Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Vicky Keeps Going

BHF Mending Broken Hearts logoWorcester's Vicky Wheeldon has an update on her Mending Broken Hearts walk for the BHF...

Unfortunately due to this weekend’s weather the BHF cancelled the Sunday walk. I have been told it will be rescheduled and I will let you know the new date.

However, undeterred by the weather we decided to complete “Vicky’s unofficial Mending Broken Hearts” 4 mile walk yesterday.

Taking a walk down by the river the four of us and dog completed the walk in just over 1 hour 30, the cold kept us moving !!

Once again many thanks for your kind donations and I will let you know of the new date once its re-scheduled.

Good for you Vicky - great to see our ongoing winter weather didn't deter you!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Sue's Ready to Zumba

Get ready to ZumbaSue Skillen of Rowan House had an energetic time on March 16th as she took part in a Zumbathon held at Commonweal School in Swindon. The picture shows the report of the event in the local paper.

The 3 hour event was arranged to raise funds for Prospect Hospice, who looked after a member of Sue's family recently.

Overall, the 60 ladies who took part raised around £2,500 and Sue's share was an impressive £150.

Apparently an hour's Zumba burns around 500 calories. Therefore, I can see Zumbathons becoming a popular event!

Monday, 25 March 2013

First Run of the Season Completed

nas-logoWe have news of the first distance run completed for 2013!

Rowan House's Graeme Willis has been in touch to say he completed the Bath Half Marathon in a time of 01:47:47. He raised a grand total of £500 for the National Autistic Society

Well done Graeme - did anyone take a picture of you by any chance? It would be great to see how you got on :)

Friday, 22 March 2013

Red Nose Day Round-up

Last Friday saw an outbreak of red noses - and cakes! - as many locations got down to the serious business of funraising for Comic Relief. Here's a quick tour of the day's highlights...

COMIC RELIEF BAKEOFF 15TH MARCH 13010(2)Borehamwood...

...entered into a Bake Off with strong entries from across the group. Group Manager Jim Sinden was nominated as chief taster which he struggled to say no to!

Jim enjoyed the full experience of tasting all entries and awarded first prize to Becky in CS for a lovely moist carrot cake that was to his liking.

Well done to everyone who took part in the day, raising £160.

RND Bertrams IMG-20130315-WA000And then over at...


A Mary Berry style bake-off raised £271.57 in total.

£41.16 of that came from the sales team following their Onesie/PJ’s and casual wear antics.  The photo is of Carole Fletcher (Account Executive) and Faye Barnes (Account Manager). Faye is on the left, Carole on the right.

The Consortium made sure their presence at the Education Show didn't stop them joining in on the fun! They simply brought forward their Red Nose Day to the Wednesday and held a 'cross-site' event, meaning both Trowbridge and Shrewsbury got involved.

[gallery type="rectangular" link="post" ids="5268,5269,5270,5271"]

As Comic Relief celebrates its 25 year anniversary this year, they chose 'everything 80’s' as their theme for a dress up day. Prizes were awarded for best fancy dress in all locations – for field sales, a prize was on offer for the most subtle costume!

Lots of comic cakes were also baked to celebrate. As you can see they submitted a few pictures of everyone dressed up, but the cakes were snapped up too quickly for photos! A total of  £237 was raised across the two sites.

[gallery type="rectangular" link="post" ids="5274,5275"]

And finally, Rowan House have submitted evidence of cakes disguised as red noses! This was the first cake sale since moving office in Swindon last October, so it was long overdue.

Staff baked lots of cakes and other sweet goodies, which sold extremely well throughout the day. And following demand for some savoury goodies, our resident ‘Great British Baker’ Nic Hewlett (Finance) baked one of her legendary pies - this one was chicken, sausage meat and stuffing. There wasn’t much time to admire it though - as people were queuing up to devour it!

Their funraising netted £136.85, thus making a grand total of £805.42 for this report :)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Vicky is Mending Hearts

[caption id="attachment_4987" align="alignleft" width="640"]The British Heart Foundation's show garden at Chelsea Flower Show in 2011. Designed to raise awareness of their Mending Hearts campaign The British Heart Foundation's show garden at Chelsea Flower Show in 2011. It was designed to raise awareness and to help fund their Mending Broken Hearts appeal[/caption]

Vicky Wheeldon has been in touch with the details of an email she sent recently to all her colleagues in Worcester.  Perhaps others at Smiths News would like to add their support to Vicky's efforts?

"As most of your are probably aware just over two years ago I suffered a heart attack.

Thanks to the support from the British Heart Foundation (BHF), family and friends I made a full recovery.

