And Then There Were 3…

At last we have news from our Trans Pennine Hikers! In our first post from the event, we have The Consortium‘s Nadine Evans, whose picture and marvellous personal account below shows why her story deserves to be told on its own…

Pennines2“I think we would be lying to say we’re not sad our ‘Magnificent 7 and 2 blokes’ team turned out to be just 3.  Being in full-time employment, all three of us parents to young children and being in the middle of peak – let us be honest here – meant training was not as high a priority or should I say, a possibility as it should have been.

For me mile 7 was my wall. During the rest stop minutes before the mount, we had all decided not to sit when we reached our first break stop (just in case I could not or would not get back up was my reasoning!).  When we started again, it was just midway up the hill when I honestly fought hard not to shout ahead to Vince and Nick “I may just turn back”.  As the sentence sat perched on my lips, Vince looked back at me to check I was all right; he smiled and said ‘ok?’  It was the nicest thing anyone could have said to me at that moment.

Miles 7 to 16 I believe,  was the hardest for the 3 of us.  As we drew closer to the lunch stop marker, we all found something extra to help walk towards the smiles ready to greet us.  Lunch turned out to be the fuel we needed, although it was shortly after lunch I was strapped up with a hand resembling a pack of sausages, the blisters were starting to form on all our feet and Vince’s knee was showing signs of strain. Nick was now carrying my bag (the gentleman refused to let me carry my own rucksack as my arm was now in a sling), we were doing well!!  Oh did I mention the paramedic thought Nick was my husband!!

Mile 8…, Mile 9…, we were now looking out for the markers and it was at this point we and those of the remaining 206 competitors using GPS to track their efforts, realised the course was actually longer and since found out it was 28.2 miles not the 26.5 we were drawn in with.

What does that mean? It means we did fantastically.  It was mooted they picked the start and finish and then measured the course… this was not what we signed up for but did it deter us, did it heck!  We all mentally tried not to think about the state our feet were in and walked on.  Nick made a good suggestion of not taking our boots off, as we may never get them back on, although I was now enviously looking at a group of people who had swapped their boots for crocs. I resisted and kept those bad boys on!

Cancer has touched so many of us in different ways, the loss of a family member or friend, a personal fight or scare, maybe even just visiting someone sick or a member of your team.  Seeing what utter heartache and devastation that evil, disgusting disease left my family in, I know why I was doing it but I did not think about the reasons behind why others would complete such a walk.

We saw strength in others, a dad hugging his daughter as she crossed the finishing line, so proud of what she has achieved in her late mothers name. To witness the different ends of the cancer emotion spectrum for the three of us was an honour and I won’t lie left me crying at the finish, not when we crossed the line but when we turned to see what it actually meant.

I think we all expected to be happy to be finishing, pride to have completed it but I was surprised at our emotions.

Our feet are sore, our knees are weak, the blisters have formed but that is nothing compared to what someone with cancer has to go through on a daily basis.  A Macmillan nurse is there, whether it is for medical care or just a friendly face to smile at you when words just are not enough.  Supporting a family member who is trying to come to terms with hearing a loved one is sick.  It helped prepare my family and me.  To me, Macmillan Nurses are secretly little angels, pure and simple.  So, if you haven’t donated yet and would like to, please do so by simply logging onto our team page.

Every single penny counts.  I just hope it’s not a support service any of us will have to use. Oh and Cancer, we came, we walked and we will continue to kick your butt!

On a personal note guys, it was an absolute pleasure walking with you Nick and Vince.  I thank you sincerely for your company and support. I got home a little before 1am today [20th July – Ed] and I won’t lie… I’m in pain and I’m sure it’ll get worse! But seriously, I wouldn’t want to walk a walk like that with anyone else after yesterday – yesterday will always to me, be very special and for that I thank you both. It would have been a very different experience with anyone else, it was meant to be so thanks.

I’m off to sort out the old BM with some deep heat, goodnight :)”

Thanks Nadine for such an honest and moving story. I hope that you’re well on the road to recovery now and yours, Vince’s and Nick’s blisters are healing fast!

We’ll be back tomorrow with news from the rest of the participants.

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Flagship Fundraiser, Sport, Trans Pennine Hike, Walking | 1 Comment

A Family Fun Day

Keith Dunn's Fun day at Nottingham

Scenes from a fun day – Keith is in the main photo and the one sorting out the raffle tickets

Keith Dunn, a Twilight worker at Nottingham organised a fundraising day last Sunday to raise money for the Teenager Cancer Ward at City Hospital Nottingham and Cancer Research. His son sadly passed away last year to cancer and he is trying to raise some money to give something back to the ward who looked after him.

It was a family fun day with lots of activities including a bouncy castle, stocks, disco, name the teddy competition, guess the weight of the cake, penalty shootout, raffle and tombola. It was also an opportunity for some linking-up across the Group with Bertrams sending a box of children’s books alongside the raffle and tombola prizes donated locally.

The final total is still being totted up, and is well over £2,500 already. Keith would like to thank everyone for their support in buying raffle tickets and attending the event and thanks to Smiths and all other companies for the donation of raffle prizes.

