Sunday, 30 November 2014

Dickens of a Christmas- 1 week today!

One of the events which the town of Olney is most famous for is here again! Dickens of a Christmas is an annual event where a taste of Victorian England comes to Olney. Thousands of people come to the event each year, to enjoy a festive day in Olney with something for all the family.

This year's Dickens of a Christmas takes place next Sunday, the 7th December, from 10am-4pm.

There'll be the traditional market on the Market Place, and a Farmers market at Yardley Road. As always, there will be a number of craft fayres, at the Bull Inn, Carlton House Club, Olney Centre and Church Hall.

People will be dressed in outfits from the period, to really make you feel like you've been transported back in time. There will be a variety of entertainment throughout the day, from the brass band, choirs, Punch and Judy at the museum and more.

Santa's grotto is another main attraction of the day, as well as a traditional fair in Silver End. The reindeers will be back at fountain court following their appearance last year, where you can stroke and even feed them.

Parking will be available at Emberton park with a park and ride bus to take you to the main event.

Dickens of a Christmas is a great day out, and is a great opportunity to do a bit of Christmas shopping from the stalls of unique merchandise as well as support a number of local charities. Come and experience Victorian England at Christmas!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Think Local: Small Business Saturday - 6th December

You'll have heard of the American phenomenon 'Black Friday' which has become more prominent in the UK over the last couple of years, and maybe even 'Cyber Monday', but have you heard of 'Small Business Saturday'? Held on the first Saturday following Thanksgiving in America, Small Business Saturday aims to support, inspire and promote small businesses, not just on the day but beyond.

The initiative started in America in 2010, and has since then generated a great amount of custom for small businesses, and now it's come to the UK on the 6th December, to hopefully do the same for shops and small businesses here. Small businesses in the UK provide almost two thirds of the private sector employment and almost half of public sector turnover. From this it is clear that they are a great asset to the community and economy as a whole, and therefore it is important to ensure that small business owners are supported, and that shoppers are encouraged to visit such shops.

This year, Small Business Saturday will be held on the 6th December, one of the UK's busiest shopping days. A grass-roots, non-commercial, and non-political campaign, Small Business Saturday aims to encourage consumers to shop locally and therefore support small businesses in their communities while finding some unique Christmas gifts.

Supporters of Small Business Saturday range from Amex to David Cameron, o2 to Ingenious Britain, the small business champions, all encouraging shoppers to give small businesses a chance. We at the Phonebox know the importance of supporting local businesses, and know that for many people, once they've tried shopping locally they often stick to it. Small businesses play a key role in keeping the charm and personality of many villages, towns and cites, as well as helping build a sense of community.

There are a large number of local and small businesses in our area which would benefit from us all taking the 6th December as an opportunity to shop locally. In Olney, Newport Pagnell and the surrounding areas, there are many businesses which provide great quality products. Why not make a day of it on the 6th and enjoy some scenic, small business shopping? We'll be looking more at Small Business Saturday later in the week, and how you can get the most out of the small businesses near you this Christmas-time.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Newport Pagnell Lights Switch on- Tomorrow!

The Christmas festivities are getting into full swing this weekend with the Newport Pagnell lights switch on day. As you'll know if you've been before, it's far more than just the lights being switched on, it's a full day of stalls and various entertainment, ending with the lights switch on at 5pm.

The day begins bright and early for all those involved with the stalls being set up at 9am, opening at 10am. There will be a variety of stalls hosting various products, from crafts to foods, to other stalls giving things away and promoting their business or cause. The High Street is set to be buzzing, and we've got a few specific things going on to wet your appetite for the days events...

Visit Santa: The United Reformed Church will be hosting Santa's grotto from 1-5pm, and it costs £3 to visit Santa (gift included). They will also be holding other activities, including bauble decorating, Christmas card making and reindeer food making.

The Parish Church will be hosting their Christmas fair from 10am, with a selection of stalls selling gifts, books, crafts, Christmas cards, hats, scarves and much more. There will also be a raffle, tombola and refreshments served all day. There will be carol singing for all once the lights have been turned on.

Newport Pagnell Baptist Church will have a 'Get in the Picture' stall, where you can come and have your photo taken as part of the Christmas story, either by putting your head in the picture frame or by dressing up as a character from the nativity. You can then download your pictures for free from the website over the following week.

