Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Monday, 30th May -Cancer Research again!

I bought some camping essentials on eBay and was given the option at checkout to donate some extra money to Cancer Research UK - such a simple idea and so easy to do...

Sunday, 30th May - Cancer Research UK

I stupidly signed up for the Race for Life which is in a month's time and I have yet to do any training! So rather than face people and ask them to sponsor a seemingly asthmatic Michelin man, I have sponsored myself. Mwaaahhahahaha!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Friday, 27th May - West Berkshire Alzheimer's Society

There was an email going round asking for volunteers to collect outside the supermarket, but when I emailed to offer a three-hour stint, nobody took me up on the offer. I totally forgot about this, but when I went to get some milk and vegetables (someone slipped some chocolate into my trolley too - how did that happen???), I saw the new support work collecting so I put all of my coins in her tin.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Thursday, 26th May - MS Society (West Berks)

I'm not sure how useful I've been to this charity today, but I've spent time this morning attempting to put together their June newsletter with patchy info and no editorial! To be honest, I think my dodgy laptop and I are just getting in the way, so I've told them that I'm not going to continue with this as I simply don't have time. I feel terrible about this, but I think my efforts are more suited elsewhere. I will cheer them on from the sidelines though!


Wednesday, 25th May - Bike Project

I actually did this today (Thursday), but since I actually put my donation in the car yesterday, I'm going to count it! I mentioned that on Saturday, MrM and I attended the Growing2gether event at Cottismore. While we were there, we were talking to the manager of the project who mentioned that he ran a similar project that recycled old bicycles. Apparently, there are quite a few perfectly useable bikes put in landfill, and along with donations of bikes and bike parts, his apprentices can refurbish these and then sell them.

I am a keen, but terrible cyclist, and use my bike quite alot. However, I did have an old bike that an unnamed member of family had borrowed, dismantled, and returned to me - still in pieces. I gave the frame away on freecycle and of course, no sooner had I done that, than the wheels turned up! I took these to the Bicycle Project at the Community Furniture Project at the Slater Centre where they were welcomed by a young lad!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Tuesday, 24th May - Turner Contemporary

A flying visit to the new Turner Contemporary today, where I have to admit being supremely hungry which meant I spent more time in the cafe than the gallery!

As you will know, the Turner gallery is named after John Turner who frequently visited Margate (perhaps attracted to the town by the Dreamland Amusement Park and the plethora of slot machines? I jest!) in the 1820s and 1830s. Turner said that "the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe" and his watercolours feature a lot of Margate.

There was a Turner work (of a volcano, quite fittingly seeing as another Icelandic volcano is erupting at the moment!) and the gallery is beautiful. Its massive, sweeping windows offer stunning views over the sea, but currently there's more to see looking out rather than inside! I am not very knowledgeable about art so only spent about 15 minutes looking round! I very recently went to the Joan Miro museum in Barcelona which as far as contemporary art goes, I much preferred.

The Turner Contemporary is a charity, so I dropped all of my coins into the collection pot; would be great if some of this money goes towards staff training. Just saying....


Monday, 23 May 2011

Monday, 23rd May - Cancer Research UK

In lovely Canterbury today for work, and was treated to lunch by Graham, a star photographer! After a lovely yasai katsu curry at Wagamama (the first Japanese word I ever learnt - it means 'selfish'!), Graham, who has been reading this blog since it started, helped me out with a charity thing for the day - visiting the Cancer Research shop to see what we could find. Happily, I spotted a book on the shelf that I'd actually read; "Where did it all go right", the story of a happy childhood, written by Andrew Collins to counteract all the books in the category below that came out in the last few years.

The book's not brilliant, although it is quite cheery. However, I bought it for Graham as he went to the same school as the author, and it provided me with a satisfying purchase from Cancer Research!

Cancer Research UK’s recent campaign shows the lives being saved by new treatments developed through research.
The campaign features real cancer survivors and patients talking about the impact Cancer Research UK has had on their lives, while cancer doctors talk about their research which is funded by the charity. The campaign illustrates the role of Cancer Research UK in the huge strides that have been made in cancer survival - over the past 40 years the chances of surviving cancer have doubled.

Whilst drug developments and treatments are crucial in improving survival, diagnosing cancer at an early stage can also ensure that treatment is easier and more likely to be successful. Use our symptom checker to make sure you are aware of the signs of cancer and if you notice any unusual, persistent changes go to your GP straight away.