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Fetes, Sales and Raffles | Leave a comment

Deb and Sarah Take a Midnight Walk

Deb Zaza and Sarah Loftus

Left: Sarah and Deb proudly wear their t-shirts and Right: A view along the route

On Saturday 11th July, Deb Zaza and Sarah Loftus from West Mercia Supplies in Shrewsbury took part in a Midnight Walk raising funds for a local charity, Severn Hospice.  The walk started on the stroke of midnight and covered 8 kilometres around the streets of Shrewsbury taking the pair a little over an hour to complete.   Approximately 1,000 women donned pink t-shirts for the event raising an amazing £33,617 for the hospice along the way.  Commenting on the walk Deb and Sarah said:

“We really enjoyed the night-time walk.  There was a great atmosphere and the event was well organised with lots of marshals along the route.  We hope to take part again next year.”

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Sport, Walking | Leave a comment

“Stepping Stones were over the moon”

Spot the difference! Before and After photos :)

Spot the difference! Before and After photos :)

Joseph Berkem has news of a grand Volunteer Time he had recently…

“The Marketing department at The Consortium took part in a voluntary day in which we as a team assisted Stepping Stones Special School [in Trowbridge – Ed] in a number of different tasks from cleaning to painting and maintenance.

The day went off without a hitch. We had glorious weather and we got more than we had expected done. Stepping Stones were over the moon.”

It looks fabulous Joseph – what a difference that bright paintwork makes to the shed and fence :)

Posted in Community Volunteering, Volunteer Time | Leave a comment

Volunteer Time for the Crucial Crew

Crucial Crew photo

The all important group photo – from bottom right going clockwise we have: James Driscoll, Sarah Loftus, Deb Zaza, Sue Jones and Catherine Grice.

Sue Jones has news of a her continued support for the Crucial Crew in Shrewsbury aided and abetted by some of her colleagues in a spot of Volunteer Time

“Over the first 2 weeks of June volunteers from WMS helped the Shrewsbury and Oswestry Crucial Crew charity by chaperoning groups of children around awareness sessions including internet safety, bullying/cyber bullying, safety on the farm, fire safety, drugs and alcohol abuse.

Volunteers agreed it was great fun from start to finish; all 13 sessions were interesting and they learnt a bit too!  The children seemed most impressed by the Fire Service talk ending in having to crawl out of a smoke-filled room. James said it was a good opportunity to help out giving something back to an event he had attended as a child.  Being able to use Volunteer Time and attend as part of a working day was much appreciated by the team who are keen to take part again next year.”

The Crucial Crew in action: on the farm and with the fire service

The Crucial Crew in action: on the farm and with the fire service

Posted in Community Volunteering, Volunteer Case Studies, Volunteer Time | Leave a comment

Good Luck Trans Pennine Hikers!

Trans Pennine Hike logoWe wish everyone hitting the Trans Pennine trail the very best of luck for your hike this weekend. May the weather gods be kind to you and we look forward to seeing all your photos and hearing your travellers’ tales :)

Don’t forget there’s probably a hiker near you, who’s looking forward to your good wishes and support in the form of sponsorship cash for Macmillan Cancer Support:

  • Simon Parker and Abby Brooks – Bertrams
  • Chris Foord and Abby Slinger – Borehamwood (aka Just the 2 of Us)
  • Poppy Bounden – Dawson Books
  • Aileen Newsome – FFSC
  • Sam Everett and Stephanie Carr – Instore (aka Rob Starr team)
  • Leigh Watson – Lincoln
  • Daniel Ballard, Alan Witts and Robin Sandbach-Marshall – MSC Worcester
  • Gemma Dallman, Samantha New, Mark Silver, Sarah Miles and Tracey Miles (family) – Rowan House
  • Christie Stevens – Stevenage
  • Nadine Evans, Vince Tierney and Nick Scraggs – The Consortium (aka part of the Magnificent Seven plus 2 Blokes)
  • Dianne Levitt and Natasha Sewley – WMS Shrewsbury (also part of the Magnificent Seven plus 2 Blokes team)
Posted in Charity Fundraising, Flagship Fundraiser, Sport, Trans Pennine Hike, Walking | Leave a comment

“We managed them both without stopping or falling off!”

Road sign

This comment says it all! “Any tips on how to ride up 30% incline hills are much appreciated…”

We have news of some intrepid cycling! Rowan House‘s Mike Makinson tells us about his and Ken Ingham’s latest adventure…

“The weekend just gone [5th July – Ed] Ken and I completed our 3 day challenge in the Lake District in support of The Christie Cancer Hospital.  Friday was a tough day with the heat but we rode for over 7 hours completing 135km and climbing 2,500 metres. Saturday was a little cooler but involved us climbing the Hardknott Pass and the Wrynose Pass which, at a gradient of 30% in places, are 2 famously notorious mountain passes and we managed them both without stopping or falling off !!

We completed the challenge yesterday by climbing Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain at around 900 metres.

Whilst we haven’t got a final figure in sponsorships yet it is definitely over our £1,000 target.

Ken and I would personally like to thank each and every one of you for your kind donations to a very worthy cause, those of you that pledged ‘off line’ sponsor’s, we will be collecting it over the next 7-10 days.”

