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October 2020. Issue 46

MK

Because Milton Keynes is worth celebrating

CELEBRATE: lifestyle magazine

Discover the Swanbourne Spirit A dynamic approach to learning for the 21st century at Swanbourne House School full story inside

lity T he qua n e ma gazi fo r M K

Open Mornings on Fridays October 9th and December 4th. See pages 8–9

INSIDE! robotazia luke clark bletchley abc

FR EE !

SWANBOURNE HOUSE


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6 LUKE’S NEW PODCAST Luke Clark launches ‘The Stress Sessions’ to help MK residents with their mental health

Contents

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9 SWANBOURNE SPIRIT Open Mornings at Swanbourne House School will demonstrate a dynamic approach to learning

10 NEW! SAM CARMICHAEL MKFM news reporter and presenter Sam has taken over our Cool Events column and offers ideas for October

13 FOCUS ON 12TH STREET We take a look at the latest developments at the popular Milton Keynes leisure quarter

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JOY FOR BLETCHLEY ABC Bletchley Amateur Boxing Club receive a new van from Alpha Solutions, who have a new home

15 HARRY’S A HAPPY HATTER MK-based Luton Town footballer Harry Cornick wins four awards at the club’s annual awards evening

16 CHAMPAGNE BUBBLEE The founder of Knife Crime Victim support collabs with MK youth groups

22 ROBOTAZIA REVIEW Jon Boyle goes for a byte to eat at the new 12th Street robot restaurant

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30 NEW! DAD’S THE WORD Ex-MK Citizen journalist Gareth Ellis talks parenting in his new column

Plus! Hugo Fleming (18), Be Military Fit (25), Murphy Runs (26), Food Scene (28), Heather Murphy (33), Ray Pantling (35), Reel Reviewer (37) and Cara Lee (38) The smallprint: Celebrate:MK cannot take responsibility for the content of advertisements or quotes/claims in articles. All photos and artwork are accepted on the condition that permission has been granted for its use in Celebrate:MK. Reproduction of any content included in Celebrate:MK, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited unless permission has been granted by the editor. © Celebrate:MK


Visit celebratemk.co.uk for more news from around MK

October 2020

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Welcome from the Editor

20,000 MAGAZINES DELIVERED TO HOMES, BUSINESSES AND PICK-UP POINTS EVERY MONTH

Fu n Fac t

Sam is First Class! See page 10

Our new Cool Events columnist Sam Carmichael is the latest Journalism graduate to join Celebrate:MK. She graduated from University of Buckingham in 2019 with a First Class degree.

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hat a year this is turning out to be. We’ve already had a virus pandemic and an earthquake in Milton Keynes in 2020. Now we’re just waiting for the hidden volcano underneath The Point to erupt then we can call it a year! But in all seriousness, Now we’re just life has now become a bit waiting for the of a balancing act for me as I look to respect the hidden volcano government rules, without under The Point being afraid of living. to erupt then we As such, I gambled on a last-minute holiday to the can call it a year! Algarve last month and I’m glad I did as it really helped to recharge the Jon Boyle Visit celebratemk.co.uk for more news from around MK batteries. Stay positive!

How to Subscribe The best way to receive Celebrate:MK directly every month is to subscribe to the free digital edition. Just email the word ‘Subscribe’ to jon@celebratemk.co.uk

How to Advertise To advertise in Celebrate:MK, please email jon@celebratemk.co.uk or call 07928 027444. We offer generous discounts when you book 3, 6 or 12 months of advertising in Celebrate:MK.

• Homecare support • Live in care • Emergency care (provided same day) • Palliative care • Dementia and Alzheimer care • Brain injury specialist care

How to Contact Us Telephone: 07928 027444 Email: jon@celebratemk.co.uk Website: www.celebratemk.co.uk Social media: @CelebrateMK

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The Stress Sessions designed to give you a positive mind, body and soul

Luke launches new podcast to help MK residents’ mental health

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Milton Keynes resident has launched a new podcast to help raise awareness of the importance of good mental health & wellbeing in the current climate. Luke Clark has set up ’The Stress Sessions’, which is a weekly podcast with an accompanying Instagram page, to help locals keep a positive mind, heart and soul. A staggering one in four people will experience a mental health problem of some sort every year in England, with one in six people experiencing a common mental health problem – like anxiety and depression – in any given week. So far, 32-year-old Luke’s podcasts have tackled different mental health stigmas like anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts – three things that he’s personally had to deal with in recent years. “I initially launched The Stress Sessions as a way to tell my own personal mental health story, as I’ve been a sufferer of anxiety for a number of years,” explained Luke. “I’d kept my mental health struggles a secret for years from everyone, and finally plucked up the courage to get help a few years ago, so I

thought the idea of a podcast might be a big help to people in a similar situation.” Since recording and releasing his pilot episode ’The One With the Unexpected Wee’ with his wife, Tara – who was last year diagnosed with depression – friends and family of the married couple have opened up about their own mental health problems. Luke said: “When I sat down and began to plan out what I wanted to say on each episode after the pilot, and asked my friends and family what they thought of the idea as a whole, it was obvious that loads of people from all walks of life have been

affected by mental health problems – especially those closest to me. “So I decided to branch out from talking about my own stories, to learn more about factors and topics of mental health as a whole – like postnatal depression, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to name a few.” ‘The Stress Sessions’ podcasts come out every Monday and can be downloaded or streamed on all podcast providers including Spotify. For more information follow @StressSessions on Instagram

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www.ThePresto.co.uk Call us at: 01908 888 450

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OPEN MORNINGS Fridays 9th October and 4th December. Reserve your place at admissions@swanbourne.org swanbourne.org


Visit celebratemk.co.uk for more news from around MK

October 2020

Discover the Swanbourne Spirit Open Mornings at Swanbourne House School on Fridays 9th October and 4th December will demonstrate a dynamic approach to learning...

