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

Abingdon’s big party

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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

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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.

First aid: Shockingly simple

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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!

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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

South & Vale Business Awards

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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

Special say

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Community

Are you parents to a child with SEND (special educational needs and/or disabilities) in Oxfordshire?

As a parent of a child with SEND, you might not consider yourself an expert but you have knowledge and experience to share.

You already know how stressful going into school to hear about your child’s progress can be. You already know how hard keeping up with the changing jargon in education can be. You already know it would be so much easier if you had someone at the meeting with you to take notes so you could be clear what was being said or what has been agreed. You already know how having the chance to talk things through beforehand with someone who is good at listening could make all the difference. You already know how it could help to have someone you feel understands by your side in the meeting to help you and everyone else there focus on what’s best for your child.

Perhaps you are at the stage when you feel able to use your knowledge and experience to support another parent in this way?

All you need is:
• Some spare time.
• To be a good listener and someone who sees things through.
• To be easily contactable.

This doesn’t require a regular commitment; you get to decide how much time you can offer. SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service) provides training to help you discover how much you already know and fill in the gaps. You won’t be thrown in at the deep end! All expenses are paid. Time to put all that hard earned knowledge to good use?

For details please call 01865 810516 or email [email protected]

Young minds

Liz Nicholls

Community

Kevin Leivers of The Naked Pharmacy explains how parents can help boost children’s mental health to cope with their learning journey at school

September summons our youngsters back to school, college and university. Increased screen time, pressure to succeed and the inability to switch off can tip the nervous system into permanent “sympathetic nervous system” mode. This is the “fight or flight” mode the body originally evolved as a mechanism to protect us from imminent danger. The anxiety response in the brain causes a cascade of hormones with wide-ranging effects such as shortness of breath, a racing heart, paling or flushing of the face, sweaty hands… The list goes on and, if left unchecked, may lead to more regular and extreme symptoms.

Youngsters who suffer from anxiety may feel abnormal and isolated. Depression is deeply personal and masks itself in varied symptoms. Research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that perhaps the most effective treatment is personal empowerment of the sufferer’s own treatment. This means that they can learn to recognise and manage their symptoms, assisted by their parents.

Finding the tools that work for the individual is key to success. A regular exercise routine is both physically and mentally beneficial for health, especially within a group or team which will help reduce isolation. Regular sleep and a bedtime routine is very important, so turn off all blue light-emitting devices, avoid late food or drink (give at least two hours to digest) and avoid caffeine and sugary drinks after 1pm. Encourage children to express themselves by drawing or writing; it’s such a beautiful tool as an outlet to release thoughts.

Correct breathing is also vital. The hormonal cascade during an anxiety response causes us to shallow breathe and suck in more air than we breathe out, making panic worse.

Tony Ulatowski has used “The Big Breath” with more than 400 students in London, from pre-schoolers to secondary students, for the last year and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents, teachers and pupils. He says: “One of the teachers told of a four-year-old girl with anger issues who’s learnt to take herself away, regulate her emotions and just two or three of the big breaths help her feel better.”

A healthy diet including “live” foods, vegetables and fruits is hugely helpful; 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut. A study from New Zealand in 2017 found depressed patients significantly improved on a modified Mediterranean diet. There are also some natural supplements which are safe, effective, non-addictive and adaptogenic that provide an evidence-based approach for mood imbalance and anxiety in children and teenagers. One of the most widely tested is the ancient spice saffron. Saffron targets the gut as well as the brain.

Dr Paul Clayton, Fellow at The Institute of Food, Brain and Behaviour, believes saffron should be considered in place of current therapies. He says: “By targeting core aspects of mood and anxiety, saffron works far more rapidly than the pharmaceuticals, which shoot at the wrong target. Saffron restores normal nerve function; if you have chronic inflammation, the “brakes” are put on a few key processes. Moreover, it acts very fast (hours, not weeks or months), has no withdrawal symptoms, no side effects, and is safe to use with children.”

Visit www.thenakedpharmacy.com or email [email protected] or call 01483 685630.

Did you know?

1 In the UK 16 million people experience mental illness.
2 Three out of four mental illnesses start before the age of 18.
3 10% of school children have a diagnosable mental illness.
4 Three out of four young people with mental illness are not receiving treatment.
5 The average wait for effective treatment is 10 years.
6 Suicide is still the biggest killer of young people in the UK.
7 People with severe mental illness die 10-20 years earlier than the general population.

Acting up

The Boost! School of Acting team believe taking part in drama-based group activities can help develop social skills and reduce anxiety. They offer Saturday morning lessons in Oxfordshire for 4-6-year-olds and 7-10-year olds in Clifton Hampden and Monday morning sessions for pre-schoolers in Didcot. They also want to start a new group for teenagers – parents and teens themselves who might be interested, please get in touch! Visit www.boost-drama.co.uk

Wheelyboat fundraising appeal

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Community

A Wheelyboat will really help The Wallingford Accessible Boat Club (WABC) members. Can you help them reach their £65,000 target?

WABC Wheelyboat

The Wallingford Accessible Boat Club (WABC) mission is to make “messing about on the river” enjoyable for everyone. It is a voluntary, community organisation where able-bodied and disabled folk are encouraged to participate independently in river-borne experiences, such as picnicking, fishing and boating on the Wallingford stretch of The Thames.

A wheelchair-accessible powerboat, the Coulam Wheelyboat V20, will make access a reality for all members of the WABC. It is a boat that has a drop-down bow facility that allows wheelchair users the ability to simply roll on to the flat bottom of the boat. ”

To get a Wheelyboat,  the WABC need £65,000.  Three major donors have come forward to give this community project a great start to its drive, but they are hoping the public can help them reach their final target.

Andrew Risk, WABC, head of marketing and communications, says: “We have been extremely fortunate in attracting three significant early donations which have given us a real head start to our fundraising appeal.  We are very grateful to the donors for their help at this time –‘early money’ makes such a difference.  Now the hard work is to keep the momentum going.  I appeal to individuals, grant-making organisations and local companies to please help us.  Any financial assistance, small or large, will be much appreciated, as it will improve the quality of life for many local, disabled people.”

Please donate via www.wabc.org.uk or email [email protected]

Super natural photography

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Community

Local photographer and wildlife enthusiast Ewan Jones shares his love of all creatures great and small, right on our doorstep

Feathered, furry, scaly or smooth, I love animals of all shapes and sizes. As a small boy, my bookshelf was full of monumental wildlife encyclopedias.

Growing up in Dorchester on Thames and moving to Clifton Hampden at the age of eleven, I was blessed with seeing countless creatures that many from my generation have not had the privilege of.

I distinctly remember one Sunday morning, my parents excitedly whispering across the kitchen to alert me to the spectacle in the garden. There, in all its splendour, was a tiny weasel running back and forth to the garden shed, climbing up the walls, crawling underneath it, at a pace that even made a child tired. I think I fell in love.

As a young adult, I shared my nature passion with a special friend. We’d go on walks together in the hope of seeing mustelids, especially weasels or stoats… Any nature-lover could have told you I was practically hoping to win the lottery. My friend had a camera, a pretty good Canon with a decent lens. While I was looking on, in the hope of a miracle, they’d stop at every tree, attempting a snap of any bird or butterfly that crossed our trail.

At first I was rather unimpressed by their slowing of my searches, but when I saw their results when we got home, my preferences quickly began to change. It was no longer all about the mustelids, it was about the joy and the beauty of all the creatures, and capturing them in a moment of perfection. It was time I got myself a camera.

Many pass-me-downs and purchases later, I am a well-prepared twitcher. I’ll travel far and wide to get a chance of adding new bird species to my collection. I’m lucky to have a Spanish mother so I can travel to the country, which is simply jam-packed with African migrant species.

Yes, I have a life list. Yes, I have my favourites. But to me, wildlife photography is about capturing the perfect posture, in perfect colour, in exquisite detail. Only then, is that beautiful creature yours.

Ewan’s tips!

Photography is subjective; everybody has a different view on what makes a beautiful photo. If you are a fan of colourful lighting, get yourself up at the crack of dawn for the early-morning sunlight. If you’re a fan of scientific accuracy and crisp detail, save up your pennies and splash out on quality gear. To locate rare species, especially local birds, I highly recommend www.oxonbirding.blogspot.co.uk. My humble advice to anyone wishing to take wonderful photos of nature is to start simple, put the hours in, explore your passion. Just get out there and take photos of everything that moves…. Oh, and a little photography course won’t go amiss, either.