Thursday, 28 July 2011

Blood, sweat and beers

Hot on the heels of Mike Makinson's update, Steve Benson tells us how the folk at Manchester House got along on the recent Manchester to Blackpool charity ride:

"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

Amazing Fete

[caption id="attachment_1216" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Charities supported by Wednesbury"][/caption]

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
• Archery
• Large Blow up Slide
• Trampoline on a Rope
• Face Painting
• Owls

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

Hair loss in Southampton

Well done to Dave Winn, House Manager, Southampton, and the Southampton staff - they've raised £210 for the charity AAIR, who are funding research at Southampton General Hospital.  Dave got sponsored to shave his hair off!

[caption id="attachment_1208" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Before..."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1209" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="...and after!"][/caption]

Manchester to Blackpool by bike

Well done to Mike Makinson, Trade Marketing, and to staff at Manchester House, who completed the 61-mile Manchester to Blackpool bike ride as part of Community Week.

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."

Alternative bike riders cross the finish line

Staff at NNO/NNSC Borehamwood managed to complete their Alternative Bike Ride, with some enthusiastic participants along the way.

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

And the work goes on...

Well Community Week may have officially drawn to a close, but some of our staff are still determined to bring in the cash for charity.

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

Yeovil get in on the act

Yeovil decided to throw their hat in the ring with the car washers, and run a carwashing fundraiser of their own.  They also made bacon butties which were sold to the staff. They raised £50 in the process.  The money will go towards sponsoring Steve Elliott who completed the A-B Bike Ride in aid of Rowcroft Hospice.

Malvern Challenge a success

[caption id="attachment_1178" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The team at the top"][/caption]

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: "

More biking at Manchester

Manchester House have also been getting in on the bike action, holding a challenge on a stationary bike during Community Week. They also held a car wash, a raffle and sold breakfast and lunch, making a grand total for the week of £307 raised.

[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]

Welsh Dragons out in force

[caption id="attachment_1163" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Out on the River Wye[/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

3 Amigos Bowling Night

[caption id="attachment_1155" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Ready for action"][/caption]

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]

Pooh Bear seen at Hammersmith

Hammersmith House raised a brilliant £140 by holding  a raffle and a breakfast morning.  They will be supporting the British Heart Foundation with the money raised.

It seems as though their choice of prize for the raffle proved popular...

Afternoon tea abounds!

Newcastle were very keen to take part in an 'afternoon tea' event at their depot, they even had a Wimbledon theme!  They raised £42 from what looks like a delicious fundraiser.

[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]

Commercial raise funds for CRUK

[caption id="attachment_1130" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Before the start[/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]

On the treadmill for Bristol managers

Bristol Group senior managers were put through their paces for Community Week, with Glen Baxter, Kelly Leech, Jim Gorton, John Whitton and Ian Griffin set up to do a treadmill challenge.  Staff were charged to guess how far the managers travelled in a 12-hour period, with a prize for the winner.

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]


[caption id="attachment_1091" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="Ian Griffin's turn"][/caption]

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Anyone for cricket?

Birmingham House held a Cricket Match and a Cake Day recently, raising an impressive £350.  The money is being donated to local charities, Military Patients and the Neonatal Unit at the hospital.

The cricket match took place at the nearby Saltley Leisure Centre, and members of the night and twilight staff played their parts well.  In the end the match was won by the night team, who beat the twilight team in both innings.  A fun day out was had by all, players and spectators alike.

Meanwhile Jo Hall and Teresa Hughes sold cakes to staff, which had been made by Jo, Angela Knight, Ann Windmill and Gail Butler.

[caption id="attachment_1125" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Cakes aplenty!"][/caption]

Staff unrecognised at work

[caption id="attachment_1113" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Paul Latham and Richard Hartley. Or is Bart Simpson and Marilyn Monroe?"][/caption]

Along with tea parties and cake bakes Plymouth Group held a Fancy Dress day, as part of their 'final push' to raise funds for Community Week.

Mel Howes, Secretary at Plymouth, organised the fancy dress day. The total amount raised between their fancy dress escapades, tea party and breakfast morning came to a fantastic £241in aid of Children's Hospice South West Precious Lives appeal.

The ‘dressed’ on the day were: Marion Henry (SBR) as Wonderwoman, Ross Smith (SBR) as a Pirate, Richard Hartley as a woman, Paul Latham as a skateboarder, Mel Howes as Cruella de Vil, Di Parker (CS) as a little devil, Kathy Ball (CS) as a hawaiian girl and last but not least Ken Woods as a 70’s rock star.

Liverpool's running total...

Liverpool House have been literally running around raising money for Community Week, in particular for cancer charities.

[caption id="attachment_1107" align="alignleft" width="124"] Brian Murphy after his marathon run[/caption]

Brian Murphy ran a half marathon and raised £542 for three charities: Zoe's Place, Macmillan and a local charity called Cry.

Louise Broadhurst, Liverpool transport manager, who lost her mum to cancer in January, raised £255 by running the Cancer Research Race for Life.

Night staff and NRS staff joined in with Nottingham House in the inter house football tournament and raised £140 which went to Clatterbridge Cancer Hospital.

[caption id="attachment_1108" align="aligncenter" width="519"] Race for LIfe ladies[/caption]

And Matt Tyrer held a charity night in honour of his dad Monty Tyrer whom he lost to cancer in April - raising £740 for Clatterbridge Cancer Hospital.

What an amazing amount of money raised altogether - well done Liverpool!

NAC active for charity

Amongst other things the NAC held a sponsored walk and a car wash as part of their Community Week efforts.

A group of fifteen walkers plus one dog arrived at the NAC on a Saturday morning equipped for all weathers. After a two and a half hour gruelling 10km walk along the Spen Valley Greenway, collecting a few blisters and aching feet along the way, they arrived at the Ship Inn, Mirfield, for some well-deserved liquid refreshment. Sponsorship currently stands at £500 raised - congratulations to those who took part!

[caption id="attachment_1098" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="NAC walkers en route"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1099" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Catching a lift?"][/caption]

And their car wash volunteers set straight to the task at 9.00 am.  Having studied the in-depth instructions on how to wash a vehicle, getting to grips with a kinky hose, and the logistics of staff moving cars to the designated area at the allotted time, the operation ran smoothly (as long as you didn’t mind getting your feet wet). Twenty four cars were washed in total by a team of 22 volunteers, who raised £120! The car park has never had so many shiny vehicles in it and there were no complaints from the car owners. A big thank you to all involved!

Slough's turn for the footie

[caption id="attachment_1081" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Kamran heading for a goal, to bring his Day Pack team back in the game"][/caption]

Well done to Slough House who held a charity football match for Community Week,  and raised £90 on the day.
They had two teams of 5, Day Pack team Vs Twilight.  The final score was 7-7, but Twilight clinched the game on penalties. 

[caption id="attachment_1082" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The winning Twilight team, with Alan Bowen, Slough House Manager"][/caption]