Saturday, 31 December 2011

Boxing Day

Catching up still! MrM kindly dropped off a bag of stuff to the Cancer Research UK shop in town.

As our little boy is so, so long, a lot of babygrows for newborns don't fit, so I donated these along with a Harry Potter book that's taking up space and some toiletries.

We’ve saved millions of lives with our groundbreaking work into preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer. People’s chances of surviving cancer have doubled in the last 40 years, and we’ve been at the heart of that progress.

But more than one in three of us will still get cancer at some point. Our vital work, funded entirely by the public, will help ensure that millions more people survive.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Christmas Day

Bit behind but we sponsored MrM's brother's Movember effort...

Thank you for your donation. Your support of Movember and the more than 10,000 men who will die of prostate cancer and the more than 2,000 men who will be diagnosed with testicular cancer this year, is sincerely appreciated.

Attached please find your official receipt.

Through the Movember Foundation and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and The Institute of Cancer Research, Movember is funding world class awareness, research, educational and support programmes which would otherwise not be possible.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Friday, 23rd December - Charles Clore unit

There was a table of books for sale at the hospital today which I noticed while the baby and I were waiting for his first appointment. I didn't buy anything, but stuck some money in the collection tin in aid of the local Charles Clore unit.

Wednesday, 21st December - Sandham Memorial Chapel

My mum represented me at the weekly coffee morning, buying me some jumble goodies, including a pile of Christmas biscuits and a lovely bottle of perfume.

The sale was in aid of the Sandham Memorial CHapel.

Tuesday, 20th December - Mayor's Benevolent Fund

MrM kindly bought me several pieces of stollen from a coffee morning in town....

Sunday, 18th December & Monday, 19th December - Royal Berkshire League of Friends

As I was in labour all of Sunday and had our baby on Monday, I made a double donation to the Royal Berkshire League of Friends. We had a home birth but unexpectedly found ourselves in hospital after the birth - all sorted now and a massive thank you to all staff at the hospital!

Operation Christmas Child update

The box I submitted a couple of months ago was sent to...ta-dah.....Bosnia!

Bosnia is a predominantly Muslim country based in the Balkan Region of Eastern Europe. There are less than 700 Christians in the entire country. High unemployment and little new investment in infrastructure has left more than 25% of the population in poverty.

Shoeboxes are sent by truck to the capital Sarajevo and then distributed across the country by our in-country partners. This year, we sent 72,948 shoeboxes from the UK to Bosnia.

Below is a story from a previous year’s distribution to Bosnia…

Damira’s story
In Bosnia, many children will not receive a present during the entire year. We had the privilege of giving out shoeboxes to children with special needs. It was wonderful to watch their smiles as they opened the shoeboxes and found hidden treasures inside.

Our team visited the Drina’s Rehabilitation Centre at Fojnica where we met a little girl called Damira who was 13 years old. She had a tragic background as she was born with learning disabilities and for reasons unknown, 3 years ago her mother tried to put her on a railway line in front of a train.

Instead of being instantly killed Damira survived but now lives in this rehabilitation centre. She has no visitors so it was unlikely that she would get any Christmas presents that year, were it not for the shoeboxes. When she saw that she was to get a shoebox her face lit up and she was overjoyed with her gifts.

Our work in the region

Samaritan’s Purse doesn’t just send shoeboxes to Eastern Europe. We work with local churches to provide support to abandoned orphans in Belarus and also provide medical, emotional and spiritual care for people living with HIV and AIDS in the Ukraine who have no one to look after them.

Baby arrives!

Our little boy was born at home on Monday so while I am still here, I'm a bit behind!

I will endeavour to ensure something gets done for every day that's left in 2011 though!

Meanwhile, thanks for reading throughout the year and I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas!

m and baby j

Thursday, 15 December 2011


Your donation has helped us to achieve another record breaking year; an incredible result and one which would not have been possible without the support of our donors and the 850,000 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world. The first Movember Mo was grown in Australia back in 2003. Since that time, we’ve grown and now run official Mo campaigns in fourteen countries.

Your donation to Movember has helped us achieve our most successful year to date; so it's important to us that you know what happens next in the Movember cycle. We also want to tell you more about the programmes your money will be funding and what the team gets up to outside of Moustache Season.

Saturday, 17th December - Eight Bells Newbury

Charity thing today was actually Thursday (baby has still not appeared so I am doing as much as I can in advance!)

Lovely coffee morning at St Nics was in aid of mental health charity Eight Bells which supports people affected by mental health issues. As well as the goodies in the pic, I also bought two pieces of shortbread which didn't make it home to be photographed.

As a member led organisation, there are great opportunities to get involved with the running of Eight Bells from cooking lunch to being part of the management board. We believe in empowering our members, this creates a great atmosphere within the centre; people feel part of a community. People aren't told what to do here rather they are involved in deciding how things are done.

Friday, 16th December - Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centre

Some coins in a pot at the local supermarket..

Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres is a registered charity that provides a place where children, from birth to five years, with special needs and disabilities come to develop skills through play. More than this, it is a place where their parents and carers are welcome, where they can make friends and share experiences.

Every child who attends is regarded as an individual with the right to take a full and active part in every day life and Dingley aims to facilitate their entry into the next stage of education.

Thursday, 15th December - GP surgery

Can I count this? New thing today was taking a pile of magazines to the surgery...

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

World Book Night 2012 update

There's still time to sign up to be a "giver" on 23rd April 2012!

We've had thousands of applications but we still need more givers to register so we wanted to ask you to help us spread the word by telling all your friends and family about World Book Night and encouraging them to be givers. We've extended the application deadline to the end of January and, in response to feedback, made the application process easier.

And we also wanted to assure you that it won't effect your chances of being a giver!

We've changed the process for how givers are chosen for 2012. Our core objective is to ensure that the WBN books reach non or light readers but we do also want to ensure that givers are spread throughout the country. Givers will be chosen first and foremost based on their commitment to give books to non or light readers and the answers to the questions to where, who and why, and then geographic location and when applications were received will be taken in to account.
So providing you've fulfilled our criteria of spreading the love of reading to new readers then how early you've applied will be taken in to account.

We'll let you know whether or not you've been sucessful in February but will keep in touch in the mean time.

Books. The most amazing gift
And finally we can't resist encouraging you to give books this Christmas. Whether it's your favourite, something they've always wanted, brand new or an old favourite, books really do make the perfect gift and we, as book lovers, that you'll receive as many as you give this Christmas!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

NSPCC letter from Santa

I just got a text to say that the young recipient of the NSPCC Christmas letter....(available here for a donation to the NSPCC) is very happy.

"So nice of Father Christmas to send Henry a letter. Very thoughtful of the little elf who reminded him xx"

Your donations make a difference

Answers a child's call for help on ChildLine.

Enables a trained practitioner to deliver one hour of support through the NSPCC Helpline, to protect some of the most vulnerable children in society such as babies or toddlers who cannot call for themselves.

Pays for a child who may have nowhere else to turn to receive confidential, one to one counselling through ChildLine, about an issue which is important to them.

Could pay for an hour of face to face work in one of our services for a vulnerable child and their family.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - Scope

It's a beautiful day today, but yesterday - GAH! I didn't step out of the house, preferring to stay in the kitchen making mince pies and throwing around the ingredients like Tom Cruise in Cocktail. I've been making a lot of my own entertainment in the last couple of weeks.

