Thursday, 30 June 2011

Day 4: A - B Bike Ride

[caption id="attachment_1022" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Gavin Spares, Gavin Fraser, Ian Tallamy and Jason Marshall ready for action[/caption]

Our cyclists are feeling the call of the home stretch now, with only two more days cycling to go.  And how did Wednesday - Day 3 go for them all?  Let's find out from Ian:

"The weather continues to be kind to us.  On Wednesday the temperature again was fairly cool, but we thought at one point it was going to rain.  Fortunately the rain stayed away and we continued cycling on dry roads.

The terrain is becoming a little less hilly than in the first couple of days, but there are still a few 'nice surprises' for us round the corners.  After 3 days of cycling, for many of the group, the relief of a flat road is obvious and very welcome, although to compensate we’re cycling further distances.  Wednesday was about 79 miles and Thursday will be over 80 miles.

Chris Atherton had a much happier day’s cycling on Day 3, not coming off once.  He was also the first to arrive at our destination in Kettering!

But not everyone had a good day like Chris.  One of the team had a bee fly underneath his glasses and into his helmet. In the panic to free the bee, he lost control of his bike and came off.  He was then promptly stung by the bee, as well as by the nettles in the bush where he landed.  The whole group slowed down to give assistance, but in doing so another two cyclists collided and came off their bikes. Luckily all 3 got up and carried on riding through to the end.

[caption id="attachment_1025" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Martin Beach, Stuart Mcgeoch, Laura Cooke, Adam Horton and John Murphy en route[/caption]

We’ve also had some mechanical failures along the way – lots of punctures, gears breaking down and other problems. But we have a good support team helping us out.  Chris Davies from Qoroz has a van with spare wheels, tyres, inner tubes, all the spanners and screwdrivers you could need, and even a spare titanium bike, which we used today when one of our riders was unable to continue on his own bike.

We’re all looking forward to the next couple of days. The distances and the miles are passing more easily now, although there are more of them, and we’re now talking realistically of us all making it to Bertrams on Friday.

One nice surprise on Wednesday was that a representative from Gavin Fraser’s charity - The Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance - has been following his progress on the this site and came to meet him at a morning pit stop for a photo shoot. Which reminds me, the whole purpose of this trip is to raise as much money as we can for charity, so if you’re able to give (or give more) to sponsor one of the cyclists please visit the 'Sponsor a Cyclist' page." [NB Page no longer available - Ed]

Today's Route = 83 miles: Total climbing, with just over 80 miles of riding, is 529m, with a maximum height of 105m.  We roll out through Kettering town centre towards Thrapston, where we cross the River Nene. We pass many existing and disused RAF airfields notably RAF Alconbury.

The area remains very popular with Cycling time triallists due to the flat roads, where many British records have been broken in the past.

Passing through Ely with its beautiful Norman cathedral before heading for RAF Lakenheath and then the Thetford Forest, which is used for National Mountain bike races. Then we get into Thetford itself.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Beware of men in dark glasses

As promised, photographic evidence of Charlie Edwards of Shrewsbury House, who raised an incredible £600 in sponsorship for bleaching his hair blonde! 

What a magnificent effort and big thanks to everyone who sponsored him.

International food day

Borehamwood held their own International Food Day on 22 June, to raise money for Community Week. Staff brought in a fine selection of both sweet and savoury foodstuffs for colleagues to buy. They raised a fantastic £90 from their venture, which will go towards sponsoring Eugene Howson, who's taking part in the A-B Bike Ride in aid of Cancer Research.

Day 3: A - B Bike Ride

So three days in and today our cyclists ride from Redditch to Kettering.  We still have all of them on board and raring to go!

[caption id="attachment_994" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="The cyclists head uphill, ready for some energy bars at the top"][/caption]

Ian Tallamy tells us how Tuesday -Day 2 went yesterday:

"The weather on Tuesday was a little bit cooler, which makes it much easier to cycle, rather than overheating while climbing hills in hot weather.

