Branches Melksham Calne & Chippenham
Melksham Calne and Chippenham Reports
MCC 2016 Events 19 March Quiz Night


Quiz Night 

Saturday 19th March 2016

Lansdowne Hall SN11 9QY

Doors open 6.30pm for 7pm start

Up to 4 people per team at £12 per team

Please note we have changed the day we are holding our annual quiz night. It has moved from a Monday to a Saturday.

This year’s quiz night is on Saturday 19th March at the Lansdowne Hall Derry Hill. Doors open at 6.30 and the quiz will start at 7pm. You are invited to form teams of up to 4 which will cost you £12 per team. We are limited to 25 team so we ask you to register, using the entry form, in advance of the night. Payment with the completed entry form please or you can pay at the door. Full details are on the poster.’

Click here to download and print entry form


Winter Ales, Cider & Sausage Festival Report

Ale Festival goes with a bang(er)



Last Saturday, locals packed into the Assembly Hall Melksham and swapped their regular pub pints for Real Ales & ciders at the first Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Beer Festival.

Dave Maloney, the festival organiser said; "We were delighted with the success of the event. As this was the first Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Beer Festival, we had no idea if anyone would come, if our volunteers would be enjoying lots of ale and sausages for Christmas, or even if we would actually run out of beer!

"Just like wine, beers have their own characteristics resulting from the ingredients and the recipe used by each brewer. After the uniformity and bland flavours of some big named keg, bottled and canned beers, we were very pleased to give customers the opportunity to sample a range of more unusual ales. In the end, it was wonderful to see so many people; we are hoping to make this an annual event, and now we know the level of local interest, we can make next year's festival even bigger and better."


On offer were ten different ales from independent breweries. The furthest afield was from Wickwar Brewery Gloucestershire, who provided Witchcraft, a full-flavoured 4.6% dark ale. Closer to home, Kennett & Avon Brewery supplied Crofton IPA, a 5.4% ale with a full on flavour of exotic fruits with a light bitter finish. In addition, four ciders and a perry were available, including Skorpion from Flying Monk brewery infused with squid ink - the only black cider in the world - and Black Rat from Moles of Melksham, both of which proved to be very popular.

Toby Moore from Chippenham said: "This was a really great opportunity to try some new flavours from different producers. It was also great to have a wide variety of sausages as accompaniments. I'm already looking forward to next year."

DSCN1410-1000Melksham's own family run independent butchers, I.D. Newman & Son, supplied the gourmet sausages, including pork and apple, pork with chilli and pork and leek.

Dave Maloney added: "We would like to extend special thanks to the Bell at Lacock, who very generously sponsored the special commemorative glasses given to every ticket holder, to the staff at the Assembly Hall for their brilliant support, and to Melksham Town Council for use of the excellent Assembly Hall."

All proceeds will be used locally for the promotion and restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal.




Do you enjoy real ale, real cider and tasty sausages? Do you live in the West Wilts area?

Then come along to Melksham Assembly Hall on Saturday 7th November from 12:00 – 4:00pm.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, Melksham, Chippenham & Calne Branch is organising its first ever beer festival in good time for locals to get in the mood for the run up to Christmas.

As it’s a winter ale festival, the beers will be slightly stronger than usual, ranging from 3.8% - 7% proof. There will be a selection of ten winter ales from independent breweries, making them different from those usually available in the local pubs. There will also be a couple of  ciders and a perry.

Newman’s, Melksham’s independent local butcher, has kindly agreed to help by supplying a variety of good quality sausages, which will make tasty accompaniments to the ales.

The Winter Ale Festival will be on Saturday 7th November 12:00 noon – 4:00pm at the Assembly Rooms Melksham. Tickets are £5 and, if bought in advance, will include one free drink. They can be bought in advance from Melksham Tourist Information Centre, from The Bell at Lacock, or by contacting Dave Maloney on 07809 374 754; they will also be available on the day on the door. Every ticket purchased will include a free commemorative glass.

