Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Ready... Get Set... Grow!

[caption id="attachment_4202" align="alignleft" width="300"] Look! Even Royal Mail are getting in on the act![/caption]

Let's Grow! Teams and individuals taking part in the Movember Challenge should arrange to have their 'Before' pictures taken today, so they have a 'clean sheet' ready for November's growing.

So far we have participants from:

  • NAC - The NAC Banditos

  • Trade Marketing - Matt Piper and Tim Edridge

  • Since writing about Matt and Tim, they've been joined by six of their Trade Marketing colleagues - Neil Davies, Andy Dunkerley, Rob Mackenzie, Jas Rehal, Nick Scraggs, and Darrell Stead

  • Add you or your team's details here by completing a Publicity Form. NB this will kick-start your fundraising with a £20 donation!

At the time of writing, fundraising is already underway (over £100 and counting), even though it's not quite November yet :)

We'll be back soon to see how everyone's growing!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Steve Finishes the Course

[caption id="attachment_4213" align="alignleft" width="225"] Steve shows off his finisher's medal[/caption]

It may be a while since Community Week, but the fundraising keeps going!

This week we have news via Birmingham House of Steve Milner's successful completion of the Coventry Half Marathon on October 14th.

Steve ran the course in an impressive time of 1 hour 47 minutes and 6 seconds and raised £360 for Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Solihull in the process.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Cayleb Meets St David's

[caption id="attachment_4175" align="alignleft" width="640"] Judy Read, Cayleb Needham, Sally (St David’s representative) and Andrew Herbert[/caption]

We have further news from one of our From S to N cycle riders! Newport House's Cayleb Needham recently presented the cheque for the monies raised to his chosen charity St David's Foundation. Andrew Herbert also gave a bottle of whisky as a raffle prize for a local event the foundation is holding on Friday. Cayleb raised over £800 for St David's who provide local hospice care.

It's great to hear news of the contact you've made with the charities you've been raising funds for. Any stories you have of cheque presentations, follow-up visits or how your chosen charity is using the monies raised are always welcome :)

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Another MoBro!

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="225"] The competition?[/caption]

Hot on the heels of yesterday's Movember post, we have news of another MoBro from Trade Marketing. Tim Edridge will be joining Matt Piper to see who can grow the best moustache.

Next week we'll provide details of everyone who's taking part. Tell us about you or your team's entry into this year's fun via the Publicity Form.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Are You Gearing Up for Movember?

[caption id="attachment_4166" align="alignright" width="300"] Can you guess the use for this mystery object found last Sunday?[/caption]

We have news coming in of teams getting together for this year's Movember Challenge :)

First up are the NAC Banditos from the National Accounting Centre: Andrew Stone (OPS Liaison Senior Clerk), Mike Ward (Publisher Accounts Clerk), John Jefferson (Publisher Accounts Clerk) & Adam Hellewell (Publisher Accounts Clerk).

Says Andrew:

Here at the NAC we have a proud history of fundraising through a wide range of events. Here was a chance have a bit of fun with facial hair and raise money for a very worthwhile cause.

A photo will be arranged of the team on November 1st and then maybe some during the month charting the progress of moustaches.

Matt Piper, Trade Marketing's Territory Manager is also going to Support a cause close to my heart. He believes other colleagues are intending to take part from Trade Marketing and we look forward to hearing from them shortly.

Good luck to everyone taking part! NB There's still time to get a team together to join them for the start of Movember on November 1st.

Did you guess the mystery object? It's a moustache curler - an older version of curling tongs!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Michael's Blog: Post Olympics

[caption id="attachment_4155" align="alignright" width="300"] After a post - Olympic whirlwind of activities, Michael has got back into training at Bath University. He also visited Swindon Dolphins last week, who described him as a "great ambassador for our sport" :)[/caption]

Where has the time gone?! I can't believe it's been over 2 months since the Olympic Games. There have been so many exciting events in the aftermath so there’s a lot to fill you in on!