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wanbourne House School, set in 55 acres of Bucks countryside just 20 minutes from Central Milton Keynes, has been passionately creating a dynamic and progressive approach to learning fit for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Since joining the School in 2018, Head Jane Thorpe has replaced the outdated educational model followed by many Prep schools with a new approach built on excellent academic foundations, whilst simultaneously developing the skills needed that allow children to thrive throughout their school life and into their careers. The school is passionate about developing in the children, genuine awe, wonder and curiosity at the complexities of life and the world about us – past, present and future. This modern approach is seeing children thrive in learning the skills of independence, communication, collaboration, resilience, reflection and

leadership as part of their curriculum. Extra-Curricular sport and enrichment are an important part of life at Swanbourne House. The traditional Saturday School has been replaced with a thriving Enrichment Programme that sees pupils take part in workshops, clubs and activities that help create lifelong passions and develop new skills. The programme has included a huge range of enriching activities including musical theatre shows, fashion workshops, clay pigeon shooting, performance

car design, ancient Greek lessons and bush craft skills. Sports played at Swanbourne House School include rugby, hockey, golf, football, tennis, athletics, netball, cross country, swimming and cricket. There is also opportunity to take part in climbing, fencing, mountain biking, clay pigeon shooting, yoga and trialthalon, amongst others. Facilities include cricket pitches with pavilion, football and rugby pitches, 20m indoor swimming pool, all weather tennis and netball courts, indoor basketball courts, a dance studio, an all-weather hockey pitch, sports hall with two basketball courts and a 6 hole golf course. Find out more about Swanbourne House and the Swanbourne Spirit. Attend an Open Morning on Friday 9th October or 4th December. Booking essential. Private tours also available. Call 01296 720 264 or email admissions@swanbourne.org

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Pumpkins and pretzels Cool

MKFM news reporter and presenter Sam Carmichael brings you three handpicked October events in her new column

events

This month

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his is my very first column, and what a brilliant time to start! The leaves are beginning to fall, the air is getting crisper and autumn is here. Unlike the previous chunk of 2020, seasonal events are starting to crop up meaning it is time to wipe the dust off of your diary (yes, that old thing) and start looking forward to some local events. Although Halloween won’t be the same this year, one hearty tradition you can still enjoy is pumpkin picking. The Patch MK reopens this month with more pumpkins than ever before, so you’ll

have plenty to choose from. The Patch is down the A422 between MK and Buckingham and is run by a lovely family on their farm. There are plenty of photo opportunities, a hay maze, food court, barrel train rides, and fun for all the family. I had a blast last year and can’t wait to visit again. Tickets must be purchased in advance at thepatchmk.co.uk. If Halloween isn’t quite your scene, how about spending this month learning a new skill? The Stables is hosting a range of introductory lessons on all sorts of topics ranging from musical instruments to music production and sound engineering. The day-long classes are perfect for beginners, and it is a great way to support our local arts scene. If you’re interested, then visit the What’s On Guide at stables.org. And lastly, one of my favourite events, Oktoberfest MK, sadly won’t be taking place this year. Organisers have promised to return for an even bigger celebration in 2021, but in the meantime why not bring the iconic festival to you?

Put up a gazebo, make some traditional foods, and get your steins at the ready for a fun makeshift home festival. I’d recommend grabbing some bottles from MK Biergarten, an independent micropub and bottle shop, as they have over 200 beers to choose from including locally made brews. Prost! Whatever you get up to this month, have a safe one and I'll be back in November with some wintery events... is it too early to start planning for Christmas? If you are running or hosting an event and want to get in touch, you can email sam.celebratemk@gmail.com

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October 2020

We take a look at the latest developments at the popular MK leisure quarter

What’s going on at 12th Street?

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he 12th Street Leisure Quarter is full to the brim with restaurants, bars and activities to enjoy. With over 17 sites including top attractions and entertainment venues, there is something for everyone in one convenient location. Accommodating everything from sit down three-course meals at TGI Fridays, to grab and go meals from German Doner Kebab and the brand new venue Fireaway Pizza, you’ll be pleased you sunk your teeth into the delicious food on offer. Big names such as Kaspas can be found here as well as independently owned restaurants such as Taipan and the MK Buffet Village. Family fun wouldn’t actually be fun without some competition, right? And your competitiveness can shine with some adventure golf in the lost world at Mr

Mulligan’s, or by trying to beat the clock at Locked in a Room. And whilst the big kids get competitive, there’s Mini Monsters soft play cafe to enjoy for the little ones. If it’s a catch up over drinks then Midsummer Tap and Brewhouse & Kitchen have a wide range of craft beer and cocktails to try or, if you’re in the mood for a party, then Pop World and Revolution de Cuba can take you there. If you’re looking for something out of this world then start your journey at Vertigo VR, then finish up with dining with robots, yes... we

said robots, at Robotazia. We promise that you’ll have unforgettable experiences. Your safety is always in mind and luckily at 12th Street it’s open air so you’re free to wander as you see fit. There’s also ample amounts of outdoor seating at most venues, not to mention plenty of sanitiser stations and, of course, social distancing measures in place. Be sure to keep an eye on 12th Street’s website and social media for opening times and information, including the latest offers and discounts, as well as three new and exciting venues opening. For more information visit www.12thstreet.co.uk or follow @12thstreetmk on social media. See pages 22-23 for a review of Robotazia at 12th Street


