Poignant performance from St George’s School

Round & About

Community & Charity

Community concert raises £3,000 for DEC Ukraine Appeal

A community concert, organised by local preparatory school St George’s School Windsor Castle and hosted by Windsor Parish Church, raised over £3,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal.

Beginning with a champagne and canapé reception, more than 100 parents and members of the local community took their sets for the event on April 28th and enjoyed a stirring rendition of Fauré’s Requiem.

Led by the school’s director of music, James Wilkinson, the 40-minute piece of work was performed by the St George’s School Chamber Choir, accompanied by an ensemble of professional musicians. Four of the senior choristers of St George’s Chapel Windsor Castle, all Year 8 students at the school, joined the stage for the spine-tingling Pie Jesu.

“It was an exceptional and highly poignant performance, perfect for the occasion,” commented William Goldsmith, head of St George’s School Windsor Castle. “As a school with the values of kindness, honesty and courage, we felt rightly compelled to use some of the breadth of talent that exists across the school to support the plight of the people of Ukraine in a positive and meaningful way.”

The money raised, through advance ticket sales and donations on the night, will be given to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal to help provide food, water, shelter, healthcare and protection for families fleeing conflict in the country.

“We are extremely grateful for all of the generous donations from those who attended, the musicians and performers for donating their time and the support from the school’s parent body and wider community to enable the event to go ahead,” added Goldsmith.

Windsor Parish Church, Brill Media, Run Print Run and Luxe Flowers were among those to support the event.

Further information about St George’s School Windsor Castle can be found at www.stgwindsor.org, or by attending the school’s upcoming open event on Saturday 21 May. Interested families are invited to register for the event via the website or by calling 01753 865553

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Showing support for Ukraine

Round & About

Community & Charity

Reading Biscuit Factory independent cinema is one of several across the country previewing Olga in aid of the DEC

Reading Biscuit Factory is joining the show of support for Ukraine with a series of preview charity screenings of Olga. 

Fifteen-year-old Ukrainian gymnast Olga, exiled in Switzerland, is trying to fit in with her new team in her new home. But as she prepares for the European Championship, the Ukrainian people stage a revolution. 

Olga is left a powerless, distant bystander as her mother, an investigative journalist, faces danger as she challenges a brutal regime. 

Can Olga reconcile her personal goals with the history unfolding in her homeland? 

A donation will be made from each ticket sold to support Ukraine via the Disasters Emergency Committee. 

Olga is showing on Sunday 20th March, 4pm; Tuesday 22nd March, 12.30pm & Thursday 24th March, 9pm. 

Book tickets at https://readingbiscuitfactory.co.uk/whats-on/olga 

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Local photography competition

Liz Nicholls

Community & Charity

Berkeley Invites Community to Take Part in Photo Competition Celebrating Nature:

Award-winning local housebuilder Berkeley Homes has launched a photography and drawing competition open to all residents local to the Woodhurst Park development in Warfield for a chance to win a Polaroid instant camera.

The competition aims to celebrate landscapes and nature as the season changes, encouraging families to explore local nature trails and capture what they see.

The winners of the competition will win an Instax or Polaroid instant camera, which will be handed over at a prize ceremony at the Woodhurst Park Sales and Marketing Suite, where the best pictures will be on display for the public to see. Two runners up of each of the three age categories (11 years and under, 12 to 17 years and 18 years and over) will receive a £25 Amazon voucher.

Entries will remain open until Tuesday 16th November and should be submitted to . Entries can also be submitted in person to the sales and marketing suite at Woodhurst Park, or on Instagram with the hashtag #StepIntoWHP and by tagging @berkeley_group.

Submissions will be judged by local photographer Karen Bennett and the Berkeley Homes Sales and Marketing Director.

Please note competition terms and conditions below:

  1. The competition is only open to residents of the United Kingdom.
  2. There is no entry fee or purchase necessary to enter this competition.
  3. All entrants under 18 must have permission of a responsible adult over 18.
  4. Only one entry will be accepted per person.
  5. Closing date is the 16th November 2021, after this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
  6. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for reasons out of our control.
  7. Berkeley Homes reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice, but any changes to the competition/offer will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
  8. Berkeley Homes is not responsible for inaccurate prize/offer details supplied to entrants by any third party.
  9. The prize is as stated no cash or other alternatives will be offered. Prizes are subject to availability and Berkeley Homes reserves the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
  10. Prizes are not transferable and cannot be resold.
  11. Competition winners will be selected by Berkeley Homes from all entries received.
  12. All entrants must be willing to provide full name, contact details and address and to have these details passed to the suppliers of the prizes.
  13. Any competition winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material, including on the Berkeley Homes website and social media. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
  14. Entry into the competition gives Berkeley Homes permission to use submitted entries in any future promotional materials, on their website and on social media.
  15. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.

