Octogenarians put best feet forward for local hospices

Octogenarians put best feet forward for local hospices

Henley-in-Arden Rotary Club, Triple80HospiceTrek
L-R Jeff Masters, David Burman (President) and Robbin Suffield.

THREE 80-year-old Rotarians are en route to raising £10,000 for three local hospices by walking a mile for every year of their lives.

Friends David Burman, Robbin Suffield and Jeff Masters have already amassed more than £4,000 towards their target after completing the Triple80HospiceTrek – but it wasn’t without its challenges.

The Henley-in-Arden Rotary Club members were inspired to walk 80 miles from Sharpness on the River Severn near Bristol to Wootton Wawen after the club’s three main fundraisers – a charity golf day, concert and Bluebell Woods parking – were among those cancelled due to the pandemic.

But, at times it was far from a smooth path, challenges including a run-in with hammer-wielding youths, an angry farmer and fly-tipping, not to mention nights under canvas.

David Burman, from Claverdon, said: “The path seemed to end so I rang and said that I would drive down one of the tracks to gain access to the Severn bank to pick the other two up.

“The first part of the drive was a farm and the farmer was not happy with my presence and told me to go away in very flowery language. So I did. I then went back to another access road through an industrial estate and turned into an old car park only to find a gang of youths smashing a car with hammers. They immediately turned their attention to me, running towards my car waving the hammers. One threw his hammer toward me so I floored the pedal and fled with great speed into an area of flats.”

Robbin Suffield, from Wootton Wawen, added: “One hot sunny day Jeff and I wasted a couple of hours, and had to retrace our steps, when the route on the outskirts of Gloucester entered an area of wasteland strewn with abandoned cars and fly-tipping. Although clearly marked on our up to date maps, the Severn Way Long Distance Path deteriorated into a wilderness of undergrowth and brambles which became totally impenetrable!

“And the following day we discovered that the Severn Way has recently been rerouted onto the opposite bank of the river!”

“But any challenges we faced were overshadowed by the sheer fellowship and camaraderie we shared, not only among the three of us over the whole eight days, but with several people whom we met and talked to or dined or walked with, including Rotarians from fur other local clubs en route.

“We are all used to walking, having done several long distance national trails in our younger years and a few marathon and half marathon runs.”

Henley-in-Arden Rotary Club,
L-R Robin Suffield, David Burman and Jeff Masters study the route.

The trio, who are all past, present and future presidents of Henley -in-Arden Rotary Club, were joined for the last seven-mile stretch of the route by representatives of the three hospices – Bridget Richards, from Shakespeare Hospice and Natalie Humphrey from Myton Hospice. Olivia Guglia from Acorns Children’s Hospice greeted them at Wootton Hall, along with a ceremonial welcome by the Henley Town Crier and civic dignitaries.

Jeff Masters, from Snitterfield, said: “It proved to be a brilliant adventure and we met so many kindly people on the way.

“Our objective of raising substantial money for the three hospices is well on track. Our other objective to raise interest in Henley in Arden Rotary Club and new members remains to be seen.

“We have, over many years, supported most community groups and activities and would like this to continue. Without new membership we are in danger of fading away to the detriment of the community. To like-minded people, we say please come as a visitor and see if it is for you.”

Current President David, added: “Walking along the river meadows with wild flowers, woodland and grazing sheep and cattle, our trip was quite magical with great friendship and fun throughout the whole journey. The many areas of bramble and stinging nettles only served to strengthen our resolve with our shorts leaving our legs to the ravages of wild countryside!”

To support their efforts, click here

For more information about Henley-in-Arden Rotary Club click here

Henley-in-Arden Rotary Club, Triple80HospiceTrek

The Myton Hospices

Each year The Myton Hospices support thousands of people and their families, in our three hospices, via patient and family support services and in the community through Myton at Home. The charity needs to raise £7.8 million alone this year to continue providing their services free of charge. Last year, despite the challenges of Covid-19, limiting ability to offer some of the services, Myton were still able to support 1,400 people and their families.

