Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Elaine McConnell shows nurses Barbara Cooke and Jo Bruton details of our Will Week partners.

Writing your will is one of those things that we all know is important, but is something many of us put off doing. 

Willow Wood’s Wills Week will run from Monday 21 to Saturday 26 May, and we’re hoping that by offering you the opportunity to make a donation to your local Hospice rather than paying a fee many of you will put your affairs in order.

Elaine McConnell explains: “It’s very simple.  We have a number of participating solicitors who will generously waive their fee during that week. Instead you make a donation to Willow Wood so by securing your family’s future you are helping Willow Wood continue to care.”

Having an up-to-date will can give you great peace of mind. Without a will the law decides who gets what, and so your property and valued possessions may not automatically go to your loved ones.  For example, if you are separated but not divorced your spouse would still inherit; current partners would not automatically receive any benefit.  You may have always intended your grandfather’s watch to go to a specific family member but again, if this is not documented, it may not happen.

Making your will and helping Willow Wood at the same time is, as Elaine says “As easy as 1, 2 3!  First of all, choose one of our participating solicitors and make an appointment – not forgetting to mention Wills Week.  Then, discuss your requirements with the solicitor who will draft your will in line with your wishes.  And thirdly, make your donation to Willow Wood.  We’re suggesting a minimum donation of £85 for a single will.”

And if you’d like to leave us a gift in your will to help us continue to care for our community, we would be very grateful.  Please, however, do not feel under any obligation to do so, you will already have our sincere thanks.

Full details of the participating solicitors can be found by going to www.willowwood.info

Alternatively, contact Elaine on 0161 330 7788 or elaine.mcconnell@willowwood.info and she’ll send out an information leaflet.




Fit over Fifty are a not for profit social enterprise who have been supporting people over the age of 50 in Tameside for over 4 years by providing chair based exercise and a chaperon service.

Both these social integration programmes help local people with isolation and mobility and they are now looking for volunteers to help them.

If you are a car owner and can spare a few hours of your time, or maybe you are looking to gain some experience for your CV, then they would really like to hear from you, with a view to joining in with their chaperon project; escorting people to the shops, the local parks or just helping the elderly get out and about on a short accompanied walk round the local community. Volunteers will be required to stay with them for up to 2 or 3 hours, when necessary.

The charity are looking for people to work in Tameside, Woodley and Romiley – just on the edge of Gee Cross, Stockport.

‘Fit over fifty’ will pay petrol expenses, provide in house training and give support while you are with them. The group are looking for volunteers to join them for a few hours a week, not evening or weekends, and of course you must have a car!

For more information please call us on 0800 061 4151 or email us at office.fitoverfifty@gmail.com or visit our website; www.fitoverfifty.org

Volunteers with St John Ambulance in Denton thanked the Mark Master Masons for their donation of a new ambulance.

Volunteers with St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity, took time out recently to say thank you to the Masons for the donation of a new ambulance which will be based at the charity’s Denton unit.

The new ambulance is one of over fifty vehicles which are being handed over in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands in a phased programme from October 2017 and throughout 2018.

The vehicles have been secured thanks to a capital grant by the Mark Master Masons through their Mark Benevolent Fund to the Order of St John with the specific aim of providing new ambulances, treatment centres and support vehicles to St John Ambulance, the Order’s operational arm in England and the Islands.

The Denton vehicle will be put to use at events in the county as volunteers deliver life saving first aid to members of the public.

Alex McLaren, Provincial Grand Master at the Mark Master Masons in East Lancashire, said: ‘We’re delighted to be able to support St John Ambulance and the life saving work that they do.’

Darren Clark, Chair of the Greater Manchester County Priory Group, said: ‘The donation of this vehicle is wonderful news for the county and will significantly help enhance patient care and contribute to more lives saved locally. We’re immensely grateful to the Mark Master Masons in the East Lancashire Province and to the Mark Benevolent Fund for their generosity and we look forward to seeing the positive use made by local St John Ambulance volunteers of the vehicle in the future as they continue the charity’s life saving mission.’

For more information about the Mark Master Masons and the Mark Benevolent Fund, please visit www.glmmm.com and www.markbenevolence.org.uk. For more information about St John Ambulance, please visit www.sja.org.uk. For more information about the Order of St John in England, please visit www.stjohnengland.org.uk.

Volunteers with St John Ambulance in Denton thanked the Mark Master Masons for their donation of a new ambulance.


Friday, March 30, marked the grand opening of Cancer Warriors’ first ever permanent drop-in Information and Support Centre. The centre is located at Melbourne Street, Stalybridge.

