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Florida

britishstandard Gugu Mbatha-raw in the British film “Belle

The Women of Film, Art, Music and TV at

BritWeek

Miami Lina Guadenzi from ”The voice”

2014

Samira Mohamed Ali


CONTENTS

Contents

Editorial Team Publisher Justine Assal Editor Naomi Gonzalez-Longstaff Contributing Columnists Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Stewart Rushton, Sean Slack Virgin Atlantic, Southwest Florida Brits, BACC Broward County, Patricia Tan, BACC Central Florida SUBMISSIONS, Media and Advertising Naomi@orbint.com 407-401-9690 UK: +44 2033182774 News Justine Assal

06 10 14 16 20

Taking a Dreamflight Experience KISSIMMEE and British Bonfire night Short sales by Pat Tan BritWeek The Springs, springs in the UK 2 | British Standard

The British Standard Magazine-The Official British Expat magazine of Florida, NY, Chicago, and California is a publication of ORB International PR & Multimedia. Printed and published in the United States. Published 6 times per year Copyright 2014 ORB International No portions of this work may be copied or Reproduced without express written permission Of the Publisher. We can be contacted at ORB Inc www.orbint.com 407-401-9690 naomi@orbint.com Offices in BRAZIL* COLUMBIA * MIAMI * ORLANDO * LONDON


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EDITORIAL

Words from the Publisher What an exciting time for the British community in Florida. We celebrate another year of BritWeek Miami 2014 with more art, more music, more celebrities, and more British pride. We have fantastic articles in this issue focusing on the wonderful time of year for spring renewal, properties sales, and cultural activities.

We have had tremendous feedback from so many and appreciate every bit of it because we are simply here to publish the platform, the stories belong to the Florida Brit community and to each of you

4 | British Standard

l a s s A e n i t s u J

Publisher


28th - 30th March 2014 Olympia London

The proven way to meet British buyers of Floridian property

‚ The three-day show at Olympia London is our first event in 2014 and the twentieth consecutive show since 2005 ‚ A Place in the Sun Live has a proven track-record of attracting an audience of British buyers excited at the prospect of purchasing Floridian property ‚ A marketing campaign across national and regional newspapers, magazines, radio, online and PR - no other shows attract the same volume of motivated property hunters ‚ The biggest and best-attended events in the calendar and the ideal opportunity to meet thousands of buyers face-to-face

For an up-to-date floorplan and to find out more about exhibiting at A Place in the Sun Live call +44 (0) 203 2072920 or email sales@aplaceinthesun.com

aplaceinthesun.com/exhibit

5,195 visitors to London Olympia Spring 2013

british Standard | 5


D a r g n i k Ta This small UK-based charity has given thousands of seriously ill and disabled children their ‘trip of a lifetime’ to Florida. Here’s how - and why - they do it. 6 | British Standard


Dreamflight

reamflig h t M

y daughter still hasn't come down to earth, she talks about her holiday nonstop and what a fantastic time she had. She has found her confidence again and it is so lovely to see… She had non-stop fun and said everyone made her feel very special. I am truly grateful to you all; you have given my daughter the strength and confidence to be

herself.’ These words are taken from one of the many letters received in the Dreamf light office just before Christmas, from a thirteen year old girl from the north of England. She is one of 192 very special children that took part in the Dreamf light trip in October 2013. The Dreamf light charity is unique, and was co-founded by a former British Airways cabin crew

member, Patricia Pearce MBE, back in 1987. The trip was started as a one-off, with Princess Diana waving the first f light off from London’s Heathrow - but it has since operated every year for the last twenty seven! Dreamf light’s aim is to provide a ‘holiday of a lifetime’ to seriously ill and disabled children from across the UK. Each year 192 children board a specially chartered aircraft for their ten day trip, without their british Standard | 7


