Friday, 30 December 2011
There was a certain machismo in the air at the Worcester office in November, after seven hirsute volunteers agreed to put their faces on the line and raise money for Movember. Running every November, participants get sponsored to grow a moustache and show their support for men with prostate cancer and other male cancers.
In Bristol, Alec Moody, Pack Line Manager has also joined in the Movember madness and is hoping to raise £300 for his moustache. By the time you read this, Alec and the pictured Worcester team will have, as the Movember website puts it, groomed, trimmed and waxed their way into the annals of fine moustachery.
It’s not just the guys who are getting involved –Helen McHugh, Supply & Allocation
Executive who’s organised the event, has a few fundraising ideas of her own: To make fundraising more appealing, I’ve agreed with Chris that, if he raises more than £150, I’ll give him a week of tea and silence! James managed to negotiate an even better deal with Helen – I’ve agreed that if James raises more than £100, I’ll make his tea for the entire month of December.
So far the combined total raised between all participants is a fantastic £907.
If you would like to make a donation to support the Smiths News Team in Worcester (aka Hairy Smiths) or Alec Moody in Bristol you can find their profiles on the Movember website as follows:
Hairy Smiths - did anyone get their tea or silence?
Alec Moody - there's a chance to view a very fine moustache.
There are a number of photos and updates on there. Check them out! Funds raised benefit The Prostate Cancer Charity, The Institute of Cancer Research and the Movember Foundation.
Thursday, 29 December 2011
On 24th September 2011, Publisher Account
Manager James McGuirk took it upon himself to
descend nearly 500ft of skyscraper in aid of a
For some unknown reason I agreed to
abseil down Guys Hospital Tower for a great charity called Echo, which supports children with heart difficulties.
In case you’re not familiar with Guys Hospital, it’s next to London Bridge Station, and is an impressively sized building – rather James than us! The tower he was dangling from is a massive 469ft high, and is the tallest hospital in the world. In fact, it’s one of the tallest buildings in London, beating the London Eye which is a mere 443ft – although, as James notes, abseiling down that one could be an issue.
James has already smashed his fundraising target of £250 [£305 when this post was first published], and you can still donate to this fantastic cause at James' Just Giving page. To find out more about the great work that Echo does for children with heart conditions visit their website.
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
[caption id="attachment_1339" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Steve (far right) and the team celebrate their success"][/caption]
Steve Edwards, House Manager at Lancing, fulfilled a lifelong dream by leading a team to victory at Wembley* in the recent Newstraid (Key Group) 5-a-side football tournament. The victory was a family affair as the line-up included three of Steve’s sons, Sam, 21, Jake, 19, and Callam, 15.
To be honest, I didn’t kick a ball, said Steve, I am no way skilful enough. I just gave
instructions from the sidelines!
The Lancing side had to win seven games to win the tournament and beat Comag 1-0 in the final. Most importantly, the team’s efforts raised £150 for charity.
* = A sports centre somewhere in Wembley, admitted Steve, not the Wembley Stadium. ;)
A fantastic total - it would be great to know which charity benefitted from all your efforts, Steve. If anyone reading this knows, please leave a comment below.
Friday, 23 December 2011
[caption id="attachment_1366" align="alignleft" width="225"] Nicola carrying a toddler in the traditional manner[/caption]
Nicola Wright had only just started at Bertrams when she headed to Malawi for three weeks to get involved in a project designed to bring educational opportunities to children in rural areas. It was the trip of a lifetime for Nicola:
I used up most of my holiday for the year, but it was totally worth it!
Nicola packed plenty of things for the children such as pens, paper, skipping ropes and, of course, books! She explains:
I arrived on a Malawian public holiday so the kids were out of school and eager to play. That day, I played football, sang songs, danced, skipped, drew pictures and had the impossible task of trying to remember everyone’s names – prompting giggles from the children as, yet again, I got another name wrong.
[caption id="attachment_1367" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Sheltering from the hot sun[/caption]
Nicola set to work making learning fun. She taught the children the alphabet, sang nursery rhymes with them, and played games. It was exhausting, but there was nothing more fantastic than seeing all the smiling faces!