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Alpha’s generosity proves a knockout for local boxing club John Conteh MBE turns out to see Bletchley Amateur Boxing Club receive a second new van from Alpha Solutions, whose new home is Oscars at The Hub

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hilst their exclusive events are on temporary hold, the Alpha Family have turned their philanthropic focus firmly back to the community. Following on from raising an amazing £45,000 for Carers Trust they have sponsored a second new van for Bletchley Amateur Boxing Club. The van is crucial for transporting the children, young teens and amateur boxers to their matches across the country, giving them the opportunity to excel and reach their full potential. From turning professional like Alpha Ambassador Mark Gavin, who has personally benefitted from the club on his journey, to taking the skills of hard work, determination and discipline forward, the club inspires a future generation and is integral to everyone around them. Mark was joined by fellow Alpha Ambassador and British Boxing legend John Conteh MBE and Alpha sponsored Chantelle Cameron, a British professional female lightweight boxer.

They proudly handed over the keys on behalf of Alpha Solutions to Head Coach, Kevin McCarthy, who was delighted to receive them on behalf of the club. In true Alpha style, the presentation was followed by a champagne reception and lunch at the beautiful Oscars Restaurant and Bar in the centre of Milton Keynes. Newly acquired by the Alpha Family, this beautiful venue in The Hub, Milton Keynes, is being given a touch of the Alpha Magic and will

be announcing the official launch date very soon. During a sumptuous lunch carefully prepared with local produce by amazing new chefs, guests were keen to hear about the exciting new initiatives due to be announced by Alpha – watch this space for all upand-coming information! In these challenging times, Alpha proved yet again, even in line with current social distancing guidelines, the opportunities are limitless and serious business can still be fun.


Visit celebratemk.co.uk for more news from around MK

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October 2020

Harry is a happy Hatter after awards night MK-based Luton Town footballer wins four awards at club’s annual event

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ilton Keynes-based footballer Harry Cornick was the big winner at the Luton Town Supporters Trust Virtual Player of the Season Presentation in September. The 25-year-old attacker landed four awards, winning the Goal of the Season, Away Player of the Season, Junior Supporters’ Player of the Season and the Players’ Player of the Season trophies, after a fabulous maiden campaign in the Championship in 2019-20. Harry finished as Luton’s second top scorer with nine

goals and played a key role in helping them pull off the Great Escape as Nathan Jones’ team won their last two games to stay in the Championship on

the final day of the season – the first time they had been out of the relegation zone in 2020. The awards were late this year due to Covid-19.

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Collaborating for youths in MK Quinton Green, also known as MC Champagne Bubblee and the poet Mr Milise, talks to Truth For Youth and MK Dons SET

champagne bubblee

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s the founder of Knife Crime Victim Support, I’m often engaging in collaborative work in and around our community. We’ve recently struck up an amazing working relationship with mum of two, Heidi Beckham, who works tirelessly to help young people nurture their talents and provides support as part of Truth For Youth. I spoke to Heidi, and Maralyn Smith from MK Dons SET, and asked them about their youth work in Milton Keynes and Thames Valley. Tell us about your background in youth work and the initiatives you have been involved in, Heidi. "Truth For Youth programme launched in November 2019 live on the BBC with special guest speaker Charlie Sloth. “I got actively involved in MK youth work, as experience

showed me that our children have few safe outlets beyond home or school to have positive and exciting experiences to help them grow into happy responsible adults." What do you think the social issues are behind serious youth violence and how does it affect Milton Keynes? "Lack of facilities and poor public transport make it hard for young people to safely socialise and learn life skills. “Too many vulnerable children are left susceptible to gang activity at a time when this is sadly glorified. “The Covid lockdown has further isolated young people, although most are still optimistic about the future. We need to give them alternatives." What initiatives do you have planned in the future and what opportunities do you feel that you can offer young people? "The learning and development opportunities that we offer are an integral part of what every community should be providing. “They give us the chance to connect with young people, safely beyond the school setting and ensure that they are active, healthy, achieving, included, respected and learning responsibility. “Our youth club approach offers a safe place for young people to socialise in a great environment. “Kids hang out, play pool,

learn about music production, photography, cooking, football, fishing and more. “TFY supports them to develop confidently into adulthood." Are you partnering with any schools, youth offending services or charities? "The Hazeley Academy have generously provided TFY use of a fantastic facility where we are opening a food academy for youngsters to learn from catering students." Truth for Youth will be collaborating with Knife Crime Victim Support and MK Dons SET. Can you tell us more about the SET’s community initiatives? "MK Dons Sport and Education Trust (SET) is an independent charity aligned to Milton Keynes Dons, using the brand of the club as one of its tools of engagement to improve the lives and experiences of its local community. “The SET delivers lifechanging programmes in Milton Keynes and the surrounding area and focuses on education, social inclusion, health and wellbeing, girls and women's football, football development and community delivery." Quinton teaches poetry and creative writing online. Follow Quinton on Instagram @champagne_bubbler and @whoismrmilise. Follow Mr Milise on Spotify. Email him on kcvsinfo@gmail.com.


