Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Simon's Alpine Challenge Day 2: The Hardest Climb

[caption id="attachment_3834" align="aligncenter" width="640"] The mountains around Col du Glandon with Mont Blanc just visible in the distance[/caption]

Well we made it! We reached the summit of the Col de la Croix de Fer and I can safely say it was the hardest cycle climb I have done to date - even Alpe d'Huez. It was a long hard slog of 30 km with very little respite and things weren't helped by the fact it was very hot day. I went through over 6 litres of water and isotonic drinks before I had reached the top!

When we got to the Col de la Croix de Fer the views were spectacular. We treated ourselves to a well deserved beer outside a cafe at the Col. Loads of other cyclists were there looking professional with their shaved legs!

After the Col de la Croix de Fer we moved onto the Col du Glandon where we took some more photos including a sculpture that had been prepared for the Tour de France that had only just passed over the Col du Glandon only a couple of weeks before us.

After the Col du Glandon we made a high speed descent to the Maurienne valley - the roads still covered with slogans and the names of Tour de France cyclists: Go Wiggo!, Allez Voeckler etc. I hope to provide a video of our descent of the Col du Glandon at some stage.

After we reached the valley floor I noticed that one of my water bottles was nearly falling out of its cage because it had become squashed - I then realised that because we had come from high altitude the increase in air pressure lower down was the reason this had happened.

The next big ride will be the Col du Galiber on Wednesday so my next blog entry will appear on Thursday.

Tomorrow is a well deserved rest day!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Simon's Alpine Challenge Day 1: Warming Up

[caption id="attachment_3805" align="alignright" width="224"] View of the hotel - looks like it welcomes cyclists![/caption]

As promised a couple of weeks ago, Simon Cousins brings us his first guest post about his Alpine cycling challenge. Without further ado, it's over to you Simon...

Well we finally made it to our destination, Saint Jean de Maurienne, after a 14 hour drive through France. Our hotel is in the centre of town and only a few yards away from the start of the Col de la Croix de Fer climb.

The weather today (Sunday) has been perfect, so we went out on a "warm up" ride along the Maurienne valley towards the town of Saint Michel de
Maurienne, which lies at the start of the really big climb of Col du Galibier. My legs felt pretty good considering that I hadn't done any training for the last 4 weeks due to illness, so we decided to do some small climbs for practice. These went well.

[caption id="attachment_3808" align="alignleft" width="300"] Imagine the noise from all those bells![/caption]

In the afternoon we drove up the Col de Madeleine, which is very steep and goes on for several miles. On the way up we passed several cyclists slowly grinding it out - which only reminded us of what was in store for us! At the top of the Col de Madeleine I took some photos. One photo I took was of about 200 cows - many of them were wearing a bell.
The noise they created as they clanked across the alpine pasture was pretty deafening!

Tomorrow is our first big climb - the Col de la Croix de Fer. It looks like it is going to be very hot so we are setting off early in attempt to avoid the midday sun.

I will let you all know how we got in tomorrow's blog.

Wish us luck!

Thanks for a great first post Simon - looking forward to your next one!

Michael's Olympics: A Great Start

Michael is in great form.

Those of you who watched him over the weekend are probably wondering why I've said that because he didn't make the 100m breaststroke final. He came agonisingly close in 9th spot in a time of 59.89 seconds.

It's a massive personal best for Michael AND a Scottish record, in a time which he swam twice thus proving it's not a flash in the pan. Not bad for starters!

Michael has now proved he deserved to race in the 100m by swimming Team GB's best time at the Games. A time under the magic minute is a fantastic achievement. That medley relay spot beckons :)

I'm also impressed with Michael's demeanor. He's obviously excited to be there yet relaxed. He really wants to swim AND is loving the home crowd. The 100m has allowed him to settle into the routine of competing ahead of his main event.

In both TV interviews after his swims he thanked everyone for all the messages of support, so they're making a huge difference to his confidence. Leave yours for Michael's 200m campaign - which starts tomorrow - in the Comments below.

