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A Community Christmas Celebration

31/12/2020
Wrekin View Community Cafe in Wellington provided a delicious Christmas lunch to members of the local community on Tuesday 22nd December. The free food and drink was available to all ages and all circumstances, no referral or explanation required. Read on to find out more about the café and how to get involved in future events.
As the doors of Wrekin View Primary School close for school holidays, the school hall is transformed into a cosy café, decorated with lights, ornaments and for this holiday, a beautiful Christmas tree! On Tuesday 22nd December, Wrekin View Community Café hosted a Christmas lunch filled with crackers, presents and even a visit from Father Christmas himself! Young or old, people from across the county visited the café and enjoyed a free Christmas banquet.
Food included Roast Turkey with all the trimmings or a yummy Cheese Parcel as a vegetarian option. There was a variety of delicious desserts including Christmas pudding and chocolate cake and guests could also enjoy an alcoholic beverage! Local businesses donated ingredients and volunteers from the school, council and local community worked to cook and serve the food, creating a true restaurant atmosphere. This has been the second successful opening of the café, after their successful five day run during the October half term. The café has been promoted by Marcus Rashford, who has praised cafés, restaurants and communities across the country for supporting his campaign to end child food poverty.
Wrekin View Community Café is the second successful venture for the school to improve local community life, after it opened the Wrekin View Community Fridge back in March when the pandemic first hit. The Community Fridge is a food bank for individuals in the local community, with the motto ‘take what you want, give what you can’. No referral is required and anyone can take food from the fridge, which includes fresh fruit and veg along with cupboard items and tinned goods. Recently the Community Fridge expanded to include frozen goods, children’s clothing and books! The Community Fridge is located in the Children’s Centre of Wrekin View School on North Road and is open to donations from the public on weekdays.
Government guidelines permitting, the Wrekin View Community Café will be reopening for a few days during every school holiday, providing free hot food and drink to the local community, whilst the Community Fridge will be open throughout to support the community during this difficult time.
Ways to get involved...

1.

Take donations to the Community Fridge, tinned meat and toiletries are the most frequently used! If you would like to donate some food to the Fridge, it is open on weekdays at the Children’s Centre at Wrekin View Primary School on North Road, Wellington, TF1 3ES.

2.

Follow Wrekin View Primary School on Facebook to keep updated on future opening times for the Community Café, and make sure you book in early to avoid disappointment! Click here to visit Wrekin View's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Wrekin-View-Primary-School-Nursery-292564304273185/
Thank you to everyone who made this wonderful event a success, and good luck to everyone involved at Wrekin View for future events!
 
2020 by Lauren Steele

Processing video...

2020 - a poem by Lauren Steele

19/12/2020
2020
2020, the year of virtual reality.
A time when we questioned our own mortality;
This unknown illness sent us on a rollercoaster,
Fear of the unknown brought everybody closer.
Communities rallied together, clapping every Thursday night,
Delivering prescriptions, food shops, ensuring everyone’s alright.

We faced a new challenge every single morning
But we navigated the obstacles and looked to a new day dawning.
Zoom calls and face-times with family and friends,
We dreamed of the day we could hug them again.

And now that this year is almost through,
We look to the future, thinking of what we will do
When the time finally comes that this virus is forgotten,
We’ll remember the highs, the lows, even hitting rock bottom.

But most of all, what I’ll remember from this year,
Is the kindness, generosity and community cheer.
Lauren Steele

I hope you enjoyed this poem - it is the first one I have written! Feel free to share both the poem and the video (linked at the top) with family and friends. Amongst the darkness of 2020, generosity and kindness shone through and hopefully we can carry this community spirit through to 2021!
 

Shropshire's Donald Fear shares stories following his £1 million win!

12/12/2020
On Friday 11th September 2020, millions of people were glued to their screens as they watched Donald Fear correctly answer the 15th and final question on ITV’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. For Donald, this moment would change his life forever. Read on to find out more!
Donald Fear, from Telford, Shropshire, became the first person in 14 years to correctly answer the £1 million pound question on the ITV show and he now joins the ‘Hall of Quiz Show Fame’ as one of only 6 people to beat the show. Donald teaches History and Politics at Haberdasher’s Adams Grammar School in Newport and his fountain of knowledge was clear to all as he coasted through the 15 challenging questions. I was lucky enough to have a chat with Donald about his win: ‘Certainly life has been pretty amazing since my show was broadcast. I have been inundated in requests for interviews, and companies have even prepared me to allow my name/image to be used to endorse products, so clearly I’m reaching a new stage of superstardom!’
Donald will appear alongside his brother Davyth in an upcoming episode of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: The Million Pound Question’ where they will talk about their experiences on the show: ‘We were interviewed for it in August, at which point I’d forgotten some of the questions which were asked!’
Now that things are calming down a little more, Donald is looking to the future. So the big question is, what is he planning to do with the money? Whilst Donald has some ideas, he is looking forward to an early retirement later this month and he plans to focus on his family: ‘I’ve booked a viewing of a motorhome, two of my daughters are pregnant with my grandchildren, and my third daughter is in the throes of setting up a new company called Retro Party Hire. I’m looking forward to just upping sticks and sailing calmly off into the wide blue yonder to enjoy whatever time remains to me.’
For millions of people, Donald’s win was hugely exciting and uplifting to watch, bringing some positivity and joy during an extremely difficult time. His humble and sincere personality shone through, and his win hasn’t changed anything: ‘I’m very aware of how fortunate I am, and how much millions of my fellow countrymen are suffering. May I never lose sight of my good fortune and how blessed I’ve been.’
You can watch Donald and other previous winners in ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: The Million Pound Question’ on Sundays at 7pm (ITV1).
 