Spoken word artist Mr Milise demonstrates a deep understanding of social issues with thought provoking lyrics that encourage debate and open dialogue. Published by Wordsby & UNICEF, Milise has cemented his position across the London Poetry circuit. An established artist that has supported Lethal B, Wiley & Stormzy. With regular plays across the BBC Franchise. BBC Sounds

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Kitchens: What’s hot, what’s not Hugo Fleming, Design Director of award-winning local interior design company Cranberryhome, gives us an insight into upgrading your kitchen this autumn...

interior design co lumn

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itchens are big investments. With so much choice these days, it’s really hard to know where to start, so this brief guide of what’s hot this season will be a glimpse into the future. We know kitchens have dramatically changed over the years, the room itself has become more of the home hub. The benefits of open plan living are evident and give families space to work, play and entertain. Getting this space right is therefore crucial. This season, kitchens are becoming more dramatic with colour – think dark blue and deep greens paired with ribbed marble for that more exciting and luxurious look. Dekton worktops, according to Emma at Excelsior kitchens, are “increasingly being asked for as they offer thinner profiles and are really hardwearing.” Cupboard fronts now tend to be more matt finish, with concrete finishes also popular. ”Adding texture into the kitchen in the form of wood accent pieces brings the

scheme together," says Emma. Most important of all, however, is to get your layout right for your space. Knowing how much worktop space you really need is key, along with making sure your appliances are in easy reach. Choosing a stylish handle can really make a kitchen, especially if you choose a more bespoke kitchen. There are new handless options too with recessed profiles in accent colours such as brass, black, or brushed silver for that more linear look The “Neff slide 'n' hide oven is one of our best sellers” according to Elizabeth at Lima kitchens, whilst the boiling water tap is the musthave gadget this year! Kitchen islands are very popular and with a little

effort, these can be made to be the centre of attraction with cool bar stools and cute pendant lights adding drama. Add in a wireless charging port into your worktop for that must-have gadget. For the keen cooks amongst you check out the Bora hob with integrated extractor and for “something a little different” suggests Simon of Discover Kitchen Design, “look for the new smart water tap that you can set the exact amount of water.” Hugo is often found at Ask an Expert at Grand Designs Live, and is in demand as an interior designer all over the UK. You can email him on hello@cranberryhome.co.uk or visit cranberryhome.co.uk for more information.


watchwords are Quality, These days most homeowners suffer from Integrity and Value. Quality in thearound materials a lack of storage space. Visit celebratemk.co.uk for more news from MK So many precious items that we use for all our installations and the fact that need to be kept that all our loft packages – but where to store it are fitted by time served all? That’s where Home tradesmen, so our Counties Loft Ladders customers are assured come in. of the best job. The company, Integrity in that we based locally, offers will turn stand up at the homeowners themost hese days Ladders out.time opportunity to maximise we say and make sure homeowners Manager Jamie the house isare spotless their storage watchwords Quality, These days mostspace from from a Oakley explained: when we leave, and with suffer a loftsuffer ladder, Integrity and Value. homeowners storage “Our are valuewatchwords in the thatmaterials we offer 50sqft of of boarding and Quality in a lack of lack storage space. our services a price a light - all fullyitems fitted that So many Quality, Integrity and we use foratall our Sospace. many precious peopleQuality canand afford. in less to than day precious items thatfrom installations Value. in the the fact that need beakept just £355!toBut it’s not that allbusiness our loft packages – but where store it need to be kept – but materials thatrelies we use Our on just the affordability are fitted by time all? That’stowhere referrals and we served get a where store Home itthat all? for all our installations of the package so that our Counties Ladders huge amount of our That’sLoft where Home tradesmen, and the fact all calls makes Home Counties customers are who assured come in. from people have Loft Ladders stand Counties Loft Ladders our loft packages are referred of been the best job. to us by out, as manager Jamie come in. fitted by time served The company, our existing customers Oakley explains: based locally, offers‘Our Integrity in that we

- that simply wouldn’t happen if we didn’t October 2020 adhere to our overriding principles.

every installation we carry out!’

So, if you want to make use of your loft space, At the end of the day the call Jamie free on 0808 old adage that happy 301 9558 and he’ll be customers lead to more happy to pop round and happy customers is true give you a no obligation and we work hard to quote so you too can make that happen for make use of your loft!

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So, if you want to make use of your loft space, At the end of the day the call Jamie free on 0808 old adage that happy 301 9558 and he’ll be customers lead to more happy to pop round and happy customers is true give you a no obligation and we work hard to quote so you too can make that happen for make use of your loft!

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Cloudy2Clear, A Local Service With A Smile. I think we can all agree that the sooner we see the back of 2020 and this dreadful corona virus the better. That said, there are also some heart warming positives that we can take out of this situation. It has often been said that we can only really get to know one another and realise what is truly important in times of crisis. I think few would argue that in this case what has proven to be important is local community spirit. When talking to the Manager of Cloudy2Clear windows Stephen Moon it became clear that these values have been held dear for a number of years. Since starting the business some years ago Cloudy2Clear have remained true to their core values of

supporting the local community by providing a service that saves the public money. The Cloudy2Clear service only requires the glass to be replaced and not the whole window once the unit has failed. Stephen commented “Cloudy2Clear were able to assist our community through the last financial crisis in 2008 due to the savings that can be made in using our service. Unfortunately we might be going through something similar again soon and the public can rest assured that we will be there to help again”.

