Welcome to this week's Newbury Velo Quest everyone!
It's time to get out and enjoy our beautiful countryside whilst still conforming to social distancing (please remember that the 2m rule is still in place until 4th July).
Although you may have to use your imagination for some of the photos, let's see what you can come up with for a chance to win an exclusive 'Newbury Velo' water bottle. The theme this week is 'Ring of Fire and Rescue!' and will incorporate local fire stations as well as locations of fires and rescues in Newbury and the surrounding areas that I have attended as a firefighter and that are in the public domain.
We have 22, 38 and 58 mile routes prepared for you which are available in links at the bottom of this article.
The 58 mile route covers Newbury, Pangbourne, Lambourn and Hungerford fire stations as well as a couple of local fires and a couple of countryside rescues. The 38 mile route covers Newbury, Hungerford and Lambourn fire stations as well as a couple of fires and rescues and the 22 mile route covers Newbury fire station, a number of local fires and a countryside rescue.
Please see below a short write up on each incident and on which routes you will find it.
Newbury Fire Station - On the night of 29/1/18 we were eating our dinner in the mess room at the back part of the station when the doorbell rang. On answering it we were told there was a big fire opposite the front of the station. The flames were pretty large! This was a fire in a disused building in Hutton Close which has since been knocked down and new houses are now being built. We never did get to finish our dinner that night! (All routes)
At midnight on 11/04/05 we were called to a fire at Motorworld, Northbrook Street (now Carter Jonas). On arrival I mentioned to my officer in charge that the windows were incredibly black (a sure sign of an intense fire inside). The fire gutted Motorworld and spread to Hethertons Cafe ( Now King's Cafe). Ten fire engines and an aerial ladder were required and we were at the scene all night and relieved by the oncoming day crew shortly after 9am. (All routes)
On the night of 14/10/06 we were called to a fire at Uncle Henry's Public House (this was down the alleyway to Parkway by Ernest Jones) The building was well alight and the barmaid was trapped on the first floor and had to be rescued by ladder by my colleague Jim. The Parkway sign today is where the 'Uncle Henrys' sign was at that time. (58 and 22 mile routes)
On 15/05/20 - 3 days after the first relaxing of lockdown we were called to a hand glider accident at Combe Gibbet. The guy had crashed his hand glider on the steepest possible part of the hill and broken his leg. It was impossible to take him up or down the slope on a backboard due to the incline. There were 3 fire engines, 2 fire officers, 2 police vehicles, an ambulance, an air ambulance and the coastguard helicopter (this had to be called for the winch to rescue him) It was an eventful afternoon! (22 and 38 mile routes)
On 13/07/17 at 06.30 we were called to a house fire in Hampstead Marshall, close to St Mary's Church. On arrival we could not believe our eyes - the house had been 100% destroyed by fire! We had never seen anything like it. It was incredible that it had been burning all night and nobody had seen any smoke or flames! The fire was caused by the main electrical intake! The housekeeper had called us when she arrived to clean. The occupants were not home at the time. (22 and 38 mile routes)
Bucklebury Ford - unfortunately a few people have followed their sat nav or ignored the signs and have tried to drive through the ford! This has resulted in us getting called a number of times - sometimes because people simply don't want to get wet! (58 mile route)
On the Newbury Road between Great Shefford and East Garston there is an infamous bend with warning signs in both directions. We have been to a couple of incidents here. One involved a head on collision between a tractor and a van and although the extrication took a while there were no serious injuries, and the other was a car simply losing control and ending up on its roof but with all passengers out on arrival! Take care on this bend! (38 and 58 mile routes)
I hope you enjoy this Quest and stay safe
Routes available her: