Category Archives: Charity

Victorian Kidsgrove beneath the mistletoe

Kidsgrove Town Councillors and organisers; Front from left Cllr Sylvia Dymond, Cllr Elsie Bates, Town Clerk Jill Waring, Cllr Janet Parsons, Cllr Stephanie Burnett.  Back from Left Cllr David Allport, Deputy Mayor Cllr Kyle Robinson, Matthew Parker.

Kidsgrove Town Councillors and organisers; Front from left Cllr Sylvia Dymond, Cllr Elsie Bates, Town Clerk Jill Waring, Cllr Janet Parsons, Cllr Stephanie Burnett. Back from Left Cllr David Allport, Deputy Mayor Cllr Kyle Robinson, Matthew Parker.

The Victorian Christmas is a joyous occasion.  First and foremost, it is a religious holiday, but giving and family were important themes.  Most were handmade, so were started many months before.  Mufflers, embroidered handkerchiefs, bookmarks, pen wipers, and other useful gifts were lovingly stitched, glued, and coloured for family members and friends through the fall and winter months.  Wrappings of coloured paper, tissue, and cloth were chosen with ribbons to compliment.  

The air is filled with the smells and sounds of the approaching holiday.  The scent of roasted chestnuts from street vendor’s wafts through the crisp air, the sharp scent of evergreens draped around some doors, wreaths give a festive look to doors and windows.  Not all, some cling to the superstition that says you must not put up greens until Christmas Eve.  On street corners street musicians are singing traditional melodies.  Carollers stroll along, stopping to sing for people and selling a sheet of music. 

Busy shoppers hurry along on foot or in carriages getting last minute gifts, a trip to the shop to match a bit of thread, the bakery to order some little cream horns . . . so much to do!

Father Christmas also known as John Light and Ted Butler from Kidsgrove Rotary Club.

Father Christmas also known as John Light and Ted Butler from Kidsgrove Rotary Club.

Christmas 2012 in Kidsgrove was launched spectacularly with the towns annual Victorian Christmas Market on Saturday 1st December.  Kidsgrove Town Council Events and Celebrations Committee once again delivered the high profile event in the most traditional style smashing its usual footfall and attracting visitors from all across Staffordshire.  The town took a step back in time for the event and welcomed Father Christmas from the Rotary to bring cheer and joy to local children. 

Councillor Sylvia Dymond serving up wintery treats and hot drinks for the hungry and thirsty customers.

Councillor Sylvia Dymond serving up wintery treats and hot drinks for the hungry and thirsty customers.

This year’s refreshments included Mince Pies, mulled wine, Jacket potatoes with a mix of fillings and our famous Hot Dogs.  Many people flocked to try our more traditional items on the menu and many commented on how impressed they were with the home brewed mulled wine but at 29% alc we are not surprised it was enjoyed. 

Tamil Dancers bringing a taste of India to the Victorian Market.

Tamil Dancers bringing a taste of India to the Victorian Market.

The Christmas celebration was launched by the Choir of Clough Hall Technology School and followed by the Tamil Dancers of the Tamil school in Stoke-on-Trent.  Of course it is important to remember that India was part of the British Empire during Queen Victoria’s reign and so we share close links so why not celebrate their culture along with ours. To top it off the Chairman of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Councillor Stephen Ellis joined us for the celebrations and to spread the word of Kidsgroves famous market. 

Kidsgrove_Deputy_Mayor_Councillor_Kyle_Robinson_Chairman_Staffordshire_Moorlands_District_Council_Kidsgrove

Kidsgrove Deputy Mayor, Councillor Kyle Robinson and Chairman of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Councillor Stephen Ellis teaming up to promote Staffordshire.

In the afternoon we were treated to performances by Kidsgrove Community Choir and St Thomas’ Primary School Choir.  The music and voices sounded like angels in heaven singing from the beams of the well decorated hall.  So many people commented how entertained they were with the array of performances on offer. 

Traditional stalls were spread all around the hall with gifts and treats to offer.  People gathered to taste Cllr Parkers chocolate fudge brownies and American style cookies wrapped in brown paper bags and Christmassy red ribbon.  Homemade Christmas decorations fit for any tree were glistening in the light for that customer wishing to create a magical festive celebration at home.  Charity stalls and local business teamed up to show off what they have to offer.  The Potteries Guinea Pig Association set up their Guinea Pig Christmas Nativity to raise money for this year’s vet bills.   

Kidsgrove Victoria Hall packed to the rafters with shoppers looking for a Christmas bargain.

Kidsgrove Victoria Hall packed to the rafters with shoppers looking for a Christmas bargain.

Thank you to all involved to make this special event a huge success and helping to raise £850 for the Mayor’s charity the Alzheimer’s Society. 

