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ISSUE 72 // JUNE 2018




You r sport a n d l i f e st y l e m ag a zi n e

ISSUE 72 // JUNE 2018



H ow to b e a f i t f a m i ly No moaning, arguing or falling out: sports and activities you can all do together!


Stand-up Paddle boarding / The Witham Five / Great Easton and Nevill Holt Festival Fashion / Start a Food Diary / Father’s Day Kitbag / Marathon Heroes

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Editor’s Letter LIKE ME, YOU MIGHT GET THAT FEELING of dread welling up inside when you look out the window, see the sun shining, then turn to see your kids lounging on the sofa watching TV or playing computer games, and utter the immortal lines: “Come on, it’s too nice to be indoors. We need to get out and do something.” Parents since time immemorial have constructed that argument and the reaction, a few huffs and puffs and groans, have always been the same. And I remember hearing it myself from my parents while I was sitting watching Why Don’t You, or Botham win the Ashes. So how exactly do you get kids out and exercising when they have so many other things to entertain them? One way is structured sessions, and it is mind boggling the number of clubs and classes you can send your kids to. We’ve tried over the years to feature as many as we possibly can, and plenty of the ones my kids go to are fantastic and brilliantly run. But the issue can be that they lead such busy lives, they’re not always in the mood for it, or other things get in the way; clubs and classes are great but can only play part of a role in keeping kids active. The second approach is to be a bit more sneaky about it. Most of the time they have vast quantities of energy just waiting to be burnt, and it is just a case of finding ways to get them going. Just ordering them outside for a walk doesn’t usually have the required effect so it needs a bit more creativity to dress it up as something more exciting than a trudge through the countryside. That’s what we’re looking at in this issue: cunning ways to keep them moving without them realising. I hope some of them are useful. I’ve been using my own kids as lab rats with some of these ideas, and I have to say it is working! So good luck and enjoy the issue. Steve

Twitter // @theACTIVEmag Facebook // www.facebook.com/theACTIVEmag

Publisher Chris Meadows chris@theactivemag.com Editor Steve Moody steve@theactivemag.com Deputy editor Mary Bremner mary@theactivemag.com Production editor Julian Kirk julian@theactivemag.com Art editor Mark Sommer mark@theactivemag.com Contributors Martin Johnson, William Hetherington, Jeremy Beswick, Julia Dungworth Photographers Nico Morgan, Pip Warters Production assistant Gary Curtis Advertising sales Lisa Chauhan lisa@theactivemag.com Amy Roberts amy@theactivemag.com Editorial and Advertising Assistant Kate Maxim kate@theactivemag.com Accounts accounts@theactivemag.com Active magazine, The Grey House, 3 Broad Street, Stamford, PE9 1PG. Tel: 01780 480789

If you have information on a club then get in touch by emailing editor@theactivemag.com. If you would like to stock Active magazine then email distribution@ theactivemag.com. If you would like to discuss advertising possibilities please email advertise@ theactivemag.com. Active magazine is published 12 times per year on a monthly basis. ISSN 2059-8513 A Grassroots Publishing Limited company. Company registration number 7994437. VAT number 152717318 Disclaimer

Copyright (c) Grassroots Publishing Limited (GPL) 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, or be stored in any retrieval system, of any nature, without prior permission from GPL. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of GPL or its affiliates. Disclaimer of Liability. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the quality and accuracy of the information contained in this publication at the time of going to press, GPL and its affiliates assume no responsibility as to the accuracy or completeness of and, to the extent permitted by law, shall not be liable for any errors or omissions or any loss, damage or expense incurred by reliance on information or any statement contained in this publication. Advertisers are solely responsible for the content of the advertising material which they submit and for ensuring the material complies with applicable laws. GPL and its affiliates are are not responsible for any error, omission or inaccuracy in any advertisement and will not be liable for any damages arising from any use of products or services or any action or omissions taken in reliance on information or any statement contained in advertising material. Inclusion of any advertisement is not intended to endorse any view expressed, nor products or services offered nor the organisations sponsoring the advertisement.

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ISSUE 72 / JUNE 2018





Great things to do for all the family

Your essential guide to visiting Sri Lanka


The Witham Five and Great Easton Another great local bike route


Experiment with bold colours

Pupils making the sporting headlines





We try The Montagu Arms in Barnwell Get that festival look

How clubs in the area are faring Father’s Day gift ideas



How to get fit and have fun together


Avicenna Clinic on smarter injections


Nutrition advice from Dawn Revens


The joy of team selection debates


Updates on our intrepid fund-raisers

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Window Installers & Glaziers Conservatory Erectors


WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE June is the month to celebrate and enjoy water – be it on it, in it or under it. And there is so much to enjoy locally

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The biggest event of the month is the National Watersports Festival at Rutland Water, being held from June 8-10. Here you can try out just about anything that involves being on the water. Dinghy sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, diving and stand-up paddle boarding... the choice is yours. As well as taster sessions there will be lots of racing going on as well as live music, stalls, demos and family friendly activities (www.nationalwatersportsfestival.com). Adventure Rutland are back at Yarwell Mill Country Park this summer where you can go paddle boarding and kayaking as well as take trips on the River Nene. New for this season is SUP yoga and paddle boarding and kayaking birthday parties, as well as instructor-led trips on the River Nene (www.adventurerutland.com). The UK’s largest inflatable aqua park returns to Rutland Water for its third season. Open until September, the park is now 100 metres wide with climbing walls, trampolines, balance bars, slides and, of course, The Beast – a towering five-metre high platform to launch yourself off.

Because it is so popular visitors are encouraged to book, particularly in the hot weather (www. aquaparkrutland.co.uk). Bourne outdoor swimming pool is a must in the warm weather. One of the few surviving outdoor pools in the country, it has a 50-yard swimming pool, toddlers’ pool, fountain pool and lots of seating, picnic tables and café (www. facebook.com/bourneoutdoorswimmingpool). Another open air pool to try this summer is The Lido in Peterborough. This Art Decoinspired pool is open for early morning swims and children under five are free. Enjoy the three pools as well as the large sunbathing terraces (www.vivacity.org). Corby might be land-locked but it certainly has lots of water on offer. The international pool is open all year with lots of classes for kids, particularly during the summer, as well as supervised diving sessions. If swimming is not your thing why not enjoy a day out at Corby Boating Lake? You can’t actually hire a boat but you can enjoy the wildlife, take a walk, go

coarse fishing and see the sights, as well as enjoy the recently refurbished café (www.corby.gov.uk). To enjoy watersports children need to be able to swim, so start them young. Infant Aquatics Baby and Toddler Swim School is the ideal place for parents and children to explore the water and gain confidence. New classes are starting in September in Rutland and Northamptonshire (www.infantaquatics.co.uk). Charlie and Chris Craven also run classes for babies across Leicestershire and Rutland. Water Babies offer classes for little ones from birth to four years old (www.waterbabies.co.uk/contact/ leicestershire-and-rutland). Foxton Locks near Market Harborough is a must for narrow boat enthusiasts. The festival held on June 16 and 17 has something for everyone, including the family dog (www. foxtonfestival.co.uk). Nene Outdoors Watersports and Activity Centre can be found near Gunwade Lake in Ferry Meadows Country Park. A wide range of craft are available to hire, so get out and enjoy the water (www.nenepark.org.uk/visit-us/ things-to-do/watersports). Oakham Swim School, based at the school, offers a wide range of sessions for adults and

children. The heated 25-metre pool is at the recently refurbished sports centre off Kilburn Road. There are classes running all the time including synchronised swimming lessons and lifeguard skills (info@oakhamswimschool.co.uk). Uppingham School swimming pool also offers a range of classes open to the public and members throughout the school holidays including crash courses and swim fit classes. And, of course, the 15-metre pool inflatable obstacle run is available for private hire and parties (www.sportscentre.uppingham.co.uk). Open water swimming is very popular and you can do it at Rutland Water with coaching organisation Inspire2Tri, which holds weekly sessions throughout the summer on Thursday evenings. There are two courses available – 500m for the confident swimmers and 250m for recreational swimmers. We can’t talk about water without mentioning fishing and some of the best fly fishing is available at Rutland Water where you can hire a boat and catch trout that grow up to 15lb, or try your hand at hooking an enormous pike. For novices there is fly fishing tuition available (www.anglianwaterparks.co.uk/rutland-water-park/ trout-fishing).

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3 Star Lane, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 1PH


01780 754737




info@ sowdenwallis.co.uk

Hambleton Road, Stamford £245,000 This extended three bedroom semi-detached family home has been finished to a high standard by the current owners, including a stylish new kitchen diner to the rear. Located in a popular residential location which provides easy access to the town centre, A1 and the Malcolm Sargent Primary School. The accommodation comprises of an entrance hall, sitting room, kitchen diner, utility room, cloakroom, landing, three bedrooms and family bathroom. There is off street parking to the front for two cars, whilst to the rear is a west facing patio and lawned garden. Viewing highly recommended.