parents. They are looked after by a large team of volunteer escorts, including doctors, nurses and physiotherapists. Around 5,000 children have taken part in Dreamf light so far, and many have returned with boosted self esteem, a sense of independence and the knowledge that they are not alone. For many this is the first time they have been away from their parents. Although the Dreamf light holiday only lasts ten days, the benefits for these most deserving children are often life-long. While the trip provides both children and parents with a break from what can often be difficult circumstances, above all, the emphasis is on fun! Alongside ten days in the 8 | British Standard

magical theme parks, there is daily swimming, evening entertainment and discos in the hotel, and lots of opportunities to socialise with other children and dance and dress up. Sometimes it seems the adults have as much fun here as the children! On the penultimate day, every child gets to swim with a dolphin at Discovery Cove – almost always their highlight of the trip. Dreamf light couldn’t operate without the support of hundreds of volunteers from across Florida, as well as the UK. As Director Sally Wrampling explains, “’We are so lucky to have fantastic support from our US volunteers, who are just wonderful. They get involved

raising funds, organising events and sourcing equipment, and helping out on the trip itself ”. There are several events happening during this year in aid of Dreamf light, including the Ian Poulter Charity Classic on Marc h 10th, the ‘Charity Challenge’ on May 17th and the Guy Fawkes Kissimmee on November 8th. Dreamf light needs to raise in excess of £750,000 (around $1.2 million) each year to help each new wave of children, so these events and all the support the charity receives is incredibly important. The next ‘Dreamf light’ will take place in October 2014, and the process of nominating and electing deserving children is about to get underway. So if you happen to spot


Dreamflight

hundreds of people dressed as fairies or superheroes in on the theme parks in October, chances are you’ve seen Dreamf light in action! ‘Dreamf light has taught me a lot of things. One is to never let your illness put you down, always look on the bright side of life, and remember there is always someone out there who is worse off than you." - A Dreamf light Child

For more information about Dreamflight Charities, please contact Sally Wrampling sally.wrampling@dreamflight.org

british Standard | 9


10 | British Standard


Experience Kissimmee 2014

GUY Fawkes Kissimmee 2014 plans to be the Biggest ever! Thanks to Commissioner Mike Harford.

Osceola County Commissioner Mike Harford is pitching in and helping spark interest in a British tradition he hopes will catch fire in Kissimmee—the annual Guy Fawkes bonfire. “My passion for Guy Fawkes is its relevance to our British residents and visitors and how it can help our international tourism marketing efforts,” Harford said in response to why he has been such a visible and vocal supporter of the annual bonfire festival. Held on November 2 last year to take advantage of the weekend instead of the customary November 5th celebration in the United Kingdom, the event shows great potential to become a celebrated event in Kissimmee, according to Harford and Justine Assal, the primary event organizer and British ex-patriot. Harford has been center stage in harnessing support for the event for the past three years. “This is an event that serves as an example of our appreciation and commitment to our international markets, particularly our Brits,” he said. Supporting Guy Fawkes also is part of a larger vision “to recognize and celebrate our international visitors,” according to Harford whose district includes the majority of Kissimmee’s tourism infrastructure. To do that, he proposes identifying festivals in other countries and perhaps establishing partnerships that recreate or replicate those festivals in Kissimmee. “For me, this type of effort can be one of the components that help cultivate awareness and an open door to visit within our international markets. I believe Osceola is and can be a very international community

and I’d like to see us identify celebrations around the world that speak directly to the culture of our international visitors.” With continued support and development, Harford expects the Guy Fawkes bonfire can join the Silver Spurs Rodeo and festivals such as 3 Kings Day, Viva Osceola and the Buddhist’s Taste of Thailand Festival as events held in Kissimmee with a cultural appeal to local residents and visitors alike. “The Silver Spurs is an Osceola County tradition that speaks to our history and our proud pioneering heritage. Why not look at and enjoy the history, culture, food and maybe even the entertainment that is popular in other countries, too,” Harford said. Guy Fawkes seems to fit his vision particularly well considering the number of UK visitors whose holidays occur in Kissimmee each year. Besides those on holiday, the commissioner also notes there is a growing number of Brits who reside or have business interests in Osceola County and Central Florida, all of which reinforce the desire to see the event grow. Harford said the Guy Fawkes bonfire festival also is a good fit for Osceola County’s vacation home rental community. “The Brits are a significant part of our vacation home market in that they own them and make them available for rent to visitors, which is an economic driver as well as one very desirable tourism product that we offer,” said