This is a dream and vision the chair and founder Derrick John Evans thought he would never see come true, having fought his own battles with cancer since 2007.

Three times survivor of stage 4 Lymphoma Derrick began his battle against the disease on August 17, 2007 and after surviving his first round he began campaigning and fundraising for the Christies and Macmillan in the form of Derk’s Army.

From there Derrick’s dreams and visions grew and following his latest battle in 2012, having been told he had only eight weeks to live, Derrick vowed that if he survived a stem cell transplant he needed, he would find a way to support others and their families the way he would have liked to have been during his journey.

He knew that services are stretched within the NHS and supporting sectors, therefore when transforming Derk’s Army into the Cancer Warriors we know today in March 2016, he wanted to provide a non-referred, non-clinical support service accessed by anyone affected with cancer, their families, friends and carers, a service run solely by unpaid volunteers who have in some way experienced the effects of cancer.

After achieving charity status on March 3, 2016, Derrick and a dedicated team of volunteers began the outreach community drop-in’s they have today at the Highfield Pavilion in Stamford Park, Reclamation Rooms in Saddleworth and the Grafton Centre in Hyde.

These sessions provide a coffee morning environment that encourages people to come and talk about their experiences, share information and hope to others, gain peer to peer support and much, much, more.

This wasn’t enough for Derrick.

He still wanted to be able to reach more people on a more permanent basis and was determined despite people saying it would never happen without salaried staff, to create a centre for anyone.

Through his drive, determination and true inspiration he guided the team in working towards a centre and two years later, almost to the day, he has now achieved this.

The centre offers residents of Tameside, Oldham and beyond somewhere to come and have a chat over coffee and cake in non-clinical, friendly and a welcoming atmosphere.

The centre provides peer to peer support, information, therapies, private consultations and more.

The centre is run solely by volunteers who have either been on their own journey or have cared for a loved one, that have an understanding and empathy for those walking through the door.

They have trained therapists, counsellors and outreach support staff donating their time to those who need it.

There has been massive support for the centre, no more so than from MP for Stalybridge and Hyde Jonathan Reynolds, who helped the team open their first drop in with Stamford Park and again at the opening of the Centre.

Jonathan said: “In the eight years since I was selected to represent this seat I have met thousands of people and Cancer Warriors has made a particularly strong impression on me.

“I have had many chats with Derrick and what he has done is fantastic.

“The support Cancer Warriors is offering cancer sufferers is brilliant and they are so optimistic and willing to make a difference. It’s truly a special thing.”

Cancer Warriors have the support of Macmillan and The Christie, who can’t get over what the charity are able to do and are referring patients at every opportunity.

Derrick added in his opening speech that it has been an emotional roller coaster and he has an amazing team behind him.

The centre has come together on good will, a shoe string and generosity to ensure that the monies the charity has will be ploughed right back into providing the services, therapies and support to the community.

The centre is open Monday to Friday 10am-2pm and will gradually expand to meet the needs of its users and in time will include evening and weekend availability.

If you would like any further information, or would like to volunteer some time, please contact the team on: 0161 338 5010 or alternatively via the website www.cancerwarriors.co.uk                                                        or email them on: cancerwarriors@mail.com, FB: cancer warriors uk Twitter @warriorscancer.


The Prince’s Trust, which last year helped over 57,000 young people get into jobs, education and training, recently, saw another 15 young people successfully join their ranks of personal achievement.

After the brief welcoming speeches, each of the candidates spoke with nervous passion about their career paths to date, their previous trepidations and feelings, and how by completing this 12 week course, they had all turned a corner and were looking forward with renewed enthusiasm, confidence and improved self regard to go out and compete for jobs in today’s market. The very fact that these young people were able to eloquently speak frankly about their personal circumstances proved to all their family members, friends and invited guests, who packed the room at Hyde’s Grafton Centre, that they had grown from shy individuals to confident young adults.

Almost as one voice they said that ‘since joining the Prince’s Trust Award Scheme, they had become better communicators, and became more confident and independent whilst working together as a team as they worked their way through the course.

One of the team said, “It gave me the confidence to do a work placement and take control of my life, and now nothing can stop me! I want to get a job in retail, and am trying to get relevant experience that will make my CV stand out to employers!”

The Prince’s Trust’s young achievers were: Callum Bailey, Jack Barnes, Jake Cameron, Millie Connell, Jordan Edge, Deanna Emmanuell, Callum Foden, Ben Griffey, Charlotte Hill, Dean Kendrick, Daniel O’Callaghan, Reece Player, Peter Smith, Jamie Trewick and Alex Williams.

