nene local | helen dawson


Archive for: October 2013

Northants toddlers support Children In Need by visiting the Toy Hospital

Toddlers across Northants will be supporting Children in Need this year by taking their teddies and dolls to the ‘Toy Hospital’, in a series of special music and sensory sessions taking place across the county.

The sessions, run by Hartbeeps, a nationwide provider of baby and pre-school play and music classes, is holding a week of special Toy Hospital productions in support of Children in Need. Under-fives will be treating poorly toy patients including teddies who’ve bounced too much, Miss Polly’s sick dolly, and monkeys that have fallen off the bed.

Hartbeeps Northamptonshire will be donating 40% of all profits from Toy Hospital to Children In Need.

Plus, the toddlers, as well as their parents, will be doing it all in their pyjamas, a Children in Need tradition that has become synonymous with the iconic fundraising event.

 ‘Toy Hospital’ sessions will be being held during the week of 11th November; sessions are held on Wednesday mornings at Masonic Hall, Rushden, Thursdays at St Lukes Community Centre, Duston and Friday mornings at Telford Lodge in Kettering. The 45-minute classes include plenty of dramatic play with props, as well as dressing up – all to the backdrop of familiar and contemporary big fun music.

To book, and have fun whilst supporting Children in Need, contact Amy George on 07775 877093, or by email As well as collecting donations from all those who attend, Hartbeeps Northamptonshire will also be donating 40% of its profits that week to Children in Need.


Amy George

07775 877093

Oundle Mill wins Northamptonshire Restaurant of the Year 2013/2014 title

Oundle Mill wins Restaurant of the Year award in the prestigious Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2013/2014 and becomes the only restaurant to win the title twice. What was already a very successful awards evening for Oundle Mill was then improved further when Head Chef, Gavin Austin, was announced runner up in the Aspire Chef of the Year 2013/2014 competition.

The Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards are aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work hard within the culinary sector.


This year the Restaurant of the Year winner  was selected after inspecting more restaurants in the county than ever before, and only after thorough evaluation of the menus and wine list which was followed by a  ‘mystery shopper’ and finally two independent food expert visits.

Oundle Mill’s Restaurant and Hotel Manager Paul Richardson was delighted to win the top award and has said: “It was a great feeling to win this award for the second time against such tough competition and especially after trying to build the business back up following the floods last year. The award goes to the whole team as only their hard work and passion for what they do made this possible.

Head Chef, Gavin Austin, becomes runner-up in the Aspire Chef of the Year competition where five finalists were set a ‘Ready Steady Cook’ style challenge, each being provided with a selection of store cupboard products as well as some key Northamptonshire ingredients and tasked to prepare a two course meal in only two hours.

After the competition Oundle Mill’s Head Chef, Gavin has said: “It was an amazing but very challenging experience to compete against the top chefs in the area. I was proud to prepare two dishes that represent the style of food we serve in the restaurant at Oundle Mill using the best ingredients available in Northamptonshire.”

Oundle Mill has something for everyone from the daily set menu, the a la carte, Sunday lunch, afternoon tea as well as 5 course Taster menu priced at £38.50 per person.  This is also being followed up with a selected lunch and dinner festive menu throughout December.


Oundle Mill is one of a select group of restaurants and hotels owned and managed by Agellus Hotels.  

Bakers rise to the challenge in celebration of Wellingborough

More than 30 bakers from the Wellingborough area rose to the occasion with a display of magnificent cake creations during the town’s version of The Great British Bake Off.

 The winners and judges from The Great Wellingborough Bake Off

The Great Wellingborough Bake Off, staged in a marquee in the town’s Gloucester Place on Saturday, October 26, was a demonstration of high-class baking and a celebration of Wellingborough.


The contest was organised by the town’s Business Improvement District (BID) to encourage more people into the town centre, while also raising £237 for Wellingborough-based charity Niamh’s Next Step.


John Cable, manager of the Wellingborough BID, which stages events to promote the town centre, said: “The bake off captured people’s imagination because it was a celebration of a great British tradition.


“There was a real buzz in the town centre on Saturday, a genuine interest from the public and a sense of businesses working together.”


Judges, including Deborah Manger, a contestant in this year’s Great British Bake Off, faced a tough but tasty challenge adjudicating the 34 entries in the three categories.


Mrs Manger, who works at the town’s Isebrook Hospital, said: “The standard was high particularly amongst the children. Everyone should bake so that you know what’s in your cakes.”


Wellingborough mayor Graham Lawman, who presented the winners with their prizes, said: “I would like to praise the quality and the variety. It brought people into the town centre and supported independent shops.”


