Tuesday, 30 April 2013

All Aboard for the Coast to Coast

[caption id="attachment_5535" align="alignleft" width="400"]Wheeler Dealers from Newcastle House Newcastle’s Wheeler Dealers hoping to repeat their success of 2012[/caption]

You may remember that last year, Newcastle House's 'Wheeler Dealers' Steven Clark, Fred Napier and Kevin Graham cycled the challenging Coast to Coast route.

Here they are at the end of their ride at Tynemouth, after cycling home westwards from the starting point at Whitehaven, 140 miles away in Cumbria.

Well, this year they're poised to do it all again! Not only that they're taking a number of their colleagues with them :)

There are 8 people cycling, plus 2 support drivers. The riders are Fred Napier, Kevin Graham, Steven Clark, Norman Cooke, Bob Stevenson, Ritchie Graham, Sam Jama, and Graham (Lance) Armstrong.  Their support drivers are Rob Giles and Scott Stevenson.

The ride takes place in just under three weeks time: from May 17th to 19th. They're all raising funds for their local Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle House's chosen charity. Everybody doing the ride has in some way been affected by cancer;  through family members or friends.

Their goal is to raise £750 and Fred has opened a Just Giving Page on behalf of everyone taking part.

Good luck guys, it's great to see you've inspired others to join you this year!

Monday, 29 April 2013

Pet Month Extra Ahhhhhsome!

Just when we thought we'd ended our coverage for National Pet Month, we've found some extra special contributions from you this morning. It's the perfect excuse to bring you more cute pictures to help brighten up your Monday :)

First up are Sue and Pete Lammings' trio of Schnauzers...

Sue Lammings cute Schnauzers

At the top left we find all three - from left to right they are Bertie, 7 years old, Barney 5 years old  and Betsy (leader of the gang) 8 years old. Below them there's Bert chilling on the chair. Top right finds Barney keeping his 1 good eye on Sue ( he lost the other at 10 months old) and finally there's Betsy with her ‘WHAT’ face, the littlest but by far the stroppiest!

Then Keith Foster not only introduces us to Sami Hyypia Foster, he also slipped in a gorgeous puppy pic!

Sami and puppies

Keith says he hopes they'll make you smile. I think that's pretty much guaranteed Keith!

And finally, Laura Morris introduces us to Billie and Shandy...

Billie and Shandy

Laura says Billie is still a kitten at heart; she loves nibbling crisps and belly rubs. Shandy is a clever kitty who enjoys doing crosswords!

I think you'll agree we have a superb trio of contributions for our Pet Month Extra! :D

PlumExtra! Extra! Here's Plum; she’s an Irish Water Spaniel and is owned by Val Wichel, who loves her dearly.

The Last Ahhh!

Today's final post in support of National Pet Month, showcases some very special pets...

First up is Rachel Varney's much-loved pug, Stanley.

The lovely StanleyStanley likes cuddles, carrots and cheese.

And to round things off nicely, here's some more about the twosome who launched our look at the pampered pets of Smiths News...

Skimble and Jess

Skimble likes feet, the colour red, chasing laser pointer dots and the elastic bands the postie leaves around. Jess likes posing as the Felix cat, cheese and sitting on heads - particularly when they're asleep!

In case you missed them, here's the links to our previous parades of pets:

Thanks to everyone who took part, it was a great to have such a cheerful start to every week in April!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Jemma and Kim's Marathon

Bertram's Jemma Clark and The Consortium's Kim Valentine have given us a quick update on how they fared in last Sunday's London Marathon...

Kim said:

My time was 5 hours, 13 mins and so far I have raised £604 and there is still a bit more to go on. I am so pleased that I have been able to contribute to helping the charity [West Wiltshire Special Needs Activity Scheme].

Jemma says of her first London Marathon...

I made it to the 14 mile mark at around 3 hours 20 on Sunday, was a great experience and I enjoyed it a lot! Feeling the pain now though!

Overall I have raised almost £600 [for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People - Edand still have a few people donating.

Reflecting further on her experience Jemma says she did a lot better than she expected, so well done!

Thinking about the event, Kim added:

The day itself was brilliant the weather was great, although a little warm. There was a real show of solidarity with the runners and the crowds who cheered you on the 26.2 miles.

