Thursday, 27 June 2013

Back From the Hills - The Magnificent 7!

[caption id="attachment_5998" align="aligncenter" width="640"]At the top of Ben Nevis At the top of Ben Nevis - Alan Stone, Brinn Jardine, Vicky Enebeli and Andrew Caple[/caption]

At the weekend The Magnificent 7 from Smiths News IT at last put all their hard work and training into practice, when they tackled the National Three Peaks Challenge. Vicky Enebeli reports on her experiences...

We started Ben Nevis at 4:30pm on Saturday and the last ones came down from Snowdon at 7:30pm on Sunday.

Overall I did enjoy it and the team building and bonding was brilliant fun.  In particular Andrew Caple and Alan Stone were really motivational and supportive of me throughout the whole experience!!

However, I completely underestimated the intense level of mental and emotional stress that climbing a mountain would involve and I don’t think anything could have prepared me for that.  Ben Nevis was a real hard slog and when you are going up you just don’t know how long it will take and I was afraid to ask anyone coming down in case I didn’t like the answer! 

It was a great sense of achievement getting to the summit though and coming down felt a bit easier as you then knew how far it was down.  But halfway down, the rain set in and made the rocks and boulders really slippery so it was really easy to twist your ankle or fall. 

I found Scafell Pike harder though as the climb up is much steeper with bigger boulders to climb and there is a sheer drop on the side with a waterfall/stream that had a strong current, so that was quite scary as you are more aware of this coming down than going up!

I think at this point I was thinking of my two girls and that was quite an emotional point for me!  That is when I knew I had reached my limits and I actually just wanted to come down. 

[caption id="attachment_5999" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Andrew Caple with 'friend 'at the top of Snowdon Andrew Caple with 'friend 'at the top of Snowdon[/caption]

I didn’t manage Snowdon as the weather got really bad and for me at that point I was pleased with myself and what I had done but I really couldn’t do it again – physically or mentally!

The support team were brilliant and it was so great to see them waiting for us with cuddles, tea and hot food!

And finally news of how the rest of the team fared and fundraising...

Andrew Caple did Snowdon in 3 hours – 3pm – 6pm, and Brett came down about 6:15pm and Marcus at 6:30pm.  Alan and Brinn came down about 7pm and Andy and Sally at about 7:30pm.  The weather conditions really slowed us down and affected the driving too.

Our fundraising total for CLIC Sargent is currently £2,150 (not including Gift Aid). We're really pleased with the money raised. On the bus as the emails kept coming through on the Just Giving page, this really did help to hear the names of more people donating.

Editor's note: here's a very well deserved full name check for The Magnificent 7 and their support team! They are:

Andrew Caple, Marcus Cotes, Andy Taylor, Brett Hanley, Alan Stone, Victoria Enebeli, Brinn Jardine and Sally Willovoys.

The all important support team were Terri Baylis and Cathy Flynn . NB Cathy is auntie to Joshua Flynn,  the little boy whose cancer treatment has inspired The Magnificent 7's efforts.

The sharp-eyed amongst you will have spotted that the Magnificent 7 became the even more Fantastic 8! Some of you will remember Sally from her days at Smiths News :)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Steve Gets on His Bike

Steve Benson at Stockport has been in touch to remind us of his fundraising challenge which takes place next month...

I have signed up for the 62 mile Manchester to Blackpool bike ride on Sunday 14th July. The Christie cancer care in Manchester is my chosen charity as it's close to my heart. My mam was diagnosed in April with terminal cancer and any donations towards my quest to help raise funds would be greatly appreciated. Steve

Good luck Steve - here is his Just Giving Page

Editor's Note: The Christie is the official charity for this event, where the participants form 'Team Christie'. This hugely popular ride sees over 8,000 cyclists gather at the home of Manchester United before taking on the 60 mile challenge to Blackpool. Riders will head out towards the hills of Leigh and Chorley before finishing beneath the iconic mirror ball on Blackpool's South Promenade.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Race for Life Enters July

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="384"] Nora (centre left) after completing her Race for Life in 2011[/caption]

Nora Roth at Rowan House has been in touch with details of her latest entry in the Race for Life coming up in July...

I’m taking part for the 5th year in the Race for Life on 14th July in Salisbury in memory of my late sister-in-law Julie Christopher (Miss Chris).  Relatives and friends from the Swindon and Tidworth/ Salisbury areas are joining forces on the day as "Team Swindon 13" and "Team Miss Chris" to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.  Any donations, no matter how small, will be gratefully received.