To make things easier to manage, we have split up into two groups. Group 1 set out before Group 2, got lost 3 times and then finished about 15 minutes after Group 2. We blamed Gordon, one of the support team for the errors, but we all have maps and directions so we’ve only ourselves to blame really!

 As well as the graft of cycling, a typical day also includes some of the hazards of cycling.  These include, but are not limited to:

    • Watching out for passing (and oncoming) cars and lorries

    • Fixing punctures

    • Fixing bicycle chains

    • Getting lost

    • Chris Atherton falling off

[caption id="attachment_997" align="alignleft" width="350" caption="Laura has to have some ointment put on her bedbug bites..."][/caption]
    Poor Chris came off his bike again on Tuesday.  This time we think it wasn’t his fault.  A sheepdog ran out in front of him and Chris felt he should save the life of the sheep dog.  So he skidded to a halt and cut his knee (again) in the process. They say things come in three, so hopefully no more accidents for Chris.

A hazard we hadn't considered before the ride is bed bugs. Yes, real bed bugs. At a hotel which shall remain nameless, Laura stayed in a bed which was also inhabited by a number of bed bugs, who ran over her arms, legs and shoulders and had a midnight feast at her expense. The bites have become inflamed and itchy, so as well as the endurance of the cycle ride, Laura has to cope with the after effects of the bites!"

Today's Route = 79 miles: Leaving Redditch in a Southerly direction before turning East and passing Choughton Park. Then passing through Great and Little Alne. The day maintains a fairly flat profile, with 1232m of total climbing with a maximum height of 176m.

Crossing the Stratford upon Avon Canal and passing North of Stratford upon Avon itself, the route takes us past Charlecote House which could make a great mid morning stop!

Cross the M40 and then having crossed the motorway you cross the Grand Union Canal three times which offers a number of opportunities to stop around mid way for lunchtime sustenance!

We then pass over the Oxford Canal before crossing the M1 adjacent to the famous Watford Gap services. Passing into Northamptonshire with its wonderful golden coloured stone cottages before finishing up on the North Western outskirts of Kettering.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Instore hike in hills for charity

As part of their Community Week efforts seven intrepid Instore team members undertook what ended up being over a 12 mile hike across the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire on Saturday 25 June.

Colleagues who took part were:Rupy Dhami, Shaun Gormley, Megan Judkins, Harish Morarji, Wendy Cane, Becca Boden and Carrie Davies. The group are pictured on top of the Worcestershire Beacon, the highest point. 

They have raised just over £260 so far, which is being split 80% to Acorns Childrens Hospice and 20% to 1st Leigh Guides, a local Girl Guide Unit.

Well done Instore!

Day 2: A - B Bike Ride

[caption id="attachment_979" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Aberystwyth MP Mark Williams wishes the cyclists well at the start of the ride"][/caption]

Today our cyclists set off from Bishop's Castle, heading for Redditch.  An update on how they fared on Monday - Day 1 from cyclist/reporter Ian Tallamy:

"The first part of the day involved a tough climb from Aberystwyth up to Devil’s Bridge. The road was quite steep in places but we had beautiful views looking down through the valleys in the Welsh Countryside, as we pedalled onwards and upwards.

There have been lots of hills we’ve had to negotiate, those energy-draining, muscle-sapping hills that remind you why the landscape is so beautiful.

There was one small incident when Chris Atherton had a minor fall only 10 minutes into the bike ride, ending up with a cut leg and some bruises, but his pride was probably hurt more than his limbs.

Although there are different ability levels within the group, everyone is really encouraging and helping out each other in the true Smiths News style. The weather was very hot, so we were really pleased to have the support vehicle where we could refill our water bottles.

The great news is that all the riders made it to Bishop's Castle just across the Welsh Border in Shropshire and we're all waiting to start Tuesday's adventure.

[caption id="attachment_981" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="Our cyclists set off on their journey"][/caption]

Bishop's Castle is a fairly small village so it wasn't possible for us all to stay in the same location, so we’re scattered in different guest houses.  Last night we met up to share our war stories.