Commissioner Harford. He got involved three years ago when local Guy Fawkes event organizers were encountering hurdles in getting permission to legally have a bonfire. Harford reached out to state officials and helped gain approval for “ceremonial bonfires” in Osceola County, subject to the oversight and guidance from the local fire department. In those three years, Harford has become an even bigger fan of the event. “I’ve been struck by the effigies and the creativity of the people who create these effigies, with the understanding that they will be thrown on the bonfire and be burned… That was great.” He also enjoys seeing the ex-patriots, United Kingdom visitors and local residents all marveling at the bonfire and enjoying a varied assortment of British foods. This Guy Fawkes event is already the biggest British event in Florida, but there is always room for growth and organizers expect it will for years to come. As plans for the 2014 event begin to take shape, Commissioner Harford said he’d like to “encourage our friends across the pond to come and join in the festivities that highlight part of their history.” Harford has asked Experience Kissimmee, Osceola County’s tourism sales and marketing department, to work alongside event organizers and help develop strategies to grow the event. Through their joint efforts, Commissioner Harford says this year’s Guy Fawkes bonfire may far surpass any previous attendance numbers as well as number of participating vendors. In the meantime, Harford said he’ll keep pitching in and keep the fires burning hot for Kissimmee’s United Kingdom visitors and for the thousands of ex-patriots throughout the state. british Standard | 11


Kissimmee home of the 2014 Guy Fawkes Festival. Where you can go from thrills to tranquility in moments while creating vacation memories that will last a lifetime. Only minutes from world-famous theme parks, amusement and entertainment centers, natural worlds and more. SEE WHAT KISSIMMEE HAS TO OFFER AT EXPERIENCEKISSIMMEE.COM AND JOIN US FOR THE GUY FAWKES FESTIVAL 11/8/14.

The Gateway to Fun. 12 | British Standard

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Short Sales How Do They Work? Are They Great Deals?

4 bed 2.5 bath home in the award winning master-planned community of Lakewood Ranch. Offered as a short sale at $399,000. This home was valued at more than $600,000 at the peak of the market and represents excellent value for money

While the number of short sales and foreclosures are dropping as our real estate market recovers, distressed properties still represent a significant percentage of listed properties. 14 | British Standard

W

hile most people know what a foreclosure is, there seems to be a lot of mis-information about short sales. What are they? How do they work? Are they the best deals? The sale of any property that has a mortgage secured upon it must be approved by the lender who granted the mortgage. Usually this is a formality, as the mortgage is repaid from the proceeds of the sale. A short sale is one where the property sells for less than is owed on the mortgage, plus any other loans or judgments


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secured on the property. This situation would usually involve the seller making up the shortfall from their own pockets in order to be able to sell the house, but most sellers are not in a position to do this. For a short sale to be successfully negotiated with the mortgage company, the seller usually has to prove that they are in a hardship situation and no longer able to make their mortgage payments. The lender will expect the homeowner to provide documentary evidence of their financial situation. The lender will also take steps to understand today’s market value of the property being sold. Generally, they have an obligation to minimize losses and ensure that a property is sold as close to fair market value as possible. A short sale typically is executed to prevent a home from going into foreclosure, but the decision to proceed with a short sale is predicated on the most economic way for the bank to recover the amount owed on the property. Often a bank will allow a short sale if they believe that it will result in a smaller financial loss than foreclosing as there are carrying costs that are associated with a foreclosure. For the bank involved, a short sale is typically faster and less expensive than a foreclosure. For the seller, the impact of a short sale on their credit history is less than that of a foreclosure, and in some cases, the mortgage company may forgive or reduce the outstanding debt.