14 MAIN STREET BARROWDEN £499,950 Set in a popular Rutland village, this detached Grade II Listed cottage is well presented throughout and comes with separate annex accommodation. The accommodation comprises of a stylish breakfast kitchen with a range of units and integrated appliances, sitting room with exposed stone walls and feature fireplace. To the first floor are three bedrooms, the master having an ensuite and a family bathroom. The annex is designed with the flexibility of being either office or living accommodation as it also has a shower room. To the rear of the property is a patio and to the side a garden with flower beds, raised lawn area, fruit trees and a vegetable patch. The village of Barrowden provides a public house, church, community shop and easy access to Rutland Water, Wakerley & Fineshade woods.

Norfolk Square, Stamford £160,000 Situated in a cul-de-sac this three bedroom home offers good levels of accommodation and off street parking all within easy reach of the town centre. A spacious sitting room and well presented breakfast kitchen feature on the ground floor, with three bedrooms and a family bathroom on the first floor. The property has gas fired central heating and replacement windows. To the rear of the property is a long patio and lawned garden which is west facing. To the front of the property is graveled off street parking for two cars.

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EMPINGHAM ROAD STAMFORD £400,000 Set on a desirable road that provides easy access to the town centre and local schooling, this extended family home backs on to playing fields with it’s south facing lawn garden. The accommodation is set over three floors, with three double bedrooms and an open kitchen diner with access to the conservatory via bifold doors. The property comes with a good sized plot and has further potential subject to planning. To the front is a well presented block paved driveway which provides ample off street parking, whilst to the rear is a lawn garden and southerly views over playing fields.


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MAKE A STAND We attempt stand-up paddle boarding at Tallington Lakes, and try not to fall in too often. By Steve Moody I’ve tried standing up on water on various things, including surfboards, water skis, wind surfers and even lilos and the odd dinghy, and generally it’s only ended up one way: not standing up. A lot. So I can’t say I was overly confident of remaining the right way up on a stand-up paddle board either, elegantly cruising across Tallington Lakes as though I was walking on the water. Stand-up paddle boarding is an activity that has its roots in Hawaii, as these things often seem to, and the clue to the activity is very much in the title. A 10-foot long board, which you stand on and then use a paddle to propel yourself across the water, or if you are particularly talented and game, through surf and out to sea or along rivers. Fortunately, I had the very calm environment of Tallington Lakes for my first effort, because the Watersports Centre there, run by manager Craig Freestone, has introductory sessions for this increasingly popular activity. Flat calm, sun out and the water a warming 17 degrees, I figured that if I was ever likely to get up on one of these things, then now was the time. On dry land, instructor Chris Finch-Wale ran me through the basics of launching the board, where to climb on, how to find my way to my feet, and then how to propel myself about, and to be honest it all seemed fairly straightforward. But then we were stood on stuff that wasn’t wobbling about all over the place.

We launched into the water, and I hauled myself on to the wide surface of the board, trying to remember which direction to face, to keep hold of the paddle, and where to place myself in the dead centre of gravity. On my knees, so far, so good. The trick then is to get one foot up and fairly quickly the other and then stand to attention. If you get halfway and start faffing about you’ll probably never do it. So I did. Three seconds of increasingly ominous oscillation followed as my feet attempted to correct each other before I failed miserably and headed for the wet stuff. At this point, I had that dreaded feeling that perhaps it was going to be a long afternoon, invariably spent head first in the drink. But I dragged myself to the board again, and had another go. And fell in straight away. The general technique was to get set in the middle of the board, get my left foot forward and then snap my right up too and stand up, but I was finding it hard to get my balance and also was too far back, which meant trying to shuffle up to the centre, and clearly that’s not ideal for balance. So for my third attempt I crawled further forward to a starting point and went right foot first. The result was transformational, as I sprung out of the water like a (slightly wobbly) salmon, and found myself stood proudly in the middle of Tallington Lakes. I then tried to use my paddle, and the board started to pick up speed and balance became even easier with a dash of momentum. Before I

knew it I was sailing across the surface, making turns and trying techniques for manoeuvring that Chris suggested. After about 10 minutes, and feeling rather cocky, I fell in again. But the next time, I really began to get the feeling of it, and it’s a very, very relaxing and enjoyable way to travel. Because you are stood up, you get a great feeling of freedom, and the paddling part of it means you can go wherever you like. I could have gone on for hours – no wonder people go on adventures on these boards, which are big enough to strap bags to and in some cases carry six or 10 people. And it’s the sort of activity that you can do as a family as plenty of kids take part, and you can stand alongside each other and chat away. Talington Lakes offers introductory courses for all ages and even events where boarders come together and head off on trips around the site. By the time I fell in again 20 minutes later, I was practising surfboard-style turns standing at the back of the board, which shows how quickly you can pick up the basics. Of all the watersports I’ve tried, it’s the one that is the most rewarding in the shortest possible time. An interesting caveat was how I felt later in the day: knackered. The combination of trying to keep your balance while paddling gives you a tremendous all-over workout. Obviously as you get better the effect would lessen but I can thoroughly recommend trying stand-up paddleboarding at Tallington Lakes out. You’ll be walking on water before you know it. Dates for your diary Stand-up paddle board taster hour June 2, 7 and 10 https://www.facebook.com/pg/ TallingtonLakes/events/?ref=page_internal Stand-up paddle board fitness course June 14 for four weeks https://fitnessinthefield.com/paddleboarding-classes/

THE BOARD Tallington Lakes uses Devon-based Red Paddle Co boards, which are lightweight, stable and very tough. A complete set, including board, paddle, ankle leash and pump (they are easily transportable when deflated) can be bought for around £900. For more information on lessons, hire or buying a board, speak to Craig Freestone at Tallington Lakes Watersports Centre on 01778 381151 or email sailing@tallington.com

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HAPPY 900TH BIRTHDAY! Peterborough Cathedral is celebrating being 900 years old this year with lots going on in the city to mark the occasion. June 15 sees the Peterborough Heritage Festival taking place in the cathedral and Cathedral Square, as well as a chance to hear the cathedral choir sing. www.peterboroughcelebrates.org.uk


…to pass on new skills

© 2016 The Scout Association. Registered charity numbers: 306101 (England and Wales) and SC038437 (Scotland)

Find out what it's all about!

See what the Beavers and Cubs in Rearsby get up to meet the Leaders and find out if you can help! Join us 4th July 6:30pm till 8:15pm at Thrussington Village Hall, Hoby Road, Thrussington

Scouting for volunteers Rearsby Beavers and Cubs are seeking more adult volunteers so that they can keep their group running. They are holding an open evening on July 4 between 6.30-8.15pm so you can see what they get up to. They’d be delighted to see you at Thrussington Village Hall, where you can find out more and see if you can help.

Called to the Barre A new fitness studio is opening its doors at Greetham Valley. Barre Red will be offering pilates, yoga flow and barre classes as well as personal training. To find out what is on offer join owner Louise Sheehan at her taster day on Saturday, June 2, where there will be free taster classes, goodie bags and discounts on selected fitness gear. www.barrered.co.uk


ALWAYS TAKE CARE Always Take Care, based in Oakham, was launched 10 years ago by Bridget Hayward and her mum Heather, who was a district nurse, and could see there was a need for live-in carers in people’s homes. Bridget’s husband Darren, who worked in the hotel trade including being general manager at Barnsdale Hall, has recently joined. Always Take Care offers a bespoke service and provides a live-in care service for those who wish to stay at home but are finding it difficult to cope, be it a temporary measure while recovering from an illness or on a more permanent basis. Most of the carers are people who are slightly older, whose children have left home and who have a lot of life experience, as well as medical. The business prides itself on personal service and makes huge efforts to match the right carer to the client. Getting it right is the company’s unique selling point and word of mouth is how the business has grown so successfully as it has won a reputation for providing excellent service. www.alwaystakecare.co.uk

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The Spa Experience

16TH/17TH JUNE 2018 9AM - 4PM

Join us at Cafe Ventoux for our F o r m e R o a d B i k e s D e m o D a y. Both the Flash and Monsal Series will be available to demo

MANICURES Jessica®, Prescriptive Manicure

EYE CARE Lash and Brow Tinting and Shaping, Lash Extensions

PEDICURES Jessica®, ZenSpa®


SPECIALITY NAILS Jessica®, GELeration nails TANNING St Tropez WAXING Extensive range available BODY TREATMENT ESPA Body Scrubs, Body Wraps and Detox Treatments MASSAGES Including Swedish and Deep Tissue SPECIALISED THERAPIES Indian Head Massage, Hopi Ear Candles, Hot Stone, Floatation Therapy, Aromatherapy, Reflexology

throughout the day with the Forme Bikes Team on hand to answer any of your questions. Valid ID and bank card are required to demo a bike