If anyone would like to show their support, I have set up an on-line “Just Giving” account and the link will take you to my page where you can securely donate and see some more photos.

Many thanks in anticipation.


Monday, 24 June 2013

It's "Job Done" for Kevin

[caption id="attachment_5967" align="alignleft" width="213"]Kevin crosses the finishing line Kevin crosses the finishing line[/caption]

Trade Marketing‘s Kevin Fitzmaurice had a Father's Day with a difference on June 16th, when he took part in Europe's largest charity cycle ride, the London to Brighton Bike Ride. This is a major fundraiser for the British Heart Foundation. He's kindly sent us the following report...

Job done, 54 miles in just over 5 hours completed and over £1500 raised for the British Heart Foundation and Alzheimer’s Society.  Even though it was tough, I have to say the experience was fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable. Reports suggest there were over 30,000 riders who took part.

I completed the challenge with great friends and family who were fantastically supportive both before and during the ride. We collectively raised over

[caption id="attachment_5970" align="alignright" width="240"]Kevin and Ken Ingram Ken Ingram (left) and Kevin[/caption]

£5000 – a great achievement which made the effort all the more worthwhile.  Under strict instructions from our corporate PR team, I also managed to meet my colleague Ken Ingham who also completed the task with his brothers – although he looks like he’s just walked to the end of the road.

Thank you everyone for your kind donations, both the British Heart Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Society are worthy recipients.

Thanks for your report Kevin! It's great to see such a team effort from you, plus your friends, family and colleagues!

[caption id="attachment_5974" align="aligncenter" width="320"]Team photo The all important team photo :)[/caption]

Friday, 21 June 2013

Jackie the Brave

[caption id="attachment_5950" align="alignleft" width="300"]Jackie and Mike Jamieson Jackie and Mike Jamieson[/caption]

Ahead of the Magnificent 7's National 3 Peaks Challenge this weekend, we have news that Instore's Jackie Jamieson has been blazing a trail up Ben Nevis already! She has a valuable insight re the 'on the ground' conditions up there, so I hope they're reading this and take note...

On behalf of MacMillan Cancer my husband and I along with close friends  climbed Ben Nevis on Saturday 15th June.

My day started at 4.30am in the morning by taking my daughter Lauren to the airport (she was heading off as a dance teacher in Camp America).

I had to pull myself together to get on the bus for 6am. 3 hours later greeted with a bacon butty and a pep talk before we set off at 10.30.

[caption id="attachment_5951" align="alignleft" width="300"]What an amazing view! What an amazing view![/caption]

Views were incredible, we stopped at various points just to take it all in. Towards the peak we hit heavy snow and ice. Once at the top you couldn’t see a thing , it was like pea soup.

I met so many lovely people along the way all spurring one another on. I had no doubts about completing the challenge but admit it was a lot tougher than I expected.

Needless to say was all forgotten about by the time we all reached the pub.

Got home at midnight exhausted but already thinking about  the next Charity Challenge.

[caption id="attachment_5953" align="alignleft" width="640"]Team picture with banner proudly on display - well done all Team picture with banner proudly on display - well done all![/caption]

Thanks Jackie - facing a challenge with friends must have helped make it a great day! I was surprised you found snow at the top in June, but then we have had a long winter and I've just remembered from my school geography that Ben Nevis is only a few feet short of the permanent snow line for Britain!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Lucy Gets Running

Lucy ManfieldLucy Manfield - graduate trainee at Rowan House - is taking part in the British 10k London Run on July 14th. This event bills itself as "The world's greatest road race route".

Lucy's chosen charity is the Alzheimer's Society and according to her Just Giving Page, she's given herself just 1 month to get in shape for the event! Her first run was last weekend where she managed just under 8 kilometres in less than an hour. It looks like training's going very well :)

Good luck and looking forward to seeing how you get on Lucy!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Bertrams Bravehearts Face the Dragon

Keep PaddlingIn the wake of last week's Race the Dragon, we have news of another intrepid team!

Bertrams Bravehearts are taking part in the Norwich Dragon Boat Race on the 21st July in aid of the East Anglian Air Ambulance. This is an annual event and is one of the Air Ambulance's main fundraisers.