[caption id="attachment_1368" align="aligncenter" width="640"] It wasn't all work and no play![/caption]
It wasn’t all hard work for Nicola, as she also found time to visit Lake Malawi and go on safari. She’s even planning her next trip – I’m often asked if I’ll go back, and the answer
is not if, but when.
Even though she’s back in the UK, Nicola is keen to carry on helping the children she met in Malawi. Many of the children where I stayed walk miles and miles each day with no shoes, and children with cuts on their feet often get infections.
She’s collecting children’s shoes from friends and neighbours, which will be sent to
Malawi for these children, and would love it if the staff at Bertrams could help out. If you’ve got a pair of shoes that your child has outgrown, why not pass them on to Nicola and give them a new lease of life in Malawi? Any donated shoes are sure to be very much appreciated by the children who’ll receive them.
Email: Nicola dot Wright at bertrams dot com for more details.
[NB the email address is written out to prevent being picked up by spam programs]
Thursday, 22 December 2011
[caption id="attachment_1325" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Max and Sarah celebrate at the L'Arc de Triomphe, the traditional finish for the Tour de France"][/caption]
Max is clearly not a man whose dream holiday consists of a sunbed and a good book. Along with his wife Sarah, Max realised a long-held dream by cycling the exact Tour de France route in July, two days ahead of the professionals.
We cycled a total of 2,085 miles in a total time of 146 hours and 56 minutes! That’s 21 stages at an average speed of 14.2 mph, with 107 miles on average per day. We didn’t make the podium at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with the pros, but as they say of all riders who complete the Tour: now we are ‘Giants of the Road!
We don’t consider ourselves hardcore bike racers, we like to go for more old school touring, with panniers on the bikes, nice hotels and plenty of French food at night, although we did put the panniers in a support van on this particular trip as the distances were so long.
The mere mortals among us would probably classify 143 miles on a bike (the longest day) or a 2,744 metre climb in snow and sub-zero temperatures (the highest ascent) as pretty hardcore, but Max and Sarah have had plenty of practice over the years! Over the past decade they have both run more than 10 marathons and cycled over 10,000 miles.
Max joined Smiths News in March and is particularly grateful to his boss Jonathan Bunting for allowing him to take to the road as planned:
Needless to say, I wouldn’t normally take so much holiday so soon in to a new job, but I had been planning it for over a year before I joined Smiths News, and Jon was great about it. He might think I am crazy, but life is all about dreams – personally and professionally – and he insisted we didn’t cancel.
So will it be a more relaxing sun, sea and sangria vacation for Max and Sarah next year?
Unlikely! We have a challenging but very exciting corporate development agenda for the year ahead, and as far as holidays go, we are planning to run a marathon in San Sebastian later this year, and having cycled from John O’Groats as far as Venice over a number of previous trips, there is plenty more of the globe to continue our journey!
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Anya Perry, Corporate Development Executive, recently took part in a Tall Ships race in Scandinavia. The race was from Stavangar in Norway to Helmstad in Sweden and took 6 days to complete. Anya and the rest of the crew sailed on The Stavros, at 60m long the smallest of their Class A ships, some of which reached up to 120m long.
One of the rules for entering the race is that at least half the crew have to be under 25, giving a fantastic opportunity to young people to partake in an amazing experience.
Anya describes her time on board:
Every rope on the boat had to be pulled by hand as there were no automatic winches, which was a different sailing experience for me.
We also had to climb the mast in order to stow the sails away, and getting up in the middle of the night to go on watch was a regular occurrence, so it was a pretty different experience!
There were 69 boats in total on the seas, with 20 competing in Class A. Each crew consisted of up to 60 people!
Well done Anya, though I'm glad it was you on that mast rather than me!
Monday, 19 December 2011
We have our first fundraising update, following last week's appeal for more of your news...
Lynn Henshaw, Manager of Manchester House and Tom Sheehy, Regional Director for the North have raised over £2,300 for Kidney Research UK by taking part in a sponsored walk up Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. The event which was organised by Kidney Research UK had a team of sixteen professional climbers to support everyone who was taking part. Lynn and Tom successfully reached the top within nine hours, this was mainly due to bad weather but they were overjoyed when they had accomplished the challenge. Lynn Henshaw said:
“I wanted to walk up Ben Nevis and raise money for Kidney Research as my husband had a kidney removed seven years ago due to cancer and then earlier this year we found out he had another tumour on his remaining kidney. He had an operation to have the tumour removed in September and thankfully the operation went well. I wanted to raise money for them as they still need to conduct more research to help save lives; this was my way of saying thank you.”