All money raised will be used to help in the local restoration and promotion of the Wilts & Berks Canal.

Click the poster for prinatable version


Rock n Roll Evening 19 September

BeatCatsAd1-1000Cool Cats and Glamour Girls!

If dancin', jivin’ or strollin’ is your thing, get your glad rags on for a great Rock n Roll Evening, with wonderful Rock n Roll band The Beat Cats.

The event is presented by The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, and will be at Melksham Conservative Club SN12 6LE, on Saturday 19th September; doors open at 7:30pm for an 8:00pm start. Tickets will be £8 and may be bought in advance from: Melksham Conservative Club, Melksham Tourist Information Centre, or by calling Richard on 07899 903344. Or they can be bought on the door on the night.

A bar will be available in the hall and there is local parking behind the club. Entrance to the club is from the central car park at the rear which is accessed from Church Street SN12 6LS.

The Beat Cats are a traditional Rock n Roll band from the heart of Somerset, but with a modern twist. If you think of Eddie, Buddy, Gene, Elvis, Chuck, Carl, add a chunk of Setzer/Stray Cats and top it all off with a dollop of Imelda May, you have the cream of Rock n Roll these Cats love!

The Beat Cats line up is:

Champ Cat Simon; vocals/acoustic & electric guitar and co-founder of the Beat Cats

Kool Kitten Kern; vocals/glamour, inspired by Peggy Lee, Julie London and Imelda May

Bad Cat Andy; vocals/lead electric guitar

Boom Boom Cat Gerry; double 'slap' bass & electric bass/vocals?

Rhythm Cat John; drums

Melksham resident, WBCT volunteer, and Rock n Roll enthusiast, Peter Henden said:

“We are really looking forward to a fantastic evening courtesy of the excellent Beat Cats. As an added attraction, we also have Roger Dee’s Nostalgia Disco as a supporting act through the evening, so there is no reason to stop dancing!

We hope that local Rock n Roll fans will come along and join in with the spirit of the occasion – an entertaining and fun night out is guaranteed.  The Beat Cats are a great band; they certainly provide terrific entertainment wherever they appear.”

All profits raised from this event will go towards the promotion, maintenance and restoration work of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust.

For more information about the local Branch of the Trust you can visit their Web site

Heroic Effort by Local Volunteers sees 220 year old Culvert Rebuilt

This June, after nearly a year of working in all weathers, from frost and wild winds, to torrential downpours and heatwaves, volunteers with the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust finally completed a mammoth rebuilding project at Pewsham Locks near Chippenham.

A 30 metre long, 220 year old brick culvert, which collapsed during the record-breaking wet winter of 2013-14, has been rebuilt after a herculean effort by a team of workers, who worked weekends and mid-week, clocking up an amazing total of over 2,000 voluntary hours during the project.

Basil Raddy, a volunteer with the Trust, who has been involved from the start, said: “I have been keeping a record of the hours worked, and by my calculations, the actual rebuild has taken 1,656 hours. But when you add in the time clearing out the silt and bricks, diverting the towpath, pumping out the water, and cleaning the original bricks, I would estimate over 2,000 hours is near the mark. We keep a record of volunteer hours as it is important to show funders what the Trust has contributed to a project.”

The historic structure was originally constructed between 1795 and 1799, to cross underneath the canal, and was effectively an underground tunnel to carry the small stream Cocklemore Brook. In January 2014, that stream became a torrent, and the destructive power of the water collapsed the arched culvert, creating a huge hole in the towpath and canal bank, allowing all the water from that section of the restored canal to drain out.

Ray Canter, project leader, said: “It has been a massive challenge. We couldn’t even start on the rebuilding for eight months, as it took that long for the water in Cocklemore Brook to lower sufficiently. Even then, volunteers had to don waders and work up to their chests in water and mud. Luckily, this last winter was not so wet, and by using three 4” pumps, we were able to clear all the debris and begin the rebuilding. We had to construct bunds (dams) on either side of the culvert, divert the towpath, and excavate the whole canal bed; it certainly gave us an enormous respect for the original builders who did not have the benefit of excavators and dumpers.