During the presentation ceremony, it was announced that over the 12 week course, the teams had raised a grand total of £1115.68 by working a total of 862 volunteer hours in various placements and fund raising event in the community. A great achievement when one considers the fact that if this work was paid for at the ‘minimum wage’ the bill would be a staggering £5085.80!

As the GMFRS Stockport & Hyde Prince’s Trust Team programme came to a close, the speaker, Nick Hince, Station Manager at Whitehill and King Street, concluded that all at GMFRS, who manage the Prince’s Trust Teams, firmly believe that every young person should have the chance to embrace exciting opportunities. That’s why through their dedication, they’ve helped many 16-25 year olds who found their lives were stuck in a rut, or who were are unemployed or struggling at school, to transform their lives.

The Prince’s Trust helps thousands of disadvantaged young people every year, giving them the self-belief and life-style skills to turn their lives around.

Recruitment starts now for the next Prince’s Trust teams 14 starting on the 8th May 2018.

For more information contact: 0800 555 815



If you are struggling to get out and about because of loneliness or isolation then ‘Fit over Fifty’ can help you, thanks to a recent Lottery grant.

Their Chaperon project which been running for 4 years throughout Tameside is now available to those people over the age of 50 living in Gee Gross, Hyde.

The get-out-and-about programme offers 4 free visits lasting up to 2 hours each, travelling in the chaperon’s car. They will stay with you whilst you shop, visit the park, or indeed anywhere you wish to travel go, all they ask is a donation towards the fuel.

By expanding the chaperon service to the over 50’s in Gee Cross, the service will be available to those senior citizens who reside in Romiley and Woodley too.

The expanded chaperoned service will be starting in a few weeks time, so it’s important that you register with the scheme soon.

‘Fit over Fifty’ is a not for profit, social enterprise, community interest company based in Tameside, who provide a range of services to older people, including a companion service, domestic support, exercise sessions with social gatherings and a chaperon service; all for the over fifties. The aim of the organisation is to provide activities in order to help improve health and wellbeing and overcome isolation.

Fit over Fifty’s overall aim is to provide tailored services to support elderly citizens’ needs and help them remain independent in their homes. Their services are delivered by caring and compassionate people who are highly trained, giving their clients total peace of mind.

For more information please call us on 0800 061 4151 or email us at office.fitoverfifty@gmail.com or visit our website; www.fitoverfifty.org


Elaine McConnell (centre, standing) with members of Willow Wood’s business club.

Willow Wood’s thriving business club, Business Connexions, currently has around 30 members representing a wide range of local business. These encompass a host of different sectors including design and print, financial services, building services, engineering, legal, packaging, entertainment, property, travel, marketing, and more.

While enjoying a tasty breakfast sandwich, members gather for a monthly meeting where they have the opportunity to network, to talk about their products and services and to forge valuable links in the local business community.   As Yvonne Cookson, joint MD of Your Tax Shop said “Business Connexions has been great as it has allowed us to meet other like-minded business owners who we may not have met without this networking opportunity.”

Elaine McConnell is Willow Wood’s corporate fundraiser and is looking to expand and strengthen links within the local business community.  “We’ve already had some successful relationships formed through our meetings, and are looking to develop this network further.  We have a good mix of large and small companies already signed up, and every member who attends is given a ten-minute slot – it’s a great way to market your business.”

“Of course, there are many other benefits too! As Willow Wood is one of the best known and possibly the best loved local charity, there are many advantages in partnering with us.  Most companies have Corporate Social Responsibility policies in place, and we can help them meet these easily and ethically.  Willow Wood has had many teams spending a day or two working in our gardens, in our distribution centre or even painting the offices – it’s a real morale boost for those involved as they know they are providing tangible, practical help, and building team spirit at the same time.”

Companies can also get involved with Willow Wood’s fundraising events; there are many opportunities for sponsorship where company logos could be seen by thousands of local people and potential customers.

“But it’s not just about these, and the other real benefits to your business. Because every penny of the Business Connexions joining fee of just £30 each month, comes directly to Willow Wood, and is a real, sustainable way of helping us continue our care.  This financial year it will take £2.5 million to maintain our services to those with a life-limiting illness, their families and loved ones, and we need to raise 77% of this from within our community.”

To become part of the Willow Wood networking group and to help local people, please contact: Elaine on 0161 330 7788 or elaine.mcconnell@willowwood.info.



Broadoak Explorers and leaders after the lock in.

A group of youngsters from the Broadoak Explorer Scouts had a thrilling experience when they had a measly 60 minutes to escape a locked room, using only the power of their brains.