Each Christmas as it passes

Some change to us doth bring

Yet to our friends the closer,

As Time creeps on, we cling.

Checkemlads meeting with Andy Burnham

Checkemlads Charity accepts Andy Burnham as a Patron of the Charity

Checkemlads.com is a charity run by voluntary cancer survivors with an aim to support men and their families going through testicular cancer, spread awareness and educate young men about self-examination in schools, military bases and work places. Founded in 2003 by Phil Morris who was going through cancer and well known drummer Steve White at a Paul Weller concert. The idea to start a website about testicular cancer which would appeal to younger men with a laid back approach and not so black and white as most websites at the time. Shortly after they were joined by Sargent major Mick Riley MBE from the British army who served with Phil in Germany in the 90’s who his also a 3 time cancer survivor. Mick wanted to increase testicular cancer awareness to the armed forces and has since been awarded the MBE for his hard work.

Mark Porter joined the team along with other survivors in 2009 we now have a small army of helpers & friends who are all unpaid survivors and we all really enjoy what we do with checkemlads.com. Some help with support some with awareness & some do both. Mark Porter is a survivor from (Kidsgrove) Stoke on Trent who really got stuck into the cause & has taken the charity up to where it should have been years ago.  and together we work hard with awareness events. Charity meet ups, talks about cancer and our annual Mt Snowdon trek which testicular cancer survivors from across the world attend.

In June 2012 we filmed a documentary about testicular cancer at Clatterbridge cancer Centre in the Wirral which could be shown on the internet which would put people at ease who are going through cancer, teach people how to self-exam their testicles and has interviews with survivors who talk about their time with cancer. So far the film has been viewed over 30,000 times across the world and is being used by hospitals and other charities. We have had many emails from men saying it helped them and comments from survivors who said they wish they had this film when they went through cancer. We think that we could help the NHS with our network of support and awareness as the UK has a poor rate of early diagnosis in younger people. We all are very grateful to our wonderful NHS for treating us but we know from many emails and phone chats that allot of men who survive cancer feel they are pushed out of the door with no mental support or anyone to talk to. If the NHS could take down some of its “snobbery” and start to work with the smaller charities then we could improve the outcome. Men do have a different set of rules when coming out of cancer. There seems to be less sympathy from employers and financial establishments such as banks towards debts. Self-employed men suffer greatly with no support from the government and we have seen families broken apart from this.

How can we improve things?

  • Increase counselling service funding
  • Lobby for government financial support for a set period of time
  • Bring in a law that banks cannot peruse debts for 12 months and not effect credit rating
  • Improve grants to support charities for male cancer We feel over a short time these ideas could save the NHS money and have a dramatic effect on the patient’s life long term.
The first 12 months after cancer is vital for the person to get back to feeling normal and healthy with a positive outlook, at present the system is floored and in need of revision. Testicular cancer is one of the most survivable cancers but requires some of the most extreme chemotherapy. Once more cancer become treated and have better survival rates then if we get post testicular cancer right and use it as a prima then we will be prepared as a nation for more young adults to carry on their life as best as possible. We have fought hard over the years for men to get Testosterone treatment from the NHS and it is improving slowly. Men who have lost one testicle were not treated even as little time as 4 years ago. More evidence says low testosterone maybe causing the cancer and the long term list of problems which could result from not having TRT (TESTOSTERONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY) could cripple the nhs .
Men who go without treatment are at far greater risk of:
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Mental health
  • Bone disease
  • Other cancers This has been proven by research and is not speculation.
We have done so much with very little funding. Networking and awareness is saving life and saving millions to the NHS. More work with smaller charities such as checkemlads could make it even better. Our diagnosis and survival rate of cancers in younger people is one of the worst in Europe with the EU waking up to awareness and support many years ago. We feel we could help . The checkemlads team.
Andy asked if he could be a patron and will start to ask questions about improving support in the UK for ALL men who have had cancer. He will ask the NHS to show our film as standard and will let us do testicular cancer awareness in parliament.
Locally Mark is in discussions & contact with the UHNS about the charity and they have been fully behind the charity, as has Joan Walley and Mark also writes a mens health column for Port Vale’s matchday programme, we are getting a health drive for men in this area thanks to Mark who has just been awarded a community chest grant from Kidsgrove council to help promote awareness in the local community, Mark thanks Kyle for all his support of the charity “Kyle has been a tremendous help to our campaign, he is a credit to his role of deputy mayor & to the people of this borough. Thanks to Kyle we can increase our awareness campaign hopefully save more lives”
View the checkemlads film on testicular cancer at www.checkemlads.co.uk or follow mark @marksporter or for information on testicular cancer contact mark@checkemlads.com