So I did three things in one today, all in Scope whose shop has recently had a revamp and looks great. Everything is reasonably priced, easy to browse through and the staff are friendly.

So, my three things:

1. I handed over some books and other bits and bobs including this which I read yesterday in one sitting.

2. I handed over some stamps as they can make money out of them - still not sure how, but hopefully this will be worth a bit as I have an astonishing array of used stamps including one from a country I'd never heard of!

3. I bought a pair of shoes for MrM which look great but might have to go back as they're a half size too big. We'll see.

The Scope website seems to be down but from memory, they help children and adults with cerebral palsy.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Sunday, 11th December - 2nd Thatcham Scouts

After a donation, I was helped by a young lad to bag up my shopping in that orange supermarket. Could have sworn they said "2nd" not "1st" as below though?

Fundraising for 1st Thatcham Scout Group, Sainsbury's Store, 10am to 4pm. 1st Thatcham Scout Group is fundraising by packing bags at Sainsbury’s, to raise £5000 for essential maintenance that its HQ so desperately needs.

Saturday, 10th December - Newbury Round Table

A last ditch attempt to get a Christmas present for MrM saw us reluctantly head into town on a Saturday - however, it did give me the chance to put my coins in a bucket for the Newbury Round Table.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Operation Christmas Child update

Dear Shoeboxer,

First of all, a massive THANK YOU for doing a shoebox this year with Operation Christmas Child. We hope to let you know in the coming weeks where your shoebox has been sent.

In the meantime, we'd love to tell you about a great way your friends can still make a child's Christmas. How? Through Shoebox World - our innovative website where you create your shoebox online and we do the hard work of making it up and sending it out.

3 things you need to know about Shoebox World:


It's fun - play around with your kids on the site; enjoy the videos, graphics and sound effects!


It's quick - if you are in a hurry, you can even select a pre-packed box option.


It's affordable - you can do a shoebox from just £11, with gifts around 20% cheaper than High Street prices

Most important of all, a child living in Liberia who would otherwise not receive a present this Christmas will know the joy of receiving your shoebox gift.

Thank you again for your support.

Samaritan's Purse

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Friday, 9th December - Christian Aid

A day ahead as the baby is due any moment! Today is actually Thursday but my charity thing today was to meet a friend for coffee at the weekly charity fundraising morning at St Nic's CHurch. Eating coffee cake in aid of Christian Aid is the kind of "charity work" that I love!

The sale and tombola yielded a couple of interesting things including some 1970s soap which my mum might like. I also entered a "guess the weight" competition which is difficult when you're brought up in a strange world where imperial and metric are mixed - they will probably have a good laugh as I may well have confused pounds, stone and grammes and insulted the maker of the cake by saying it weighs more than I do.

Also entered the tombola and bizarrely won a packet of bread sticks. Reminds me of a bar in Tobago that I was in once where someone won a live pig in a competition. Anyway, had a nice catch up and good to talk to this calm mother-of-three who put me in a good frame of mind for the birth!

Delivering hope this Christmas

Meet Rogers, our modern-day wise man. This Christmas he will be travelling far from home to deliver hope and transform lives in rural Kenya.

Rogers describes what he does as a 'calling' and says 'it is good to have a helping heart'. His selfless compassion has saved many lives, including Patricia's; without Roger's support Patricia's two children could now be among the 1.2 million children orphaned due to AIDS in Kenya.

Please give generously this Christmas and help volunteers like Rogers continue their life-saving work in some of the world's poorest communities.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Thursday, 8th December - Cancer Research UK

Did this today for tomorrow, so yesterday really, if you see what I mean. Perhaps my hormones are getting to me, but I have to say that I was not at all impressed with today's transaction. I was quite excited about finding a maternity dress but the wind was taken out of my sails when I approached the till.

I spent £11 but didn't get the courtesy of a "hello" or a "thank you". In fact, the woman behind the counter merely nodded at me so I forced her to say hello because I am awkward that way.

Once I'd paid her, she walked off! So I was left to bundle everything into my handbag while she mumbled something to her colleague.

Visit our shops

We have nearly 600 shops around the UK where you can buy or donate goods. And to make shopping even easier, we’ve launched our very own online shopping site

Wednesday, 7th December - NCT

NCT again!
Today I purchased a strip of raffle tickets at the Bumps and Babes Christmas fair. (and nearly bought a pushchair - one of the ladies was quite amused that I hadn't got one yet!)

Hoping that lots of you are planning to come to Ace Space on Wednesday 7th - This Wednesday to do a bit of Christmas Shopping at our Micro Christmas Fair?

Monday, 5 December 2011

Follow Your Dreams update

I did a dreadfully short blog post about a charity called Follow Your Dreams last week. I found their website but as I couldn't copy and paste, I didn't really say much about what they actually do! Fortunately, someone who works at the charity is far more on the ball than I am and sent me an email to tell me that they work with children with learning disabilities.

We don't look to provide on off special occasions but rather recognise a child's talent or interest and build on that!

Follow them here on twitter too: @Follow_Yr_Dream

They also sent me the following blog post - (I'm not sure that the only reason I did a blog post about them was because I got a sticker though!)

Part of my role working for Follow Your Dreams, is to receive email alerts for any new web content appearing on Google, that contains the words ‘Follow Your Dreams’. As I’m sure you can appreciate I get a lot of alerts with this content and 99% of the time with no relevance to the charity at all!

That said today was a pleasant surprise for me, not only because the alert was related to the charity ‘Follow Your Dreams’, but also because the content wasn’t directly related to anything the office staff had produced such as a press release, no instead it was due to the sticker someone received after making a donation to one of our collectors!

A charity a day is a blog found at and each day a write up is given to a charity, a nice way of spreading the good news of what work goes on out there, and in some cases for little know charities such as ‘Follow Your Dreams’. I’m sure this post only came about due to the little sticker that was handed out in return for the donation given.

It just goes to show the importance of a little sticker no bigger than a 10p coin providing people with our web address! and also makes it clear that we don’t necessarily appreciate the impact that the people we come into contact with each day can have on our charity! Follow Your Dreams has now become visible to an audience that we may not have reached before, and our thanks is sent to the author of the blog A charity a day!

The full post can be read here

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Monday, 5th December - NCT

Yes, yes, ahead of myself again!

We went to the NCT nearly new sale for a donation. The intention was to buy a pushchair and the only one that suited us was priced at £120 (I only had £100 in cash on me and didn't realise you could pay by card until we were leaving). Very fortunately, as MrM and I are currently members of the NCT, we were among those given an extra 15 minutes at the beginning to look at the meticulously presented goodies on offer before everyone was let in. I only managed to come away with a DVD.

National campaigning

Our national campaigning work is based around three campaign areas and our three policies on Pregnancy and Birth, Babyfeeding and Parenthood.

