Monday 30 June 2014

Let's get Bradd on the plane to Poland

An impressive haul of medals at national and international level would demonstrate a long and successful career for any sportsman but for one youngster from Ashton in Makerfield his career is only just beginning.

Bradd Parfitt, aged 14, only started Karate in 2008 but is already a Black belt 1st Dan and is working towards 2nd Dan.

Bradd is improving all the time with training at the Rising Sun in Ashton-in-Makerfield and with the GB squad in Bury. He also has private lessons and has won numerous awards in competitions at National and International level. Last year Bradd gained a bronze medal in The European Championships which took place at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield. He also won a gold, silver and two bronze at the 1st Kizuna World Cup.

Bradd is set to realise his dream of representing his country at the WUKF World Karate Championships in Szcecin, Poland, this October.  He needs to raise £2000 to cover costs for this and other International Championships over the next 12 months.

Bradd’s mum, Dawn contacted me about the funding difficulties faced by Bradd. Karate is not funded by the Lottery or Sports Council. Dawn strongly believes that it is imperative that GBs top athletes compete on the world stage at the earliest opportunity and Bradd is undoubtedly one of the best athletes in the country.

Dawn Parfitt said, “Bradd has been competing at the highest level for the past three years, and has managed to place in every competition with the exception of his very first one.  He has shown consistency throughout at his own age as well as higher age groups. We are so proud of his achievements to date, and look forward to many more in the future."

If anyone would like to sponsor Bradd on a permanent basis they can contact Dawn on 07717054572.

Bradd is working hard raising funds himself and is set to take part in the Big Fun Run in Sefton Park, Liverpool during August. His dream is to compete at the highest level and he is working hard to be the best that he can be but he needs the support of the local community to give him a financial boost.

Wigan is a hot bed of sport and I know that people will want to get behind Bradd and make sure he is on the plane to Poland later this year.

You can pledge a donation here.

Thursday 26 June 2014

National Care Home Open Day

HC-One Ashton View Care Home on Wigan Road, Ashton in Makerfield, threw open its doors by taking part in the second National Care Home Open day on Friday 20 June.

I dropped in for a for a cuppa and cake and was given a tour of the facilities by Home Manager Andrea Nicholson and the opportunity to chat with Residents.

The idea behind the day is to encourage local people to visit care homes in their neighbourhood and work together to develop strong relationships between the home and the community.

As part of the Open Day Ashton View hosted afternoon tea for Residents and visitors with a sing along to classic ‘rock n roll’ hits of yesteryear. Andrea Nicholson, Home Manager at Ashton View said, "This is a great way to showcase the excellent services on offer and the fantastic work that goes on at Ashton View. Some people still have misconceptions about care homes so we are keen to dispel any myths that are out there and for people to come and have a look around."

All too often we hear about the negative aspects of care but today I met with dedicated staff who are working hard to support residents.

Opening the doors to the local community provides the ideal opportunity to shout about all the positive things that are happening within the care home, that help to ensure older people continue to live a full and meaningful life.

Friday 6 June 2014

I am urging local schools to visit Commonwealth War Graves in Wigan

Pic with Chris Hawes
I am urging local schools and constituents to visit their local Commonwealth war graves to gain a greater understanding of the scale and magnitude of the Great War and the impact that it has had on today’s society.

My call follows a national initiative spearheaded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), the All-Party Parliamentary War Heritage Group and the ‘In From The Cold Project’ that maps over 300,000 Commonwealth war dead by each Parliamentary constituency. Today I visited Commonwealth War Graves with Chris Hawes of the CWGC.

The Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is a time, not just for reflection and commemoration but also an opportunity to educate a new generation of young people about the extraordinary events of a hundred years ago and to bring to life some of the personal stories from this remarkable time.

Working with local groups and students gives us all an opportunity to explore how we would like to secure this legacy for generations to come.  Visiting the graves of the fallen is a simple but profoundly important way to commemorate the outbreak of the war.

Chris Hawes said, “The Centenary is an opportune time for us to re-engage and connect with local communities and young people, and explain how the people who are buried in our graves got to be there, who they were, and where they were from.  More than 300,000 Commonwealth servicemen and women are commemorated in the UK. Many died in military hospitals whilst being treated for their wounds or fell victim to the flu pandemic as the conflict drew to a close. Their graves reflect both the local impact of the war but also its wider historical significance."

“To highlight some of the personal stories of those who are buried or commemorated in our graves, we are installing over 100 visitor information panels throughout the UK during the Centenary.  The panels incorporate QR codes which, when scanned with the latest smartphone technology enable visitors to read these stories and understand the historical context.”

At the Education Show in mid-March, CWGC launched an online Virtual Cemetery education portal that provides schools and teachers with a comprehensive range of resources and support materials linked to the graves and memorials in their home town. The virtual cemetery website is an interactive tool which enables pupils and teachers to view images and videos, learn more about CWGC’s work across the globe, and – most importantly – the people that are commemorated in its cemeteries and memorials.

The virtual cemetery resource has been designed to encourage debate and spark pupils’ interest in thinking about the centenary of the First World War and the different ways in which everyone can remember the servicemen and women who gave their lives in the conflict.  The website also supports teachers with curriculum notes, lesson plans and suggestions for classroom activities.

During the tour I visited the following cemeteries with Chris:

Ince-in-Makerfield (Westwood Lane) Cemetery (Over 300 CWGC graves located at this site)
Wigan Cemetery
Goose green (St Paul) Churchyard
Highfield (St Matthew) Churchyard

CWGC maintains the graves of the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two world wars. It also holds and updates an extensive and accessible records archive.