[caption id="attachment_1280" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Lynn Henshaw suitably attired for the day"][/caption]
Lynn started her training in August this year, using a cross-trainer and joined Slimming World, resulting in her losing a stone in weight. After finding out that Lynn’s husband’s operation was in September, Tom Sheehy Northern Regional Director of Smiths News Depots decided to join Lynn and do the Ben Nevis walk with her to support her on such a tough challenge.
[caption id="attachment_1281" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Tom Sheehy looks delighted to have made it to the top"][/caption]
“We started the ascent at 7am. The walk up Ben Nevis was tough; the weather didn’t help at all, as there was 40 mile an hour winds and rain. You could not see anything from about a quarter of the way up as the clouds and mist was so low, the views I believe are amazing! It was an incredible challenge for us and I’m very proud to say we have climbed the highest mountain in Britain, all 4460ft! I would like to say a big thank you to everybody who sponsored us” said Lynn.
Carol Bonham, North West Fundraising Manager for Kidney Research UK, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Lynn and Tom for all the effort they’ve put in to training for this event, not to mention raising such a fantastic amount of money for the Charity.” To donate money or to contact Kidney Research UK visit www.kidneyresearchuk.org.
Thursday, 11 August 2011
Birmingham House recently presented the Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital with a cheque, the result of their efforts fundraising for Community Week. £622 was split equally between the Military Patients and the Neonatal Unit. Well done to all involved.
[caption id="attachment_1238" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Jo Hall, Ann-Marie Winston and Teresa Hughes presenting the cheque to Paul Mitchell of Queen Elizabeth Hospital"][/caption]
Thursday, 28 July 2011
"The Manchester cycling team rode under the name of Blood, Sweat and Beers (and trust me there was plenty of all three) and all completed the 61 mile Manchester to Blackpool charity bike ride in one piece and in better time than expected.
The trek proved to be extremely arduous going to the Mancunian novices, but due to their efforts and training over the last few months the Mancs – accompanied by Wigan yonner, Mike Makinson – all got across the finish line in one piece.
Afterwards, copious amounts of ale were consumed in Blackpool’s finest hostelries, as the team regaled and rejoiced, forgetting about their weary limbs and sore bums.
Fundamentally, we have to remember the essential reason for our cycling crusade across Lancashire, so it’s with great pride that we can report Christies Cancer Treatment Centre in Manchester will receive a mammoth donation of over £2,300 from our cyclists: Steve Benson, Aarron Levinson, Kevin Levinson, Anton Levinson, Louis Atkinson, Matty and Gareth Williams, Marc Greens and Mike Makinon.
Well done and thanks to all those who kindly supported our cause. Special thanks to Tracy Weedon who ferried the lads and bikes back to Cheetham Hill from sunny Blackpool."
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Big congratulations are due to Karen Hughes, Community Champion at Wednesbury, who went all out with her efforts and organised an entire fete as a fundraiser for Community Week!
On Saturday 9 July the fete took place at Willenhall Park, organised by Karen and open to the general public. Over £1,200 was raised on the day, with some contributions still to come in. There was a good turnout, helped no doubt by the 3 free full-colour adverts Karen managed to get in the local press.
Thankfully they were blessed with good weather, and many of the Wednesbury staff and their families supported the event.
The following is just a taster of what was available on the day:
• Car Boot sale
• Soccer Shoot Out
• Resident DJ (Lee Aldridge, Returns Dept)
• On Site Fire Engine
• Hook a Duck Stall
• Palm Reader
• Teddy Bear Stall
• Cake Stall
• Tin Can Alley
• Resident Clown
• Large Blow up Slide
• Trampoline on a Rope
• Face Painting
The finale on the day was a balloon release, where participants purchased a labelled balloon, and this generated great excitement amongst the kids at the fete. Karen actually had to seek permission for this activity from Birmingham International Airport!