(PS VERY scary taking a photo of a professional photographer!)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Sunday, May 22 - Vision Aid

Strangely enough, I was offered an eye appointment on a Sunday at Vision Express, so I took in with me a pair of my old glasses that I don't use anymore, as I heard that they could re-use them and send them to someone in a developing country who needs them more (although, having said that, I really do need glasses - I nearly went into the travel agent next door this morning).

Vision Aid Overseas
670 million people - 10% of the world's population - are disadvantaged by poor vision and a lack of glasses. Vision Aid Overseas is an international charity dedicated to transforming access to eyecare services in developing countries.

Our Vision
Vision Aid Overseas works for a world in which everyone has access to eyecare and spectacles.

Our Mission
To transform access to eyecare services for people in developing countries by establishing Vision Centres, training healthcare workers and utilising the expertise of volunteers to undertake outreach programmes in areas away from existing facilities.


Saturday, 21 May 2011

Saturday, 21st May - Growing2gether

Today's charity was Growing2gether which is a partnership horticultural therapy project where people can learn how to grow vegetables, flowers and fruit.

Their open day took place at their site at Cottismore near Kingsclere, and was a wonderful opportunity to buy not only courgettes and seeds, but also flowers for our garden. In an added bonus, the Community Furniture Project was also there, so I was able to buy a couple of baskets that the charity had rescued from landfill which will now house my begonias! The money raised goes back into the project, so extremely well spent in my opinion!

Greenham Common Trust bought the former nursery site in order to develop an already successful working partnership between local charities, and Growing2Gether now provides volunteering, learning and training opportunities at the 1.5 hectare site, offering an educational facility for local groups and individuals, promoting interest and awareness in local food.


Friday, 20 May 2011

Friday, 20th May - The Red and White appeal for Southampton Hospital

We were in Southampton today (assisting with the launch of a new powerboat since you ask!) I do love my job on days like today - reaching speeds of up to 70mph in a newly-launched powerboat to show the press what it can do, and how quietly it can do it!

But anyway, I was trying to send email the cracking photos that we took this morning of the powerboat so needed to find a cafe with wifi. I found a cafe, and put all my coins in a pot for the Red and White appeal, which was fitting as we were virtually in sight of the Southampton Football Ground.

Southampton Hospital Charity’s Red & White Appeal aims to raise £2.2million to create a specialist treatment centre for patients with leukaemia and other blood disorders from across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Wiltshire, Dorset, West Sussex and the Channel Islands.

This state of the art unit will enable medical staff to vastly improve the quality of care for all patients receiving care for these life-threatening conditions at Southampton General Hospital


Thursday, 19th May - Oxfam

I've now had three bad experiences with Oxfam this year, but happily it seems this poor attitude is only at the branch in my town. I was in Woking today for work and bought a card for MrM's cousin's wedding, and the volunteer could not have been nicer. Phew!


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Wednesday, 18th May - Wirral Holistic

When I started my lil charity challenge at the beginning of the year, I didn't realise just how lucky I was that my job allows me to hear about various charities from across the country. My job is to write press releases, and very often, these have a charity angle because of the great things that our clients get up to for causes that are close to their hearts.

So today's was a press release updating the people of Wirral on how a charity golf day had raised £1,000 for Wirral Holistic. The charity was set up more than 20 years ago and specialises in using complementary therapies and ongoing care to help cancer patients to not only cope with the diagnosis of their illness, but also offer them a much greater input over improving their quality of life.


Renault and Nissan Wirral showed their support for the Therapeutic Cancer Care charity golf day recently held at the prestigious Caldy Golf Club.

As well as being one of the main sponsors of the fundraising event, the dual franchise dealership on Woodchurch Road also entered a team made up of staff members.

During the day, teams of four players tackled the challenging 18-hole Wirral course with the event ending with a meal and prize ceremony for the winners.

More than £1,000 was raised for the charity which promotes the use of complementary and alternative therapies in the treatment of cancer patients.

The Renault and Nissan Wirral team’s captain Ray McIntyre said: “Everyone on the team really enjoyed playing in the tournament and although we didn’t win we had a lot of fun and helped to raise vital funds for the charity.

