February 2020

Here are summaries and photographs of just a few of the activities that I have been involved with in February.

Visit to Men’s Good and New Clothes Sale

Tonight we went to Pillings Road for the first session of the Good and New Mens’Clothes Sale. There were multiple rails of clothes offering a variety of wear and some great bargains. The volunteers at For Rutland have worked so hard over the past 12 months in order to prepare the sale items – and all funds go towards the For Rutland Charity that funds Specilaist Advisers to support clients suffering with long-term health issues. More detaails here. Their major event , The Good and New Clothes Sale takes place 6th/7th March at Barnsdale Lodge Hotel – really worth supporting for the charity and for your wardrobe. 

Capture Rutland Photography competition Presentation evening

Winners from Capture Rutland with Jay Goldmark, Rob Persani (judge), Richard Adams (judge), High Sheriff of Rutland and Lucinda Foulkes -Arnold (Warning Zone) (Photo: Rutland & Stamford Mercury)

This evening the winning photographers and their families met at Goldmark Gallery, Uppingham, for the ‘Capture Rutland’ Presentation Evening. Twelve stunning photographs had been framed and hung on display in the gallery for all to admire. The images showcased many beautiful sights around Rutland including pictures across Rutland Water, wildlife, historic buildings and sailing & cycling. The photographers and their guests had time to look around this beautiful gallery at the start of the evening before the awards were presented. Rob Persani and Richard Adams had been the judges of the competitions throughout the year, which had proved quite a demanding task given the high quality and quantity of entrants to each of the three competitions. It was great to be able to personally congratulate each winner and to present them with a voucher and certificate. Jay Goldmark presented a cheque to Lucinda Foulkes-Arnold from the charity Warning Zone. Lucinda gave a brief talk about the activity of this great charity that helps to educate our youngtsres on safety and crime-reduction. Richard Adams (local photographer) also spoke about his experiences as a photographer and reminded us all ‘not to put our cameras/phones away’ in bad light or bad weather, as often great shots can be captured then. Many thanks to all who helped make this competition such a success for our young people : Goldmark Gallery, Uppingham (for sponsoring the prizes, the charitable donation and the presentation evening), Rob Persani and Richard Adams (for judging the competitions) and the young photographers for sharing their fabulous photograaphs. I hope that they continue to ‘Capture Rutland’.

Winners of age 11 and under : Archie Mahan, Charlie Frieland, Hugh Tervet Winners of age 12 – 18 : Freddie Lea, Ellen Wilson, Thomas Selby High Sheriff’s Specially Commended: Charlie Davies, Leo Breag, Erin Burditt, Jake Wilson, Elizabeth Wells. 

Visit to Dove Cottage, Ridlington

This morning I visited Dove Cottage day hospice in Ridlington, Rutland. This opened just  a few years ago following the success of the Dove Cottage in Stathern, Melton Mowbray which was founded in 1996. I met with Debs Turner, the administrator and Manager of the centre, who showed me around the facilities. The centre is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays for guests who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. It was a real pleasure to meet and chat with the guests – many of whom have been regular attendees over the years. It was also great to meet the volunteers who were either chating with their guests or cooking their delicious three course lunch. This midday meal is enjoyed by all, round a large table and forms a real focal point to the day. Additionally there are trained nurses and a therapist on site to support the guests. The premises are carefully maintained and offer great views across the valley. It  was clear that guests were enjoying a happy day and hopefully their carers were enjoying some well-earned respite.  Do make contact if you or a friend might benefit from days at Dove Cottage. They are also always looking for volunteers to come in on days to suit the volunteer, to chat with guests and/or help with some cooking.  Contact : rutland@dovecottage.org