Day 1 over and done with, a pretty hard start to the week, but a very rewarding one."

Well done to all our cycling staff who have made it through a gruelling Day 1.  We look forward to hearing how Day 2 has gone...

Today's Route = 69 miles: Far less climbing today (1442m, max 248m) and a glorious start through the South Shropshire countryside alongside the River Kemp, crossing the River Clun to join the Teme Valley before passing over "The Goggin" adjacent to Richard's Castle.

Back into the Teme valley and a scheduled stop at Tenbury Wells, before turning more Easterly and crossing the River Severn, to take a route that passes between Droitwich and Bromsgrove before ending up at Redditch.  A glorious day's riding in quiet countryside throughout.

Monday, 27 June 2011

The alternative bike ride

Day 1 of The Alternative Bike Ride kicked off this morning at the NNO/NNSC Borehamwood.

Staff are planning to cycle the same mileage as the A-B Bike Ride, but on a stationary exercise bike brought in specially for Community Week. Watch out because any visitors to Borehamwood this week will be asked to jump on!

They had no reporters or members of parliament there to wave them off, but at 9am this morning Ken Ingham peddled off on the 1st leg of their alternative ride. Regional Manager Simon Lockett was there to offer moral support to those staff lining up to take part.

Ken passed the baton to Caroline Weightman, who cycled 20 miles before handing over to Sam Blackman.

Edward Ainsworth cycled 22km in 30 minutes and the last legs were completed by Joe Reynolds and Linda Williamson.

All cyclists were supported on their way by a 12” oscillating fan!!

We await to hear how they do on Day 2 of their Alternative Bike Ride...

IS raise money for Swindon charity

Well done to IS at Wakefield House who had two people sponsored to run 10k last week.

Over 150 competitors in total took part in Nailsea Running Club's last race of the season, which was the Festival 10k road race in Nailsea, on the evening of Wednesday 22nd June.

Conditions were dry but blustery and the course, which had been described as 'undulating' turned out to be rural and hilly.

Graham Willis and Andrew Caple from Smiths News IS Business systems were the two runners competing in the race and they raised a fantastic £330 for Prospect Hospice in Swindon. It was Graham's first 10K and he finished in a time of 47:57 minutes, while Andrew Caple finished in a time of 50:55 minutes.

Andrew and Graham would like to thank all those who sponsored them for the race.

And they're off!

[caption id="attachment_958" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="Aberystwyth to Bishop's Castle (c) Google Maps"][/caption]

All 21 of our cyclists set off this morning from sunny Aberystwyth for Day 1 of the Bike Ride from A-B.

Tom Sheehy, Regional Director North, and Paul Tucknett, House Manager Wednesbury, were there to offer moral support and encouragement to these plucky members of staff who are taking on this enormous challenge.

Local paper the Cambrian News sent a photographer to capture everyone at the start of the ride, and Aberystwyth MP Mark Williams was also there to wave them off.

They departed at 9.15 am in the warmth of 21C, ready to face a day of hills. Everyone was very excited to finally be on the road and keen to go.

Today's Route = 65 miles: Most of the climbing comes in the first 20 miles, reaching a maximum height of 415m. Total climbing for the day is 2229m. A first scheduled and well-deserved stop at Devil's Bridge, before the glorious descent to Llanidloes, which should be at around lunchtime. Newtown for a mid-afternoon stop, before passing through Montgomery, on the way to our first overnight stay at Bishop's Castle.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The final countdown...

[caption id="attachment_949" align="alignleft" width="350"] Sun shining in Aberystwyth[/caption]

Well yesterday, Sunday 26 June, saw our fearless band of cyclists gather in Aberystwyth, ready for their epic journey all the way to Bertrams in Norwich.  Here is the first of what we hope will be many reports from this coming week:

"Our intrepid group of A-B riders have gathered together in a small seaside hotel in Aberystwyth, before the long trip by bicycle from Aberystwyth to Bertrams.  It was a warm journey to get over to Aberystwyth on Sunday afternoon, particularly for those who came on the train from Shrewsbury, as they had some very dubious air conditioning. We arrived worn out – and that was before we started the cycle ride! But being out in the open air will be so much better than being crammed into an old Arriva trains crowded carriage.