“This event is one of many local projects that Renault and Nissan Wirral plan to support this year having already helped out with schemes such as the police’s young driver programme.”

For more information on Renault and Nissan Wirral on Woodchurch Road, call 0151 552 4000 for Renault enquiries or 0151 790 0196 for Nissan enquiries. Alternatively for more information on Wirral’s Therapeutic Cancer Care visit www.wirralholistic.org.uk.

Ref: dpr10938
Words: 231


1. Nissan Wirral support Caldy Golf Day.


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Tuesday, 17th May - Help2Educate

Another respondent to my FB plea for charities to support was one of the town's premier rockstars!

Matt says : "http://www.help2educate.org/ I'm supporting a girl through education". Great to have feedback, so I had a look around their website, and happily you can support this charity with very little effort, which I did when I made an Amazon purchase of books and water filters through their link....

Do you shop with Amazon.co.uk?

Well if you do, it’s great news for the charity because they will make a donation to Help to Educate which is equivalent to 5% of your sale –at no extra cost to you!

To ensure that 5% of your purchase goes towards funding our work in Nepal, you need to use our dedicated link. Otherwise we will not receive a donation from Amazon.co.uk. The dedicated link is HERE!

However, we do not expect you to visit this web page every time you wish to buy a book or TV on amazon.co.uk! We recommend that you add the above link to your internet browser bookmarks, and then you won’t even have to think about it! To do so please:

1. Click on the link above.
2. When the page loads, follow the directions below for your browser:
Internet Explorer - Go to Favourites Menu > Add to favourites
Firefox - Go to Bookmarks Menu > Bookmark This Page.
3. Now click on your new favourite/bookmark and shop with Amazon and give to Help to Educate at the same time!

Every donation we receive from Amazon.co.uk will be used towards the education and care of the girls in Little Gems Hostel. So every purchase counts!


Sunday, 15 May 2011


Charity thing was revisiting the church where MrM and I got married as they were holding a flower festival in aid of church funds. Typically Newbury, the lady on the door was a little (OK, a lot) rude when asking for our entrance fee of £2 each (if you don't know me, I am mixed race, and this leads to people being randomly unpleasant to me quite a lot!), but this couldn't ruin the evocation of our wedding day just 6 months ago. It's such a beautiful church and as today was sunny and bright, the stained glass windows reflected a wonderful glow into the church. MrM started crying so we had to go.....

Friday, 13 May 2011

Friday, 13th May - A local school

More shopping vouchers that can be exchanged for sport equipment. Have dropped these off for a lady collecting in aid of a local school.

Thursday, 12th May - Shelter

My post disappeared! Have I broken Blogger!? My post was about how I texted "86611" in a Marie Claire competition to win a designer T-shirt in aid of Shelter, the housing charity...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Tuesday, 11th May - Cornwall Air Ambulance

Tuesday's charity was the Cornwall Air Ambulance to which I made a donation (not enough, but all I could afford) as I wanted to say thank you to this wonderful organisation who help save the life of a very special youngster recently.

About Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust
In April 1987, the air ambulance was introduced as an integral part of Cornwall’s ambulance service. The initial funding provided by the local health authority was withdrawn in October of that year, and shortly afterwards the charity, then known as the First Air Ambulance Service Trust, was formed. Following considerable publicity, the service was then financed by public fundraising and donations. This remains the case to this day, with fantastic support given by the people of Cornwall and local business.

How much does it cost to keep the helicopter flying in Cornwall?
In 1987 it cost £250,000 to provide this valuable service for that year. In 2011 the cost of keeping the Cornwall Air Ambulance flying and serving the community is expected to be around £30,000 per week, completely depending on the number of emergencies flown.

In it's 21st year, the helicopter attended its 20,000th 999 emergency call, and statistics for recent years show that we are still attending around 1000 incidents each year with current missions numbers well in excess of 22,000 flights. Our distinctive red and yellow helicopter remains one of the busiest in the UK, and is tasked several times every day, giving Cornwall a hardworking value for money service.

The Charity is now known as the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, and is overseen by a group of professional business trustees, currently seven in number, bringing a range of skills and expertise from both the public and private sector in the county.

