Charlbury festival

Karen Neville

Community

Free festival fun down by the riverside in Charlbury

Head down to the river this weekend for free family fun in Charlbury at the ever-popular Riverside Festival.

Held on the banks of the Evenlode, it has grown over the past 24 years, attracting thousands of music lovers who this year will be able to enjoy the US rock band The Pixies among many others. For youngsters there will be free pixie fun activities to join in.

There’s a packed programme of music on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st with more than 40 acts playing across four stages – rock, indie, jazz, and folk on the main two stages and all sorts on the Fringe and Buskers stages!

Headlining the main stage on Saturday is four-piece Oxford band Kanadia. Their big and bold alt rock sound and impressive stage presence has won them a growing fan base in Europe and a big following across the Atlantic in Mexico, the US and Canada.
Sunday headliner is popular upbeat garage punk band Self Help.

Other acts to look out for are Riverside favourites 2 Tone All Skas, The Knights of Mentis, Mighty Redox and eclectic Turkabilly band, Brickwork Lizards.

The second stage, run by independent record stores, Rapture in Witney and The Truck Store in Oxford has an impressive line-up of local bands including Peerless Pirates, Death of the Maiden and Ghosts in the Photographs.

The festival takes place in The Mill Field, Dyers Hill, Charlbury with entry opposite Charlbury railway station.

For more information and details

Kilimanjaro climb

Karen Neville

Community

Pair to take on Kilimanjaro climb for Helen & Douglas House

Sabine Schwaebisch has a very special reason for wanting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

As a nurse at Helen House in Oxford she often meets children and families facing unimaginable challenges and it is this which has inspired her to take on the climb.

Sabine is doing the climb as part of a group of 12 trekkers in aid of the children’s hospice in October. They will take the seven-day Machame Route, starting through the rainforest and later up a rock wall before then trekking up through arctic conditions at night to reach the peak at 8,595m – the world’s highest solitary peak.

The team will battle through altitude sickness and exhaustion but all the time spurred on by why they are doing this.

Sabine, who lives in Abingdon, and friend Adeline Daly are pushing themselves out of their comfort zone and know they’ll face their fear of heights, the extreme cold and altitude sickness but all the time will be driven on by raising funds.

As part of their fundraising for the trek, the pair are holding a black tie event at Jurys Inn, Oxford, on Saturday, 13th July. The evening will include a welcome drink, a three-course meal with wine, big band live music and a raffle in aid of Helen & Douglas House.

Sabine says: “Knowing first hand that the hospice is a lifeline for many local families, we want to raise funds to help secure the hospice’s future. It is such a magical place, full of love, life and laughter, which almost entirely relies on the public for financial survival.”

Find out more

CLICK HERE to book tickets for the charity ball costing £50

Or to donate to the Kilimanjaro climb click below

Abingdon’s big party

Round & About

Community

Hundreds will be looking forward to enjoying the popular Fun and Music in the Park on 1st June

Abingdon’s popular Fun and Music in the Park returns to the historic Abbey Gardens on Saturday, 1st June with a variety of entertainment for the whole family.

The grounds will be full with rides, stalls, face painting, street food, live music and dance, bouncy inflatables and loads more free activities to keep you enthralled all day.

Fun in the park is a free walk-in event from 10.30am to 3pm and open to all.

It’s also a great opportunity to find out about some of the wide range of local societies and community groups in and around Abingdon and they amazing work they do and how you can get involved.

From 5pm until 10pm, Music in the Park takes over with some fab local bands including Jake in the Duke Box, Nevada, Fallen Angels, The Voodoo Penguins and Hope and Glory, taking to the stage.

Take along a picnic and enjoy dancing on the grass before a proms style concert by Abingdon Town Band accompanied by fireworks to make the evening finish in a very special way.

Music in the Park is entry via wristband only with sales online and over the counter at Roysse Court from 1st May. On this day too, there will be an early morning celebration of May Day in the Abbey Grounds.

Abingdon Town Council, which organises the event is reminding revellers to take all litter home with them after the fun ends.

For more information contact the council on 01235 522642 or visit Abingdon.gov

Against Breast Cancer

Round & About

Community

Join Against Breast Cancer (ABC) for a full or half marathon or a 10km sponsored walk alongside the beautiful River Thames on Sunday, 5th May.

Breast Walk Ever Berkshire is suitable for all and dogs are welcome too. So why not sign up and help the ABC team in their mission to prevent secondary spread, the main cause of breast-cancer related deaths.

In joining the team of Breast Walkers you will be provided with a training plan and fundraising support as well as the promise of a free post walk massage! Alison Bone – a volunteer for Against Breast Cancer – is doing just that having helped with marshalling Breast Walk Ever in 2018. Ali, like so many has her personal reason to walk having been affected by breast cancer.