It’s strange that on the day you forget how gruelling the training has been and how awful the weather was when you are pounding the pavements at 6.00am in the morning. You just get out there and enjoy the atmosphere and the experience.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Getting Wiggy With It

[caption id="attachment_5269" align="alignright" width="198"]The Consortium's Jo Trigg unwittingly gets in training for Wig Wednesday during Red Nose Day The Consortium's Jo Trigg unwittingly gets in training for Wig Wednesday on Red Nose Day[/caption]

Save the date!

Wednesday 22nd May - 4 weeks today - is officially designated as Wig Wednesday!

Organised by CLIC Sargent, Wig Wednesday is one big day when people across the UK will unite to raise vital funds for children and young people with cancer. As well as being a frightening experience, the gruelling, often life-saving cancer treatment frequently leads to them losing their hair.

Wig Wednesday is the perfect way of raising awareness in a fun way as well as supporting a good cause.

Don't have a wig? Don't worry, CLIC Sargent have got it covered! Visit their official store to buy your wig and you're already donating to the cause.

So, get together with your colleagues, wear a wig for the day and ask them to make a donation to take part. Don't forget to take some photos - the wiggier the better - and send them to Community Link-Up. We'll add a £20 donation for each location featured :)

Monday, 22 April 2013


ahhhhsomeCaroline Alexander shows us just how much she loves her dog Archie with this lovely collage of cute pics!

Can you do better?

One final slot is available for our National Pet Month celebrations to be published next Monday. We'd love it to be a bumper edition!

Single pictures or collages are equally welcome :)

Send your photos to community.linkup@smithsnews.co.uk  with the name of your pet and we’ll do the rest!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Kevin's on His Bike to Brighton

kevin fitzmauriceTrade Marketing's Kevin Fitzmaurice has set himself quite a challenge for 2013.

On Fathers Day (Sunday 16th June) he'll be taking part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride. This is the British Heart Foundation's (BHF) flagship fundraiser and Europe's largest charity bike ride.

Kevin is doubling up his efforts in two ways. Firstly he's decided to add the Alzheimer's Society to his BHF fundraising, owing to a recent family bereavement.

Secondly, Kevin sees the process of getting fit for the 54 mile ride as his own way of preventing the need to use BHF's services. As he says on his Just Giving page:

I'm cycling the London to Brighton for British Heart Foundation because if I don't, I'll be a recipient of this charity.

I know this may seem small in comparison to all the wonderful events others have completed but this very personal challenge is 2 fold. 

I'm determined this year to lose over 5 stone (70lbs or bags of sugar). I began my programme in January this year and I'm pleased to report I've lost over 2 stone to date.  I'm keen to earn money for a charity linked to my weight loss so it's not all about my vanity - Ha. 

Kevin has raised £900 so far, just £100 shy of his target of £1,000. Can you help him get there?

Kevin, you've made fantastic progress so far - we're looking forward to hearing good news and seeing your pictures from the ride in June!

Monday, 15 April 2013

It's That Ahhhhhh Time Again!

We have our second batch of pet pics to show you! Pets 2 First up we have Tamsin Succony's beagle Lexie with her (dog friendly) Birthday cakes! Swiftly followed by Fred gripping his new toy. Fred is an African grey parrot and belongs to Andy Whitehurst.

pets 3 Andy also has a staffie called Ty, who shows us he's rather partial to staying in bed and licking crisp packets! We have at least one more pet picture to show you for National Pet Month. Whether you have a pampered pooch, a cuddlesome cat, or a gollumptious goldfish, we want to see them all!

Send your photos to community.linkup@smithsnews.co.uk with a couple of details (e.g. name and what they're doing) and we'll do the rest!

Friday, 12 April 2013

We Haz Plans...

We have news of a couple of plans for this year's Charity Fundraising.

Consortium logo

Firstly, we have a sneak preview of the provisional plan The Consortium has mapped out for their fundraising activities in Trowbridge this year :)

This year they're raising funds to support the West Wiltshire Special Needs Activity Scheme and have a number of events planned for the whole of 2013.


  • January – The Consortium presented a cheque for £12,132.77 to Wiltshire Air Ambulance, their chosen good cause for 2012

  • February – TV Raffle (and many other prizes!) raised a massive £460

  • 15th March – Comic Relief – raised £237

The raffle and Comic Relief fundraising were both held as 'cross-site' events, involving The Consortium's Trowbridge and Shrewsbury sites.