FACIALS & SKIN CARE ESPA Enzyme Facial, Desensitiser Rehydrator Facial and Age Defier Facial

| Wood Lane | Tugby | Leicestershire | LE7 9WE | | r i d e @ c a f e - v e n t o u x . c c | w w w. c a f e - v e n t o u x . c c |

MAKE-UP Mii CACI Non Surgical Solutions The ultimate aesthetic treatment HAIRDRESSING & STYLING Full service available for men and women HEN PARTIES WEDDING MAKE-UP GROOM PACKAGES LEISURE DAYS AND BREAKS

Gift Vouchers available for all occasions

Near Oakham Rutland LE15 8AB 01572 771313 www.barnsdalehotel.co.uk email: beauty@barnsdalehotel.co.uk

Launde Abbey

Open daily for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea

Cyclists and walkers very welcome Why not start your walk or ride at Launde then reward yourself with a delicious lunch at the end? Visit our website for maps and routes at www.laundeabbey.org.uk Launde Abbey, East Norton, Leicestershire LE7 9XB T: 01572 717254 I E: info@launde.org.uk Charity No: 1140918

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RACE HARBOROUGH RAISES £100,000 Local sports events company Race Harborough is celebrating raising more than £100,000 for local charities since it was founded in 2014. The Festival of Cycling held in April pushed

the amount to £100,000 and the Carnival of Running, featuring races from one mile to a half marathon on June 9, will raise even more funds. www.raceharborough.co.uk

Solicitors step out in support of local charity More than 25 partners and staff at local law firm Hegarty Solicitors are preparing to embark on a 34-mile sponsored walk from Peterborough to Oakham, via Stamford, on June 9. The walk aims to raise funds for local charity For Rutland to provide an adviser at Rutland Citizens’ Advice. The adviser offers free, confidential and impartial advice to local people affected by cancer, dementia, strokes and other long-term health conditions. At 34 miles, the walk is almost eight miles longer than a marathon and is expected to take more than 12 hours to complete. Partners and staff have been training hard for the walk and many more are planning on supporting walkers along the way and taking part in sections of the walk. Donations can be made via the Hegarty Solicitors JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ hegarty-solicitors

A plug for plogging

Pedal power for business club Having been professional cricketers, Matthew Boyce and Stephen Peters were both fortunate to have been paid to keep fit. However, outside of the professional sporting arena it is difficult to find time to exercise around work, and so they decided to create The Business Cycle. The aim was to create a relaxed, informal environment to meet new people with a common interest of donning Lycra and tapping the pedals. Taking place at the end of May, the event started at Café Ventoux in Tugby, hosted by Brian, Rosie and the team; they even arranged glorious weather for the inaugural ride. A fantastic group of guests took part, which

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included a mixture of clients of Bridgegate Wealth Management, potential clients and business connections and all said they had a great day riding round the Leicestershire countryside.

Manjinder Jagdev is about to start a new plogging group – if you haven’t heard of it, it’s a recent Swedish concept that combines jogging/exercise with looking after the environment. On her first plogging experience Manjinder collected more recyclable items than she’d predicted and returned with an overflowing bag and had a more cardiovascular workout than usual. If anyone is interested in joining the Rutland plogging group, they can contact her at manjjagdev@gmail.com; there is a Plogga website and Facebook page with photos from all around the world, as well as a Plogging UK website, for those who would like more information.

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Visiting Foxton Locks?

be inspired...

Well come into the Canal Museum and step back in time. See the interactive boat lift models and stoke the boiler to get the lift all fired up! There is lots to see and all for ÂŁ3 per adult, children under 17 free. We also have a shop so that you can get that little memento of your visit to the beautiful Foxton Locks site. For more info visit www.fipt.org.uk

the heart of your home The kitchen has evolved in style, look and technology, but it remains the heart of the home. Like all our services, a Classic Kitchen will be supplied and installed with a level of care and expertise that matches your expectations.

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Services Hourly care calls I 24 Hour live Available: in care I Meal preparation Help with I Convalescence care care calls & dressing) Personal care (Assistance Hourly with bathing and Domestic & household chores 24 I Hour Help withappointments appointments and transportation transportation live in care Respite care I Shopping I Companionship Respite care and outings Personal care (Assistance with Assistance with medication I Shopping End of life care bathing & dressing) Meal preparation Assistance with medication

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07/09/2016 12:53

24/05/2018 10:55


WHAT’S ON There’s lots going on in your area this month, why not try some of these? ● The

Oundle Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ summer concert will take place on June 23 and 24 at The Stahl Theatre in Oundle. Join them to celebrate their 60th year. www.oundlegands.org Walled Gardens are holding their annual sweet pea week between July 1 and 8. Visit to see their extensive sweet peas, buy plants and enjoy delicious tea and cakes. www.visiteaston.co.uk

Greatest Showman on June 15 and Dirty Dancing on June 16. Bring along your picnic, or enjoy the catering facilities including a bar, and enjoy the fresh air as well as a film. Gates open at 7pm with the film starting at 9pm. www.filmonafarm.co.uk

● Easton

National Garden Scheme has an interesting and new garden open on June 17. Stonecrop House in Wing is a large, new eco house with an equally exciting new garden with a stunning wildflower meadow. www.ngs.org.uk

two events this summer – the Castle Bytham Chase which is a 5k trail run on Saturday, June 23, with an open village day, followed by a craft and local produce market on Sunday, June 24. There will be live music, lots of entertainment and fun for all the family www.midsummerfestival.co.uk

● Join

the Pork Pie Pedal on July 1. This charity bike ride from Melton Mowbray to Rutland Water and back again (50 miles) raises money for the charity Young Minds. www.porkpiepedal.co.uk

● The

organic farm Riverford is holding a series of summer walks during the summer. Held on June 6, July 4, August 1 and September 5 between 5pm and 7pm, you will have a chance to see lots of wildlife, including butterflies, many birds and the working farm. Walks cost £7.50 to include a Riverford picnic. www.riverford.co.uk

● Summer

solstice evening on June 21 from 6:30-10pm at Bowthorpe Park Farm, site of the Bowthorpe oak, which has the largest girth in the UK of a pedunclate oak measuring a staggering 13.3 metres. www. bowthorpeparkfarm.co.uk

● Local

● Film

on a Farm is what it says on the box – outdoor screening of some firm favourite films. This summer Longbrook Farm in Thurning (near Oundle) will be showing The

● The

Oundle Classic Bike Rally has teamed up with the Oundle International Festival and is running the 2018 rally to complement Music in the Park which takes place in Barnwell Country Park on Saturday, July 7 between 10.30am and 6pm. The rally gives you a chance to meet up with other classic bike riders, don your period costume and ride a few miles around the beautiful countryside. www.oundleclassicbikerally.co.uk

● Castle

Bytham’s Midsummer Festival has

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24/05/2018 10:55



SHIMMERING SRI LANKA Active reader Adrian Gombault tells us why a visit to Sri Lanka should be on our bucket list The beautiful island of Sri Lanka is fast becoming a first-choice long haul destination for lots of British holidaymakers, and it is not hard to see why. With its unique blend of tropical climate, sunny beaches, exotic wildlife, ancient historical sites and unusual scenery, Sri Lanka offers a unique experience at very affordable prices, and it’s just over 10 hours’ flying time away. The lengthy British domination of the island, following occupations by the Portuguese and Dutch, has left indelible marks on the fabric and culture of the country which, despite its manifestly Eastern nature, makes Sri Lanka a comfortable place for the English to visit. Our language is widely spoken and appears on all official notices and signage, and European food of a high standard (if that is what you want) is available in all good hotels. But that is not to say that the Sri Lankan experience is anything but exotic. Visitors will be awestruck by the everyday experience of the bustling streets with their ramshackle shops, the chaotic nature of the road system, the prevalence of Buddhist shrines and temples which appear on every street corner and in even

the smallest of villages, the dogs which line the roadsides in and around the towns and villages, and the sheer greenness of the countryside, be it from the wooded hillsides, the tea plantations of the central mountain belt, or the palm groves and paddy fields of the plains. Sri Lanka enjoyed more than 2,000 years of rule under rival kingships before the arrival of the British, and the remains of ancient palaces, fortresses and temples are to be found throughout the country, many bearing the scars of a history of warfare between rival Buddhist and Hindu powers. But the greater attraction to Western tourists possibly lies in the many wildlife reserves which the island boasts, and which offer a relatively cheap and safe safari experience, embracing elephants, leopards, buffalo, monkeys, crocodiles, along with myriad colourful and exotic bird life. The state of the roads and the erratic driving habits of the locals makes car hire a questionable option in Sri Lanka, and it is better to visit these sites through the services of a tour company, travelling by coach or private car. Sri Lanka is a hot, tropical island, lying just

north of the equator, and offers temperatures that average between 25 and 30 degrees all year round, though the higher, central mountain district is cooler. It is best to avoid the monsoon periods when visiting, so check as these can vary depending on where in the island you are staying. The driest period in the popular south west runs from December to February. www.trailfinders.com www.stamfordindependenttravel.co.uk www.more-travel.co.uk

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24/05/2018 10:54


WIN! A PAIR OF VIP TICKETS TO TEXFEST Leicestershire is welcoming a new major music festival this summer as Texfest takes place at Market Harborough Showground from Friday, June 29 – Sunday, July 1. The line-up is being led by some huge chart-topping acts including Example, The Fratellis, We Are Scientists, Tinchy Stryder, Pigeon Detectives, Will Varley, The South and plenty more! Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw is even coming down for a Friday night DJ set.

