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Hot off the press in Bucks and Oxon!

We've got the latest local buzziest news. Can you guess which A-list celebrity is coming to Abingdon this April? Read on to find out!

Big stars incoming…

Fancy a chance to work alongside Tom Hanks? Upcoming television series Masters of the Air, produced by Steven Spielberg and featuring Tom, is believed to be all set to film at Dalton Barracks near Abingdon this spring.

The show, a follow-up to the successful WWII mini-series Band of Brothers, will centre on the 100th Bombardment Group (part of the US Air Force) who were based in Thorpe Abbotts in Suffolk during the war.

Excitingly, leading UK-based casting agency Key Casting announced last week that it was searching for male extras, aged 17-30, to feature in an ‘epic World War 2 series’ — sound familiar? We can think of worse ways to spend a day than getting paid to stand around in vintage uniform a stone’s throw from the big celebs. That and seeing our nearest and dearest on the small screen – 2021 is looking up.

Filming is set to begin on 12 April, so you’d better get those applications in now.

Your new go-to with the kids

Feel like you’ve run the whole of Bucks and Oxon ragged trying to entertain the littluns? We know the feeling! Thank God for Stonor Park, which just revealed its magical new adventure playground, Tumblestone Hollow (at a whopping production cost of £250,000).

One of Britain’s oldest family-owned stately homes, the house has played into its history by basing the innovative playground on an ancient stone circle that lies in the grounds. The Hollow has been designed to offer children a safe place to play in and around nature, and to evoke some of the magic of the land’s ancient history. There are climbing nets, high bridges, look-out decks, and a tall tower boasting a view across the whole playground. Stonor has also published an accompanying children’s book, called The Legend of Tumblestone Hollow, chronicling the magical creatures which live there. (Daytrip and bedtime story sorted? Not bad, Stonor!)

Designed for 4-12 year-olds, the playground was part-funded by the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, and will (restrictions willing) open for families by Easter weekend. Best of all? Knackered parents can grab a cup of coffee or even a woodfired pizza from the new, rustic Hollow Hut café.

A new daily bread

Feeling hungry, West Wycombe? There’s a new bread boss in town and it comes with a caffeine hit too. Montgomery’s Coffeehouse and Bakery has just opened at the George and Dragon Hotel, and it’s already slinging some serious sourdough. There’s artisan coffee and freshly-baked bread to be had daily, available for takeaway from 8am until 2pm. As well as Instagram-able sourdough baguettes (just LOOK at that crumb), you can bag yourself a wedge of excellent olive focaccia, a glossy croissant or two, or a cheeky sweet treat.

Art from the heart

Calling all UK artists! The Zuleika Gallery in Oxford’s Woodstock is looking for submissions for their 2021 charity exhibition, this year in support of Maggie’s Oxford. The exhibition will be launched online on 20 March, and will be available to view until 5 April. Not just a great opportunity to get your name out there, this heartfelt exhibition will see 50% of all sales donated to Maggie’s Oxford, with a separate option to donate 100%. Maggie’s Oxford offers support to cancer patients and their families, completely free of charge.

Entries are limited to one work per artist. For full details and entry forms click here.

Also abuzz in Abingdon is the news that the Old Abbey House, lain empty since 2014, is going to become a boutique hotel. Witney-based development company Ede Holdings is all set to buy the building for £927,000, and transform it into a 20-bedroom luxury hotel. Although the building isn’t listed, Ede Holdings hopes to properly restore its 18th century structure and protect its character.

This is an exciting prospect for local jobs: the company has announced that it will be looking for a local laundry provider, local baker for fresh morning produce, and cleaning staff. The announcement follows news that Boswells and Debenhams in central Oxford will also be turned into hotels and a Cliveden-style country house hotel is also afoot near Gerrard’s Cross.

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