Category Archives: Charities

GOOD CAUSES BENEFIT FROM LOCAL LOTTERY

Local good causes are continuing to benefit from the Somerset West Lottery – a joint enterprise launched by Taunton Deane Borough and West Somerset Councils.

Somerset West Lottery payments to good causes in the two districts for £3,728.40 have recently been approved.  This is an increase of £612.90 to local good causes on the previous payment.

Trident Youth & Community Centre and Taunton Town Football Club continue to top the ticket sales and will receive payments of more than £100 each.

Watchet Bowling Club, Compass Disability Services and Home-Start West Somerset are well on their way to 200 ticket sales.

So far, a total of 83 local good causes have registered with seven welcomed last month alone. The number of supporters has risen to more than 750.

It costs £1 per game to play and winners could win up to £25,000 as part of the weekly draw. Each week, the winning numbers are published on the Somerset West Lottery home page:  www.somersetwestlottery.co.uk

Players have a 50 to one chance of winning one of the prizes. From each £1 ticket, 60p goes to local good causes, 20% goes to the prize fund, and the balance meets running costs and VAT.

The lottery management company, Gatherwell, has been appointed to run the scheme.

 

HARRIET’S SAMARITANS CHARITY POSTER WINS FIRST PRIZE

West Buckland School Year 8 pupil, Harriet Wilson-North (second from the left, with the bright-orange poster), has been presented with a new ipad by Barnstaple Mayor, Mrs Julie Hunt, after winning first prize in a poster competition celebrating 50 years of the North Devon Samaritan’s branch.

The competition was open to three age categories, with the winners of all three age categories seeing their posters displayed in Barnstaple library over the summer.

In addition to Harriet winning her category, Year 8s Summer Culverhouse, Tyler-Paige Beckley and Jasmine Jefferies were presented with highly commended certificates for their stunning poster designs and a plaque to be hung up in the school in recognition of their girls’ achievements.

The competition, which was open to 99 schools in North Devon, was run to raise awareness of the charity’s invaluable work. Volunteer Anna Flynn was delighted to attend the prize giving at West Buckland in assembly. She said, “This positive and fun activity was aimed at highlighting to students from as young as eight the importance of emotional health and the role of the charity in supporting those in emotional distress. All these girls have put a great deal of thought into their designs and Harriet’s was particularly striking and poignant. Well done to all of them.”

WELLINGTON SCHOOL RAISES MONEY FOR HURRICANE VICTIMS

Pupils throughout Wellington School have been committed to helping those hit by Hurricane Irma. Prep School pupils held a fundraising day recently to support the victims in the Caribbean island of Anguilla.

All children were invited to take part in a non-uniform day-wearing wellies in keeping with the theme of the storm!

There was also a welly-boot throwing competition and a cake sale. As the country’s national sport is swimming, the school stuck with the aquatic theme and held a “row-a-thon”. Pupils and teachers aimed to row a total of 26k during the day (the length of the island) and everyone was involved. Well done to all pupils, who raised over £430.

In addition, the Senior School held another mufti day and raised almost £1,500 for those hit in the island of Domenica, where 22 of the pupils were involved in a conservation and research project with Operation Wallacea this summer. All their camps and bases have been destroyed as well as much of the reef they were diving off. They hope some of the funds will make a difference to those rendered homeless by the hurricane.

 

BURNHAM-ON-SEA RNLI LENDS BOMB DISPOSAL A HAND

This is a little write-up about the call out of the RN Bomb Disposal Section to Hinkley which you may have read about recently. It was sent in by one of our photographers, Ian Brown, who is Burnham-on-Sea RNLI’s Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer…

Well it’s been a very busy day for us here at the station. Our first job of the day was to assist a team from the Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Section. Ordinance had been located in the Bristol Channel and they were tasked to make it safe. Their boat had been left with us for a couple of days as they had been called away to another operation but this morning they returned ready to go with all their equipment.

After discussing their plans and preparing kit they made their way to the beach. Due to the state of the tide and the risk of their vehicle sinking in the soft mud we launched the boat using our Soft Track which is much better suited to the conditions. Our crews are well aware of the risks so it seemed a sensible option for us to carry out the launch. The Bomb Disposal Team then made their way to the site of the ordinance and made it safe by the use of small charges. They then returned to the beach where we assisted with recovery. It was then back to station where our launch vehicle was washed down ready for service.