I'll leave the last words to Michael who tweeted on Saturday:

Really happy with the times today, big PB's & a wee Scottish Record...but bit gutted to miss final! Taken big step forward after 15th in 100 at worlds last year! Looking forward to 200m on Tuesday, need to make that final!! Good night for GB all round, amazinggg atmosphere! :)


Sorry for filling up the twitter feed with thank you tweets lol but I think I've replied to them all! Can't thank enough, been amazing! :)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Chicks Also Go Bowling

[caption id="attachment_3762" align="alignleft" width="300"] Team Alley Cats[/caption]

Our second report today is also about a bowling event. This time, Debbie Nichols of Wakefield House has a tale of The Chicks and 3 Amigos...

As part of the Chicks and the Beanstalk's fundraising for their Sense and Ridgeway Walk efforts, a tenpin bowling night was held on July 9th in Swindon. The opportunity was taken to involve the 3 Amigos bowling team, a team of visually impaired players, who you may remember were mentioned in Dispatches last year.

[caption id="attachment_3765" align="alignleft" width="300"] The 3 Amigos play in distinctive purple shirts[/caption]

After an exciting night's play, Ann Stone (Alan Stone's wife) was best female with 210 points and Dan Wilson playing for the 3 Amigos was best male player with 317 points. The 3 Amigos were the best team with an impressive total of  1256 points.

£710 was raised (with possibly more donations to come) which will be split between the 3 Amigos and Sense.

The 3 Amigos are again on the hunt for glory at their national championships, so we wish them well in their campaign.

It's a time when the word "Strike" has a positive meaning!

Bowling Along at Bertrams

[caption id="attachment_3757" align="aligncenter" width="640"] And the players are... James Payton, Bernadette Nyulasz, Jaimie Dorward, Hollie McCluskey, Michelle Gee, Melanie Napthen, Ben Beach, Jamie Kent, Jason Cherrington, Dale Pascoe, Ian Hendrie, Jonathan Denton, Darren Turner, Nicola Jones[/caption]

Melanie Napthen, Purchase Ledger Assistant at Bertrams organised a bowling tournament at the Funscape Bowling Alley Norwich on July 23rd.

Fifteen people over three teams competed to take home the trophy and all important winners certificate. There were various runner up prizes all donated by local companies ranging from cinema tickets to chocolate.

At the end of the 2 games the overall winner was announced, congratulations to Ben Beach who looked very pleased with his trophy which now has pride of place on his desk in IT.
The highest scoring bowlers from each team were Hollie McCluskey, Jonathon Denton and of course Ben. The highest scorers took home a lucky dip prize; Hollie is already planning what she will see with her theatre tickets!

After a promising first game Nicola Jones took home the certificate for lowest score of the second game and Bernadette Nyulasz took home a box of chocolates for the overall lowest score. Perhaps a tactical move for the chocolate?!

If there was a prize for most entertaining bowling technique it would most definitely have gone to finance's Dale Pascoe, the video is probably making the rounds on YouTube already!

Overall the night was a huge success raising a total of £210! The funds raised will go to Refuge, a charity offers protection for victims of domestic violence and abuse.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Michael's Blog: Ready for the Games

We received Michael's latest guest post a couple of weeks ago. As he's in a more reflective mood this time, it seemed appropriate to save it for when the Games are just a few days away... 

It seems like yesterday I was celebrating the success of London’s bid to host the Olympic Games in July 2005. I was in school, huddled around the TV with my class mates and I distinctly remember thinking that 2012 would be my chance to become an Olympian!

I’ve swam up and down the black line on the bottom of the pool since then, with the thought of becoming an Olympian providing more than enough motivation for the early morning starts.

The journey has been a long one, but I wouldn’t change any of it thus far. I couldn’t have swum any longer or any harder since I made the decision to pursue this and that is proving comforting as we enter the final stretch of training before competition.

The last of my training cycle was completed in Paris over the weekend – I finished 1st in the 200m Breaststroke, an important victory against a few swimmers who were in the World Championship Final last year. Also, if it’s any consolation, the weather is just as unpredictable in Paris – my race was delayed due to a thunder, lightning and hail storm!