The Fratellis have recently released their new album, In Your Own Sweet Time, which shot straight to number five in the album charts and has had rave reviews. Rest assured they’ll still be blasting out their old favourites including, of course, Chelsea Dagger. Similarly Example, who’s performing alongside DJ Shadow, will be blasting out hits new and old. The event is set to be one of the highlights of the summer music calendar in the Midlands with on-site entertainment to keep the kids entertained too including activities from Leicester City Football Club and Leicester Riders! Tickets for the whole weekend cost just £70 with VIP and glamping options also available. Under 12s go free. Tickets are on sale now from www.texfest.co.uk or follow the festival on social media @texfestuk.

WIN We’ve got a pair of VIP tickets to give away. To enter go to www. theactivemag.com/competitions. Competition closes on June 21 and the winner will be contacted on June 22. Competition terms and conditions apply and can be found at www.theactivemag.com. Terms ● Prize is one pair of VIP weekend tickets ● Camping if required should be purchased separately ● VIP tickets give access to a VIP area on site but do not allow any backstage access ● Prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative ● Prize is only available for the 2018 event from June 29 – July 1 ● Under

16s must be accompanied by an adult

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Corby East Midlands International Pool

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Activelife GARDENING

CONTAINER GARDENING AND SUMMER BEDS Our gardening columnist, Teresa Kennedy, offers some tips on experimenting to create a colourful impact in your garden One of the best chances to have a go at creating something in your garden right now is with summer bedding planted in hanging baskets, troughs, pots, containers, borders and window boxes. Bedding offers good value for long-term colour and you can release your inner artist and play about, experimenting with colours and different plants. With the recent sunny weather this is the perfect project to kick-start your summer. At this time of year the garden centres and plant nurseries offer a tempting range of highperforming annual bedding plants. Markets, grocery stores, little stalls outside homes also offer these little pearls of beauty for you to nurture. Plant up anything you can, get your drainage sorted with a layer of broken pots or gravel, some fresh compost in, and you’re ready.

Contemporary: Succulents, rock plants, cute coloured gravel. Dreamy: Grasses and dainty gaura. Green: Ferns, creepers, moss-covered old pots. Add little extras too – rounded pebbles, mossy stones, small hurricane lamps if your pot is big enough. Then just make sure they’re getting what they need; hot corners for heat lovers, shady ones in the cool. In the ground be inspired by Victorian-style bedding plant displays; think city park borders

of organised and straight line designs. I love it on a grand scale, it’s perfectly neat and really easy to maintain. If space allows consider an annual bed; plant in some structured permanent features such as evergreen topiary or floating grasses, then create a new design each year alternating between spring bulbs and summer bedding. Flamboyant fritillaria imperialis with a carpet of blue bush lobelia is a winner (although put that in your diary for next year and plant your bulbs this autumn) You don’t need to turn a whole border over to this experiment. At this time of year the dying foliage of spring bulbs can dampen your outlook so just pep-up these areas and plant little pockets of fresh new colour. Bedding is also a useful gap filler for swathes of bare allotment soil and a pretty enhancer between your kitchen garden rows of produce. Once planted you can potter, water and tend your new additions and really enjoy the display. www.viridisdesign.co.uk, 07726 334501

YOUR OPTIONS INCLUDE: Single colour: white geraniums and white lobelia, red cannas and red petunias, yellow marigolds and creeping sedums, pink begonias and pink dianthus. Rich colours look wonderful against our local old stone and pastels really suit a modern and sleek style. The clash: Mix your red geraniums with purple petunias, or blousy gazanias with blue lobelia.


THE SWALLOW The sight of swallows sweeping low over the countryside is one of the delights of summer. With their long wings and tail streamers they are ideally built to hawk insects just above the ground or drink as they skim over water. Our swallows winter in southern Africa where they form huge roosts in reed beds. They return in force from mid-April but with a

warming climate, early arrivals in mid-March are now usual. Birds are mostly seen at the reservoirs first, where insect hatches help them to get into breeding condition. Swallows breed in barns, stables and other buildings which provide rafters where the saucer shaped mud nest can be supported. Two broods, sometimes three, of four or five are usual; the fledged young perching near the nest waiting to be fed by their hard working parents. The young are duller than the adults with shorter tail streamers. Terry Mitcham

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The Montagu Arms Prompted by increasing ‘word of mouth’, Mark and Maris travel to Barnwell to investigate this recently renovated pub


urrounded by honey-stoned thatched cottages in the heart of the pretty village of Barnwell, The Montagu Arms looked inviting in the spring sunshine as Mark and I approached over the Barnwell Brook, which meanders through the village on its way to the River Nene. It’s a peaceful, idyllic spot that belies its proximity to the A605 and nearby Oundle. Dating back to 1603, the building was formerly three cottages and ‘only’ became a public house about a century ago, which explains its numerous quirky features. Ian Simmons has owned the historic property since September 2017, after falling in love with the pub and the village as a tenant in the late 1990s. Having maintained close links with the community he jumped at the chance of purchasing the freehold and has embarked on an ambitious and sympathetic renovation of the pub, restaurant and its extensive gardens. “They must have been a lot smaller in the 1600s,” commented Mark, rubbing his head after ignoring the warning signs and colliding with an oak beam, one of a number of charming features that complement the pub’s age; snug alcoves with settle seats, rediscovered windows and a collection of different bar spaces all help to give a glimpse of the original cottage layout. The oak bar and large photographs of local sights give the pub a

contemporary feel that enhances rather than detracts from the ancient building. The pub felt light and airy when we visited but we could easily imagine settling down in front of one of the wood-burning stoves on a winter’s evening. Arriving unannounced, we had a warm welcome from Amy, the bar manager, and the friendly locals enjoying an early evening pint and sampling the delights of the keenly priced ‘light bites’ menu, which offered a selection of smaller plates including hummus with bread and olive oil with balsamic glaze, olives, baked camembert studded with rosemary and served with fig chutney, and assorted sandwiches made with a choice of fresh breads. With four well-kept ales (according to Mark, who sampled them all), including two from the local Digfield Brewery, more than 20 varieties of gin and a small but perfectly formed wine list, there is plenty to keep the casual drinker contented. For the foodie, the spacious and light restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the gardens, is sure to become a big draw. The room, and indeed the pub, was buzzing and the chorus of ‘happy birthday’ that echoed through from the bar underlined our belief that the Montagu Arms offers a venue for a celebration as much as a casual drink. Having seen the food being enjoyed in the bar we were keen to see what the restaurant had to offer

Clockwise, from left The pub has enjoyed a recent renovation; the menu centres on modern British dishes; well-stocked bar offers more than 20 varieties of gin

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The George and Dragon, Seaton The beautifully refurbished George and Dragon pub at Seaton is the ambitious new venture from Ralph Offer, formerly of the Stamford Wine Bar.

This quintessentially English village pub has undergone a complete transformation, with three months of hard work creating an interior that is best described as snug country pub with an industrial twist – think bare brick and luxurious tweed, enhanced with thoroughly modern metal accents such as the spider web light fitting that illuminates the main bar. The downstairs area has been extended to include a welcoming sitting room completed with cosy armchairs and a piano – the perfect place to while away

an evening with a good bottle of wine. Ralph has put his wine knowledge to good use, creating a comprehensive drinks list including over thirty wines, as well as a selection of local ales, lager and spirits that ensures there is something for every taste. Upstairs, luxury awaits in the form of three individually themed guest bedrooms; Pheasant, Stag and Hare. Each has its own unique, elegant look which is coordinated down to the last mug and towel, and complemented by extra little luxuries such as Moulton Brown

toiletries. One thing that the rooms all have in common are stunning views over the picturesque Rutland village of Seaton, with the village church and rolling hills beyond creating a perfect panorama to wake up to in the morning. However, the main attraction is the new fine dining menu, masterminded by chef Omar Palazzolo. After seventeen years spent working in some of London’s best kitchens, including Nobu and Tom’s Kitchen, Omar has big plans for his own menu at the George and Dragon. He describes his take on food as ‘purist’, with

Telephone 01572 747418 - 2 Main Street, Seaton, Rutland LE15 9HU

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a focus on simple flavours and quality, locally-sourced ingredients which offer both great taste and nutrition for the body and soul! Expect a creative, ever-changing selection of dishes with influences from many of the cuisines that Omar loves, from modern Italian to Japanese. The George and Dragon is undoubtedly the perfect country destination for anyone looking for a great meal, a warm reception and a good drink. Ralph looks forward to welcoming you through the door!

