July's News 

Wrekin Road Runners Relay for Severn Hospice

Read about the Wrekin Road Runners' socially distanced relay which raised over £1,800 for Severn Hospice.
First formed in 1992, Wrekin Road Runners is a fun and friendly running club in Telford which welcomes runners of all abilities to join a group of encouraging friends. The club holds many events across the year and one of its largest is a race called ’The Wrekin Relay’ which began in 2014. Over the last 6 years the club has managed to raise over £6000 from the Wrekin Relay for charities including Shropshire Air Ambulance, Georgia Williams Trust and Stay Telford. This year, the club was hoping to raise money for Severn Hospice, however due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the race had to be cancelled.
The pandemic brought all running activities for the club to a halt and members struggled to find the motivation to keep running solo. Member Dan Lewis, however, came up with a way of keeping everyone connected despite having to stay apart. A club league was set up with weekly challenges which re-ignited the motivation of the club. From the success of this idea, fellow member Dan Thurston decided to get involved and organise more events, from a virtual relay to a Battle of the Sexes Elevation challenge: ‘I think it is fair to say it got a bit competitive with 100 runners involved and the equivalent of of 30 summits of Everest achieved!’
Spurred on by the success of these activities, Dan Thurston decided to create a Covid-safe continuous relay which would give the club the chance to raise money for Severn Hospice. Planning this event was a complex task as Dan had to ensure the event was complying with the current government guidelines whilst getting as many people involved as possible: ‘In the end I opted to go for a door to door relay, meaning that each runner would run their 1.5 mile leg to the home of the next runner and do a socially distanced hand over.’
At 6am on Saturday 11th July, the 2020 Wrekin Relay began. Over 50 runners from the club got involved with running a leg, promoting the event on social media and seeing their club friends from a distance: ‘there were photos, banter and updates all day, along with creative handovers involving cricket, party poppers and much more.’ The group set up a Just Giving page where people could (and still can!) donate to the Severn Hospice. In total, the Wrekin Road Runners raised just over £1,800 including Gift Aid for the charity, a huge sum of money. When asked about the event’s success, Dan replied, ‘it just goes to show what can be achieved when we all work together.’
A big thank you to the Wrekin Road Runners for your fundraising efforts and it definitely looked like you had plenty of fun on the day of the event! If you would like to join this wonderful running club, please go to www.wrekinroadrunners.net for more information.
Please click on the button below to donate to the Severn Hospice and to support the Wrekin Road Runners in this fantastic event.

For more information about Severn Hospice and the wonderful work they do, please go to https://www.severnhospice.org.uk/

Creating your own opportunities when you can't find any - The Grad Fringe Fest Success Story

Graduating in 2020 has been really difficult, especially with little to no opportunities to find work or start careers. Liam Gartland, founder of ‘The Grad Fringe Fest’, created a hugely successful hub for graduating theatre students to share their talents and collaborate on projects. Read on to find out more about this fantastic event and the success story that followed.
Liam Gartland is part of the graduating class of BA Musical Theatre at Guildford School of Acting. In June 2020 whilst reading an article about The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, he realised that there are no festivals that solely feature theatre graduates: ‘I wanted to create a fringe festival for graduates to showcase their skills, meet new grads and celebrate their 3 years of training.’ And so, The Grad Fringe Fest was born! There was only one catch… due to the coronavirus, the whole festival needed to happen online. To help him, Liam recruited Alice Croft, a graduate from Arts Educational School, to help him prepare and run the event. Despite never meeting before, the pair are now good friends who share the belief of creating your own opportunities when you can’t find any. This ideology encompassed the energy for the entire festival, which ran for two weeks featuring 10 play readings, 40 cabarets and 25 dance classes, all online events.
The Grad Fest created a platform for theatre graduates to transition into the theatre industry by offering opportunities to network with industry professionals. Every day, at least one professional with the theatre industry would participate in a question and answer session, allowing graduates to ask burning questions so they are ready to jump straight in once the theatre industry reopens. Not only was the festival a huge success in putting the spotlight on theatre graduates, it also managed to raise money for both BLMUK and Industry Minds through the Black Lives Matter Cabaret.
Now The Grad Fringe Festival 2020 is over, Liam and Alice have decided to continue this venture even further, rebranding to create ’The Grad Fest Ltd’. With lots of exciting opportunities in the pipeline, the pair are hoping to eventually recreate the Grad Fringe Fest in 2021! Before that, there are plenty of events to keep them busy, including a live socially distanced cabaret and online workshops for new musicals.
This inspiring story is a shining example of how to create hope when all seems lost. Like many other industries, there is no doubt that the theatre industry will struggle to survive in the coming months and years. But with initiatives like The Grad Fest Ltd, there is hope for light at the end of the tunnel.
If you would like to find out more about The Grad Fest Ltd, please go to their website by clicking the button below.