From now, I have three weeks of ‘tapering’ –a gradual decrease in volume and intensity in the pool and gym, in the hope of peaking in London. It’s a great time of the year :) my main concern is how many episodes of the latest TV show I can fit in between training sessions!

I can’t change the work I’ve done in the past few weeks, months or years, it’s all in the bank now. The key for me is to stay relaxed. If I do feel like I’m losing perspective or putting too much pressure on myself, I’ll use the strategies that I’ve been working on with the psychologist.

I’ve now been selected to swim the 100m Breaststroke Individual, sadly because of withdrawal from my friend Dan Sliwinski. I had mixed feelings about this at first. I finished 3rd at the trials in March, undeserving of a spot in this event.  I was desperately disappointed for Dan but now it’s important for me to put in a strong performance, to prove I am worthy of the Individual spot and to give me a boost in confidence before racing the 200m later in the week. Having a positive first swim settles the nerves and will be invaluable in preparation for the 200m. Racing the 100m also means I will be eligible for selection in the 4x100m Individual Medley Relay. I was part of the Relay at last year’s World Champs and loved it, we finished 6th with a young, inexperienced team so will be looking to improve on that this year!

I’m feeling confident and relaxed in my preparation - I have nothing to lose. No-one is expecting medals from my performances, except myself.  I’ve targeted a medal since I decided to chase this Olympic spot and it’s not going to change now. There are nine swimmers ranked within 1.5 seconds of each other in my event, so making the Final will be more difficult than achieving a podium finish. The difference could be that I’m the only one with home court advantage – a man with nothing to lose and an arena full of Brits behind him is dangerous!

As always, thank you all for your continued support. Hopefully, the next blog you read will be in celebration!! :)

What a fab post! Now, Michael needs all the help he can get to ensure he gets to those all important Finals. Show your support by leaving him a Comment below and we'll make sure he gets all  your messages to help get him well ahead of his rivals.

You can also follow Michael on Twitter where he tweets as @mj88live. His supporters have already adopted the #teamjamieson hashtag and we'll be following this and Michael's twitter account to bring you news of Michael's Olympic journey.

On Friday we'll be publishing the dates and times of Michael's swims, plus details of where the best TV coverage is to be found.


Update - just after 10am, Michael tweeted:

Holding camp in Edinburgh finished - had a great time! Back to the village today, almost time to race!! :)

Friday, 20 July 2012

Another Walk for Lincoln

[caption id="attachment_3695" align="alignleft" width="569"] Paul Burton presents his cheque to Vivienne Chambers, fundraiser for Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance[/caption]

Night Worker, Paul Burton from Lincoln House recently completed a 26 mile walk whilst away on holiday. He raised an amazing £500 for his chosen charity – Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance.

Without access to a computer to fill in a publicity form, Paul wrote asking if his fundraising efforts could be included in our Community Week total. It was an absolute delight to read, and lovely to know he’d taken the time to hand-write a letter and include a photo.

Hand-written letters are such a rarity these days – and it’s great to hear that staff are off doing great things for charity, and taking the time to let us know. What a gem!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Simon Takes The Alpine Cycle Challenge

[caption id="attachment_3720" align="alignright" width="598"] Alpe d’Huez – Altitude 6120 – 8 Miles of Climbing[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3716" align="alignleft" width="237"] Simon on Alpe d'Huez in 2007[/caption]

Next week Simon Cousins of Wakefield House embarks on a special journey which is set to give him some spectacular sights. Here's the details in his own words and pictures...

Between 28th July and 3rd August I will be taking on my biggest cycle challenge yet by riding up four well-known mountain climbs that appear in the Tour de France. These climbs are the Col du Galibier, Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Glandon and Alpe d’Huez.  The Col du Galibier, at 8678 feet and 22 miles of climbing, will be the big one and at the top the air is quite thin! Alpe d’Huez is the best known climb on the Tour de France with its 21 hairpin bends and very steep gradient (around 11% in some places). My aim is to ride this non-stop – 8 miles of pure torture!