Ralph Offer - Owner Omar Palazzolo - Head Chef

24/05/2018 11:19


and weren’t disappointed by the modern British menu, with starters averaging £6.50 and mains £14. I opted for the shredded duck bonbon on a mixed nut and plum salad and was struck by the delicate flavour of the crispy breaded shell to the duck, which was complimented well by the salad and sweet sauce. Mark’s pulled pork on crispy noodles with barbecue sauce drew similar praise with the pork able to hold its own in harmony with the home-made sauce. The main course was cheerfully delivered by Amy, who will be a real asset as the popularity of pub increases. My pan-fried chicken supreme was moist and well flavoured and complimented by a nicely seasoned vegetable rosti. The accompanying sauce was rich and very tasty but a little too generous on the butter for my liking. An extra mile or two needed on the bike this weekend, I fancy. Ignoring the tempting 10oz steak, Mark played against type and chose the mac and cheese with black truffle shavings, garlic bread and dressed leaves, adding some crayfish tails for good measure. Although the truffle shavings proved elusive, Mark loved the perfectly cooked pasta and delicate sauce, which allowed the taste of the crayfish to come through. Big chunks of bread with a generous amount of garlic butter were put to good use in mopping-up the last of the sauce, leaving Mark with a satisfied grin. Not so satisfied that he couldn’t manage a pudding

though, and as I didn’t want him to feel alone I also chose from the enticing dessert menu, all priced at £6. Mark’s sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla bean ice cream looked so inviting that I had to try it and we both agreed it was one of the best we’d tasted. Moist sponge, with a not-to-cloying sauce was complimented by a luxury ice cream and was everything you’d want from this pub favourite. My lemon panna cotta with fruit coulis was easily its equal, with a lovely dense texture and rich lemon flavour; it had just the right level of sweetness with perfect degree of sharp contrast in the coulis. Delicious, and just the right amount to feel contentedly full without overdoing it. Our desserts were accompanied by a generous cafetiere of coffee, with a biscotti on the side. As we said our goodbyes after an excellent evening at The Montagu Arms we wished Ian good luck, although on reflection we don’t think he’ll need it, as he’s definitely on to a winner. We’ll be returning soon and recommend you try it now before its reputation sends demand through the roof. Just make sure you mind your head!

Above The bar has four ales on tap, including two from the local Digfield Brewery; light and airy rooms contrast with some cosy, snug areas

The Montagu Arms Barnwell, Oundle, PE8 5PH 01832 273726 www.montaguarmsbarnwell.co.uk

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MEET ALEX PASKE Mary Bremner chats to the founder of The Mintridge Foundation, and finds out about her recent award Active What is The Mintridge Foundation? Alex Mintridge is a charitable foundation that offers a bespoke programme to schools and clubs. We send professional athletes to schools across the country to provide coaching and mentoring sessions to the pupils. The athlete, either a current or retired professional, will act as an ambassador, accompanied by me, and will give an assembly and then offer coaching clinics, or a masterclass as well. Depending on the programme, the athlete might also mentor pupils for six months, offering advice, building confidence, that sort of thing. They will speak to the pupil for an hour every fortnight offering encouragement and advice, helping build self-belief. Sometimes the athlete will even invite the pupil to see them compete.

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Active Tell us a bit about yourself? Alex I grew up near Oundle. I competed at quite a high level in hockey. My ambition was to play for England and all was going well until I was invited to a trial for the under 16 team and was unsuccessful in making the final squad. It completely threw me as suddenly my whole life plan had fallen apart. I had always seen my identity as ‘Alex the hockey player’ and struggled with the pressurised environment, changing what I thought about myself. A series of injuries followed, I fell out of love with hockey and haven’t played since. My biggest love had become my worst enemy. Active So what happened next? Alex Looking back, I realise that because of the

failure to make the team, and the injuries, I struggled mentally afterwards. Of course, I didn’t realise it at the time. I finished school and worked for sports development organisation Think Pacific in Fiji, delivering hockey and other sports in remote locations. When I returned to the UK I worked at Millfield School in Somerset as a teaching intern where I was able to get a number of coaching qualifications. The facilities there were outstanding, the complete opposite to what was on offer in Fiji. The diversity of sport is why I love it! After a fantastic year at Millfield I got a job nearer home in Market Deeping planning school sports tours. I would organise the tours and go on them as well. I was a member of Team England at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 as

part of the clubhouse team. This was an area where the athletes would catch up with their families, and it was a safe haven for them away from the press and pressure. This was a real eye-opener into what the life of a professional athlete means and the pressure they are under. It got me thinking about how I didn’t make it and what advice a professional athlete could have offered me at the time, and how much it would have helped me. They seem to be able to face the fear of losing, and learn how to cope with setbacks and disappointments. I also noticed that many of these athletes were very friendly and seemed keen to give something back to the younger generation. I decided to set up Mintridge Events in March 2015, which has become The Mintridge Foundation as we have recently gained charitable status, and I contacted 800-metre Marilyn Okoro, who I had spent time with in Glasgow. I basically contacted her with ‘do you remember me?’. She did, so I explained the concept and she was very keen to come on board. That’s how I got started. Active How easy is it to persuade the athletes to join you? Alex That’s the easiest part of the job! Some I contacted via Twitter, others through their agents. I now have 27 athletes, including Paralympians, in sports ranging from hockey to judo and archery, as well as wheelchair basketball and many other sports. We work with athletes outside of Mintridge as well, including gymnast Beth Tweddle, and I now have athletes approaching me. All of the athletes want to give something back to the community, and they make time in their busy schedule to go to the schools. We are very much a Mintridge family. All the athletes are well known in their own sport and have had to work extremely hard to get to where they are, and have often had to make huge personal and financial sacrifices. They can be talent focused, but also advise on learning to deal with failure, improving techniques, building confidence and self esteem, etc. This advice is invaluable for budding sports men and women, but is also a valuable life lesson. It’s vital that the athletes we pick have the right attitude.

mentoring and emotional needs. It’s great when all the athletes get together as everyone has different experiences to share. Active Is it only sporty children who get involved? Alex No. The school often hold assemblies where the athlete will talk to the whole school. Being a successful sports person is not just about sport, it’s about handling life in general, coping with failure as well as success, and this is a vital lesson for anyone to learn. Sport is also great for team building, friendship and mental health so it’s good to encourage everyone to join in. Active Tell us about the Women of the Future Award you won in November. Alex That was amazing! I was nominated by one of my athletes who had won the previous year. For the first time ever two people won in this category – me and Sarah Leiter, a goal ball player. I was absolutely delighted, and shocked, to win. I went to Buckingham Palace and met the Countess of Wessex where we ended up talking about Kim Kardashian of all things! The award has helped raise the profile of Mintridge, for which I am very grateful. Active Are you still sporty? Alex Yes, I play netball in the Corby League and tennis at Ketton. I play golf and do pilates, and cycled to Amsterdam last summer. I like to set myself challenges and in September I’m planning to cycle from my primary school in Northamptonshire to my secondary school in

Norfolk, stopping on the way at schools and clubs that have been important to the Mintridge journey. I prefer team sports and non-impact ones, because of my injuries. I also feel that I am ready to pick up a hockey stick again. Active Do you still hanker after a place in the GB hockey team? Alex Looking back I wouldn’t change anything, despite how difficult it was at the time. I’m a big supporter of mental health and want to ensure that those coming through the talent pathway are made aware of their other skills and develop different interests – they are not just ‘Alex the hockey player’. Getting everyone, particularly children, active can only be a good thing. And if I hadn’t suffered such a setback I would never have set up Mintridge. Active Why the name Mintridge? Alex My great uncle Henry’s farm in Herefordshire was called Mintridge. My father has given me great support, and he was supported by uncle Henry when he started in business at my age, so to show the familial support I used the name of the farm. Active: What are your future plans? Alex: The business is expanding and we are getting busier all the time. I would like to think in five years’ time Mintridge, and what it is offering, will be recognisable and accessible to all secondary schools in the UK. www.mintridgefoundation.co.uk

