Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Lidice Lives in Stoke on Trent!

Check out this great Sentinel article on the International Children's Art Competition prize giving ceremony held in Stoke-on-Trent last night.
It was my pleasure and an honour to have been there - fantastic night thanks to all those involved!

Lidice Links inspire pupils' arty entries

Lord Mayor of Stoke on Trent, Alan and Cheryl Gerrard and the Deputy Czech Ambassador at last night's Art Venue CIC event

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Oxfam is 69!

It is the 69th Anniversary of Oxfam!
Find out why the SOFTys do what they do by having a look at this slideshow....
Oxfam statistics slideshow

Lidice Shall Live - 69th Anniversary

Tomorrow it's 69 years since Sir Barnett Stross launched the campaign to rebuild Lidice, supported by the working communities of Stoke-on-Trent. Defiant determination and selflessness during the most austere of times ultimately paid off as the village wiped off the face of the earth by the Nazis was rebuilt due to the actions and fundraising efforts of ordinary Stoke-on-Trent people. September 6th 1942 is a date, and Sir Barnett Stross an MP, all Stoke-on-Trent people can feel justifiably proud about.
The launch of the "Lidice Shall Live" campaign as reported by Movietone at the time. The launch took place barely three months after the atrocity in Lidice. ...

Dance 123 Launch night

Check out the photos from the launch night of Body Image Dance Project, Dance 123, at Newcastle-under-Lyme College....  was also my first night as event presenter/MC!!

What a night!!

Dance 123 photographs, courtesy of Ray Thorley Photography

Don't forget to vote for BID in the NatWest Community Force Initiative!
Take a look at BODY IMAGE DANCE CONSORTIUM with NatWest CommunityForce. Vote for them to win £6,000

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Fast for Ramadan!!

The lovely Vic Casambros and Jamie Robertson from the Students' Union are taking part in Ramadan this year to raise awareness for our Muslim students while raising cash for the SOFTys!! Go on, sponsor them today!!​m/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/sh​owFundraiserProfilePage.action​?userUrl=JudyOBrien

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Summer Soirée hits the press!

Check out this Sentinel article on the Summer Soirée - thank you for the coverage This is Staffs!!

Hall to host dance project


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Come along to the Summer Soirée!!


You are invited to a fundraising

Summer Soirée

Sunday 26 June 2011, 7-9pm
at Oakley Hall

Nr. Mucklestone, Shropshire TF9 4AG

By Kind Permission of Ann and Freddie Fisher

Ellie Davies is fundraising for a project which will raise awareness of body image issues in young people.

Ellie will play the piano and give a short talk about the
aims of her project. There will be a sealed bid auction.

Come and go as you like - stop by for 10 minutes or stay for 2 hours

Refreshments will be served throughout the evening.

No admission charge donations welcome

Friday, 10 June 2011


The Lidice commemorative gathering is taking place tonight in Fenton.....
Listen to my BBC radio debut to find out more! (00:46 mins)


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Lidice Lives in Stoke-on-Trent!

Lidice Commemorative Gathering –
Friday 10 June 2011, 6:15pm-7:30pm
Fenton Square, Christchurch Street, Fenton

A gathering to commemorate the destruction of the Czech village of Lidice by the Nazis during the second world war is due to take place in Fenton this Friday.

The people of Stoke-on-Trent will commemorate the tragedy of Lidice for the first time in 69 years this June, with a gathering in Fenton Square.

Not only will this be a chance to remember an often forgotten but important part of war time history, it will also be an opportunity for the people of Stoke-on-Trent to be proud of their heritage and to be a part of a city famous for its compassion.

After learning of the horrors of Lidice - where all men were murdered, the women sent to concentration camps and their homes razed to the ground – local Doctor and Politician Sir Bernard Strauss set up the Lidice shall Live campaign.  This saw nearly £1m being raised by the people of Stoke-on-Trent, particularly the regions miners, to rebuild the city and give them the support they desperately needed and deserved.

Stoke-on-Trent has had a special place in the people of Lidice’s hearts ever since, however very little is known of this history within our city.  This inspired Cheryl and Alan Gerrard, husband and wife team and owners of The Art Bay in Fenton, to set up new ties with the village by getting local schools involved in the annual International Children's Art Competition set up by the Lidice Gallery.

