Queen’s 90th Colchester Celebrations

The Mayoress of Colchester lighting the beacon in Castle Park

Celebrations for the Queen’s 90th went underway in Colchester’s Castle Park last Thursday, with the Mayor lighting the beacon.
With similar events going on all over the country, Colchester’s beacon was lit at 7:30pm; fifteen minutes after the Queen lit the first beacon in Windsor.
The Mayor of Colchester, Theresa Higgins, led the ceremony with the British National Anthem, and then went on to give a speech from the Prince.
Sheila Boxshall, 64, traveled from Stanway to see the event, “The Queen is such a historic character, and long reigning. It’s good for the children to be able to say they were here to celebrate her 90th, it’s really good for the community.”
The Mayor explained how she felt honoured to be able to represent the Royal Family by being such a big part of the event,
“This is the first time I’ve lit the beacon, all the Mayors who have lit it on previous have got a plaque on it,” says the Mayor, “it commemorates all the occasions – it adds to the history of it.” said Mrs Higgins.
The ceremony ended at about 7:50pm and then Mrs Higgins walked around to talk to the public and meet the people from her town, “There’s lots of people here that probably haven’t been to one of my functions before, it’s nice I get to see people in the community.” says the Mayoress.


Marathon man plans to raise £5,000

The London Marathon 2013

A 60-year-old Colchester man whose daughter almost died of asthma 20 years ago is making a big effort to raise money for asthma charities.

Ray Castle’s latest fundraising effort is to run in the London Marathon. He’s hoping to raise £5,000 for Asthma UK.

After his daughter had a severe Asthma attack when she was 8, Ray has dedicated his fundraising efforts to Asthma related charities.

On his fundraising page he says: “We did not know much about it when my daughter was diagnosed. It can become very serious within minutes.”
“Thanks to the quick work of the doctors and nurses in hospital and the fantastic care she received she is still with us today.”

Asthma UK is a charity working to help prevent severe Asthma attacks and ultimately, fund research and campaigns to find a cure to Asthma.

Castle is running for the second time next month in support to his daughter Clare Webb and granddaughter, who are both Asthma sufferers.

His granddaughter Amy, 6, is another inspiration for his fundraising. “Everybody knows someone who suffers from Asthma and I want to do my daughter and granddaughter proud!”

In the UK, around 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma. That’s one in every 12 adults and one in every 11 children, says Asthma UK.

Castle, who will be 61 when he runs, also ran the Colchester half marathon as part of his training.
“I’m incredibly proud of him,” said Clare, 32, “he’s so passionate about what he does.”

He has so far raised £145 for the cause. You can also support Ray’s fundraising page by donating at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RayCastle1

Student Refugee Campaign


The University of Essex are tackling the refugee crisis head on.
With the conflicts in Iraq and Syria continuing, the refugee crisis is finding itself an issue internationally.
Students from the university in Colchester are currently campaigning to raise money to sponsor refugee students to study at the university.
“We are in the middle of the biggest humanitarian crisis of the 21st century and our government is failing to tackle it properly.
Nevertheless, here at Essex we do not accept the indifference, the ignorance and the injustice endured by those oppressed. We challenge, we fight and are here to change lives.” a quote from the campaign’s website.
They’re mission is for £1 or more donation from every student.
Currently they have raised £3,500 for the Essex Refugee fund.

Sexism petition makes a difference


Are public online petitions the future for us? Websites where people can sign E-petitions, like Change.org and iPetitions are becoming more popularly used.

Being an online user myself, when browsing a few weeks ago I came across a petition about the retail store Boots and sexist pricing.

Interested, I read on to discover that some of womens products on the market, although exactly the same product, compared with mens, are in fact more. Although not being an active feminist, I could see the point, this isn’t a matter of extreme feminism, this is just overpricing. The example raised was Boots, for an eight pack of womens razors was £2.29, however the price for the mens pack of 10, with the only real difference being colour, was £1.49.

After doing some of my research, seeing the overwhelming amount of reponse the petition had recieved about the issue, I signed it myself.

