Sue Ryder Awards

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Community & Charity

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


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


Round & About

Community & Charity

If you start to see an excess of facial hair over the next month don’t be surprised, it’s the time when men everywhere will put down their razors in support of Movember.

The Movember Foundation is the only global charity which focuses solely on men’s health to raise funds for research and support to enable men to live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Since 2003 the foundation has helped fund more than 1,200 innovative men’s health projects in over 20 countries focusing on prostate and testicular cancer as well as mental health and suicide prevention.

By 2030, the foundation has committed to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25 per cent, halving the number of deaths from prostate and testicular cancer and reduce by 25 per cent the number of men taking their own lives.

So what can you do? One very obvious way and for which the campaign is named is to grow a mo – use your moustache to inspire conversations and donations; get active for men’s health – walk or run a total of 60km anywhere and anytime during Movember or why not host a Mo-ment by getting together and raising funds and a laugh during the month.

The Movember Foundation website has lots of great ideas to help inspire your fundraising and most importantly talks about why your help is needed to prevent fathers, partners, brothers and friends facing a health crisis, that is rarely talked about.

For information

The best bar none!

Round & About

Community & Charity

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!”

Sir Ranulph Fiennes at Cranford House

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Community & Charity

Junior pupils at a South Oxfordshire school have been exploring polar ice caps, arid deserts and yawning caves thanks to an exciting project focused on exploration and the environment.

And now they can look forward to sharing their hard work with none other than the world’s greatest living explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Cranford House, a small independent school in South Oxfordshire, has been running the inspiring project in parallel with several local primary schools whose Years 5 and 6 pupils will also be there on the day to meet the great man himself. As well as enjoying the chance to discuss their work on exploration and climate change with Sir Ranulph, they will also hear him speak of his experiences of life in some of the world’s most extreme places.

Among his many achievements, Sir Ranulph Fiennes successfully climbed Mount Everest, becoming the first person ever to have climbed Everest and crossed both polar ice-caps. He is also the only man alive to have travelled around the planet’s Circumpolar surface.

His latest challenge will see him attempting to become the first person to have crossed both polar ice caps and climbed the highest mountain on every continent. His expedition will raise funds for the Marie Curie charity and Cranford House is proud to be backing his expedition fundraising.

Cranford House’s pupils’ focus on exploration will culminate in a spectacular community event on the morning of Saturday 9th November with balloon rides, climbing walls, viking longships and desert dunes all on offer, and all free of charge.

The school has a history of attracting luminaries from the world of science and literature and Sir Ranulph joins the likes of recent visitors such as astronaut Helen Sharman OBE, and author Marcus Sedgwick in meeting and inspiring pupils.

Find out more

November’s recipes: Tried & trusted

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Community & Charity

Leading chef Laura Mason shares some recipes from the new National Trust Book of ROASTS (£16.99), which is out now

Breast of lamb

Stuffed with capers, garlic and herbs

(Prep: 20 minutes – Cooking: Three and a half to four hours – Serves: 
Three to four)


•   Two breasts of lamb, boned
•   40g (1½oz) unsalted butter
•   One medium onion, peeled 
& finely chopped
•   Two garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
•   Two tablespoons salted 
capers, well rinsed and 
coarsely chopped
•   A little chopped fresh mint
•   Three tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
•   A large tablespoon chopped fresh basil
•   Zest of ½ lemon (preferably unwaxed), finely grated
•   150g (5oz) crustless day-old white bread, torn into small pieces
•   Splash of stock or milk, 
to moisten

This needs slow cooking, moisture, and a highly flavoured stuffing to add interest and counteract the fattiness. In the past, standard English mixtures of bread with herbs and suet bound with eggs were favoured, but these are very dense to modern tastes. I suggest using a mixture with flavours borrowed from salsa verde (capers, herbs), which works well with this meat.


Breast of lamb is flattish and thin, with one straight edge cut from the forequarter, which may still contain the ends of the rib bones, unless the butcher has already removed them. If you have to do this yourself, run a knife in between the bones and the meat on the outside, then cut them away from the lesser covering inside and slip them out.

To make the stuffing, melt the butter over a low heat and fry the onion and garlic until softened. Stir in the capers, herbs, lemon zest and bread, and add enough stock or milk to moisten the bread.