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‘I’m nuts and bolts about the new Robotazia restaurant!’ Robotazia, the UK’s first sci-fi robot themed restaurant, has landed at 12th Street in Central Milton Keynes amid a wave of excitement. Celebrate:MK editor Jon Boyle took along his four-year-old son to try it out, and they found the whole experience out of this world

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s any parent will tell you, the toughest thing about going out for dinner with the kids is keeping them entertained. Problem solved – just take them to the new Robotazia restaurant at 12th Street in Central MK for a byte to eat! I took my boy along for dinner and I have genuinely never seen him so excited for such a prolongued period of time. We spent nearly two hours immersed in a truly robotic dining experience, meeting friendly robot waiters and waitresses who delivered child-friendly food right to our table, as well as exploring the wide array of astounding robot creations scattered around the venue. We did meet some humans too – the founders of the independent business Mark and Joy Gittens, and their son Alfredo, who all work in the family-run restaurant. Mark explained how the Robotazia concept began in late 2015 when he dedicated his life to developing and sourcing a unique collection for an extraordinary venue. He spent more than four

years building and creating sci-fi robots and props, while also seeking out unused, abandoned or forgotten robot props from exhibitions, shops, businesses and promotions to

restore back to their original condition. Most of the robots are artistic one-off creations, unlikely to be found anywhere else in the world. The food menu at


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Robotazia is Caribbean, which Alredo explained is because his family are from Barbados. I ordered slow cooked beef curry with rice, baked mixed vegetables and a pint of Goose Island IPA. I personally found that this dish tasted a bit plain, but I guess it lacked strong flavours and spices to ensure that children can eat it too. I loved my ice-cold pint though and the futuristic way that Alfredo filled it from the bottom up, which was cool to watch and in keeping with the theatre of the whole venue. My son enjoyed his chicken nuggets, chips and beans from the children’s menu and then we shared a delicious huge slice of chocolate cake for dessert, while I had a lovely latte too to round off the meal. The question is not whether we will return to this restaurant, it is when we will return, as my son hasn’t stopped talking about it ever since. I have to admit that the big kid in me loved it too. Overall, I’m nuts and bolts about Robotazia as the whole experience was out of this world. Just make sure you book in advance online as it’s already extremely popular.

October 2020

For more information on Robotazia, or to book a table, visit www.robotazia.co.uk. The restaurant is located at 14 Savoy Crescent, 12th Street, MK9 3 PU.

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October 2020

‘BMF keeps me fit, agile and young’ Be Military Fit combines the latest military methodology with cutting-edge training programmes to deliver results-based training

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ndrew Mercer has gone from stressed out executive to the best physical and mental shape of his life. When Andrew joined Be Military Fit, the UK’s leading outdoor fitness provider that runs sessions at Campbell Park and Willen Lake North, he hadn’t partaken in fitness in a long time. “Gyms just weren’t for me. I’d been very fit in my youth playing sports and rugby in particular, but as my career took me to top executive status I found I no longer had time for myself and my fitness suffered as a consequence,” said Andrew. “When BMF opened eight years ago I saw an advert in a local paper and decided to give it a go. “When I joined, I literally never looked back.” He added: “The ex-military and highly professional instructors always brought the right amount of challenge and team work to every session that made it fun, as well as guaranteed to push me to the next level. “It gave me the opportunity to leave a daily demanding and busy work role behind and to lose some pounds, get fitter, become more productive in my work and have fun along the way!

“Even now at 63, and one of the older members, I can still run rings around people less than half my age. “Now I’ve retired, BMF is a positive focus in my week. “It keeps me fit, agile and young at heart.” Be Military Fit is owned and run by local health & fitness experts and energie Fitness gym owners Rob and Claire. “Because we own two top fitness brands in Milton Keynes we are happy to give our BMF members access to our first class club and the energie Fitness

network as part of our ‘Epic’ membership,” said Claire. “This makes BMF membership the most versatile and best value membership in Milton Keynes.” So if you want to take your fitness to the next level and achieve your goals before 2020 comes to an end, join for a free taster session by scanning QR code (left page): Or call: 07984775332 Or email: rob.francis@ energiefitness.com

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‘A marathon PB for me!’ Murphy Runs talks through the Re-Imagined Milton Keynes Marathon

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n Sunday 6th September, after months of training throughout this hot summer, I took on the ReImagined Marathon around Milton Keynes. Sunday 6th was the first date that runners could take part in this timed event. I got to the start line at Willen Lake at around 7:45 for an 8am start. As expected, there were quite a few runners there, taking part in either the halfmarathon, or full marathon. Despite the lack of the usual pre-race atmosphere, no long queues for the loo’s

or waiting around for the start, it was nice to connect with runners who were all about to experience the same kind of race. We all wished each other luck and then headed off – a lap of Willen, down to Caldecotte, back up to Willen and then repeat the loop. My coach, Clean Coach Katie, was by my side to run the first lap with me. Instantly, I was impressed with the MK Marathon App that gave turn-by-turn navigation. The directions were timely, clear and the app was easy to use. Throughout the first lap, I noticed the signage (stickers on lampposts) were excellent. It really would have been difficult to get lost. The first lap went really well for me, completing 13.1 miles in one hour and 57 minutes. Unfortunately, I hit the wall in the second half, but I still had my coach and two others by my side, supporting me on their bikes. I did miss seeing other marathon runners out there to share the pain with, but I was

Murphy Runs grateful for having such a great team by my side to support me. Whilst the event was definitely miles away from the buzz of a usual race, it was great to see other runners out on the course every now and then to share words of encouragement. I also want to thank the amazing individuals who stood for hours providing water and encouragement along the course. You are all diamonds. I am very proud to say I competed the marathon in just under four hours and 21 minutes, a marathon personalbest for me! Follow Anastasia’s running adventures on Instagram @MurphyRuns

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Gin, rum and hand sanitiser Hazel Roberts catches up with Wharf Distellery to hear about life under lockdown, new products and how they repurposed ethanol