[caption id="attachment_3717" align="alignleft" width="300"] Col du Galibier – Altitude 8678 Feet – 22 Miles of Climbing[/caption]

I hope to keep everyone updated by submitting a blog with photos and videos for each day that I am climbing.

I am embarking on this challenge to raise money for a small, Swindon-based charity called DASH (Discovering Autistic Spectrum Happiness) which provides help and support to young adults with autistic spectrum disorders. DASH have really helped my daughter, Laura, increase her levels of confidence in social situations.  In 2011 DASH were nearly out of funds but the Smiths News cycle ride that did last year, from Aberystwyth to Norwich, managed to raise £2,300. This amount, I was told by the charity’s secretary, would be enough to fund DASH’s evening social group for at least a year. This year it would be really great if I could raise some more funds on behalf of DASH to ensure that they continue their good work.

[caption id="attachment_3718" align="alignleft" width="300"] Col du Glandon – Altitude 6312 Feet – 13 Miles of Climbing[/caption]

If you would like to sponsor me you can do this online on my Just Giving web page.

Good luck Simon - we look forward to hearing all about it, as and when it happens!

If we get more pictures like these, we're in for a treat :)

[caption id="attachment_3719" align="aligncenter" width="573"] Col de la Croix de Fer – Altitude 6781 – 19 Miles of Climbing[/caption]

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Consortium Prove They're Up to the Challenge

[caption id="attachment_3680" align="aligncenter" width="640"] The path ahead - nice ;)[/caption]

Heavy rain and plenty of mud wasn't enough to put The Consortium off the White Horse Challenge over the weekend of 6th/7th July. Here's their official report...

Staff from The Consortium put their best feet forward over the weekend to take part in a 55 mile walk to raise money for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

A total of 22 volunteers took part in the two day challenge which takes in Wiltshire’s white horses along its route.

Six staff took on the full 55 miles with another four completing it in relay teams. Three people finished

the One Day Challenge of 29 miles and a further nine took part in the Family Walk on Sunday.

Unfortunately the weather was not kind and the walkers endured every kind of rain from drizzle to torrential downpours! Despite this, the mud and many blisters, they walked over 500 miles in total!

The sponsorship money is still coming in but they the final amount is likely to be an impressive £3,600 which will help to keep the Wiltshire Air Ambulance flying. Well done to all who took part!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Bertrams Staff Get Quizzical

[caption id="attachment_3699" align="alignleft" width="199"] Kirsty McLaren with her limited edition Philippa Gregory novel[/caption]

The Marketing and Bibliographic teams at Bertrams ensured their colleagues were thoroughly flummoxed for the whole of June when they devised a fiendish quiz to test their general knowledge.

Participants were invited to buy copies of the quiz, comprising questions on the following topics: Sport (not your normal sport fare, mind – the first question concerned bog snorkelling!); Literature (including a Norwich-specific question); History; Music & Pop Culture (which revealed what subject Kermit the Frog has an honorary degree in); Science; and a good old Picture Round.

Winners were announced on Thursday, 5th of July. The prizes included Hunger Games goodies, Lego sets, a box of Belgian beer, a case of wine (won by Marketing’s Frances Staton who got 95/100), a limited edition Philippa Gregory novel (won by Bertrams’ Kirsty McLaren who also got

[caption id="attachment_3700" align="alignright" width="199"] Malcolm Aitchison with some very special whisky[/caption]

95/100) and a very special 20-year-old bottle of Highland Park whisky (won by a pleased-looking Malcolm Aitchison, who works in Stock Replenishment, and who got 97/100).

People were very pleased, if not a little flummoxed, by the quiz, and another round is promised for next year by the organisers, Stephanie Sykes and Gareth Evans.