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Join Twyford Together Charity run

Karen Neville

Community & Charity

Photo: Barnes Fitness’ sports photographer, Chris Drew.

The Twyford Together Charity 5k and Fun Run is one of the village’s best-loved, annual events. It’s a chance to get active for a good cause, run with family and neighbours and perhaps be crowned ‘Fastest Street’… the ultimate accolade!

Put your trainers on this Sunday (10th) at The Piggott School and get running in one of four races, split according to school year groups (pre-school toddle (100m), reception and years 1 & 2 (1km), years 3 & 4 (1km), years 5 & 6 (2km) as well as a chip-timed, multi-terrain, 5K for those aged 11+ (see course map below).

You still have a few days to enter as online entry closes at midday on Saturday, 9th October. Register in advance by filling out the form on Barnes Fitness’ website. Early-bird entry helps us to avoid congestion at registration and to start each race on time. On the day entry is subject to race limits and costs an additional £2.50 for the 5K and £2 for all other races (cash only).

In 2019, the fastest street competition was introduced to the Twyford Together Charity 5K and Fun Run. Chip timing allows organisers to collect race times for individual streets in the 5K race. The street with the fastest cumulative time for three runners wins! So, get training with your neighbours if you want to beat the 2019 winners, Springfield Park! New for 2021 is the option of receiving a medal or ‘dedicating a tree‘. On the entry form, we’ll ask you if you want to plant a tree or receive a medal. After the fun run, you’ll be sent a certificate with a photo, the species and GPS location of your tree. You can even go and visit your tree if you want to! Prizes will go to fastest male and female in the 5K win one month membership to Castle Royle, the next 10 runners over the line earn seven day membership, the ‘Fastest Street’ in the 5K receives a voucher for a Wine Tour & Tasting at Stanlake Park (for three), top three fastest streets get vouchers towards a celebratory meal at either La Fontana, Buratta’s or Haweli (winner gets first pick!) and fastest boy and girl aged 11-15 and 16-18 in the 5K take home Up and Running, Reading vouchers. Plus, there are Decathlon vouchers for the fastest boy and girl in the school year group races as well as ‘Have a Go Heroes‘ (in the 5K, 2K, 1K and toddler dash). It’s the taking part that counts!

In addition to the spectacle of the race, you can enjoy Tash who will be there with Martha the Van aka The Refill Hub so bring some containers to stock up at this wonderful mobile refill shop, My Journey Wokingham will have their awesome smoothie making bike, Polehampton PTA is running a second-hand book shop and Camp Mohawk is bringing a pop-up toy stall. They’ll also be face painting, pumpkin racing and Halloween craft as well as a selection of homemade cakes from Happy Hours and refreshments from The Rural Pie Co. Plus, you can try out your footie skills with Twyford Comets and get in shape with Castle Royle. There is limited parking on site. For those who cycle, there are free bike checks with My Journey Wokingham’s Dr. Bike. And while you’re having all this fun, know you are helping Twyford Charities Together. The group was formed in 2011 to give local charities, often lacking their own fundraising team, a helping hand.

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Wheelyboat Picks the Litter

Liz Nicholls

Community & Charity

WOW-one crew stand proudly over their spoils of the Littler Pick

WOW! Wallingford Accessible Boat Club heroes support the Thames river clean-up with WOW-one wheelyboat

We thought we would share some heart-warming community news to add some light to what has been a very gloomy week for most.

Members of the Wallingford Accessible Boat Club (WABC), with their wheelyboat WOW-one, helped out with the Thames Clean Up in Wallingford today.  Bankside litter pickers, co-ordinated by local councillors and actively supported by the charity Wallingford 1155, passed the rubbish bags and other debris to the wheelyboat for ferrying downstream to the main collection point at Riverside in Wallingford.

WOW-one proved to be the ideal craft for the job. Its flat decking, designed for carrying wheelchair users, coupled with its shallow draft allowed it to get very close to the bank making it easy to load the rubbish.