Telford and Wrekin Ladies Circle - raising money for Mind

The Telford and Wrekin Ladies Circle has been bringing joy to their local community through random acts of kindness, and has also been raising money for Telford Mind, a mental health charity. Read more about their story here.
Ladies Circle is a social group for women aged 18-45 who want to make new friends whilst giving back to good causes and trying new things. The Telford Ladies Circle has been around for 66 years and often works with other Ladies Circles, Round Tables (for men), and Tangle/Tangents (for 45+) nationwide on various projects. Each year, the Telford Ladies Circle chair chooses a Charity of the Year which then becomes their fundraising focus. This years’ chair, Nikki Prince, chose Telford Mind: ‘I have personal experience of friends and family suffering with mental health issues so it was a natural choice. I also felt that the current climate would mean there would be a greater need for these vital services during these uncertain times.’
Telford Mind is a mental health awareness charity affiliated with National Mind. They provide a wide range of services to ensure that no one in Telford and the surrounding area faces a mental health problem alone. Their services include a listening support line, drop-in listening support, calm cafe, workplace wellbeing support and much more. Telford Mind doesn't receive any funding from National Mind, so they rely on the support and generosity of local people to fund their activities. A guaranteed income can help them sustain a stable support service which is imperative to those with mental health conditions.
Normally, the Ladies Circle would fundraise through tombolas, quiz nights and attending fairs and fetes. Unfortunately, the current restrictions have made fundraising more challenging, but they have come up with alternative ways to raise money through virtual events. Nikki explained, ‘we have done 5km challenges, quizzes and held virtual nights such as Zumba where people donate to attend.’ So far they have managed to raise over £250, a fantastic sum, and their charity efforts aren’t stopping there - the ladies have been participating in random acts of kindness since May. Whether it’s supporting local businesses by buying prizes to give away, or leaving wish bracelets around Telford for people to find, Telford and Wrekin Ladies Circle have been doing a fantastic job at keeping people’s spirits up and raising money for charity at the same time! The random acts of kindness will be ongoing for the next 18 months so keep your eyes peeled!
A big thank you to the Telford and Wrekin Ladies Circle for all of your amazing work and good luck with future fundraising events! If you would like to contact the Ladies Circle or get involved, please email telfordwrekinladiescircle@gmail.com or go to their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/tawlc.
If you need support, contact Telford Mind on 07434869248, or email talk2@telford-mind.co.uk. You can also visit their website for more information: telford-mind.co.uk.