Well done guys! I hope you got that beer at sea level you promised yourselves at the end – it was well deserved :)

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Cycling, Sport | Leave a comment

The Race for Life Takes a Muddy Turn

CRUK imageThe Race for Life is one of our most popular fundraising events and this year it takes a muddy turn!  5 ladies from Rowan House are due to take part in the Pretty Muddy Race for Life at Swindon’s Lydiard Park on September 5th.

In addition to the usual 5k run, the Pretty Muddy version includes an obstacle course “where women of any ability can climb, jog and walk all over cancer.”

The team aka the Muddy Dolls comprises a colleague link-up from 3 areas: CRS’s Nikki, Stebbing, Caroline King, and Natasha Cooper, plus Sarah Abbley from Retail Support Team, and Charlotte Parris from Jacks Beans Coffee Team.  They have a joint JustGiving Page awaiting your donations here. The team’s goal is to raise £500.

Good luck and we look forward to seeing how you get on in September! NB If anyone else is taking part in this year’s Race for Life – muddy or otherwise – we’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Endurance & Obstacle Races, Race for Life, Running, Sport | Leave a comment

Try a Park Run

BrundallparkrunPoster-page-001[1]We have news of a different kind of running activity you might like to try! Paul Taylor at Bertrams is one of the directors of his new local parkrun held at Brundall Countryside Park. He tells us more about this worldwide activity…

“Some background might be useful as not everyone has heard of parkrun so the following is from their website:

“parkrun organise free, weekly, 5 kilometre timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in.

These events take place in pleasant parkland surroundings and we encourage people of every ability to take part; from those taking their first steps in running to Olympians; from juniors to those with more experience; we welcome you all.

Using the events page, select the event you are most interested in and review all the information about the course, local news items, the photo gallery and information about volunteering. Also, take a look at the extensive results page where you will find an incredible amount of information about your past performance”

The only thing I cannot see here is that the local events are all completely run & organised by volunteers.”

Paul adds in his update from earlier this week:

” We had 110 for the first run (these always tend to be bigger than normal) and 50 on Saturday [27th June – Ed].

Encouragingly we had around 10 completely new parkrunners both times and lots of really nice comments.”

This sounds like a fun, social run without the need for joining a running club. For more information and details of events near you, have a look at the parkrun UK website.

Thanks for letting know about parkrun, Paul and good luck with running future events at Brundall!

Posted in Colleague Involvement, Community Volunteering, Event Focus, Running, Sport, Volunteer Case Studies

Health Week: “Mr Cycle Was a Success”

Southampton Health Week Collage

Staff tuck into the goodies on offer at Southampton

We end our round-up of Health Week activities with news from two more locations…

Malcolm Dossett tells us about Southampton‘s activities…

“Alicia [Alexander] and Steve [Shuker] offered their own support and ideas which enabled us to really back the project. Tracey Smith, Returns Supervisor here in Southampton, took on the task of obtaining and preparing the presentation.

She spent the Sunday  Strawberry picking and then made up 100 fruit kebabs for all to enjoy. (It was past midnight when she finished at home)

It wasn’t just fruit kebabs either. A whole range of freshly purchased fruit was available along with cheese and tomato sticks, yoghurt. health bars, healthy dips, celery sticks, cucumber slices, whole pineapples, crisp breads and the list goes on!

Tracey shared a comment regarding the lovely aroma in her car that morning when she brought the goods in.

After laying out the product in our canteen all the staff were invited to participate and it was received very well indeed. Tracey made a point of allocating separate supplies for the Twilight and Night shifts so all could take part.

She also visited a Gym and a surgery seeking pamphlets supporting healthy eating to lay around the tables. She had a degree of success as well. We placed some Health related magazines in the vicinity also.

Everyone who participated commented on the quality of the spread.”

Meanwhile, Bertrams organised a whole week of activities with daily email reminders which included sub-themes with ideas on lifestyle; fitness and exercise; diet and healthy eating; wellbeing; and sun safety. We have an extract from the email Matt Chaplin sent the following week thanking everyone who took part…

“Health week has been and gone, culminating in the charity raffle, in aid of the British Heart Foundation.Thank you for everyone who took part, we raised a fantastic £170.00.

The Cycle to Work scheme seems to have been very popular and I hope that many staff will utilise this fantastic opportunity, and consider cycling to work on a regular basis.

The fresh fruit was well received and with the new fresh fruit service from Food4Thought starting today [22nd June – Ed] , we hope that healthy snacking is here to stay!

Mr Cycle was also a success, with 10 staff having their cycle M-checked on site, and receiving a full breakdown of any work that needed completing to restore the cycle to full operation.We will be in contact with Mr Cycle to have this service repeated on a regular basis, given the popularity.

A big thank you to Tracy in Facilities, Fran and Joanna in HR for their support over the past week.We hope that everyone made at least one positive change as a result of the information and activities last week.”

It’s great to see some of the Health Week activities extended beyond the one week. Thanks for all your news everyone, it looks like Health Week will return next year :)

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Colleague Involvement, Fetes, Sales and Raffles, Health Week