Cookham community news: don't feed Barbara - give cash instead

George Roberts

Cookham community news: don't feed Barbara - give cash instead

A village favourite will embark on her 34thannual ‘fast’ for Oxfam next month.

Barbara Walmsley, who is 82, has raised about £340,000 by sitting in the Providence Place Sainsbury’s in central Maidenhead for three days each year.

Originally Barbara would fast over the three days, but after having some heart trouble nine years ago, she now brings along a cardboard mascot, ‘Barbara the Boxfam Lady’, who fasts for her instead.

This year, the 32-hour fast will take place from Friday 11 to Sunday, October 13.

Although she sometimes finds it boring, after so many successful years of fundraising, Barbara is not looking to change the formula.

She said: “I can’t think what else I can do that would be more exciting, I am past the age of jumping out of a plane with a parachute.

“I think now people expect to see me and because I have built up sponsors over the years, it works.

“I make a particular point of not wearing a watch, it's fine when there are lots of people around but when it’s quiet I just start clock watching and thetime goes much more slowly.”

As well as her fast, Barbara will also be hosting a coffee morning to help raise more money for Oxfam.

Writer David Nicholls, author of One Day and Starter for Ten will be a guest speaker at the fundraiser on Wednesday, October 2 at Holy Trinity Parish Centre, starting at 10.30am.

Fairtrade coffee, homemade cakes and David’s books will all be on sale.

To sponsor Barbara visit: fundraising/barbara-walmsley4

Birds of prey and dancing dogs lined up for fete

As summer fades away, the annual Cookham Dean Village Fete will once again mark the coming of autumn.

A whole variety of entertainment will be on display to help drive away the post-holiday blues, with birds of prey, dancing dogs and Punjab folk dancing all lined up at Cookham Dean Village Green.

Taking place on Saturday, September 14 from 1pm to 5pm, the day will be bursting with things to do.

As well as entertainment like the flower and produce show and ukelele band, there will also be a plethora of stalls for visitors to enjoy.

Craft stalls offering handmade woodworks, pottery and jewellery will be on offer, and you can try your luck at the coconut shy, enjoy fair rides and even have a go on a rowing machine.

Each year the fete raises money for charity, and last year’s event saw £4,700 go to good causes such as Thames Valley Bereavement Care, Driven Forward, and Samaritans of Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead.

Five-week course on war inspired art

A course on art inspired by the world wars will take place in November.

Taking place at the Stanley Spencer Gallery in High Street, gallery archivist Ann Danks will take the five-week course.

The group will study war art inspired by the conflict in the First and Second World Wars, looking at artists who found expression and inspiration in dark and troubled times.

British artists will be the particular focus, and the group will analyse work by the likes ofPaul Nash, Christopher Nevinson, Evelyn Dunbar, Stanley Spencer and John Piper.

The course, which runs from 10am to noon from Tuesday, November 19 to Tuesday, December 17, costs £50. To pre-book email

Acoustic acts to perform at Holy Trinity

An evening of acoustic music is set to take place in the village later this month.

Taking place at Holy Trinity Church on Saturday, September 28 from 7pm, two acts will perform.

Folk musician Harri Endersby will play songs from her new album Homes/Lives. Growing up in the thriving folk scene in County Durham, her music has been influenced by many prestigious folk singers from the region.

Bluegrass group Hot Rock Pilgrims will also get up on stage, performing a high energy Appalachian set.

Steve Backshall Kogi fundraiser

Steve Backshall will host a fundraiser for an indigenous Colombian tribe.

The Cookham resident will host the fundraiser for the Kogi Tribe at Crowne Plaza in Marlow on Friday, September 20 from 7pm.

Steve and guests will explore the importance of the Kogi and the role they play in the world. The event will also include an interactive Q&A, auction, three course meal and live music.

Tickets cost £63 and are available from

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