Spread the meat out, skin-side down. Put a layer of stuffing 
on top of each piece, then roll from the narrow end and 
firmly tie at each end with string.

Preheat the oven to 140°C, 275°F, Gas mark 1. Put the lamb in a shallow roasting tin and cook for three to three and a half hours, pouring off any fat that the meat renders. Then turn the oven up to 200°C, 400°F, Gas mark 6, and give it a further 15 minutes to crisp up.

It won’t produce gravy, but a light tomato sauce goes well with the caper-flavoured stuffing. Alternatively, serve a salad dressed with vinaigrette on the side.


(Prep: 10 minutes – Cooking: 140 minutes – Serves: Six)


•   One generous tablespoon goose, pork or bacon fat, or oil
•   One medium onion
•   One or two apples, preferably sourish ones
•   A small red cabbage
•   Two or three tablespoons cider vinegar
•   Two tablespoons light pale brown sugar
•   Four or five cloves, bruised
•   5cm (2in) 
cinnamon stick
•   A piece of orange zest (preferably unwaxed) about 5 x 2cm (2 x 1in)
•   A teaspoon of salt
•   Freshly ground 
black pepper


Preheat the oven to 140°C / 275°F, Gas mark 1. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Peel, core and chop the apples. Quarter the cabbage, discard the stem and finely slice.

Heat the fat in an ovenproof casserole and fry the onion until translucent. Stir in the apples, then the cabbage, and fry lightly for a few minutes. Add the other ingredients and stir well. Cover and transfer to the oven for about an hour and a half. 
This can be cooked on the hob, but the heat must be very low – and stir frequently, adding a little more water from time to time if it shows signs of drying up.

Roast potatoes

(Prep: 15 minutes – Cooking: 60 minutes – Serves: Four to six)


•   1kg (2¼lb) potatoes
•   About 50g (2oz) fat for roasting, such as beef or pork dripping
•   Salt

Roast potatoes are a defining element of “a proper roast”. King Edward, a potato variety with almost iconic status in Britain, probably has the best flavour, and can develop a fantastic crisp crust and melting interior. Wilja and Desirée are also good; Cara and Romano should produce reasonable results.


The oven needs to be hot – 200–220°C, 400–425°F, Gas mark 6–7. 
Peel the potatoes. Leave small ones whole, and cut large ones into smaller pieces (3–4 each). Put them in a pan, just cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. Boil for 5–7 minutes. Tip them into a colander and drain well.

Put the fat in a roasting tin and place in the oven to melt and get very hot. Take it out and add the potatoes. (Wear oven gloves and an apron in case the fat spits – it should be hot enough to sizzle satisfactorily.) Turn the potatoes well in the hot fat, sprinkle with salt, and roast for 40–50 minutes. In a gas oven, put the potatoes at the top. Turn once or twice during cooking, and add a little more salt each time.


Roasts by Laura Mason, published by National Trust Books.

Images: Tara Fisher.

See our other recipes

Service & sacrifice

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Community & Charity

In association with The Royal British Legion, we recognise the unseen service of the Armed Forces past and present.

I come from a military family,” explains poppy seller Chris Stephenson. Along with his wife, every autumn Chris, 73, who served in the Royal Air Force for nine years, spends eight hours a day, rain or shine, outside his local branch of Sainsbury’s in Witney, quietly raising awareness of Remembrance. And his motivation for doing this, as with many volunteers, is deeply personal.

“Eight members of my family fought in the First World War,” he says. “My grandfather and three of my great uncles died out there. My father was one of the last to get off Dunkirk beach. My wife’s father was also on the destroyer escort ships protecting the Atlantic convoys. I had the honour – on one of my trips to France and Belgium – to pay respects to my grandfather and great uncles and to meet a Canadian family and pay my respects to many Canadian soldiers. Most of the people I’ve mentioned have long departed this Earth, but wearing the poppy every year is my way of remembering and showing them gratitude. It’s the least I can do for the sacrifice they made.”

