Driving force

Round & About

Newbury

Can you help local people in need this winter by joining Twyford Volunteer Drivers?

Mike joined Twyford Volunteer Drivers 10 years ago. “Now that I’m semi-retired I can make some space in my diary. This enables me to offer help to people who otherwise might have to rely on taxis – at some expense and probably some inconvenience. It is satisfying to be able to help people in need and who are usually very grateful. Who knows, I may need similar help in the future.”

Passengers must be able to travel without assistance. They contact the office to book lifts in advance and then driver volunteers, who are paid a mileage allowance for using their own cars, volunteer for the jobs that fit in with their schedule.  This can be as many or as few as they want.

Additional drivers are needed to ensure the service continues to run smoothly. Karen joined the volunteer drivers three years ago

“I was worried when I first began volunteer driving that I might have taken on something too time-consuming but nothing could be further from the truth. I can choose the job that suits me and there is never any pressure to do anything more. The people I meet are so interesting and I’ve learnt a lot of local history and driving shortcuts, I would never have discovered any other way. For me it has been a brilliant way to give back and it really feels like a win-win”.

Bob, who chairs a seven-strong committee which runs the charity, said: ‘We have approximately 270 people depending on us – and demand is growing.’

More info

Please call 0118 934 3010 or email [email protected]

Wintry wonders

Round & About

Newbury

Head to the River & Rowing Museum to enjoy The Snowman™ and The Snowdog Exhibition until 19th January

This year the River & Rowing Museum’s magical festive programme of activities has been inspired by the much-loved animated film The Snowman and The Snowdog, the sequel to Raymond Briggs’ classic picture book The Snowman, first published in 1978 and then adapted for screen in 1982.

The museum invites you to continue the adventure of the UK’s favourite festive characters with a beautiful exhibition and special screenings of both animated films.

Follow the wonderous adventures of The Snowman and The Snowdog, in a stunning exhibition displaying over 40 original original illustrations and sketches from the animation.  This celebration of the innocence and magic of childhood adventure will appeal to all generations. The detailed hand-drawn artwork and charming characters are universal and timeless. Together they reveal the wintery wonder and warmth that make the season special.

Take a selfie with The Snowman, dress up as your own character from the animation and join The Snowman’s party in this interactive exhibition.  Put on your own puppet show or enjoy the opportunity to curl up with a book in the story corner and dive into the magical world of The Snowman.

Screenings of the animations and an appearance from The Snowman™ will last for an hour, with an opportunity to take photos with the festive icon, making delightful memories that will last a lifetime. The perfect family festive outing.

More Info

Go to  http://rrm.co.uk and www.thesnowman.com

Charity champions 

Round & About

Newbury

Photo: Winners, judges and sponsors of the LBCA Berks 2019

Berkshire businesses have been rewarded for their work to support local charities at the Local Business Charity Awards (Berkshire).

The winners were revealed at a ceremony held at SportsAble in Maidenhead with three awards handed out – the Jelf Award, the A-Plan Insurance Award and the Individual Award.

To enter,  Berkshire charities had to nominate a Berkshire business or individual who had done an outstanding job supporting them.

The finalists in the Jelf Award were Convatec nominated by Berkshire Youth; Gardner Leader nominated by Swings & Smiles; Nationwide Building Society nominated by The Dash Charity and Penguins Events nominated by Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Services which won the Jelf Award.

Mike Owen, CEO South, Jelf, said: “Penguins Events have been the most incredible supporter of the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice. Their expertise in events management, providing audio visual and lighting at the charity’s annual balls and other special occasions, has allowed the charity to put on first-class events and raise significant amounts of money.”

The finalists in the A-Plan Insurance award were A Twist of Lime nominated by Baby Bank; Bisham Abbey Sailing & Navigation School nominated by Rivertime Boat Trust; The Swift Group nominated by Newbury Soup Kitchen and TSB (Reading Branch) nominated by Babies in Buscot Support (BIBS). The Reading branch of TSB picked up the A-Plan Insurance Award

Richard Easterbrook, Group Head of Commercial Insurance from sponsor A-Plan Insurance said: “For a business to take on a charity with which they have no personal relationship is quite rare and makes the efforts made by the small team of staff from the TSB in Reading even more impressive.
“From bike and bake weeks to promoting awareness of the charity’s work by having an incubator on display in the branch, the team have really put their heart and souls into supporting this vital Berkshire charity.”

The finalists in the Individual award were Adrian Smith from The Swift Group nominated by Newbury Soup Kitchen; Carol Irwin from Sainsburys nominated by PALS (West Berkshire); Ken Navin from Innovate Services nominated by Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Services and Lisa Chaffey from Action Coach Reading nominated by Berkshire Vision.