Unveiling memorial bench

Today I met Marg, the sister of Dr Terry Whelan who had taught Chemistry at Rutland College from 1978 -1989. Sadly he died in 1989 and his family placed a memorial stone bench in the grounds of the then Rutland College. Since that time, the grounds have been sold to retail stores and the memorial bench ‘disappeared’. When Marg discovered this she made enquiries to the Town Council, who with great help from Cllr Adam Lowe, raised funds to purchase a new teak bench together with an engraved plaque. Today we unveiled this new bench in the  gardens of the Rutland Community Hub, which was once Rutland College. It was a real privilgege to meet Marg and her husbaand David who had travelled  from York, together with around ten of Terry’s teaching colleagues. Marg shared some interesting memorabilia with us, including a beautiful family photograph of Marg, her brother Terry, their seven siblings and their parents. It was very special to be able to replace this special memorial to Terry with members of his family. 

Ride and Stride Presentations

This afternon we attended the Ride and Stride awards ceremony at Barnsdale Lodge Hotel. The President (Sir Laurence Howard) and the Chairman (Mr Peter Lawson) of the Rutland Historic Preservation Trust presented the certificates. It was a delightful gathering and a real pleasure to meet some of the riders and striders who helped to raise over £20,000 for this very worthy cause. It was great to see Paul Hitchcox (aged 11)  receive a certificate to celebrate his fund raising of over £200 and to see Tom Case receive the Davenport -Handley cup for cycling to the most churches (52) on that glorious sunny day in September. Well done to all participants and all certificate recipients. Let’s hope that we can raise even more funds in September 2021 when Rutland Ride & Stride next takes place….plenty time to get training!

Leicester University Court meeting 

Today I attended the annual meeting of the University Court at Leicester University. It was interesting to learn a little about the financial accounts of the University but even more interesting to hear from the new Vice- Chancellor of the University, Professor Nishan Canagarajah. He shared his own background and then his thoughts and aspirations on how the University can shape its second century through the development of a new strategic vision. He reminded us that Leicester University can be celebrated as a research intensive University in one of the most diverse cities in the UK. He aspires for it to be known for “Citizens of Change” but reminds us that there are three ‘unchangeables’: it will remain research intensive, it will be comprehensive (ie embrace all disciplines) and  it will make a tangible contribution to Leicester. At the end of the formal proceedings, a painted portrait of Dr Bridget Towle CBE was unveiled to celebrate the many years that she was closely involved with the governance of the University. Lunch afterwards, provided a great opportunity to chat with others in the Council meeting.

Supper with VC at  Loughborough University

This evening we enjoyed an informal and friendly supper with the Vice-Chancellor of Loughbourough University (Professor Robert Allison)  at his home, together with  a few friends and colleagues. We were joined by Callum, an undergraduate who is standing for Union President this year. He was an impressive individual who showcased all the enthusiasm and positivity that you would hope for in a young person. I also enjoyed meeting Ann Greenwood, who is Pro Chancellor of the University. She enthused about the University and its high rankings in a number of the national listings, in particular that for ‘student satisfaction and employablity’. It was interesting to learn more about the Loughborough campus site in the Olympic park, London, that runs post-graduate courses for about1000 students. 

Little Angels nursery and Pre-school

This afternoon I visited the Little Angels nursery and pre-school in Uppingham. This nursery provides flexible day care for young people aged from 6 weeks. The team of happy staff work together to ensure that the young enjoy a variety of play activities within their spacious rooms, as well as visits out to local attractions such as the park and theatre. Great to talk with the proprieter Lucy Lewin and congratulate her on being a winner at the National Nursery Awards in Leicester last month. Little Angels offers a great service to working parents in Uppingham. Well done to the dedicated hard-working staff, so ably and enthusiastically led by Lucy.

Leighfield School  Quiet room opening

It was a pleasure to visit Leighfield primary school in Uppingham and to meet the Head teacher, (Mrs Eaton), the ELSA trained Teaching Assistant (Mrs Piggott) and four Resilient Ambassadors (year 6). We met in their recently refurbished Quiet Room, that had received some funding from Resilient Rutland and Rotary Uppingham. It is a calm and thoughtfully decorated room, that provides a place for quiet discussion or one to one chats when needed. The young ambassadors were clear and enthusiastic about their role within the school community and knew how to access adult support as and when needed. We also visited the recently refurbished library which looks very well-stocked and has certainly attracted more readers in the school.  A real treat to see this positive progress within our primary schools. 