Local campaigning

We encourage and support campaigning across the UK. On these pages you can find the support you need to help make a difference locally using our Activists' Guides to running effective campaigns.National Campaigning
NCT campaigns nationally in three areas: pregnancy and birth; baby feeding and parenthood. We campaign on these objectives:

Pregnancy & Birth
1.One-to-one support in labour
2.Birth environments designed around women's needs
3.Easily accessible, individualised services for all
4.Choice of place of birth
5.Well informed parents and professionals
6.Protection and promotion of the normality of birth

1.The Baby Friendly Initiative being fully implemented
2.Informed, individualised support
3.Integrated government breastfeeding strategies
4.Peer and specialist supporters
5.Well informed and supportive communities

Early parenthood
1.Information on parenting approaches to be evidence-based
2.Continuous parent-centred, empowering services
3.Improved postnatal care
4.High quality, affordable childcare
5.Improved maternity and paternity pay and leave

Sunday, 4th December - South Pole Challenge

I've started drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea which means that I could have the baby at any moment! This means that I am starting to think ahead to ensure that I don't miss a day of my charity endeavours - after all I've got to the beginning of December; it would be silly to give up now!

So although it's still Saturday, Sunday's charity thing was a visit to a table top sale where MrM and I bought some fabulous jam and marmalade as a Christmas present (won't say for who on here!).

The table top sale raised funds for an amazing woman with an incredible goal - more here

A BUSINESSWOMAN, mother and dare-devil from Cold Ash is hoping to join an elite group of people by attempting to ski to the South Pole.
Julie Ashmore, aged 43 of Corner Mead, will take part in the expedition in January and is hoping to raise money for a children's charity at the same time.
It was a case of being in the right place at the right time that meant Mrs Ashmore was able to secure a place on the expedition specially timed to arrive at the South Pole on the 100th anniversary of polar explorer Captain Scott’s 1912 expedition.
While on a business course, Mrs Ashmore met seasoned adventurer and business owner Neil Laughton who led the expedition in which Bear Grylls became the youngest person to reach the top of Everest.
Having already climbed Mt Kilimanjaro but having suffered bad altitude sickness, Mrs Ashmore said she wanted a new challenge and happened to ask Mr Laughton about polar expeditions. And he promptly invited her on his trip in January.
"I could have asked one million people about [polar expeditions] but the first person I asked was him! It was like it was meant to happen."
However, her plan of attempting a challenge without having to worry about altitude sickness back fired when she discovered the poles were at altitude.
She added: "It is on 10,000ft of ice and because of the thinner air, it feels like it is 13,000ft - it's ironic."
While on the trek she will have to pull her sledge, weighing about 60kg and so in a couple of weeks, she will be seen pulling tyres across Cold Ash village green to get in shape.
As well as the weight of the sledge and the fact that she has never skied cross country before, she will have to endure the cold.
“Antarctica is the windiest continent and the coldest so you cannot expose any skin," she said.
Mrs Ashmore, who is the UK Operations Director of financial services group Bibby and the mother of Elizabeth, aged seven and Michael, aged six said that fitting in the training on top of her work life and being a mum had been especially hard.
She said: "Most of my friends and family think I'm completely mad and don't know how I manage it but I have a very supportive husband.
"It's extra exciting (because it's on the anniversary) - I do consider myself to be very lucky."
If she completes the trek she will be one of only 300 people who have ever arrived at the South Pole over land.
Mrs Ashmore is completing the challenge to raise money for Fairbridge, a charity which works with inner city youths to gain the confidence and motivation to change their lives.
To sponsor her visit

and here:

Saturday, 3rd December - Follow your dreams

Just popped a handful of money into the collection tin of a man collecting for Follow your dreams. I must admit that I'd not heard of this charity before but apparently it's to help children with learning difficulties to realise their full potential.

Friday, 2nd December - RSPCA

Was on my way to the bus station and saw a lovely young lady offer to help an older lady carry her bags of groceries to her car. How cheery! I then passed the RSPCA shop which has recently not provided positive experiences for me, but thinking of the Christmas spirit in action that I'd just seen, I thought I'd have a look.

A lovely Christmassy dress caught my eye so I checked the scary lady wasn't in the shop and went in. The dress wasn't as nice when I got close up, but I did manage to get a handful of blank CDs.

RSPCA celebrity supporters

There are many ways in which we receive celebrity support. Whether it be from our patrons and vice-presidents or other famous followers.

But what is most important is that our high-profile and celebrity supporters all believe in what we do and share our mission and aims.

Our selection of videos above feature just some of the celebrities who have shown their support for the RSPCA, including:
•TV vet and LSPCA patron Joe Inglis treating animals at mobile clinics in Malawi, south-east Africa.

•Ex-Atomic Kitten star Liz McClarnon visiting an RSPCA animal centre to see for herself the many animals in our care in need of new homes.

•TV presenter and comedian Paul O’Grady who adopted Winston the lamb after the animal was found dumped in a wheelie bin.

•Actor Martin Clunes and his wife Philippa with their adopted RSPCA rescue ponies Connor and Oliver.

•TV star and comedian Julian Clary promoting the work we do in rehoming cats and kittens.

•Hollywood star Pamela Anderson making a special Christmas visit to the animals at our Liverpool Animal Centre.

•TV personality and animal expert Bill Oddie promoting the work of our Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Thursday, 1st December - ........

It just CAN'T be December already! Can I count this as a charity thing today or is it littering? I had a GP appointment so unloaded a bunch of magazines and left them in the waiting room - quite satisfyingly I saw a few people reading them when I came out of my session.

Does it count?

Monday, 28 November 2011

Monday, 28th November - Helen Hospice

More decluttering sees a bag fill up with books and magazines primarily. I haul this down to the RSPCA shop as it's on our way to the train station. As we walk along I tell my mum about my bad experiences in this shop.

The door's open, so we head in and a surly woman tells us that the shop is closed just as someone else enters.

I tell him the shop is closed, but she says they're open for donations in such a draconian manner that I daren't tell her that I was trying to donate. We then try the BHF who don't take magazines. I'm about to put the lot in the rubbish bin in the marketplace when my mum takes them to Helen House who again save the day.

I love this charity shop and will make them my first destination next time; not the third.

Helen & Douglas House has the time and expertise to care for children and young adults with life-shortening conditions and support their families. The two hospice houses offer specialist symptom and pain management, medically-supported short breaks and end-of-life care, as well as counselling and practical support for the whole family.

Helen House opened in 1982 as the world's first children's hospice. Douglas House opened in 2004 as the world's first hospice specifically for young adults aged 16-35.

Sunday, 27th November - Vision Aid Overseas

My declutter is ongoing and one of the items to be filed under the OUT list was a pair of MrM's glasses that I found - the arm had broken and he'd just bought a new pair so I asked him if I could take them to the optician to send on to an African charity.

He said that was fine and I put the glasses, in a box, at the foot of the stairs to remind me to take them in. So a few days pass and I decide to take them. I lock the front door and just check that the glasses are in the box. That's funny - they're not broken?

Then I realise that MrM has swapped the two pairs over and that I was inches away from taking his new glasses back to the shop. He does not know this and now he has stronger glasses, I'm in danger of his reading it on here.

Anyway, Vision Express seemed pleased and a nice lady in the local branch told me that they get sent to prison to get repaired before being sent onto a charity called Vision Aid Overseas.

Vision Express celebrates five years of support for Vision Aid Overseas

15 February 2010 - Vision Express is celebrating its fifth year of support for optical charity Vision Aid Overseas by making a donation of £60,732 following store fundraising support throughout 2009. The donation comes at the end of a tough financial year for businesses and not-for-profit organisations in the UK and Ireland and demonstrates the enormous commitment that Vision Express staff and stores have for the aims of Vision Aid Overseas.