The Methodist Church are asking for volunteers to come and help decorate their three Christmas trees, with your own dedication or wish. Stop by between 2-6pm, tea and coffee will be available.

Brooklands Centre will also be holding their Christmas fair on the day, from 10am-4pm with stalls, hot dogs, chutney tasting, tombola and more. The Historical Society will also have a stall, as well as the Newport Pagnell Town Council, who will be serving mulled wine and Christmas games.

There will be a variety of live entertainment from 1pm, including performances from Diamonds theatre school, singing and more. There will be carol singing around the Christmas tree with Olney brass band at 4pm followed by a parade to the Swan revived hotel at 4.45pm, and then the lights will be switched on. Come along for some great Christmas festivities!

Please note- the High Street will be closed  to traffic for the Christmas Lights Event from 8am-7pm. From the Union Street to Ousebank Street junctions. 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Emmaus Village Christmas Craft Fair- Saturday 29th November

There seems to be Christmas events, fairs and shopping nights coming out of our ears at the moment, but the more the merrier, so we've got another to share with you today.

Emmaus Village Carlton is a homelessness charity which offers active support to formerly homeless people. They provide a workable alternative to homelessness, where people are offered a home as well as meaningful work in a social enterprise with Emmaus.

The community has a furniture shop, bric-a-brac store, boutique and a bistro, which offers homemade meals, cakes and snacks, and it's a great place to find some unusual and quirky items as well as enjoying a bite to eat.

This Saturday they are holding a Christmas craft fair, with a variety of stalls selling quality, hand-produced gifts. Get in the mood for Christmas (if you haven't already!) with Christmas themed activities for the kids, including a lucky dip and raffle. Delicious seasonal refreshments including mince pies will be available in the Bistro. Proceeds from the raffle will be going to the Kings Arms Nightshelter project.

For more information and directions, visit the Facebook event page.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Are you a horse owner?

If you own, ride or work with horses, you may well be aware of the life-threatening condition, Atypical Myopathy (AM). With the wet and windy weather this season brings, the chance of outbreaks of this condition is heightened. Atypical Myopathy is caused by a toxin (Hypoglycin A) which is found in sycamore seeds, and has a high mortality rate of 75-90%. Wind and rain mean that these seeds can travel far distances, and put even horses who don't graze particularly near sycamore trees at risk. A message is being sent out to all horse owners to ask them to check their fields for sycamore seeds, even if there are no sycamore trees within the field. If any are found in fields with horses in, they need to be moved immediately and then the seeds cleared.

Symptoms of AM include: sudden stiffness, muscle tremors, collapse, colic-like symptoms, low temperature, increased heart rate and dark urine. For more information, click here to read the british Horse Society's advice leaflet.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Walk to raise money for Ebola crisis

Tomorrow, a small group will be walking 80 miles from St Peter and Paul's church in Olney to Big Ben in London, within a weekend, to raise funds for the Olney-Newton link.

As you may have seen in this month's issue of the Phonebox magazine, we shared the news that Ebola had reached Newton, and consequently they are needing our help more than ever. £500 has already been sent from the Olney-Newton link, and more is sure to be needed soon.

The situation in Africa following the outbreak of Ebola is consequently worse than ever, and so the Olney-Newton link is needing more support. There are now at least sixty families in the link community who are quarantined for Ebola. This means they can't earn money, buy food, or even harvest their own food.

Please get involved and donate to help this great cause by sponsoring this 80 mile walk. They are asking that if you would like to donate towards the cause, that you give via their Virgin Money Giving page by clicking here. Alternatively, you can write a cheque made payable to Olney Newton Link.

Any support you are able to give will be greatly appreciated, thank you.

Friday, 21 November 2014

GP surgery ratings- How does your surgery compare?

Recent findings have been published online regarding the rating of GP surgeries. Nationwide rankings have been collected and compared, allowing patients to see how their surgery compares to others in the area. We decided to have a look at how some of the GP surgeries in the Olney area had rated...

[The percentage is the proportion of patients who would recommend the surgery, and some of the surgeries also have a 'band' to rate them overall, from data published by the Care Qulaity Commission (CQC), with band 6 being the highest (best rated) and band 1 the lowest.]