[caption id="attachment_1224" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Up, up and away!"][/caption]
Monday, 18 July 2011
[caption id="attachment_1208" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Before..."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1209" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="...and after!"][/caption]
Mike tells us how it went: "I completed the 61 mile cycle ride in a respectable 5 hrs 30 mins, considering I had done very little training, most of which consisted of drinking water in the main !!!!! I was really pleased....however, my knees are paying for it now. Thank you to those that have already sponsored me and there is still time for those that didn't manage to - see my Just Giving page to donate."
On Day 2 at 9am Caroline Weightman peddled off from 'Bishops Castle' heading towards 'Redditch'. Then Tim Smith took over and hardly breaking sweat did a remarkable 40km in 45minutes! Then Lois Wheeler representing Guardian Newspapers cycled 30km in 35 minutes.
On Day 3 Sam Vincent got in the saddle, reaching 28km after an hour. One of the charities to benefit from this event is Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Sam's daughter is receiving treatment. Having hopped on the bike following a business account meeting Sam found she had to loosen the tension after Ken had been cycling at maximum resistance.
Day 4 saw Jim Sinden get on the bike at 6.50am. After 12.5 miles he had to take a coffee break and hand over to Lian Shortman who cycled 25 miles while speaking on the phone for the entire time!
Caroline, Edward, Zein, Sarah and Richard Humphries continued cycling in between eating Scones and Jam.
David Hamling took them to the finish line on Day 5, supported by Ken Ingham and Derek Sadler.
In total they raised £401.38 for their chosen charities, from a combination of the bike ride, Scone Sale, Raffle and casual Friday payments.
Monday, 11 July 2011
Nicky Spencer, Local Systems Administrator, and Bob Stevenson, Warehouse Operative, from Newcastle, will be walking the length of Hadrian's Wall from 4 - 7 September 2011, from Bowness-on-Solway to Wallsend.
They are hoping to raise in excess of £1,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
The walk covers 84 miles over 4 days.
If you would like to sponsor Nicky and Bob please go to their Justgiving page and make a donation:
Friday, 8 July 2011
The team from Commercial who undertook the arduous Malvern Hills 24 Hour Challenge have managed to raise £2,766 in sponsorship, which will go to Acorns Hospice.
Peter Geoghegan tells us how it all went:
"Now that I’ve had a few days to recover, I can report back to you on the walk we undertook last week. We knew we had set ourselves a tough task and it proved to be every bit as challenging as we expected, if not more so. Of the nine that set out at 10am Thursday, only five crossed the line at 10am the following morning – Darren Spratt, Simon Edwards, Phil Williams, Luke Simons and myself.
[caption id="attachment_1179" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Some hearty hiking"][/caption]
We were blessed with perfect weather, narrowly escaping a soaking as the heavens opened over Herefordshire and Wales early on Thursday afternoon – clearly visible from our lofty viewpoint high on the hills. Spirits were high and we picked up a good walking pace. However, by 8pm when we stopped at the Wyche Inn for our evening meal, it’s fair to say exhaustion was setting in. But we had broken the back of the challenge with 25 miles under our belts. After a good meal and some liquid refreshment we were back on the trail at just after 9pm. We were treated to a beautiful sunset and we kept on into the dark of night under a moon-less sky.
[caption id="attachment_1180" align="aligncenter" width="374" caption="Watching the sun go down"][/caption]
We reached camp (British Camp) at 11.30pm for an hour’s rest. At this point, Becca and Carrie made the difficult decision to end their challenge attempt. Both had been carrying injuries picked up on a charity walk the week before but had still managed to clock up an amazing 32 miles in under 14 hours. So at 12.30am Friday morning, the remaining seven headed off to climb Worcestershire Beacon for the penultimate (5th!) time. After the descent, Neil and Tim decided to take the long walk back to camp. Both had picked up injuries along the way. The night passed quickly and the remaining five were re-energised by the rising sun.