£144 was raised for Priscilla Bacon Lodge, which specialises in palliative care in Norwich. Several charities were nominated and this received the most votes as people wanted to support a local charity.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Lincoln Marathon Walk

[caption id="attachment_3674" align="alignleft" width="219"] Greetwell Hall - Chapel[/caption]

On 20th June, Leigh Watson and Keith Hall of Lincoln House undertook a marathon walk from Woodhall to the Arboretum in Fiskerton, along part of the Viking Way. They've raised around £250  in aid of Lincoln District Scouts - fantastic!

Keith has sent in a full report of the day's activities, together with lots of photos, so let's join him and Leigh on their walk... 

First job of the day was to get to the start point, so off to Lincoln to pick up Leigh at 05.30 and for once he was on time and waiting for me.

We then drove to the small car park at the far end of the Woodhall golf course which is where the car was to remain for the day.  It was a bit chilly to start with but by the time we had walked through the golf course into Woodhall it had warmed up considerably, but not as warm as it was to become later on.

We picked up the Viking trail proper, i.e. On footpaths and tracks on the river side of Woodhall, and the next civilisation we would visit would be Stixwould. This is a very small village and we were through it and back onto farmland in a very short time.

We also tried to photograph all the local wildlife but the birds just wouldn't pose.  So the pics are very few and far between, but we did see the odd owl, bird of prey and unidentified various finches.

The next village en-route was Southrey, this if anything was smaller than Stixwould and just as pretty. Again we were througth there in a couple of minutes and then on to Bardney for a pause and photoshoot. We were not quite halfway at 11 miles and it only took us 3 and a half hours.

So after a quick drink of water with some biccies and of course the picture for the Scouting organisation off we went. The footpaths took a turn for the worse although it was supposed to be the New Route. Luckily we had a map tucked away, so we did stay true to the Viking way.

The next real town would be Fiskerton but until then we passed through various farms and villages, and of course the odd points of historical interest such as Tupholme Abbey and what remains of Barlings Abbey

One of the villages we passed through was Stainfield and it must be said that it was a very well kept village except maybe for the village sign which was completely hidden from view by foliage.

We were now on the final leg of the walk and as we arrived at the river in Fiskerton we had the Cathedral in our view. It would stay in view as an inspiration to us as the walk along the bank was very strength sapping because the grass was up to waist high. So 4 miles along the bank seemed like considerably more.

By the time we got off the footpaths and onto the industrial site we were beginning to fade so the sight of the finish which was the Arboretum was welcome.

We made straight for the cafe and the age difference showed as I had a cup of tea and Leigh had a can of Vimto.

Looking at the GPS at the end it showed 42.03 kms which is just about exactly the length of the Marathon. It took us 9 hrs 29 mins, which I think is quite good.

Quite good? It's excellent Keith. Thanks for sending in your travellers' tale and photos :)

Friday, 13 July 2012

Towpath Tribe News

[caption id="attachment_3632" align="aligncenter" width="640"] The Towpath Tribe - all booted up and ready![/caption]

You may remember Worcester's TowPath Tribe were walking from Birmingham back home to Worcester along the canal network during Community Week. Clare Morgan gives us the insider's report on how they got on...

[caption id="attachment_3637" align="alignleft" width="224"] Hear me roar![/caption]

Last Sunday [1st July - Ed] the incredible TowPath Tribe completed their epic 31 mile trek from Gas Street Basin, Birmingham to Diglis Basin, Worcester.

It took the team a total of just over 12 hours of joy and pain to complete the walk and resulted in more than a few sore legs and inconveniently placed blisters!

An anonymous team spokesperson has the following comment…“Pure Agony”. Another colleague (who cannot be named for legal reasons) comments “All I could think about was food and getting a drink at the end.”

Thanks again to everyone that took part, has helped out in any way or has donated to these great causes. It’s hugely appreciated by a lot of people.

[caption id="attachment_3640" align="alignleft" width="300"] Taking well deserved refreshment[/caption]

Clare also says the team have raised at least £2,500, which is an amazing effort! It’s not too late to make a donation on their Just Giving page if you haven’t already…

All proceeds are being split between Acorns Children’s Hospice, Worcester and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

As well as the selection of photos sent to illustrate this post, it's rumoured that more can be found on Worcester's common drive, plus a further selection on public display on the community week board. If you find yourself in Worcester you may like to take a look at how the day progressed for the guys.