“Many of our volunteers are not professional bricklayers: they have enjoyed learning new skills and the culvert is now quite a stunning structure complete with over 8,000 bricks. Unfortunately, once finished, it will be completely hidden under the canal, so we want to show it off while we can!

“The fantastic donation of £10,000 from the Yorkshire Building Society, which we received last December, inspired members to redouble their efforts, and they worked heroically until the structure was finally completed this June. We are now looking forward to using our newly acquired skills on rebuilding the locks.”

On 3rd July, Bristol manager of the Yorkshire Building Society Lee Hathaway, was invited to ceremonially lay the final inscribed brick, as an acknowledgement of the importance of the YBS funding in securing materials and hiring machinery. Roderick Bluh (newly appointed Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Chairman), Councillor David Powell (Mayor of Chippenham), and Michelle Donelan (MP for Chippenham) also attended the ceremony, applauding the volunteers for their fantastic efforts, and admiring the new structure before it is finally reburied.

Dave Maloney, chair of the Melksham, Chippenham and Calne Branch of the Trust, said: “We were delighted that the Yorkshire Building Society contributed to this fantastic project. The funding was awarded as a Lasting Legacy grant to commemorate their 150 year anniversary, and this culvert will certainly last for another 200, or even 300 years. We understand that YBS would like to be involved in volunteering to help with the restoration project of the Wilts & Berks Canal, and we will be very pleased to welcome them along.”

The culvert itself will soon be lost again to view when the temporary bunds (or dams) are removed, the canal bed restored, and the canal below Pewsham waiting wharf will then be returned to its former glory.

The aim of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is to restore the former waterway from the Kennet & Avon Canal near Melksham to the Thames & Severn Canal near Cricklade and the River Thames near Abingdon, connecting Chippenham, Calne, Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon.

New members and volunteers are always welcome; see more information on the websites: and

Melksham Food & River Fesitval 2015

logo 2015Do you enjoy good local food? Ales and cider? Listening to live music? Relaxing on or near a beautiful waterway?

Then Melksham Food and River Festival is the perfect event for you!

Flyer for the Festival


Come along to the Littlebrook Centre on Saturday 5th September from 10:30 onwards for a great time at LittleFest. Festival sponsors Waitrose will lead the Regatta themed event with tastings and samplings of locally supplied products. There will also be a number of events supported by Candy Jaxx, CJ’s café and Honey’s that will keep the children entertained. Throughout the day, the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust will be offering boat trips on the river, and Try Canoeing sessions will be available from 3:00pm (you will need to sign up in advance for this).

Andy York Photography will be taking photos all day, which can be bought online, with all proceeds going to the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

The King George V Playing Field will be the venue for the main event on Sunday 6th September also sponsored by Waitrose Melksham. The event will host over 70 stalls selling a wide array of local food, drink and food related products. Sunday will also see cookery demonstrations, including one by new Melksham Italian venue Casa Restaurant, a fresh fish demonstration by Waitrose, as well as an ‘Anybody Can Cook’ session. Lively Irish tunes will be provided by popular folk band Wessex Contraband.

On Sunday, as well as the boat trips and canoeing sessions (again, you will need to sign up beforehand), there will be demonstrations by Bradford on Avon Diving Club, and the Fire Service Water Rescue Team. It is also hoped to have a flotilla of steam and motor powered boats for visitors to enjoy.

There will be plenty for the children too, with face painting, a bouncy castle and fairground attractions, along with a celebrity appearance of Frankie the Canal Horse.

Perhaps the most intriguing event of the day will be the Chilli Eating Competition! This contest is not for the faint-hearted, but it does make a great spectator sport, as 12 competitors confront and try to consume the hottest chillies. To enter, call 01225 704187 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For a delicious, family weekend of culinary and watery celebrations,

visit Melksham Food and River Festival

5th – 6th September 2015 from 10:30am

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