Bozena Maczka scooped first prize in the sponge cake category with a toffee cake topped with stunning cream roses, while Salli Scudamore won the cupcake category with her immaculate creations and nine-year-old Jessica Evans’s multi-coloured sponge made her the champion of the under 14s section.


Jessica, from Wilby Way, Wellingborough, said: “I really only started baking earlier this year – I like creating things.”


Fellow champ Salli, 48, from Little Harrowden, added: “I was thrilled. It was a real community event.”


The prizes included £100 vouchers to spend at town centre businesses Rowlatts and SweetBitz and tea for two at Ria’s Rosy Lee Tea Room. A £20 voucher for Captain Neil’s Toy Chest was presented to the winner of the under 14s.


The cakes were sold off for Niamh’s Next Step. Chris Curry, founder and chairman of the charity set up to fight children’s cancer neuroblastoma in memory of his daughter, said: “It was fantastic that the Wellingborough BID chose to support us with an event which is really represents Great Britain at the moment.”




We are winning the battle but the fight goes on. That’s the message from the latest figures showing breast cancer survival rates.
The latest figures from Breast Cancer Care show that more than eight out of 10 (82%) of sufferers survive breast cancer beyond five years, more than three quarters survive it beyond 10 years and almost two out of three survive it beyond 20 years!

But with the good news comes a warning – keep on checking, as early detection is still crucial to survival rates.

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Mr Jonathan Dawson, who holds regular clinics at BMI Three Shires Hospital in Northampton, said: “There have been major breakthroughs in treatments over the last ten years but regular‘self checks’ are still the most important weapon in the fight against the illness.”

His views are supported by breast cancer sufferer Charlotte Fairhead. She said: I’m ashamed to say that I hadn’t been performing regular checks. I didn’t have a family history of breast cancer and so thought this didn’t apply to me.



“One day I noticed that my bra wasn’t fitting comfortably but I just thought that I had put on weight, it didn’t even occur to me that there could have been anything wrong so I ignored it.”
Thirty-eight-year-old Charlotte, of Mawsley, Northants, added: “When I started to get some pain in my right breast it made me carry out a check which led me to finding the lump.
“I have learned some valuable lessons and just urge women not to make the same mistake. Don’t think it won’t happen to you! No matter what your age or family history, regular self-checks are vital and if you do find a lump or anything you are not sure about – no matter how trivial – don’t wait, get to your doctors immediately.
“Cancer doesn’t wait for you to make up your mind!”
Mr Dawson added: “There is no right or wrong way to check your breasts but it is important to know your body so you can then recognise any subtle changes,” he said.

“Current guidelines state that you do not need to perform self-breast examinations at any set interval or in any prescribed manner as long as you do it regularly and thoroughly.

“You should know the signs of the breast cancer and know what is normal for your body. It is important to remember to check your breasts and your armpits regularly and see your GP if you are worried.”

“The most important thing is not to be complacent. It is vitally important to remember that regardless of family history or genetic predisposition, everyone should be breast aware. It really is the most effective way of saving lives!”

Getting fit the Nordic way

Staff at BMI Three Shires Hospital joined forces with Sport Northamptonshire in a move to improve their health

“>They were introduced to the health values of Nordic Walking by Sport Northamptonshire’s Physical Activity Co-ordinator Sarah McVeigh.


And after being shown how to use the walking poles the group could be seen trekking around the hospital’s expansive grounds.

Shirley Adams, PA to Three Shires Executive Director Dominic Bath, helped organise the event and even persuaded Dominic to take part.

She said: A friend introduced me to Nordic walking and I really enjoyed it – you can take things at your own speed and do as much or as little as you want.

“When we were looking to get people at BMI Three Shires involved in The Big Health Pledge – presently being run throughout the company – I thought this would be perfect. Everyone really enjoyed their taster session and I’m sure many will carry on with it as part of their Pledge.”

Northamptonshire Sport co-ordinator Sarah added that, because you are using your arms as well as your legs, Nordic Walking burns up to 40% more calories than normal walking.


“Northamptonshire Sport has been promoting Nordic walking for some time now and we have been delighted to see how well received it has been throughout the county.

“The Big Health Pledge is a great idea open to people of all ages and fitness levels so Nordic walking fits into its ‘Move More’ section perfectly.”

As for Executive Director Dominic, he’s a keen skier who is used to having poles in his hands although he admits it is the first time he has used them to help him round the hospital grounds!

“The Big Health Pledge has really caught people’s imagination at the Three Shires so this was just one way to get even more people involved,” he said.