Just over a week later, when I was browsing the daily newspapers, I came across a small article titled ‘Boots revise sexist prices’ after reading – these petitions actually get results.


Essex political protests

imageFor the University of Essex, it has been an important part of their culture, to stay up to date with both social and political events.
A clear example of this was in the late 60’s, where there was a lot of student unrest and protest and Essex had the biggest voice of all. The university at this point was becoming infamous for the amount of student rebellions that were happening on campus.
In 1968, the controversial Conservative MP, Enoch Powell was to visit the university, seven students were due to have disciplinary meetings but the student protest sit-ins allowed these meetings to be annulled.
Just a couple of months later, another scheduled visit by Dr Thomas Inch, who was from the Porton Down biological welfare research facility, was interrupted by around one hundred protesters, including David Triesman, now known as Lord Triesman, speaking over Inch as he tried to give a talk. The university called the police, however nobody got arrested as the amount of students outnumbered the police.
In 1984 and 1989 there were two cases of protests against changes in student grants. In 1984 the Conservative Education Secretary Keith Joseph abandons plans for parents to be made to contribute to tuition fees.
Then in 1989 the Conservatives freeze student grants and introduced student loans. It was brought forward that grants up to £2,265 will stay available for students who were poorer, but loans of up to £420 became on offer to all students.
Three students were then ordered off of the campus and suspended, just three days later, students picketed all entrances to the university whilst distributing leaflets. After a few more days there was a meeting where almost all of the student population agreed to boycott all university participation, putting a free university in its place; however this did not continue long, as after a week the three students were reinstated.
The university has seemed to de-radicalise over the years compared to how it has been however there has been a few sparks of protests now and then.
A third year politics student, Sam French, 23, who has been actively involved over the 5 years he has been at the university, said ‘The NUS have taken a back step recently,’ and continued ‘Protesting isn’t dead at Essex at all.’
In February 2013, there was planning for the Israeli Deputy Ambassador to visit the University, to give a talk to some students; however this was cancelled after some students found out and managed to blockade the entrances to the building, and some even made their way inside. Again there was speak about some students having disciplinary action against them, yet nothing arose.
In April last year, a protest happened on one of the squares, called a ‘die-in’, where about 40 students laid on the floor pretending to be dead. This protest was about giving solidarity to the migrants, organised by French himself he stated, ‘Europe has a horrendous stance on the migrant crisis’.
The Students Union used to frequently send people to marches but French explained, ‘The SU has stopped funding this.’


Chocolate lovers have found their selves signing up for the worst boycott of all, a ‘Dechox’ giving up chocolate for the month of March.

March, however this year, is the month in which Easter falls. So being surrounded by Creme Eggs, and other chocolate delights this ‘Dechox’ will be hard, especially with shops pushing sales on the out of bounds substance.

Out of a genuine test of willpower, I have also taken the plunge. Although my participation is mainly just testing ability to go through with this, the Dechox is set up by the British Heart Foundation.

With the charity being one very close to my heart indeed, after my Grandad passed away in 2000 due to a cardic issue. I have always tried to support the work of the British Heart Foundation and in 2013 I worked as a vounteer in one of their stores for 6 months.

This is my challenge, and I will be updating my progress when I find time to do so.

imageI have a fundraising page aswell it is https://www.justgiving.com/dechox2016joeannmurphy

Local Leap Year Baby

Only once in four years does Lisa Patterson’s birthday come around.
Being a leap year baby, Mrs Patterson, who is 48 this year, has an actual birthday total of twelve. Her two children, Jack, 16, and Summer-Rose, 14, are technically both older than her.
Only celebrating her 12th official birthday, Lisa says, “It’s been good, I had afternoon tea at GreyFriars, we’re going to an Indian, I got flowers and also passed my exam and am now an Ambulance Technician.” Usually, on every other year she will celebrate her birthday on the 1st of March, she commented, “It’s not fair, but I guess it makes me younger than I really am.”
Her advice to all the young ‘leap year babies’ is to not be too disappointed, “you get better presents on the leap year, my husband got me an iPhone 6!” she says.