The Individual Award was won by Adrian Smith.

Jeffrey Branch, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Berkshire, who presented the award said:
“Two years ago Meryll Praill set up Newbury Soup Kitchen without any knowledge or experience of homelessness or the myriad of problems that leads to a person losing their home. The day she met Adrian Swift, Managing Director of the Swift Group was highly fortuitous; from the outset he has offered her guidance, support, introductions to relevant businesses and even the donation of a van to deliver the food to the homeless.  Berkshire is a better place because of men like Adrian.”

For more information about this year’s awards visit

Santa cruise

Round & About

Newbury

Hop aboard for a Father Christmas cruise on the Rose of Hungerford 

There are a whole host of Santa’s grottos popping up at this time of year but there won’t be many chances to meet the man in the red suit on a boat. 

Hop aboard the Rose of Hungerford and meet Father Christmas and his elves on the Kennet & Avon Canal on selected dates in December.  

The Rose of Hungerford is a purpose-built 55ft long wide-beamed passenger trip boat owned by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust.  

Public trips have been running all year round and now it’s time to celebrate the festive season – there’s a gift for every child and refreshments for all and all for just £9. 

In 2017, The Rose of Hungerford undertook more than 200 trips, carrying around 6,000 passengers. She travelled about 660 miles and through 772 locks as she toured the canal.  

Father Christmas cruises are on 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th December from 11am-noon and from 1-2pm from Hungerford Wharf. 

Tickets

Tickets must be pre-booked from Fare Wise Travel, High Street, Hungerford or by calling 01380 721279. 

For more information about the Rose of Hungerford

 

National Carers Rights Day

Round & About

Newbury

People in Reading who provide unpaid care for a friend, relative or neighbour can access support and information at an event to mark National Carers Rights Day 2019 today, Thursday 21st.

The free event aims to reach out to people who might not access all the support they are entitled to and also to recognise the vital role unpaid carers play in the wellbeing of the community.

In Reading, an estimated 12,000 people provide unpaid care for someone who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.

The event is hosted by the Reading and West Berkshire Carers Hub with support from Reading Council, local voluntary care sector providers, carers and charities. The event runs from 2pm to 6pm at Wycliffe Baptist Church, 233 King’s Rd, Reading.

The theme of the national campaign this year is ‘Helping you find your way’ with the aim of encouraging people to think about how caring might affect them now and in the future and what support they might need.

Reflecting this theme, advice and information will be provided at the event, which will also feature a series of presentations relating to health, benefits and carer assessments.

The event organisers are also keen to reach unpaid carers who also work and may not be aware of their rights and the support they are entitled to from their employers.

Information stands manned by community groups and charities will run throughout the event for people who cannot stay for the whole event. Light refreshments will also be available.

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “Carers play an essential role in our community and they deserve the best advice and support in their role as well as help in maintaining their own independent lives.

“Most of us will care for or be cared for at some point in our lives. Support for a loved one who is older, ill or has disabilities can be a source of great joy and satisfaction but without the right financial and practical support in place it can also be tough. We’re encouraging people to think about what support they might need so that they don’t miss out now or in the future.”

Cllr Tony Jones, Reading’s lead member for adult social care, said: “This Carers Rights Day, we hope to reach as many carers in Reading as possible with information and advice about the range of support they are entitled to – whether that’s certain benefits or practical help, like getting adaptations in the home.”

Although there is no need to book for the event, people will need to book in advance for advice sessions including Health MOTs and Power of Attorney.

Book a session

To book an advice session appointment or for any queries, please contact Carers Hub on 0118 342 7333 or email [email protected] 

Pride of Reading 2019

Round & About

Newbury

Photo: Winner of the Chris Tarrant Award Sam Dixon with son Parker and left, general manager of sponsors The Oracle, Andy Briggs. Picture by: Emma Patterson

 

Amazing people from around Reading were honoured at the 16th Pride of Reading awards as tales of bravery, service to the community and special achievements were revealed.

Once again hosted by home-town boy Chris Tarrant, the glitzy ceremony at the Royal Berkshire Conference Centre saw winners of 22 awards celebrated.

The event was attended by around 300 guests who after enjoying street food starters and a two-course sit down lunch enjoyed the afternoon’s awards hosted by Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas and ITV’s Mel Bloor.

Among the amazing winners earlier this month were Child of Courage Logan Edwards who underwent painful surgery to fuse his skull, Local Hero Ricky Prince who saved a man’s life after seeing him collapsed as he walked past and former councillor Jo Lovelock who was honoured with the Special Recognition Award.

There was barely a dry eye in the room when the Volunteer of the Year was posthumously named as Alice Driver. Her parents were given the award in her honour for her work with Reading Refugee Support Group and Reading PRIDE all while being treated for a brain tumour.