Vision Express has supported Vision Aid Overseas since 2005 and in five years has helped to raise over £205,000 towards their work. This support has been vital towards supporting the delivery of a programme that has helped over 250,000 patients. Vision Aid Overseas aims to transform access to quality eyecare in developing countries through the creation of Vision Centres, the training of local eyecare personnel and the provision of outreach services in areas away from existing facilities.

The fundraising support has been led by staff members from Vision Expresses’ 320 stores based in the UK and Ireland. Initiatives have ranged from collecting donations for repairs and adjustments to running fundraising days including raffles, money collections and prize draws. Vision Express staff have also participated in half-marathons and bike rides to raise funds and awareness.

Many Vision Express professional employees also support Vision Aid Overseas by travelling on volunteer programmes in Africa and India. Mark Harris, a dispensing optician and Product Manager at Vision Express, recently travelled to Ethiopia to take part in a programme of supervision and mentoring for optical trainees. “It is such a good feeling to know that you are contributing to the future of eyecare in developing countries when you work with Vision Aid Overseas. During my recent project to Ethiopia, the Vision Aid Overseas team and our trainees helped to transform patients lives through the provision of eye examinations and glasses. I am also extremely proud of Vision Expresses’ fantastic fundraising effort because I know what an enormous difference this money will make.”

Jeremy Jalie, Communications Director at Vision Aid Overseas expressed his admiration for the support of Vision Express colleagues: “We are extremely grateful to Vision Express for their fundraising support and for their enormous commitment to the work of Vision Aid Overseas. It is fantastic to have such resounding support from the company and to be supported by individual stores in such a dedicated way. Vision Aid Overseas was built on the support and enthusiasm of individuals and organisations in the optical profession and industry and Vision Express demonstrates that the commitment to improving lives through good vision is still inspiring patients and customers to support our work. Vision Aid Overseas will use the money to utilise the skills of UK optical professionals in the development of eyecare services in our partner countries.”

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Saturday, 26th November - Parkinson's UK

My mum bought us a book of raffle tickets in aid of Parkinson's UK - thanks Mum!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Friday, 25th November - Mayor's Benevolent Fund

Tonight was the Christmas light switch on in Newbury marketplace with the mayor and his predecessor collecting for charity. I simply savoured the lights, enjoyed the carols and put some coins in a bucket for the Mayor's Benevolent Fund which benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Trust..

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

•Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is one of the UK's most common life-threatening inherited diseases.
•Cystic Fibrosis affects over 9,000 people in the UK.
•Over two million people in the UK carry the faulty gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis - around 1 in 25 of the population.
•If two carriers have a child, the baby has a 1 in 4 chance of having Cystic Fibrosis.
•Cystic Fibrosis affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food.
•Each week, five babies are born with Cystic Fibrosis.
•Each week, two young lives are lost to Cystic Fibrosis.
•Only half of those living with Cystic Fibrosis are likely to live past their late 30s.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Thursday, 24th November - Soroptimists

I had to be in two places at once this morning so sent my mum to the weekly jumble sale at St NIc's. This week was a fundraiser for the Soroptimists and my mum did a great job buying a cutlery holder and a plate of yummy shortbread.

About our Club

Welcome to Newbury & District branch of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland. Our Meeting Venue is the annexe at St George’s Church, Wash Common, Newbury. Following speaker meetings, a short business meeting will be held.

Newbury and District was chartered in June 1956. At present we have 26 members from a variety of professions and voluntary and other organizations. We are active in the community and enjoy meeting together for fellowship and fun.

We meet on the 1st & 3rd Thursday of the month, except August, at St. George’s Annexe, Wash Common, Newbury, RG14 6NU at 7.30pm. Usually we start with coffee and biscuits followed by a speaker or business meeting, the evening ends about 9.45pm. During August we organize a summer luncheon at the home of one of our members to which we also invite our partners.

Each year our president nominates a charity for which we raise funds by organizing various events such as a coffee mornings and a quiz. This year we will be raising money for the Tissue Bank for the Breast Cancer Research Campaign.

Wednesday, 23rd November - NCT

Another NCT session today (by donation). This was my third session on breast feeding, but I still learn new things each time.

Tonight we learned about the importance of a partner's support; they can help, burp the baby and provide you with drinks of water. "Big jugs" as the peer supporter said, appropriately...

Why does breastfeeding matter and what are the benefits for mum and baby?

There are lots of reasons why breastfeeding is important for mums and babies:

For babies
Breastmilk is a living fluid and every mum’s milk is tailor-made for her own baby. It contains many ingredients which help a baby stay healthy, such as antibodies to fight germs and hormones that help your baby’s development.
Babies who are breastfed are less likely to have ear or urine infections or get stomach bugs or chest infections.
Babies who are breastfed are less likely to become overweight children.
If your family has allergies, your baby is less likely to get eczema or a wheezy chest if they are breastfed.
Fewer babies who are breastfed get diabetes in childhood.
Premature babies who receive breastmilk have a lower risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (a potentially dangerous bowel disorder).

For mums
Breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of developing certain types of ovarian and breast cancer.
Mums who have breastfed have a lower risk of hip fractures and diabetes when they get older.
Breastfeeding helps your uterus return to its normal size after birth.

For everyone
Breastfeeding doesn't have an impact on the environment.

Get the support you need

Newborn babies have instincts that help them to breastfeed and mums have instincts too – but in the UK, many women become parents without ever having seen breastfeeding first hand, and feel uncertain about what to do. That's why when you are learning to breastfeed, you may need support and information. You can find articles on our website about breastfeeding straight after birth, getting your baby attached correctly at your breast, common concerns and how friends and family, your partner and employers can support you.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tuesday, 22nd November - NCT

I think I might now be a volunteer for the local looks like I will be helping out at a twice-monthly meeting for new mums.

The forget it thing is a bit strange though!

Do let me know your thoughts and we can either forget it or link you up.

West Berkshire toy appeal - now with new picture

The last one was the stuff of nightmares - fortunately they've now changed it...

MrM is in there

Christmas Crafternoon

The magic of twitter!

Got a tweet from who is organising a fundraising Christmas Crafternoon on Saturday, 17th Dec 2-5pm in Stalybridge,Cheshire.

Bit far for me (and there was no space for "please" in the tweet :D ) but good luck!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

West Berks Alz update

"Twenty-seven volunteers & staff swung into action like a well-oiled machine! What an incredible team you all are - even the ladies in the church are amazed by the Alzheimer's Society coffee mornings. Thank you for all your hard work yesterday, and baking, donating goods for sale etc.

We counted the money this morning giving us a total of £564.67 minus expenses for purchase of tea / coffee / milk etc.

Thank you so much.

Street collection date

Also, another date for your diary - there's a street collection in Newbury town centre on the 15th of December from 9am and 5pm. Please get in touch if you can help"

Saturday, 19th November - Women's Land Army Tribute

What a blissful morning! I was back in Exeter, one of my favourite towns, and the one where I spent three years as a student, so as I was looking back at my University years, how fitting that one of the town centre hotels should play host to a fabulous vintage fair.

"Crikey it's vintage" was a one day celebration of vintage with amazing clothes stalls and handmade goodies. It was absolutely heaving and a lovely morning of shopping (and this is from someone who hates shopping). I only bought a cake stand, a bedspread, a Christmas decoration for my sister, a 60s dress and a Leslie Charteris book.