Cobbs Garden Surgery, Olney: Band 4, 96.1% - Among the best

Newport Pagnell medical centre: 80.2%

Denton Village surgery: Band 6, 89.1%- Among the best  

Harrold Medical Practice: Band 6, 80.5%

Kingfisher Surgery, Newport Pagnell: Band 1, 34.2% - The worst

Wollaston surgery: Band 6, 67.2% - Among the worst in percentage but among the best in the banding.

It's interesting to see how your surgery compares to others in the area. Equally, if you are looking for a new surgery to attend then this can be a particularly useful tool in helping you make an informed decision.

If you want to have a more detailed look, the percentage ratings were taken from the NHS website, and the bands can be found on the Care Quality Commission website.

Do these ratings surprise you at all? How does your surgery compare?

MK lights switch-on tomorrow

It's a debut event for Milton Keynes this year- the first ever Milton Keynes official Christmas lights switch-on is happening tomorrow, with a whole day jam-packed with Christmas themed activities and events. You'll be kept entertained right through to the lights switch on at 5pm, and should leave well and truly excited for Christmas!

The festivities are set to commence at 11am, with acts and competitions on the stage located at the horseshoe area outside intu Milton Keynes. Meanwhile, inside intu Milton Keynes there will be a variety of activities and workshops running all day, including a place to write letters to Santa, thanks to Milton Keynes Theatre and Gulliver's land.

At 3pm you can see the Xscape lights switched on, best seen from inside Xscape from the centre mall near the escalators, or there'll be a live link on the TV at the main stage.

There will be a parade from 4pm, with over 30 mascots which will arrive at the stage at around 4.30pm for the final performances before the lights are switched on. At 4.30pm there will be a performance from MK theatre Peter Pan, followed by Yinka Williams, star of BBC's 'The Voice', a performance from Dancebox studios and the the grand countdown kicks off at 5pm, with Peter Pan, Wendy, Father Christmas and the Mayor of Milton Keynes; Derek Eastman. The lights will switch on in a wave from the train statin to intu Milton Keynes, followed by a stunning laser and pyrotechnic show.

Once the lights are on there'll be a chance to get festive with a bit of a sing-along with Alive and Singing rock and pop choir.

All in all it's set to be a great festive day, with fun for all the family. You'll be able to pick up a goody bag which includes a free pass to Gulliver's Land and their Splashzone. Don't miss the chance of being at this event- the first ever for Milton Keynes!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Weekend in and around MK

It's the weekend again, and we're back with a list of events and activities to enjoy in and around the Milton Keynes area. There's a great selection of events on, and the Christmas themed activities are starting to appear already (and it's not even December yet!)

Friday 21st:

Newport Pagnell Farmers Market @ Market Place, Newport Pagnell High Street. 8.30am-1.30pm
Don't miss out on some great local produce this Friday morning, found on the third Friday of each month.

Harrold Twinning Association Wine Tasting @ Harrold Cricket Club, 7.30pm
An informal evening of wine tasting, hosted by Margaret Morley of Choice Wines, Little Addington. Tickets cost £8, email: for more information.

The ride for Willen, Big Party Clothes Swap @ Olney RFC, East Street, Olney, 7pm
Grab a bargain and a gorgeous new outfit for the Christmas party season, as well as making some money from selling your old party clothes. Donate a percentage of the sale price to Ride for Willen. It's set to be a great night with your friends, trying on new clothes and having a few drinks while helping raise money for a great cause. Bring your old party clothes- party outfits, prom dresses, wedding outfits, dinner party, kids party clothes, designer or high street, all styles and sizes at a range of prices. Invite your friends and encourage them to bring clothes to swap too. Email for more info.

Saturday 22nd:

St Mary's church, Christmas Bazaar @ Carlton Village Hall, 10am-1pm
Come and get festive with the Christmas bazaar this Saturday. The grand draw will be at 12.30pm. Entry is £1 for adults, children go free.

Autumn Fair @ St. Margaret's Church, Denton, 11am-3pm
A great variety of items on offer, including books, cakes, cards, gifts, pot plants, raffle, tombola and more. Refreshments, tea and coffee and homemade soup with fresh bread will be served.

Sunday 23rd:

The Pad Presents @ Bedford Corn Exchange, St Paul's Square, Bedford, MK40 1SL, 7pm 
Animals + Friends ft. special guest 'Stax legend' Steve Cropper + Cherry Lee Mewis. Animals + Friends were one of the most improtant British bands of the 1960s, with American and British chart topper 'House of the Rising Sun' among others. Guitarist Steve Cropper was voted among the top 100 guitar players of all-time by Rolling Stone Magazine readers in 2003, and so the combination of the two sets the scene for a great night.