Food scene

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s with so many local small businesses, lockdown had a huge impact on Wharf Distillery but, fortunately for this artisanal producer, not all of it has been bad. I caught up with Laurence Conisbee to find out about both the highs and lows of lockdown. With the hospitality industry forced to close its doors and events being cancelled, a large portion of Wharf Distillery’s regular income suddenly dried up back in March. However, they quickly realised that their ethanol stocks could be repurposed for hand sanitiser. As panic buying emptied the supermarket shelves and healthcare institutions struggled to get supplies, this local distillery stepped into production. To support this, they

launched a GoFundMe to raise money enabling them to supply sanitiser for free to charities such as food banks and Willen Hospice. Laurence was pleased by the public response to this, allowing them to get sanitiser supplies to the most vulnerable. On the regular business side of things, they worked alongside local breweries such as Hornes Brewery and Roman Way to sell each other’s products, offering free home delivery and collection points at various locations around the area. The home delivery service has been well received and they experienced an increase in online sales. As the hospitality industry emerges from lockdown, sales to this sector are still slow, however, Laurence is pleased to see a greater interest in locally made products.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is an increased interest in wanting to start own brand gin, rum and vodka, particularly from vineyards and breweries looking to diversify. New and existing customers will be delighted to learn that Wharf Distillery will soon be exporting a new gin to Hong Kong that will also be available to the UK market. They have developed two new gins and released a charity Gorilla Honey Rum. And just in time for Christmas they will have three new flavours of vodka available and the second release of their whisky. Flexibility, creativity, and the support of the local community has allowed this small business to survive and thrive during this difficult time. Here’s to a healthy future… cheers!

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‘My kids amaze me every day’ Ex-MK Citizen journalist and married dad of two Gareth Ellis explains how he marvels at his children’s achievements – even if no one.else does!

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ome might say I’m easily pleased, but I am amazed by my children every day. I know that’s a bit of an obvious statement but genuinely they do something every day that I will marvel at (and no-one else is all that bothered). Even the little things they do seem to make me think they’re both geniuses. For example, Rupert loves to help put the washing machine on. He gets the clothes, puts them inside, he gets the fabric softener from the cupboard and then presses the button to put it on. It’s not just the fact that he does any of these stages in isolation but it’s that understanding of the stages in sequence that is amazing. I know a lot of adults who can’t even grasp that. To be fair he understands a lot and he knows exactly what you’re saying, although he doesn’t say too much. He’s started babbling in full sentences though, and then he looks at you with his hands out expecting an answer, so when I say: ‘oh wow, really?’ he looks at me with a cocked eyebrow like a mini version of The Rock. He can sign for a lot of things, he knows when to whisper – if his sister is sleeping – and he climbs the stairs on his feet, as opposed to on his hands and knees.

Word e h t s ’ d a D

As for his sister, Emi is at the stage where all she does is sleep, feed and smile. But she’s started grabbing and holding things and she holds her head amazingly well. Regardless of their ‘achievements’ I never once look at what other children are doing at that age or Google ‘should my child be…’ I just enjoy the moment. People can get so caught up in the ‘competition’ of how fast their children are developing that we don’t stop to appreciate the moments. I am enjoying so much of

watching these two grow up and in the age old cliché, I don’t want them to grow up too fast. I remember saying to my dad when Rupert was six weeks old: ‘Time’s going so fast.’ And he replied: ‘One day they’ll be 34 with kids of their own.’ Too true, dad. Gareth writes a regular blog at www.garethellisblog. wordpress.com and you can follow him on Instagram @dads_the_word_blog


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Groceries go digital in the pandemic New findings show significant shifts in behaviour in online grocery sector

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he Waitrose.com ‘How Britain Shops Online’ report has highlighted how the pandemic has turned us into a nation of online shoppers. The Food and Drink Edition of the report is based on comprehensive new OnePoll consumer research of people across Britain, not just Waitrose shoppers. The data is supported by insight from Waitrose e-Commerce experts, online search trends and millions of purchases on Waitrose.com. Key findings include that fact that 77% of people now do at least some of their grocery shopping online, compared to 61% a year ago. And 60% of people shop for groceries online more frequently since the pandemic, with 41% of people citing convenience as the reason and one in five people saying that they hadn’t considered it before Covid-19. The most marked increase in online grocery shopping is within the over-55 age group, where regular online shoppers have nearly trebled (8% in 2019 to 23% in 2020). James Bailey, Waitrose & Partners Executive Director, said: “Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, there are few retailers that wouldn’t have predicted the continued growth of e-commerce

relative to physical shops. “But what would have previously been a gradual upward climb in demand has – with the outbreak of Covid-19 – turned into a trajectory more reminiscent of scaling Everest. “One in four of us now do a grocery shop online at least once a week – double the amount in 2019. “Because online shopping quickly becomes habitual, these changes are unlikely to reverse.” At its recent strategic review update, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership Sharon White spoke of the importance of building on the strength of the Waitrose brand by making it easier and more convenient for customers to shop whenever

and however they want. The retailer is mid-way through £100m investment in Waitrose.com, which it predicts will account for 20% of its total business, up from 5% pre-Covid. Having accelerated its online expansion rapidly in recent months, Waitrose.com is on track to treble its size to become a £1bn business in its own right by the end of the year and the retailer has plans to increase order capacity to 250,000 weekly slots. The supermarket has not rested on its laurels in the new product design department either; its revamped food innovation centre at its Bracknell headquarters has seen the recent development of 5,000 new or reformulated products.