Ticket sales went towards the Women's Land Army Tribute:

The Women’s Land Army Tribute project has been established by the Staffordshire Women’s Food and Farming Union.


1.To raise enough funds to provide a permanent memorial and lasting tribute.
2.To commission a sculptor to design and create an appropriate memorial, which will be installed and erected at the National Memorial Arboretum.
3.To organise an appropriate dedication ceremony.
4.To raise awareness of the project and make every effort to contact former Women’s Land Army Girls and Lumber Jill’s.


We will promote a high profile fundraising campaign to achieve the aims of our project. We will seek quotations for all aspects of the project from appropriate experts and invite them to tender for the work through a proper tendering process which will be overseen by the Staffordshire WFU under the umbrella of the National WFU. We will raise funds through grants, sponsorships and donations.


We aim to have the memorial designed, manufactured and installed at the National Memorial Arboretum with a target date of October 2012.


We aim to have a ceremony to dedicate the memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum when the project has been completed. This memorial will recognise and acknowledge the achievements of the Women’s Land Army – a legacy for future generations.

The Women’s Food and Farming Union (WFU), which was founded in 1979, has branches all over the UK. The Staffordshire branch started in 1985. The WFU is a voluntary organisation committed to promoting an understanding of, and confidence in, all aspects of quality British produce. Its strap line has always been ‘Linking Producer with Consumer’ and as members we like to feel that we represent the interests of both consumers and producers to the benefit of British agriculture.

“They had obeyed the call of duty in the nation’s hour of greatest peril and Britain owed them an everlasting debt”

HM The Queen Mother October 1950


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Railway Children's Letter from Santa

I got this from the Railway Children (having already ordered one of these from the NSPCC) hopefully someone will find it useful for a child they might know!

Send a personalised letter from Santa

Just imagine their excitement if a special child in your life were to get a letter from Santa.

We can arrange for Santa Claus himself to send a personalised letter to a little person or a big kid of your choice.

Each Santa letter is wonderfully illustrated and unique to its recipient. Every child at the same address will receive a different Santa letter, which can be tailored by:

o Age
o Gender
o Where they are staying over Christmas
o Pet's name
o Hometown

All that we ask in return is a small suggested donation of £3, with all proceeds going to Railway Children to help us fight for children living on the streets this Christmas.

Make Christmas extra special this year. Click here to order your letter.

Railway Children
Registered Charity No: 1058991
1 The Commons, Sandbach, Cheshire, CW11 1EG

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Tuesday, 15th November - St John Ambulance

More coins in a tin - gosh, I'm even boring myself now! Hopefully tomorrow's offering will be slightly more interesting!

About St John Ambulance

We believe that it’s absolutely unacceptable that so many people die needlessly – because no one could give them first aid when they needed it.

St John Ambulance teaches people first aid - about 800,000 last year alone – so that they can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

We teach young people in schools and through our activities for young people.

We teach people in the workplace and provide first aid products.

We teach people in the community.

And we teach people who become our volunteers, who offer their skills and time to be the difference right in the heart of their community – at public events, first responders or back up to local ambulance services.

As a charity, we’re committed to making sure more people can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved. To do that, we need your help.

Monday, 14th November - Help for Heroes

Nothing more interesting than putting some coins in a collection tin in the Royal Oak in Marlborough in aid of Help for Heroes.

Help For Heroes is the charity that does exactly what it says on the tin.
Help for Heroes strives towards 100% effectiveness – so that for every £1 donated, £1 will go directly to helping wounded Servicemen and women. So, we do exactly what we say on the tin – your donations go directly to supporting the wounded boys and girls.

How do we do this?
We do of course have running costs but these are kept as low as possible, and the costs we do have? Well those are covered by the sale of our fantastic Help for Heroes merchandise. Every t-shirt, mug, wristband and calendar sold ensures that the money you donate goes to the men and women who need it, not office bills!

In fact, thanks to the range of challenges we hold through the year and our H4H shop, last year we actually made more than we needed to run the charity. So, of course, the rest goes to the wounded.

What do we spend your money on?
We spend every penny possible on making grants that aim to provide practical, direct support for our wounded.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Sunday, 13th November -Children with Cerebral Palsy

Bit worrying this one - I popped some money into a collection tin. It was being held by a woman outside a petrol station and said: "CHildren with Cerebral Palsy" on the side. HOwever, I can't find any information about this charity anywhere....

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Alzheimer's Memory Walk

I nearly didn't open it as it was addressed to someone else (ahem - me by my married name, which I never use!) but how exciting! A certificate for completing the recent Memory Walk!

Thursday, 10th November - St Thomas Church Woolton Hill

Today's charity was St Thomas Church in Woolton Hill who held a coffee morning at St Nicolas Church Hall where I made today's contribution by buying lots of lovely things; a photo frame, a notebook (I am addicted to these - as if the prettier the book, the lovelier the things I will write in them!) and some toiletries.

Is it possible to be addicted to a coffee morning, because I think I might just be.....

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Enter a fab photo competition and help Peruvian children at the same time....

Just had a note about a lovely photographic competition from a photographer that we work with:

Wendy has just set up to help raise funds for a charity close to her heart, that helps impoverished Peruvian children from having to walk eight hours daily to get to school and back.

The competition has great judges including the Director of Photography at the TATE and some great prizes.

It's nationwide and open to anyone over 18 years old amateur and professional.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wendy xxx

Wednesday, 9th November - Operation Christmas Child

Finally dropped my full shoebox to the Shoe Zone in the Kennet Centre. There is no real sign that they're collecting shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child; I thought there might be a Christmas tree with boxes underneath it stacked up festively. But...nothing..

I handed my box to the lady behind the counter, who said: "I'll take that for you". I thanked her for taking my donation and she rolled her eyes and said "you should see how many we have out at the back".

Not the most festive charitable experience, but never mind, it's for a great cause. Hopefully someone will be a bit more excited about the things I've placed in the box!

Operation Christmas Child is, by its very nature, creative. The finding of an empty shoebox. The selecting of the gifts to fill it with. The selecting of the wrapping paper. The wrapping of the shoebox. The packing of the gifts.

What's more, when groups of children and adults come together - be they families, churchgoers, school pupils, workplace colleagues or members of local community groups - that creativity and inspiration just grows. There are countless ways in which your group can make Operation Christmas Child an exciting, involving and meaningful pre-Christmas project.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Monday, 7th November - Operation Christmas Child/Samaritans Purse

I finally finished making up my shoebox for Operation Christmas CHild but today had to make an additional £2.50 payment so that the box will be delivered!

I'll be dropping this off at the Shoezone shop in the Kennet Centre tomorrow!

Operation Christmas Child is the largest children's Christmas project in the world, run by the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse. We have been sending gift-filled shoeboxes to disadvantaged children around the world since 1990, bringing joy into the lives of over 80 million children.

Last year, over 500,000 people from across the UK and Ireland got involved - including many churches, schools and workplaces. Children and adults alike wrapped and packed around 1.12 million shoeboxes full of gifts and goodies, which were then sent to disadvantaged children across Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Sunday, 6th November - NCT (again!)

More NCT!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Friday, 4th November - Poppy Appeal

I finally got around to buying my Poppy today.

Fundraising for The Royal British Legion

Each year the nation expresses its unequivocal support for The Royal British Legion's charity work through the Poppy Appeal, emphasising the need to help all generations of the Armed Forces and their families - today and for the rest of their lives.