On their Just Giving page, Frances Plant says:

"We are all volunteers, who are total novices and are a little scared at what we have entered ourselves into. The team is made up 13 paddlers namely; Carole Fletcher, Liza Wrigley, Daniel Fridd, Ben Beach, Bernadette Nyulasz, Will Ratcliffe, Sarah Hitcham, Lisa Scrivens, Sarah Bunting, Dale Pascoe, Robin Denton, Paul Whittingham and myself. On the drum, with the most important role we have Ben Fridd (aged 13) who will be keeping a strong beat going as he drives us across the finish line, hopefully to success!"

The day is set to be great fun, but we need your help to get us there!"

If the Worcester event's anything to go by, It looks like you're set to have a great day!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Borehamwood Join the Race for Life

[caption id="attachment_5889" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Finished - and still smiling! Finished - and still smiling! :)[/caption]

We have our third Race for Life report for this year via Borehamwood's Lenka Polakova :)

We as a team The Bravehearts ran the race for life on 9th June and the total amount we raised as a team is £738.94.

We would like to thank to Borehamwood group for all the donations.

Anyone else for the Race for Life? If so, keep those reports and photos coming!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Claire's Charity Walk!!

Stars Appeal logoShe may be new to the Communications Team at Rowan House, but that hasn't stopped Claire Phillips-High getting stuck-in straight away with Charity Fundraising! She has a personal reason for doing so, as Claire explains...

Stars Appeal, which is Salisbury hospital's charity, recently did an amazing job of looking after my dad who was diagnosed with kidney cancer early this year. Thanks to them he is now on the road to recovery and to say thank you I'm taking part in their charity Walk for Wards in Salisbury on June 23rd to help raise money for a much-needed new CT scanner. Please dig deep if you can. Love Claire x

Thank you.

Editor's Note: The walk is 10 kilometres long and takes place at Wilton House, home to the Stars Appeal's president, the Earl of Pembroke. The appeal aims to raise £650,000 for the new CT scanner. Here's Claire's Just Giving Page.

We also have a quick fundraising update from The Magnificent Seven! Andrew Caple reports:  " date we have raised £1,340 to date for our chosen charity CLIC Sargent." The Magnificent Seven will be tackling their 3 Peaks Challenge the same weekend as Claire undertakes her walk.

Good luck everyone - there's less than a week to go now!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Here Be Dragons

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="5897,5917,5899,5898,5901,5902,5903,5918,5905,5906,5907,5919,5900,5908"]

Sunny Sundays are made for messing about on the river! And that's precisely what plenty of people from Smiths News got up to last weekend :)

Team Blazing Paddles (The Consortium), No Pressure (Rowan House) and Get the Word Out (Worcester MSC and Instore) all put their pride on the line when they came together to compete for company honours in the Race the Dragon regatta at Worcester.

There may have been 22 teams competing for the top dragon boat trophy, but none was fought more keenly than that for best Smiths News team. In the end, Worcester ensured their home advantage counted, though everyone agreed a lot of fun was had in the process.

Laura Morris said:

From a ‘No Pressure’ point of view, the day was really enjoyed by all. Despite not having any water practice, the crew did really well and improved with every race, even winning one of their heats! Special thanks to Nic Black – without her coaching and pre-race warm-ups I’m sure the aches and pains would have been much worse! Really looking forward to next year!!

And Jane Kingman (The Consortium) added:

Arms ached a bit on Monday but it’s all settled down now.  The t-shirt tan is still there though!

What a brilliant, fun day!  No one from our crew had ever been on a Dragon Boat before, so it took a couple of races to get our technique just right.  We ended the day slightly soggy, slightly pink, and with smiles on our faces.  We will definitely be looking forward to the regatta again next year. 

Get the Word Out took double honours with a trophy for 9th place overall (as well as Smiths News top dog), plus a trophy which sums up exactly what they're all about: the most inspirational team.

Vicky Wheeldon said:

“We had a fabulous day and hope to do it again next year. We were all really touched to win the trophy for the most inspirational team.”