Visit to For Rutland Clothes sale sorting

This morning I met the volunteers at For Rutland’s ‘clothes sorting’ premises in Pillings Road, Oakham.  Thousands of donated items of clothing are being sorted, cleaned, repaired, ironed and labelled ready for the sales at the end February and first weekeend in March. Great to see this huge team of volunteers working together for such a great cause. Funds raised by this Good and New Sale (that has been happening for over ten years) goes to finance two Specialist Advisers at CAB to provide non medical advice  to people of all ages living with long term health conditions in Rutland and the surrounding community. Energy levels are maintained by taking a well-earned break for coffee and home-made cake – seems I timed my visit perfectly! This organisation raises substantial funds that support many in our county and additionally provides a social forum for the volunteers. Well done to all working so hard for the coming sale.

2nd Cottesmore Brownies and 1st Cottesmore Rainbows

This afternoon I visited the 2nd Cottesmore Brownies and 1st Cottesmore Rainbows at one of their weekly meetings at Cottesmore Village Hall, led by Sam Hawes. It was a real pleasure to see the enthusiasm and interest that these young people showed during their activities. The Rainbows were focusing on ‘danger and safety’ – learning how to manage these with real -life  examples. The Brownies were learning some practical skills and knowledge, including looking under a car bonnet and learning how to use a hammer, screwdriver , spirit level etc.. Hitting a nail into an apple seems to practice this rather well ! Congratulations to all the young people who were focused and engaged in all their activities. Well done to the amazing volunteers who give their time and energy to running these seesions, which are so valuable for our young people. 

Arts for Rutland Youth Prizegiving

Tonight, some of the young artists in Rutland gathered for the Prizegiving evening for the art competition run by Arts for Rutland. The quality of the art work was impressive – from scenic paintings and  portraits to embroidered pictures and photography. The artists and their guests enjoyed a look around the exhibition before the prizes were presented by Joy Everett and the Lord Lieutenant of Rutland. Well done to all the artists and those who organised the event.

Men in Sheds

This morning I visited Men in Sheds which has recently moved within the Oakham enterprise site to some new premises. This is a great group that allows men to meet together, to chat and to create wooden items in their workshop. This formula of being able to ‘socilaise and create’, has proved so popular that they have opened it up to women on a Thursday. It was great to see and hear the enthusiasm from all there – some learning how to use the equipment, some teaching , and all enjoying good company. This organisation is part of Age UK and led in Oakham by Brian Lee. Thank you for being so welcoming to me and many thanks for the lovely bird box that I was given.

Talk on High Sheriff role to Good Companions, North Luffenham

Good Companions is a group that meets monthly in North Luffenham, providing great social opportunities for all its members.  They often invite speakers to their meetings and  arrange trips to places of  interest. This afternnon about 20 members gathered to hear my illustrated talk on the role of High Sheriff. I talked about the history of the role as well as the activities that I have been involved with during my shrieval year. Thank you for inviting me and for the delicious tea and cake afterwards.

High Sheriff evening at Westminster Abbey

This evening the High Sheriff Association organised a gathering of past, present and future High Sheriffs. We met at Westmister Abbey and joined their beautiful evensong service at 5 pm., which was a sung service with the superb Choir of Wesminster Abbey. Afterwards we were treated to a tour of the new Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries in the wonderful 13th century triforium. The gallery is accessed via the newly built Weston tower, and displays treasures and tells stories from the last 1000 years. It is 16 metres above the floor of the Abbey and thus gives great views into the Abbey, as well as over to the Houses of Parliament. The evening was completed with drinks in the nave and the chance to catch up with other High Sheriffs.