Is a short sale a “better deal” for the buyer?

It certainly can be, but there is no guarantee. Buyers should thoroughly investigate the market and understand the true market value of the property they are buying, by directly comparing it to similar homes, in a similar location, that have sold recently. Be sure to always compare SOLD prices – not what homes are currently listed at in the same neighborhood. A “great deal” is one where the buyer can purchase good, clean title to a piece of property, at less than the true fair market value of the property on the day of purchase. This might be a short sale, a bank owned foreclosure, an estate sale (where the heirs want to dispose of the property quickly) or simply a property sold by a highly motivated seller who has enough equity in the home to withstand achieving a lower price.

Are there any down sides to a short sale?

Potentially. Negotiations with the mortgage company can be lengthy and drawn out. Buyers should be prepared to wait a minimum of two months before they know if their offer to purchase the property has been successful. A reasonable waiting/negotiation period should be detailed in the contract, after which the buyer should have an option to be released from the contract. It is also very important to understand the exact nature of the deposit that accompanies the buyer’s offer to purchase. Is this refundable if the lender does not approve the sale? It is also very important that “the rules of the game” are clearly understood at the outset. Will the seller continue to market the property and seek higher offers that might trump the original buyer’s bid? Generally speaking the home will be purchased in its current condition, as seen. At what point can the buyer make inspections to determine whether there are any hidden maintenance issues that might affect the value of the property, and if something like this exists, can the buyer be released from the transaction without penalty? The biggest risk associated with a short sale in today’s market is the risk of rising prices. If you are under contract to buy a short sale property, and after several months the transaction is not approved by the seller’s lender, you will have to start the home search all over again. In a market of rising prices that means you will inevitably pay more for the same property. How can you guard against this? Ask who is negotiating the short sale on behalf of the seller. The seller should not be doing this personally – they are too emotionally involved. The seller’s real estate agent is not licensed to negotiate short sales and may not have the time to dedicate to this time consuming process. The best possible situation is if the seller has appointed an attorney or professional short sale negotiator to undertake negotiations on their behalf. Yes, a short sale can be a great deal, but like any other real estate transaction it should not be entered into without due diligence and expert advice from a licensed real estate agent and a real estate attorney.

Patricia Tan Was born in England, and her career in international sales and marketing led her to live and work in many countries around the world before moving to Sarasota in 1997. Patricia is a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI), and Transnational Referral Certified (TRC). She is involved in global activities of the Sarasota, Florida and National Association of Realtors (NAR), teaches international real estate on behalf of the Florida and National Associations, and currently serves as NAR President’s Liaison to U.K. Her real estate business operates from Coldwell Banker on St Armands Key, where her focus is to bring international buyers to the local market. She regularly makes marketing trips to Canada, Asia and Europe, to promote Florida’s Gulf Coast and the Sarasota area in particular. british Standard | 15


Britweek Miami Returns for a Second Year to Celebrate Burgeoning British Business and Culture in South Florida Week long series of events in March to showcase the Best of British industry and innovation within the magic city Miami, FL – January 15th, 2014: BritWeek Miami, the annual celebration of British culture and industry excellence in South Florida, announces the dates for its highly anticipated return for a second year to the Sunshine State. Following the success of the inaugural BritWeek Miami in 2013, this year’s program of events will take place from March 6th–12th, throughout Miami and Miami Beach, adopting a themed approach centered on ‘design and innovation.’ Developed to highlight the achievements and impact of British business in Florida, BritWeek Miami is in alliance with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the British Consulate-General Miami and a series of strategic media, event and industry partners – each collectively helping to bring a focus on the dynamic and fast growing cultural relationship between Britain and Florida. Founded in 16 | British Standard