Just some of the debris collected by WOW-one during the Litter Pick

Councillor Steve Holder, lead coordinator of the litter pick, said:  “Another great litter pick thanks to the 80 or so local people who turned out to help. We were very pleased to have the support of WABC and WOW-one which was invaluable for the river element of the Litter Pick which coincided with the wider South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse River Thames Clean Up event. It is great they were involved in this important community initiative.”

John Jenkins MBE, WABC chairman of Trustees, added: “The litter pick was all great fun and I am very glad that our involvement proved to be so helpful. After all, our wheelyboat operation is itself a community project and we are always keen to get involved to support local Wallingford initiatives such as this.”

For further information please contact John Jenkins on or phone 07976 297835.

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The Oxfordshire Plan 2050

Round & About

Community & Charity

The latest consultation on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 has now launched and runs until 8 October.

The Oxfordshire Plan will set the development framework for the county for the next generation. It will affect all Oxfordshire residents, either directly (through development) or indirectly (through impacts on services, infrastructure, our countryside and rural character).

CPRE Oxfordshire is fighting to make sure that the growth options are deliverable without undue damage to our countryside and some otherwise good policy proposals for getting to net zero and restoring nature. That means guiding development to the right places and building high-quality compact housing to make the best use of scarce land.

We urge you to respond to the consultation – it is our best chance of influencing both the outcomes of this Plan and the OxCam Arc proposals.

Have your say NOW – it’s too late to act when the bulldozers arrive.
Find more information on the CPRE Oxfordshire website www.cpreoxon.org.uk

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Local Sue Ryder Hospice launches appeal

Round & About

Community & Charity

National healthcare charity Sue Ryder, which runs Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading, has this month launched an appeal asking people to help them fill families’ final days together with love.

The charity is asking people of Berkshire to support their ‘Room Full of Love’ campaign, so Sue Ryder Nurses and expert care teams can continue to go above and beyond, helping to give families a better goodbye.

Families like David’s.

They made it possible for our family to be together

David’s family were supported by the Sue Ryder Hospice at Home team, who ensured he was able to spend his final days in the comfort of his own home, surrounded by photos and memories, with his wife and daughter by his side.

David’s daughter, Joanna, said: “When we found out we had been allocated care from the Sue Ryder Hospice at Home team, I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Where I live, the words “Sue Ryder” are synonymous with care, love, support and sanctuary. Knowing we would be supported by the team meant that Mum and I felt able to take the decision to care for Dad at home in the last weeks of his life.

Some of the care team brought humour – much needed at such a difficult time. Others connected with us on shared interests and experiences. In their first couple of visits, our carers took time to find out about Dad – where he used to work, what his interests were, and to look at old family photos. He wasn’t just a patient to them: he was a person.

It takes a very special person to carry out the work that the Hospice at Home team does, every day, for families like ours across the country. They made it possible for us to be together as a family in one of the most difficult times of our lives, and I will always, always be grateful and thankful for their love and care for us.”

Going above and beyond

“We often talk about the photos that people have around them and I really think patients like there to be a bit of normality”, shares Sue Ryder Nurse Melissa, who was one of the Sue Ryder care team who helped care for David and his family.

“I remember when we suggested it was time for David to have a hospital bed, the family all got together and rearranged the front room and it became a beautiful bedroom for him.

On the day David died we called their vicar for them and he came and I hope that gave them some comfort. David kept his Bible beside his bed, so we knew his faith was important to him.

When the family stepped out so we could perform the last offices we picked a rose from a bush in the garden and laid it on his pillow and placed his Bible under his hand. It’s a way for us to say that we have been privileged to look after your family.”

A room full of love

The past year has been difficult for everyone, with many families experiencing loss. Sue Ryder wants to take away some of the tough things that come with losing a loved one, helping to fill rooms with music, much-loved pets, or the people who mean the most, to help families have a better goodbye.

By supporting the appeal you can help Sue Ryder take the pain, stress, and uncertainty away through their medical expertise, emotional intelligence and practical support, leaving families like David’s free to focus on what’s really important – love.

To help Sue Ryder Nurses fill a room with love,  click here

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Support vaccination with V-star badge

Liz Nicholls

Community & Charity

Lisa Hulyer and Sarah Lewis were so moved by the plight of our NHS heroes and angry about anti-vax scaremongering, that they decided to do something about it…

Over winter they launched their Vaccine Star (V-Star) badge for sale at £3 with all profits going to NHS charities, St John Ambulance and local causes, while sending a positive message to the world.