The County of Cornwall lends itself to a service of this kind. We have a widely scattered population, remote and isolated communities, and in the summer months, our road networks become congested very easily, making the use of conventional ambulances more difficult. Our beaches, cliff tops, moorland and the sea attract many people, some of whom participate in water sports and extreme sports, a vital part of our tourism and leisure economy, but which also increases the incidence and severity of accidents.

Saving time and saving lives
From its base at Newquay Cornwall Airport, Cornwall’s air ambulance helicopter can reach any part of the county within 20 minutes, and the Isles of Scilly in 28 minutes. This dedicated purpose built and highly equipped aircraft flies at 140mph, and on average arrives on scene within 12 minutes of a 999 call. Although the air ambulance is expensive, its use can significantly reduce the time taken to convey seriously ill and injured people to hospital, and in very many cases over the last 21 years, this has simply been the difference between life and death.

The Cornish people are extremely proud of the air ambulance, and especially of the fact that it was the first of its kind in the UK, a successful model that has been envied and copied across the majority of the country, where there are now 26 air ambulance helicopters, the majority funded by charitable donations just like ours in Cornwall. The helicopter bears the wording “Funded by the People of Cornwall” along the fuselage, because whether through donations, legacies, the lottery or our collection jars, it is the people of this county that have remained steadfastly supportive and passionate about their air ambulance.


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Monday, 9th May - West Berkshire Alzheimer's Society

If I say that I finally had lunch at 4pm, that gives an idea of how busy I was today! The NWN sent along their lovely photographer Phil to Saturday's retirement party, however the other local paper had some sort of emergency so unfortunately had to rely on my dreadful pics. I sent these, along with some notes and information, so I hope they have space for it as the retiree deserves recognition and it's good awareness-raising for the society!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Sunday, 8th May - Japanese Red Cross

Very little time again today, so my last minute charity thing was to buy the "Songs for Japan" album whose proceeds are going to the Japanese Red Cross Society and their disaster relief efforts.


It has 37 songs from artists such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lady Gaga.


Friday, 6 May 2011

Thursday, 5th May - Live below the line

I am really struggling with this challenge! I have never drunk so much water! So, forgive me for eating biscuits at a marketing meeting that I attended today, and then loading up my plate with sandwiches during the lunch buffet. I am sure I am cheating, but will reflect my guilt when I finally send over my donation next week (I missed a day so have to make it up then!)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Wednesday, 4th May - Live Below the Line

It's Stars Wars day - May the Fourth be with you!!

I went back to my challenge today of living for £1. Having bought a grapefruit and a banana, I was almost at my limit and am going to have to drink lots of water for the rest of the day to ensure I make it through without eating any of that lovely food that's tempting me in the fridge. I can't seem to register for the challenge properly on the website, so assume that I send the money that I would normally spend to Christian Aid, Think Global, Salvation Army and the other charity whose name I've forgotten!


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Tuesday, 3rd May - Ronnie's Journey

Not totally in keeping, but I'm going to forget the Living below the line charity for today and return to it tomorrow! Today, instead, I wrote a press release and set up a photoshoot for a gorgeous little boy whose family is raising money for him to have a life-changing operation - details below and a website here:



For immediate publication: [date]


Staff at Banbury Renault dealer Jaybee Motors had good reason to celebrate this week as their colleague Andrew Jacob revealed that a fundraising campaign to help his son Ronnie has hit its £60,000 target.

Four-year-old Ronnie has been in the news recently after his parents Andrew and Kate started a campaign to raise money to pay for a life-changing operation in the United States for their son who has cerebral spastic palsy diaplegia.

The family has placed their hopes on a pioneering operation called a selective dorsal rhizotomy, which will allow Ronnie to walk freely without the aid of his walker and will give him more flexibility, as well as saving him from life in a wheelchair.

The cost of the £60,000 operation has now been reached, prompting celebration from the team at Jaybee Motors where Andrew works as a valet. The dealership, on Oxford Road, has assisted Ronnie’s parents with sponsorship and support with printing flyers and t-shirts.

The campaign reached its target this week after the unbelievable generosity of an anonymous donor who contributed a huge £26,000. The sale of Andrew’s prized Ford Mustang raised £10,000 while a programme of fundraising events ranging from dance competitions to parachute events have raised a massive £24,000.