The Emergency Exit Escape Rooms is a new venture set up in Ashton, where you are locked in a room and have to find and decipher clues to find your way out.

Doug Pepper the Explorer Scout Leader said, “This experience was truly one to remember, with my first thoughts being one of dread and trepidation; the idea of being locked in a room for an hour with a bunch of Explorer Scouts was terrifying. However, fears subsided once the Explorer Scouts started to explore the room and grew in confidence, and despite the unfamiliar surroundings they finally managed to work as a team to find their way out.”

“The escape games proved to be the perfect way to truly test their brains and teach them the importance of working collectively as a team. It is also a great test of inquisition and focus; it improves communication, and makes use of logic and problem-solving, whilst also giving us all a great laugh at the screams of panic fact every time a countdown sound went off.”

As a group, the Explorer scouts meet up every week at the Broadoak Explorer Unit HQ in Ashton and they are used to working together, but this experience has brought the unit and Leaders closer than before.

Normally they would tend to argue a lot more about what they want to do, but the threat of being locked in a room helped them all to listen to one another and focus on working towards the same goal.

It must be said that the Explorer group did need quite a bit of help to work out some clues, but in the end, they did eventually find the escape route.

All the Explorer Scouts enjoyed the evening and said, ‘It was a new and very interesting activity that none of them had done before and it did really make them all work together.’ (Otherwise, one assumes they’d still be in the Escape Room now!)

Doug Pepper added, “Although I began the night rather sceptical, due in no small way, down to my claustrophobia; once we began working together it was so much fun we really got gripped into the story trying to escape the room.”

If you would like to help young people in Scouting, (but you are not allowed to lock them in a room) Please contact: alan.fish@ntscouts.org.uk Tel: 07931765120 or visit www.gmescouts.org.uk/join

If you would like to follow the Explorer Scouts experience and test your wits and logic, then book a party into the Emergency Exit Escape Rooms  – They’re on: 12A George Street, Ashton under Lyne, Greater Manchester OL66AQ 

Tel: 0161 330 1015    Mob: 07590892107   Email: info@e-exit.co.uk


Steven Woodbridge (pictured) ran the 26.2 mile Greater Manchester marathon yesterday (Sunday 8th April 2018) and will be following that gruelling event by taking part in both the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 22nd, and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool Marathon on May 20th  in memory of a late Tameside teenager.

The 27-year-old is raising money for Elliott’s Trust, a charity set up in memory of Elliott Fernandez, the 19-year-old from Denton who passed away after a battle with cancer in January 2017.

It’s a huge undertaking for Steven, who has never run a full marathon before! “I completed my first half-marathon in October last year and instantly decided to set myself a goal to complete one full marathon in 2018,” he said. “I couldn’t choose between Manchester or Liverpool so I signed up for both!

“A month later, my work ran a competition to win a place in the London Marathon. I ended up winning and running three marathons in two months! It’s safe to say I love a challenge!”

Steven, who now lives in Stockport, was introduced to the Elliott’s Trust via a family friend and after catching the fundraising bug last year, he wanted to make a difference.

His training started back in January and after slowly building up to 20 miles over 16 weeks, the Account Manager at Vitality Health is looking forward to the big day.

He said: “I really enjoy fundraising. I took part in a white collar boxing match for charity last year and it gave me a great feeling knowing I’d helped. Elliott’s Trust was set up by a family friend and is a charity that needs all the help it can get.

“I was made aware of the charity by my stepmother, who is a good friend of Beverley, Elliott’s mum. After reading about it, I contacted them and decided I’d like to help raise awareness too.”

Steven has set himself a fundraising goal of £500. He says, we’re 75% of the way there through online and cash donations and with his ‘Just Giving’ page open until the end of May, now has his sights on doubling his target.

To support Steven’s marathon efforts and to donate to Elliott’s Trust, please head to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/steven-woodbridge.


Sports students at the Beaufort Road campus organised activities pitting students against tutors in a wide range of challenges such as fencing, archery and volleyball, all for a good cause. 

In addition a ‘glo-rave’ took place in the sports hall last week to raise vital funds.

Tracey Hobson, sports teacher at Tameside College said: “The groups have done really well in delivering the sessions effectively and have worked well as a team to organise different sports activities. I am pleased to say that they enlisted as many students as possible and raised money for this great charity.”

Sports Relief is a nationwide event that works to raise money, get people active and change lives.

Since the last Sports Relief, the money raised by people has treated over 900,000 people across Africa with anti-malarial drugs, helped 3.4million Africans through maternal, neonatal and child funding and helped more than 50,000 people in the UK living with mental health problems.

To find out more visit www.sportsrelief.com