Visit your local branch of Waitrose at Oakgrove, Milton Keynes

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 7am-10pm, Sunday 11am-5pm


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October 2020

Is modern life hampering communities? Heather Murphy, owner of Brand Mission, says it’s time to think about how we will stay plugged into the local community to do our own bit

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odern life is fastpaced – it has pushed us to do more, spend more and do everything at full speed. But have we forgotten to enjoy the delights on our doorstop and spend money in our local community? These past months forced many to slow down – myself included. Putting the brakes on the normal 100-mile-an-hour life presented some of us with more time to connect with family and friends, plus, an opportunity to take stock and evaluate what we do with our precious spare time and where we spend our hardearned money. As the early weeks unfolded and we watched our local businesses suffer, there was a huge shift in consumer behaviour with more people opting to shop locally where possible and ordering takeaways from independents to show community support. This mindset shift of taking the time to really ‘live locally’ will have helped many businesses get through. As government schemes begin to fade out, it’s important to stay plugged in to the local community as businesses are still facing a tough upward battle. We all have an important role to play in the survival of our favourite businesses – our local economy will only recover if we continue

with our newly formed local lockdown spending habits in the future. It is a case of use it or lose it. Here are a few ways you can do your bit to help local businesses: 1. Dine at your favourite independent or order a takeaway if you’re still staying home. 2. Unwind with a beauty treatment, or buy a voucher to redeem later. Harmony Skin & Beauty Therapy is our go-to! 3. Shop – whether you buy some of your groceries from your nearest independent, or purchase something for you or as a gift, try to buy local. 4. Exercise – taking care of your health and wellness is more

important than ever so whether you need a class to energise or relax, go to your local studio and take some time out for you (we recommend Whitespace Yoga & Wellbeing Studio who offer both in-studio and live stream classes).

If you need help with your business recovery strategy, get in touch with Heather at Brand Mission by emailing info@brandmission.co.uk


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October 2020

An earthship tyre house Ray Pantling, owner of Tyres Direct in Bletchley, talks about the concept of building a home from landfill wheels, which provides great insulation...

TyrE Talk

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tyre house! How would you like your own house of tyres. It’s actually been tried in London, but the couple who tried it found the costs sky rocketed to £250,000, after their budget of £180,000 burst! Heidi and Sav Pavlou designed the grand fivebedroom tyre house, and my latest information says they are locating to the Isle of Sheppey to continue their futuristic design. They are not the front runners in this concept though. In New Mexico, you can find homes called 'earthships'. The walls of these ecofriendly structures are made of used tyres recovered from landfills, and filled with dirt. The innner surface of the

The walls are made of used tyres recovered from landfills, and filled with dirt

tyres, which forms the interior walls, is plastered with adobe or cement. 'Earthships' use solar energy for heat, and the tyres provide insulation. The concept was created by Michael Reynolds, author of several books on the topic, and owner of construction planning company Earthship Biotecture, based in Taos, New Mexico.

You can find Ray at Tyres Direct, Unit 51, Barton Road, Water Eaton Industrial Estate, Bletchley, MK2 3BN. For more information follow @TyresDirectBletch on Facebook or visit the website www.bletchleytyres.co.uk

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Visit celebratemk.co.uk for more news from around MK

October 2020

Murders, wars and wonders Jason Day previews an action-packed line-up of new cinema releases, including sequels for Wonder Woman and Murder on the Orient Express

wer Reel revie

W

onder Woman 1984 (October 2) Gal Gadot returns as Amazonian super woman Diana reteaming with Chris Pine in a sequel set, unsurprisingly, in 1984. The Cold War is on its last legs and her adventures this time around bring her into conflict with two formidable foes. Death on the Nile (October 9) 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express was such a hit that a sequel was always on the cards. This is a dreamy trip down the African river that becomes a nightmare when a spoiled American heiress is found dead. Naturally, the other passengers have good reason to have done her in. Candyman (October 16) Reboot of the chilling horror about a long dead killer resurrected when

his name is spoken five times in a Chicago housing development. Tony Todd returns in the role he’ll always be remembered for. War with Grandpa (October 16) Robert de Niro stars in this slapstick comedy about an old man who moves in with his daughter and her kids. A battle of wills ensues between him and his grandson, who has to give up his room. It looks cute and fun but every time I see the great man in this stuff, I shed a tear as to how far he has slipped. Cinema Paradiso (October 23) This Italian classic is about a filmmaker who looks back on how his time spent with the projectionist at the local cinema in his home village when he was a boy fired his passion for film.

The Secret Garden (October 23) An orphaned girl discovers a garden hidden at her strict uncle's estate. As she visits it, she comes to realise how the magical garden holds the key to curing an invalided relative she never knew existed. At the MK Gallery… Still no movies, but there is an exhibition. ‘Calling MK’ runs from 11 Sep-1 Nov. It will showcase some of the most dynamic work being made today with pieces that address and challenge contemporary issues such as the environment and the political climate. Read more at: bit.ly/ MKCalling You can read more in-depth reviews from Jason by following him on Twitter: @Reelreviewer

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A new musical is Netflix bound Cara Lee talks about a new Broadway show with Royal Family connections that will air on the popular streaming site in early 2021

show stoppers

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adly, it doesn’t look like any of the major theatres in this area will be opening imminently, but as the world slowly gets back to a new normal, lots of theatre fans have been considering how concerts and theatre performances could take place in this new Covid shaped world. To gain a greater insight into what theatre might look like once it reopens, the first thing most people will probably do is look at the nearest examples of large events that are running. As of right now, that would be cinemas and sporting events. Unlike sports games, theatres cannot exactly run without an audience, unless we’re talking about streamed performances, like Netflix who

are planning the new Diana musical - but we’ll get back to that later. Overall, it is more likely that we’ll see theatres and concert venues up and running at a lower capacity, with audiences sat at a social distance. While this is potentially bad news for ticket sales, it would at least allow them to open. In a scenario like this, other safety measures such as masks and temperature checks at the door would also be most likely put in place to decrease the risk of infection. Another potential solution (but one that would only be open to larger theatres) would be to stream performances, either live or pre-recorded. We saw examples of this throughout lockdown, with various shows being put online and some major

musicals like Hamilton even making it onto Disney Plus. It looks like that will possibly continue into the future, as the new previously mentioned Broadway show Diana: A New Musical, which has found itself in a raft of new shows unable to open properly, set to premiere on Netflix at a future date. But could free or paid for performances staged in this way be the future of the industry? We’ll have to wait and see. Cara Lee is a Milton Keynes based freelance writer and editor, who also writes the theatre blog “In the Lights”. You can find her on Twitter at @LeeInTheLights, on Instagram at @inthelightsblog and on Facebook at @caraleecontent.