Jaybee Motors Renault’s dealer principal John Dauphin, who has led the dealership’s fundraising efforts, said: “We’re just delighted that this hard-working family has raised enough money for the operation and wish them all the very best. They’re a lovely family, and Ronnie is a gorgeous little boy with a wonderful personality. Thanks to everyone, local businesses and individuals who have taken this cause to their hearts and done everything possible to help.”

Ronnie’s mum, Kate, said: “A massive thank you to everyone for all their generosity to date. Ronnie's operation is now booked for this month and we believe it will give him the best chance of avoiding deformities and a lifetime of operations.”

For more information or to donate, visit www.ronniesjourney.co.uk or visit Jaybee Motors on Oxford Road, Bodicote, call 01295 227100 or click onto www.jaybee.co.uk Alternatively look for Jaybee on Twitter or Facebook.

Words: 348
Ref: dpr10957

1. The team at Jaybee Motors celebrates the hitting of the fundraising target of £60,000 which will allow Ronnie Jacob to undergo a life changing operation in the United States. He is pictured centre with (from left, front row), his dad Andrew, his mum Kate and John Dauphin, dealer principal at Jaybee Motors Renault.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Bank Holiday Monday - Crafty Craft and the "Live below the line" campaign

As well as helping out at Newbury's Crafty Craft event, my other charity thing today was starting a challenge called "Live below the line" which entails spending less than £1 a day on food for a week. This is to highlight the difficulties faced by families across the developing world and to raise funds for Christian Aid, Salvation Army, Results UK, Restless Development and Think Global - all organisations that campaign to end poverty.

When I had my breakfast - a cup of tea, a slice of toast and some fruit, it seemed easy, but then totalling it up, I worked out that this was already heading towards 60p. I filled up on water for the rest of the day which was fine until about 4pm. I was helping MrM out at Newbury's Crafty Craft today and his charity's stall was very unfortunately for me placed next to the burger and doughnut stall. I don't eat meat, but the smell of onions and burgers was starting to make me drool like Homer Simpson. Much later, I nearly bought a bag of doughnuts which would have cost £1 -my whole day's food budget, which made me realise how mindless my food spending can be sometimes - and I don't even consider myself too frivolous!

So back home, I made a pan of two packets of 9p noodles and had a yoghurt from the fridge which means I can't eat any more tonight....



It's just unbelievable how quickly 2011 is going and how much has happened so far! A Royal wedding, an election this week and on a personal note, lots of new babies, weddings, barbecues and happiness!

April has gone well and with better weather, there have been more charity events which have lent some excitement to the charity 365 challenge!

I must stop taking things to charity shops and start donating my time more with fundraising, and even - dare I say it, pulling on my trainers and doing some exercise for charity!

Thanks for all the support (mostly offline), and in particular to Dannie for her encouraging comments! It's nice to know someone is reading!


As promised, the picture of the giant dice I made last week! My mum always said I should be a Blue Peter presenter!!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Sunday, 1st May - Cattistock Cricket Club, Football Club, the Playing Fields and the Savill Hall

For about an hour and a half this morning, I was the female world champion at Dorset Knob Throwing! For just £1, you got three knobs to throw as far as possible underarm at the annual Dorset Knob Throwing event in Cattistock. The money raised goes towards four of the village's facilities; the Cricket Club, the Football Club, the Playing Fields and the Savill Hall.

I should say that Dorset knobs are a kind of stale bread bun biscuit made by Moore's Biscuits, yet surprisingly light when it comes to throwing them as far as possible on a windy Sunday morning!

My first attempt went about 20m behind me, and the next two rolled along the ground at the adjudicator's feet, so I blamed him! Now I had the knack, I then bought three more (along with a "I threw a Dorset Knob" bag) and pitched it 17.54m!


Saturday, 30th April - MENCAP

MrM and I were both about to pay for the bits and bobs we'd bought at services near Amesbury, but he got there first, so I put my coins into the Mencap bucket next to the till.

Mencap is the voice of learning disability in the UK, aiming to change laws, services and prejudice.

We support people with a learning disability to get a job or take a college course, or we can help them find a place of their own to live in.
We offer advice about things like respite care, individual budgets or transport services.
We run residential/day care services and leisure groups that are so important to so many people with a learning disability, and their families and supporters.
We support people with a learning disability to be part of their local communities.
We lobby the government to change laws so that more and more people with a learning disability can have control over their own lives.