California in 2007, BritWeek™ is a recognized 501(c)3 organization, with a strong commitment towards serving the local community. Proceeds resulting from this year’s BritWeek Miami will benefit one or more partnering South Florida based charity organizations, to be announced shortly. “The debut of BritWeek Miami last year proved to be a resounding success for everyone involved,” says Justin Jones, Director of BritWeek Miami. “We have built upon these successes to custom design BritWeek Miami this year, so we are able to create a platform that pays tribute to the wonderful contributions of today’s pioneers and business leaders within all aspects of trade, commerce and artistic innovation across the state. UK companies and their affiliates support the largest number of jobs in Florida of any foreign investor. Recent investments by innovative SME Vioearth Inc, through to mul-

tinational giant Cable & Wireless, are testimony to how British business is growing statewide at an astonishingly rapid rate, allowing the ideology of BritWeek to thrive year-on-year. BritWeek Miami commemorates the relationships and continued ties between our most celebrated U.S and UK industry allies. We thank all of our partners, sponsors and patrons for their continued support.” BritWeek Miami will officially kick-off on Thursday, March 6th. Britweek Miami presents the UKTI's GREAT Business Innovation Awards Gala will be held at The Viceroy Hotel in downtown Miami. The private evening soiree will be the first of four signature events, and will honor the most innovative British companies conducting business in Florida, Floridian companies making a positive contribution to the UK economy, and individuals that have helped further the almost $4 billion bilateral economic partnership. The Innovation Awards will be hosted by Her Majesty’s Consul General, Kevin McGurgan OBE and presented before an elite audience of Floridian and British business, political and civic leaders. Last year’s event was co-hosted by Danny Lopez, Director-General UKTI USA and British actress, Gabrielle Anwar. The ceremony included keynote speaker, five-time Olympic medallist and broadcaster, John Naber, a performance by British artist, Lulu, and the presentation of a special philanthropic award to Heavyweight Boxing legend Lennox Lewis. The second signature event is the BritWeek Miami eMerge Americas Transatlantic Tech Bash, taking place on Friday, March 7th in Miami Beach. eMerge Americas, created by the Technology Foundation of the Americas, aims to serve as a platform for hundreds of innova-


MARCH 6-12

britweek Miami 2014

tive entrepreneurs and startups from throughout the region to network with investors and industry luminaries. The Transatlantic Tech Bash, being held during BritWeek Miami, will serve as a prelude to the main eMerge Americas Conference, scheduled from May 2nd to 6th, 2014 in Miami Beach. Local speakers, UK thought leaders and Tech City Global Innovators will be invited for a series of panel discussions and a live streaming between two Global Tech Centers: Miami and Tech City London. On Monday, March 10th, Port Miami plays host to the week’s third signature event – The BritWeek Port Miami Business Conference 2014. The conference focuses on the strategic relationship between The City of Miami, CAMACOL, World Trade Center Miami and key international economic powerhouses, to explore Miami’s strategic location as an international business center and ‘gateway’ for UK companies looking to do business in Central and South America and the Caribbean; and to Central and South American and Caribbean companies eyeing UK expansion and broader European opportunities. BritWeek Miami 2014 will focus on Miami as the hub of international trade in the America’s and on innovations in technology and international shipping. A business luncheon with guest speaker is to be followed by a fascinating tour of the Port and Tunnel. In 2013, the Inaugural Business Conference was hosted in collaboration with the British American Business Council and shone the spotlight on Brazil, celebrating the London 2012 Olympics Legacy and looking ahead to Rio 2016. On Tuesday, March 11th, Catherine Garrido from Manchester Business School will join professors from the University of Miami and University of Florida to host a series of BritWeek Miami Education Seminars at the business school’s Florida campus in downtown Miami. Topics for discussion will include MBA programs in the U.S vs. UK, global trends and the advancements or challenges that undergraduates face today. The BritWeek Miami Creative Industries Closing Party will act as BritWeek Miami’s finale and closing signature event on Wednesday, March 12th. The BritWeek Visits Miami 2013 inaugural grand finale took place poolside at Soho Beach House on South Beach and was attended by over 200 guests from the world of arts, fashion, design, architecture, film and digital media. This invitation-only, British themed party celebrated the UK creative industries, as well as leading brands and companies representing the worlds of art, music, fashion, design, and film / TV production, among others. BritWeek Miami will host its 2014 invitation-only signature red carpet event in celebration of the UK creative industries, attended by a number of British VIPs and personalities from the british Standard | 17