You may think that was enough for one day but many of our staff and crews then went on to undertake shore-based assessments which form part of their training. This continued all day including more assessments afloat when we launched for training that evening.
Phew!

PHOTO by Mike Lang

THE WILDLIFE EXPRESS COMES TO THE WEST SOMERSET STEAM RAILWAY

Somerset’s Own ‘Great British Bake Off’ Star, Val Stones, Avoids a Soggy Bottom by Taking a Comfy Seat on the Wildlife Express

Coinciding with the launch of the new series of the Channel 4 show, Somerton-based, much loved TV baking celebrity, Val Stones, has teamed up with Somerset Wildlife Trust and West Somerset Railway to help raise funds for Somerset’s Wildlife

Somerset Wildlife Trust’s special fundraiser returns for a second year and is proud to present the ‘Steam Tea Wildlife Special’  steam train ride on Thursday 26 October.  This year it returns with a special VIP guest – Val Stones from TV’s ‘Great British Bake Off’.

Winning the hearts of millions, and much loved for her cheeky comments, Val will be joining the vintage afternoon tea-time adventure and will be judging those ticket holders brave enough to bring their own scones and jam for Val’s judgement!  All profits from the ticket sales will be kindly donated to Somerset Wildlife Trust so please come along and fill up the carriages!

Greeted by Val and Somerset Wildlife Trust staff, the steam train leaves Bishops Lydeard at 2.45pm, travels through the Quantock Hills and along the Somerset coastline to Minehead and then returns by 5.45pm. Ticket holders will be travelling in style in VIP carriages on one of WSR’s iconic steam trains, during which they will enjoy a tasty cream tea.  The trip can be enjoyed by all, but if you are also a keen baker, then bring along your homemade scones and hedgerow jams and on the return journey Val will judge the winner  who will receive a Miles Tea Gift generously donated by Miles Tea.

Val said, “If you looked at Somerset as your favourite cake – you’d say it’s made with fabulous ingredient;  glorious scenery, spectacular wildlife, lovely people and really strong communities – it’s a winning combination.  For me, having lived here for 35 years, the icing on the cake is being able to see and enjoy the wonderful wildlife around me.  I am proud of Somerset as a county and so pleased to support an organisation that exists to ensure that it is there for my grandchildren. Everyone should have a slice of Somerset!

The limited number of tickets, which are priced at £29.50 (includes a cream tea), will sell fast, so to find out more and to book your tickets to support this wonderful Somerset Wildlife Trust Fundraiser and get a chance to meet  Val,  please visit www.somersetwildlife.org/shop or phone 01823 652400.

MILES TEA & COFFEE EVENT RAISES OVER £400 FOR ST MARGARET’S HOSPICE

A very successful ‘Time for Tea’ event was held by Miles Tea & Coffee on Thursday 7 September) and raised over £400 for St Margaret’s Hospice.  The event, held under sunny skies in the courtyard of the Porlock Roastery, was attended by large numbers of local residents and visitors to Porlock.

Tea and coffee were supplied by award-winning Miles Tea & Coffee, while the fabulous bakers of Porlock Ladies Group provided delicious homemade cakes, along with a selection baked by the Miles staff.

The St Margaret’s Hospice stall ran a raffle, with the first prize being a fabulous hamper of goodies donated by Miles Tea & Coffee. Special thanks go to Denise Sage who helped on the cake stall, Sandie Floyde who manned the shop during the morning, Wendy Lynch, volunteering for St Margaret’s Hospice and Sam Burton, Marketing Manager, for acting as barista for the event.

The event was attended by Miles Tea & Coffee’s Chairman, Mr Derek Miles and Jane Lillis, St Margaret’s Community Fundraiser for West Somerset.

PHOTO: Jane Lillis, Derek Miles, Wendy Lynch

 

 

HOST A FISH SUPPER AND HELP SAVE LIVES AT SEA

This October, the RNLI is calling on the people of the South West to sink their teeth into a delicious fish dish to raise vital funds, as the lifesaving charity launches its annual Fish Supper fundraiser.