The winner of the Chris Tarrant award this year was Sam Dixon whose husband PC James Dixon was killed on duty in December 2017, when Sam was pregnant with Parker. PC Dixon’s motorcycle collided with a car in Hare Hatch and he died instantly.

Full list of award winners 2019:

∙ Business in Action (Over 50) sponsored by BDB Pitmans: VISA

∙ Business in Action (Under 50) sponsored by BDB Pitmans: Shinfield View Care Home

∙ 999 Award, sponsored by De Vere Wokefield Estate: White Watch, Caversham Road and Whitley Wood

∙ Special Recognition Award: Councillor Jo Lovelock

∙ Charity of the Year sponsored by Roc Search: Sport in Mind

∙ Community Champion sponsored Reading Football Club: Eddie Winship

∙ Smile of the year sponsored by BerkshireLive: Zoe Correa (AJ Making a ∙ Stamp)

∙ Family of the Year sponsored by Ikea: The Johnson Family

∙ The Inspiration Award sponsored by McDonalds: Richard Witt

∙ Volunteer of the Year: Alice Driver

∙ Reading’s Best Street sponsored by Haslams: Talfourd Avenue

∙ Local Hero sponsored by Green Park: Ricky Prince

∙ Employee of the Year sponsored by Reading Buses: Richard Deadman 

∙ Young Person of the Year sponsored by University of Reading: Nevaeh Small

∙ Entrepreneur of the Year sponsored by The Purple Turtle: Luci and Mike Clayton Jones

∙ Cultural Contribution sponsored by M&G Real Estate:  Andrew Taylor (Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra)

∙ School of the Year sponsored by QWERTY: New Town Primary School

∙ Fundraiser of the Year sponsored by Cream: David and Julia Eversham (for Alexander Devine 

∙ Love Where You Live Award sponsored by Berkeley Homes: Turn Tilehurst Red

∙ Child of Courage sponsored by IQVIA: Logan Edwards

∙ Chris Tarrant Pride of Reading Award sponsored by The Oracle: Sam Dixon 

Devine Dash 

Round & About

Newbury

It’s the time of year when you expect to see a man in a red suit with a white beard but get set to see hundreds of them.

Now in its seventh year, the Santa Dash in Windsor in aid of Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice is the annual festive fun run on Saturday, 24th November.

The dash will guide you through Windsor, along the Long Walk, the Castle, Queen Victoria’s statue and the town’s streets and it’s up to you how you decide to take on the 5km – dash, run, jog, skip or dance.

The entry fee includes a free Santa suit or reindeer antlers for children and a medal and every penny goes to the children’s hospice service in Maidenhead.

The hospice opened in 2018 after years of hard work and tireless campaigning to raise the funds by Fiona and John Devine. Their son Alexander was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of four and their lives became consumed by hospital appointments and treatments.

They sadly lost Alexander after four and a half years and through their experiences found there was a need for a children’s hospice in Berkshire.

Fiona and John wanted to provide a safe, loving environment for all that gives children and families a choice of care and support. The hospice complements the existing community service with state-of-the-art facilities. It has six children’s bedrooms, two-self-contained flats for families, a dining area, open plan sitting room and suite dedicated to end of life and bereavement care.

There is also a sensory room, creative learning zone, music room and hydrotherapy pool.

A woodland-themed sensory garden, mud kitchen, musical play pieces, scented plants and raised flower beds allow children to enjoy the outdoors.

There are LEGO models scattered around the garden and an adventure playground is currently being built designed with special equipment.

Nurses and nursery nurses, play and music specialists and counsellors and doctors use their knowledge, compassion and expertise to provide the support and care each family and child needs.

Santas are encouraged to raise at least £57 in sponsorship – this alone could pay for a specialist play session.

The dash starts at 9am, but dashers are encouraged to arrive at 8am for a briefing, to join the warm up and collect their Santa suit, these can also be collected in advance from this month with previous arrangement.

Registration is at Bachelors Acre at 8.40am before the run starts at the top of the Long Walk by the Castle.

Entry costs £20 adults, £7.50 children, under 5s free, family of four (2&2) £36.

Take part

For more details and to enter

Beer-fuelled Bard

Round & About

Newbury

Peter Anderson catches up with Stacey & Saul of Sh*tfaced Shakespeare which lands at Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre on Tuesday, 12th November

A smash-hit, internationally acclaimed, award-winning, multi sell-out fringe phenomenon comes to Swindon this month presenting Shakespeare in a way none of us remember it from our schooldays. We all know about pre-show drinks, but what if it is a random member of the cast who spends the four hours before a show having the pre-show drinks? Welcome to Sh*t-faced Shakespeare and their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. With a gin in one hand, a cup of wine in the other and a flagon of ale in the other… What could possibly go wrong?