Active Are the schools coming on board? Alex Yes. Primary schools were the first to become interested, as they have the funding, but secondary schools are really starting to show an interest now. A lot of it is word of mouth; sports teachers talk to each other and I am now being approached by many schools. I travel all over the country, usually to two schools a week. I always go with the athlete to lend a hand, take photos, make videos, that sort of thing. I have now run 119 programmes (and counting) and am starting to get repeat bookings. Active Do you train the athletes? Alex Yes we all meet up for training days where the athletes are trained in public speaking, how to run masterclasses, do presentations,

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THE FINISHING TOUCHES Layers, layers and more layers are the order of the day this summer Edited by Mary Bremner

FESTIVAL FASHION Festival season is upon us and the great debate starts – what do you wear to cope with the fickleness and unreliability of the great British summer? Glastonbury may be taking a break this year to allow the land to recover from its annual mud bath, but there are plenty more festivals to enjoy. Latitude, held near Southwold in Suffolk between July 12-15, seems to be the favourite Glastonbury replacement, and hopefully being on the east side of the UK might be slightly drier. But there are no guarantees, so comfort and practicality is the route to go down and remember, in

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this country, unless you are exceptionally lucky it will get chilly in the evening. Layers, layers and more layers seems to be the order of the day – as well as a good pair of boots. Gone are the days when you would just throw on a pair of wellies, grab a sleeping bag and head off. Today it is as much about what you wear as which bands you see. Days of glamping and glamour are more the order of the day than a grungy tent and no shower for days – thankfully. But do take a look at the weather forecast first and adjust accordingly. Trainers instead of wellies, if you can

guarantee no rain, and jeans instead of shorts if the temperature looks low. Or why not combine a floaty dress with jumper or denim jacket and canvas pumps, a slightly more sophisticated look? And for the men – no mesh vests, however gym-honed your body might be, as they are just not a good look. A white t-shirt is probably best, but don’t wear it for three days as, by the end it will no longer be white and your friends will smell you coming before they can see you. A good pair of sunglasses is a must, they can hide bloodshot tired eyes as well as shield them from the sun.


And finally... Festival fashion

Active’s Lisa Chauhan tries out Pathway Balancing Kinesiology therapy

I’m fascinated, if sceptical, about alternative therapies, but I have to confess I had never heard of kinesiology. So for all of you like me, here’s a quick explanation... It is a Chinese study of movement. The practitioner applies gentle pressure to the client’s arm and the muscle tested will either resist the pressure or give way. This ‘yes or no’ response establishes the parts of the body that need balancing. The balancing/healing will become apparent to the client during the next 28 days. Pathway Balancing Kinesiology (PBK) was developed by Corrina Kennedy and seeks to establish any symptoms of disease, distress or poor functioning within the body and the deeper inner self. It is particularly beneficial for those suffering from sleep problems, continual tiredness, money worries, stress, relationship issues, negative body images and related issues. It helps release any ‘blocks’ that are preventing you finding the awareness, energy and balance to step forward positively in life. PBK can help an individual enjoy their journey through life. It all sounds very interesting so I thought it was time to find out a bit more about it. Shirley Wilkins has worked in the NHS as an adult and children’s nurse, health visitor and manager for 40 years. In the last 10 years she has developed an alternative practice, Red House Holistics, based at the Stamford Consulting Rooms in Broad Street, and strongly believes there is more to treating illness, be it physical or mental, than with just surgery or medicines. I visited Shirley with an open mind, and no specific problems as such. I decided to see what she picked up on and what she would recommend. We started the session with all the usual questions – general health, what medicines I was taking, if any, that sort of thing. Shirley straight away recommended I start taking vitamin D, due to the lack of

sunlight we experience in this country (and this winter specifically). Nothing unusual here, the NHS recommends the same. She also said I should keep hydrated and drink plenty of water – again nothing unusual. I then lay down on a couch and the therapy started. Shirley held my arm and asked my body questions, and from the muscle tension in my arm, these questions were answered. If the muscle was tense the answer was yes; no, if the muscle was relaxed. She referred to various manuals, as appropriate, depending on the system that needed balancing. During the session Shirley picked up on a possible bladder issue and carried out acupressure to tonify the bladder using points on my feet and hands; don’t ask me what this means but it’s something to do with acupressure points. She held my little toes and my forefingers and strangely my stomach was gurgling throughout this which Shirley said meant the treatment was being effective! Shirley can also read from the muscles what colour my body wants to look at and it showed that I needed to view orange. We were directed to address an area in the advanced realms of healing in the mental and emotional sector and to the mind in conflict area which then led us into the visual field of colour to effect the balance, (sounds complicated, but it wasn’t). Apparently it’s very important to be aware of how you feel after each session as this helps perpetuate change, which is what the therapy is all about. I felt very positive at the end of the session, and slightly light headed, which was probably due to lying down and Shirley reassured me that this is a normal reaction after a session. Some other issues were detected and treated and I left with a good positive feeling about myself, which was excellent. And if this is the way it made me feel, who doesn’t have any particular issues, I can see it would benefit those that do. As with all alternative therapies it’s very hard to be specific about the methods used. All I can say is, go with an open mind, put your trust in Shirley and hopefully you will get results. Each session costs £45 for an hour, £65 for 90 minutes and £80 for two hours. The number of sessions needed will depend on the severity of your symptoms. www.redhouseholistics.co.uk 07778 287349

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Be a fabulous and fit family, can you commute on an e-bike and how to keep a food diary Edited by Steve Moody

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GETTING TO THE POINT Dr Hany Elmadbouh, consultant in musculo-skeletal and image-guided intervention, explains the value of using imaging to guide injections Clinicians from disciplines including rheumatology, orthopaedics, musculoskeletal, sports medicine, pain management, general practice, physiotherapy and radiology all perform musculo-skeletal injections. Pain is one of the most frequent causes of reductions in productivity as a result of sick leave and decreases in workers’ ability to carry out their jobs. Each year around a fifth of the population consult their GP about a musculo-skeletal condition, which accounts for £5 billion of NHS spending and is the leading cause of working days lost. Arthritis Research UK estimates it costs the economy £20 billion every year. Treating all types of back pain alone costs the NHS more than £1 billion per year. Musculo-skeletal pain alone (degenerative or inflammatory) accounts for approximately 7% of the total. Interventions aimed at limiting these

decreases in productivity can produce a return of approximately £4 for every pound spent in reducing absences from the workplace. These figures highlight the economic importance and strong social impact of the growing use of low-cost interventions capable of producing appreciable, long-lasting pain relief. Most joint and tissue injections can be performed via the visualisation and palpation of anatomical landmarks to guide appropriate placement. However, blind injections carry the risk of incidental needling or drug delivery to the adjacent non-target structures, which may include blood vessels, peripheral nerves, muscles, ligaments, intra-tendinous tissue and sub-cutaneous fat. Many injections are given using only anatomical landmarking and although there has been an increase in the use of ultrasound guided injections by predominantly rheumatologists, for whom

injection therapy is the most common therapeutic intervention, it is the interventional radiologists who use image guidance without exception in their work. Perhaps the main reason for the increased use of image guidance has been improved technology. Better visualisation of anatomy yields greater confidence to undertake procedures that were thought to be dangerous or impossible. Also, there has been significant progress in materials and in biology that lead to more effective interventions. Improvements in the speed of image acquisition and in 3D technology are changing how procedures are performed and making new procedures possible. Ultrasound has become an increasingly valuable tool for guiding musculo-skeletal interventions due to improvements in probes and image processing software. Ultrasound offers the added advantage of portability, low cost, availability and use of non-ionising radiation. Image guided joints and soft tissue diagnostic and/or therapeutic injections can also be performed under fluoroscopy, CT and more recently MRI. In general, the majority of injections are performed using ultrasound or fluoroscopies which are more efficient than CT. The exception is spinal injections which are more readily done under CT. The choice of the imaging modality may be dependent on availability, the expertise of the clinician performing the injection, the characteristics of the patient and the clinical problem. In general, ultrasound is used for soft tissue lesions, fluoroscopy for superficial bone lesions and joints injections, and CT with or without CT fluoroscopy for spine injections. Image guidance offers a number of advantages. It helps to confirm the indication/contraindication of the procedure. With image-guidance, it is possible to plan an accurate and safe access route. Image guided procedures are less painful than blind injection. The accurate needle and treatment positioning may lead to better clinical outcome. At Avicenna clinic, we have a range of specialist consultants, an operating theatre for surgical procedures and superior in-house imaging facilities –including state-of-the-art MRI, ultrasound and X-ray scanning equipment. We can assess and diagnose all cases of acute and chronic pain quickly and deliver comprehensive treatment plans tailored to you. To book a consultation or for more information, contact Avicenna Clinic on 0330 202 0597.