People across the UK and Ireland are being encouraged to host a fish-themed meal for friends and family on the weekend of 13–15 October to help the charity continue saving lives at sea.

The RNLI relies on the generosity of the public to fund its lifesaving services, and the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crew members often sacrifice their precious meal times at a moment’s notice, answering the call of their pagers to save lives at sea.

Michael England, the Mechanic and Second Coxswain at Padstow Lifeboat Station, said: “As a crew member, my pager can beep at any time. Whether I’m at work, asleep in bed or about to tuck into my dinner – I’ll stop what I’m doing and get straight to the lifeboat station, ready to save lives.

“Holding a Fish Supper is a great way for people to support the RNLI. It’s easy to sign up for a free fundraising pack and then enjoy hosting a fun evening with your friends and family. If cooking’s not your thing, you could always serve up something simple like a fish finger sandwich or fish and chips.”

Whether it’s a simple fish butty or a more challenging culinary masterpiece, everyone is invited to get involved in this year’s Fish Supper. If in need of a little inspiration, MasterChef champion Jane Devonshire’s Cheesy Fish Pie is a great place to start.

Jane says: “I love cooking for my family, and my cheesy fish pie is always a crowd pleaser – plus, it’s so easy to prepare. I urge anyone who hasn’t tried cooking fish before to give this recipe a try, and impress your friends and family while raising vital funds for the RNLI’s brave lifeboat crews.”

To receive your free Fish Supper fundraising pack, and to see some mouth-watering recipe inspiration, including Jane’s Cheesy Fish Pie, visit RNLI.org/FishSupper.

Last year, RNLI lifeboat crews across the UK and Ireland rescued 8,643 people and saved 431 lives. It costs over £485,000 per day to run the RNLI, and the charity relies on donations from the public to continue its lifesaving service.

PHOTO by Nick Watts

GEAR UP FOR THE SOUTH WEST COAST PATH CHALLENGE

This October the Challenge returns to the South West Coast Path. Your Challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to help beat the record for the number of miles of Coast Path covered collectively in a month – and raise vital funds for the upkeep and improvement of this beautiful trail.

Join one of the Association’s organised events throughout October like the Minehead to Porlock 10-mile walk on 7 October, or set yourself a personal challenge. Walk, jog, skip, hop or run as much or as little of the Path as you like – it is totally up to you! Grab your friends, family and colleagues, head down to your favourite part of the Path and achieve something amazing together.

The Challenge raises money for two registered charities – the South West Coast Path Association, and the National Trust, who work together to care for and improve the Path, ensuring the unique and precious coastal landscape of the South West can be enjoyed on foot, for free, now and in future generations.

Registration is just £10 and includes an official 2017 Challenge t-shirt. You can either add a donation or fundraise. Your support makes a real difference to the millions of people who come from near and far to explore, keep fit or find peace on the Coast Path each year – good luck!

Register at southwestcoastpath.org.uk/challenge

RNLI LIFEGUARD RECOGNISED FOR COURAGEOUS RESCUE OF BODY BOARDER AT CROYDE

RNLI Senior Lifeguard Freddie Hedger has been selected to receive the charity’s Alison Saunders Lifeguarding Award for his heroic actions last summer, when he risked his own life to save body boarder, Mary Harkin, who was in trouble at Croyde Beach, North Devon.

The Alison Saunders Lifeguarding Award is made annually by the Trustees of the RNLI, for the most meritorious rescue by RNLI lifeguards during the previous season. It was created in 2009 and is sponsored by Alison Saunders, a former Deputy Chair of the Institution. Alison Saunders was the first woman to be appointed to the Trustee Committee, and served on the RNLI Council from 1985 to 2009. She was deputy chair from 2004 to 2009.

RNLI Senior Lifeguard Freddie Hedger, courtesy RNLI Jade Dyer.

The 2016 award has been made to Senior Lifeguard Freddie Hedger for his bravery, presence of mind, skill and determination during the rescue which took place on 8 August 2016.

It was sunny with a brisk north-westerly wind and a 5-6ft challenging ‘messy’ surf, with rip currents on both sides of the lifeguard patrolled zone. Croyde is a wide, sandy beach popular with both swimmers and surfers, as it’s considered one of the best surfing beaches in the UK.

