Thame Food Festival bursary winner announced

Karen Neville

Newbury

Popular food festival runs on September 24th & 25th and this year more than 180 artisan producers are set to take part

Hartley’s Cookery School, based in Haddenham, has been awarded the Thame Food Festival bursary for 2022.

The bursary, reinstalled after sponsorship by Pinkster Gin, was established a few years ago to celebrate and promote newly-formed artisan food business within a 30-mile radius of Thame.

Hartley’s Cookery School aims to offer cookery class and chef table experiences which explore food, why certain ingredients or techniques are used and how to prepare and cook it. While also creating an environment that is fun and appealing for everyone – whatever their ability.

Creating an environment that is fun and appealing for everyone

Simon Hartley, Chef and owner of Hartley’s Cookery School said of the win: “I am delighted to be receiving this bursary and the support of the team at Thame Food Festival. Since opening our doors at Bradmoor Farm in January it’s been amazing to welcome and cook with our first guests at the school. We want to be a community-led business and have so enjoyed building relationships with other food producers and suppliers. Our vision for the school is to share my knowledge and passion for food in a relaxed environment, offering fun-filled courses for all abilities. Whether you’ve never picked up a knife or are a seasoned foodie, there’s something for everyone!”

The bursary includes an award of £1,000, a free pitch at this year’s Thame Food Festival, content in the festival programme, the opportunity to have an interview in the Food Glorious Food marquee and help with PR and social media.

Previous winners have included Ozi Lala, who has gone on to win Great Taste awards for his unique food products and the original winner was Lisa Hartwright of Tess’ Brilliant Bakes. Both of whom are going from strength to strength and still play an active part in the food festival too.

Supporting young businesses that have the same ethics as the festival is an important part of what we try to do

Patron and event co-ordinator Lotte Duncan said: “We are delighted to be in a position to offer a bursary again – thanks to Pinkster Gin. As a Community Interest Company, supporting young businesses that have the same ethics as the festival is an important part of what we try to do. It was such a pleasure to meet Simon and his partner and hear what they are trying to achieve by giving people friendly, fun cookery courses while learning about the provenance of their food.”

What will he spend the bursary on? Simon said: “As we have only been trading for just over five months, we are looking to use the bursary to invest in upgrading our website, signage and professional photography. Plus, use the support of the judges to broaden awareness of us and explore how we can potentially look at supporting initiatives in the community too.”

Find out more about them at Hartley’s Cookery School and to book tickets for the festival go to Thame Food Festival

Reimagining a classic

Round & About

Newbury

The Watermill Theatre brings Whistle Down The Wind to the stage for the first time in over a decade.

Running from Friday 22 July to Saturday 10 September, this thrilling musical will transport you to 1959, Louisiana. Change is in the air, and in a small rural town, three motherless children are hoping for a miracle.

Exploring themes of belief, grief and family

When Swallow discovers a man hiding in her family barn, she becomes convinced he is Jesus, at the same time as the community is on the hunt for a missing convict. Convinced he is their saviour, the children of the town unite to protect him. Exploring themes of belief, grief and family, Whistle Down The Wind follows Swallow’s journey from innocence to adulthood and asks the question what does it mean to grow up?

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman’s epic soundtrack is performed by a talented cast of actor musicians and local young people. Directed and Choreographed by Tom Jackson Greaves The Watermill’s revival will be gritty, evocative and powerful. You can find out more about the show at a Creative Insight Talk with Tom Jackson Greaves on Thursday 28 July, bar opens at 12.30noon, and the ticket price includes lunch in The Watermill Theatre’s Riverside Restaurant.

An Audio Described performance will take place on Saturday 3 September at 2.30pm with a Touch Tour at 1pm.

Book tickets

Via The Watermill’s website or by calling the box office on 01635 46044.

It’s come home – at last!

Round & About

Newbury

Now it’s over to you… be inspired by our Lionesses and get involved in football where you are, whatever your age and ability

Football has come home, it’s taken 56 years to win a major honour but it was well worth waiting for as England women’s captain Leah Williamson lifted the Womens Euros 2022 trophy at Wembley on Sunday.

The amazing achievement of beating eight-times winners Germany 2-1 was immense and while many backed the Lionesses as the favourites for the tournament on home soil, the result is truly outstanding and the women deserve all the plaudits and honours that will come their way.