britweek

Photo from the British film “Belle” which will be featured in the Miami International Film Festival during Britweek Miami 201 international film industry, through its newly formed partnership with the Miami International Film Festival. Additional custom events being held during BritWeek Miami 2014 will include an innovation and architecture event at the new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science; a British Afternoon Tea Party and fashion extravaganza at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens; a BritArt Wynwood showcase; a Miami International Film Festival (MIFF) British Film Screening hosted by Consul General Kevin McGurgan, and a Cruise Britain event to coincide with the SeaTrade exhibition at The Miami Beach Convention Center. BritWeek Miami 2014 is sponsored by UKTI, CNBC, AFEX, Port Miami, CAMACOL, Greenberg Traurig, Manchester Business School, MDDA, Bentley, Highland Spring and Intelligent Media. BritWeek Miami is made possible with the help of the following strategic partners: Three Dragons, LLC, MIFF, eMerge Americas, Patricia and Phillip Museum of Science, Miami Innovation Center/Right Space, iris 18 | British Standard

Worldwide, Quintessentially AVIATION, MIAMI EVENTS GROUP, Florida Standard, Daszdal Bolton LLP, ORB International and Tanabi. For further information on BritWeek Miami 2014 sponsorship opportunities, latest news and for a complete event schedule, visit www.BritWeek.org For further information, to arrange an interview or request media credentials, please contact: Elliott Stares ESPR 305.490.1985 Elliott@esprinc.com About BritWeek™ Founded in 2007 by program Chairman, Bob Peirce, and American Idol Executive Producer, Nigel Lythgoe, BritWeek is a coveted annual event that originated in Los Angeles, California, highlighting British creative connections with the state. With a program encompassing art and design, entertainment, business innovation, technology, fashion, retail, cuisine, sports and more, BritWeek celebrates the creative achievements of Brits in

America, and of Brits and Americans working together. BritWeek™ is a recognized 501(c)3 organization that expanded to Miami in 2013 as the organization’s first host city outside California, presenting an additional program of events each Spring to highlight and celebrate the links between Florida and the United Kingdom. The events promote British creativity, innovation and excellence across multiple industry sectors. Miami is the third host city for BritWeek alongside BritWeek LA, Orange County and San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.britweek.org About UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) UK Trade & Investment is the Government Department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy and overseas companies bring their high-quality investment to the UK's dynamic economy – acknowledged as Europe's best place from which to succeed in global business. For more information please visit www. ukti.gov.uk


british Standard | 19


The Spri the

springs in 20 | British Standard


ing UK

Springtime UK

The shortest day has passed, and the days are getting longer, which means just one thing, spring is on its way. l love Spring, to me it is the best season of the year, it’s when nature wakes up after the cold dark winter and showers us with wonderful flowers such as daffodils and snow drops.

