Friday, 30 August 2013

How To Burn 6,000 Calories...

[caption id="attachment_6700" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Chris Marston London 100 The Mall Finshed! Chris at The Mall - Finished![/caption]

...The Consortium's Chris Marston has the secret!

All you need to do is simply enter the Ride London 100 bike ride! Here's a few words from Chris about how the day went:

"It was a fantastic day with over 16,000 riders. I managed the 100 miles in 6 hours and 23 minutes. It was exhilarating going through the City on closed roads with crowds cheering on every corner. I burnt over 6000 calories……. I raised over £1,000 for MacMillan Cancer. Thanks to all sponsors. Very proud!"

Fantastic news Chris, it looks amazing!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Stickability Needs You!

Stickability logoWe have a couple of vacancies for helpers needed to support the continued success of our Stickability programme, to start in September. If you love reading, sport and live in or near Chippenham, Wiltshire, then Stickability would love to hear from you!

Stickability is a fun literacy programme created by The Consortium and Smiths News in partnership with the Bath Rugby Foundation to help nine and ten year-old children develop lifelong skills and confidence. 

Ivy Lane Primary School in the centre of Chippenham is one of the schools signed up to the scheme and we're now looking for volunteers to help there for 2 hours per week over a six-week period starting on the 10th or 12th of September.

Your role is to get involved in the activities, help motivate the children and hand out the all-important stickers! As well as the children, you'll be supporting the school's teaching staff and coaches from Bath Rugby Foundation.

Need to know more? We have a special Stickability page here on Community Link-Up.

Want to get involved, but don't live in or near Chippenham? No problem! The Stickability scheme is available throughout the south-west and we're keen to update our list of staff interested in volunteering :)

Contact Claire Philips-High if you're interested.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

An Interview With Andy Cook

[caption id="attachment_3335" align="alignright" width="249"]Andy Cook Picture courtesy of Andy Cook Cycling[/caption]

For the third year in a row, Smiths News is linking up with Andy Cook Cycling, who have a wealth of knowledge and cycling experience to ensure the logistics of this year's bike ride run as smoothly as they possibly can.

So we were a little surprised to find the 'man behind the company name' has yet to be introduced to you properly. With a number of new cyclists joining the team for the Paris to Swindon bike ride, now is the perfect time to correct that omission.

Andy is based in Chippenham, Wiltshire, so I agreed to meet him in his office located on a farm on the outskirts of the town to find out more.

There was an initial hiccup trying to find Andy as I thought the office would be located in the Business Park part of the farm, not in the farmyard itself. However, that gave me the opportunity to meet Jacqui - Andy's wife, business partner and herself a very experienced cyclist - who kindly guided me in to the right place!

Andy, thanks for finding the time to see me this morning, can we start by outlining what Andy Cook Cycling is about?

Cycling is about camaraderie and friendships - there's a bond that goes with it. I've met so many people during my cycling activities as a rider, racer, and ambassador for the sport and I know that if I pick up the phone to talk to anyone I've ridden with over the years, there'll be an instant re-connection from our shared experiences.

So, we want to share our passion about cycling. Both Jacqui and I have lived and breathed cycling for years and our prime motivation is to pass on our excitement and knowledge.

You've always worked in cycling then?

No, I'm a Naval Architect by training, so I started out in my career as a civil servant! Pretty much all my spare time was devoted to cycling though. As a result, I became Chairman of the Cycle Touring Club [a voluntary role - Ed]. CTC was formed to encourage more participation in the sport, but has more of a campaigning role these days.

From there, I joined British Cycling in 2005 to manage their Everyday Cycling project. British Cycling used to focus more on the race training side of things, but their membership was static. They realised they needed to capture the explosion of interest that was happening in cycling and that's what my role was designed to do.

What then motivated you to start your own business?

I was very happy at British Cycling, but they wanted me to move up to Manchester. I also realised I had plenty to offer the 3 main cycling organisations in the UK [Sustrans is the other and has a more family oriented, infrastructure and sustainable transport remit - Ed], by providing an independent input to their initiatives. I can help them take the best aspects of the sport's traditional thinking and combine it with more modern ideas.

How does that help Smiths News?

Our bread and butter work is planning safe routes for all kinds of events. At the moment there's no legislation in the UK which covers running non-competitive cycling events. Andy Cook Cycling bridges that gap by ensuring our cycling events are safe for both ride participants and other road users. On top of that the routes we design are easy to navigate and are both scenic and pleasurable.