The Royal British Legion, which was born in 1921,  is the country’s largest Armed Forces charity, with 235,000 members, 110,000 volunteers and 2,500 local branches. The charity provides lifelong support to serving and ex-serving personnel and their families. Support starts after seven days of service and continues through life, long after service is over, from expert advice to recovery and rehabilitation to transitioning to civilian life.

The poppy is a symbol of Remembrance and hope for a positive future and peaceful world. In the spring of 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote the poem In Flanders Fields which inspired the poppy’s use as a symbol of Remembrance.

“I think I was about four years old when my father pinned a poppy on my coat,” adds Chris. “So when I became a member of The Royal British Legion it was only right for me to raise money for the people who gave so much for their country. I will continue doing it until I’m no longer capable of doing so.”

The red poppy is worn as a show of support for the Armed Forces communities across the UK, Allied Forces and the Commonwealth and all parts of the poppy are recyclable. Only donations from the sale of RBL red poppies go directly to helping those in need. Last year the Poppy Appeal raised over £50 million for charity. “In my position as a Poppy Appeal organiser, I help hand out 240 boxes of poppies, 240 collecting tins to all the local shops, pubs, clubs, hotels and businesses,” explains Chris. “I’d say 99.9% of the people I meet in Witney and surrounding villages are absolutely fantastic. Most, if not all, thank us for what we are doing and ask if we will be back again next year. People actually come looking for us to put money into our tins. With the help of council staff, shopping precincts, and staff and Sainsbury’s customers, my wife and I collect for the whole fortnight of the Appeal.

“I’d like to say thank you to all the people in Witney who help us to raise such a wonderful amount of money each year for such a worthy cause.”

Rotary Watches is proud to continue its partnership with the Royal British Legion by launching a new limited-edition timepiece marking this year’s Remember Together campaign and 
its heritage as one of the official watch suppliers to the British Army during World War 
II. There are just 1,000 individually numbered models available. Visit

Tattoos have become central to Remembrance 
in the Forces community. Inked on to the skin, they commemorate friends who have served, illustrate sacrifices and mark the lasting bonds formed between men and women who live, train and fight together. Military tattoos are full of meaning and symbolism. Read the stories at and visit the live exhibition at the National Memorial Arboretum 
in Staffordshire before Sunday, 1st December.


Want to support our Armed Forces community? From a donation or a gift in memory of a loved one, to raffles lotteries and poppy products, there’s something for everyone. For marathons, abseils, dinners and concerts you can support

LoLo app

Round & About

Community & Charity

How about being rewarded when you shop and eat? That’s the simple idea behind a new app – LoLo which has just launched in Reading.

The loyalty app encourages customers and businesses to be true to their high street and buy and eat at local retailers and restaurants.

And it couldn’t be simpler to use, all you need to do is download the app and you’ll get free access to £20 of ‘loyalty tokens’ to receive discounts at multiple participating businesses.

The mobile app has three functions: LoLo Local – for local high street retailers businesses, tradespeople and more all giving discounts by accepting local loyalty tokens; LoLo Eats – whether eating in or enjoying a takeaway at home there’s a discount to tuck into too; LoLo Mall – major retailers will offer exclusive discounts to members.

The app means shoppers enjoy discounts and businesses get to connect with customers to help them build creating vibrant communities.

LoLo co-founder and CEO, Ian Jones said: “The beauty of LoLo is the more local businesses and customers that join the free loyalty platform, the more they will all benefit.  Each time a customer makes a purchase with a local business using their loyalty tokens, they receive more tokens back that they can then spend again at the same business or redeem at another participating shop, mechanic, butcher or restaurant. LoLo is the gift that just keeps giving.

“Every time people spend money they are casting a vote on the future community they want. If we want vibrant local communities then we must support the local businesses who employ local people and pay local business taxes.

“When we spend money with international online giants we send the money away from our community and add to the local decline.

Supporting local businesses helps to keep the money circulating in our local community.”

You’re a winner and the business is a winner too – so what are you waiting for! 

Download the app

Lions goodbye

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Community & Charity

There are just a few days left to join the Lion Trail around Windsor and Maidenhead before the lions and cubs head back to the ‘den’ ahead of the Lions Roar Goodbye weekend.

