Couple pledges to make CPR training an annual event after near-death drama during fire at their home

Couple pledges to make CPR training an annual event after near-death drama during fire at their home

Winchcombe Farm, defibrillator, CPR training, Gill Cleeve
CPR training day at Tysoe Social Club. Photos by David Fawbert Photography.

A south Warwickshire coupled who became campaigners for CPR following a major fire at their home, have hailed their community first aid training day a huge success.  

In January Steve Taylor, 64, collapsed while trying to contain a blaze at Winchcombe Farm, a holiday retreat he runs with his wife Jo Carroll in Upper Tysoe.

Steve was recently reunited with the firefighter who managed to resuscitate him after administering CPR at the scene for more than 20 minutes while the blaze was still raging.

Now the father of two is continuing his recovery at home after undergoing a triple heart bypass and having a defibrillator fitted in his heart. He’s gone on to become an advocate for the UK Resuscitation Council, helping to raise awareness of the importance of everyone learning life-saving CPR skills.

Some 28 members of the community joined Winchcombe staff for the event, hosted by Gill Cleeve of Brookvale First Aid. It also marked the unveiling of a new defibrillator on the Winchcombe Farm Holidays site, the second in the village. There is also one at the old fire station.

Winchcombe Farm, CPR training, fire, Tysoe, Gill Cleeve
A captive audience

Gill, who also became Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon earlier this month, said: “CPR training is so valuable to a community, it will give people, the knowledge and confidence to step in and help if the worst should happen. This is why I’m always delighted to be asked to train community groups.

“Training doesn’t take long, but it can have a lifelong impact on someone’s life. Without CPR the person will die within minutes and the chances of survival will get lower the longer it takes someone to help.

“Every year in the UK, NHS Ambulance Services attempt resuscitation in approximately 30,000 people. Most of cardiac arrests occur in the home (approx 80%) or in the workplace (approx 15%).

Steve Taylor, owner of Winchcombe Farm Holidays, said: “Gill very kindly offered to run this training course for us, after she heard how CPR saved my life. We threw the invitation open to everyone in our village and are thrilled that so many people wanted to join us.

“Less than 1 in 10 people who have a cardiac arrest outside of hospital in the UK survive. By training our community in life saving skills, if the worst happens, they’ll be there to give someone the best possible chance of survival.”

Winchcombe Farm, CPR training, Tysoe, Gill Cleeve
Gill Cleeve of Brookvale First Aid demonstrates CPR.

While bystander CPR is attempted in 7 out of 10 cases, using a public access defibrillator is reported as being used in less than 1 in 10.

A cardiac arrest happens when there’s a problem with the heart’s rhythm, meaning it stops oxygenated blood from pumping around the body. This will lead the person to collapse, stop breathing and become unconscious.

The family of four is still counting the cost of the blaze which was started by an ember from their log burner. They are now living in temporary accommodation in one of their guest lodges while the repairs on their home continue.

Jo said: “Gill is just the most fabulous trainer and took all the fear away from administering CPR, if ever you find yourself in the situation where it is needed. She covered everything you could possibly need to know to help save a life of someone in cardiac arrest, including how to use a defibrillator.

“It was such a success, and there is so much demand from the local community to learn these skills, we are hoping to make it an annual event.”

Visit Brookvale First Aid here

Visit Winchcombe Farm Holidays here

Winchcombe Farm, CPR training, Tysoe, Gill Cleeve
Steve Taylor, Gill Cleeve and Jo Carroll with the new defibrillator.

Winchcombe Farm is an idyllic five-star boutique holiday retreat on the Warwickshire and Cotswolds border.

The remote family-run retreat nestles on a private estate in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and beneath the famous battlefield landmark of Edgehill. It’s an oasis of tranquillity with just sheep, chickens, moorhens, ducks, ponies and alpacas for company.

Designed with outdoor living in mind, this unique collection of six beautiful holiday homes – includes Warwickshire’s only treehouse – offering the height of luxury and nestling in four sycamore and ash trees – three of them growing through the outside deck and one even growing through the kitchen!

Luxury features range from private hot tubs, hanging chairs, hammocks and outside shower, to barbecue shed, pizza oven, BBQ hut, firepit for toasting marshmallows and even geodesic domes with king size circular bed plus personal telescopes for a spot of stargazing! Guests even receive a welcome hamper on arrival to start their holiday in style.

Inside, the properties are well equipped with all the latest technology including 55-inch SMART TV and DVD and, in the kitchen, a range on lush josephjoseph and SMEG accessories plus all the mod cons.

Winchcombe Farm, defibrillator, fire, Gill Cleeve, CPR training
Gil Cleeve receives a bouquet from Steve Taylor.
Finalists unveiled for Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards 2022

Finalists unveiled for Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards 2022

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards, Paul Foster, Candice Brown, Visit Coventry
Nadhim Zahawi MP and Sarah Windrum Chair of Coventry and Warwickshire LEP

THE finalists in the second Coventry and Warwickshire Foodie Awards have been unveiled.

The Foodie Awards 2022, in partnership with Visit Coventry and Visit Warwickshire, is a celebration of the best of the region’s food and drink scene.

More than 50 food and drink businesses across the region will now come under the scrutiny of a panel of judges made up of some of the top names in the industry, including Michelin Star chef Paul Foster, of Salt in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Finalists were chosen from 17 categories that focus on quality, service and innovation with an emphasis on farm to fork, including best artisan food and drink producers, farm shop, independent food and drink retailer, newcomer, street food trader and chef or cook of the year.

All the finalists are now invited to an awards ceremony at The Box at Fargo Village, Coventry on June 16th.

The winners of the Fine Dining and Casual Dining categories will be decided at exclusive cook-off events judged by Paul Foster in June.

Former Bake-off winner Candice Brown and food and drink broadcaster and champion Nigel Barden will judge the Best Casual Dining Chef during a live cook-off on the demo stage at Pub In The Park event on June 12th

Candice Brown said: “I’m delighted to be judging the final of Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards at Warwick Pub In The Park. It’s so great to have a local initiative involved and a fantastic way to see the local cooking talent out there. I’m looking forward to crowning the next Best Casual Dining winner.”

Paul Jones, of Visit Coventry, said: “Visit Coventry is thrilled to be supporting the Foodie Awards for the second year. We are delighted with the response to the Food Hero/Community Award and would like to thank all those who voted for the winner of this category. We appreciate that these are exceptionally challenging times for all businesses right now and, we hope the Food Hero/Community Award will shine a light on those businesses who have gone above and beyond to help support their local community.”

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards, Paul Foster, Candice Brown, Visit Coventry
Paul Foster outside Salt in Stratford
Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards, Paul Foster, Candice Brown, Visit Coventry
Great British Bake-Off winner 2016 Candice Brown is among the judges

Paul Foster’s successful career has so far earned him a Michelin star, three AA rosettes, a place in the top 50 UK restaurants in The Good Food Guide and has been awarded Observer Food Monthly ‘Young Chef of the Year’ and The Good Food Guide ‘Best Up and Coming Chef’ award.

New categories this year also recognise Foodie Start-up, Fine Dining Restaurant and Fine Dining Chef of the Year as well as the International Taste Award.

Foodie Awards Founder Jonathan Smith, of Talk Business UK, said: ”With the Foodie Awards only in its second year, we are thrilled with the response from all the food, drink and hospitality businesses that have taken part in numbers far exceeding those of last year. The quality and diversity of the entries from those businesses and individuals from across Coventry and Warwickshire will make the final judging extremely hard.”

The Awards will once again be raising money for The Trussell Trust network of eight food banks in Coventry and Warwickshire.

All finalists will be invited to a Finalists’ Night on Monday (June 6th) at Zach’s Barn, Hilltop Farm Shop.

Nadhim Zahawi Stratford MP and Secretary of State for Education, has also lent his support to the awards. He said: “I’m delighted to support the Foodie Awards that promote the food and drink sector in this region but want to say a big thank you and wish special good luck to those finalists who are engaged with the training and development of the next generation of workers and business owners across the Food and Drink sector.”

For further information or to enter the Food Hero Award, visit here


Food and Drink Experience Award:

Dough and Brew – Warwick

Enchanted Tea Room – Leamington

Culinary Bites – Coventry


Young Foodie Award:

Pasta Brothers – George Carter, Leamington

Delicious Greek Gyros – Coventry

Veg Food Enthusiast – Katie Todd, Henley-in-Arden


Foodie Startup Award:

St Maur – Alcester

Cureights – Warwick

Trof – Leamington

The Castle and Gin School, Edgehill


Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year Award:

The Loft – Coventry

Turmeric Gold – Coventry

The Green Dragon – Coventry


Fine Dining Chef of the Year Award:

Sam Barnett – The Loft, Coventry

Tobias Reutt – Earlsdon Supper Club, Coventry

Colm Jones – The Green Dragon, Coventry


Best Casual Dining Establishment Award:

Dough and Brew – Warwick

Metropolis Bar and Restaurant – Coventry

Sky Blue Tavern – Coventry


Best Casual Dining Chef Award:

Adam Cherrington – Head Honcho Hacienda, Leamington

Sophie Hyam – Culinary Bites, Coventry

Naldo Sheffield – Shefs Food Services, Coventry


International Taste Award Award:

The Cork and Tile – Stratford

Bib Noodle Bar – Coventry

El Greco -Stratford


Farm Shop of the year Award:

The Farm – Stratford

Farmers Fayre – Kenilworth

Hilltop Farm Shop -Leamington


Artisan Drink Producer Award:

St Maur – Alcester

Napton Cidery – Napton-on-the-Hill

Dhillons Brewery – Coventry

Brubl Brewery – Leamington


Artisan Food Producer Award:

Vittle and Smoke -Southam

Little Prince Cakery – Leamington

Prices Spices – Leamington

Bluebell Cottage – Stratford


Independent Food or Drink Retailer of the Year Award:

Lola Provisions – Leamington

Aubrey Allen – Leamington

Wicked Cookies – Coventry


The Best Cafe or Coffee Shop Award:

Forrest Coffee House – Kenilworth

Jacks Shack – Warwick

Esquires Coffee – Coventry

Bumbles Coffee House- Studley


The Best Pub or Bar Award:

Twisted barrel Brewery and Tap House – Coventry

The Coach House – Stratford

Dhillons Brewery – Coventry

The Star and Garter – Leamington


The Street Food Trader of the Year Award:

Boxx ‘n Bar – Coventry

Street Chef – Coventry and West Midlands

Feed Fried Chicken – Coventry


Employee of the Year Award:

Kay Dawson – The Farm Stratford

Katie Underhill – Dough and Brew, Warwick

Kevin Prior – Metropolis Bar and Restaurant, Coventry


Food Hero/Community Award:

Langar Aid Project – Coventry

Metropolis Bar and Restaurant – Coventry

The Pod Café – Coventry

Helping Hands – Leamington

Finham Park 2- Coventry

Social media votes for this category, sponsored by Visit Coventry, are still being counted.

Friends climb back in the pedalo for canal fundraiser

Friends climb back in the pedalo for canal fundraiser

PEDAL power will once again be driving two Warwickshire fundraisers who are preparing to travel ten miles along The Grand Union Canal – in a pedalo!

Friends Alex Pearson from Stratford and Emma Brayne from Warwick are preparing to navigate tunnels and locks as part of their intrepid challenge, in aid of local children’s charity Molly Ollys.

The pair, who will again be joined on their journey by Alex’s canine companions Archie and Chester, are hoping to beat last year’s total of £2,000, including match-funding by The Morrisons Foundation.

The fundraiser will take place on June 15th – a hugely significant date for the charity – the anniversary of eight-year-old Molly Ollerenshaw’s death. This year also marks the tenth anniversary of the charity.

The ladies, who have had the support of Leamington Boats and The Canal River Trust, will be pedalling between The View at Wootton Wawen and Hatton, where Molly’s family live. The end of the challenge will also be marked by a poignant release of 20 butterflies outside Hatton Café.

Molly Ollys, pedalo, Grand Union Canal, charity
Olly The Brave with Rachel Ollerenshaw, Emma Brayne, Alex Pearson, Adam Brayne and David Fletcher and dogs Archie and Chester

Alex, a community champion for Morrisons in Leamington, said: “At the store we really want to support our local charities and when I met Rachel it was emotional to hear Molly’s story. This is a great charity which supports so many children in both our community and around the country.

“Last year’s pedalo challenge was amazing. We just hope the weather is kind to us again this year! We’ll be trying to get in stretches and protein breaks along the way to help keep us going. Our main aim is to raise money and awareness for the charity but have some fun doing it. Last year we had a lot of laughs on the way.”

Collection tins will be in the store and there is the opportunity to find out more about the work of the charity on their stand throughout the week commencing June 20th.

Molly Ollys emotionally supports children between 0 and 18 who have life-threatening illnesses. It does that through its Olly The Brave therapeutic soft toy and award-winning books, as well as donating wishes to children who are facing unimaginable challenges.

Between 2017 and 2020, the charity funded Birmingham’s first paediatric palliative consultant as there was no such consultant for the region. That position has now become permanent and is currently funded through the NHS.

The charity works alongside the NHS to support projects within the hospitals and the community. One key project was the creation and refurbishment of Magnolia House at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. This is a safe and non-clinical space where medical teams and families can have important discussions.

Molly’s mum and the charity’s Founder Rachel Ollerenshaw, said: “This will be a bittersweet day for me as the 15th June is the date Molly passed away 11 years ago.

“Alex and Morrisons Leamington have been such great supporters of ours for the past couple of years and following the success of last year’s pedalo challenge, Alex was keen to offer her fundraising support again. She seems to enjoy putting herself through pain! We are cheering her and Emma on from the sidelines of the towpath.”

Molly Ollys, pedalo, Grand Union Canal, charity
Olly The Brave with David Fletcher, Adam Brayne, Alex Pearson, Rachel Ollerenshaw and Emma Brayne and dogs Archie and Chester

The girls will once again be supported by Alex’s friend David Fletcher and Emma’s husband Adam Brayne who will offer moral support and lock-keeping duties along the route – as well as raising money themselves. Donations for their sponsored 10-mile walk can be made here

Emma said: “Alex’s reputation for being so kind and generous precedes her and she has collaborated on a huge number of charitable events that I have ran. We have become somewhat of a double act!

“This year’s 10-mile course reflects the tenth anniversary of the charity. Half a kilometre of this epic journey involves travelling in complete darkness through Shrewley Tunnel which fills me with complete and utter dread, but I’m sure our strong will and determination will get us through to the light at the end of the tunnel!”

To support Alex and Emma, donations can be made here

Since Molly Ollys started more than £3 million has been raised to emotionally support children across the UK. Anyone wishing to donate can do here

Rotary Club invites applications for humanitarian travel scholarship

Rotary Club invites applications for humanitarian travel scholarship

AS part of its centenary celebrations this year, The Rotary Club of Rugby is offering residents the opportunity to apply for a travel scholarship worth up to £2,500.

The lucky recipient will be given the chance to embark on an international project that will also benefit their career path and in the areas of:

  • Peacebuilding and conflict prevention
  • Disease prevention and treatment
  • Water sanitation and hygiene
  • Maternal and child health
  • Basic education and literacy
  • Community economic development and
  • The Environment

The scholarship will cover all costs involved but the applicant’s employers are encouraged to assist with funding, especially if the project directly benefits their business in any way.

Rugby Club of Rotary, centenary,scholarship
The Rotary Club of Rugby, which this year marks its centenary, has been supporting the Bwengu Projects for six years, funding classroom repairs and school furniture as well many of the charity’s 64 toilet block refurbishment projects since 2006.

Applicants are invited to produce an outline of their plan before the interview and a detailed proposal before departure and are expected to make all arrangements for travel and accommodation etc. But the Rotary Club may be able to assist if there is a local Rotary Club in the area where the person will be engaged on the project.

Rotarian and Centenary Committee member Julian Hall, said: “We’ve only offered this opportunity once before when, for our 75th anniversary, two ladies were given a travel scholarship to Scandinavia to see how they dealt with and looked after children with disabilities. The time spent learning from each other was valuable to all involved and a report from the trip was sent on to Government and other interested bodies. The main beneficiaries were the children, both at home and abroad, who reaped the benefit of the knowledge exchange.

“We would hope that whatever project that was undertaken this time would have a similar lasting beneficial outcome, that would help people not just in the UK but in the country the selected person chose to work in.

“The scholarship would be a wonderful opportunity for someone to gain experience in their chosen field.”

Great Central Way, scholarship, Rotary Club of Rugby
Great Central Way completed

On return, the person will be expected to present the findings for the project to a meeting of the Rotary Club and other interested parties.

To apply this time, applicants must be studying at university, aged between 18 and 30 (on April 1st 2022) and a resident of Rugby – or have their home in Rugby.

A summary of their project, including who will benefit, how it will be carried out and which countries will be visited, should be sent, before the closing date of June 30th, to Julian Hall at: where further information is also available.

To mark their special anniversary, last month (April) Rugby Rotarians also celebrated the completion of their Great Central Way Centenary project.

The Club has been working in conjunction with Rugby Borough Council and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to upgrade the 1.2km section of the former railway line between Hillmorton Road and Abbey Street, a three-year project which last year received the Rotary Club of Great Britain and Ireland Environmental Award.

For further information about the Great Central Way project or any of the Rugby Rotary Clubs – Rotary Club of Rugby; Rotary Club of Rugby Dunsmore and Rotary Club of Rugby Saturday, visit here

Ringing in the Jubilee celebrations at Bell Court in Stratford

Ringing in the Jubilee celebrations at Bell Court in Stratford

Stratford-upon-Avon, Bell Court, Escape Arts, Orchestra of The Swan, Jubilee

ROYAL Jubilee fever will be taking over Bell Court in Stratford when it plays host to live music and events throughout the extended bank holiday weekend.

The leisure and retail space will showcase a range of live entertainment as well as family fun activities in collaboration with Orchestra of The Swan and Escape Arts.

It will all form part of four days of celebrations during Stratford’s Platinum Jubilee Festival, between June 2nd-5th, when the town is due to come alive with street parties, performers, picnic in the park and even live broadcasts from London.

One of the highlights of Bell Court’s jubilee calendar, on Friday (June 3rd) will be at The Escape Arts Youth & Community Studio, where, between 1.30 and 5pm, a free event will explore the music, pop culture and fashion during her Majesty’s reign through fun activities and displays.

Pride of place will be given to the unveiling of the magnificent ‘Jubilee Robe’, made by children from Stratford primary schools and local community groups, working alongside local textile artist Barbara Fidoe. The cloak has been handmade and incorporates elements from 1950s to present, using different techniques and materials.

Stratford-upon-Avon, Bell Court, Escape Arts, Orchestra of The Swan, Jubilee

And, in the first event of its kind, The Swan’s Jubilee Jukebox will allow the audience to have full control over the songs performed, with two song choices available from each decade of Her Majesty’s reign. The live performances take place at 2pm and 4pm and places can be reserved by heading to

The new arrangements, created by The Swan’s artistic director David Le Page, will include tunes from The Beatles and the Eurythmics, to Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol.

Youngsters will also be able to enjoy rides on the dodgems and get their faces painted between 10am and 4pm on all four days, with painting proceeds going to Escape Arts and Stratford Food Bank.

Rich Jones, Centre Manager, said: “Bell Court is buzzing with excitement for the coming Jubilee celebrations. It will be the place to be over the Jubilee weekend and we look forward to seeing everyone enjoying themselves and joining in with the festivities.

“We are so pleased with how Stratford-upon-Avon has come together to create what will be an amazing event to celebrate what Her Majesty has accomplished over the last seven decades! With so many great organisations and businesses working together, this can only be a great weekend for all!”

A Royal artisan market will also take place on Bridge Street, Bancroft Basin, Waterside, Wood Street and High Street.