Presence, Cornerstone

Karen Neville

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Kate Aries

Four emerging Oxford based artists are showcasing their work in an exhibition at Didcot’s Cornerstone.

Presence is a group exhibition featuring the work of Kate Aries, Manon Franklin-Fraiture, James Lester and Jack Whitney.
Combining drawing, textile, illustration and digital artworks, the artists have created new works that question what is means to exist in the contemporary world, physically, sexually, virtually and digitally.

Visitors will be able to engage with works perceptually and/or physically, encouraging them to also contemplate these questions.
Kate Aries explores perception and illusion through experimentation with the camera, using different techniques to obscure and restrict her body. Kate’s practice focuses not only on embodied experience, but also the manipulated and processed image in our changing society.

James Lester
Jack Whitney
Manon Franklin-Fraiture

Manon Franklin-Fraiture’s quirky illustrations incorporate conversations and questions she overhears and brings them to life, shining a light on how human existence can be in our modern life.
James Lester is a portraiture artist whose work contemplates the shaping of humanity within a modern context. Throughout the duration of the exhibition James will be creating large-scale charcoal murals of an array of celebrity figures, offering visitors the chance to watch the artist in action.

Jack Whitney’s practice challenges normative notions of gender, sexuality and politics, for this exhibition Jack has used embroidery as a way of drawing humorous yet thought provoking images.

Exhibition

Presence runs from today, 6th, until 18th August and is free to attend.

Visit the Cornerstone site for more information about this or any of the other productions on.

Millie’s Milestone

Round & About

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Local mum Jessica Simmons explains more about how you can help her wonderful daughter walk, run and jump like any other child

Millie was born at 29 weeks weighing just 3lbs 2oz. Having spent time at the special care baby unit at Royal Surrey County Hospital under a special lamp to treat jaundice, we faced the first major battle – a feeding problem. Her tummy would swell when she had breast milk which meant her feeds would be dropped and then started again. Eventually the swelling stopped and she was growing well.

A routine brain ultrasound revealed ‘white matter’ which we were told is normal in pre-term babies. Finally, our time in SCBU was over and we were able to go home to Millie’s sisters and enjoying having three happy healthy girls.

We were admitted to hospital several times the first winter when she contracted bronchiolitis. At the last admission she was connected to a CPAP machine to help her breathe as it was so laboured.

At home we carried on like any other family. Millie wasn’t reaching the milestones of other children, but we put this down to her being born early and that eventually she would roll over, sit and crawl.

At her yearly review we talked about how Millie’s legs were very stiff and tight which made getting her into a sitting position very difficult. A few days later we received a letter – one part stuck out – “Millie is showing signs of Diplegic Cerebral Palsy”. I stood in my kitchen reading the letter and it just felt like my world was falling apart. I felt so alone.

A consultant confirmed Millie was showing signs of Diplegic Cerebral Palsy, which causes tense muscles and spasms. Leg muscles tend to be very tight, and over time, this causes joints to stiffen reducing movement. Since Millie was diagnosed she has tackled so many obstacles, and we have too – our day-to-day lives have changed dramatically, we have had to learn various ways of aiding Millie. She has developed her own way of carrying out everyday movement.

When Millie was diagnosed we began looking for answers and stumbled upon SDR – Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, the nerves which cause the spasticity in the legs are cut. We are due to see specialists at Great Ormond Street in September to see if it’s suitable for Millie. We have to meet the NHS funding guidelines but that’s no guarantee of getting the financial help. Since last June we have been fundraising – holding a grand ball, doing obstacle courses and quiz nights. But we need to raise a lot more. The operation isn’t a miracle cure, Millie will need to have several years of intensive physiotherapy to get the most out of this.

Millie is amazing, every day she has a smile on her face and we want to share that with everyone!

Donate to the cause

Clothes swap

Karen Neville

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I expect like most people you’ve got wardrobes and cupboards full of clothing you never wear? 

A global study in 2018 by removals company Movinga found most of us do not wear 50 per cent of the clothes they own

Hands up if you’re guilty of that, with many in this country owning clothes they haven’t worn for a year.

Help is at hand from Environment Trust, a charity based in South West London, which is encouraging local people to contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry by attending their first ever Clothes Swap event on 2nd August at the ETNA Centre in Twickenham.

Tickets for the event support the charity’s vital conservation work and cost £10 per person. People are asked to donate between 4 and 10 items of clothing and will be able to take home a new outfit of the same number of items. The event includes drinks, nibbles, fashion tips, raffle and more, all while being sustainable.

Sophie Norden, fundraising and partnership manager at Environment Trust, says, “We are increasingly aware of the impact of the fashion industry on the environment. In fact, it is the second largest polluter in the world, after the oil industry, and the environmental damage is increasing as the industry grows.

“However, there are solutions and alternatives to address these problems. The first step lies in building awareness and having the willingness to change.

“We hope to help people make this change with our first Clothes Swap and bring along clothes they no longer want.”