One of the key aims for The FA and the England Women has been ensuring that this fabulous celebration of football creates a legacy for future generations and encourages as many women and girls as possible to get involved in the beautiful game.

Whatever your age and ability, football is for all and offers a huge opportunity for women and girls to engage in a healthy lifestyle through football, promoting both physical activity and mental health benefits too.

Follow in the Lionesses’ footsteps there are many options open to you.

Whether you just want to have a kick about with your mates, have a go at walking football or want to join a local club and perhaps follow in the Lionesses’ footsteps there are many options open to you.

There’s never been a better time to get involved in football and with the FA’s Gameplan for Growth aiming to double participation, Berks & Bucks FA has a number of initiatives for you to join in.

Girls aged 5-11 can become a Weetabix Wildcat, non-competitive football for girls who want to give it a go for the very first time or want to play with other girls their own age. Most importantly, Weetabix Wildcats is all about having loads of fun and meeting new friends. Join a youth club or leagues across the counties and further your skills or just enjoy the physical and social benefits for fun.

And it’s not just for girls, there’s a wealth of options for women at club and recreational level too. More at www.berks-bucksfa.com/players/women

Get involved!

As several players and commentators said after the epic win, this has to be the start of something even more special.

Get on Newbury town trail

Round & About

Newbury

Newbury BID launch new Town Trail Maps to support Local Businesses

Newbury Business Improvement District (BID) is supporting the local independent retail sector with the launch of its brand-new Newbury Independent Retail Map.

The handy pocket is helping to raise awareness of Newbury’s growing independent scene and to support the local independent retail sector.

The handy pocket is helping to raise awareness of Newbury’s growing independent scene and to support the local independent retail sector.

Physical copies of the map have been distributed in matching display boxes to the 44 independent businesses featured. The map includes a brief description of each retailer and also signposts to specialist markets that take place in the town centre. You can view the map online here: visitnewbury.org.uk/independent-retail-map.

The aim for our Town Trail Maps is to help support and raise the profile of our local independent businesses and our wonderful town centre

Copies of the map produced by the BID are being introduced as part of a series of town centre maps for Newbury under the umbrella term ‘Newbury Town Trail Maps’.

Newbury BID, the not-for-profit organisation behind the Visit Newbury brand, is happy to announce the theme for the next map in the series will be a Dog-Friendly Trail Map. This map will promote 26 dog-friendly hospitality venues across the town centre and highlight five prominent dog-walking routes within walking distance of the town.

The map will also highlight the location of dog waste bins in the town centre and its surroundings to discourage dog litter and to encourage dog-walkers to use the map on a regular basis. With National Dog Day 2022 coming up in late August, the map is expected to launch in time for this nationally recognised day for dog-lovers in West Berkshire and across the country.

The map will also highlight the location of dog waste bins in the town centre

The BID has also confirmed that the third map in the Newbury Town Trail Map series due to launch this year will be an up-to-date and reformatted version of the Vegan-friendly Map. First launched in October last year, the updated map is due to be released around the year anniversary of the initial launch and will come in the new fold-out pocket size format.

Kirsty Lemberger, Marketing Manager at Newbury BID, says: “We’re delighted with our new Independent Retail Map for Newbury and hope these handy and beautifully illustrated maps will be kept in the pockets and handbags of local residents and visitors alike for their next visit to the town centre.

“The aim for our Town Trail Maps is to help support and raise the profile of our local independent businesses and our wonderful town centre, and we hope the new look and feel of these pocket maps will make it even easier to do so.”

Maps are available to collect across the town centre at most businesses featured on the map, and from Newbury Library, West Berkshire Museum, and in the Old Town Hall.

If you run a business in Newbury town centre and would like to be included on an upcoming map, please email:

Find out more

To find out more about what’s happening in Newbury this summer, please visit: visitnewbury.org.uk/newburys-calling.

Volunteers help maintain Betjeman Millennium Park

Round & About

Newbury

James Kent, a year 12 pupil at King Alfred’s, spends a day with the army of volunteers who help maintain the Betjeman Millennium Park in Wantage, which has just marked its 20th anniversary

Just a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Wantage Marketplace is a haven of wildlife, poetry, and relaxation – the Betjeman Millennium Park.

This month, the park enters its 20th year of providing for the local community but why is the park here in the first place? How was the land transformed from an empty derelict wasteland to the vibrant hub it is today? And why is it still so important?

