Category Archives: Charities

ENTRY DATE ANNOUNCED FOR AIR AMBULANCE CYCLE CHALLENGE

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is once again encouraging supporters to sign up early for their Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge 2018 after another overwhelming response last year.

The event, which is not designed as a race, involves cycling through some of Dorset and Somerset’s most beautiful countryside and takes place on Sunday 13 May 2018.

Last year’s event raised in excess of £74,000 (including gift aid) and sold out within hours of online registration being open. Demand for places is expected to be even higher this year.

Online registration will open at 10am on Tuesday 5 December 2017, via the Charity’s website – www.dsairambulance.org.uk – and, with only 600 places available, those wishing to take part will need to be quick to avoid disappointment. Participants can enter as an individual or as a team.

The Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge offers two different routes and distances. For those who like a challenge, the brilliant 54-mile cycle, which starts in the Somerset port of Watchet and finishes at West Bay near Bridport, will not disappoint.

With a mixture of quiet back roads, interspersed with some very demanding climbs and equally hairy descents, the event has something to offer for everyone! A staggered start will see the stronger cyclists set off first at 11am, with the less experienced riders departing at 11.15am. A shorter 11-mile route starts at the Royal Oak public house in Drimpton at 2pm and also finishes at West Bay.

Bill Sivewright, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are thrilled to be able to announce the date for our Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge 2018. This will be our eighth year in the saddle and every year the event seems to get better and better.

“We always strive to build on the success of the previous year and with this in mind we are once again restricting our numbers to 600 cyclists. We are also continuing with a staggered start time in order to keep the event as safe as possible and to encourage all standards of cyclists to take part without fear of being overcrowded.

“With such a demand, there will undoubtedly be those who are disappointed not to gain a place which is why I cannot stress enough how important it is to register early! We also hope that those who are fortunate to gain a place will once again encourage their family and friends to sponsor them in a bid to make 2018 the best Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge yet.”

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has flown over 12,000 missions since its launch in March 2000, saving many lives and aiding recovery, with outstanding immediate care and rapid delivery to the hospital best suited to meet the patient’s needs. With no direct Government or National Lottery funding, the charity relies on the generosity of the public and events like Coast to Coast for support.

To register online, visit the charity’s website: www.dsairambulance.org.uk at 10am on Tuesday 5 December 2017 or for more information call 01823 669604.

Entrance fees are: Adults (£20) & Under 16s (£10).

PAINTING PARTY AT CALVERT TRUST EXMOOR

Calvert Trust Exmoor is calling on local businesses large and small to provide volunteer teams for their January 2018 painting ‘party’.

Rob Lott, Head of Communications at Calvert Trust Exmoor, explains; “Every year our fantastic volunteers pull out all the stops and help us freshen up our centre before guests start arriving. Early January is the only opportunity we get to do this as we have disabled guests staying with us from the end of the month and onwards for the rest of the year!”

This year the charity is asking local businesses to encourage their employees to put some volunteering time into the project, or perhaps pick a date and come together as a team.  Slots are available every weekday from 2 January to 17 January 2018.

Martyn Barrow, who is coordinating the volunteers for this project, continues the story: “In previous years we’ve had volunteer teams from organisations like Tesco, Accord, Eaton and Petroc, as well as lots of individual volunteers. For 2018, we are again looking for companies to support us by encouraging their staff to come along and get involved. No previous experience is necessary; we will provide all the paint and equipment, and if you volunteer a whole day we will provide you with lunch too!”

Any companies or individuals wishing to get involved should get in contact with Martyn to book their slot, on martyn@calvert-trust.org.uk or 01598 763221.

MORE THAN 200 TO PERFORM EPIC SEA SYMPHONY AT EXETER CATHEDRAL FOR RNLI

Exeter Cathedral is set to host a large-scale performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ epic ‘Sea Symphony’ that will raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and help save lives at sea.

Members of choral societies in Exeter, Exmouth and Wellington will be joined by the musicians of the Exeter Symphony Orchestra for the celebratory performance, which will take place on Saturday 25 November at 7.30pm. They will be led by the music director of all three choirs Laurence Blyth.

Sue Ryan from Wellington Choral Society said: “Ralph Vaughan Williams is ranked among the finest symphonists of the twentieth century and so this is a big event for all three choirs and we want to raise as much as we can for the wonderful work the RNLI does. We certainly have a much greater appreciation of this and the costs involved since our recent visit to Exmouth Lifeboat Station – fascinating.”

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.

Chair of Exmouth RNLI’s fundraising team Don Hodgkinson says: “With a combined choir of 200 voices drawn from Exeter Choral Society, Exmouth Choral Society, Wellington Choral Society and the Exeter Symphony Orchestra, this is set to be a wonderful occasion. The RNLI relies on kind donations from the public to continue its work saving lives at sea and we are very grateful that these choral societies have chosen to support the RNLI.”

The concert is sponsored by The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust, and there will be a retiring collection in aid of the RNLI.

Tickets are on sale at £15, £12 & £10 with accompanied under-16s free, from Exeter Visitor Information (tel. 01392 665885), online or on the door.

PHOTO: Musical Director and Conductor Laurence Blyth with Exmouth RNLI volunteers, courtesy Farwood Photography.

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