The Towpath Tribe are: Clare Morgan, Laura McDonald, Natalie Kirk, Becky Edwards, Andy Walls, Andy Wheeldon, James Lamb, James Atkinson, Pete Geoghegan, Phil Williams, Paul Smith, Alex Williams and Luke Simons.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Robson's 5 Meet Their Goal

[caption id="attachment_3618" align="aligncenter" width="570"] Steven Adams,Craig Berry, Graham Eccleston, Chris Etherington, Scott Hunter, Phil Lennox, Stephen Robson, Jordan Veal and Derek Watt[/caption]

Chris Etherington, Returns Supervisor at Newcastle House has news of a 5-a-side football tournament he and 8 other colleagues played in on July 1st at Soccerworld, Newcastle.

The team raised £105 in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Sir Bobby was a Local Hero in Newcastle, hence the name Robson's 5 for the team. Chris adds:

The highlight of the afternoon was Phil (Wobbly Legs) Lennox in goal saving penalties to get the team into the semi-final - Joe Hart eat your heart out!!

The team finished in third place - out of twenty-six teams. Absolutely brilliant!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Race For Life - At The Double!

We have news of 2 further completions of this year's Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research UK.

[caption id="attachment_3646" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Picture captions from left to right: 1. Warming up before the race 2. Miss Chris Team before the race 3. Miss Chris t-shirts 4. Team Swindon - We did it! Medals Awarded![/caption]

Firstly, here's a some pictures and a thank you from Wakefield House's Nora Roth (pictured on the left in the first picture), who ran in Salisbury on July 1st.

Well I managed to complete the 5k Race for Life in Salisbury yesterday with “Team Swindon” and the rest of the “Miss Chris” Team – Miss Chris being the name my late sister-in-law Julie was known as by the pupils she taught. The weather could have been better but at least it didn’t rain on us but it was freezing cold until we started “running”! Well actually we jogged/walked the course but nevertheless in not too shabby a time of around 42 mins!

So thank you once again for your support and generosity, together we have raised £365 for Cancer Research UK with more still coming in!

There are more pictures are on my just giving page if you’re interested.

Nora also ran in support of her niece Lindsay who lives in the Salisbury area. The “Team Swindon” members were Nora, her other sister-in-law plus her niece, Adrienne & Danielle.

Our second successful completion of this year's Race for Life for this post was Plymouth House's Patricia Taylor who ran in Plymouth's event held on 24th June, right at the start of Community Week.

She joined 3,000 other women on Plymouth Hoe who ran, walked, roller-skated or who were pushed around the 5km course in wheelchairs.

Patricia's efforts resulted in a total of £139 raised - fantastic!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Putting the Fun Into Fundraising

[caption id="attachment_3584" align="alignleft" width="300"] The tombola in full flow. From left to right are Chloe Webb, Aileen Newsome, Vicky Rhodes & Kate Jewson[/caption]

We're still catching up with all your fantastic news from Community Week! First up for this week's blog posts is the following report from Chloe Webb and Vicky Rhodes...

[caption id="attachment_3585" align="alignleft" width="300"] Mike Ward with his tombola loot[/caption]

The NAC used Community Week as an opportunity for some Fun-Raising.  Having already held our main events in April and May, our thoughts turned to sweets, cakes and ice cream, all of which helped us reach and beat our original fund-raising target of £1600 by £400.  The now infamous NAC Baking Sale was arranged by Chloe Webb and Vicky Rhodes and this raised a fantastic £103 in one day with BLS and Aldermore Finance who also occupy the building joining in.

Chloe and Vicky also arranged a Tombola which was great fun and again raised £120 in less than an hour!

Many of the staff paid to dress down for a whole week and we rounded off the fun with an ice cream parlour treat for everyone on Friday afternoon.