After three months the trail comes to an end on Sunday, 27th October when the lions will then go for a brush up before they are displayed in one large pride for the auction preview weekend on 9th and 10th November. The charity auction will then take place on 28th November.

Lion Trail maps  are available from Windsor, Eton and Maidenhead visitor information centres and venues across the region.

All 46 of the lion and cub sculptures will be gathered in one pride at Windsor Yards, the former Fenwick store from 10am-6pm on Saturday, 9th November and 11am-5pm on Sunday, 10th November.

Visitors can also enjoy lion decorating, a lion artists’ exhibition, live entertainment from Lion King star David Albury, competitions, Windsor & Eton Brewery bar, lion merchandise and much more.

The Lions will then go to auction, coming under the hammer at Runnymede on Thames Hotel & Spa on Thursday, 28th November.

The dazzling evening will feature performances from Lion King and Motown musical stars David Albury and Cherelle Williams and fun activities including a Lucky Simba prize tree, an exhibition of images from Tusk’s Year of the Lion Photo Competition, pin the tail on the lion competition and a variety of fabulous prizes to win.

Eight of the smaller lion cubs are going back to the schools which sponsored them with the remaining 38 available to bid for. All profits from the event will be donated to Thames Hospice, The Lions Club of Windsor, Look Good Feel Better and Tusk.

For information

To find out more about the trail, the roar goodbye weekend and the auction visit the Lion’s of Windsor site

Reading gaol hug

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Community & Charity

A mass hug is taking place at Reading gaol tomorrow (Sunday 13th) to show some love in a bid to save the historic site and it couldn’t be more timely.

It was revealed on Wednesday that the Ministry of Justice has put the building up for sale with interest expected from housing developers but many in the town want it used as an arts venue.

Campaigners have been working to save the gaol and a petition from Reading East MP Matt Rodda reached more than 6,000 signatures.

The hug is set to take place at 2pm with the idea being participants will hold hands and surround the prison with a “mass hug”.

There is interest from many groups in Reading including the Civic Society which wants to see the prison, where Oscar Wilde was locked up, used as a cultural hub for the town.

Theatre and Arts Reading wants to see the gaol feature performance space, an art gallery, a digital hub, maker space and a museum giving people the opportunity to meet for arts, crafts and cultural activities.

Artist Sally Castle has produced a new logo for the campaign which has been reproduced on T-shirts with many people expected to wear them today.


If you want to join the hug you need to register, it’s free but organisers need an idea of the numbers

Sahara marathons

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Community & Charity

Brothers’ two marathons in two days in the Sahara challenge to raise funds for Dementia UK

If you’re just back from your morning run and thought that five miles was tough, spare a thought for Morgan and Theo Rushton.

The brothers from Farnham are taking part in The Saharan Challenge from tomorrow (10th October) to Monday 14th in support of Dementia UK and in memory of their late gran who sadly passed away last year.

The challenge will be to walk, jog and run two marathons across the Sahara desert, in two consecutive days. The UNESCO World Heritage Draa Valley provides a stunning backdrop for the epic challenge across rocky trails, through Moroccan villages and palmeries, down to the dunes of the desert. After a tough day under the sun, in temperatures in the mid-20s, they’ll get to relax in the private Bedouin campsite and enjoy a refreshing shower and a bar.

On their Just Giving page, Theo said: “My brother and I will be taking on a challenge to raise money towards Dementia UK this October 2019.

“Last year, I was fortunate enough to raise over £1,000 towards the health care of my gran, Joan Eardley-Wilmot by completing a 10k swim. I could not have asked for more support and thank you all for raising money towards this challenge, which she was also lucky enough to celebrate until she passed away a few months after.

“This October we will be raising money for Dementia UK by completing 2 marathons in 2 days in the Sahara Desert. The 4-day round trip which starts on Thursday 10th October (flying out to Morocco), Friday 11th October & Saturday 12th October consists of Marathon 1 & 2 before flying home on Monday 14th October.

“Both Morgan and I are completing a challenge neither of us thought possible a year or so ago, however with recent events and our determination we would love it if you can help us raise money towards Dementia UK Charity.”

The boys have paid for the trip themselves and any money donated will go directly towards Dementia UK

Show your support

If you would like to show your support to these two brave men, please visit their Just Giving page