The 'bio-bus': Powered by sewage

Yes, you read it right, there's a new bus powered by sewage and it's taken to the streets.

Now, we're all for upcycling and recycling, but when we heard about the bus which was recycling human waste, we weren't too sure what we thought of it.

However, reading a little deeper and it's not quite as stinky as it seems, the bus is actually powered from biomethane gas, which is generated from the treatment of sewage and food waste at a processing plant. One waste plant alone can produce 17 million tonnes of the gas a year, and a single tank of the gas is enough to power the vehicle for 190 miles, and is produced from the typical annual waste of just five people.

This bus clearly shows the value of waste, and looking at alternative fuel sources, it seems this really could be onto something. Using a gas which is produced anyway through the treatment of sewage and food waste, it seems to be a bit of a no-brainer.

The first bus of its kind has made its first journey today, so we will have to wait and see what the response is and whether they decide to produce more of these vehicles on a larger scale.

What do you think, is it a good idea?

Olney Town Council Questionnaire

Don't forget you've got a week left to complete the questionnaire which you should have received with your November copy of the Phonebox magazine, on the Town Council's Neighbourhood Plan.

Olney Town Council is going to be producing a new neighbourhood plan, and this is your opportunity to help shape it. Don't miss out on this opportunity to have a say in how your town is run, especially if you work in or run a service or business in Olney. It gives you the opportunity to voice your opinions on a variety of different aspects of the town, and your feelings on the future developments, and is well worth sparing just 20 minutes to complete.

If you haven't yet completed a questionnaire, can we encourage you to do so. Copies can be picked up from the Phonebox Magazine's office in Stanley Court, Olney, and from the Town Council office. Once completed please send it to the freepost address on page 2 of the document.

The questionnaire can also be completed online by clicking here.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Olney road named on of the UK's worst

The road system in the UK is not without its faults. While there are a number of good roads in the UK, there is also something to be complained about.

The A509 is one of the busiest and longest roads in Milton Keynes, running from Warrington through Olney until it becomes the H5. It has just been declared one of the worst for potholes in the UK, and we're wondering if you agree with the title?!

The council has apparently spent over £1.3 million on resurfacing the road since January 2012, yet while they have stated that compensation claims have dropped (although not diminished) it has still been named as one of the worst in the UK for potholes.

In context, it costs approximately £30million to build a mile of motorway, according to the Highways Agency, and so in relation maybe it wouldn't seem quite so much that's been spent on repairing this long road ,if it hadn't then gone on to receive the worst road title.

David Cameron announced on Monday that there would be a £15billion cash injection for Britain's worst roads, so maybe Olney will get a look in.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

I'm a Celebrity... Get me out of here! Starts tomorrow night!

It's that time of the year again, where we get to watch celebrities make a fool of themselves and get scared to death out in the Australian jungle. This is the fourteenth year of the show, we're wondering what twists and surprises there will be this year in order to keep it interesting.

The 'celebrities' involved each year get less and less famous, and are generally people who are wanting to make a bit of a comeback in one way or another. This years contestants have been revealed as:

  • Newsman Michael Buerk
  • Presenter Melaine Sykes
  • Footballer Jimmy Bullard
  • Model and singer Nadia Forde
  • Actor and DJ Craig Charles
  • Rapper Tinchy Stryder
  • Superbike champ Carl Fogarty
  • 'Allo 'Allo actress Vicki Michelle
  • TOWIE star Gemma Collins and
  • Reality star and model Kendra Wilkinson

The closest link to us here in the Milton Keynes area is footballer Jimmy Bullard. Now retired, Jimmy played for a number of teams including Fulham, Hull City and Ipswich Town, before a short-term contract with MK Dons. He then retired from football just 2 months after signing for the team, having had his football career brought to a close by a series of injuries. Bullard has been rumoured to have lost a large sum of money recently, perhaps explaining his accepting the invite to the jungle. Known for being quite the prankster, it looks like he may create some entertainment, which is good news as it could get boring watching them sit around chatting all day... 