Worcester also 'went the extra mile' fundraising-wise as they went around the event with their buckets to top up their efforts so far. The Consortium raised £600 and Rowan House have nearly raised their £300 target for the day. Here's the Just Giving pages for Get the Word Out and No Pressure, and the My Donate page for Blazing Paddles if you fancy topping up their coffers :)

Alongside the team lists blogged already, here's the roll of honour for The Consortium, team Blazing Paddles:

  • Jane Kingman (Captain)

  • Oliver Levitt (Drummer)

  • Helen Reid

  • Tania Lewin

  • Nick Scraggs

  • Andy Pickernell

  • Tarnya Jinman

  • Louise Hawkins

  • Chris Hubbard

  • Matthew James

  • Adam Tillsley

  • Cathryn Petchey

  • Nigel Taylor

  • Jackie Winchcombe

  • Paul Sambrook

  • Tanith Pike

  • Diane Levitt

  • Lee Davey and James Hearn (Reserves)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Slough Are in the Pink!

[caption id="attachment_5861" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Slough Race for LifeDSCF3011 Slough's Pink Ladies are ready...[/caption]

Hard on the heels of Stockport's Race for Life, Shefali Patel has news of Slough's "Pink Ladies", who also took part in their local event on June 2nd...

Our second charity event was another great success with the ladies at Slough taking part In the Race For Life in Windsor on 2nd June 2013. Altogether 14 ladies, with one of them bringing along their 6 year-old daughter, joined forces and either ran, jogged or walked the Race dressed in all shades of pink!

An enjoyable day where we couldn’t have asked for better weather - but we were definitely put through our paces!

Fund raising currently stands at £726.00 but we’re still collecting and on track to achieve and even exceed our target of £1000.00!..

It was definitely an experience that we’ll never forget…. 

Thanks Shefali, that's great news of another fundraising success! Do I see a refugee from your recent Wig Wednesday joining you for the day? ;)

Friday, 7 June 2013

Adrian Walks for Life

Today the pace slows down a little from yesterday's, to let BLS's Adrian Warner tell you about his Walk for Life :)

[caption id="attachment_3177" align="alignleft" width="179"]Adrian Walks for Life Adrian enjoying a previous Walk for Life[/caption]

As I did last year, I am doing the 10 mile Walk for Life again (for the fourth time) around London a week on Sunday, 16th June, in aid of the Terrence Higgins Trust.  

I set myself a target of £150 which I have already exceeded [£252 when I took a peek - Ed] so am delighted with this already.  I always enjoy the walk, get to see lots of London which I love and support a really worthwhile and sometimes overlooked charity, which usually only seems to get attention around World AIDS Day in December each year when their red ribbons are produced.

Here's my page for donations.  

Good luck Adrian - looking forward to hearing how you got on. Any pics you can manage of you or the sights of London as you pass them by would be good too!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Stockport Start the Race For Life

[caption id="attachment_5834" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Jo Johnson – Personnel Office,  Kiera Johnson – Jo’s daughter,  Hannah Ross – Wendy’s daughter,  Karen Parsons – Mag Returns,  Lynn Henshaw – Mag Ops Manager,  Glenys Sykes – Customer Services Manager, Sheila Rowbotham – Personnel Administrator,  Wendy Ross – Transport Office,  Julie Lee – B2B,  Josie Sinacola – Retired secretary from Stockport House,  Alethea – Karen’s Daughter,  Sian – Karens friend. Stockport Ladies from l to r: Jo Johnson – Personnel Office, Kiera Johnson – Jo’s daughter, Hannah Ross – Wendy’s daughter, Karen Parsons – Mag Returns, Lynn Henshaw – Mag Ops Manager, Glenys Sykes – Customer Services Manager, Sheila Rowbotham – Personnel Administrator, Wendy Ross – Transport Office,
Julie Lee – B2B, Josie Sinacola – Retired secretary from Stockport House, Alethea – Karen’s Daughter, Sian – Karens friend.[/caption]

We have our first Race For Life report for 2013! Stockport House are first to the post, with more expected any day :) Jo Johnson and Wendy Ross report...

Smiths News Ladies took part in the Race for Life at Woodbank Park in Stockport last Sunday 2 June. It was perfect weather – sunny and pleasantly warm without being too hot.

The turn out was fantastic – we also had amazing support from our family and friends who came to watch us pant and sweat around the course.

We have raised in excess of £600 – will confirm total when we have it. NB Our sponsorship page is still open! Many, many thanks to all that sponsored us and came to support us on the day. 

Very well done to all.

A fantastic achievement everyone and great to see family and friends got roped in too!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Slough Get a 'Wiggle' On

[caption id="attachment_5822" align="aligncenter" width="577"]Sloughs Wig Wednesday group photo The all important group photo :)[/caption]

Further to last week's fun at Rowan House, we have news of the great time Slough had with Wig Wednesday! Shefali Patel reports...