Ali discovered a lump in her left breast in early 2000 and was diagnosed with grade 3 breast cancer. This came as a complete shock to Ali as there was no history of breast cancer in her family.

Ali has two children who were aged just 11 and nine at the time and she speaks of the heartbreak in telling them and her father. Ali was thankfully able to participate in a trial to see if her cancer had spread instead of removing all her lymph nodes. As a keen tennis player, Ali was very relieved in not having to have her lymph nodes removed. She had already asked her son’s tennis coach to teach her to play right handed which was fortunately now not necessary!

Ali had six rounds of a combination of two chemotherapy drugs three weeks apart and after her fifth round she required a blood transfusion. In July that year Ali had three more weeks of daily radiotherapy and regular checks concluded that Ali was now clear of cancer.

It was however during a routine mammogram 12 years later that a lump was found, this time in Ali’s right breast and the cancer was ER Positive. It was then that Ali decided to seek clarity as to whether there was a genetic link. In August 2012 Ali had another lumpectomy, and a further six rounds of chemotherapy and four weeks of daily radiotherapy. In March 2013 Ali received confirmation that she had the BRCA2 gene mutation.

By 2014, Ali’s daughter was tested. Ali and her daughter were both so very delighted and relieved to find that there was no genetic risk.

After seeking advice from a number of sources, Ali herself had a double mastectomy two years after learning of the BRCA2 gene mutation and is now participating in a study to try and understand why the mutation tends to occur often in those with a family history.

Ali is planning to walk the Breast Walk Ever Berks alongside her team of friends this year. “I have found walking a great way to get my fitness back after surgery. Walking as part of a group is a great way to help motivate each other”.

Why not join Alison with your own team on May 5th safe in the knowledge that you are helping to bring a vaccine Against Breast Cancer ever closer.

Entry to Breast Walk Ever Berks ranges from £10-£26 depending on distance and Concessions are available for senior citizens and students. We ask all participants to try and raise £50 towards our research.

We look forward to welcoming you to the banks of the Thames this Spring.

Easter Passion Play

Round & About

Community

Join the community event in the Abbey Grounds and witness the Passion Play

The Big Easter Event in Abingdon on Saturday, 6th April, is set to be great fun for the whole community with the highlight being the Passion Play.

It tells of the dramatic final days of Jesus’s life. The rollercoaster from adoration by the crowds through plotting, cynical power politics, suffering and betrayal to the end…but what end?

The aim of putting on the Passion Play is not to project any particular interpretation of the events of those days, but to encourage people to think about the events in their own way…what do they mean? Should they mean something? So what happened and why did it happen?

This will be the third time that the Passion Play attempts to answer these questions, after 2013 and 2016, but this time with a difference. The 2019 staging will be a completely new production featuring a small team of professional actors from LAMPS  Collective, an Abingdon based theatre company. These will be supported by a large ensemble of amateur actors and singers who will have the exciting opportunity of performing alongside them – many local people who been attending auditions and rehearsals over the past few weeks. It builds on the experience of the successful creative team which staged previous productions and will once again be directed by Sam Pullen-Campbell.

The Passion Play will be re-inacted from 2pm to 3pm in the Abbey Grounds, where beforehand the Big Easter Event which starts at 12.30pm will entertain with live music from local choirs and musicians, food including lots of chocolate, spring crafts and games and stalls.

For more to do at Easter, check out our Easter egg-stravaganza

ATOM Festival

Round & About

Community

Science is for all at the ATOM Festival of Science & Technology

The ATOM Festival wants to show you science is for you and that it affects every part of your life.

From today, 16th to 27th March, ATOM will be taking place at venues across Abingdon with a variety of activities, talks, family shows, science comedy and film screenings.

One of the highlights of the festival will involve five leading scientists, engineers and educators taking up the Three Million Dollar Challenge – how to get more people into science and technology.

Among other speakers will be BBC science presenter and mathematician Dr Hannah Fry who will talk on How to be Human in the Age of the Machine by taking us on a tour of the good, bad and ugly of algorithms. Her talk takes place on Friday, 22nd March at Amey Theatre, Abingdon School, doors 7pm for 7.30pm start, tickets £12 adults, £6 under 16s.

Back by popular demand is the Science Discovery Dome, an interactive experience offering people the chance to travel to distant planets and galaxies and explore subjects such as geology, geography and astronomy in a fun way. This event today (16th) in Abingdon Market Place from 10am to 4pm is free, but donations welcome.

