Full steam ahead

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Step back in time as Didcot Railway Centre launches Lady of Legend

The Great Western Society will see 15 years of hard work, sweat and tears realised when Lady of Legend is officially launched at Didcot Railway Centre.

Since 2004, the society has been working to recreate an example of the iconic ‘Saint’ class locomotive and now work is complete it will be unveiled by culinary queen Prue Leith, a former member of the British Railways Board, on Friday, 5th April at 11.15am.

The GWR ‘Saint’ class locomotives, introduced by G J Churchward in 1902, represented one of the most important steps forward in railway traction of the 20th century. The class incorporated many revolutionary advances in design and the ‘Saints’ are now acknowledged to have had a huge influence on almost every aspect of steam locomotive development.

The final engine, the Saint David, was withdrawn from service and scrapped in 1953, ending the work of the service – until now.

Lady of Legend will be on display over the weekend to visitors to the railway centre as will another well-known local lady, baking icon Christine Wallace, who will be familiar to many from Bake Off.

She will be found in a marquee at the centre cooking up Edwardian dishes from the era and dressed as Downton Abbey cook, Mrs Patmore. Edwardian cookery was quite lavish so visitors will be in for an extra treat with tastings available.

Also on show will be several other engines, coaches and wagons and you can enjoy a ride in coaches from the 1930s.

For more information and to book tickets, visit Didcot Railway Centre

ATOM Festival

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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

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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!

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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

Line & light: Art show

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From Saturday 9th to Sunday 24th March, enjoy an exhibition of photographs, ceramics and life drawings presented by Gaby Guz and Rob Farrands.

Line and Light is the product of a wintertime collaboration between two artists using three media. It is their first joint exhibition. Rob is a photographer who lives in Oxford and Gaby, an alumna of St John’s, is a ceramicist and artist.

Gaby uses line and light to capture the fleeting poses she likes to draw. Her concerns are to convey the essence and emotion of a subject in the brief time that a dynamic pose allows. Her ceramic vessels are largely monochromatic, with bold black and grey lines spreading across egg-shell like pale surfaces.

Rob’s photographs honour the soft, reduced light of the winter solstice. He has shot directly into the light (often including the sun) and dealt with the resulting technical challenges to produce work with strong monochrome tones. His compositions are intended to arouse both a memory of winter’s darkness and the promise of the coming spring.

Rob’s photographs are all taken in Oxford mostly along the banks of the Thames between Iffley and Sandford. He has previously exhibited at the John Radcliffe Hospital in 2016/17 and also in Art Weeks. Gaby’s raku ceramics are monochrome and provide a perfect complement to Rob’s black and white photographs.

The exhibition is at The Barn Gallery, Kendrew Quad, St John’s College, St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JP. Opening times are 12-5pm weekdays and 11am-6pm Saturdays and Sundays.

Visit gabyguzart.com and  rfarrands.com to see more about Gaby and Rod!

Shop of Secrets

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The Shop of Secrets is set to cast its spell over Harry Potter fans

Harry Potter fans will be familiar with many of Oxford’s famous sights featuring in the blockbuster films and now there’s a new sight set to cast its spell.

Souvenirs and sweet treats galore will be just some of the charms for visitors at the new Shop of Secrets in historic Broad Street.

And you only have a few days to wait – the shop devoted to the boy wizard and the Fantastic Beasts opens for the first time on Saturday, 9th March.

Magical treasures galore will be on sale with staff dressed as some of the characters from the films.

The Shop of Secrets will be selling a wide range of collectibles including adult and children’s costumes, wands, hats, scarves, some of the original books as well as memorabilia books, and replica props including the famous sorting hat and Lucius Malfoy’s walking stick.

Visitors will also be able to discover some of the weird and wonderful sweets from the Harry Potter films including jelly slugs, chocolate frogs and Bertie Botts every flavour beans.

Co-owner of The Shop of Secrets, Sally Moss, who has run Oxford Campus Stores on Broad Street since 1996, says: “After the huge popularity of Harry Potter and its well-known filming locations in the city, we introduced a range of Harry Potter collectibles which were a hit with tourists and local customers alike.