Shropshire mum and primary school teacher turned author - Gemma’s Story

05/12/20
Gemma Everson, from Shropshire, has always enjoyed telling stories to both her students and her children, however this passion became a necessity when family life took a challenging turn. Read more about Gemma’s journey to becoming an author below.
‘Supercharged Superhero’ is a children’s book about a little girl and her super energetic father whose battery suddenly can’t be recharged. Through beautiful rhymes, readers are taken along on the journey as the family learn to live with their superhero Dad’s condition. It is a moving and heartfelt story that explains Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) in a way that children can understand and digest without feeling scared or anxious about their loved ones. ME is a chronic neurological condition that can affect anyone of all ages. The cause of ME is still unknown, although there are several theories of how the condition could be triggered. ME causes extreme tiredness and physical fatigue which makes living with the illness a huge challenge. There is often a lot of stigma surrounding this illness, and many sufferers find it difficult to explain their disabling condition to friends, family, co-workers or employers. The ME Association is a charity designed to inform, support and campaign for people affected by ME. It provides a range of resources and has also supported Gemma’s wonderful book.
I was lucky enough to be able to ask Gemma a few questions about how she came to write ’Supercharged Superhero’:
Author Gemma Everson
Author Gemma Everson
Tom with daughter Georgia on Remembrance Day 2019
Tom with daughter Georgia on Remembrance Day 2019
LS: How did you become an author?
GE: I still find it strange to be called an author! I teach at a local, Telford primary school and also mum to two young girls. As a teacher and mum, I am very experienced in coming up with stories to explain real-life situations to young children so that they can understand them better. My family found ourselves in a really difficult situation around three years ago and I wrote the story to help my daughter, who was then 3 years old, make sense of it all.

LS: What inspired you to write Supercharged Superhero?
GE: In July 2017, my husband Tom, completed a Land's End to John O'Groats bike ride with the Royal Navy. The ride was almost 1000 miles and the team of 6 completed it in just 5 days - around 200 miles a day. He was an experienced cyclist who trained as best as he could for the challenge despite having a very new baby and a two year old at home. I tried to talk him out of it as the timing wasn't ideal but he had his heart set on completing the challenge.  When he returned he was understandably tired and fatigued but over the next few weeks and months, he progressively got worse until eventually he was pretty much bedbound. He spent most of his days either asleep or resting in bed but he never felt any more refreshed. In October, three months later, we realised something had gone very wrong. The Navy were fantastic and he was sent for many tests and appointments with specialists but none of them knew what was wrong. In the Spring 2018, he was told he was diagnosed with Myalgic encephalomyelitis.  
Our then 3 year old daughter, Georgia, particularly found it difficult to deal with the loss of her fun and energetic Superhero Daddy and could not understand why he was unable to do all of the things they had once enjoyed. Bike rides in the park, family swims and ‘rough and tumble’ were all suddenly a distant memory. After seven months, Gemma found that she could not keep telling her daughter that Daddy was poorly. Georgia knew that straightforward illness should not last this long and she started to grow anxious and confused, often suggesting ways to make Daddy better. It was heart-breaking. Georgia needed a new story and after struggling to find anything online that fit the bill, Supercharged Superhero was born! 

LS: What impact has the book had on your family?
GE: I wrote the story following a particularly emotional bedtime and I saw instantly how it eased her mind and calmed her thoughts. The next day she started talking about Daddy’s battery and it was then I realised how powerful the story was. I shared it with friends and family and realised that it actually spoke to a number of their personal situations - not just those with experience of M.E but other chronic illness, physical injury and mental health conditions. The story changed everything for us as a family and suddenly, although Tom was still struggling physically, Georgia was given the language and understanding to help her accept that things had changed and move forward with this new version of her Dad. Together, they learned to have fun together in different ways and slow down and appreciate the small things in life – which is never a bad thing!    

LS: What has the general response been to your book?
GE: It has been fantastic! The book came out at the very start of lockdown in March which actually worked well. I think the message of the book became very relevant very suddenly to everyone and the chronic illness community suddenly became very visible. It has been sent to so many countries - Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Spain, Italy, South Korea to name but a few! I have had so many messages and emails from people who have said how it has helped their children and families so much and that makes me feel so proud and happy. I never set out to be an author, i just wanted to help other people who were in the same situation as us so I am very pleased that it is doing just that!

LS: What kind of books are you planning on writing in the future?
GE: I have written several other stories which have all been used to help explain a situation or experience to my daughters. I would like to publish them at some point for sure. I am also working on another book which is about explaining ambulatory wheelchair use/physical aids to children. My children keep me very busy though so it is a slow process.
Thank you Gemma for sharing your story and for writing a beautiful story to help create an open conversation about ME.
If you would like to find out more about the book, please visit Gemma’s website: gemmaeverson.co.uk
You can purchase ’Supercharged Superhero’ on Amazon and Etsy by clicking the buttons below! You can also follow Gemma’s journey as an author by clicking on the social media icons.
For support and more information on ME, please visit the ME Association’s website: https://meassociation.org.uk/
 
 

Want to read more inspirational stories? Click here to find out what amazing things happened in previous months!