Clothes for all the ages and genders welcome, and donated clothes should be washed and in good condition. Clothes will also be accepted on the night and additional items welcome for a ‘to purchase’ rack.

Environment Trust encourages clothes donations to be dropped at the ETNA Centre, 13 Rosslyn Road, St Margaret’s in Twickenham, TW1 2AR ahead of the event, kindly named if participating and, if possible, on hangers.

More information

To find out more about the event and to book your place

Charlbury festival

Karen Neville

local

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

Love tennis!

Karen Neville

local

Wimbledon starts today (1st July) so expect to see more people out with their tennis rackets and more strawberries being eaten.

There are so many ways to get involved in the sport with many clubs holding open days giving you the opportunity to give the game a try for yourself.

Abingdon

Among those encouraging you to do just that is Abingdon Lawn Tennis Club which aside from the physical benefits of the game is keen to stress the social side of the game too – whether you want to play competitively or just for fun, it really is suitable for everyone from three to 83.

The Lawn Tennis Association has served up a plan to widen the appeal of the sport with TENNIS Opened Up promoting its appeal to players of any age, ability, background and fitness level with various schemes available as well as mini tennis for youngsters. All of these can be catered for at ALTC.

A great way to try the game for yourself or as a re-introduction is to try out ALTC’s open day for free on Sunday, 23rd June at Southern Town Park, Lambrick Way, a week before Wimbledon starts and tennis fever grips the nation. Once you’re hooked the club offers twice weekly club nights for non-members as well as holding team matches, intra-club singles leagues and coaching sessions throughout the year.

Abingdon Lawn Tennis Club boasts five men’s, five women’s and five mixed teams in addition to formal and social tournaments and in 2018 was named Oxfordshire Club of the Year, recognised for its growth in player numbers, coaching, inclusion and innovation.
The friendly, welcoming club has no playing standard requirements just a great love for the game which they want to pass on.

Henley

Teach Me Tennis offer coaching for juniors from the age of three and a comprehensive adult programme based at Peppard Tennis Club just outside Henley-on-Thames. 
They run sessions based around low player to coach ratios so they can ensure all children get lots of quality instruction and feedback. Their belief is that all players should learn not only to hit a ball but also the skills and information needed to play a match whatever their age or on court experience. Term-time sessions run every day after school and on Saturdays starting from age three, with popular tennis camps running during the school holidays for children aged 4+. Play continues all year round on six all-weather courts with floodlights and a modern clubhouse.

Contact Teach Me Tennis for more information on  01491 728080, email [email protected] or visit the website at www.teachmetennis.co.uk

Bradfield

Another opportunity to give tennis a try is available at Bradfield Tennis Centre at Bradfield College Sports Complex near Reading.
It offers world class coaching to players of all ages and abilities. The coaching team firmly believes in “tennis for life”, and welcomes children of all ages to engage in this truly enriching sport.

All of the highly qualified LTA accredited + coaching team have a desire to pass on their knowledge to inspire children to develop a love of the game through on court drills covering the four pillars of tennis – technical, tactical, physical and mental.

Tennis at Bradfield is a sport for everyone to enjoy and provides pathways towards representing the centre in local leagues as well as county, regional, national and international competitions. The team encourages juniors to come for taster sessions prior to committing to the programme and looks forward to welcoming players over the summer holidays in the fun and energetic camps.

Adult tennis players of all abilities are catered for at Bradfield Tennis Centre with courses for beginners, intermediate and team players.
Should you not wish to receive coaching, why not sign up to our extremely popular cardio tennis sessions, which are great for improving fitness levels, you could burn off up to 800 calories per session!

The world class Plexi – Pave indoor and outdoor clay court facilities are open for members and non-members to hire.
To book or for more information please call 0118 964 4600 or 0118 964 4603 or visit www.bradfieldsportscomplex.co.uk

Visit Wimbledon's website

Independent Bookshop Week

Karen Neville

local

It’s Independent Bookshop Week – read all about it! 

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”

To use a classic quote from a classic author (and one of my favourites)

To use a classic quote from a classic author (and one of my favourites) “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”

Jane Austen’s line from Pride and Prejudice will have been encountered by millions of readers all around the world since she wrote it more than 200 years ago and never is it truer than today as Independent Bookshop Week starts today (15th).

Events, celebrations, reading groups, storytelling, author signings and literary lunches are all part of the week encouraging you to support your local store.

There are so many independent bookshops across our area there really is no excuse not to visit one, many are getting fully involved in Independent Bookshop Week with a variety of events.

One of these joining in is Mostly Books in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. It is hosting a variety of events from 15th to 22nd June starting with a party and author takeover. Kim Sherwood will be talking about Testament on 18th; debut author Joanna Glen will be sharing her experiences on 19th, best-selling author Ben Aaronovitch will be signing copies of the Rivers of London series on 20th and Katherine Rundell will talk to Lucy Manghan about why we should be reading more children’s books. For details of all these events visit Mostly Books

Check out your local indie and see what they’ve got going on and fall in love with reading and books.

  To find out more visit Indie Bookshop Week

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