You've just come back from a recce of this year's Paris to Swindon bike ride how, did that go?

Very well. Luckily I can look at a map and pretty much devise a route which will meet the design criteria. We always drive a new route to make sure what we've seen on the map holds true on the ground, to tweak it where necessary and to also make sure the rest of the logistics, such as the day's stopovers are in place and are the best they can be.

So what can this year's team expect from the Paris to Swindon bike ride?

Well..., that's the subject of part 2 of this interview. Tune in next week to find out!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Bertrams Get Biking and Baking!

[caption id="attachment_6580" align="alignright" width="112"]Jodie Medd-Sygrove Jodie Medd-Sygrove[/caption]

Further to Monday's cycling update from The Consortium, we also have "news from Norwich" on how training is going for the two Paris to Swindon team members who hail from Bertrams.

Jodie Medd-Sygrove has a quick update on behalf of herself and Nicola Smith...

... "Training is going well :) I try to go out two nights in the week and a longer ride at the weekend. I can’t believe how quickly the bike ride is creeping up but I am really looking forward to it – I can’t wait!

[caption id="attachment_6589" align="alignleft" width="150"]Patisserie Valerie Chocolate Dream Cake THE Patisserie Valerie Chocolate Dream Cake[/caption]

People are being very kind with their support and donations. Nicola and I are hosting a bake sale today [NB Friday 16th, not today's publication date - Ed] to raise money for our charities (NNUH TRA & EACH) – we were baking all evening yesterday and staff have joined in and donated cakes for our stand – we are also raffling a Patisserie Valerie cake to boost sales :)"

Fantastic news Jodie, and that cake looks yummy!

Here's the links to the Just Giving pages for Jodie (Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's Targetted Radiotherapy Appeal) and Nicola (East Anglia's Children's Hospice).

Good luck to both of you with the rest of training and the ride itself!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Now InStore/MSC Get Behind Swim Britain

[caption id="attachment_6609" align="alignright" width="640"]Sophie_Swim_Britain Sophie Morris and Lisa Pass getting ready for Swim Britain[/caption]

Michael Jamieson & Swim Britain We have more news of Smiths News staff joining Swim Britain!  InStore/MSC aren't content with just entering one team, they've entered three :)

They're travelling down to Bristol to swim in the Olympic sized pool there on September 28th. And to up the ante with their friendly rivalry, they're all swimming at 1.30pm!

The teams are:

Team Pastel: Lisa Pass, Sophie Morris, Sam Page, and Vicky Wheeldon

Team name TBC: Ross Hall Galley, Chris Townrow, Luke Simmons, and Stuart Birch

Team name TBC: Jackie Jamieson, Mike Jamieson, Lauren Jamieson, and TBC.

Sophie from Team Pastel says:

Lisa and I do regular training, but it’s not going to be a rigorous race. It’s just about raising money for a good cause and swimming a long way!

The teams are including the event in their ongoing Get the Word Out initiative. All proceeds are in aid of the British Heart Foundation and Headway - here's their JustGiving page :)

I must see if spectators are allowed!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Cycling News

BIKE POSTER LOGOWith just a month to go until the 'big trip', news is starting to come in of how training is going for the riders in this year's Paris to Swindon bike ride. Over the next few weeks we'll be bringing you team member news, a sneak preview of the ride and a host of other goodies. We've also lined up one of the team to tell us all the insider gossip and news fresh from the ride itself.

Today we're starting with news from The Consortium...

...First up is Hugh Haimes, whose tale of woe sadly means he's had to withdraw from the team:

"It is with regret that I am dropping out of the charity bike ride. You may or may not be aware I went over my handle bars on a training run 3 weeks ago, in an attempt to avoid my son who fell right in front of me! (He’s OK, bar two cut knees and a bit of guilt for injuring his dad...)

I could have chosen the softer landing on top of him but hit the tarmac with my right hand. Initially diagnosed as a broken wrist and in plaster for 10 days, then revised to metacarpals and an MRI scan, and now today cartridge damage with a check-up in 5 weeks. I have been instructed to avoid contact sports, racquet/bat, body boarding & cycling, all on my agenda over the next month.

I’m safer on two feet, so leaves me with training for my trail runs (Race The Train & Hell Up North).