Friday 10 June is the anniversary of the events in Lidice, and Cheryl and Alan will be travelling over to the village to join in their commemorative events, while helping to build links on behalf of the city.  They will be fronting a quiz for the children while they are there, with questions set by stoke school children and prizes donated by one of their supporters, Staffordshire University.

At the same time, the first ever commemorative gathering will take place in Fenton, with poetry readings by local school children and poet Alan Barrett, performances by The Songbirds and the Methodist Choir, and an address by the Lord Mayor before wreaths are laid on the cenotaph in memory of the lives lost in Lidice.

Rob Ladgar will also be hosting a special day on 6Towns Radio – 6 Towns + 1.  This will include live streaming of the event on the website for people unable to attend, which will also be watched by Alan and Cheryl and the school children of Lidice.

It is hoped that this is the first step in raising awareness throughout the region, while inspiring civic pride amongst its inhabitants.

Notes to editors:

Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend the event – a full programme of the evenings activities can be found below.  Interviews can also be arranged pre or post event if required.

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Staffordshire University Communications Manager Judy O’Brien on 01782 29345 or j.l.o’

Order of events:

6:15pm: Arrival

6:30pm: Welcome by Glen Parkes

6:35pm: The Methodist Choir

6:40pm: Poetry (1) – Introduction by Alan Barrett

6:45pm: Songbirds (1&2)

6:50pm: Poetry (2)

7:00pm: Abbey Hill School Choir (1&2)

7:05pm: Poetry (3)

7:10pm: Lord Mayor’s address

7:15pm: Laying of wreaths with blessing by David Cameron

7:20pm: Poem by Alan Barrett

7:25pm: Songbirds perform ‘Mirror’

7:30pm: End

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Children of Lidice take on Stoke City!

Watch this super video made by Petr Sejkora and staff and pupils of Bustehrad School, just outside Lidice. Over there, Stoke is famous for its people, its warmth and compassion...... it doesn't stop these kids giving Stoke the run around though!!

Enjoy and then please share - this is cultural development in its truest form!
Bustehrad vs Stoke City


Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Sam to tackle the Three Peaks Challenge!

My colleague Sam Schofield plans to tackle the Three Peaks Challenge next month, in aid of the Alzheimer's Society.

Please be generous and show your support by visiting his JustGiving site and making a donation today!


BID receives ARTS GRANT!!


STAFFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL have awarded BID an ARTS GRANT towards Dance123!!!!!!

We still need more funding so please please please keep Shouting about us to anyone and everyone! :)
Thank you!!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Creative soul needed!

BID are currently looking for someone to design a logo for the project.

We have no budget for this job, but if you are a creative minded person who is generous with your time and talent, we would be very grateful for your help!

If you or someone you know might be able to help, please get in touch or email


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Body Image Dance - second auditions

Great new videos have been uploaded to the Body Image Dance facebook Page...

Go on, have a little look at the auditions.....


Thursday, 12 May 2011

Brief introduction to Lidice

Background of Lidice:

Lidice is a village in the Czech Republic just north-west of Prague. It is built on the site of a previous village of the same name which, as part of the Nazi created Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, was completely destroyed by German forces in reprisal for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in the late spring of 1942.

On June 10, 1942, all 192 men over 16 years of age from the village were murdered on the spot by the Germans in a much publicised atrocity. The rest of the population were sent to Nazi concentration camps where many women and nearly all the children were killed. The buildings were then bulldozed so that no trace of the village's former existence would be found.

The atrocity committed against this mining community outraged the British public, particularly in the mining communities of North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Shelton GP and city councillor Dr Barnett Stross, coined the slogan "Lidice Shall Live" in direct response to Hitler's orders that "Lidice Would Die Forever!" This gave the lead to the campaign to rebuild the village after the war, which gathered huge support in North Staffordshire by thousands of mining families.

The Lidice Shall Live Movement was formally launched three months later, at a mass meeting in the Victoria Hall, Hanley, with the Czech president-in-exile, Dr Edouard Benes, as the chief speaker.

The people of Lidice will always remember the role played by Sir Barnett Stross and the miners of North Staffordshire.

Brill cartoon - Come on the SOFTys!

Courtesy of SOFTys Secretary Chris King, thanks Chris!