You could be mistaken for wandering down from the parish church or along by the mill and assuming the wild plot of land on the outskirts of Wantage is just a normal park or nature reserve, but this is far from the truth…

You can feel a sense of magic and myth as you wander around the trails

Named after local poet and former poet laureate Sir John Betjeman (who lived in Wantage 1951-72) and dedicated to the start of the new millennium, the park is certainly not your ordinary piece of flat and neatly squared out urban greenery.

Being host to semi-wild woodland, engraved sculptures, a circle of ancient sarsen stones (the same as in Stonehenge) and even a performance area this is less of a park and more of a centre of life. You can feel a sense of magic and myth as you wander around the trails and get lost within the sprawling trees and running rhythms of word.

The freedom and wonder are infectious and not exclusive to humans – wildflowers pop up and enthusiastically cover the ground all around and birds call out from their leafy abodes.

In most places it is us or nature. Houses, pavements, fences keeping us tucked away from wildlife like it’s our enemy, the unkempt sprawling mass that we can’t control. However, here it is (to an extent) beautifully uncontrolled and thriving and a poignant reminder that we can all be here and coexist happily.

To many (myself included) it seems like Betjeman Park has always been there – a permanent feature of Wantage – but, as I’ve learnt, the fight for this park has been hard, the upkeep crucial but most importantly the transformation incredible. The two-acre site of land on which the park lies was once a piece of derelict wasteland that was close to being developed on with property.

Seeing the opportunity for protecting wildlife and how devastating it would be to see this land become swallowed up by more infrastructure, a local group came together to make a charitable trust. Through hard work, they saved the land and bought the plot with help from a council grant in the mid-1990s.

Chelsea Flower Show gold medalist Gabriella Pape was commissioned to design the space and came up with the idea of planting native tree species to increase biodiversity.

Local sculptor and artist Alec Peever was then chosen to engrave and install six sculptures to immortalise Sir John Betjeman’s words and poetry in stone which now make up the poetry trail. Finally, in May 2002 (after seven years of dedication) the ribbon was cut and the park opened to the jazzy sounds of The Wantage Silver Band.

It’s just so lovely to have this place in the centre of town

Today, the park is as relevant as ever in the local community and holds annual events like Art in the Park and the Betjeman Bike Ride and is used by many schools, cub groups and brownies for both education and adventure. It is also loved by locals (young and old) as a calm and relaxing sanctuary which transports you far away from the humdrum of the town.

One local resident told me it’s “just so lovely to have this place in the centre of town” and “it’s a wonderful asset” which has bloomed out of the “rough, unloved ground” she once remembers.

The Park has also been especially helpful to locals during the lockdowns as it provided many with the opportunity to get out of the house and spend some time in nature during those precious windows of exercise.

The essential role it plays in the community has also been acknowledged as it is now recognised as a Local Green Space in the draft Wantage Neighbourhood Plan, which protects it from all future development.

As a park for both people and nature to coexist happily, the upkeep is essential and many dedicated local volunteers help out at monthly work parties. I went down to see what was going on at the April work party and met some of the volunteers and trustees.

From the moment I joined them during their well earnt tea break I could really feel the deep sense of unity between them and the nature they care for. One enthusiastic volunteer, who has been involved for eight years and is one of the current trustees, told me how as a child she had quite self-sufficient parents and grew up “in the middle of nowhere” so it’s quite “a revelation to be in such a community”.

However, it’s not always a walk in the park (!) as she tells me it can be challenging to juggle her job and other responsibilities with the time needed as a trustee but there is such a great “feeling of achievement” and so much social connection.

Not only do those working inside the park’s perimeters feel the connection but I was told how often passersby stop to say how much they appreciate the work being done on the park and how much the park means to them which is “reason enough to do it” for lots of them.

One elderly lady, although unable to do any physical work, regularly pops by to bring home-made biscuits for all the hard workers- not only is the park there for the community to enjoy but also for the community to care for in all the different ways they can.

Not only is the park there for the community to enjoy but also for the community to care for

One student volunteer who got involved just about nine months ago originally to be part of his Duke Of Edinburgh award is now the park’s youngest ever trustee and has spent six months on an ambitious project identifying and mapping out all the trees in the park alongside one of the more experienced and knowledgeable volunteers.

He tells me the yew tree is his favourite in the park with its reddish and purple bark and evergreen spines and how they are very slow to grow but can live for thousands of years. What I really came away feeling like at the end of the work party was that this is no begrudging task or tedious responsibility for those involved but really a great pleasure.