I wish you all the very best and an exhilarating ‘safe’ ride."

That's a shame Hugh and we'll pass on your good wishes to the rest of the team. We also wish you well, both for a speedy recovery and for success in your trail runs later this year.

On a much brighter note, Matthew James has a more positive report on how both training and fund-raising is going...

..."Training is going really well. Me and the other Matt have been going out after work as often as we can throughout the week however as it starts to get darker earlier now we aren’t able to cover as many miles as we would like. I’ve been going out on the weekend for longer rides and I am really starting to enjoy it.

We’ve been working hard trying to raise as much money as possible. We’re holding a race night on the 7th September to raise money for mine and Matt’s charities and also we’ll be doing a boot sale to try and raise money on either 31st August or 7th September (weather permitting)."

That's great news, Matthew and do give us an update (and photos!) of how your fund-raising events go. Matthew has also given us the links to his mydonate pages: he's splitting his funds between Help for Heroes and The Consortium's nominated charity for 2013, West Wiltshire Special Needs Activity Scheme.

As more news comes in, we'll be setting up a central Team News Page as part of the Paris to Swindon Flagship Fundraiser Pages. This will have team member profiles, plenty of pictures and links to those all important fund-raising pages. This has proved to be a very popular part of the blog in previous years and is a great way to quickly find the right page for you to add your donation to the cause (and team member) you'd like to support.

Cyclists take note: if we feature your story, you'll receive a £20 donation to help bring you just a little bit closer to your £1,500 target :)

Friday, 16 August 2013

It's in to Top Gear for Wishes 4 Kids

[caption id="attachment_6554" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Maria (main picture and centre lower row) with some of the children, plus lots of other smiling faces :) Maria (main picture and centre lower row) with some of the children, plus some of the other smiling faces :)[/caption]

If you were very ill and were granted one wish to make a dream come true, what would it be? I'm sure many of you would leap at the chance to be just like Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear and drive at top speed in a performance car around a racing circuit. Well, that's exactly the wish granted by Wishes 4 Kids to a number of very ill children on July 19th. Dawson's Maria Hieke reports on her continued use of Volunteer Time with the charity, where she made sure everyone had a day to remember...

Once again Wishes 4 Kids pulled it off with another successful day at Donington.  The families arrived at 10am for a full day of excitement. With 44 high performance cars which included, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Lotus, Morgan, Jaguars, BMWs and many more.   Each child was given a bag of tokens which allowed them access to the cars of their choice which took them around the circuit at great speed. Again the most popular were the police cars which didn’t stop throughout the day.

Each child and their families were provided with lunch, ice cream and doughnuts. There were face painters on site for those who wished to have their faces decorated.

With the help of many volunteers including myself the day’s event went extremely well, and for one day a least the children and their families could forget about their illnesses and spend the whole day having fun.

Inspired by Maria's story? Would you like to give some time to your favourite charity or other worthwhile organisation? Then take a look at our Volunteer Time Page to see what you can do :)

Thanks to Maria for her report and pictures, and to prmedia for some of the photos of the day; their copyright remains as shown. You can see plenty more pictures of the children having a great time and the amazing cars on offer on their website.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Newport Are Off to Swim Britain

Michael Jamieson & Swim Britain

Yay, we have news of our first team to join Swim Britain!

The Smiths Mermaids hail from customer services in Newport and comprises: 

  • Claire Hockey – CS Team Leader

  • Judy Read

  • Kelly Bennett

  • Sue Shepherd

Their swim is due to take place in Cardiff on September 22nd.

Judy Read adds:

"Sue was a lifeguard when she was younger but other than that we thought we would like a challenge. We are all frantically training at the moment and didn’t realise how far 1,000 metres was. We went to a 25 metre pool and realised we had to do 10 lengths at a time to do the 250 metres. We then have to do that 4 times to make the 1,000 metres each, which is quite daunting.

We also have a weekly “fat-fighters” charity event in Newport which has just started to help us lose weight and help us get into our party clothes for Christmas – we pay £1 per week and then £1 extra if we put weight on in that week.  We will give half of what we raise to charity and the person who loses the most will win the other half of the money.  We did this between Christmas and Easter this year and raised £90.00 for charity (the British Heart Foundation - Ed)

Training for the Swim Britain is helping us with fat fighters also,  as in our first week we all lost weight and Claire managed to lose a fantastic 7lb."