I am now looking to repay the support I received by raising money for the BHF Mending Broken Hearts appeal.

On Sunday 24th March I will be participating in a 4 mile walk around Worcester with other heart attack survivors. Four miles may not sound far, but for heart attack victims it is a huge step towards full recovery and is an extremely worthwhile cause.

I am hoping you can support me in my quest to raise as much money as possible for the BHF.

You can make a donation via my Just Giving page. It's easy, fast and totally secure. Just Giving sends our donation straight to British Heart Foundation and, if you're a UK tax payer, automatically reclaims Gift Aid on British Heart Foundation's behalf.

Any donations however small will be greatly received and I hope you'll join me in supporting the British Heart Foundation."

Best of luck Vicky and let us know how you got on :)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Newport Get Funraising

[gallery type="rectangular" link="post" ids="5208,5207,5205,5204,5203,5202"]

Newport made sure they had plenty of funraising last week when they held a two-day extravaganza in aid of Comic Relief! Hover your mouse over the pictures for more information and a who's who :)

As well as zipwire, wiggy, biking and onesie action, they sold bacon and sausage baps to warehouse staff on Thursday, together with cakes made by Connor Yalland. Connor is the 10 year-old son of Michelle who works in the office (she's pictured in the middle of the front row in the group photo).  They also held a sweepstake to choose the hairstyle Jessie J would choose after she had her head shaved.

It looks like a lot of fun was had by all! A total of £82.70 was raised for Comic Relief.

Newport haven't forgotten the cause closest to their hearts either. Some of the above pictures also introduce their latest activities in support of St David's Foundation.

On Sunday, there was a 28 mile cycle ride from Caldicot to Newport and back. Saturday sees more zipwire action in Chepstow – a 800ft zip slide over a 250ft lake! Finally in May there's a 'onesie walk' across the Severn Bridge - a total of 11 miles.

Their efforts have also caught the attention of their local newspaper, who report the team has raised over £4,000 so far.

Look out for more Friday funraising later in the week as we're expecting further reports of red noses seen from around Smith News ;)

NB The watermarked pictures are courtesy and copyright of South Wales Argus.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Nic Sells a Host of Golden Daffodils

Marie Curie logoNic Hewlett (Rowan House) and her fellow fundraisers for Marie Curie Cancer Care ensured the town of Cirencester was turned into a host of golden daffodils last Saturday. She was invited to join the team for the day and a sum of £67.11 was found in Nic's tin at the final tally!

The local organiser sent the following thank-you message:

"Thank you all so much for turning up on a cold and drizzly Saturday morning/ afternoon to collect for Marie Curie. I think the response from members of the public was really positive and hopefully you all enjoyed the day. Please find attached a summary of how much you collected in your tin, it is always nice to know how much went in!!!

The amazing grand total was £1143.65 so once again on behalf of the Cirencester fundraising group thank you. Catherine" 

Nic was participating in fundraising for Marie Curie's Great Daffodil Appeal, just one of the major initiatives highlighted in your Events Diary for 2013.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Jemma and Kim Prepare For London

With less than 6 weeks to go until the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 21st April, we have news of two staff members who are preparing to face the 26.2 mile journey...

...First up is The Consortium's Customer Service Manager, Kim Valentine 

This will be the third time Kim has run the London marathon and as usual before any marathon she is training hard. Kim’s Saturday mornings are taking up with at least 4 hours of training, which several members of staff can confirm having seen Kim run past their windows!

Kim has kindly said she’ll raise money for The Consortium's nominated charity of the year,  West Wiltshire Special Needs Activity Scheme. The activity scheme helps children with special needs and their families during the school summer holidays. It is run purely by volunteers who offer fun activities for children such as art and craft, music and messy play.

If you’d to sponsor Kim, you can do so via her Mydonate page. She's raised £160 so far and that’s with only 3 days of the sponsorship site being live! 

And then, Laura Morris caught up with Bertram's Junior Credit Controller,  Jemma Clark... 

1. Why did you decide to sign up?

The charity [Hearing Dogs for Deaf People - Ed] receives no government funding meaning they rely on donations from individuals, groups, companies and other organisations which is why I have chosen to support them in running the London Marathon!

2. Are you aiming to achieve any personal goals?

My personal goal is just to get as fit as I can to race motorbikes next year so having this to focus on training for is a great help and the big push I needed!

3. How’s the training going – how much have you done?

Training for the marathon was always going to be difficult, but with lots of advice from friends and websites I have got a good routine together of cardio sessions and lots of outdoor running in preparation.