Acorns Children’s Hospice

Acorns Children’s Hospice provides care, support, fun and laughter for life limited and life threatened babies, children and young people and support for their families. In the past year Acorns has cared for over 820 children across the West Midlands from its three hospices in Birmingham, Worcester and Walsall, within the family home and community. When a child’s life is limited, family time is precious, which is why, as well as providing complex medical care, Acorns help families to create lasting memories and make every day count.

The Shakespeare Hospice

An award-winning hospice providing outstanding palliative and end-of-life care for patients, their families and carers across South Warwickshire. Its reach extends beyond the traditional hospice walls, providing expert support within the local community and patients’ own homes. It offers a diverse range of community-based services including Hospice at Home & Day Hospice (Adult Community Care), Adult Counselling, Children’s and Family Support Services and Transitional Care Services. Expert care is available not just to patients but also their families, loved ones and those who matter the most to them.

Napton Cidery recipe sits among UK’s best in new CAMRA book

Napton Cidery recipe sits among UK’s best in new CAMRA book

A locally produced cider has earned its place among the best in the UK in a new guide published by CAMRA.

Napton Cidery’s Whisky Cask blend features in Modern British Cider which is being launched around the country this month by author and industry expert Gabe Cook.

Napton Cidery, Charlotte and Jolyon Olivier, The Ciderologist, Gabe Cook, book
Charlotte Olivier with the new book.

In the book, the self-titled Ciderologist, Gabe shines a light on the rise of popularity and diversity of craft cider that exists within UK as well as exploring the trends, challenges and opportunities that influence cider’s ability to innovate and grow.

Napton’s 7.7% Whisky Cask Kingston Black Cider is made from a blend of Kingston Black apples from a 30-year-old orchard and matured in single malt whisky casks from Auchentoshan distillery using wild yeasts and natural sugars.

In the book, which was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign, Gabe critiques the cider as having ‘Christmas pudding levels of clove and cinnamon richness but finely balanced with a brusque bitterness, dusty astringency and glowing warmth.’

The Ciderologist, Gabe Cook, Napton Cidery, book, Kingston Black

With 15 years of experience to draw on, Gabe is an acclaimed international, writer, broadcaster, educator and consultant on all matters cider. The resident cider expert for Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, Gabe an outspoken advocate of the industry, leading the charge for a cider revolution by chairing a number of international competitions and heading up campaigns, events and publications.

He said: “Modern British Cider looks at how cider has formed an integral part of the UK’s landscape with a heritage dating back at least 2,000 years. Today, cider faces a new change in the drinking landscape of Britain – the rise of craft and modern styles, discerning drinkers with different needs, habits and spending opportunities.

 “This guide celebrates the heritage, diversity and innovation within the wonderful world of British cider today and celebrates the full diversity of styles, flavours and occasions that cider can provide, whilst also showcasing the best of cider-making talent from across these isles.”

The Cidery, run from Napton-on-the-Hill by husband and wife Jolyon and Charlotte Olivier, started life as a hobby nine years ago when the couple were first introduced to the taste of craft cider on a family holiday to Cornwall. Returning home with an apple tree, they soon started experimenting in their back garden.

Today, the team harvests, presses, bottles and distributes more than 90,000 litres of craft cider a year, using 17 types of apples from six orchards.

Central to Napton’s growing popularity among customers is its strong sustainability ethos, from harvesting through to packaging. All of its apples come from traditional unsprayed orchards, organic and biodiverse growers, so no unnatural chemicals are introduced into the ecosystem. The cider is also naturally fermented using only wild yeasts and packaged in recyclable materials and all ingredients sourced as locally as possible.

The Ciderologist, Gabe Cook, Napton Cidery, book, Kingston Black

The shop also sells perry, juices, spirits and vinegars as well as a new products the team have been working on this year – including Apple Cider Brandy, canned ciders and branded collectors’ glasses. There’s also the opportunity to sample them all.

Reacting to news of the book, Charlotte said: “We’re feeling very excited and proud. We’ve worked with Gabe before when he’s delivered cider courses to our employees and he’s doing really important work to change the perception of cider and make it clear that there’s a cider to suit every taste. He’s also doing work to support cider makers (writing to MPs, campaigning for changes to the law), and we took part in a campaign that he organised last year called Discover Cider.

