Friday, 27 May 2011

Tallamy on track with training

Ian Tallamy, Wakefield House, one of our A-B Bike Ride cyclists, is taking his training very seriously indeed, going out on several different types of rides.  He shares with us some of his recent cycling experiences:

“Back over the Easter weekend I took the bike with me when we spent Easter with my family in Port Talbot. Just a few miles inland is the start of the Afan Valley, where there are some fantastic rides, both on the road and off road for mountain bikers. It’s a climb all the way from Port Talbot until you get to the top of the hill at Croeserw (pronounced croy-sarh-oow). It’s just a small village but with a very steep hill to get to the top. For those who find the hill too much and don’t make it, then there’s a convenient cemetery there waiting for you.

Then once over the hill on to Maesteg and back again to my folks’ house. A lovely ride and I wonder if the route from Aberystwyth will be anything like this?

More recently I took a ride to Chepstow, over the Avon bridge and the first Seven crossing bridge. Alongside the Southbound carriageway of the Avon bridge is a cycle track and footpath, where you can safely cross over the river Avon without needing a car to take you on the M5 motorway.

I went on through Avonmouth and along to the old Severn Crossing. The new Severn bridge doesn’t have a bike lane, but the old Severn crossing is better to ride along anyway - it doesn’t have the large wind barriers, so the view is a lot better (but probably not good to cross on a windy day).

The approach along the A403 isn’t the most picturesque in the world, taking you past fairly industrial works, but it’s direct and easy to ride.

Approaching the bridge, coming off the A403, I did just that. The approach road to the bridge was covered with oil from maintenance vehicles, the back wheel went and then so did I. So there it was – the first time coming off the road bike.

I slid on the oil across the road (no traffic fortunately) but still attached to the pedals. Another cyclist was just behind me and saw me fall.  He got off his bike straight away to help, and then he skidded across the road on foot!

Fortunately there was no permanent damage to me or the bike and I managed to carry on cycling over to Chepstow and beyond just into Gloucestershire. But on the way back over the bridge I nearly fell off again, from surprise this time - the guys on the army rifle range directly underneath the Severn bridge had just started their shooting practice.  Thanks guys!”

If any more of our A-B cyclists out there would like to share how they’re training is going, get in touch!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Wednesbury Group Update

My but they're busy in the Wednesbury Group, raising money for Community Week.  As well as the forthcoming Fete mentioned earlier, they've also started a Wii Ten Pin Bowling competition, running from 16 May to 1 July.

It is £1 per game to enter the competition and the players with the 4 highest scores will go into a semi-final playoff.  The games take place in the canteen, where their newly purchased TV is now hooked up to a Wii.  I'm sure the competition will be tough, as the winner will get to take home the Wii plus the bowling game!

They've also held a car boot sale, sponsored swim, an 'Oatcakes Morning' - bit different from 'Bacon Buttie Breakfast!, a car wash and plenty more events in the pipeline over the coming months.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Birmingham get in on the raffling

[caption id="attachment_736" align="alignleft" width="350" caption="Jo Hall and Brian Smith next to their fab Community Week noticeboard!"][/caption]

 Birmingham House recently held a fundraising raffle as part of their Community Week events.  They raised an impressive £236 for charity and the prize was £100 worth of vouchers, won by Brian Smith.

Birmingham are giving the money from the raffle to the Neo Natal Unit and Military Patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, very worthy causes indeed.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Roll up, roll up...

Anyone in the Wednesbury House area – and even those who are not – should put 9 July in their diaries as a date to remember.  Karen Hughes, Community Champion at the depot, has organised a Community Fete and would like as many people as possible to come along and support it.

The fete will take place at Willenhall Memorial Park, a lovely family-friendly outdoor space.

Karen has been very busy getting attractions organised, and they include the following:

  • Police car and fire engine for kids to see up close

  • Clown

  • Balloon modelling

  • Face painting

  • Kids’ fair rides

  • Hook a duck

  • Food stalls

  • Tombola

  • Car boot sale

And much more!