What a fantastic way to raise money and it's great that Swim Britain is helping to shift the weight! That must be a great motivation to keep going and I'm sure 1,000 metres will seem less daunting as your training progresses :)

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Terri's Walk Turns Up the Heat

[caption id="attachment_6547" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Terri Bayliss update newspaper clipping Terri and Hayley's trek report from August 6th's Swindon Advertiser :)[/caption]

Anyone who committed themselves to a physical challenge in the heat of July deserves an especially huge medal for their efforts! This particularly applies to Terri Baylis of Rowan House, who trekked for 40 miles along the Ridgeway on July 13-14, with her friend Hayley Rogers.

Like the Magnificent 7, who Terri provided support for in their National Three Peaks Challenge recently, she has proved the supporters of the Joshua Flynn fund are challenging themselves in all kinds of ways to reach their ambitious fundraising target. Terri and Hayley walked for eight and a half hours each day, on one of the hottest weekends of the year - phew!

I see from Terri and Hayley's JustGiving Page they've raised over £1,140, thus exceeding their target of £1,000.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Steve Goes For a Different Ton

[caption id="attachment_6342" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Steve at home Ready to go - Steve at home with his bike[/caption]

You may remember Stockport's Steve Benson was due to cycle in the Manchester to Blackpool ride last month to raise money for The Christie hospital in Manchester. Sadly Steve's mother passed away and so he had to pull out of the event.

However, Steve is still determined to raise money for The Christie and has now set his sights on joining another of their fundraising events - the Manchester 100 - in her memory. This is a 100 kilometre (62 miles) bike ride through the beautiful Cheshire countryside and is the same distance as the Manchester to Blackpool ride he was contemplating originally.

The event takes place on Sunday, September 1st and I'm sure you'll join me in wishing him well at this sad time. You'll find Steve's JustGiving Page here.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Lucy Keeps Her Cool

[caption id="attachment_6317" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Lucy during her run, then looking pleased as punch with her medal! Lucy during her run, then looking pleased as punch with her medal![/caption]

Lucy Manfield of Rowan House proved her fitness last month with a storming run on a boiling hot day! She posted an impressive time of 54 minutes in the British 10k London run on July 14th and still managed to look cool, calm and collected after the finish :)

On her JustGiving Page she says:

"Well, I did it! It was ridiculously hot but I managed to complete the 10k race in 54:44 mins... Thank you all for your kind donations, it's for an excellent cause and gave me such a boost when running."

Lucy has raised a fantastic £400 for the Alzheimer's Society.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Disappointment for Michael

By now, many of you will know Michael Jamieson came fifth in Friday's 200 metres backstroke final at the World Championships in Barcelona.

The first 50 metres of the race initially set up a mouth-watering prospect as Michael and his Bath team-mate Andrew Willis, raced into the lead. However, the second 50 metres saw them fall back to 5th (Willis) and 6th. They never really recovered from there despite trying to charge down the last length of the pool, and finished in 4th and 5th.

Michael's time of 2.09.14 was just one hundredth of a second behind Willis's, who in turn was an agonising 18 hundredths off snatching the bronze. Michael was well down on his qualifying time which saw him seeded number one going into the championships. Had he maintained that form, he'd be coming home with a silver medal at least.

We know from Michael's latest guest post things haven't gone that smoothly for him this season, so hopefully he will be able to get over his disappointment and learn from this race. On Saturday he tweeted the following honest appraisal of how it went for him:

"Hope interviews came across as intended. Hard to speak truth about effects of injury without sounding like I'm making excuses. I didn't perform badly, swam as well as I could at about 80% fit. 1 full week of training in past 9 took its toll in a pretty unimpressive final, but at the end of the day, injury or not, still got no medal & that's hard to take! Sorry to disappoint after so many good luck notes!"

At least Michael now has some time to recover from his injury properly without the pressure of having to race. Here's to some solid training over the next few months, to set him up for a home advantage in the Commonwealth Games next year!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Futsal Update: Loadsa Teams!

Futsal logoWell, with just a few days left to get all your team registrations in last week, you certainly didn't disappoint! Our inbox was red-hot with sign ups coming in thick and fast, so today we can reveal that we didn't just get the two teams we asked you for, we...