“Cider doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves, it’s a craft/art that’s just as complex as the wine-making process in many ways. It’s great that this book promotes small cider makers – there are so many amazing cider makers featured.”

She added: “We are proud to be part of the craft cider movement – and are delighted that our whisky cask was Gabe’s favourite lockdown cider!”


The Ciderologist, Gabe Cook, Napton Cidery, book, Kingston Black

The Cidery is open Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 12-5pm.

Visit Napton Cidery at: https://www.naptoncidery.co.uk/

Modern British Cider is available to purchase at Napton Cidery and all usual outlets.

CASE STUDY: Jessica Weeks, from Coventry

CASE STUDY: Jessica Weeks, from Coventry

“They said she wouldn’t survive the birth but she did – she lived for 57 wonderful minutes.”

For any parent, having less than one hour of memories of their child to treasure for life is simply unthinkable. For Jessica Weeks, from Coventry, it is only too real –  but meeting her precious girl, albeit so briefly, is something she’ll never regret.

Hannah's House, Jessica Weeks, loss, My Darling
Jessica and Andy had precious little time with Emelia after she was born

It was at the 12-week scan, in January 2017, that the bottom fell out of Jessica’s world. She and husband Andy received the devastating news that Emelia had severe abnormalities and they should expect the worst.

Forty-year-old Jessica recalls: “Emelia was diagnosed with spina bifida and anencephaly and it was the biggest kick in the gut. We were told she wouldn’t make it past 20 weeks, then told 28 weeks and then that she wouldn’t survive the birth. But she was my fighter, my little miracle baby and she lived – and we had 57 wonderful minutes with her.”

Four years later Jessica finds herself surrounded by the family she so desperately craved, with two cherished children, aged 6 and 2 and another on the way. But it was in Emelia’s memory that she was invited to the launch event last week for Sandra Godley’s charity record.

Hannah's House, Jessica Weeks, loss, My Darling
Jessica Weeks and daughter Hannah, 6, after whom the charity in Emelia’s memory is named.

Emelia’s legacy also proudly lives on in the form of Hannah’s House, established by Jessica in her firstborn’s name. The charity offers a place of refuge after the loss of siblings to neonatal death, miscarriage and stillbirth.

It provides vital support through Parenting With Hope groups as well as counselling and ‘Celebration Days.’ And a feature of Jessica’s long-term aims is for the charity to work more closely around bereavement with University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire, where she both met and lost her precious girl on the same day.

“I wanted to take the pain of our loss and turn it into something to be able to help other people, by working with their other children and help them to understand death,” she said.

“My eldest daughter Hannah was two when we lost Emelia and there was nowhere for us to go. There was lots of help for us as parents but it was really hard for us to explain to a two-year-old why her little sister didn’t get to come home with mummy from the hospital.

“The following year we had another baby, our son Daniel, and I found that again there was nowhere to turn for support with pregnancy after loss.

“Sadly I knew I wasn’t going to be the last mum who would have to bury their child, who has to think about how they’re going to remember them as opposed to how they’re going to bring them up. I decided I didn’t want the pain we were feeling to be in vain.

“Hannah’s House was something I always wanted to do and finally got charitable status in February.”

She is also keen to encourage wider discussion around the sensitive subject of neonatal terminal diagnosis and available options to parents.

She said: “I knew as her mum the only thing I could give my little girl was the opportunity of life. They didn’t know how long she would survive or, if she did, how long we would have her for but there was that chance of life and she deserved that opportunity.

“We made the right decision for us but of course I appreciate it might not be the right decision for everybody. I’m just so happy that I got to see her big brown eyes.”

As Jessica and Andy continue to navigate the long path of grief ahead, they also look forward to meeting the newest member of the Weeks family in November, although Jessica admits there will always be a hole in the family that can never be filled.

She said: “I really love my children but it’s so hard when you look at them and think someone is missing. That’s what connects us as parents in the support group.

“When you get the question ‘how many children do you have?’ you can feel a bit like a rabbit in the headlights. Sometimes I’ll say I’ve just got the two and Hannah will chip in with ‘what about Emelia?’ But now four years later I am more easily able to say I have three children – soon to be four – but only three of them live with me and one lives in heaven.