Lidice project meeting

yesterday afternoon I attended the first meeting for the Lidice community group.

What/where is Lidice?
What is the connection to Stoke?
Why are we marking June 10th?

Find out more by visiting the Art Bay website (the company owned by the Lidice Project founders)

SOFTy Cricket Match POSTPONED!!

Unfortunately, due to several of the Staffs Uni team having exams, Sunday's SOFTy cricket match has now been postponed....
New date and time To Be Confirmed!!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

SOFTy Cricket Match

On Sunday 15th May there will a Charity Cricket Match in aid of the SOFTys!

Venue : Milford Hall Cricket Club , Main Road, Milford, Stafford, ST17 0UL

Teams ; Staffordshire University ‘v’ Milford Hall Cricket Club

Match starts – 1.30pm

There will be food available to purchase with all money raised going to Oxfam and the SOFTys!

Everyone welcome!

Contact me for more info or ring SOFTy Chairman Hifsa on 07825 400099

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

BID project kicks off with a bang!

Well done to Ellie Davies, founding member of the Body Image Dance Project, for her great interview on BBC Radio Stoke yesterday.

The interview was perfectly timed as the first round of open auditions also began in the evening and went very well - thanks to all who attended!

Big thanks!!

A great big thank you from all of the SOFTys and SOFTys Star Mick the Vic!

This morning we have exceded our total, reaching £1020 to go towards our main fund!
This is fantastic news and we are incredibly grateful for all of your support - THANK-YOU!!

The JustGiving site will still be open for another week and every little bit really does help so feel free to keep giving those pennies!!


Monday, 9 May 2011

Ellie & Wendy to appear on BBC Radio Stoke

Don't forget to tune in & listen to Ellie and Wendy davies talk about the fabulous Body Image Dance project on today, drive time!! Good luck ladies!

Follow @BodyImageDesign on Twitter ot 'Like' Body Image Design (BID) on Facebook for more information on BID


Happy Monday!

Good morning and welcome to another week of sunshine (hopefully!).

We are now only £20 away from reaching Mick the Vic's total for running the Lichfield Half Marathon in just 2 hours!

Go on, start your week off well and donate a few pennies - you know you want to! ;-)


Friday, 6 May 2011

Nearly there!

We are now only £30 away from reaching our fundraising target for Mick's Half Marathon - go on, help us make it worthwhile for Mick and see if you've got a few pennies to throw in the pot!
Big thanks as always!

More funding needed!!

BID have been lucky enough to get a fair bit of sponsorship for the performance in September but to pay for professionals (dancers musicians film and sound recordists) they could do with a bit more – if anyone out there can help or knows of an appropriate funding source please let us know!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Performers needed for dance project!!

(a specially formed consortium of local artists and NULC – Newcastle college)

BID is looking for a female lead dancer (and chorus section) to work creatively over a week’s residency in August on a new dance work project (“Dance 123”) written by local composer Ellie Davies.

The dancer will be involved directly in the creation of the piece which will be performed with live music in September at Newcastle College with an additional performance dates to be confirmed.
The piece is looking at body image and the stages of self recovery.

Open, informal auditions will be held on May 9th and then May 16th at Stoke College J Block, Burslem Campus, 5.30 – 7pm. In these two workshops the choreographer will lead a short class, possible movement sequences and then choreographic tasks.

Please email to confirm interest and attendance to this open workshop/audition Amy Tomson (Choreographer)

We are also looking for trained voices to sing in the work. If you are a confident Soprano or Alto or would like more information about the project contact

Interested teachers should also contact Wendy the project manager as above.

Body Image Dance!

Check out Body Image Dance, a great project I am involved in which aims to reduce eating disorders in the region by improving body image with music and dance. Follow the Facebook box below (on the right!) or follow @BodyImageDance on Twitter to find out more, thanks!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Only £80 to go!

Big thanks to a lovely colleague for making her donation yesterday (you know who you are!), bringing our total to £920..... we only need £80 more to reach our target so come on people, dig deep!!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Mick storms through Lichfield!!

After a couple of weeks away on holiday, I am delighted to announce on my return that Mick the Vic successfully ran the Lichfield Half Marathon on Sunday in a brilliant time of two hours!!

