the work she put into the presentation. Thanks also to Angela Everett for organising and hosting the event and to Anne Dawson, John Everett and Phil Mansell for help with set up, bar duties and take down.

A collection for Katharine House Hospice raised £35.

EVENT UPDATE: Volunteers' luncheon Tuesday 9 February 2016

Our support for Adderbury library involves both fund raising to plug the funding gap and recruiting and supporting volunteers to work with our library manager.  We have been successful in recruiting a good number of volunteers, they have had some training in the basic skills of working in a library and a pair of volunteers work in the library during every weekday opening.

Volunteers' luncheon 9 Feb 2016
Volunteers' luncheon
9 Feb 2016

On Tuesday 9 February, we held a lunchtime meeting to thank our volunteers and to share experiences.  A good number attended and enjoyed hearing from our library manager, Janet May and from John Cordingley of the Focal Executive.

Speaking after the luncheon, John Cordingley said "the lunch to recognise the work of volunteers was a great success.  It brought many of them together and helped to cement a team spirit with our library manager, Janet May, as team leader."

Thanks to Bobbie Howard, our volunteer coordinator, for organising the luncheon.

NEW EVENT: Sarah and Winston at Blenheim

An insight into the lives of Sarah the first Duchess and Winston Churchill

Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace
Join us in Adderbury Library to hear two fascinating talks.

Winston Spencer Churchill and Blenheim Palace

The private resources of Blenheim Palace are drawn upon to afford new and refreshing insights into this remarkable man. We examine the breadth of talent, achievement and personality of the "Greatest Briton": soldier, politician, statesman, painter, writer, orator, family man - and bricklayer!

Sarah the Indomitable Duchess – a Lesson in Love…and Hate

The first Duchess was a passionate woman who at times favoured or alienated all around her; those closest to her were often the object of her irrational and damaging emotions. Sarah was once described as ‘a good hater,’ this talk will help you to decide whether this description was well deserved

What a great way to spend a Friday afternoon!!

Friday 18th March, 2.00pm in the Library Tickets £5  

(Tea & cakes will be available to buy separately)

TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM: Adderbury Library OR by e-mail from Keith Mitchell on

All proceeds go to help keep the library open!

NEWS FLASH: Thanks to our Parish Council

Gracewell care home
Gracewell care home

Adderbury Parish Council has been negotiating with the developers of the care home on Banbury Road opposite the Twyford turn for a contribution to the local community.  The result is a donation to the Parish Council of £15,000.  The Parish Council has asked that £2,000 of this be designated as a donation to Friends of the Community of Adderbury Library and the developers have agreed to this.

Focal is extremely grateful to Adderbury Parish Council for facilitating this donation and to the developers for finding the funds to make it.  It will be put to good effect in supporting our library opening hours.

Here is a link to the developer's web site: Gracewell