Our first charity event at Slough house was a great success and most of us had a great day putting smiles on people’s faces. In total around 25 staff members came in to work wearing a wig.

Clive Element – Group House Manager supported a Rastafarian dreadlock wig, Alicia Alexander – Support Manager long blonde locks and Slavomir Pietluch, Distribution Manager wearing an Afro...!!

We do admit – it was a struggle trying not to laugh through the day!!

This event of Wig Wednesday raised the total amount of £454.40 which will be donated to our chosen charity – Wexham Park Hospital.

It looks like you had loads of fun Shefali, and that's a fantastic total raised :)

slough wig wednesday

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The Bistro Bites

[caption id="attachment_5817" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Bistro Bites Bistro Bites Recipe Book[/caption]

Fancy making your own flap jacks, soups, plum chutney or onion bhajees?  Then this is the fundraising event for you!

The NAC's site services team (Jackie Atkinson, Site Services Controller; Sue Garside, Bistro Caterer; and Nasima Hussain, Administration Assistant) have compiled a recipe book of the favourite cakes, soups and meals that are regularly provided in our staff canteen as well as some favourite recipes donated by the NAC staff.

This has been a great team effort, Sue has collated the recipes, Jackie has produced the book and Nasima has assisted with final design work and printing/production. 

This may not be a professional Delia or Nigella hard back.  But we can guarantee it is an original, practical recipe book full of things that you will want to make.  There are no fancy ingredients that you need to buy from remote corners of the earth and unless you are brave enough to make the potato wine, no specialist equipment required either.

And you can own your own copy for a minimum donation of £3.50 which will be donated in full to our chosen charity, Bradford and Airedale Cancer Support.

This is a local charity.  The Cancer Support Centre offers support to local people suffering from all types of cancer and most of us are affected by this disease in one way or another.

Jackie Atkinson adds:

We are taking orders from right across the business. The details are below, but if you need anything further, please let me know.

The recipe book is on sale now for a minimum donation of £3.50 with no maximum.  To order your copy please send an e-mail to NAC-HR quoting your name, the number of books you wish to buy and your house/work address for delivery.  Please then send your cheque for the total value of your donation (minimum £3.50 per book)to:

Jackie Atkinson
Smiths News
Centurion House
BD19 3QE

Please make cheques payable to Smiths News and write your name and work delivery address on the reverse so that we can match this to your email order.

Monday, 3 June 2013

The Wheeler Dealers Make It!

[caption id="attachment_5805" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Left to right: Graham Armstong, Norman Cooke, Rob Stevenson, Sam Jama, Stephen Clark, Kev Graham, Fred_Napier, Richie Graham Journey's end - well done lads, next stop PARIS! Left to right: Graham Armstrong, Norman Cooke, Rob Stevenson, Sam Jama, Stephen Clark, Kev Graham, Fred Napier, Richie Graham[/caption]

Howay the lads! Our intrepid Wheeler Dealers from Newcastle House have successfully completed their Coast to Coast cycle ride :)

[caption id="attachment_5806" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Hats on,  shorts on - they're ready for the off! Hats on, shorts on - they're ready for the off![/caption]

Carol inglis reports:

‘It was an extremely eventful weekend for our intrepid Wheeler Dealers.  They had to ride through heavy downpours and unexpectedly deep puddles.

[caption id="attachment_5807" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Just_one_of_many_minor_puddles!_(3)[1] Just one of many minor puddles![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5810" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Uh oh, it's looking serious! Uh oh, it's looking serious![/caption]

Kevin took some great photos, and I believe he got engaged to one of the sheep that kept getting into his pictures.  They were glad when they reached the hotel that night, and under protest, had a few bevvies to keep out the chill.  The next day was better and they reached Tynemouth without mishap.  A fantastic achievement by all, and special thanks to Scott, Rob and Keith for supporting them’.

[caption id="attachment_5808" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Robs_version_of_a_CHAD_(3)[1] Rob's version of a CHAD[/caption]

Fred will be taking part in the Paris to Swindon ride in September, so please keep those donations coming in. The total so far is £840 from online and in-house donations.

[caption id="attachment_5809" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Still laughing after torrential rain all day Still laughing after torrential rain all day[/caption]