... received details of another 13! That makes the total number of teams registered for September 29th standing at a fantastic 27 :)

So without further ado, let's meet the latest teams:

  1. Robinson's Crusaders - Stockport -  Umar Suleman, Pete Cumston, Kevin Mcdermot, Rihan Khan, Eric Drayson, Matt Alexander, Ste Todd

  2. NAC Novices - NAC, Bradford - Daniel Noble, Mohammed Mazer, Elias Vilegas, Vicky Holdsworth, Natasha Thrams, Ryan Metcalfe, Mohammed Uddin

  3. Bertrams - Bertrams, Norwich - Matt Racher, Aaron Kay, Luke Tuttle, Louis Robinson, Brad Vincent, Mark Tuttle, Graham Carr

  4. Disney Land Standards - Newport - Nathan Heron, Leighton Hansford, Paul Cruden, Andrew Seldon, Croug Lewis, Robert Edwards, Robert Sullivan

  5. Smiths Destroyers - Peterborough - Ashley Brown, Donald Cliff, Charlie Austin, Peter Lindsay, Dean Raymill, Andy Johnson, Lee Fountain

  6. Mission Impossible - The Consortium, Trowbridge - Dan Blake, Andy Mayell, Charlie Trevman, Paul Cottle, Billy Austin, Pete Jackson, Shawn Bryne

  7. Newport Allstars - Newport - Craig Bourne, Nicky Church, Martin Stickler, Cayleb Needham, Miles Griffin, Phil Barnard, Richard Morgan

  8. Newport Beacons - Newport - Shaun Probert, Mike Green, Brian Baston,. Tom Tsambanakis, Ian Jones, Milo Kirkpatrick

  9. Twilightfully Good - Birmingham - Mohammed Khalil, Imran Khan, Umar Saeed, Gurdeep Singh Toor, Asif Ali, Amjid Javed, Faroux Ali

  10. Villains or Not - Birmingham - Kieran Sheridan, Paul Adams, Karl Adams, Daniel Bull, Tom Church, Dwight Tulloch, Keven Davies

  11. Birmingham Twilight Lads - Birmingham - Zahid Faroux, Mohammed Mahmud, Javed Iqbal, Mussie, Leo Thompson, Naveed Sadeeq, Mohammed Fasir

  12. Newmarket Plus 1 - Newmarket - Jason Hien, Steve Lynch, Hugo Da Silva, David Middleton, Mo Manif, Darren Bates

  13. Frontliners Slough - Slough - Suran Amin, Vikas Verma, Junior Samuel, Devron Samuel, Michah Barnes, Lee Shah, Sukhpal Bhatti

NB If you've sent off your registration and your team isn't on today's list, or the one we revealed last week, please contact Claire Phillips-High in the Group Communications team ASAP via email or phone 01793 563530.

We've also set up a Futsal Team News page which shows the full list of teams, plus their captains and players as it stands currently. Do stay tuned here on Community Link-up as we'll be updating the blog with more news about the day and any further team developments along the "Road to Wembley Swindon" on the 29th!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Race For Life's Running Total

[caption id="attachment_6224" align="alignleft" width="224"]Amita with her race number and medal Amita  with her race number and medal[/caption]

We have news of the latest participant in The Race For Life! As well as telling Amita Erda's story, it's an ideal opportunity to give you an update on the "running total" of the funds raised across all the Race for Life stories we've reported on so far.

Amita is Peterborough House's Waster Tracker and took part in her local Race for Life event at Ferry Meadows on July 9th. She has elected to divide the £243.00 she raised between Cancer Research and Sue Ryder.

For those of you who don't know, Sue Ryder is a national charity providing health and social care in local communities, including palliative end of life care. Now in their 60th year, they are seeking to broaden awareness of their services, at a time when there's an increasing focus on care in the community.

Now, how are Smiths News doing with their running and raising funds via the Race for Life? We've had reports from 5 locations so far (Stockport, Slough, Borehamwood and Swindon as well as Amita), who between them have raised in excess of £2,844.94! Looking at the Just Giving Pages links given in their reports, I see Borehamwood have added to their total originally reported, and Swindon have now exceeded their £500 target :)

In other news we also have an update from the Smiths News WHC Ramblers! Maria Ogbourne reports: "We’ve smashed our fundraising target of £500, raising £825 which increases to £1000.75 with gift aid.  This definitely makes that walk in very hot conditions worthwhile; thank you.".