To Come

  • April – Grand national sweepstake

  • 21st April – Kim Valentine runs the London Marathon (again!)

  • 14th May – Quiz Night held at the Wesley Road Club in Trowbridge

  • September – The Consortium Annual Golf Day

  • 28th September - Macmillan Coffee Morning and the annual Golden Spoon competition

  • September / October – Race Night

  • 25th October – Wear it Pink day

  • December – Christmas Raffle

There's plenty going on at The Consortium in 2013! We look forward to seeing more news and pictures as each event happens :)

SCLICecondly Terri Baylis at Rowan House has given us news of her revised plans for her walk set for June in aid of CLIC. She originally was going to tackle 25 miles of the scenic Jurassic Coast and now...

I’ve updated my JustGiving page - we’re now walking the Ridgeway between Avebury & Streatley on 14-15th July, which is around 40 miles over the two days.

Thanks for the update Terri - I see you've added quite a few miles to your proposed walk!

Do you or your area have a fundraising plan this year? Do let us know what you have in store... and don't forget it may also provide an opportunity for a wider Link-Up with your colleagues, suppliers or customers in some way!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

MSC and Instore Bring Out the Onesies

We love this novel way of reporting an event courtesy of MSC and Instore! :) :) :)

MSC Instore Red Nose Day 2013

Great work guys, thank you!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Well Done Eugene!

Eugene Howson IMG_0463[1]Congratulations to London Travel News Distribution Manager Eugene Howson, who ran the Paris Marathon on Sunday in 3 hours 27 minutes and 21 seconds. That's less than 8 minutes per mile - impressive :)

We've been following Eugene's build up to Sunday in some detail here on Community Link-Up. Firstly with news of the half marathons he ran in March to test his preparations and fitness. Then last week we had his account of lots of fundraising, which included running home from LTN (Slough) to Reading one Friday evening!

The number of events held and the support of colleagues throughout Eugene's countdown to Paris has been fantastic!

Speaking about his experience last weekend Eugene said:

“Taking part in the Paris Marathon was a brilliant experience, and we had the luck of good weather. It was my first marathon abroad and there was great camaraderie amongst runners taking part from different countries.”

"Although this was a personal challenge, it also provided a chance to raise money which will be beneficial to the Stroke Association, who I believe do a superb job in their campaign to improve Stroke care and supporting people to make the best possible recovery. A personal thanks again to all colleagues who have been fully supportive.”

He’s raised £1,481 so far via his Just Giving page. His latest entry on there says:

"Did it! Paris was well organised and the atmosphere was brilliant."

Monday, 8 April 2013

National Pet Month - The First Pets Are In!

Welcome back. We have the first set of our National Pet Month photos to show you!

Misty and Pippa

First up are Misty and Pippa. Misty is Marina Morgner’s 4 ½ year old Staffie. She loves chasing pigeons, swimming and cuddling on the sofa after a long day of having fun. Pippa is Jo Kelly’s lovely chocolate cocker spaniel.

Tom and Rosie

Jen Taylor’s two cats are Tom and Rosie. They’re brother & sister.

Smokey Before and After

And finally we have the Before and After photos of Rebecca Hedges's Smokey, a soft-coated Wheaten Terrier. He’s recently had a haircut and looks very different, almost a new dog! You may recall Smokey made an appearance here last year, along with Rachel Varney's pug, Stanley.

We have room for lots more! Send your photos of your pampered pet(s) to community.linkup@smithsnews.co.uk

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Some Eggstra Fun at Rowan House

[caption id="attachment_5379" align="alignright" width="224"]Yum! Yum![/caption]

The run up to Easter proved the perfect time for some Eggstra fun [groan - Ed] at Rowan House! Various activities were organised with the following results...

  • A Giant Easter Egg was on reception in the run up to Easter. This was a raffle for Cancer Research, (50p a ticket or £2 a strip), drawn on 28th March. The raffle was organised by Finance's Carolyn Griffiths and raised £215.00. Viv Heydon was the lucky winner of the egg!

  • Nic Hewlett arranged donations for the Cirencester Foodbank – not just Easter Eggs but also tins of food to help them out.