As the chairman John Vandore said it is a real “privilege” to be able to ensure the survival of the magical space the original founding trustees fought so hard to gain.

To find out more about Betjeman Millenium Park or get in touch check out the Facebook page

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Musical treats at The Watermill, Newbury

Round & About

Newbury

From an enchanting folk-inspired musical to a sizzling Cuban inspired spy thriller The Watermill Theatre has a musical treat for everyone.

Highly anticipated musical The Wicker Husband returns to The Watermill Theatre from Friday 11th March to Saturday 26th March, after premature closure in 2020 due to the pandemic. A captivating show featuring ‘delightfully vivid’ Bunraku puppetry and ‘richly evocative’ music, The Wicker Husband tells the timeless tale of the outsider.

In a superficial world, meet the so-called ‘Ugly Girl’. Ostracised by the shallow townsfolk because she doesn’t fit in, the Ugly Girl becomes the envy of her neighbours when the mysterious Old Basketmaker makes her a strong and loving husband woven from living wicker. As bitter rivalry and jealousy threaten to tear the community apart, the townsfolk embark on a cruel and destructive plan. Will the Ugly Girl’s happiness be ruined forever?

Get 2 for 1 tickets to The Wicker Husband, with thanks to the National Lottery’s Love Your Local Theatre campaign. More information can be found on the theatre’s website. Tickets from £15.

The Watermill’s second musical of the season is Our Man In Havana running from Thursday 7th April to Saturday 21st May. A roller coaster comedy full of colourful characters and uplifting Cuban inspired songs. This new musical is based on Graham Greene’s iconic novel that cleverly satirises the fine line between truth and lies.

It’s 1958 and Havana is on the brink of revolution. All day and night, the streets are filled with dancing and the shadows are filled with criminals. In the midst of the warm tropical air, an English vacuum cleaner salesman lives a quiet life running a modest business, raising his teenage daughter Milly and collecting miniature whisky bottles.

Just as Milly’s love of shopping reaches new heights, James Wormold receives an offer from the British Secret Intelligence Service that is too good to refuse. What Wormold lacks in sleuthing experience, he makes up for with imagination. Nothing stays quiet for long in Havana and his life is soon turned upside down when the fictional events of his intelligence reports start to come true! Tickets from £15.

Fascinated to find out what happens behind the scenes? Join writing duo Ben Morales Frost and Richard Hough who will talk about bringing Our Man in Havana to the stage at a Creative Insights event on Tuesday 12th April. Tickets £24, includes lunch and a ticket for the talk.

Book tickets via The Watermill’s website watermill.org.uk or by call the box office on 01635 46044.

Principal Sponsor: Saica Pack

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Convoy Community

Round & About

Newbury

Convoy Community is dedicated to taking loneliness out of job hunting and can help with the fully funded spaces available on their The Road to Work programme.

With 30 spaces open in Thames Valley (Berkshire) Convoy Communities, they are particularly looking to reach out and support people who are feeling isolated, suffering with their mental health, or struggling with their job hunt. Whether you’ve been unemployed for a little while, have recently been made redundant, or you’re trying to break into the workforce for the first time, they’re here to help.
Convoy says: “We know that the market is tough at the moment. It can be challenging to find a new job at the best of times, but during a global pandemic? Not having to go this journey alone can make a big difference.”

Enter Convoy Community

Convoy takes loneliness out of the job search and harnesses the power of communities to support each other. By helping maintain motivation, momentum, and mental health, the Convoy Community helps turn seekers into finders.

The Convoy Model

Built and developed from lived experience, there are a few components to the Convoy Model that create the space for accountability, hope and reassurance, and inspiration and motivation. It’s the combination of them together that makes the magic.

The daily stand-up – creating accountability

This is the magic ingredient in Convoy. A daily 5-minute meeting that creates the space for accountability, which is key to maintaining momentum and motivation. Members are grouped into accountability groups of three; meeting every weekday, they take 1-2 minutes each to share how their job search is going, answering two questions:

• What did you do yesterday to support your job search?
• What will you do today to help your job search?

Weekly review – boosting hope and providing reassurance

Once a week, Convoy members meet virtually for 40-60 mins to review the week. Job coaches lead these sessions and create space for hope and reassurance to flourish.