For further details of the Big Health Pledge visit:

And follow a local Nordic Walking group such as

Dog poo plan to shame irresponsible dog owners

Bright coloured dog poo is hoped to stop irresponsible dog owners in their tracks

The Wildlife Trust has been spray-painting dog mess bright colours at Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows nature reserve in an effort to shock irresponsible owners into changing their bad habits.

The move follows from a similar campaign carried out at Totternhoe Quarry nature reserve in Bedfordshire earlier in the year which helped to reduce dog mess at the site by 90%.

Officers and volunteers have been patrolling the reserve and using brightly coloured spray-paint to blast any offending discoveries. They have also be talking to visitors and putting posters up to inform people about the campaign, encouraging dog owners to ‘bag it and bin it’.

It is hoped that the scheme will highlight the scale of dog fouling at this popular site for dog walking and embarrass the owners into clearing up after their pets.

Louise Tuffin, Nene Valley Education and Community Manager at the Wildlife Trust, said: “Dog fouling is one of the biggest complaints we receive from visitors. It’s extremely unpleasant when it is left lying around and has potential health risks.

“This spray-paint makes this mess really obvious so the owners get the message that it is disgusting wherever it is left, and that we think they should be picking it up.”

For more information about Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows nature reserve visit or contact the Wildlife Trust on 01604 405285.

Behavioural Support Group opens in Northants


Come up with an idea to revive Northamptonshire’s High Streets

An East Midlands retail expert is calling on people, councils and businesses from the Northamptonshire to come up with ideas to revitalise the High Street to win £150,000 for their town.

Corin Birchall, who runs Lutterworth-based Kerching Retail, is urging entries into the Revive & Thrive Challenge, a national competition which aims to breathe new life into Britain’s under-pressure town and city centres.

Mr Birchall is a member of the partnership behind the initiative and is offering £22,000 worth of his consultancy services as part of the prize for the competition, which opened on October 1st.

The winner will get a package of prizes worth up to £150,000 and support from the contest organisers to put the idea into practice.

He said: “This is about reviving town and cities by connecting the communities with the business, typically shops and restaurants.

“This is about people taking the destiny of their town or city centre into their own hands and coming up with a sustainable idea to ensure the High Street remains a continued part of our tradition. We cannot rely exclusively on government coffers or local authorities to make change happen.”

The challenge is open to any UK councils, business improvements, communities, individuals and small-to-medium-sized companies.

Mr Birchall added: “The Revive & Thrive Challenge partnership came together because we believed it was time to do something about the state of the High Street and put our expertise, products and time on the table to demonstrate a solution.


“I believed so strongly in the idea that I have committed prizes in excess of £22,000, which is huge for Kerching.”

Mr Birchall, who has worked in specialist retail his whole career, also runs the High Street Expert website ( where he is leading a campaign to save the British High Street.

The closing date for submissions is January 31st, 2014. To enter, visit:


A private hospital in Northampton is supporting a national campaign to raise awareness of the UK’s top five preventable killers.

BMI Three Shires Hospital in Northampton is encouraging people to make an online pledge to help improve their health.

The Big Health Pledge is a nationwide campaign encouraging people across the country to look at their lifestyle choices, good and bad, and take a simple health pledge to allow them to see a change in their health.

Earlier this year it was revealed that the UK has slipped down the European health league on many indicators for ill-health. The Big Health Pledge is focused on the UK’s top five causes of preventable deaths – heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung disease and liver disease.

Each account for more than 150,000 deaths among under-75s in England and the Department of Health estimates that 30,000 of these are entirely avoidable .

In area covered by Northamptonshire County Council between 2009 -2011 there were 272 premature deaths, ranking it 72 out of 150 local authorities in England. Wokingham in Berkshire is number one with fewest premature deaths (200) while Manchester is at 150 with 455.

Supporting the Big Health Pledge campaign, consultants, nurses and the team at BMI Three Shires are encouraging people in the region to go online and complete a health survey to identify what health pledge they could make to see long term benefits to their health.

The campaign’s five pledges are:
• Improve Diet
• Move More
• Quit Smoking
• Drink Less Alcohol
• Be Health Aware

The intention for each pledge is to give people easy to follow, manageable steps that will help them on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

Dominic Bath, Executive Director at the hospital said: “All too often we can forget the simple advice given to us that can help benefit our lives.

Dominic Bath

“But the Big Health Pledge will hopefully get people thinking about how they could eat healthier, be more active, quit smoking, drink less alcohol and be more health aware – all steps to a healthier, happier life.”

For more information visit: