Meet the people doing out-of-the-ordinary things near you
- Credit: Archant
From raising money for charity to baking pasties stateside and saving white rhinos in Sudan, we put the spotlight on jobs well done
Olivia’s family support Alder Hey Children’s Charity
A Chester family has exceeded its fundraising mission to raise the exact figure it cost for their daughter’s NHS operation, to give back to Alder Hey Children’s Charity. Olivia Honeyborne was born with an atrial septal defect, commonly referred to as a hole in the heart. Atthe beginning of this year she had an operation to close the hole. Her parents, Rachel and Matt, who have refurbished four luxury holiday cottages in Picton, Chester, decided to raffle a seven-day break at Lower Farm Holiday Cottages to raise money for the charity. Rachel says: “Alder Hey Children’s Charity looked after Olivia so well and has helped many families in the area. We wanted to raise £6,351 for the charity as this is the approximate cost to the NHS for Olivia’s procedure. We were blown away by the amazing care she received, will be forever grateful to the staff and want to give something back to help other families.” The raffle raised £7,326 and Rosanna Kamperman from Hawarden, won the prize.
Mike takes his pasties across the pond
Nantwich’s Mike Burgess, two-time World Pasty Championship gold medal winner, is showing the Americans how it’s done with Cornish pasties. The 58-year-old launched the Pure Pasty Co in Vienna, Virginia, in 2010 after quitting his job in IT, heading to Cornwall to perfect the pasty, and then moving to the States in 2009 – all because his ex-pat mates were desperate for a taste of home. The life-long pasty fan says: “I suppose the career change could be described as a midlife crisis...but I’ve found a big US fan-base for my gourmet pasties.” His menu includes traditional beef, chicken Cordon Bleu, chicken masala, Moroccan lamb and veggie, as well as pies, sausage rolls, soups and salads.
Aid worker turns author
Former aid worker James Gould-Bourn has found success as an author. James, who originates from Cheadle and whose family still live there, started writing novels in his 20s before becoming an aid worker in landmine removal, working in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2014, James gave up his travelling life and enrolled on the Faber Academy’s six-month Write a Novel course. After not so much luck with publishers, the 38-year-old had a change of direction – instead of writing psychological thrillers, he produced his book, Keeping Mum. The story is about a dancing panda and a boy who doesn’t talk – an uplifting story of a father and son reconnecting in the most unlikely of circumstances. “I vowed to quit if this book didn’t succeed, but thankfully, several literary agents loved it and wanted to represent me,” James says. Keeping Mum has been picked up by publishers in the US, Germany, Italy, France, Norway, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Czech Republic, China, Japan and South Korea and UK-production company Lime Pictures is planning a television series based on the novel. It should appeal to fans of Matt Haig, Richard Roper and Gail Honeyman.
Keeping Mum is published by Hardman and Swainson on June 11th.
Millionaire’s mission to save the white rhino
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Paul Naden, who originates from Macclesfield, is to feature in a BBC documentary following his journey saving Sudan’s northern white rhino, which were declared officially extinct in 2018. The 51-year-old swapped his luxury lifestyle in the financial world 10 years ago and has since spent his time fighting for the survival of some of the world’s most endangered species through charity Saving the Survivors. The one-hour documentary, called The Last Unicorn, is expected to air later this year and is part funded by Paul, who says: “When it comes to money, there’s only three things you can do with it: spend it, stick it in the bank or do something good with it: the first two did nothing for me. It’s like the lights were turned on; I now get such a high from doing something good with my money.” The charity also works on rhino breeding and is building a centre to treat orphaned and endangered animals.
John takes flight as an author
A former apprentice at Avro, Woodford, has written a book to document his flight-testing career from the 1960s to the 1980s. Safety is No Accident: From ‘V’ Bombers to Concorde, is an account of John R. W. Smith’s role as an aerodynamicist in the flight development department, and his later role as a flight test observer in 1964. His career saw him fly a variety of civil and military aircraft including the HS 748, Shackleton, Nimrod and the Handley Page Victor tanker. John also writes about his time at the Civil Aviation Authority, making flight test assessments of manufacturer’s prototypes and production aircraft.Safety is No Accident: From ‘V’ Bombers to Concorde, is released by Pen & Sword Books Ltd in September.
Children inspired by George Mallory climb height of Everest
Brother and sister duo Jack and Bella Sherran, aged nine and seven, are climbing the distance of Everest to raise money for their schools’ parent-teacher association. The siblings, from Knutsford, both attend Mobberley School and are in Mallory House, the school team named after famous explorer George Mallory who climbed Everest. Jack and Bella would have been competing in Mallory House for sport’s day, but are instead spending four weeks climbing 3,781 flights of stairs at home, equivalent to 70 staircases each a day. Events that would usually support the school’s PTA, such as balls, fairs, discos and sports days, have been cancelled due to Covid-19.
Royal recognition for services to isolated elderly
A glittering virtual event during Volunteers’ Week on June 2nd awarded Older People Active Lives (OPAL) a prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The charity, which provides services to connect isolated older people in rural West Cheshire, has been invited to the Royal Garden Party next year to celebrate. OPAL was founded in 2011 and offers older people and their carers the chance to connect with their community through all-day activity clubs, one-to-one respite care, cooking and craft sessions and IT support programmes, such as its GoOnLine service to help members use the internet. To celebrate the award, OPAL volunteers were treated to a delivery of Afternoon Tea, volunteer goodie bags and a virtual thank you party on Zoom. Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs says: “OPAL Services truly is a remarkable organisation which provides what I can only describe as a lifeline for older residents in rural villages throughout West Cheshire. Thanks to their team of very special volunteers, it puts a smile of people’s faces and it brings happiness and purpose back into the lives of many.”
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