Because everyone is sharing their wins and losses, they realise they’re not alone in getting rejected for roles, sharing the “It’s not just me!” feeling. Plus, they get reassurance from hearing others ’wins’ and experience that “It could be me!” feeling.

Weekly guest speakers – providing inspiration, education, and motivation

Once a week, all members of Convoy are invited to a Guest Speaker session on various topics. We’ve had discussions on blockchain, breaking through what holds us back and psychometric testing. We may also discuss practical skills, like making your LinkedIn profile stand out, or creating better cover letters.

In addition, these sessions are also an opportunity to connect with the broader Convoy Community and build on their networks. Research has shown that 80% of roles aren’t filled by direct applications but through networks and connections.

Why was the Convoy Community created?

Convoy’s founder, Christopher Ross, created the Convoy Community out of his own job-hunting experience. After being made redundant from his role at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Christopher found the search for a job isolating. He found the outplacement support helpful, but felt more was needed to bring balance and structure to the job of searching for his next job.

So, drawing on elements from Agile ways of working and project management techniques, he created the support for job seekers he felt he was missing. From here, the Convoy Community has grown, and over the last 18 months, has connected with over 350 people, supporting them with their job hunt, creation of their own businesses or settling into a new role.

How to connect and secure your space

Whether you need support, or someone you know does, Convoy is a community of people travelling in the same direction. Whatever stage you are in your career, Convoy can support you in your job hunt goals, connecting you with a like-minded community all going through the same challenges as you.

If you’d like to know more about Convoy Community, please check out the website convoycommunity.com. And to register your interest in a place, please complete the form: convoycommunity.com/trtweoi
If you have any questions, you can drop us an email here:

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St Bartholomew’s: ‘Outstanding’ in all areas

Round & About

Newbury

High praise for Sixth Form as it prepares to welcome more students to join

At this time, many Year 11 students will be looking forward to Sixth Form and to the greater subject choice, independence and challenge this affords. St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury, has long attracted students from a wide area due to its well-established reputation for successful outcomes.

This application year, however, there will be particular excitement in the air for those joining the Sixth Form following the announcement that it was rated outstanding by Ofsted as part of an overall outstanding judgement for the school.

Ofsted inspectors praised ‘the rich variety of post 16 subjects on offer’ commenting that ‘Sixth Form students show real determination in their learning through focused study’ and are ‘well-prepared to continue their education on to university or to enter the world of work’.

Head of Sixth Form, Mr Cleary, said: “We are delighted with this result. Our Sixth Form prides itself on delivering outstanding academic and pastoral support. We take very seriously our responsibility to prepare students for their future, whether this is in higher education, apprenticeships or employment. I was particularly pleased that Ofsted picked up on the importance we place on our careers programme and the opportunities that students have to take on leadership roles.”

Staff and students joined in celebration in the school’s striking central Hub as it was judged to be outstanding in every category: Quality of education; Behaviour and attitudes; Personal development; Leadership and management and Sixth Form. St Bart’s is understood to be only the second non-selective secondary school in the country to receive an outstanding Ofsted Section 5 inspection in all categories this academic year.

On the Ofsted report, Headteacher Ms Mortimore says: “This is a result that reflects the very many strengths of our school, and one of which our school community and local area can be truly proud. At St Bart’s we always aspire to achieve the best in everything we do, and it is fantastic to gain recognition of this.”

Visit www.stbarts.co.uk for more information on Sixth Form applications.

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Star Q&A: Gok Wan

Round & About

Newbury

Television star Gok Wan, 47, talks to us ahead of his dazzling star turn as the Man In The Mirror in Snow White at Woking’s New Victoria Theatre from 4th December to 2nd January

Hi Gok! How did you get involved in pantomime? “I’ve dreamt of being on stage forever. I first began to think about panto some years back. I was fascinated… Then one evening, maybe 2012 or 2013, I was with Lionel Blair and the very naughty Louie Spence. They said I really should give it a try. I spoke with my agent and Channel Four got involved. I first met Snow White then. There have been other pantos since then but it’s really great to be back with Snow White.”

Q. What’s your character The Man In The Mirror like to play? “Man In The Mirror sounds like a piece of furniture! I’m not and it isn’t! The script is amazing. I finished re-reading it again this morning – the tradition has again been tweaked for the 2020s and I’m excited. The mirror has messages. The mirror motivates. The mirror is magic.”