“Hannah knows that Emelia is in her future so when she gets to heaven she’ll be able to meet her sister. And she has birthday and Christmas cards from her.”

Hannah's House, Jessica Weeks, loss, My Darling

Jessica, Andy, Hannah and Daniel, were proud to be among specially invited guests at the launch event for My Darling, at The Telegraph’s Rooftop Bar in Coventry on National Grief Awareness Day. (August 31st)

The release of the single, written and performed by MOBO Award-nominated Coventry musician Sandra Godley, was also marked by the release of 100 white balloons in honour of lost loved ones.

Jessica said: “Being a part of the event with my other children was just wonderful – being able to remember our daughter as well as all the other babies that didn’t get to come home. The song is absolutely beautiful. It really captures the emotion of being separated from somebody you love.”

For more information about Hannah’s House visit here

Donations can be made via this link

My Darling, Sandra Godley, Surviving Bereavement, Molly Olly's Wishes, Coventry & Warwickshire MIND, balloons release
Releasing the balloons at the launch in memory of lost loved ones.


Emotional messages take to the skies to mark release of charity record

Emotional messages take to the skies to mark release of charity record

RELATIVES grieving the loss of a loved one were among those gathered for the poignant launch of a charity single by Coventry’s MOBO Award-nominated musician Sandra Godley.

My Darling, Sandra Godley, Surviving Bereavement, Molly Olly's Wishes, Coventry & Warwickshire MIND, balloons release
Releasing the balloons in memory of lost loved ones at The Telegraph Hotel Rooftop Bar..

National Grief Awareness Day on Monday (August 30th) marked the release of My Darling which is raising funds and awareness for three local charities in the wake of the pandemic – Surviving Bereavement, Molly Olly’s Wishes and Coventry and Warwickshire Mind.

In collaboration with Surviving Bereavement Founder Tracey McAtamney from Balsall Common, the event included a minute’s silence and the release of 100 white balloons bearing emotional messages, from the roof of The Telegraph Hotel in Coventry.

My Darling, Surviving Bereavement, Molly Olly's Wishes, Coventry & Warwickshire Mind, loss, balloons launch
Musicians Sandra Godley and Roy Hemmings.
My Darling, Surviving Bereavement, Molly Olly's Wishes, Coventry & Warwickshire Mind, loss, balloons launch
Jessica Weeks with daughter Hannah.

Specially invited guests included Roy Hemmings, formerly of The Drifters, who lost his brother Neville in April last year. My Darling will be played at a memorial for Neville in Birmingham tomorrow. (Friday Sept 10th)

Also releasing a balloon, in memory of her daughter Emelia, was Jessica Weeks and her family, from Coventry. Emelia’s died in 2017 less than one hour after being born with spina bifida and anencephaly. Jessica went on to establish Hannah’s House, a charity which provides support after the loss of a sibling to neonatal death, miscarriage and stillbirth. (See accompanying Case Study here)

My Darling is a particularly heartfelt piece of work for the Bristol-born musician, Sandra, who is still grieving the loss of her own aunt to the virus in April last year.

She said following the launch: “I am delighted that the song ‘My Darling’ is now finally released. I’ve been carrying the words of the song for over a year now.

“It was such an incredible time to be amongst friends and family on a very special day, Grief Awareness Day. Thank you to everyone who helped make it happen. Special thanks to Matt Cossey for producing the track. I now want to encourage everyone to give what they can to the fundraising page to help spread the message of hope and I know the three charities involved will be very grateful for all donations received.”

Those who would like to donate more can now also visit a new fundraising page here

And My Darling is available to download for 79p from any of these outlets

Tracey McAtamney said: “The launch of My Darling and release of the biodegradable memory balloons could not have gone better despite it being a bank holiday Monday – people came out to remember their loved ones. It felt very personal, moving and heartfelt, especially during the one-minute silence, a time for reflection before the balloon release.

“The song is beautiful and I know is touching many. We are hoping that people will continue to download the song for just 79p or donate to the JustGiving page. All monies raised will be in support of those struggling with grief.”

With four successful albums and a clutch of awards to her name, Sandra’s proudest musical career highlights include singing in The House of Commons as well as creating and performing The Big Love Song as a wedding gift for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, joined by a choir of mental health ambassadors on BBC’s The One Show, in 2018.

My Darling, Surviving Bereavement, Molly Olly's Wishes, Coventry & Warwickshire Mind, loss, balloons launch

My Darling marks a departure from Sandra’s usual soul and gospel style, instead following more contemporary musical influences to appeal to a wider audience impacted by Covid or otherwise-related loss.

The single’s producer Matt Cossey said: “Coming off the back of a global pandemic, this track has been really meaningful to work on, but also a real privilege. Trying to simultaneously capture the sound of grief and hope was a particularly interesting and poignant challenge, but I think we have managed it! I hope the track raises a lot of profits and awareness for the charities.”

Through the work of The Surviving Bereavement Foundation, Tracey McAtamney has helped many others through their journey with grief by offering legal and financial advice as well as practical and emotional support.

Tracey, from Balsall Common, established the Foundation 16 years after herself being widowed with two sons at the age of just 38. Her husband Tony had died suddenly in his hotel room while on a golfing holiday in Spain.

As part of the Foundation’s growth, she recently qualified as a Grief Recovery Specialist and the past year has also seen a huge rise in demand for her personalised Memory Boxes, which contain specially chosen items that celebrate the life of a lost loved one.

My Darling, Surviving Bereavement, Molly Olly's Wishes, Coventry & Warwickshire Mind, loss, balloons launch
Sandra Godley and producer Matt Cossey in the recording studio.

The record, which has been produced by Matt Cossey of The Nexus Institute of Creative Arts in Coventry, is being funded by an anonymous sponsor and supported by Alsters Kelley Solicitors.

Some of the proceeds will also benefit Warwick-based charity Molly Olly’s Wishes and local mental health charity Coventry and Warwickshire Mind.

Molly Olly’s Wishes was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

It works to support children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families and help with their emotional wellbeing as well as grant wishes and donate therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Mascot of the charity is a therapeutic toy lion called Olly The Brave who has his own Hickman line and a detachable mane which helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These form part of an Olly The Brave pack that has now been handed out to more than 40 hospitals, along with a book from the charity’s exclusive Olly The Brave series.

My Darling, Surviving Bereavement, Molly Olly's Wishes, Coventry & Warwickshire Mind, loss, balloons launch
Tracey McAtamney, Sandra Godley and Molly Olly’s Wishes founder Rachel Ollerenshaw.

Rachel said: “The launch of My Darling was a very special and poignant day. It is a beautiful song and the emotion behind it really highlights the importance and significance of being aware of the challenges that grieving families face. Molly Olly’s are extremely grateful for the support and thank you to Sandra, Tracey and everyone who was involved for including Molly Olly’s in this project. Funds raised will help us to support families at the saddest of times.”

Local mental health charity, Coventry and Warwickshire Mind is part of the national Mind organisation – delivering services and support for people with mental health problems for over 50 years.

Recognising the importance of listening to, and working with, people who have experienced mental health issues, the charity aims to provide support for those who live with and recover from a mental health problem. This can mean providing access to information, a listening ear, or providing more specialist support and services.

Steven Hill, CEO Coventry and Warwickshire Mind, also attended the launch. He said: “It was a pleasure to be a part of the event for ‘My Darling’ – a poignant song about the loss faced by many of us over the past 18 months and highlighting its detrimental impact on our mental health.

“We’re honoured to be one of the charities chosen by Sandra Godley. The money raised will enable us to continue our work – ensuring that no-one faces a mental health problem on their own.”

Watch the music video for My Darling here

My Darling, Surviving Berevement, Molly Olly's Wishes, Coventry & Warwickshire Mind, loss, balloons release

Contacting the charities:

Further information about Surviving Bereavement or how to donate can be found here

Further information about Molly Olly’s Wishes or how to donate can be found here

Further information about Coventry and Warwickshire Mind or how to donate can be found here

For more information about Hannah’s House visit here Donations can be made here

Community gets behind ‘fun-draising’ day for charities

Community gets behind ‘fun-draising’ day for charities

Hatton Park Fun Day, Molly Olly's Wishes, Warwickshire Domestic Violence Servive
Some of the organising committee: Jane Robbins, Jolande Hancock, Lou Simpson, Stuart Kettell, Rachel Ollerenshaw, Jennie Long and Jason Sammon. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography.

FUN and fundraising were the order of the day at Hatton Park in Warwick on Sunday.

The community event, rescheduled from earlier in the summer due to Covid-19, has been hailed a huge success by the organisers who have raised more than £1,200 for two charities – Molly Olly’s Wishes and Warwickshire Domestic Abuse Service.

The Fun Day consisted of stalls, BBQ, bar, live music, WI Bake Off and competitive events and was the brainchild of local resident Jane Robbins who enlisted the help of friends and neighbours.

Hatton Park Fun Day, Molly Olly's Wishes, Warwickshire Domestic Violence Servive
Rachel Ollerenshaw on the Molly Olly’s Wishes stall. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography.

Jane, who runs an events business JR Promotions, said: “The idea came to me one day during one of my lockdown walks around the estate. Bored with the complete lack of events work, I thought wouldn’t it be nice, when restrictions are lifted, for residents, rather than just nodding and saying hello as the passed, to have an opportunity to socialise properly with their neighbours.

“We’re so glad we put out requests on social media for the extra pairs of hands to help on the stalls and the bar as we had over 400 people, of all ages, popping in throughout the day. It really did have a very friendly, happy feel and we were really pleased with how it all went and the support we received.”

The WI Bake Off was a huge success. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography.

Molly Olly’s Wishes was established by Hatton Park’s Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw in 2011 following the death of their eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

The charity works to support children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families and help with their emotional wellbeing as well as grant wishes and donate therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Issy Foyle, 12, on her handmade jewellery stall. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography.
Molly Olly's Wishes, Molly Ollerenshaw
Molly Ollerenshaw a few weeks before she passed away, aged eight.

Mascot is a therapeutic toy lion called Olly The Brave who has his own Hickman line and a detachable mane which helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These form part of an Olly The Brave pack that has now been handed out to more than 40 hospitals, along with a book from the charity’s exclusive Olly The Brave six-part series.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the charity which, last October, moved into its first dedicated town centre premises, in Warwick – the month in which Molly would have turned 18.

Further information about Molly Olly’s Wishes or how to donate can be found at: www.mollyolly.co.uk

Rachel, who also ran a charity stall, said: “Community has been so important during the pandemic and it was lovely to finally be able to have a Hatton park Fun Day and give everyone the opportunity to meet up.

“It was a good opportunity to raise awareness and funds. The weather was kind and everyone who joined us had a fun day and there was something for all ages. A big thankyou to the organisers.

“Molly Olly’s are feeling the effects of the pandemic more this year than last year and donations are down considerably (approximately 30%) at a time when we have seen a large increase (almost 20%) in the requests for support. The charity has received over 370 wishes over the past year and relies on the support of businesses and individuals to ensure we can continue our services.

Ivy Pielow, 5, and Arthur Pielow, 7, Livy Kettell, 6, Grace Kettell, 8. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography.

“We work closely with the local community nursing teams and together we can help make a very real difference at extremely challenging times. Help can be provided in many different ways and we encourage you to come and meet us and find out more about our work and how you can help support children with life threatening illnesses.”

Half of the proceeds will also benefit the Hatton Park WI-nominated charity Warwickshire Domestic Abuse Service which provides county-wide support to women, men and children experiencing domestic violence.

It is a branch of Refuge – the country’s largest provider of specialist support – also offering refuge accommodation, independent domestic violence advocacy, outreach support and drop-in services.

Lynda Jackson, of Hatton Park WI, said: “We chose this charity to benefit after a number of us went and saw a play a few years ago that focused on the ill treatment of women, so it’s close to our hearts.”

For further information visit: https://www.refuge.org.uk/our-work/our-services/refuge-warwickshire-domestic-violence-service/

Livy and Grace Kettell at one the stalls. Photos by Victoria Jane Photography.