Please show your support for Community Week by going along to the fete – sure to be a fun day out.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Bristol Group keep busy

[caption id="attachment_724" align="alignleft" width="229" caption="Check out the inscription on this bad bunny..."][/caption]

Bristol Group have had a busy April and their fundraising total is now well over £2,000. 

Most recently they held an Easter Raffle which raised £339.  And no wonder – Jon Newport, Brislington Day Pack Manager, approached local businesses for some great prizes, which included a Sat Nav, a bag of Camping Goodies and a special Easter bunny from Thorntons.

[caption id="attachment_725" align="alignright" width="188" caption="Alec Moody"][/caption]

Alec Moody, Bristol North Pack Line Manager, dressed up as a ‘Lady for the Day’.  His colleagues gave him £250 in total for the fun of seeing him in a skirt.

Dave Bellotti, Brislington Day Pack Supervisor, showed off his musical talent to everyone – he sang 3 songs in the warehouse and raised £135.  Watch out X-Factor!

They also held a sweepstake for the Grand National which raised £70, and to date the Bacon Buttie sales have reached £228.

Not bad going!

[caption id="attachment_726" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Dave Bellotti"][/caption]

Monday, 16 May 2011

Cycling Crazy

It must be the fine weather, but everyone seems to be on their bike at the moment. 

For Community Week, Frances Mann at Bertrams raised £250 in sponsorship from her colleagues, which went towards an overall total of over £3,000 raised for Kidney Research UK as part of a sponsored bike ride.

Frances and 14 of her friends rode 50 miles around Suffolk on Easter Saturday to raise money for the charity, chosen because one of Frances’s friends is in need of a kidney transplant.  Frances raised some of the money by holding a raffle at Bertrams, which had some great prizes, like an ipod touch, hotel stays, books and jewellery. 

Frances tells us what the bike ride was like:

“I started training in January, with a few rather cold and windy rides around Norfolk.  As the weather improved it made the cycling more fun and thankfully Norfolk and Suffolk are relatively flat.

On Easter Saturday it turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far.  We had our charity t-shirts on and everyone wore pink tutus – boys and girls alike!

We started cycling at 9am, leaving from Halesworth to do a round trip, and came back to Halesworth again 50 miles later, at 5pm.  Along the way we had refreshment stops and even had a paddle in the sea at Dunwich, which was lovely!

There were some aching legs at the end of it but we were so pleased to have completed the ride and raised so much money.

Thanks to everyone who donated, helped and supported me with this challenge.”

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Oxford turn to extreme sport fundraising

Katy Venvell from Oxford House is a bit of a daredevil when it comes to her fundraising.  Katy raised £350 for Breast Cancer Care by rolling her car! Read all about her escapades in the Oxford Mail.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Plymouth Playoffs

[caption id="attachment_707" align="alignleft" width="280" caption="Chris Hulme, team captain, raising the cup, with Dave Murphy, Exeter Manager and ref for the day to the left."][/caption]

Passionate footie fans in the Plymouth Group were on the ball recently with their fundraising activities for Community Week.  They held a five-a-side football tournament which went down a storm, and raised over £150 for local charities St Luke's Hospice and Children's Hospice South West.

All staff pitched in to help organise the tournament, and 30 people took part in the competition, divided into six teams.  It took place at the Mayflower Centre and was well attended.  Teams included representatives from Twilight, Days, Agency and Managers, so good participation all round.

Sue Lamming, Community Champion for the Group said:

“This event whipped up a frenzy amongst staff, worse than when the landlord calls last orders at the pub!!!  The pre match game had the air positively electric with friendly banter.  The guys all took it very seriously and two teams had t-shirts printed especially for the tournament.

A lot of staff brought their families on the day to witness the event .  The Managers team lost 0-13 in a 20 minute match! One game had to be decided by penalties and each game was fought till the last whistle.  In the end, after some fierce competition, it was the Day Pack team who were the ones who walked away with the trophy, donated by local company Trophy Man. 

There were a number of sore joints and aching bones post-match, with the oldest goalie (Malcolm) having a bruise the length of his arm. However he was part of the winning team and stopped enough goals to help the lads win. 

It was a good fun day that can be highly recommended.   The next day the guys were still buzzing - nothing like a good sporting activity to build a bond with the staff.”

Plymouth have also been busily holding cake sales every Friday – with a ‘breakfast sale’ thrown in one Friday for a change of pace.  These cake sales have been so popular that they’ve started to take pre-orders!  There is also a car boot sale and a pool tournament on the horizon, so we look forward to hearing how those go.

Scott Luscombe in goal with Malcolm McCormack taking a penalty

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

At the carwash

Wednesbury House have been washing- each other's vehicles!  They managed to raise £102.50 with their buckets and sponges (and vacuum cleaner for the insides - a professional job here!)

Well done and a great contribution to their busy Community Week programme of events.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Sunday stroll for Stoke

[caption id="attachment_689" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="A walkin' we will go..."][/caption]

Stoke House recently sent some of their staff on a wander one fine Sunday, sponsored to raise money for their three nominated charities - Help for Heroes, Sense and Parkinson's UK at Solihull.

One of the walkers, Andy Whitehurst, Supervisor, gives us a report on proceedings:

"We left Stoke House on a sunny Sunday afternoon, aiming to walk 7 miles from the depot, along the canal route from Longport to the centre of Stoke, but if you looked at us you wouldn't think we'd even make it to the end of the lane on the way.

As we walked we found we had a historian amongst us - Steve Bateman (Packer/Driver).  Steve told us all about the area and little local stories, everything from toilets to china to strange things hanging in trees.  He also donated £10 out of the pocket money his wife had given him. 

As we passed the The China Garden pub on our way Denny Brain (Packer) looked like someone with bad nerves - how we got him past that pub I'll never know.  And he was dressed for a night on the town....

Dave Emms, House Manager, was a bit of an expert on canal barges, so he gave us some information on that.  I got asked if I thought we were going for several days and not an afternoon, because the contents of my backpack could have lasted us all well over a week

We walked back again twice as quickly, with Bryan O’Hara (Night Manager) the pace setter on our return journey.  It's amazing how a phonecall from a wife to say your dinner is getting cold can suddenly motivate someone.  Although we think Bryan may have been sleepwalking, as he was very close to the edge of the canal.

We raised £120 for our charities, had a great day out and enjoyed each other's company away from the working environment.  We're seriously considering another walk soon."

Well done Stoke and we look forward to the next update.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Raffle at Reading

[caption id="attachment_680" align="alignleft" width="384" caption="Graham Adlington, with Phil Adams drawing the lucky winners"][/caption]

Reading recently held a raffle, which raised £123 for Berks, Bucks and Oxon Air Ambulance.  Phil Adams, Regional Director –South, drew the winning entries, which were: 

1st Prize:  Kevin Edwards, Twilights

2nd Prize:  Judith Lambourne, Customer Services

3rd Prize:  Greig Gruba, Returns

Ahoy there!

[caption id="attachment_673" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Dave in his sailor suit (and Carly!)"][/caption]

Nottingham House have been dreaming up some unusual ways to raise money for Community Week.  Recently Dave Hammond, Nottingham Group Support Manager, came in to work dressed in his sailor suit, and charged his colleagues for the privilege of seeing him wear it - or did they pay him to put it away?!

Dave managed to collect £148 from the staff at Nottingham, which is going to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, as one of the Nottingham employees has recently been  diagnosed with the condition.

Well done and we look forward to hearing more from the house!

An alternative cycle

As part of Community Week, Mike Makinson, Senior Business Manager, will be in the saddle on 10 July, cycling 61 miles from Manchester to Blackpool.  Mike will be one of a group of 10 people from Manchester House, taking part in the sponsored cycle and raising money for The Christie.

The Christie is one of Europe's leading cancer treatment and care centres and is based in Manchester.

If you would like to sponsor Mike and the team in their efforts, you can do so by going to their Justgiving page online:

Or if you're based at Wakefield House see Anne Wearing or Nora Roth, or just email Mike!