[caption id="attachment_3586" align="alignleft" width="300"] Kathryn Johnson, Kristy Carr and Vicky Holdsworth finishing their well-deserved ice creams[/caption]

You may remember the Smarties Challenge that we started in March which involved filling an empty Smarties tube (having eaten the Smarties first of course) with spare 20p coins.  Around 50 people took part and we raised £550 in total, smashing our £500 target.  A great result.

Fun-tastic everyone! The money raised goes to NAC's nominated local charities: Cancer Support Bradford and Airedale, and SACAR.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Return Match Nets the Same Result

[caption id="attachment_3597" align="alignleft" width="300"] Game on![/caption]

Not content with arranging last year's football tournament, Nottingham House's Joanne Wiltshire ensured there was a repeat performance this year. On Thursday 14th June, 10 teams from the Northern Region's Houses gathered at the Stockport Power League ground to see if the cup could be wrested out of last year's winners' - Stockport - hands.

Each team consisted of a mixture of departments, which were:

[caption id="attachment_3598" align="alignright" width="300"] Wednesbury vs Nottingham[/caption]

  • Wednesbury – 2 Teams

  • Stoke – 1 Team

  • Nottingham – 1 Team

  • Bolton – 1 Team

  • Warrington – 1 Team

  • Liverpool – 2 Teams

  • Stockport – 1 Team, plus a challenge from the...

  • Management Team

Each house puts their £10 per person or £25 management donation towards their chosen charity and around £755 was raised between the 10 houses.

[caption id="attachment_3607" align="alignleft" width="300"] The Final[/caption]Around 68 people took part, with the inclusion of 2 lady players this year for Bolton. The men didn’t want to be shown up by the women :) [NB this is as written on the Publicity Form submitted - Ed;)]

Stockport again made the final….

... would Wednesbury 1 avenge Nottingham B's defeat in the final last year and run out as the winners?

No, it just wasn't to be - Stockport house won again!! That's 2 years running now. They are the team to beat next year!

Looks like you have a regular event on your hands Joanne!

[caption id="attachment_3610" align="aligncenter" width="640"] The winning team and collecting their winner's trophy[/caption]

Friday, 6 July 2012

Golf's Longest Day

[caption id="attachment_3461" align="alignleft" width="640"] The team from left to right: Mike Moore, Mark Simmons, Russ Hallett and Mullet Farnes[/caption]

Mike Moore (House Manager Croydon) and Mark Simmons (Distribution Manager Crawley) have news of a marathon session of golf played at Chichester Golf Club on the longest day, June 22nd.  They report:

4 rounds of golf were played in one day, starting with first tee off at 5am. 512 stableford points were amassed incorporating 150 pars and 10 birdies. Fine weather / sore feet!

They raised £1,000, split between Newstraid (£600) and Help for Heroes (£400).

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Swindon In Drag

Data Management's Jennifer Taylor at Wakefield House was involved with organising a Community Week event with a difference last weekend, when around 30 people took to the streets and pubs of Swindon town centre in drag! This is the fourth year the event has taken place and was in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Around £700 has been raised so far, though the target is £1,000.

As you can see from the picture set below, everyone looks to have had a really good time in the name of a good cause!

[caption id="attachment_3572" align="aligncenter" width="640"] A few pictures showing everyone enjoying themselves![/caption]

Game On!

[caption id="attachment_3453" align="alignleft" width="640"] The team's all set  - Steve is pictured on the right[/caption]

Steve Main, Group Support Manager at Reading House is organising a 24-hour Dartathlon, which takes place next weekend (13-14th July 2012).

As he explains on his donation page:

A group of 20 Darts Players, including myself, from the West Oxfordshire Darts League, will be playing darts for 24 hours in Aid of Help for Heroes.

We will be playing winner stays on over 4 dart boards. Those not playing at any given time will be officiating on the games in progress.

We will be playing within teams, for individual and team most wins, most points scored, most 180's and highest finish.

The event will be held at the Red Lion, Witney. RAF Brize Norton is in the next village and is where the fallen are now repatriated, hence the selected charity. The team have already reached their £3,000 target. Fantastic!

All are welcome to come and watch and attend the Family Fun day during the Saturday with face painting, bouncy castle and  BBQ.