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and training hard, then your training gains will be slower. Most of us don’t think about how much we eat: we just eat it and then get frustrated when we’re not at our optimal racing weight to get amazing results. 2 Quality The second thing to look at is the quality of the food you are eating. As an athlete, it’s really important that you’re conscious of the quality of the food you’re putting in your mouth – you are what you eat is 100% accurate for athletes. Your food is your fuel. It’s what gives your body the energy it needs, helps it to repair after training, builds a strong skeleton and healthy blood leading to better results and fewer injuries. We all tend to think we eat better quality food than we actually do. The food diary shows if the person is really eating foods that ‘make them go, go, go’ or foods that ‘make them slow’.

DATE WHAT YOU ATE different ways, from writing it down on paper through to using apps such as MyFitnessPal or Cronometer. At the next session, we then analyse their food diary by looking at a number of different areas. You can do exactly the same thing...

4 Hydration The final thing we look at is hydration. How much are they drinking and what is it? As an athlete, staying hydrated is really important. If you’re not adequately hydrated, then it’s harder for your food to be released from your stomach, meaning you won’t get the energy you need when you need it. I also want to look at the quality of what they’re drinking on a day to day basis too. Are there lots of teas and coffees and is there enough water?

1 Quantity Are you eating too much? Are you eating too little? If you eat too much, then you are likely to gain body fat – not what you want for training and racing as it will slow you down. On the flip side, if you’re eating too little,

Dawn Revens is The Compeater, and works with endurance athletes to optimise their nutrition so they can get amazing training in racing results. Her blogs will inspire you and give you some easy to implement things that you can take action on so that you have a fantastic race season this year.

Sports nutritionist Dawn Revens reckons the first step to fitness is understanding what you eat, when you eat it and at what time – and that means keeping a diary If you’re serious about getting your best training and results this season, then a food diary is an essential element of that process. The first time I meet a client, I ask them to do a 24-hour food recall, and tell me what they’ve eaten in the previous 24 hours. I know that they miss things out, not on purpose, but because we rarely remember in detail what we had to eat the day before. I then ask them to keep a food diary before our next session as it’s a more accurate record of what they are eating and I can use it at our second session to understand their baseline eating habits. They can keep one in a number of

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3 Timing The third thing we look at is the timing of eating and the macronutrient breakdown. Are they thinking about what they want their body to do in the next six hours and fuelling it accordingly or is it more random than that? It’s really important that athletes are mindful of eating the right nutrients at the right time to give them energy, as well as enhance their recovery and training gains.

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24/05/2018 14:34

Feature /// Family sport

The state of competitive parents What lengths will you go to in order to see your children win? Quite a lot, says a new survey

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MODERN DADS have become more competitive than ever, with almost a third admitting they have encouraged their child to cheat – in order for them to win at all costs. New research of the nation’s fathers has revealed the extent to which fatherhood has become ‘dog eat dog’, with a staggering 82% admitting they are ruthless when it comes to their children’s achievements. So much so – an optimistic 72% of the dads polled described their children as ‘gifted’ – while 31% regularly post pictures of their offspring’s victories on social media and a quarter always enter dads’ races at sports day in a bid to beat other parents. Two in 10 can regularly be found shouting and bellowing from the side of the pitch when their child is playing sport. However, 78% of those who insist they’re lucky enough to have gifted children said they tried to play down the talents of their offspring, so as not to make others feel bad. But 29% do not like it when other dads brag on social media about how well their children are doing; however, 8% confess to dropping their child’s successes causally into conversations at the school gate. When it comes to getting our kids to excel, 58% resort to bribery, offering presents or cash for achievements. However, 23% never let their own child win anything against them – so they learn how to win – and 18% confess to waking their children up early to practice an instrument or train for a sport. The survey also revealed 14% of modern dads

have even squared up to another father in the heat of competition. Overall, 17% of the 1,000 dads polled to mark the DVD release of Daddy’s Home 2 have secretly paid for extra coaching to ensure their child excels, either in school or their hobby. And a staggering 66% of those who took part in the study said they are the worst at being pushy compared to their wife or partner. A further half have had rows with their partner over how pushy they are, while a third even admit they encourage their child to cheat so they can win at all costs. Almost a third (27%) said they wanted their child to be the first among their peer group to be picked for a sports ‘A’ team, while 24% harbour dreams of their offspring representing the school regionally. 19% of cut-throat dads are pushing for their child to be offered a scholarship, while 22% dream of their child being made captain of the team. 19% said they would ideally like their youngster to be crowned head boy or head girl of the school. A whopping 86% confessed they are much more competitive when it comes to their sons. When it comes to being competitive, school work and grades is where the nation’s pushy dads come into their own (36% said it was the most important thing) – while 27% said sporting achievements were most important, followed by manners and confidence. Dads from London emerged as the most competitive, followed by fathers from Glasgow and Newcastle.

ARE YOU A COMPETITIVE PARENT? If you answer ‘yes’ to most of these questions, then you probably are… ● You performance review your kids after each kickabout in the garden ● You have made at least one child cry by refusing to let them win at Hungry Hippos ● You’ve had to suppress a smirk when that other kid, who is pretty good, falls over with the line in sight and yours streaks through to victory ● Your kids think the personal coach you’ve hired in to improve their endurance is actually a member of the family. ● You turn a blind eye to your kid’s sneaky handball on the goal line ● You lie awake at night wondering how on earth they dropped that ball with the try line begging

● You got your first double hundred, in the back garden, against your nine-year old’s bowling ● You secretly hate that parent who stands on the sideline selflessly cheering all the hopeless kids on ● Your babies had to catch balls from the age of three months to really hone their hand-eye co-ordintaion. ● You have your kids on a macrobiotic, high protein, carb rich diet which you tailor towards every big match ● You are desperate for your kids to be good at sport – but just not as good as you were…

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Feature /// Family sport

ROBBIE’S RUGBY FESTIVAL Celebrating its tenth year, Robbie’s Rugby Festival will make a welcome return on Saturday, July 28, taking over Loughborough Grammar School playing fields. The charity rugby tournament is expected to raise record breaking figures for the Robbie Anderson Cancer Trust and The Jake McCarthy Foundation as thousands descend to dig deep for the two deserving charities. Co-founder of ADDO Events and organiser of Robbie’s Rugby Festival, Georgie Fowle, said: “We are immensely proud of the legacy Robbie’s Rugby Festival has and cannot thank our supporters enough. “Their continued generosity has enabled Robbie’s Rugby Festival to make a real difference to those affected by cancer. “Yet despite the mighty figures raised to date,

this is a mere drop in the ocean. Robbie’s Rugby Festival needs as many people as possible to join in the fight against cancer. 2018 is a landmark year for the event as we will be celebrating our tenth anniversary. “To mark this milestone, we are organising The Festiball, an evening of entertainment which must not be missed! We are very much looking forward to welcoming familiar faces and newcomers alike as we hope to smash previous year’s figures and keep supporting our charities to continue their vital work.” Originally curated as an old boys’ reunion match by a group of school friends, Robbie’s Rugby Festival has grown beyond belief and is now the largest 10s rugby tournament in the Midlands, attracting 30 teams and thousands of spectators.

The event has become a permanent fixture of the summer events calendar with rugby royalty including Neil Back, Clive Woodward, Eddie Jones, Dan Carter, Christian Wade, Warren Gatland, Sam Warburton, Richie McCaw, Sonny Bill Williams and Billy Twelvetrees showing their support over the years. Over the past decade, Robbie’s Rugby Festival has raised more than £61,400 for the charities who take inspiration from Robbie Anderson and Jake McCarthy, young boys who devastatingly lost their lives to cancer. Support from Robbie’s Rugby Festival has allowed The Robbie Anderson Cancer Trust to purchase two vital pieces of equipment for use on Ward 27. www.robbiesrugbyfestival.com

CAN YOU BEAT FARMER BYTHAM? There’s a fun new addition to the Midsummer Festival at Castle Bytham this month: the Castle Bytham Chase. Starting from the bridge on St Martins at 10.30am on Saturday ,June 23, entrants will be take on a cross-country 5km trail run.

Open to all ages (including those with dogs, as long as on short leads) the route starts with a run up hill to Lawn Woods, down the other side towards the main railway line, before looping back. But there’s a catch: can you beat the chaser? In keeping with the festival

theme of ‘Countryside Caper’, this year Farmer Bytham will set off after the main start, shouting “get off my land”, so you better be quick or will you be caught. Email rachbarratt@gmail.com for an entry form (£8 before June 10, £10 on the day (under 11s free with an adult).