[caption id="attachment_951" align="alignleft" width="350"] Simon Cousins and Gavin Fraser talk tactics - such as which dessert to try next...[/caption]

There are some cyclists who have got a tremendous amount of cycling experience behind them, used to group riding, long distances and soaking up the miles. Then there’s the rest of us – a little apprehensive, not quite sure how we’re going to cope with 20 miles of hill climbing at the very beginning of Day1, followed by another 330 of cycling over the week ahead.

The tour support host is an experienced cyclist by the name of Andy Cook. As part of our briefing this evening, Andy had very calming words for the more nervous among us - “It’s only a bike ride”.

We all got together in the early evening for a meal, where we chatted about all the different charities we were representing, and we were given lots of encouragement by Mark Charlton, Company Secretary and one of the riders.  The group of cyclists are from all different parts of the business, including Martin Beach, from Norwich, who’ll be cycling home over the next 5 days (there must be a quicker way!).

Everyone is in pretty good spirits and we're all looking forwards to what’s going to be a really great experience for us.

It would be a real encouragement if you could help by donating to any of the very worthy causes chosen by the cyclists themselves. You’ll find details of the cyclists on our Sponsor a Cyclist page [sorry, link no longer available - Ed]. If you haven’t sponsored a cyclist yet, there’s still time to make a donation."

Thanks to Ian Tallamy for this roundup of 'pre-match nerves'!

More later on how the first day's ride, from Aberystwyth to Bishop's Castle has gone.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Proof Pink

[caption id="attachment_927" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Dave Emms"][/caption]

It seems there's more than one gentleman out there keen to show his pink side - there have been at least 2 reported sightings of hair dyed pink for charity in the last few weeks.

Dave Emms -manager at Stoke House, and Matt Brown - night manager at Lincoln have been spotted sporting the new look.

Dave raised £217 , Matt raised £164.  Top effort lads!

Meanwhile there's a rumour that Charlie Edwards of Shrewsbury House is also doing something to his barnet - check back next week for photos and total amount raised.  So far he's gathered up £505!

[caption id="attachment_928" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Matt Brown"][/caption]

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Southampton raffle

Southampton house raised £157 by holding a raffle for the grand prize of a Philips Blu-Ray DVD player.

Proceeds from the raffle are going to the Piam Brown Ward at Southampton General Hospital, which treats all types of childhood cancers.

Management on breakfast duty

Croydon management team Mike Moore, Lynda Beckett and Chin Chung got their pinnies on and made breakfast for the night team, to raise money for Community Week.  Their skills in the kitchen must be good - they've raised £90 so far with more money coming in.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Washing goes well

Nottingham night team have been busy with their buckets and sponges - they raised £135 for the MS Society with a sponsored car and van wash.  Organised by night manager Gavin Howard the team left their colleagues vehicles gleaming!

HR get baking and gardening

[caption id="attachment_919" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="Zoe Marlow, Emma Doyle and Charlotte Owen with their magnificent cake stall"][/caption]

Well done to the HR team at Wakefield House who've been very busy recently for Community Week.  They held a cake sale which raised a brilliant £200 for Leonard Cheshire Disability at Greathouse in Chippenham.

They also had a team away day at the Leonard Cheshire house, where they spent the day working in the grounds. 

They cleared away rubbish, retreated the garden furniture and planted 600 plants!

The team said: "We were just getting to the end of the potting plants, which seemed endless, when someone came along and donated another 100!  We were struggling for room in the end.  But we have since heard that all the pots are looking fantastic, so it was worth the effort.  We were very lucky with the weather and everyone had a lot of fun."

This is the second time that the HR team have visited the Greathouse to work on their garden, truly a great sense of community spirit between the team and their chosen charity.  Well done all!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Bike proves popular prize

Newcastle House held a raffle with a grand prize of a Mountain Bike, which proved very popular. 