One twist to the show this year is that viewers get to vote before the series has even started on who gets to go to the 'celebrity slammer'. An interesting spin, seeing as the viewers won't yet have 'viewed' anything, and may not even know who the celebrities are, probably a scheme to get more money through the phone calls. Either way, it's something of a tradition for many to watch I'm a Celeb, and it highlights the real start of winter, signalling the end of the series for Downton Abbey and the start of the buck tucker trials, enjoy!

Friday, 14 November 2014

The Imitation Game and Bletchley Park- Watch the official trailer here

The Imitation Game is released in cinemas today, and other than looking to be a great film with a great cast (Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and Mark Strong for starters) it is also high in relevance to the Milton Keynes area. 

You'll probably be aware of the history surrounding Bletchley Park and the amazing decoding work which was done there during the Second World War, led by Alan Turing. Alan Turing and his team were given the task of cracking the German Enigma code, a nail-biting race against time and something which was deemed impossible. The genius work of Alan Turing helped dramatically shorten the war, and consequently saved thousands of lives. 

Bletchley Park opened a special exhibition on Monday on the making of the film and the story of Alan Turing. Having had some of the film filmed on location at Bletchley park, it is a great exhibition with not only props and costumes worn by the cast to see, but also the real locations where the film was shot.

The film is expected to draw many visitors to Bletchley Park, and the exhibition is open for a year in order to give as many visitors and fans as possible the chance to see it for themselves. The Imitation Game is a great chance to have the story of Bletchley Park, and Alan Turning in particular, told, and with a great cast it looks to be a great watch.

For more information on Bletchley Park, visit the website by clicking here.

You can watch the trailer for the movie below. For film times visit the Cineworld or Odeon website for Milton Keynes. 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

What's on in MK this weekend

The leaves have almost all fallen now and we're heading fully into winter, but we've still got a few of those sunny autumn days left (we hope). There's still a chance to get out and about this weekend, although you may need to wrap up a little warmer now. As always, we've collated a list of what's on in the local area to help you decide on what to do this weekend, and there's quite a lot to choose from!

'Christmas is for sharing'

With the numerous Christmas adverts appearing on our screens all at once this month, it seems to have become something of a `Battle of the Christmas adverts', with everyone pulling out the stops this year to create something touching and memorable. A somewhat unlikely contender for the prize is Sainsbury's, however following the release of their Christmas advert yesterday, the response so far sets them above even the John Lewis advert with Monty the penguin.

With it's timely release just a day after Remembrance day, the advert has been made in partnership with the Royal British Legion, and depicts the extraordinary events of Christmas day in the trenches in 1914.

A touching advert which depicts the theme 'Christmas is for sharing', extending further than just sharing food, Sainsbury's may have chosen the harsh realities of war yet it sounds like many are preferring this to the others out there.

What do you think?

The chocolate bars shown in the advert are on sale now in Sainsbury's and all profit will go to the Royal British Legion.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Remembrance day- Today at 11am

Take two minutes to remember all those who have given their lives to helping keep our country safe today...

Today is remembrance day, and although it is celebrated largely on the Sunday, today marks the day back in 1918 when the First World War officially ended, on the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The act of a two minute silence began in 1919 on the first anniversary of the day, known as Armistice day, by those who recognised the importance of not forgetting the millions who were killed, injured and affected by the war.

Today, millions of people will stop what they are doing to observe a two minute silence at 11am, in memory of all those who have been affected in all conflicts that have passed, not just the First World War. Let's join in and show our respects to those who have fought for our country.

Monday, 10 November 2014

The Phonebox Walk of the month

Fancy a walk this November? Why not flick through to pages 48-49 of the Phonebox magazine this month to follow a gentle walk starting in the village of Paulerspury. Approximately 6 miles long, this walk will take you around 2 1/2 hours, and will allow you to explore and enjoy a nearby village which you may not have been round before, try and pick a dry day and enjoy a crisp walk in the country.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday of November every year, and this year it falls on the 9th November.

Remembrance Sunday marks the end to hostilities of the First World War, and the poppy has been the symbol of remembrance since 1921. Inspired by the World War I poem; 'In Flanders Fields', they were initially used by the American Legion to remember the American soldiers lost in the war, and were later adopted by other countries. Today, they are largely used by the UK and Canada, to remember all men and women who have died in all conflicts since 1914.

So if you want to remember the day with others, don't forget to head to a local church or War memorial this Sunday morning. Newport Pagnell Remembrance parade takes place on Sunday starting at 10am, and starts at Queens Avenue going along the High Street and ending at the church and war memorial.