Thanks to you and your generosity, we reached our target of £36 million for 2010 but our work is as vital as ever and with your help hope to reach £40 million this year.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tuesday, 1st November - The Prostate Cancer Charity

It's Movember!!

Most of my male friends are partaking and growing themselves a fine bit of facial hair for a very good cause. Today I decided to sponsor my lovely friend James the Cat who is not the sort of chap who looks as if he could grow a 'tache!

Thank you for your donation. Your support of Movember and the more than 10,000 men who will die of prostate cancer and the more than 2,000 men who will be diagnosed with testicular cancer this year, is sincerely appreciated.

Through the Movember Foundation and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and The Institute of Cancer Research, Movember is funding world class awareness, research, educational and support programmes which would otherwise not be possible.
During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in the UK and around the world. The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.

On Movember 1st, guys register at with a clean-shaven face and then for the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.

Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November and through their actions and words raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.

At the end of the month, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas celebrate their gallantry and valor by either throwing their own Movember party or attending one of the infamous Gala Part├ęs held around the world by Movember, for Movember

Monday, 31 October 2011

Thailand for CLIC Sargent!

The lovely Dannie (who, I think, is the only person reading my ramblings!) has emailed about the World Book night post I wrote a couple of days ago where I registered to be one of the people giving out books on World Book Night next year (23rd April 2012).

She said: "I am running a readathon next February for people to sit back, relax and read for anything from an hour to 12hours, all for charity. It costs just £5 to register for the event and can take place in the comfort of your own home."

What a brilliant idea! Please have a look if you can!

Sunday, 30th October - NCT

We paid the NCT for a course on childbirth today which proved to be very useful.

Our charitable purpose
We offer information and support in pregnancy, birth and early parenthood
We campaign to improve maternity care and ensure better services and facilities for new parents
We aim to give every parent the chance to make informed choices
We want to make sure that everyone has access to our services and activities

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Saturday, 29th October - World Book Night

After a talk last week where I learned the depressing statistic that 50% of children in the UK start at school with impoverished speech and language communication, I've been doing all I can to ensure that our little bean shares a love of books with MrM and I.

If you look around, you'll see that it's incredibly rare to read a sentence - even in the newspaper - that doesn't contain a spelling mistake, punctuation error or misuse of grammar. At the talk I attended, given by an ECAT worker (Every Child a Talker), it became obvious why children can't string a sentence together - many parents can't read or write! Combined with a love of texting, pushchairs where the baby faces forward and the fact that not many families eat together any more, it's clear that the English language and communication is the victim.

As an aside, I am so sick of seeing signs like this:

"Job vacancy's available" that I actually got a red marker pen out of my bag and changed one the other day. The funny thing was, that when I returned to the shop a week or so later, ALL of the signs had been reprinted to contain my correction!!

I'm actually in the process of trying to use my pedantry for the good and am about to include a proof reading service on my new website:

Anyway, I've been looking here:

and here:

..and have just registered with the World Book Night site in the hope of being invited to distribute books on their night next year 23rd April 2012. If you're interested in books, please consider registered to give away a book from their list on the night! I chose the brilliant Roald Dahl novel Someone Like You, because he's a writer who appeals to children and adults alike and is eminently readable. Someone Like You is filled with compelling short stories and I feel it will encourage people to get reading!

World Book Night is a celebration designed to spread a love of reading and books. Celebrated on April 23, 2012 it will see tens of thousands of people gift books within their communities to spread the joy and love of reading. In 2012 World Book Night will be celebrated in the UK, Ireland and USA.

The 25 books that will be part of WBN 2012 in the UK have now been announced and application to be one of the 20,000 givers has opened.

This site exists in order to celebrate books and to connect readers with one another. You can learn more about World Book Night itself, the 25 books, apply to be a giver and connect with other passionate readers.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Friday, 28th October - The Woodland Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support and Age UK.

Simply bought a book from Green Metropolis which means that not only is it being recycled, but some of the price is going to the three charities that the site supports: The Woodland Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support and Age UK.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Thursday, 27th October - National Association of Widows

St Nic's coffee morning again (is it really a week since the last one?!)

Today's charity was the local branch of the National Association of Widows. To be honest, I didn't know this existed, but what a lovely idea. I wish I'd known about this earlier so I could have recommended it to various people I know who've lost their husbands.

Instead of a jumble sale (and the associated punching and elbowing), there was a tombola this morning where I bought a ticket and won a Christmassy gift!!


Widowhood has been described as the single most common personal catastrophe. This catastrophe is a bereavement which affects women physically and socially as well as emotionally.

The National Association of Widows was founded in 1971 by June Hermer, who was herself a widow, in order to give ALL WIDOWS the specialist information, advice and support they needed.

If you are a widow you may find that you need:

the chance to contact other widows
someone to listen to without being judgmental
company and the chance for a better social life
help with practical matters
unconditional support
We are the only national self help organisation that offers comfort, friendship, and a listening ear as long as is needed.

Our local branches provide

regular meetings
the companionship of other widows
support to all members especially in times of difficulty or distress.
We also offer the hand of friendship through our national membership plus free pen club.

If you are a younger widow you can benefit from our "Younger Widows Contact List" which puts widows up to the age of 50 in contact with one another nationally.

Free confidential advice and information is given from our local Advisory Service (in conjunction with our sister charity The Widows Advisory Trust)

We know that becoming a widow is a devastating experience. We understand how adjusting to life without a partner is a slow and painful process; because we understand we are able to foster strength and a sense of purpose in women who feel that they have lost their future after the death of their partner.

And because the National Association is a self-help organisation we encourage widows to learn to grow in self confidence, to develop new skills as well as new friendships; to help in running local branches and in the policy making of the Association.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Wednesday, 26th October - Pedigree Adoption drive

Pedigree is donating £1 for every "virtual tour" completed simply by taking Ripley the dog for a walk here:

Simply spend 2 minutes clicking through to help give a dog a home. For every "tour" completed, Pedigree is giving money to the Association of Cats and Dogs Homes.

Most dogs in rehoming centres are there because their owners have decided,
for one reason or another, that they can no longer look after them.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Monday, 24th October - Blue Cross

I am making stocking fillers for friends and family (I am aware that Christmas is miles away, but it always leaps out and frightens me when I'm unprepared and not expecting it!).

So today's charity thing was stocking up on toiletries from the Blue Cross Charity Shop - it's a lovely shop with a boutiquey feel, but without the high prices.

Treating an unwell or injured pet can be very expensive. Our veterinary services help pets whose owners can't afford private fees. Our clients are on means-tested benefit and we also help people on a low income at our discretion. We have four animal hospitals, three in London (Victoria, Merton and Hammersmith) and one in Grimsby. Our mobile and animal welfare clinics are helping us to care for more animals across the country.

Saturday, 22nd October - Cancer Research UK

You know that thing people do when they ask you to name the six people that you would invite to a dinner party? One guest who just keeps being invited again and again to my party is the fabulous Martin Lewis - Money Saving Expert.

Not only has he saved me, and also, thousands of people like me, a bunch of money, he seems to be a really nice chap - enthuasiastic, clever and passionate.

So I spotted that he is running the Great South Run.