For those of you who are further away, Steve has also opened a Facebook page, where you can follow the team's progress.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Donated Books Help Raise Funds

[caption id="attachment_3566" align="alignleft" width="224"] Schoolteacher Mrs Lupton, pictured with Aaron[/caption]

Jaimie Dorward and Adrian Warner have been in touch with news of BLS' latest book donation activities.

Books were given to St Paul's C of E primary school in Wibsey, Bradford, which is attended by Jaimie's son Aaron.

On 22nd June, the school held a book sale to raise funds for the library. Their efforts resulted in a  magnificent total of £822.

A White Horse Challenge for The Consortium

The Consortium's Holly Cresswell-Jeal has news of their latest activity to raise money for their chosen charity, Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Next Saturday and Sunday (7-8th July 2012) 24 staff are taking up the White Horse Challenge, a walk around the seven White Horses of Wiltshire. There are a number of different ways of taking part and the participants are as follows:

[caption id="attachment_3449" align="alignleft" width="400"] Some of the boys going the full distance![/caption]

Full 55 Mile Challenge: Dave Stanley, Phil Collins, Rich Longworth, John Butterworth, Dan Baugh & Ian Huntley. This challenge takes place over the event's 2 days.

One Day Challenge: (half distance in one day): Becky Whiting, Ruth Shepherd & Sara Scott.

Relay Challenge - over the two days: Jane Kingman, Jo Trigg, Sharon Gallichan & Sue Owen.

Family Challenge - Sunday only (7 miles): Helen Rose-Johnson, Chris Mercer, Louise Sparke, Kathrin Moore, Gemma Taylor, Donna Oaten, Holly Cresswell-Jeal, Julie Heaven, Jason Clifford, Melanie & Mark Barnett.

They've already raised £410 towards their £500 target!  If you'd like to help them reach that goal, then please visit their Just Giving page.

Good luck everyone - looking forward to hearing how you all got on!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

It's a Triathlon... But Not As We Know It, Jim

We've news of a triathlon with a twist - all the hard work was in the gym!

IT's Sally Willavoys, Andrew Taylor, Andrew Caple and Alan Stone of Wakefield House 'worked out' in the gym at Swindon's Marriott hotel on on Monday 25th June. They each  rowed, cycled and ran a quarter of a marathon in each discipline (10.55km each time), with rowing replacing the swimming leg of a traditional triathlon event.

Thus they ran/rowed/cycled a total of 19.623 miles (31.65 kilometres) each. The first person completed the challenge in 2 hours 15 minutes and  the last in 2 hours 35 minutes. Impressive!

All their efforts were in aid of Prospect Hospice in Swindon, which offers dedicated end of life care and support to patients and their families in the Swindon and North Wilts area. Their care takes place not only at the Hospice, but also at Great Western Hospital and in patients' homes. The service is free to all who need it.

The team's imaginatively titled Just Giving page, Shattered R Us is here.

Ridgeway Walk Completed!

Congratulations to our Ridgeway Walkers! All 3 teams successfully completed their challenge on Sunday morning after a marathon length trek along the ancient Ridgeway. Chicks and the Beanstalk from Wakefield House crossed the finish line after ten hours, with the other two teams taking eleven and eleven and half hours respectively.

We'll feature their travellers' tales as soon as they've recovered sufficiently from their trek to tell us all about it. In the meantime, here are some photos of Borehamwood's The Good the Bad, The Ugly and Mark (first 4 photos), then two of  Chicks and the Beanstalk.

All set ready to go[gallery]

Monday, 2 July 2012

Community Week Revisited: A Further 'Stroll'

Last week I promised a further look at the pictures Mark Silver took whilst tackling the Kirklees Way.  The collage below shows around half of his pictures in the order they were tweeted.

From sweeping landscapes to well observed details, the pictures show the variety this long distance footpath has to offer. Mark's Just Giving page is here.

Update: Mark has also put togther his own collage of his walk in addition to the one shown below, with comments and some extra pictures to those he tweeted - you can view it here :)