4. Do you have a training plan? Had any expert advice?!

I like to set myself targets each time, either of a longer distance or a faster time to keep me focused. I also have a great 30 minute ‘boot camp’ routine which I use for cardio workouts to help build my strength.

5. How’s the fundraising going – have you had much support?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have gained the support of my local community and with a sponsorship form in 2 of the pubs, the tea shop and a little piece in our local paper about my run.

6. How much have you raised so far?

So far we have raised around £300 which is a great start!

7. What things have you done to raise money – any wacky plans?!

As it starts to warm up I am hoping to host a sponsored dog walk along with some cake & jumble sales!

8. Do you have a personal target for your time?

I believe the average time is around 4 ½ hours, however for me, just crossing the finish line will be a good enough achievement! I think a realistic target would be around 5 ½ hours!

Good luck Jemma and Kim...and keep going!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Jamieson Strikes Double Gold

Michael Jamieson was back in breaststroke swimming action over the weekend at the British Gas International Meet in Leeds.

He took gold in the 100m breaststroke in a best in-season time* of 60.8 seconds and then touched ahead of Bath team-mate Andrew Willis to win the 200m in 2.10.43.

You can watch Michael's breathless evaluation of his victories straight after his events. Friday's 100m is first and Saturday's 200m is here. Note the shave down for the 200m!

Some key quotes from his 200m interview:

Observing his quickest in-season time so far Michael said, "I'm improving and moving in the right direction",  and when asked about his ambitions for the Worlds this year he added, "I want more medals...I've got 2 silvers and I'm looking to turn them into the right colour.... I'm always looking for more and always looking to improve".

Michael's still enjoying his swimming, so it looks like we have another cracking year in store!

* = You may have spotted these times are slower than last year's Olympic and World Championship times. Training is very heavy and hard at this time of the year in preparation for the major competitions later on, so he won't have tapered down for this event.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Eugene Limbers Up For Paris

Eugene Howson IMG_0463[1]Eugene Howson, Distribution Manager at London Travel News will be running in the Paris Marathon (26.2 miles) on April 7th 2013. 

But that's not all. He's limbering up for the big event by running a couple of half marathons beforehand. Eugene explains:

''I am currently following a strict training regime in preparation for the day, this includes daily jogging and also a few competitive half marathons: Bath on March 3rd and Reading on the 17th.

This is a personal challenge but also a chance to raise some much-needed funds for my chosen charity which is the Stroke Association. The Stroke Association do a brilliant job in their campaign to improve stroke care and support people to make the best possible recovery.

Following his completion of the Bath half marathon on Sunday he said: 

''I was pleased with the time - my chip time was 1:35:36
[1 hour 35 mins]. It was a good run and it's beneficial to be competitive to improve fitness levels.

I have the Reading Half Marathon on the 17th March so I will be looking to better my time, and then start to taper down ready for Paris.

My fund-raising pledge is £1000 and it would be great to achieve this target and make an incredible difference to Stroke care. All donations will be greatly appreciated.

You can help Eugene reach his target by making your donation on his Just Giving page. Eugene updated his page yesterday:

"Thank you for all the donations so far, your support is really valued and appreciated. With the offline donations we have 40% left to reach the target. My training is going well, and everyone is being really supportive (personal thanks to all)."  

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Footie Fun Begins

[caption id="attachment_4807" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Group Shot - with beer! Group Shot - with beer![/caption]

Saturday 3rd March at 11am saw Smiths News' first charity football match of the season, with Worcester MSC & Instore taking on Rowan House. All Saints Academy, Cheltenham was the chosen venue, thus ensuring both teams played an away game.

[caption id="attachment_4808" align="alignleft" width="300"]Winning penalty! Jack Champ takes the winning penalty![/caption]

Commenting on the game afterwards, Ross Hall-Galley from Worcester said: 

‘’The score was 5-5 after 90 minutes, with Swindon winning 4-2 on penalties, The game was played in good spirit, and was 2-2 at half time, after Worcester twice came back from a goal behind.

The first 20 minutes of the second half was all Swindon, and they scored 3 quick goals to make it 5-2. However Worcester were not to be beaten, and fought back to bring the scores level.’’

Laura Morris from Rowan House who was there to watch and said:

‘’The guys couldn’t stop talking about Humphrey’s dirty tackle on one of the MSC’s players – not only was he the youngest player at 18, he was also the ref’s son!’’

Worcester's two nominated charities,  Acorns Children's Hospice and the Critical Care Unit at The Queen Elizabeth II Hospital Birmingham, will benefit from the epic battle to the tune of £125.