Hi folks. I'd love it if you'd sponsor me for the Great South Run (having been a fat boy at school, running's relatively new to me, this is only my second and by far my longest). Of course do it via gift aid. Also I pledge to match all donations up to a maximum total of £5,000.

While I'd love to raise money, as like many, cancer has hit both mine and Mrs MSE's lives. Please don't donate if you're struggling financially. Though if you can afford something, perhaps as you've saved money on the back of the site or one of my appearances - then that would be fantastic.


And another lovely note once you donate:

Thanks so much for your donation. Its really kind of you to do so. Fingers crossed I can make it through the run now and do you justice. My target time is 1 hour 35 (though being super-competitive in my head Im thinking 1 hour 30) I'll let you know on my blog how it goes - and if I make it.


PS Just to note, call me a soppy git, but Im actually quite moved at how many people I've never met are donating. Thank you so very much.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Friday, 21st October - Breast Cancer Campaign

Today's charity is Breast Cancer Care, as October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I read somewhere that Vanish will donate £1 to them if you "like" them on facebook which I duly did. do you participate?


Where do we come from?

Campaign was established in 1988 with the aim of researching the cure for breast cancer. The charity aims to be the leading specialist in breast cancer research across the UK and Ireland, making a significant impact on breast cancer for the benefit of patients.

What differentiates Campaign from other charities?

Breast Cancer Campaign only funds research into breast cancer and will support research at any centre of excellence in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The charity has a particular interest in supporting innovative research and will fund the best breast cancer research in the UK and Ireland, providing that it is of the highest quality.

What are we doing?

We currently support 105 research projects, worth over £17.3 million in 31 centres of excellence across the UK and Ireland.

What have we done?

In its lifetime the charity has awarded 340 grants with a total value of over £37 million to universities, medical schools and research institutes across the UK and now also in Ireland.

Why do we use the jigsaw logo?

Our logo is the jigsaw piece because it symbolises the missing piece of the puzzle that is the cure for breast cancer. In the same way that breast cancer is not one disease, there will not be one cure. Each research project is another piece of the puzzle that we hope will ultimately offer all women with breast cancer effective diagnosis and treatment and eventually help us prevent the disease.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Thursday, 20th October - Shoemakers

The weekly coffee morning at St Nicolas CHurch in town was for Shoemakers. I've been into the bookshop, but had no idea this was a charity, but it is, and works to spread the gospel. I bought a couple of bits and bobs from the jumble sale, and the very nice lady on the stall accepted all of the change in my purse as payment for my goods, as to be fair, I think I was a few pennies short.

The Christopher Shoemaker Christian Centre, or Shoemakers for short, aims to both reach the unchurched with the gospel message and assist in building up the faith of believers through operating a bookshop, coffee shop and related activities, working in a way that promotes Christian values.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Monday, 17th October - MacMillan Cancer Support

More recycling, this time via this website:

In 1911, a young man named Douglas Macmillan watched his father die of cancer. His father's pain and suffering moved Douglas so much, he founded the 'Society for the Prevention and Relief of Cancer'.

Douglas wanted advice and information to be provided to all people with cancer, homes for patients at low or no cost, and voluntary nurses to attend to patients in their own homes.

Today much of Douglas' legacy lives on. We are still a source of support for people living with cancer today and we are a force for improving cancer care.

Sunday, 16th October- UNICEF

I've made quite a few donations to UNICEF this month, and unfortunately they've taken this to mean that they should spend this money on post, paper and time writing to me! GRRR!

Anyway, I can't be that irritated because they are my charity of the day once again! Once the little one is here, I intend to use reusable nappies, but I've had a few coupons for money off vouchers for disposable nappies. I'm not a fan of our throwaway culture, but have bought a few of these just in case, and they aren't all bad, as each time you buy a pack of Pampers, they donate one vaccine to UNICEF.

UNICEF is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. We have the global authority to influence decision-makers, and the variety of partners at grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality. That makes us unique among world organizations, and unique among those working with the young.

We believe that nurturing and caring for children are the cornerstones of human progress. UNICEF was created with this purpose in mind – to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. We believe that we can, together, advance the cause of humanity.

We advocate for measures to give children the best start in life, because proper care at the youngest age forms the strongest foundation for a person’s future.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Friday, 14th October - Age UK

I don't know why I bought this, but as soon as I saw it in the AGE UK shop, I decided I just HAD to have it!!

A world in which older people flourish is a world in which older people will:

be equal citizens with equal rights

have enough money for a secure and decent life, and have access as consumers to the products and services they need at a price they can afford

have access to the healthcare and social care they need

have the opportunity to live healthier longer lives and to enjoy a sense of well-being

live in homes and neighbourhoods that are safe and comfortable and which enable them to lead fulfilling lives

have opportunities to participate and contribute as volunteers, active citizens, good neighbours, family members, and workers

enjoy the benefits of longer life, wherever they are in the world

St Richard's Hospice

Not my charity thing for the day, but well worth a mention was the Snowdrops book shop in Worcester which raises money for St Richard's Hospice. I couldn't find anything to buy but it's in a wonderful location down a pretty alley, there's a wonderful selection of books - just like a normal independent bookshop and the staff were friendly and knowledgable.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Thursday, 13th October - W.I

Since I didn't buy the dress that I was reaching for at the WI coffee morning as I was elbowed out of the way by an elderly lady who was much tougher than me in my current (and hopefully temporary!) fat and mobility restricted state!

So, with a heavy heart, I had to buy some cakes. Life is so unfair sometimes, I thought to myself as I scoffed a piece of chocolate shortcake, a fairy cake and the flapjack that I'd intended to give to MrM.

I've often thought about attending the Women's Institute - can't decide if I'm too young, too untalented in the cake and making things department, or willing to strip off for a charity calendar....Certainly, I'll have to sharpen my elbows a bit first!

The WI plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.

Wednesday, 12th October - NCT

NCT - three letters that seem to be popping up in my diary with increasing regularity...

Today was "working bumps" where we made a donation and were given a talk on the different slings that are available for carrying the baby around. Some of them are alarmingly complicated, but perhaps it's just that my brain isn't operating at maximum efficiency at the moment. However, that's hardly likely to get better, is it?

NCT started in 1956 when Prunella Briance, inspired by the writings of Grantly Dick-Read, placed an advert in the personal columns of The Times and the Daily Telegraph inviting interest in the formation of an association to promote and better understand the Dick-Read system of natural childbirth.

The overwhelming interest and support helped form the Natural Childbirth Association, which later obtained charitable status and became the National Childbirth Trust. NCT obtained charitable status in 1961.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The RENEWAL Community Project

This isn't my charity for today, but thought it was worth a mention to ease my conscience! I am getting bigger and less agile, so unfortunately many of the fundraising activities I had planned for my year of good deeds had to be panned. No marathons, parachute jumps for me, and even physical activity has been curtailed!

At the beginning of the year, I did get involved with the RENEWAL Community Project which is local to me (RENEWAL is a far too clever acronym - REstoration in NEWbury Along the river Lambourn). I really enjoyed doing something with such clear results and met lots of very friendly like-minded people.