We are now only £90 awat from reaching our target of £1000, so please log on to Just Giving and get donating!!

Congratualtions Mick, you really are one of SOFTys Stars!!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

New SOFTys logo!

Good morning!
A treat for a Tuesday morning.... our new logo for the SOFTys designed by Staffs Uni graduate Ed Kopczyk - thanks Ed!!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Wow, looking good!

As of this morning, Mick the Vic's JustGiving page has reached 36% of its total - help us get to 100%.....

It's for a really great cause and us SOFTys will be ever so grateful!!

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Marathon update!

You can now make a donation on Micks JustGiving page as he prepares to run the Lichfield Half Marathon....

Go on, you know you want to!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Mick's (half!) Marathon update!

You can now support Mick on his Marathon mission to support the SOFTys by visiting his JustGiving site:

Get on and Get giving!!

What the SOFTys support

Oxfam’s Girls’ Education Programme

Pakistan has the 3rd largest out of school population in the world after Niger and India.  Shockingly only 2% of girls reach high school and the literacy rate for women is just 45%.  To make things worse 17% of primary schools don’t have school buildings and many others lack basic facilities.

Girls’ Education in Sindh
The recent floods in Pakistan put yet more strain on the fragile education system in the Sindh District of Pakistan, damaging 17% of primary schools in the area.  Yet even before the floods there were:
13,000 schools without buildings, 34,000 schools without electricity, 700 schools without boundary walls, 23 without toilet blocks, and 25,000 without drinking water facilities.
Understandably, work urgently needs to be done.

Why is Education important?
Education for girls is crucial.  Without an education, women cannot learn the skills to make their way out of poverty.  Furthermore educated women are less vulnerable to violence and honour killing.  Essentially no education = no voice. Educated women know their rights better – they also have the skills and confidence to be in charge of their lives.

Oxfam’s Girls’ Education Programme
Our current programme operates in 9 districts in Southern Punjab, and has multiple strands.  Firstly, it builds and rehabilitates girls’ primary schools, ensuring that they are equipped with clean drinking water facilities.  It also addresses the wider structural issues such as teacher training, community awareness, and the strengthening of school councils, who are responsible for running the schools.  Finally we are campaigning for an increase in GDP spending on education from 2% to 4%.

The Results so far...
Zainab Bibi is very happy to see her daughter’s good habits which she is gradually developing in school and demonstrating in her home as well. Nasreen is studying in grade 5 and keeps on educating her father, mother and other siblings to wash hands before eating and has pasted her hand made chart at the door of the toilet, which says “Keep the Toilet Clean”!

Basti Raham Shah loves the new equipped classroom:  “Now we sit on benches provided to us recently, it was very difficult during winter to sit on floor and we used to feel a lot of cold”.

Haji Allah Ditta Rakh Qadra Number Rajanpur (School Council member) looks ahead to the future,
 “Change is inevitable, though I might not be able to see the immediate results in my life. Our grand children and the children of their children will see that change that education could bring”. 

With Your Support
There are 8 schools which have been identified in the flooded areas of Dadu and Shahdadkot that are in desperate need of rehabilitation.

£100,000 will build/rehabilitate 7 – 8 schools, providing 2000 girls with a safe environment for quality education.

TGI Friday!!

Good morning on this glorious Friday morning, the weekend will soon be here and with it i hope to get some more information to you about the SOFTys....

Who are they?

What do they do?

Watch this space!!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Mick's (half!) Marathon!

On Sunday 1st May 2011, Staffordshie University Chaplian Mick Williams has agreed to run the Lichfield half marathon in aid of the SOFTys.

We are incredibly grateful and will begin shaking pots to gather sponsorship soon - Look out for the SOFTys!

10:30am, Sunday 1 May 2011
King Edwards Leisure Centre, Kings Hill, Lichfield, WS14 9DE
Event Profile
Distance:13.1 miles
Route:Point to point
Setting:Town and rural
Water stations:Every 5km
Distance Markers:Every Mile
Traffic free?No

Thanks to the Pamper Party people!

I would like to say a great big thank you to everyone who supported our Pamper Party last night.
We managed to raise a fab £103.50 thanks to Stoke College giving massages, manicures and other treatments!

What a great start for the SOFTys (Staffordshire Oxfam Fundraising Team)