I catch up with Stacey & Saul from the group to find out this combination of beer and the Bard, came about. “We had one of those sessions where we all put our heads together and came up with ideas on how we can make the improv different. This was the suggestion that someone came up with. I don’t remember whether we said yes or no to it at the time, but it was a little while later that in a radio interview someone mentioned that this was something, we had thought of doing. From then on, we had to it, and it seems to have been well received as we are still filling theatres after some years.”

Is there a chance the plot could change? “Oh yes, when you are one of the sober cast you have to be ready for just about anything, from Juliet deciding she is not going to commit suicide to characters appearing in the wrong play which adds to the spice and fun – for both us and the audience especially. There are rules that we use in improvisation and these can usually keep the play flowing. The important thing is that we are providing something enjoyable for the audience, there is no question of deliberately making one of the cast look stupid.”

You are quite a close-knit group of actors to be able to do improv, especially with the additional jeopardy of alcohol, but if you could have a famous actor join you for a show, who would you love? “Now, there’s a thought! I think the one actress who always seems good fun in the things she does is Helena Bonham-Carter, I am sure she would be up for it and extremely good fun whether she was drunk or sober.”

The Evening Standard said of this show “There is no doubt this is a hoot to watch”. To get your chance to see what could be subtitled for one actor A Midsummer Morning’s Hangover the show is on Tuesday 12th November at the Wyvern Theatre

Want to go?

Get your tickets here

Sue Ryder Awards

Round & About

Newbury

Nominate inspirational women for 2020 Sue Ryder Southern Women of Achievement Awards

Do you know a woman who deserves recognition for their achievements in the community, business, public service or sport?

If so nominate them for the Sue Ryder Southern Women of Achievement Awards – nominations open on Thursday, 7th November.

The charity for palliative, neurological and bereavement support is calling on people across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to put forward the names of those who deserve to be celebrated.

The awards, which have been running since 2006, remain one of Sue Ryder’s biggest fundraisers of the year. They are a fantastic way to celebrate the incredible achievements of local women, while also reflecting on the amazing achievements of Lady Ryder – legendary philanthropist and the charity’s founder.

 

There are seven categories:

Community – sponsored by Invesco

Business – sponsored by Invesco

Sport – sponsored by Russell Partnership Collection

Innovation

Mentor/coach of the year

Public Service

Robyn Jones Courage Award – sponsored by CH&Co

 

Nominations will be open for a month, closing on 7th December. Successful nominees for each award category will then be contacted by a member of the Sue Ryder Fundraising team by 20th December.

Winners will be decided by a judging panel, including representatives from each sponsor, and announced at the Southern Women of Achievement awards ceremony on the 13th March 2020 at Phyllis Court in Henley. The awards will be accompanied by a black-tie drinks’ reception and three course dinner. Attendees on the night will also be treated to live musical entertainment, a raffle and silent auction.

Fern Hayes,  Head of Fundraising at Sue Ryder, said: “Celebrating the incredible achievements of so many amazing women across the region is a cause very close to our hearts and something we look forward to year on year. However, we need help to find our wonderful nominees.

“We were overwhelmed by support for the 2019 awards – especially from our brilliant volunteers and sponsors – and hope to drive just as much of a buzz around the 2020 event too.

“The awards are always such a fun and heart-warming event. We encourage everyone across the three counties of Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire to think about all the fantastic women they have in their networks and consider putting them forward for nomination. We want to make the 2020 awards our biggest and most successful yet.”

To make a nomination

The best bar none!

Round & About

Newbury

If you live in Hampstead Norreys you have an extra special reason to be proud of the fact – the community shop has beaten 17,000 entries to be named the best in the country.

In May we told you how the community-run store had been named as the best in the south east by the Countryside Alliance which stages the “rural Oscars”.

And now the shop and café which opened in 2011, quickly going on to become the hub of the village, has been given the ultimate honour, beating off nine regional finalists.

Avril, Lesley and Barbara went to the awards ceremony at the House of Lords to represent the shop and await their fate where they were joined by MP for Newbury Richard Benyon.

Declaring Hampstead Norreys Community Shop the winner in the Village Shop/Post Office categor , the judges said: “This vibrant and well-stocked village shop is the hub and lifeline for people in this rural area, serving the community on so many levels.

“The shop is always evolving and has recently embarked on an initiative to reduce plastic waste. From fairs to an art gallery there is always something going on in this lively shop.

“Partly run by volunteers and non-profit making, it is a perfect example of ‘where there is a will there is a way’.”

The team behind the shop have been overwhelmed by the congratulations they have received, saying: “To all who have helped make our community shop what it is, including our customers, thank you. We hope you feel proud too!”