Q. And your costume… do you have a professional opinion about it? “Do I have an opinion? Oh yes I do! I like it. I was encouraged from the start to contribute input, although the designer anticipated so much that my suggestions could be called incidental. There’s a vital aspect, though, and one I insist on. An aspect that’s seen and unseen – the fit! My costume has to fit and over the Christmas period that could mean adjustments… It’s gotta be done.”

Q. Do you have any pre-show dressing room rituals? “Haha! Not only in the dressing room! Yes, I’m superstitious and my rituals – as you call them – go on throughout the performance; I don’t leave them to lurk alone in the dressing room. What can I tell you? Ahh, there’s ‘first on stage.’ Of course there is going to be stage crew but I like to be the first cast member on stage before a performance. What else? This year in Snow White I am required to fly and when I’m up high, without fail, I whisper a hello to my Mum. I love the flying bit. Love it, love it!”

Q. What is the secret to a great pantomime? “Three ‘secrets’: the first is definitely the audience; the second is likely to be the audience and the third, in my experience, is probably the audience. I like to open the show, to greet and welcome everyone and I can predict within 20 seconds
just what sort of evening it will be. People
have probably had tensions at work, frustrations with traffic, delays or hold-ups – it’s important to me that everyone feels wanted.”

Q. We’re enjoying your new TV show Bling… “I believe you can get a lot from the series. Jewellery can mean so much more than ‘an accessory’ – so often there is special significance attached to a piece. The series sparkles with stories, memories and emotion, as well as amazing technical skills and explanations. It is fascinating. I learned a lot.”

Q. Do you know this part of the world well? “Not really. My home’s London so I’ll commute. I like town and city life. The hustle, the bustle, the noise, the rush, the dirt, energy, sweat, the crowds. I am a absolutely a city boy! I was brought up and lived over a restaurant so it’s what I’m used to.”

To book, call 0333 009 6690 or visit atgtickets.com

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Star Q&A: Samantha Womack

Round & About

Newbury

Actress, singer, model & director Samantha Womack tells us about festive feelings as she stars as the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre as part of its UK tour

Q. Hello! We’re celebrating Christmas shows. Did you go to many of these as a youngster? “I loved all shows as a child. My grandmother was a choreographer and often had friends in shows. She was a great friend of the theatre manager at the Palladium and so I remember going to see Michael Crawford in Barnum countless times which was an incredible performance.”

Q. What is it about this production of the CS Lewis play that will really make Christmas sparkle? And why should we all book a seat? “This production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is directed by Michael Fentiman whose work I’m a massive fan of. With this production he brings a similar vibrancy and originality that he created with his award-winning Amelie. It is a magicial, spellbinding show with Narnia being revealed in earthy pagan magic and musicians on stage whose physical talent is breathtaking.”

Q. Any favourite hang-outs or places to visit while you’re in town? “Aylesbury is an area I’ve performed in over the years, in South Pacific, Guys & Dolls… so I have many fond memories of here. I always bring my dogs with me as there are so many beautiful walks around Thames Valley.”

Q. What’s your go-to snack or food or drink you could never live without? “I try to eat healthy food as I eat a lot. Avocados and kimchi is my current craving and homegrown veg. Having said that, Lidl does dangerously good ice cream…”

Q. What’s the best meal you’ve ever had & choice for a last supper? “The best meal I’ve ever had? Tricky! Anything my grandmother cooked. She did a mean Welsh rarebit and roast tatties.”

Q. Who would be your six dream dinner party guests, alive or dead, real or fictional? “My six dream dinner guests would be Oliver Reed, Richard Burton, Nick Drake, Edith Piaf, Sidney Poitier and Kathryn Hepburn.”

Q. What’s your first memory of music? And your favourite song or album? “My first memory of music was my Dad playing Cat Stevens on acoustic guitar. I miss that sound.”

Q. Do you love Christmas, and what especially are you looking forward to this year? “Christmas is special to me. My father Noel was born on Christmas Eve so that feels bittersweet but I always have a house full of people and music over the Christmas break.”

Q. What other highlights are on your horizon? “I have just bought a retreat business with my partner in Valencia in the mountains and so we will be working on that next year.”

Q. If you could be a real white witch for a moment and make one wish for the world, what would it be? “My wish for the world would be environmental awareness so we stop any more species and plants from being wiped out. And it sounds corny but… to be kind and love one another.”

For tickets please visit atgtickets.co.uk

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