Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Calla Lily

Dead and crispy but still so pretty.

(I crumbled it to pieces after I'd taken this photo; sad but satisfying.)

(Kathryn Beadle © June 2011)

Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Women's Sport & Fitness Foundation team up with William Hill to highlight England's chances in the FIFA World Cup

Cold hard cash; potentially £73,000 of it. A fine way to encourage excitement and publicity for the upcoming FIFA 2011 World Cup in Germany.

The WSFF has teamed up with the UK's leading bookmaker to boost the profile of women's sport at a time when England's chances of winning are at its best yet. Currently installed as joint fifth faves at 16/1 after beating Sweden and the US in recent warm-up games, it would be a fantastic time to get the nation supporting our ladies.

William Hill has placed £5000 worth of bets on behalf of WSFF as follows;

1) £2000 on England to win the tournament (@16/1 = £32,000 profit)
2) £1000 on Kelly Smith to be tournament top scorer (@20/1 = £20,000 profit)
3) £1000 that England will not have any player sent off during the tournament (@even money = £1000 profit)

As well as much-needed publicity, the deal means that the WSFF are guaranteed to benefit by a minimum of £5000. All money received will be invested into the work that the charity does to help inspire and encourage women to play sport and increase participation nationwide.

"It couldn't come at a better time. with women's sport only accounting for 5% of sports media coverage and the number of women playing sport falling all the time. We know that seeing our sportswomen do well inspires women to participate so we wish Hope Powell's team the best of luck for the tournament - we're backing them all the way." - Sue Tibballs, Chief Executive of the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation.
5% sports coverage is quite useless. It's embarrassing that the percentage is still so low. Women of all ages need to see females playing sport through a multitude of medias as well as in the flesh. In reality, it's happening all the time and yet even major events are sometimes hidden behind the wall of taboo and stereotypes that the media are shy to break through.

However, FIFA are ensuring that this tournament is well and truly in the spotlight, stating that the television coverage will be unprecedented. For the first time, all games will be shot in high definition with up to 18 cameras for selected matches. With steadycams, spidercams, helicopter cameras as well as those placed in-goal, they're hoping broadcasters and fans get exactly what they deserve during this exciting time for women's football.

'The football on the pitch will be great, and we want to be sure the fans receive the best-quality images and presentation of the matches' - Niclas Ericson, Director of FIFA TV.
GOOD NEWS! Best of luck to the ladies - let's hope they can pull in some extra dollar for the WSFF and inspire all those watching...

No pressure!

Games of the English national team will be shown via the BBC red button and on the BBC Sport website, with the final being shown live on BBC3. It all kicks off on 26th June!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Canine Partners' Bluebell Walk

Bluebell Walks are organised every Spring to raise money for Canine Partners and this year was another huge success thanks to a healthy dose of sunshine. It took place at the stunning woodland estate in Langford, Maldon and nearly 200 people turned up to walk the 2 miles with their dogs of all shapes and sizes.

As well as the walk, there was a BBQ, raffle, kids' quiz and demonstration given by the working dogs who were incredibly impressive... and cute.

Unloading the washing machine, removing items of clothing and picking up items off the floor are all day-to-day tasks that the dogs carry out to aid their disabled owners.

A couple of new recruits also made an appearance and caused quite a stir wearing their tiny velcro jackets with pride! At only 8 weeks old they begin training up with their designated 'puppy parents' to prepare them for a Canine Partners career. The charity is determined to make life better for those with physical difficulties, most of whom are wheelchair users. They 'tailor-make' each dog for each individual to ensure a perfect match. Canine Partners tend to use breeds such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and cross-breeds with Poodles: the 'Labradoodle' and the scruffy 'Golden-Doodle'.

It was a really lovely day, and the volunteers weren't put off by the merchandise gazebo collapse or the promo helium balloons flying off into the distance hours before anyone arrived...

We managed to raise over £1500 - a great improvement on last year's total.

If you're interested in getting involved with Canine Partners, or even organising your own Bluebell walk for next year then fill out the Community Fundraising contact form.

If you'd like to find out more about applying for a Canine Partnership, all the information can be found online. Plus we're always looking for volunteers to help throughout the year. Visit to see what's going on in your area.

(All photos Kathryn Beadle © May 2011)