Words and pictures by Chris Forsey

THE long-awaited re-surfacing of Woodford Park tennis courts in Woodley had finally got underway in the summer of 1991, at a cost of £70,000.

After a wait of four years to gather the funding Cllr John Jewell of Woodley Town Council told the Chronicle:” It is one of those jobs that we have been waiting to do for some time, we have been eagerly awaiting the summer holidays and all-weather surface can be used all year round.”

A giant totalising thermometer was erected on the side of the Old School House in Woodcote, to show villagers how much had been raised to renovate the building.

The villagers had for some time earmarked the structure as a home for a community centre and organiser Dee Spears, explained:” There is quite a lot that needs doing- but here is a lot that can be done by local people- it is important to try to get the community involved in this project.”

A Tilehurst missionary was launching an appeal for old sewing machines27 years ago, to send to isolated communities across Africa.

Heather Addison from Tilehurst, was hoping to collect 600 hand-driven sewing machines to villages that have no mains electricity supply.

Heather told the Chronicle:” For many people it could be a lifeline, clothes are very expensive- you often see children in rags- many homes in the Reading area will have an old machine gathering dust in their loft.”

A “Thunderbirds” type machine nicknamed “The Mole” caused the residents of Theale to get a sinking feeling in 1991 when it swerved off course whilst tunnelling a new sewerage pipeline.

After the machines unexpected detour, cracks began to appear in nearby buildings, halting work for four weeks to allow structural engineers from Newbury District Council to assess the situation.

Landlord of the Railway Tavern, Cyril Knight, voiced his concerns:” The whole building shakes when they are piling, we have definitely lost trade because of this.”

Olympic hurdler Kriss Akabusi visited Geoffrey Field Junior School, Whitley, to promote the Superschools charity which was raising money for young athletes across the country.

The Olympic star put 320 pupils through a punishing routine of squat thrusts, press ups and star jumps to ensure they earned their half-share of the sponsorship money.

Another group of school children were also put through their paces at Southlake School’s sports day in Woodley.

After competing in many running events, they were given the choice of either dressing-up races, egg and spoon or relay sprints.

Their head teacher, Helen Carruthers told the Chronicle:” It went really well. The weather turned out to be fine and the children had a great time.”