“We are two British mums who, like everyone else, have been significantly and profoundly affected by this dreadful virus,” explained Lisa and Sarah.
“Like most of you, we’ve been homeschooling our children, whilst struggling to maintain any vestige of normality as best we can.

As we are unable to work as normal, we have created this badge to promote the Covid19 vaccination programme to encourage every person in this country to take up this vital vaccine and to wear your V-Star badge to show your support.

It’s a handy way of being ‘seen’ to support the programme – and the feedback from healthcare workers has been so positive. It’s important everyone, from all communities, comes together to have the vaccine, to enable us to return to normal.”

The high quality 3cm blue enamelled star set in gold metal with a butterfly clasp is a British-made product. The project is helping to promote pop-up staff shops in hospitals for free food and essentials. As well as relaxing staff break areas for NHS workers and welfare packs of snacks, drinks, lip balm and hand creams.

To buy yours, please visit v-star.co.uk and follow
@vstar.uk on Instagram


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Mental Health Mates are offering support

Liz Nicholls

Community & Charity

Abby Lacey set up Mental Health Mates – Reading after needing help herself, the support group helps anyone suffering as well as their family and friends

Founded in 2016 by author and journalist, Bryony Gordon, Mental Health Mates is a network of peer support groups, run by people who experience their own mental health issues, meeting regularly to walk, connect and share without fear or judgement.

In early 2019, being a fan of her writing and podcast, as well as suffering from anxiety for most of my life, I decided to check out Mental Health Mates. The nearest to me were about 20 miles in either direction, so after about five minutes of procrastination, I contacted them and offered to start my own group.

I know from experience that mental illness magnifies through isolation. I also know that being outside in nature is great for your mental health, so to incorporate walking and talking to someone, sharing with them or simply walking beside them – just connecting – is the first step to recovery.

In May 2019 I set up Mental Health Mates – Reading, organising bi-monthly weekend walks for people suffering from mental illnesses, along with their family and friends, in and around Reading.

We were lucky enough to have almost a year of walking together before the pandemic hit, but we’ve carried on walking when we can, and when we can’t, we meet bi-weekly through Zoom. The Zoom calls are a great way to check in, in a really informal environment. There is no structure to our calls – we chat about everything from TV to politics, from fashion to medication – we cover it all! There is never an expectation to talk and if you don’t want the camera on, that’s fine too.

We have built a great community of like-minded people, and we have visitors on the calls from all over the country as I, along with other walk leaders, actively advertise that all are welcome.

When we are able to get together, our accessible walks are as gentle or as brisk as the group would like, so we cater for everyone, covering about two miles over an hour.

We are truly spoilt for choice for locations in the area from beautiful lakes such as Dinton Pastures and Whiteknights Lake at the University of Reading, to the River Thames at Caversham. We’re hoping to expand our offering to west Reading too in the early summer too, so we can reach even more people.

If you would like to join Mental Health Mates – Reading please visit facebook.com/mhm.reading
Or for more information on support, visit mentalhealthmates.co.uk/support/


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Holme Farm community hub

Liz Nicholls

Community & Charity

Ronnie Kendall is passionate about creating a community hub in the Woking area to help those with mental health issues and to combat loneliness.

The idea behind Holme Farm, Woodham, is to create a community hub with workshops and a café which also provide a safe haven for those with mental health issues and to combat loneliness.

There will be space for gardening, an orchard, bee-keeping, re-wilding and family areas for relaxing. Inside the ‘sheds’ there will be a café where people of all backgrounds and ages can meet and socialise, and courses will be organised for everything from crafting and creative activities to computer skills and woodworking.

In the longer term, it is hoped to involve local councils and assist with high child poverty and levels of loneliness in our boroughs. It is this that inspired the group of community-minded individuals including myself and my wife Christine to come together to try and secure derelict buildings and adjoining land, currently owned by DEFRA, in Woodham Park Road.

Loneliness causes mental illness. Recently there has been a heightened level of awareness around the issue of poor mental health and an urgent need to take positive action in tackling this issue, reducing the burden on the NHS and emergency services. Workshops are a simple way of helping with this growing problem.

It is hoped the Holme Farm project can start this year. It will be a place to pursue interests, to share and practice skills, enjoy making and mending and discuss anything. A community project to share knowledge, make social connections, build friendships – and of course a lot of laughter and tea!

To join the project sign up here or email


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