Firstly, thank you all for your messages and support over the last 12 months, especially during the trials event in March - it really has made a difference and I'm delighted we have a medal to show for it.  My whole career has been in preparation for the 2012 summer and I didn't give much thought to events taking place in the seasons following the Olympic Games but it’s already underway.

The Games were everything I hoped they would be. The atmosphere in the Olympic village, the enthusiasm from the games makers and volunteers, bumping into sporting superstars and having breakfast with them too all helped create the Olympic experience.  I felt there was a mutual respect between the athletes, all aware of the commitment and preparation that has gone before.

From a performance perspective, the British swim team didn't perform as well as we should have and I'm not too sure why. The advantage of a home crowd was a huge positive for me and a pressure that I felt comfortable and relaxed in. I love the big occasions, it's the main reason I'm in the sport and I couldn't help but smile when parading to my block pre races.  Swimming in the 100m breaststroke before the 200m was perfect preparation. I swam a sizeable best time and from then on, the nerves were outweighed by excitement.

After the semi-final of the 200m, I knew I had more in the tank and that a medal was a possibility, but I never allowed myself to think of Gold - something I regret now. Daniel Gyurta, unbeaten in 4 years, was the overwhelming favourite and I didn't believe I could beat him, until it was too late. I'd targeted 2.08.0 in 2006 as a time I was capable of swimming and one which 'should' be enough to make the podium. The final turned out to be the first race of my career where I've surprised myself.

I felt strong during the race - the years of 'one more rep' circuits, sleeping in altitude tents, living in a cardboard box sized studio room in Paris and the self-imposed alcohol bans all paying off.  Relief and happiness were closely matched after the race; I definitely had a fear of failure in the lead up to the Games, which I managed to get under control after the trials in March.

Since the Games, I had a busy but sizeable break from the water, the highlight being meeting my sporting idol, Pele, at a function in London. I was hugely honoured to meet him and to have a few words of advice about the importance of respect and self-belief.

In the past few weeks, I've gone back to the water and started training again. The challenge for me now is to look at the Olympic Games as another breakthrough. I'll have much more pressure on my performances now and any major international that doesn't result in a medal finish will be viewed as a disappointment.

I don't want the Olympic Games to be my career highlight and so have had no trouble in terms of motivation to get back to training. I'll be competing at the World short course Champs in Istanbul in December and then the British Champs as a qualifier for the World long course in Barcelona next summer.

Thanks again for all your support & hopefully we will be celebrating more medals in the coming seasons! :)

Thanks Michael - it's great to hear your personal experience of the Games! There were lots of hoarse voices around Smiths News for a few days from cheering you on so much ;)

We're all so proud of your achievements and glad to have lent our support along the way. We're looking forward to welcoming you to our Community Awards event on November 2nd.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Cuppa Anyone?

Rachel Cook (Communications Team) and Nic Hewlett (Finance) made sure break time was extra special at Wakefield House recently by signing up for Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning.

They take up the story:

Our Macmillan Coffee Morning was a great success! The the ladies in our Blue Apple staff canteen very kindly offered free tea and coffee to those who donated or bought some cake during the morning (although the cake sales went on right through the afternoon!)

Staff at Wakefield House baked some amazing cakes, so we offered tasters and asked people to vote on which was their favourite! The winner was Nic Hewlett and her A-MAZ-ING ‘Chocolate Brooklyn Blackout’ cake. Nic won a bottle of wine and the baking Queen crown :) Unfortunately it sold out too quickly to even get a photo!

Around 70 staff took part and helped raise a grand total of £64.08; enough to pay for a specialist Macmillan nurse for nearly three hours.

Mmmm - forget The Great British Bake Off, that cake sounds scrummy! Can we have the recipe please? ;)

**News Flash**

Bertrams also held a Macmillan Coffee Morning and HR's Frances Plant brings us further news:

Thank you for everyone’s support in the Macmillian Coffee morning on Friday. With late notice of our cake bake, we still managed to have a fabulous range of home cooked cakes on offer and they certainly sold really well.

I am delighted to confirm that we raised a total of £119.55.

In addition those in Rushden held their cake and bake on Monday this week and raised a further £52.50

Our total therefore being £172.05