  • Easter Egg hunt on Friday 28th March 2013 – this was the fun bit!! Nic Hewlett hid nearly 100 chicks around Rowan House for staff to find and trade in for a small chocolatey treat! Plus there was a golden chick for an extra special prize – won by Nicola Donnelly in Smiths News Finance. Great fun had by all! :)

Cirencester Food Bank logoIt may be only a few days after Easter, but Cirencester Food Bank have already sent a letter of thanks:

Cirencester Foodbank – emergency food for local people in crisis

March 2013


Smiths News   

I am writing on behalf of the Foodbank in Cirencester to thank you for your generous donation.  Your donations in March provided 72 kg of food that will help families in crisis in Cirencester and the surrounding area to put food on the table. 

The Foodbank helps to prevent family breakdown, housing loss, crime and mental health problems.  Volunteers at Ashcroft Church in Cirencester who exchange vouchers for 3 days of food also take time to listen and signpost people to further support.

This month donors in the Cirencester district gave the Foodbank 781 kg of food.  The Foodbank has given out food to 312 adults and to 200 children since it opened last year.

Your support is important to the long-term success of the Foodbank.

Thank you.

On behalf of the

Cirencester Foodbank

So Smiths News' efforts formed nearly 10% of the Foodbank's donations for March - well done Nic!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Eugene's Final Countdown For Paris

[gallery type="rectangular" link="post" ids="5339,5342,5341"]

Eugene Howson, Distribution Manager at London Travel News (LTN) will be running in the Paris Marathon (26.2 miles) this Sunday (7th April).

But that’s not all. As reported previously he's been preparing for the big event by running a couple of half marathons! In addition he ran from Slough to Reading on a home run and challenged colleagues to guess how long it would take. Eugene explains:

"I've been following a strict 12 week training plan which included daily jogging and also a few competitive half marathons.

  • Bath on March 3rd- I was pleased with the time- my chip time was 1:35:36, it was a good run and it’s beneficial to be competitive to improve fitness levels.

  • Reading on March 17th- It was cold and wet, not ideal running conditions, but I improved the time – my chip time was 1:34:06

My fund raising pledge is £1000 and it would be great to achieve this target and make an incredible difference to Stroke care. I've have received tremendous support from family, friends and work colleagues in order to reach my pledge."

[gallery type="rectangular" link="post" ids="5344,5343,5340"]

"To help reach my target, I've also held the following events:

  • Digital Camera Raffle - in February the London Travel Team held a Raffle, £1 a ticket to win a stylish digital camera. This event raised £85 and the winning ticket belonged to Roy Heavens, Night Driver at LTN.

  • Pool Competition - during February/March, the warehouse teams arranged a knock out Pool challenge, 50p a game. To add to the fun, there was a further sweepstake (£1 a tote) to bet against the eventual winner. This has proved to be a good fund raiser which has already raised £125, and has helped build team camaraderie, with staff mixing between departments.

  • Cake & Curry DayThe LTN Team held a cake and curry day on Friday 22nd March. Everyone at LTN joined in the feast and the curry’s sold out within the hour. The staff generally appreciated the effort made by those who cooked and baked, and commented that it should be done on a monthly basis! This event raised £76.

  • Guess the ‘Home’ Run - as part of my training, I decided to plan a final long run, and came up with the idea to run from work to home (Slough to Reading) a distance of 21 miles. I challenged everyone to guess how long it would take (£1 a guess); the winner to receive 25% of the pot with tins of Quality Streets as runners-up prizes for 2nd & 3rd. 

The challenge form was circulated amongst the Eastern Regional Managers meeting, Borehamwood Group and LTN teams. Guesses ranged from 1 hour, 8 hours, 2 days and never (these were the comedians!)

It was one of those days where the weather kept changing. The first 6 miles was dry, but when I got to 10 miles it started to snow, and then the weather turned to sleet and rain. I hit the ‘wall’ at 20 miles and slowed his pace, and finished in a time of 2:34:26

The winning guesses, were joint winners Kam Patel (Borehamwood) and Mike Doyle (Peterborough) who both guessed 2:35:00. This event raised £100.

The team in Borehamwood have supported me along the way, and have made a donation of £200. To date staff at LTN Group have raised an amazing £417 and this is still on-going."

Fantastic Eugene, thanks for the update and photos! Eugene has a Just Giving page, and the current donations total £1,232, smashing his target!. The support is really valued and appreciated. All monies raised will go to the Stroke Association.

He adds, "My training is going to plan and everyone is being really supportive - my personal thanks to all."

Good luck for Sunday, Eugene - here's to a great time and atmosphere in Paris!