They raised £200 from the sale of tickets. 

Not only did staff at the depot grab the chance to get a ticket, they also had buyers in the form of customers and companies who attended their recent Open Day. 

They sold 400 tickets in total, a fantastic effort.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Race night a roaring success

Well done to Laura Cooke at Wednesbury, one of our A-B Bike Riders.  She recently held a Race Night to raise sponsorship money and the evening was a fantastic success.  Laura's Justgiving page is now showing a whopping £1,026 raised so far.

Crawley march through the night

Well done to Claire and Jackie from Crawley House who walked 13 miles - through the night! - to raise money for St Catherine's Hospice.

Good work ladies and well done Crawley.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Gardening in the Community

Newcastle House showed their community week spirit recently when they went to a local Marie Curie hospice to do some gardening.  Marilyn Stadius organised the outing, with 8 staff in total in attendance.

In addition to all their fundraising efforts Newcastle also wanted to do something for their community that didn't involve asking for money. They have now forged links with the hospice and intend to give their time there on a monthly basis, helping out with the garden and other projects.

Attendees on the first session were: Craig Berry, Norman Cooke, Kevin Graham, Carol Inglis, Marie Kirven, Paul Price, Ian Rothwell and Marilyn Stadius.

Gill White, Facilities Manager at the hospice said: "Thank you so much for all your efforts on Friday. The gardens look lovely and the Day Care staff and patients were so happy with the results today. It was lovely to meet you all and thanks again."

Well done Newcastle and keep up the good work!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Heroic ride to France

Stewart McGeoch, Newmarket House, has just returned from a 320-mile cycle ride to France, in aid of Help for Heroes.  He tells us what the experience was like:

"It was a very tough ride but I was happy to be on it when Help for Heroes broke the barrier of £100million raised for the charity to date.  It was a special moment.  I was able to ride with some soldiers from the British and US troops who have had their legs amputated.

The route started in Portsmouth where we caught a ferry to Le Havre.  We then went down to Normandy, where we visited all 5 beaches from the Normandy landing. We visited the Pegasus Bridge, where I met one of the glider pilots from the mission that was carried out on June 5 1944.  We also visited the American cemetery and a Canadian and a Polish memorial.

The bears in the photos are for my kids - the bears have been photographed along the way throughout the journey!"

What a fantastic effort from Stewart, and having completed this ride no doubt he will be all set for taking part in our A-B Bike Ride!

Hiking on Hadrian's Wall

Newcastle House have raised an amazing £1,250+ by completing a sponsored walk along Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland.  Oragnised by Manager Ian Rothwell, he led a group of 14 staff along the 7.5 mile journey. The money raised will go to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Some feedback from the house:

"It's called a walk, but it was more like a mountaineering course! However, we all had a great day.  We stopped for lunch at the appropriately named hostelry The Once Brewed Inn, to give our legs a rest.  We are absolutely in awe of the amount of money we have raised - a big thank you to everyone who sponsored us."

Participants included: Ian Rothwell, Dawn Burnett, Steven Clark, Chris Etherington, Kevin Graham, Philip Hall, Carol Inglis, Marie Kirven, Sandra Money, Jan Nelson, David Smith, Marilyn Stadius, Stephanie Quillec and Julie Walmsley.


Cakes still going strong

It seems that Smiths News staff have a neverending appetite for cakes - Borehamwood have joined in the Community Week fun with their own Cake Sale.  They raised £76 by selling the beauties pictured below.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Punks in Stoke

Diane Nancarrow, Admin Assistant, Stoke House, raised a hefty £120 from her colleagues, by getting donations for showing up to work as a punk rocker. 

Quite a lot of the staff didn't recognise her when she arrived! 

Well done Diane.