T

he shortest day has passed, and the days are getting longer, which means just one thing, spring is on its way. l love Spring, to me it is the best season of the year, it’s when nature wakes up after the cold dark winter and showers us with wonderful flowers such as daffodils and snow drops. The trees suddenly start to bud, and the countryside is covered in new and various shades of green from the grass and leaves as they come into bloom. In March, spring becomes, official no matter what the weather report says. It arrives at 1:46 a.m. on March 21. It is called the vernal equinox, the time that the sun crosses the Earth’s equator from south to north and one of only two times in the year when day and night are equal in length. In earlier times, the vernal equinox was considered the beginning of the New Year. It has always been an important day to those who work the land because it signifies the beginning of the season of regeneration and growth. Folklore has it that the vernal equinox is the only day of the year when an egg can be stood on its end. Even though that’s not true, we can admire the imagery. Eggs are, in fact, nature’s perfect symbol for springtime and new beginnings. In March, when life is quickening in its seemingly miraculous annual way, we can’t help but ponder the cosmic egg of creation. Our newly hatched world is green, new, fresh, and as innocent as the dawn. So let’s look at some of the ways that Britain celebrates the coming of spring, with some traditional, and not so traditional celebrations… Every May, on Spring Bank Holiday Monday, there is a tradition that was started by the village people of Brockworth, and has now spread into an event that brings more than 5,000 people from all over the world to view the spectacle. Brockworth is located in the Cotswold region of England, and the event takes place on Cooper’s Hill, and is called “The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling”. So how can l describe the event, well young men are charged with the task getting a large cheese wheel from the top of the hill down the steep and uneven surface to the bottom. There are usually a number of injuries, ranging from sprained ankles to broken bones and even concussion. Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling has been summarized as “Twenty young men chase a chees off a cliff and tumble 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to hospital”… So let’s maybe find a tradition that does not involve paramedics waiting in british Standard | 21


tallest maypole was erected in London on the Strand in 1661; it stood over 143 feet high. It was felled in 1717, when it was used by Isaac Newton to support Huygen's new reflecting telescope. Another traditional dance seen throughout the month of May is Morris Dancing. The dancing is very lively and often accompanied by an accordion player. Morris dancers are usually men and wear different clothes depending on the part of the country in which they dance. They are often dressed in white with coloured baldrics

Ladies festouned with sprigs of Oak Apple. the wings to take you off to hospital. Enter Maypole dancing… Maypole dancing is a form of folk dance found in many western European countries, especially Britain. Celebrated on Mayday – the 1st May, there are two distinctive traditions. In the most common, dancers perform circle dances around a tall pole which is decorated with garlands, painted stripes, flowers, flags and other emblems. In the second most common form, dancers dance in a circle each holding a colored ribbon attached to a much smaller pole; the ribbons are intertwined and plaited either on to the pole itself or into a web around the pole. The dancers may then retrace their steps exactly in order to unravel the ribbons. The oldest May Day celebration still taking place today is the Padstow “Obby Oss” celebration 22 | British Standard

in Cornwall. Its roots date back to the 14th century. Every May Day thousands of people come to see the two famous Hobby Horses, the Old Oss and the Blue Ribbon Oss. Celebrations in Padstow officially start the night before at midnight, when a group of 'mayers' meet outside the Golden Lion Inn to serenade the owner with their Night Song: Rise up, Mr. Rickard, and joy to you betide, For summer is a-come in today; And bright is your bride, that lays down by your side In the merry morning of May. The whole town is ablaze with bluebells, forget-me-nots, cowslips, and sycamore twigs. Dancing and other celebrations take place all day. An interesting fact about the maypole - The


Springtime UK

(coloured belts) across their chests. There are usually six or eight dancers arranged in two lines or in a circle facing each other. The dancers may carry white handkerchiefs that they shake, or short sticks that they bang against each other as they dance. Another way you know it is spring in the UK is the annual worm charming competition‌ Worm charming is a way to of attracting earthworms from the ground. Many do it to collect bait for fishing. But there are also those

who do it as sort of sport. The village of Willaston, near Nantwich, Cheshire is the place where since 1980 the annual World Championships have been organized. The competition was actually initiated by local man Tom Shufflebotham who in June 1980 charmed 511 worms from the ground in only half an hour. The competition, held every year since, has 18 rules. Here are just few of them. Each competitor competes in the 3 x 3 meters area. Music of any kind can be used to charm worms out of the

ground. No drugs can be used! Water is considered to be a drug (stimulant). Now l know the next tradition is, in theory, not celebrated in spring, but l had to mention it. Straw Bear Day (or Strawboer Day) is an old English tradition held on the 7th January. It is celebrated in a small area of Fenland on the boarders of Huntingtonshire and Cambridgeshire around the village of Ramsey Mereside. This day is believed to be the traditional start of the agricultural year in England. Tradition