Fifty years after the Apollo moon landing, a discussion panel will ask how does science fiction imagine our future in space? Join the panel at Our Ladys Abingdon on Tuesday, 19th March (6.30pm for 7pm start), tickets £5 adult, £2.50 under 16s.

Among other events are the ATOM Festival science market, a family science fair and talks on being your child’s first science teacher, stand-up science comedy and a talk entitled Remarkable fossils: From egg yolk to dinosaur dung – so truly an event to cover all science offering something for everyone!

For more details and to book tickets visit atomfestival.org.uk 

First aid: Shockingly simple

Round & About

Community

Pint of Life volunteer Christopher Tancock offers invaluable advice on how to save a life 

You walk into the lounge to find your best friend unconscious, they’ve turned grey, they’re not breathing – what do you do?  

This scenario may sound unlikely, but situations like this play out every day. You can call an ambulance, but unless you can keep the casualty going in the 8-10 minutes it takes to arrive, they are unlikely to survive. 

Pint of Life aims to help prevent such situations by teaching basic first aid in local communities in a free and innovative way. The sessions demonstrate, for example, that after trying to get a response, you should check the patient’s airway and breathing. If you find they are not breathing, the best thing to do is to dial 999, get hold of a defibrillator fast and start CPR.  

The chain of survival means that for maximum chance of survival, a patient needs fast CPR, defibrillation and hospitalisation – only 40% of casualties receive CPR from passers-by in the UK. Even more frighteningly, fewer than 2% of those who need one get a defibrillator before the ambulance arrives.  

People might be afraid to use a defibrillator as they “don’t want to do it wrong” or are worried that they might get into trouble if things don’t turn out well despite their attempts. The fact is that defibrillators can boost survival rates by a huge amount. We need to overcome our fear of these life-saving devices and get to grips with the simple skills that could very well prove the difference between life and death. 

Pint of Life, run by Oxfordshire volunteer Christopher Tancock, shows communities that using a defibrillator is simple. These amazing machines just need to be switched on, after which they guide you through what you need to do (by verbal commands and prompts). Some models even give feedback about your CPR and beep to show when you need to push. None of these community defibrillators can “accidentally” shock someone who doesn’t need to be shocked, either, so they are safe – and very easy – to use. They’re available in many local communities now – in pubs, restaurants, shops and village halls 

When it comes to CPR itself, it’s just a matter of pushing on the centre of the patient’s chest hard and fast… You should aim for two compressions a second and after 30, give the patient two rescue breaths before returning to compressions. Then continue the same sequence. (With children and infants, it’s important to start with five rescue breaths before doing the 30:2 routine).  

These skills are so simple yet so effective. They could change the situation described above from a nightmare to a survival. So why not help yourself to a Pint of Life and learn how to keep someone’s glass half full!  

Cycling golfers!

Round & About

Community

Golfers’ cycling challenge to tee up funds for Against Breast Cancer 

A group of golfers are swapping their clubs for bikes to cycle 200 miles to help raise funds for Oxfordshire-based charity Against Breast Cancer. 

Starting in the early hours of Saturday, 6th April, five intrepid golfers and their support team will ride from Royal Lytham St Anne’s in Lancashire to Woburn Golf Club in Buckinghamshire, giving themselves just two days to complete the challenge before sunset the next day. 

The Las Ratas de Grendon golf society raise money each year for the charity through their annual golf tour to Spain and this year decided to add the cycling challenge finishing the day before they fly off. 

Team member Neil McCrorie says: “There will be five of us riding, ranging from ages of 29 to 59 with a wide range of cycling experience so it will be a difficult challenge for us.” 

The team have already raised £1,400 before they set off or embark on their golf tour. Over the years they have donned fancy dress while on tour, surprising many generous members of the public. 

Fellow rider Michael Vaill says: “It’s going to be tough but nothing compared to the challenge that so many have to battle against every day. Riding in memory of our mums, wives and family members who have been lost to this terrible disease.” 

Against Breast Cancer raises vital funds for research into the secondary spread, the main cause of breast cancer deaths. 

Breast cancer is the most common form of the disease in the UK with more than 55,000 women diagnosed every year. 

Las Rats de Grendon have set a target of £2,000 for the ride. 

Sponsor them at www.justgiving/fundraising/las-ratas-de-grendon-golf-society

See how they get on over the April weekend on their Facebook page

Family Runners

Round & About

Community

Pictured, from left: Lizzie, Mark and Emel

Relatives join forces to help boost Harrison’s Fund at Surrey Half Marathon

Four members of the same family are all donning their trainers to run this year’s Surrey Half Marathon in aid of Harrison’s Fund. 