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Solution on page 43 Across 1 Kind of social scientist — weekly magazine (9) 8 Ireland, poetically (4)

Your October crossword

9 Wheedle (5-4) 10 Move very gradually (4) 13 Over (5) 15 Chronological account of events in successive years (6) 16 Stormzy, for instance (6) 17 Fast-flowing section of river (6) 19 Directionless (6) 20 Listing (5) 21 Risqué (4) 24 Shabby (4-5) 25 Ruin (4) 26 Adaptable — relatives (anag) (9)

Down 2 Loose hood (4) 3 Never, poetically (4) 4 Morning worship (6) 5 Alloy used in bonding metals (6) 6 International motor sports event (5,4) 7 Religious recluse (9) 11 Importing that guarantees a more equitable deal for the producers (4,5) 12 An ____ Calls, 1945 Priestley play (9) 13 Avoid (5) 14 Dedicated follower of fashion (5) 18 Nap (6) 19 22 23

October sudoku

Spans (6) Creator of the musical Oliver, d. 1999 (4) Untrustworthy person (4)

Place a digit from 1 to 9 in each empty cell so every row, column, and every 3 x 3 box contains the digits 1 to 9. Solution on page 43 01908 569949

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October 2020

Ofcom renews MKFM’s FM licence for another five years in Milton Keynes The column

The news comes as MKFM celebrated its 5th Birthday on 106.3FM in September

t’s incredible to think that after a long campaign to bring proper local radio back to Milton Keynes, MKFM has now completed its first five years on FM. MKFM started trial broadcasts in 2011 and later launched on DAB Digital

com which is one of the most visited websites for local information in Milton Keynes. Darren Dorrington, CEO of MKFM, said: "This hasn’t been an easy project to deliver, we have worked round the clock to ensure Milton Keynes has a truly local radio station. “Following cuts in our local newspapers, MKFM undertook

new additional FM transmitter is due to be installed in Wolverton in the next couple of months. In addition to upgrading our FM reception, MKFM has upgraded our DAB signal which is now available in stereo as well as continuing to develop our online feeds and smart speaker integration.

Radio during 2013 due to no FM licences being available. Thanks to a high profile campaign and help from our MPs, Milton Keynes Council, MK Dons, a number of local businesses and of course our community, we fully launched MKFM on the 7th of September 2015. Following a restructure in 2017, MKFM has been able to invest further in our programming, provision of news and creation of MKFM.

the challenge of providing a comprehensive online news service. “I am truly grateful to our fantastic team, our sponsors and of course our community who have supported us over the last five years. “We are looking forward to our next five years and making a massive difference to our community." MKFM is now guaranteed to be on-air until at least 2025 on 106.3FM and our

With more and more people listening to MKFM, if you haven’t joined us yet, we hope you will join us.

I

You can listen to MKFM on 106.3FM, DAB, at MKFM.com and via your smart speaker.

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October 2020

Local Business Directory To advertise, email jon@celebratemk.co.uk or call 07928 027444 Accountant AD Accountancy........01908 675938 Barbers Just Gents, CMK..........01908 606003 Istanbul, Stony...........07405 107928 Beauty and Aesthetics Dermaspa..................01908 242023 Make Up By Della B 07980 927337 Dentist MK Dental Spa...........01908 569949 Design Agency Design Agency westfourstreet...........01908 618639 Estate Agents Cauldwell..................01908 304480 Food and Drink Maaya Indian..............01908 242665 Handyman Odd Jobs....................07464 171032

Mortgage Advisor BMC.............................07756 315441 Heating Wheldons....................0800 2946262 Home Fuels................07867 386343 Home and Garden Snug Roofs.................01908 645566 Prestige Lawns..........01908 542422 Home Loft Ladders...0808 3019558 Cloudy2Clear Windows 0800 6121118 Motoring Scuff ‘N’ Scratch........01908 377217 Tyres Direct MK.........01908 367770 Private Members’ Club Alpha Club MK..........01908 354960 Public Relations and Marketing Brand Mission..............07970 395110 Perception PR..............01908 380936

Printer Bartham Press..........01582 573471 Solicitors Neves Solicitors.........01908 304560 Schools Swanbourne House...01296 720264 Shopping centre centre:mk...................01908 678641 Sport and Fitness David Lloyd Club.......01908 207907 Let’s Kick It.................07415 178399 Be Military Fit.............07984 775332 Studio44 Training.....07808 030091 Taxis Skyline Taxis...............01908 222111 Theatre MK Theatre.................08448 717652

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Crossword solution

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Sudoku solution You can find this month’s crossword and sudoku puzzles on the Puzzle Page on page 40. No peeking at the answers until you’ve finished!


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Upgrade to a high insulating Fully Tiled Roof System Our systems have been designed to fit onto your existing conservatory window frames, converting your old conservatory into a usable all year round room.

Create a beautiful living space

Achieving an incredible u-value as low as 0.14 using our roof system, you will never experience extreme temperature changes in your conservatory again. Your new roof will be certified to current Building Control (JHAI). Our Installations come with a

10

Year Guarantee

all year-round

Tel: 01908 645566

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Celebrate:MK October 2020  

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