Prince Harry celebrating Royal Oak Day with the Chelsea Pensioners

british Standard | 23


Here the Duchess of Cormwall inspects the parade of The Chelsea Pensioners on Royal Oak Day has it that a man and boy wear a straw costume covering them from head to toe. They go from house to house where they dance. As a prize for their dancing

they are given money, food or beer. And finally l think l may stump a few of you with this tradition, how many of you have heard of this Spring

The Cheese used during the rolling event

24 | British Standard

tradition – Royal Oak Apple Day, or “Pinch-Bum Day”… Royal Oak Day (Oak Apple Day) was a public holiday celebrated in England on 29 May to commemorate the restoration of the English monarchy, in May 1660. In Samuel Pepys’s Dairy dated 1st June 1660 it states: “Parliament had ordered the 29th of May, the King’s birthday, to be forever kept as a day of thanksgiving for our redemption from tyranny and the King’s return to his Government, he returning to London that day." Oak Apple Day was a time for dancing and parties. To show their support for the monarchy, people wore sprigs of oak leaves or a sprig with an oak apple on it. On the 29th May, children would challenge each other to show their oak sprigs or apples, and those not wearing one would face some form of punishment, The most common being a pinch on the bum… or there was a second form of punishment, mainly in the midlands area of the UK where the day was called “Nettle Day”.


Springtime UK

"Pinch-Bum-Day" - a pinch on the bottom "Nettle Day" - whipping with nettles "The wise boy wore his oak leaves, armed himself with a stinging nettle and carried a few dock leaves for first aid just in case". Those of you who were ever stung by nettles will remember that rubbing the spring with a dock leaf took away the sting… In some areas it was necessary to wear the oak sprig only until noon; after that one was safe. In the 1890s many railway engines were decorated with boughs of oak on 29 May. Why was the Oak chosen to commemorate the return of the monarchy? It is said that King Charles' life was saved after the battle of Worcester in 1651, when he escaped from the Roundhead army by hiding in an oak tree in the grounds of Boscobel House in Staffordshire. So how is Oak Apple Day celebrated today? Although

the public holiday was abolished in 1859, Oak Apple Day continues to be celebrated in parts of England today. Northhampton still remembers Charles II and his escape after the battle of Worcester. The town is also grateful to Charles II, for giving the citizens one thousand tons of timber from the Royal forests of Whittlewood, after a great fire almost razed the town in 1675. A garland of oak-apples is laid at Charles II's statue each year. London too celebrates 29 May at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, which Charles founded as a home for Army pensioners. On the 29th May, The Chelsea Pensioners parade for inspection by a member of the Royal Family in honour of King Charles II. I hope you enjoyed this introduction to spring, and don’t forget to wear your oak apple leaf on the 29th May…

View of Cooper Hill during the Cheese Rolling event

Stewart RUShton Born and raised in the United Kingdom, from an early age l knew that whatever I did in life I wanted it to include aviation and travel. Left school and started my career in aviation flying as a flight attendant for British Airways, I then return back to earth and started to work on the ground in airline operations. Thirty years ago l was asked to come over to Orlando for three weeks to watch over the operators of the first charter flights that were to be operated from the UK to Orlando. That 3 weeks turned into 6 months, I returned home to the UK, obtained my US Visa from the Embassy and returned to Orlando where I have lived ever since and now have become a US citizen. I still work in aviation as an Operations Manager, and consider myself a lucky person who still enjoys getting up and going to work. british Standard | 25


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British Standard of Florida  

Florida's official British business and lifestyle magazine.

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