Michael Horton - walking 450 miles for the Severn Hospice

Inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore, read about Michael Horton, the man who walked up the Wrekin every day for 64 days to raise money for Severn Hospice.
Wrekin College in Wellington had decided to focus their fund-raising events on Severn Hospice this year, however their efforts were halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Soon to come to the end of his 16 years working as the Chaplain at Wrekin College, Michael Horton decided to mark his retirement with something special. Everyday from May 1st to July 3rd, Reverend Horton walked from his home to the top of the Wrekin and back, a round trip of 7 miles. Standing at 407m above the Shropshire Plain, the Wrekin is a huge landmark in Shropshire and is a hotspot for walks with a beautiful view. Inspired by the efforts of Captain Sir Tom Moore, the 64 day challenge marked every year of Michael's life so far (he is turning 64 in December).
In total, Reverend Horton walked around 450 miles, the equivalent of travelling from Wellington, Shropshire, all the way to Paris! This monumental achievement reflects the huge fundraising effort Michael has put in, raising just over £6000 + £1000 Gift Aid for Severn Hospice.
Since 1989, Severn Hospice has provided free care and support to more than 34,000 people with incurable illnesses. Being an independent charity, they have to raise around two thirds of their running costs themselves and rely on support from local communities to help them provide quality care. Reverend Horton has personal connections to this fantastic charity: ‘I would like to dedicate this effort to the memory of Robert Graham, my first friend at Wrekin, and to Joan Griffiths, who being a Nottingham lass always reminded me of my mother, both of whom in their final days greatly benefitted from the care offered by the Severn Hospice.’ This huge fundraising effort will go a long way to providing comfortable end of life care and support for families, especially at a time when underfunding in health sectors is a massive issue.
Well done Reverend Horton for this fantastic achievement and we hope you enjoy a happy, relaxing retirement.
If you would like to donate, click here for Michael’s Just Giving page.

If you would like to find out more about Severn Hospice and the wonderful work they do, please visit:

Stan and Krupke - the duo walking over 1 million steps for Diabetes UK

Lockdown in the UK has encouraged a sedentary lifestyle, but one member of our local community is changing that trend! Anthony Standley (known by everyone as Stan) has set a huge challenge for himself - to walk over 1 million steps during July, August and September. This physically demanding challenge is all in aid of Diabetes UK - read on to find out more.
Diabetes UK is an organisation set up to provide information and support about Diabetes. The charity relies on donations from the public to provide helplines, local support groups, an online learning zone and much more. In the last decade alone, Diabetes UK have invested over £66 million into diabetes research to help find a cure. Thanks to fundraisers like Stan, they are able to help thousands of people live well with diabetes.
As lockdown hit, Stan set a personal challenge to walk 1 million steps to keep himself fit. He managed this phenomenal feat in just 47 days, so decided to try and beat his target, this time raising money for Diabetes UK. Over the 92 days of the challenge, Stan hopes to reach 1.7 million steps which is approximately John O’Groats to Lands End, a huge distance - and his dog Krupke is with him every step of the way. If you fancy getting involved, Stan always appreciates some company: ‘It does get a bit lonely walking for 2-3 hours a day so if any one wishes to join me please get in touch.’
Now just 18 days into the 92 day challenge, Stan and Krupke have taken over 390,000 steps and have already raised £159 - a fantastic sum. If you have been inspired by Stan’s story, click on the ‘donate’ button to sponsor Stan and Krupke’s 1 million steps. If you would like to walk with Stan, you can contact him on the following email address: stan.telford@icloud.com.
Well done Stan and Krupke for your incredible effort so far, and good luck with the rest of the challenge!

Barney the Boa of Bratton - inspiring creativity in the local community

Nature + creativity = a beautiful way to remember these unprecedented times. In Bratton, a ‘snake’ of rocks has slowly been growing along the path of the Silkin Way. Read on to find out more!
As lockdown in the UK began, creative individuals instantly began to think of ways to cheer up the nation. After seeing reports of similar projects on the news, local resident Christine King was inspired to do something in her community. Christine said, ‘I started by painting some rocks and put a post on Facebook. After only a few days more appeared so I then painted the head of a snake and Barney the Boa of Bratton was born.’
This project has been something new for parents to do with their children as many families struggled with the new phenomenon of home-schooling. Decorating a rock allowed children to get outdoors to find a rock, use their creativity and imagination to decorate it, and then to feel part of a community as more rocks joined Christine’s on the Silkin Way. There are now over 230 rocks on the path and the challenge has been set to get it to 300. My mum and I had a lovely afternoon last week painting a selection of our own rocks, and I can say from experience that it was a therapeutic, fun and creative activity to get involved with!
Seeing so many people’s creations come together on a communal path has put a smile on people’s faces, especially when it has been so difficult to connect with other people at this difficult time. So what will happen to the rocks when all this is over? Christine has already thought about this: ‘I have asked our councillor if we can have the rocks set in concrete as a lasting memory of our community coming together.’
If you would like to be part of this wonderful project and join a future monument to remember this challenging year, then check in your local area to see if a rock snake has been started. If not, then start one yourself! If you live in and around the Bratton area, feel free to join the snake by the wheel on the Silkin Way and help Barney the Boa reach 300 rocks in length - your creation may also become part of history.
Thank you Christine for starting this fantastic project in our local community and let’s get Barney the Boa of Bratton to 300 rocks!