At 4pm lifeguard Sean Deasy was actively patrolling the rip currents on the Rescue Water Craft (RWC). At 4.30pm Freddie Hedger joined Sean on a water patrol using a rescue board, making his way to the southern end of the rip current to enter the water. On his way out he teamed up with Sean to help move a group of novice surfers who were drifting out of the black and white flags into the rip current.

It was at this point that Freddie became aware of a surfer and body boarder further out to sea, both of whom appeared to be in difficulty, so he immediately informed Sean who made his way out on the RWC followed by Freddie on the paddle board. On arrival it was clear that the surfer was physically struggling with the difficult conditions and was frightened, having stopped helping the body boarder who was in serious trouble. Sean was unable to rescue Mary, the body boarder, as he couldn’t get close enough with the RWC due to the large surf, which was breaking heavily on the sand bank at this point.

Freddie made the decision to leave his rescue board and swim towards Mary. When he got to her, she was face down in the water and unconscious. He lifted her face out of the water so she could breathe and worked hard to protect her from the waves breaking over them. Sean witnessed them both get dragged under by a wave, disappearing from sight in the turbulent water. He made further attempts to assist Freddie with the rescue, but was hampered by the waves and undertows. With a break in the waves, he was finally able to make a move to rescue them both.

Despite being exhausted, Freddie managed to grab the handle of the rescue sled on the RWC with one hand. Using his other to keep the Mary’s head above water, he signalled to Sean to drag them towards the shore as he tried to keep them afloat. They were towed about 10m before Freddie could hold on no more due to being almost completely exhausted. Fortunately they were now closer to the beach so he was able to stand in the water.

Lifeguard Jack Middleton had seen the events from the shore so met Sean and Freddie at the shoreline with the casualty care kit. Once ashore the casualty, who was barely conscious, began vomiting and was clearly in a bad way. Both an ambulance and coastguard helicopter were called to the beach and Freddie’s presence of mind and leadership were crucial in helping the other emergency services with the rescue.

Freddie stayed with Mary as she was taken to the top of the beach, where she was given casualty care by the RNLI lifeguards before being handed over to the ambulance crew and spent a night recovering in hospital. The surfer managed to get himself back to the safety of the beach and went straight to the lifeguard unit to find out how Mary was.

Mary has since completed a sponsored cycle ride with two friends from her home in London back to Croyde beach as a way of thanking the lifeguards who saved her life that day. So far the trio have raised over £4,000 for the RNLI.

Mary said: “I can’t put into words how much the RNLI mean to me. The team at Croyde are selfless, incredibly brave and highly skilled. Last summer, they put their lives on the line for me and if wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here today. The lifeguards should get the recognition and support they deserve for the work they do.”

The surfer involved in the rescue, Fraser Gibb, said: “As for Freddie’s efforts, it’s hard to describe just how grateful I am that he managed to get out there. I’ve described to many others many times now how I was in awe of his swimming ability as the conditions had changed quickly and it was extremely difficult to control myself, let alone keep someone else afloat… if Freddie hadn’t swam out there like he did and didn’t give up until he had her, it would have been a very different story.”

Freddie will be presented with the award on 24 August by Alison Saunders and joined by the rest of the lifeguard team who helped with the rescue.

PHOTO: The conditions at Croyde beach at the time of the incident, courtesy HM Coastguard.

COULD YOU HELP SAVE LIVES BY VOLUNTEERING FOR DEVON AIR AMBULANCE

The Devon Air Ambulance is currently looking for people to join their volunteering family.

Cara Jones, Volunteer Manager for Devon Air Ambulance, said, “Our volunteers are an invaluable part of our team and ensure we remain truly rooted in the community we serve. If you have a couple of hours to spare, we would love to hear from you. We appreciate you may have other commitments so we welcome flexible volunteers who do not need to commit to a minimum amount of time.”

She added, “We have a variety of rolls to suit everyone such as, box collecting, giving talks, attending cheque presentation, assisting in our charity shops and attending our events.”

If you are interested in finding out more please contact our Volunteer Manager Cara Jones by calling 01392 466666 or emailing c.jones@daat.org for more information.

PHOTO: Volunteers at the South Molton shop.