“With another popular JK Rowling series, the Fantastic Beasts, our range has grown to a point where we needed a space devoted to it all. We had previously been running The Buttery Cafe next door but sadly due to rents more than doubling in the last 10 years, it was no longer a viable business, but has now become home to our exciting new gift shop.

“We can’t wait to welcome our old and new customers to our very own chamber of secrets!”

The first 100 people through the door will receive a bottle of Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer and there will also be a Harry Potter quiz to test your knowledge. The lucky winner will get to fly off with a replica Hogwarts gown and wand from their favourite house at Hogwarts.

Why not take a tour of the locations featured in the films and visit Bodleian Library which featured in The Philosopher’s Stone; New College whose cloisters appeared in The Goblet of Fire and Christ Church which starred in both The Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets.

Family Runners

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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! 

Ronald McDonald House

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Martin Keown kicks off building with twins, Finley and Billy Kearns, and mum and dad, Laura and Robert.

Former Arsenal and England star Martin Keown has helped kick off building at the new accommodation for families with seriously ill children in Oxford. 

The footballer from Oxford broke ground at the new 62-bedroom Ronald McDonald House on the John Radcliffe Hospital site on Wednesday, 6th February. The house will provide families with free accommodation while their children are being treated to save them having to go to and from the hospital. 

Among those at the ceremony were two-year-old twins Finley and Billy Kearns, whose parents Laura and Robert spent more than four months at the current house after the twins were born prematurely. Billy needed surgery to reverse a stoma. The £14million facility is due to open in summer next year with 62 en-suite bedrooms and communal living facilities, including kitchens, lounges, playrooms, laundry rooms and a garden. 

The current 17-bedroom house has experienced a rise in demand over the last 15 years and while last year it accommodated 600 families, it had to turn a further 300 away. 

Ronald McDonald House Charities has raised £9million, Oxford Hospitals Charity has added £2.5million, Children with Cancer UK is donating more than £280,000 and McDonald’s employees and customers has raised £1.5million. A further £1million is still needed to fit and furnish the house and the charity is looking to the local community to help them in this fundraising effort, as well as for volunteers to help get the house ready and provide support.

CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities Jon Howard said last week they were delighted to begin the expansion work. Thanking all those who have helped, he added: “We know from research it is beneficial for the health of family members and their child to keep them close together, and that comfortable and supportive accommodation nearby is a key enabler in this process.” 

Head of the paediatric psychology department Dr Karen Steinhardt with the range of services available at Oxford, families are increasingly travelling from further afield for treatment. She said: “This new accommodation at Ronald McDonald House Oxford will allow more families to be close by in the hospital grounds. 

“It will allow them to get more rest and sleep, eat properly and lead as normal a life as possible ad importantly, feel able to make the best decisions about their child’s health.” 

The new building will be open to families with children being cared for at Oxford Children’s Hospital as well as Children’s Critical Care and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on the John Radcliffe site. 

Picture credit: Richard Cave

  Read more about the Ronald McDonald House Charity

South & Vale Business Awards

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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

Older & wiser: a care-giving career

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With our rapidly ageing society, the demand for elderly care at home increases and good care-givers are in high demand…

Many care providers are finding active retirees – sometimes nearly the same age as their clients – feature among their best employees.

“Older care-givers know the frustrations of ageing and have a lot of patience and understanding,” says Right at Home’s Kevin Lancaster. “They tend to relate well to their clients and can talk about the ‘old days’ with shared recollection.”

The number of older people delaying retirement is also increasing; with economic uncertainties and people living longer on fixed incomes, many are drawn to elderly care to supplement their incomes. Care is a natural choice for retirees wanting to give something back to their community and build meaningful relationships.

The UK Government recognises the value of recruiting older people. Department for Work & Pensions Minister Amber Rudd MP said: “Retirement should be an increasingly active phase of life, when people can continue working and volunteering, as well as saving and looking after their health. Older people have a wealth of skills and experience.”

“We love hiring older care-givers to provide home care for other seniors,” adds Kevin. “The Right at Home 2018 UK CareGiver of the Year, Yvonne, is a grandmother in her 60s. Older care-givers bring a compassionate awareness of age.

They already share Right at Home values, having grown up learning the value of commitments. The benefit of older people caring for their peers is a win-win situation for us all.”

    0118 207 0600www.rightathomeuk.com/twyford