Let's remember.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Weekend what's on Listings...

As always there's a weekend filled with activities and various things to do coming up, why not visit one of these events with family or friends this weekend?

Macmillan Coffee morning, run by Jane Smith financial planning. Come along between 9.30am and 12.30pm to 7 Osier Way, Olney for cake, coffee, entertainment and shopping from a range of local shops and businesses.

Ampthill Fireworks- Possibly one of the last local fireworks events of the year, the Ampthill display features a pre-show of live acts, fairground and various food outlets, with the lighting of the Ampthill beacon at 7.30m and fireworks starting at 8pm.

'The Pad Presents' Heaven 17 and Blancmange at Bedford Corn Exchange. Kicking off at 7.30pm, it's a show featuring two of the UK's most original experimental synthesiser bands. Tickets cost £22.50.

Olney Senior Citizens Club run every Friday, this week it's a night of whist.

Bedford Art Society- featuring John Somerscales. 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start. John Somerscales has been involved in the visual arts his entire working life. He has staged exhibitions, exhibited at the Mall gallery in London and has published articles in Paint and The Artist magazines. He will be at the art society in order to talk about composition, and demonstrate watercolour landscape painting. Entry is free for members, £5 for visitors.

The Bedford branch of the Royal Anglian Regiment Association meets on the first Friday of the month at The Keep, Bedford Road, Kempston. The bar opens at 7.30pm and meetings begin at 8pm. Ex Servicemen/women from any arm are invited to join.

Coffee morning and bric-a-brac table top sale at Olney United Reformed Church. From 10am-1pm.

Cliff Richard tribute pub night, at Westbury Grange, Newport Pagnell. Come along from 7.30pm to enjoy an excellent evening's entertainment at a modest cost (only £6) As well as the tribute act there will be a raffle and nibbles, and the bar will be open for drinks.

HULA animal rescue- Winter warmer at Glebe farm, Aspley Guise. Open form 1-3.30pm, there will be a wide variety of events, including dog parade, children's workshops, bazaar, book sale, Christmas goodies and more. Refreshments will be available in 'the Trough' cafe. Dogs are welcome. Admission is £2 for adults, £1 for children.

Bletchley Park Presents- Remembrance Parade. Held by the Royal British Legion from 9am-11.20am. Starting from Bletchley Park and ending at the Bletchley cenotaph, the Parade will be followed by a service in St Mary's Church, all are welcome to attend.

Plus local remembrance services and parades at your local church or war memorial.

The Club at Hanslope- Beer Festival.  A number of beers and ciders from local breweries, 12 real ales and 3 ciders. Free admission all weekend.
Friday- 6pm-11pm, chip van from 9.30pm
Saturday 12 noon-11pm, International rugby England vs New Zealand at 2.30pm
Sunday 12 noon-11pm, Brazilian Grand Prix at 4pm, Quiz at 7pm.
Sky and BT Sports available all day, games and competitions including skittles, darts and wheel of fortune.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Eli Ward speaks to the Phonebox Magazine

You may have seen our feature in the Phonebox Magazine this month with Eli Ward, following up from the previous story we published on his case. Having been issued a formal apology over the abuse scandal from the Archbishop of York, Eli came to us with a follow-up story. 

You can read a section of his story below, or click here to be taken to the online magazine to read more.

"Abuse is heavily documented in the media, more than it ever has and none of us seem to be shocked any more by the revelations being unearthed at almost every tier of society. What is not clear to the public is how extremely well protected and secret the whole subject is. Whether it is a mentality to protect and cover up, lose paper work or have bungled police investigations, there is no denying that it is all extremely odd. The reporting to the police by members of society in positions where you would expect them to do the right thing is simply not happening. 
My case is a typical example. Here we had an Oxbridge and Dullwich school educated Dean, a former headmaster, once head of the Oratory of the good shepherd and advisor to education on religious matters abusing over five decades. As his CV became stronger, so did the number of victims he engulfed. There were several victims over the years who put in phone calls to the church to inform them that they had been abused. 
Robert Waddington was still abusing when he was confronted by the former Archbishop of York about the allegations. Nothing happened. The police were not informed and the victims were not consulted or even told about one another. Robert Waddington was allowed to ruin lives and yet escaped conviction, let alone be interviewed by the police. Despite courageous victims coming forward to speak about their abuse, no help was offered to them, and it would appear that a self policed farce took place instead... 
The report into Robert Waddington as launched by the current Archbishop of York is excellent and if anybody wants a copy, then they should contact the Phonebox. It is a 164 page document which details the extent of the inquiry including many recommendations as to how to prevent such behaviour happening again. The recommendations indicate how a central separate body should be utilised to deal with allegations and cases of childhood abuse. It will be interesting to see if these and other recommendations are actioned by the church. The story therefore still continues, and I will do what I can to ensure that children are kept safer and that it becomes nigh on impossible for abusers to survive."