Everyone's mad for Ted

Wednesbury House raised a cracking £141 for Community Week by holding a raffle for a gorgeous teddy bear. Nice work!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Central Ops support Community Week

Central Ops have been busily adding their fundraising money to the pot, with several activities organised over the last few weeks. The team has raised a brilliant £296 from a Cake Sale, Book & DVD sale, and Emma Allan's participation in the Race for Life.  Well done all!  Proceeds are going to Prospect Hospice, Cancer Research UK and the RNLI.

Notts on form with footie

Last month David Hammond and Joanne Wiltshire of Nottingham House organised a 5-a-side football tournament for all the Northern Region Houses. Thanks to everyone's efforts they raised an amazing £800! Houses taking part included Nottingham, Stoke, Stockport, Liverpool, Wednesbury, Leicester, Warrington and they also had a challenge from a Management Team.

Everyone paid to take part on the day and the proceeds have been split across all the charities the various houses support. Over 70 members of staff were there on the day, a great turnout.

And Stockport beat Nottingham B-side in the final, 2-1.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Worcester goes wild

[caption id="attachment_808" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Blinded by the BBQ!"][/caption]

Reports on Worcester's fundraising activities for Community Week are flooding in thick and fast.

On 20 May they held a BBQ at Worcester Country Park, with games of football and cricket, lots of food and drink, and a sponsored beard shave!

They raised a total of £294 between the MSC and Instore, with ah further £202 to come in from Stuart Birch's sponsored beard shave.

[caption id="attachment_809" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="An unusual cake..."][/caption]

They also held a tea party, where staff made cakes and brought them in to work to sell.  Gavin Spares, who is doing the A-B Bike Ride, sold the cakes with tea and raised another £92.

All money is going towards Acorn's Children's Hospice.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

From York to Nijmegen

Chris Atherton recently got in some extensive pre A-B Bike Ride training, by cycling 230 miles from York to Nijmegen in the Netherlands!  That's dedication...

Chris and his father set off from York, following the path to where Chris's grandfather fought in World War 2 at Nijmegen and across the German border.

They covered the 230 miles in 4 days and raised £400 in doing so, which has been donated to Help for Heroes.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Right on cue

Plymouth Group got their pool cues out recently as part of Community Week, raising £115  in the process.  This was in aid of the South West Children's Hospice Precious Lives Appeal.

[caption id="attachment_801" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Winner Pete Lamming receives his new pool cue"][/caption]

Mel Howes organised the pool tournament and all staff were invited to attend.  The players included John Murphy (who will soon be setting off on the A-B bike ride!), Scott Chennery, Sue & Pete Lamming & Sue's sister Lynn, Eddie Wadsworth, Jay Adamson, Andy & Mary Walker and their son, Kevin Howes and Paul & Di.

"The landlord of the pool hall donated the tables free of charge and also donated a new pool cue as a prize for the winner of the tournament. The younger lads thought they were going to win and didn't take any notice of Pete Lamming who was playing a storm.  He took them all by surprise by winning.  He's now been renamed Pete 'the shark' Lamming.  Pete just said 'beware of the quiet ones...'

Lots of friends and family joined in the fun and a great night was had by all, for a great cause."

Friday, 10 June 2011

Sunday stroll across the Severn

[caption id="attachment_795" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Watch out for wind!"][/caption]

The Newport staff and families have been out and about again for Community Week, this time doing a 7-mile sponsored walk across the Severn Bridge, from Wales to England and back again. 

Featuring the Customer Service/Admin team and organised by Andrew Herbert, 9 adults, 2 children and a dog raised a brilliant £300 from the event.  The money will go towards the charity Breast Cancer Care.

[caption id="attachment_796" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="L-R: Gary, Andrew, Rebecca, Sarah, Sue, Gaynor, Judy, Claire, Michelle, with support from children Dylan and Connor and Kia the dog!"][/caption]

“With a  speed limit of only 40mph in place on the bridge, we thought we might need to hold on to the sides due to the wind, but luckily there was only one place where it seemed we might be blown off!  The rain held off, which was great, and we even had some patches of sunshine.  We started off at 11.30 and returned at 4.30, but this did include a very nice lunch break in a pub.