Husband and wife, Mark and Lizzie Holifeld and Emel Holifield, all from Oxford, are running on Sunday, 10th March, with Mark’s cousin Maxine Foster from Horsham whose son, Austin, was diagnosed with Duchenne in 2015. 

Harrison’s Fund was set up in 2012 and funds research into Duchenne – a rare genetic condition which causes the muscles in the body to waste away. 

Harrison’s Fund’s goal is to get as much money as possible into the hands of the world’s best researchers, who are working to find a cure for Duchenne. The charity is currently funding 16 research projects in the US and the UK. 

Lizzie, 30, said: “We are all looking forward to the challenge and being there together to raise money for this fantastic cause. The team spirit is really what gets you through as well, of course, hearing all the cheerers and seeing our gorgeous Austin and his sister, Ava too. 

“We started our training at the end of December when we were on holiday in California, and although it’s a slightly different weather, we’ve are committed to keeping it up in the UK. 

“We know that Harrison’s Fund are working so hard to raise as much money as possible for researchers to put an end to this horrible disease and we want to help! It truly is a fantastic charity and we feel honored to be part of the team taking on the Surrey Half.” 

This isn’t the first time the husband and wife team have fundraised for the charity. They have raised £2,864 so far running the Oxford Town and Gown 10k, the Brighton Marathon and the Blenheim palace 7k in the past. 

Emel, 46, who is married to Maxine’s cousin, added: “Austin’s diagnosis was a shock to all of us. I have a daughter only one year older than him and I could not imagine how they feel. But Maxine and her husband, Steve, have shown incredible courage and strength to fight with it to give their son and the other children hope. 

“I am looking forward to running in a large group with my family and it’s always fun to see other fellow runners, I just hope I can go the distance and the weather stays mild and dry!” 

The Surrey Half Marathon takes in 13.1miles of Guildford and Woking countryside. 

Laura Morgan, events fundraiser at Harrison’s Fund said: “It’s great to have families run together as we are a real family-orientated charity and Max and her family have been such huge supporters of ours over the years it’s a testament to her commitment that they are back once more putting themselves through the paces for us.” 

  To support the family visit give.everydayhero.com and if you live in the Guildford or Woking area why not go out and cheer them and the other runners on! 

South & Vale Business Awards

Round & About

Community

The finalists have been revealed for the second South and Vale Business Awards building on the success of last year’s inaugural event.

The awards, organised by South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Council’s Economic Development team, are a celebration of the work of local businesses. 

The finalists were announced earlier this month with the winners to be revealed on Friday, 15th March in a glitzy ceremony at Williams Conference Centre in Grove. 

The most highly contested is set to be the small and medium-sized enterprise award with 98% of all businesses in the South and Vale falling into this category, such was the number of entries that applications were split into two – one for South and one for Vale. 

There are eight awards to be won, the finalists in each category are: 

SME of the year sponsored by Milton Park 

South Oxfordshire – Jonas Event Technology, Wallingford; SYLO Associates, Thame; You HR Technology, Wallingford 

Vale of White Horse – Montala, Watchfield; Ridgefield Consulting, Oxford; South East Workwear, Abingdon 

Large Business of the Year sponsored by Royds Withy King 

Bremont Watch Company, Henley; Gigaclear, Abingdon; Planet IT, Abingdon; Reaction Engines, Culham; Windles Group, Thame 

Social Responsibility Award sponsored by Bluestream Recruitment

  • For businesses with social goals

North Farm Stud, Wantage; Sandford Talking Shop, Sandford-on-Thames; SOFEA, Didcot 

Early Stage Innovation Award sponsored by Focus Oxford Risk Management 

  • Recognising the potential of globally important, world changing businesses

Huduma, Harwell; Oxford Nanosystems, Abingdon; Serelay, Harwell; ZapGo, Harwell  

Established Innovation Award sponsored by MSC R&D 

  • For businesses with established and commercialised innovation

HR Wallingford; Open Cosmos, Harwell; TPLC, Didcot 

Business Space of the Year 

  • Locations that offer businesses great homes 

Boston House Business Centre, Wantage; Howbery Park, Wallingford; The Self Storage Co, Didcot 

Business Leader of the Year sponsored by HSBC 

  • People who have driven their business creating benefits for the community, their employees and the organisation 

Ben Thompson, Thompson & Terry, Abingdon; John Harris, OBN, Milton Park; Richard Kennell, SOFEA, Didcot 

Employer of the Year sponsored by Richardsons 

  • Recognising the organisations in South and Vale that offer a great experience for their employees

White Horse Leisure & Tennis Centre (Better), Abingdon; Reaction Engines, Culham; SOFEA, Didcot 

 

Congratulations to all the finalists and best of luck for 15th March! 

    Tickets are available now for the ceremony, click here