Grace Sheldon's Little Princess Hair Cut

Nine year old Grace Sheldon has made the big decision to cut off over 12 inches of her hair to donate to The Little Princess Trust, but her hard work doesn’t end there. Read on to find out how else she is helping to change lives and how you can get involved.
Established in 2006, The Little Princess Trust has provided over 8000 real hair wigs to children and young people under 24 who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment or other conditions. The charity also supports the development of less aggressive cancer treatments and has invested £5 million into researching the causes of paediatric cancer.
On Wednesday 15th July, Grace will cut off over 12 inches of her hair to send to the Little Princess Trust. Once it has arrived, her hair will be blended with others to create a unique wig for a child with hair loss. It costs around £550 to provide a wig for a child, and Little Princess Trust relies on the generosity of the public and enthusiastic fundraisers like Grace to keep their charity going. Grace is therefore aiming to raise £600 for the trust and is fundraising through a Just Giving page. So far, she has managed to raise just over £500, a huge figure, and that number is still rising.
If you can help Grace reach her target by donating any sum, large or small, please click the ‘donate’ button below to be directed to Grace’s fundraising page.
Well done Grace for this very big decision and we are looking forward to hearing how your hair cut goes!

To find out more information about the Little Princess Trust, please visit:

Drive-Thru Foodbank Donation Day Success Story

The Shawbirch, Admaston, Bratton and Wrockwardine Covid-19 Community Help Group have organised two successful Drive-Thru Donation Days, and they are about to run a third. Read on to find out more information and how you can get involved.
Foodbanks have been a huge source of help to families in need for many years now, but since the Covid-19 Pandemic, the numbers have sky-rocketed. Now, more than ever, food banks are integral to prevent hunger in communities across the UK. In Telford, a local community group have found their own way to help through organising a Covid-safe event.
On Saturday 23rd May, The Woolpack Pub car park in Shawbirch was temporarily transformed into a drive-thru Foodbank Donation Centre. From 10am-3pm, cars would drive in, volunteers would open the boots and donations were transferred to the waiting van. The event was a resounding success with around 7 van loads of food being donated to three food banks: Telford Foodbank at Sutton Hill, Dawley Foodbank at the Christian Centre and the Wrekin View Community Fridge in Wellington.
The popularity of the first event spurred on the group to organise a second Drive Thru on Saturday 20th June, with equally incredible results thanks to the generosity of the local community. Some people had travelled from different towns to donate, and one extremely kind individual made two separate visits in one day!
Since January, Telford Foodbank has seen a huge increase in referrals and by April they had provided over 13,300 meals to those in need. Dawley Foodbank is open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10:30am and 2:30pm to those in need, and The Wrekin View Community Fridge was set up as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, feeding up to 30 families.
Foodbanks across Telford and Wrekin have been instrumental during this challenging time and the demand is still increasing for more food. The headmaster of Wrekin View Primary School has encouraged the Community Group to organise a third Donation Day, this time at Charlton School in Wellington. This event is hoping to be the largest one yet, and the SBAW Community Group are encouraging people from across Shropshire to get involved and donate if they can. Whether it’s one can of beans, or a whole boot full of food, every donation is hugely appreciated.
The Drive-Thru will take place on Saturday 11th July, 10am-2pm at the Charlton School, Apley Avenue, Telford, TF1 3FA.