There were a few tired legs the next day, including the dog, who refused his daily walk.  We had a great day out and raised money for a very good cause.”

Fishy feet in the Southwest

Plymouth house ladies and friends ran a beauty treatment event in aid of St Luke’s Hospice recently.  They raised £30 at the Lady Lux Salon in Plymouth – by having a Garra Rufa Fish treatment.  For those of you unaware of this latest trend, this is where you get your feet smooth by getting fish to nibble on them!  Can anyone beat Plymouth for title of Most Unusual Fundraising Event?!  Well done ladies.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Newcastle pound each other at paintballing

Newcastle have been very active in their Community Week fundraising – their most recent escapade was a paintballing day!  Led by manager Ian Rothwell, staff, friends and family decamped to ‘Delta Force’ in Cramlington for some paint-filled fun.

They raised £145 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, supported as Bobby is of course a local hero and also because staff have benefited from the foundation.

Phil Hall, Apprentice at Newcastle, was named the ‘Top Gun’ and received a certificate for his efforts. Apparently he also received a gold medal for acrobatics, but we have no photos of that….

[caption id="attachment_780" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Newcastle staff and friends get serious about their fundraising"][/caption]

Pay for their pain!

We have at least two groups currently looking for you to dig deep for Community Week and sponsor their athletic efforts.

As part of the IS team's fundraising at Wakefield House, Andrew Caple and Graham Willis are running the Nailsea Festival 10k on 22 June, in aid of Prospect House hospice.  To sponsor them online go to: or contact Maria Ogbourne for other means of sponsoring.

Another crazy (?) team comprising Rebecca Boden, Tim Concannon,  Carrie Davies, Simon Edwards,  Pete Geoghegan,  Neil Palmer,  Luke Simons, Darren Spratt and Phil Williams will be participating in a Malvern Hills 24 Hour Endurance Challenge on 30 June.  They are looking for sponsorship to support Acorns Children's Hospice.

Luke Simons explains a bit more about what the challenge involves:

"A team from Smiths News will be attempting a 24hr endurance challenge, walking 50miles (80km) across the Malvern Hills (6+ times!). The challenge includes day/night walking and the ascent/descent of 80 peaks (74 above 1,000ft). The total ascent is the equivalent of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (and back down the same day!). Chris Moyles eat your heart out!

The length of the walk is the equivalent of walking from Swindon to Worcester or over one hundred thousand steps! The walk will burn off calories to the equivalent of 17 Sunday Roast Dinners or 58 pints of cider/lager!"

To sponsor this team online go to or contact one of the team for offline donations.

Mmmm, cakes!

Bertrams got busy baking in Norwich recently, with a Cake Sale run as part of Community Week.  They raised a fantastic £148 for a popular local charity, the Jenny Lind Children’s Unit at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

Frances Mann, Community Champion at Bertrams said: “The staff at Bertrams clearly love their cakes! We were hugely impressed with the wide variety of beautiful cakes, cookies, brownies and flapjacks that were made by a number of very talented individuals.  We had volunteers from throughout the business manning the stall throughout the day and we are very pleased with the money we’ve raised for a worthwhile charity.”

[caption id="attachment_776" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Bertrams staff do their bit for Community Week with cakes"][/caption]

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Wednesbury Washers out in force

The Magazine Returns team at Wednesbury must be experts at car valeting by now – they raised another £175 looking after their colleagues cars in May.  Karen Hughes, Gary Dawes, Lee Aldridge, Dean Crockford and Paul Kilminster washed, waxed, polished and vacuumed 15 vehicles. What heroes!

Wax on, wax off!

[caption id="attachment_767" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Is Craig enjoying the experience?"][/caption]

We have a few gentlemen around the business who are putting themselves through some pain in order to raise money for Community Week - by having their legs waxed!

Dan Giles from the New Selling Point team at Wakefield House raised £82 for Help for Heroes with his efforts and Craig Smith from Wednesbury raised over£100.

Well done lads!

[caption id="attachment_765" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Dan half way through..."][/caption]