[caption id="attachment_1181" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Daunting view?"][/caption]
We returned to camp at 5.30am and took a well deserved 90 minute break before the final push. So at 7am Friday, Darren, Phil, Simon, Luke and myself climbed British Camp with Neil and Tim following on a lower path for part of the way to urge us on. At 10am, in the glorious sunshine we completed the challenge and celebrated with bacon butties and cups of tea at British Camp. 24 hours. 80 peaks. 48 miles. Never again!
A big thank you to everybody who supported us and for all the donations made to Acorns Hospice. It’s not too late if you wish to give a little towards this cause. Just go to our Justgiving page: http://www.justgiving.com/LUKE-SIMONS/ "
[caption id="attachment_1171" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Caroline and Steve from Manchester get pedalling"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1172" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Alan and Steve car washing at Manchester"][/caption]
Staff at Newport House have taken part in a Dragon Boat Race, as part of their fundraising activities. It took part on the River Wye, at Monmouth, and Newport were racing in aid of St David's Foundation Hospice Care. They are still collecting in the money and expect to raise at least £200.
[caption id="attachment_1166" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The team in action[/caption]
Kris Broome from the charity St David's said: "Thank you again for co-ordinating your group in this Charity Event. I know from personal experience how hard it is to get 15 people in one place for a certain time. Your support for this event and the funds generated will help us provide individual care to many thousands of patients and their families living with South Wales. As a result of your fundraising efforts we will ensure that we continue to tailor our care to our patients and so allow them the dignity they deserve when facing the most difficult time of their lives."
Newport team were called "Smiths Oars" and although they didn't win, they made a great effort on the day!
[caption id="attachment_1167" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Ready for a hard day on the river[/caption]
Thursday, 7 July 2011
Wakefield House took over the bowling alley last week, in support of the 3 Amigos bowling team. The 3 Amigos are an enthusiastic tenpin bowling team of three visually impaired people – either blind, partially sighted, and in one case, with learning and physical difficulties – who compete in the British Blind Sports Bowling League.
[caption id="attachment_1156" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Group shot, winners and losers!"][/caption]
With 16 teams participating, a good time was had by all and an amazing £800 raised from the evening, £310 raised by the five Smiths News teams alone! This will help Cliff, Shaun and Russell enormously, enabling them to participate in forthcoming competitions around the country and further afield such as Ireland.
[caption id="attachment_1157" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The winnning team, enjoying a drink"][/caption]
A bottle of Smiths News champagne was awarded to the winning team and a medal for each individual within the team. The winners just so happened to be a Smiths News team - the Adult Salmon Conquerors!
[caption id="attachment_1154" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The Winners"][/caption]
It seems as though their choice of prize for the raffle proved popular...
[caption id="attachment_1136" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Delicious cream tea!"][/caption]
Not to be outdone, Borehamwood also enjoyed tea and scones and strawberries, raising £62 for their charities.
[caption id="attachment_1143" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Strawberries and cream"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1144" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Afternoon tea in all its glory"][/caption]
Nora Roth, Wakefield House, PA to Jonathan Bunting, ran a Race for Life recently and raised a fantastic £256 for Cancer Research UK. Nora tells us how she got on:
"Well I managed to complete the 5k course in Salisbury with my niece Lindsay, my sister-in-law Adie and the rest of team “Miss Chris”. We jogged/walked the course in quite a respectable time I thought, of around 45 mins. It was a boiling hot day and no training or preparation took place before hand. Well that’s not strictly true as 2 days before the event I decided to get my feet in shape for the race and give them a “home” pedicure!! Big mistake, as I managed to gouge a big chunk out of my heel which wouldn’t stop bleeding and needless to say, a bit sore!
Anyway, the important news is that with your support and generosity we have raised a brilliant £256 for Cancer Research UK. Thanks to everyone for their donations."
[caption id="attachment_1131" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Medals at the end, Nora on the left[/caption]
Total distance travelled = 35 miles
Winner of best guess = Bob Rees, Brislington Twilight Manager
[caption id="attachment_1086" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Apparently John Whitton was a no-show on his first call to the machine..."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1087" align="aligncenter" width="304" caption="John on his second attempt"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1088" align="aligncenter" width="324" caption="Jim Gorton steps up..."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1090" align="aligncenter" width="328" caption="Glenn Baxter on the go"][/caption]