Link to:

Macmillan Coffee Morning:

Tomorrow with Jane Smith financial Planning

Come along tomorrow morning to enjoy coffee, cakes, entertainment and shopping, all in aid of Macmillan cancer support.

Held at 7 Osier Way, Olney, MK46 4DT from 9.30am-12.30pm, there are a variety of companies showcasing for you to enjoy. Bring a friend and have some cake and coffee while browsing the stalls, all for a good cause.

Companies on offer will include:

  • Jane Sumner from Image matters, offering short taster sessions showing women how the correct colours can help create a younger, taller, slimmer look and help you gain confidence and improve self esteem. 
  • Tina Horn from Heart of the Home will have a stall with a selection of handmade products from cushions to wooden signs and bunting.
  • Nicky Marchant from Joy Health Coaching will be there to discuss programmes which can help people manage stress levels through a combination of nutrition, meditation, fitness and holistic approaches. 
  • Jane Stevens Holistics will be showcasing some of her massaging techniques, including back and shoulder massage and Indian head massage. She will also be showing some Reiki and answering questions, so it's a great opportunity to find out more.

IndieGo Oak

Tonight sees the start of a monthly Music and Arts night to showcase local talents, held at the Cowpers Oak in Weston Underwood. Local singer/songwriter Ian Roberts has linked up with Tim from the Cowpers Oak to host 'IndieGo Oak'. It's set to be a great evening of entertainment from a variety of local artists, from musicians to painters, from poets to comedians.

Ian Roberts will kick off the night at 8pm with a selection of his songs, and will then open up the floor to other local performers for the rest of the night.

'Everyone involved with IndieGo Oak is delighted that The Phonebox Magazine has come on board to sponsor us,' Ian explains, 'The Phonebox Magazine has been the leading voice for our local area for many years and we feel sure that will continue. Together we will promote, showcase and give a wonderful platform for all our local musicians and artists.'

It's a free event, and in the great location of the Cowpers Oak there will be a great selection of drinks on offer to enjoy while you sit back and enjoy an evening of entertainment. There will be a warm and friendly environment with acoustic sets from a variety of performers, it's definitely not one to be missed. We look forward to seeing you tonight!

For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

Monday, 3 November 2014

B & MK Waterway Trust

The waterways have been a key feature to Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas over the years, providing important navigational arteries through which goods and people have travelled. The roots of the Bedford-Milton Keynes Canal go back over 200 years to October 1811, when a group of Bedford businessmen met with the Mayor of Bedford to discuss the linking benefits.

Nearly 200 years on, in 1994, Bedford resident Brian Young had the idea of getting the canal built as part of the new millennium celebrations. The idea was to have a 'waterway for all' which could improve the quality of the local environment, serving the new industries of leisure, tourism and communications. The B & MK (Bedford and Milton Keynes) Waterway Trust was established in 1995 to promote the development of this broad waterway linking the Grand Union Canal in Milton Keynes to the river Great Ouse in Bedford.

The waterway is set to be a 20 mile link between the River Great Ouse at Kempston in Bedford and Grand Union Canal at Newlands in Milton Keynes. It's a long process set to take up to 20 years, but the first steps are underway.

The new canal route would provide a range of social and economic benefits...

  • Recreation: on water and off water activities, including boating
  • Green infrastructure- Creation of natural corridors and environmental benefits 
  • Regeneration and property- attractive waterfront, appealing to local housing
  • Ecosystem services- help in controlling flooding
  • Transport- particularly for freight movements
  • Tourism- contributing to increase in visitors to the area
Do you like the idea of linking the Grand Union Canal to Bedford? Tell us your views, we'd love to hear what you think! 

For more information, visit the Trust's website.