Weekly Community Roundup – 20th March 2020

Take me back to Neverland.

PantomimeCapacity audiences at Dalton Village Hall were thrilled last weekend to watch DADS (Dalton Amateur Dramatics Society) in their annual pantomime, a swashbuckling performance of J.M Barrie’s classic tale Peter Pan, jointly directed by first time duo Adam Wallis and our very own Funeral Director Rebecca Blenkiron.

The storyline took the audience over the roof tops of London with Peter Pan (Rebecca Blenkiron), Wendy and John Darling, to Neverland, the home of the Lost Boys, where they encountered pirates, Myrtle the Mermaid, a crocodile and two very feisty fairies, Tink and Bell.

Rebecca Blenkiron gave an excellent performance as Peter Pan, particularly for her rendition of the song ‘I believe I can fly’ which left the audience in stitches.

The cast were fantastically supported backstage by Susan Stanwix in her first ever panto, she had everything under control from the word go and after working with L plates on her back for three nights was presented with a Pass plate and certificate from the cast at the end of the run.

Tony Hill assisted by Janet Paterson provided the musical background, with Stephen Richardson on lighting and sound.

Clare Richardson had the unenviable job of prompt, for three nights she followed the script with dedication but only had to speak once when opening night nerves crept in.

The superb all round production was well received with audience members already asking “what is next year’s panto going to be?”

Budding artists keep windows in bloom

PantomimeWith the help of WestCliff Primary Academy’s Art Club who helped design daffodils JH Way Funeral Services in Dawlish dressed their windows to raise awareness for Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal.  To say thank you, the children were surprised with some delicious Easter eggs as a thank you for all their hard work.

Marie Curie was founded in 1948, Marie Curie Nurses care for you in your home or in hospice, when you need them most, day or night.

They have nine hospices in the heart of communities around the UK. Their trained volunteers and advisers are here for you with practical information and support when you don’t know what to do next or just need to talk. Last year they were there for more than 50,000 people across the UK.

Special care babies given handmade blankets

PantomimeIn honour of Mother’s Day Funeral Arranger Kerry Dontay reached out to people she knew who attend a weekly knit and natter group in Leamington Spa to donate some of their lovely work to the special care baby unit at Warwick Hospital. The ladies; Marilyn and Janet were more than happy to put their skills to good use making cardigans and blankets.

The blankets were made in a specific size for the incubators and the some larger ones for parents to take home. The hospital staff at the unit said that some families have very little so the handmade blankets will be very much appreciated and lovely to be able to give to families along with the cardigans and hats.

Kerry said: “I have worked recently with families whose babies have passed early on and so I thought the gesture would be fitting for Mother’s Day. Staff at the unit are hoping we return with more items in the future and all loved the fact that the hand knitting craft is still going strong and their families will benefit.”

Easter window display raises money for Parkinson’s UK

PantomimeThe team at Doves Funeral Directors in Ashford created this amazing Easter themed window display to raise money for Parkinson’s UK.

Parkinson’s UK is a Parkinson’s research and support charity in the United Kingdom. Its aims are to improve the quality of life for people affected by Parkinson’s and find a cure for the condition. Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition More than 1 million people in the UK are affected, either by living with Parkinson’s, or as a friend, colleague, or family member of someone who is.

Chocolate treats for local children

PantomimeEaster came early for Joseph Clarke School which is part of the Whitefield Academy Trust, when James Hawes and Goodchild Highams Park dropped off sweet treats as part of their annual Easter egg collection.

The school is a centre of excellence for visual impairment and additional and complex needs in the South East of England and also offer a small number of places for pupils with communication difficulties, including autism, who do not have impaired vision.

Alison from the Highams Park branch was given special permission to attend the school a few weeks early to donate the items so the children would have them in to enjoy over Easter.

Funeral Arranger’s 200 miles to Walk all over Cancer

PantomimeKelly Smith from Ashdown Funeral Services in Belvedere, is fundraising in memory of her brother Leo, who passed away due to liver cancer in 2016 by walking 200 miles across March for Walk all over Cancer by Cancer Research, doubling the challenge’s requirements.

She has changed her daily life by walking to and from work, taking one hour and 15 minutes each way, and walking to see colleagues and friends instead of calling them, to reach her personal target.

Kelly said: “I walk a lot in my day-to-day life so thought 10,000 steps wouldn’t be challenging enough for me. I’ve therefore pushed myself to walk roughly 20,000 steps per day to reach 200 miles across March in total and have actually exceeded that number of steps nearly every day so far.”

Funeral Partners’ Bexley Hub Manager Tracey Still suggested Walk All over Cancer to local branches after being inspired by her close friends Julie Still and Cherrie Tadman, who passed away due to breast cancer in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Kelly and Tracey created a Cancer Research Fundraising team after Clare Cornwall and Jade Walker, Funeral Arrangers at Ashdown’s Sidcup and Bexley branches respectively, joined the challenge.

The team has so far raised a total of £575 from their fundraising pages and sponsor forms.
Tracey said: “Everyone on the team has Fitbits, so we can easily keep sponsors updated on Kelly’s 20,000 steps and our 10,000 steps a day.

“We’ve all changed our daily lives in different ways to meet the goal. Clare and Jade have been taking their dogs for longer walks and I’ve been using the stairs more to speak to staff rather than dialling internally.”

Donations can be made to Ashdown Funeral Services’ cause at https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/18316012.belvedere-woman-sets-200-mile-walk-cancer-charity-challenge/