So, their next event is a Volunteer Taster Day which I thoroughly recommend (there's even tea and cake at break time!).

it's on Saturday 29th October

River Clean Up
10.00 am
A chance to try out conservation
volunteering, by helping us to clear
rubbish and debris from the river. The
aims of the day are to improve
conditions for wildlife and increase the
flow of the river to reduce the amount
of silt. Meet on the Walton way bridge
off Kiln Road, Shaw.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Terrence Higgins Trust

THT was my charity of the day one day last week. Since then, they've been brilliant. They've written a heartfelt letter (with red ribbon) to say thank you - so simple, but quite rare to get something so meaningful and clear on where the money is going:

"We can't thank you enough for deciding to join us in the fight against HIV in the UK, and the prejudice that surrounds it. We're only a small team here at THT and your support is crucial and so much appreciated. Your support for our work means we can be here to jelp everybody affected by HIV in the most practical ways possible, by providing services such as our helpline, THT direct, counselling sessions and the Hardship Fund that helps those in desperate financial need.

I cannot emphasise enough how much you are genuinely helping to turn people's lives around by helping to fund services like these. The lives of people who are isolated, scared and often the victims of outrageous discrimination because of their HIV status. Thank you so much......."

Then, when I asked them to contact me by email to save on postage, paper and so on, they sent me a really nice email.

However, as some of our mailings can be prepared up to six weeks in advance, it is possible that you may receive a postal appeal from us in this time. I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support of THT - it really does make a difference. Thank you!

Other charities take note!!

Tuesday, 11th October - UNICEF

An easy one today - so please join me if you can!

Thanks to mums like you, Pampers and UNICEF have helped protect the lives of 100 million mums and their babies in our fight to eliminate maternal and new born tetanus (MNT). There are still millions of mums and babies at risk, many of them in the world's poorest and hardest to reach communities. The good news is that MNT is easily prevented by a simple vaccine. And that's how you can make a difference.

1 Like = 1 life-saving vaccine
Click 'Like' on the Pampers UK & Ireland
page on Facebook.

1 read = 1 life-saving vaccine
Personalise and read Miffy's story with
your child.

1 app = 1 life-saving vaccine
Download our free Pampers Out & About iPhone app to find and share baby-friendly places to go.
Search 'Pampers' on the App store
Visit the app store

1 pack = 1 life-saving vaccine
Buy specially marked packs of Pampers nappies or wipes.

By the end of this year, 7 countries should have completed their vaccination programmes - thanks to the Pampers-UNICEF campaign, and all the mums around the world who, through simple actions, have become part of this truly life-saving story.
UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation focusing on children and child rights, with a presence in more than 190 countries and territories. We work with local communities, partners and governments to ensure every child’s rights to survive and thrive are upheld.

UNICEF UK raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work around the world. In 2009 we raised £50 million for UNICEF’s work with children worldwide, including over £24 million to help children caught in emergencies.

We also advocate for lasting change for children. UNICEF UK’s Public Affairs team works with Parliament to change government policies and practices that are detrimental to child rights in the UK and internationally.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Monday, 10th October - Children's Hospice South West

Another cheat today as I write a press release about a fundraising event where people can pay a rugby player to school a goal for them in aid of Children's Hospice South West!

Just in case you think this is a game-fixing scam, I must stress that this event took place AFTER the match!!

At Children’s Hospice South West we care for children who have illnesses which mean they will die before reaching adulthood. We provide expert care for them, their parents and well siblings.

If you are new to us, then this is the place to find out more about our work. We hope that you will find that despite the serious nature of our work, our hospices are joyful places filled with love and laughter and that supporting our sick children and their families can be both fun and fulfilling.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunday, 9th October - UNICEF

I seem to have spent quite a lot of time in the last month or so looking at paint samples, and this morning came across the Dulux website which lets you choose a colour and give it a name in return for a donation to UNICEF.

As I am an environmentalist (some people wouldn't acknowledge the first seven letters of that word, perhaps), I chose a dark hue of green which I have named after Mr M - it's now called Mabel Green and is pictured here:

Your average computer, smartphone and tablet can display 16.7 million colours?

That's a lot of colours!

So we want to name each and every one of these colours for at least £1 to raise money for the children's charity UNICEF.

All the money raised will go directly to help transform children's lives, why not pick a colour for yourself or do it as a gift for someone you know.

Tell us why the colour is special to you, donate £1 or as much as you can afford and please use your social networks to help spread the word.

Children across the world need our help. Own a Colour is a fantastic movement started by a small group of individuals - passionate in their belief that small acts can combine collectively to save the lives of many children one child at a time.

Dulux Let's Colour has a mission of 'adding Colour to People's Lives' and is closely aligned to the vision of Own a Colour. Through our Let's Colour programme we have already helped to improve the living environment of many people in many countries around the world. We are pleased that our contribution to Own a Colour has enabled this great website to be built and the initiative kick-started through the collective efforts of our employees.

Own a Colour harnesses the power of colour - your contribution WILL have a positive impact on saving lives of children.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Friday, 7th October - Railway Children

Just got back from work 13 hours after I left this morning, so not much time to do anything for charity today. Fortunately, a charity that appeared here a few months ago sent an email asking us to do the simplest of things.

Perhaps you wouldn't mind doing the same? Click here to "like" if you've got a FB account and Aviva will give £2 to the Railway CHildren. Many thanks!

Excitement is building at Railway Children. We are delighted to announce the launch of our landmark campaign, Street Dance for Change, and we hope you will share in the excitement and spirit. Our good friends at Aviva are continuing to help us raise awareness of children living on the streets and we’ve recruited the help of former Britain’s Got Talent winners Diversity to take our message to a larger audience.

Diversity have created a video to highlight the challenges that children alone and at risk on the streets in the UK face. The video is already becoming a big hit on YouTube, and has even being trending on the front page this week. You can view and share the video at the Street Dance for Change homepage.,KA0A,4T6G9Q,1NCMW,1

Your support is absolutely essential and really will make a difference. You can get involved by recording your own 30-second street dance video, or encouraging any dance-loving friends, family or colleagues to showcase their skills. The most viewed videos will be in with a chance to win tickets to Diversity's 2012 tour and meet Diversity themselves! Find out how to enter and join in, and get tips from Diversity.

What’s more, you don’t have to be a dancer to get involved. Aviva will donate £2* to Railway Children every time a competition entry video is viewed, so please watch the videos and share them with your friends!

Railway Children is an international charity that exists to help vulnerable children in grave circumstances. Our objective is to provide relief to children and young people who are in conditions of need, hardship or distress and in particular to those living on the streets.

For these children, the streets are often the only means of support available but also where they suffer abuse and exploitation.

Since our inception in 1995, Railway Children has helped many thousands of children and young people living alone and at risk on the streets.

Our belief is that early intervention is a crucial aspect of preventing children living on the streets coming to harm, and reaching street children before an abuser can is a vital element of our work.

Railway Children recognises that only a multipronged approach will create sustained change for street children and that's why our 3 Step Change Agenda forms the backbone of our work and the way we aim to achieve our goals. Most pressingly, the immediate needs of children living on the streets in the here and now must be met. Concurrently Railway Children aspires to create a safer, brighter future for our children and we believe that to achieve this we must effect the sustained change that can only come about by educating communities and lobbying governments.

We've also created a video that shows outreach workers supported by Railway Children talking about the crucial work they do with children alone and at risk on the streets in the UK. Watch the video and please ‘like’ the Facebook tab – if you do, Aviva will donate £2* to Railway Children.

We hope you will join us and support Street Dance for Change in any way that you can – be that viewing the videos, sharing the campaign with your friends and family, or even entering your own street dance video!