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24/05/2018 11:22

Feature /// Family sport

Being a Competitive Dad and Mum (and Kids)! Playing sport competitively alongside your child may sound like a recipe for disaster, but for these local families it has brought them closer together and improved their skills. Lily Canter reports

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24/05/2018 11:17

Feature /// Family sport




This family of six from Great Easton not only live together but they run, swim and cycle together having caught the active bug from dad Jim Chattaway, 55, and eldest daughter Charlotte, 27. The duo competed in a 100-mile sportive cycling challenge in Norfolk three years ago and have been training together ever since. And they have now roped in mum, Georgina, 51, and Charlotte’s three younger sisters Rosie, 18, Nicola, 21, and Ellie, 25, into various races. Charlotte and her dad got hooked on triathlons after taking part in one in 2016 and before they knew it were members of Welland Valley Triathlon Club, training six days a week. “There are mornings when my alarm goes off at 5.30am and I can’t imagine anything worse than getting out of bed but I know dad is downstairs waiting for me. You feel guilty and you also don’t want them to get ahead so it is a great motivator,” said Charlotte. Despite an age gap of almost 20 years they compete on an even playing field, with Jim stronger on the bike and Charlotte better in the water. “I get frustrated when he’s having a strong day and I can’t keep up. But he knows when I am tired and struggling and I know he will always wait for me,” said Charlotte. But on race day everything changes. “We don’t stick together, it is competitive,” laughed Charlotte. “I don’t go out to beat him but it’s nice if I can.” And the tight-knit family are now gaining a reputation for being the ‘crazy family’, as Charlotte explained: “Mum joined the triathlon club after a lot of persuasion. She said she was inspired when I did an Iron Man last year. But it is about having a bit of fun for her. “Nicola is not interested in cycling or swimming and is more of a runner so she has competed in triathlon relays with us. “Rosie and Ellie have recently taken up running. Rosie did her first half marathon at Rutland Water and Ellie has done her first 10k. “It has just snowballed and everyone keeps pushing each other.”

Playing football alongside his grown-up son gives Simon Stewart an “enormous sense of pride” and is something he would recommend to any family member. “If you want to get close to your children, do sport together,” said the 48-year old. “He is a much better footballer than I ever was and playing with him gives me a real sense of belonging, I feel really close to him,” he added. Flynn, 22, has played football with his dad for the past six years in veteran friendly matches and a local seven-a-side league in Welland Park, Market Harborough. But it hasn’t always been an easy sporting relationship, admits Flynn. “Dad got me into football as a kid. He did youth coaching and growing up it wasn’t great as you feel dad is harder on you as he’s your dad. But other times he spurred me on. Playing alongside him now makes us more level.” It also adds a competitive edge to the game said Flynn especially as the two play a similar style of football. And do they ever fall out? Sometimes, but not for long. Simon said: “We get on fairly well together most of the time and rarely clash. Occasionally we have a cross word on the football pitch but then we laugh and it is fine. It is much easier to forgive him than some other idiot on the pitch.”

Having parents who never played sport was hard, admits Wendy Hayward, who has instilled the love of netball into her 19-yearold daughter Amy. The pair play for Aircare in the Market Harborough Netball League and thrive on court together. “We have an intuition on the netball court that others don’t have. Mum knows where I am going and what I am capable of. We know each other’s strengths,” said Amy. Wendy, 46, has played netball for more than two decades and previously coached Amy in the youth team. “The reason I started playing was because I watched my mum play netball,” said Amy, who moved across to the adult league when she was 15. The duo originally competed on different teams because playing together was frowned upon by coaches. But they soon realised this caused havoc on court because they knew each other’s moves so Amy moved into the team where her mum was captain. Playing together has not been without its difficulties, but they agree it has made them closer. Amy explained: “Sometimes I find it easier to be annoyed with her than I would be with others. I can see things she can improve on. We are each other’s biggest critics and sometimes I may overstep the boundaries but we’ve never had a massive fall out.” And the hardest part for Wendy, is not switching from team captain to mum mode. “When she was young and she would go splat on the floor, or was punched in the face it was hard not to go charging over but I had to deal with it as a captain.”

HOW TO AVOID FALLING OUT Be patient with each other and don’t be afraid to admit if you are having difficulty training or competing. Know when the other person is having a bad day and respond to this by being understanding rather than critical.

Accept each others’ abilities and understand that everyone’s goals are different – for some it is about competition, others fitness or weight loss and for many it is just about having fun.

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Feature /// Cycling

IT IS ABOUT THE BIKE… We’ve asked an Active reader to test an e-bike for a couple of months from Rutland Cycling to see how these machines fit into daily routines SURELY RIDING an e-bike is cheating isn’t it? You might as well get a moped or sit in your car? Well, we are going to put one to the test over an extended period to see whether they are truly able to help with the everyday commute and regular trips. In order to find out exactly whether you should be thinking of investing in one, we needed somebody who had a commute to work of a few miles, would find one useful for running errands on, but crucially was fit enough to do all these things without the assistance of an electric motor. After all, for e-bikes to convince, they have to complement your fitness regime, not be a sticking plaster for the lack of one. Step forward Jo Coulter, who lives a couple of miles outside Stamford, has a three-mile commute to work and has been known to do the odd fitness challenge or six. She joined us at Rutland Cycling Whitwell store to pick up the very sharp looking Kalkhoff Agattu Advance, and showed immediate keenness by electing to ride it the 10 miles home rather than get it transported back in the boot of a car.

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Jo said: “Electric bikes look so much more stylish than they did years ago, and have much better range and more power it seems, so I’m really looking forward to trying it out. I work in a pre-school centre, and being able to commute on this should be perfect: the roads around Stamford are so full of cars in rush hour that the thought of whizzing about on a bike, not stuck in traffic, is very appealing.

“Also, I’m always having to run errands and pick up shopping, and going to meet friends and get to exercise classes, so I’m hoping the bike will be a practical, enjoyable way to help with all those trips, while providing a workout.” We’ll be reporting on Jo’s experiences over the next couple of months, and looking at facets of e-bike use such as how they are to charge and how easy they are to ride.

ABOUT THE BIKE The Kalkhoff Agattu has an upright sitting position and adjustable stem and, costing £2,259, also features an SR Suntour suspension fork and a suspension seatpost for added comfort. Shimano’s Nexus

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24/05/2018 10:54

Feature /// Family fitness

FA M I LY FIT CLUB Getting everyone in the family together to exercise will reap benefits for adults and kids alike. Here are some of our top tips...

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etting or keeping your family fit is important, but it can be hard when everyone is busy with work and school, or just exhausted from the day’s exertions, to find the time, energy and enthusiasm to get you off the sofa. But exercising and doing things as a family is good for everyone, physically and mentally. To start with it is worth deciding what level of participation your family is ready for. If your entire family is committed 100%, you could go as far as setting up a Family Olympics, or being out running or swimming every night. But for most families, there will be a certain amount of resistance to a strict and committed exercise regime – especially if the kids are entering those teenage years. So it might be that instead of having them in their active wear and ready for the start gun the minute they leave school, it’s best to start in subtler, smarter ways. To start with, setting out the benefits of exercise rather than the work needed might be the most successful approach. While the pressure kids are under about their self- and body-image is clearly detrimental, they are also far more aware of health and fitness benefits than previous generations. Channelling that in a positive way could have many upsides. Bombarding them with stats each morning as they come down to breakfast might not be the best option, but putting up a healthy living bulletin board in your kitchen (or on the fridge door) with articles and other resources will help get your point across without having to say much of anything. For example, if one child is an athlete, an article about a successful athlete who commits to fitness could go a long way. Or, post a story about a young person who had trouble focusing at school but started exercising and saw an amazing difference.

HOW TO GET YOUR FAMILY FOCUSED ON FITNESS Some of these may be suitable for younger or older children – but all of them, with a little adaptation, can be used by the whole family. Chore strength Combine exercise and household chores. On small pieces of paper, write down chores and body weight exercises. Throw the papers into a couple of hats and have everyone pick one of each. Maybe Dad gets to clean the bathroom and do a set of squats every few minutes until he is finished, while one of the children is cleaning the kitchen and doing forward lunges, etc – the combinations are endless Rep prep Have each family member pick an exercise at the beginning of the week and do as many reps as they can. Then train throughout the week with the goal of improving by the weekend. The family member who has the highest percentage increase is rewarded with something small (but motivating). Keep the focus on the fact that everyone is improving. Games night Designate one evening as family fitness night. Each week, a different person designs the family workout that you will all do together. Whether it’s swimming, walking, football, everyone gets to do something they enjoy, and your workout will never become dull. Take a hike Walking is a great way to stay fit without even

realising that you’re working hard. Do some research to find scenic hikes in your area that are easy-to-moderate in difficulty. Put together a list of natural elements for your kids to find on your journey. For example, look for a purple flower, a heart-shaped rock, or a good climbing tree. Make it a contest to see which family member can find the most items. Secret circuits Buy small pieces of equipment to keep around the house. Then make some fitness rules: exercise during advertisement breaks every time you watch TV; stretch before bed each night. Purchase a few inexpensive items (jump rope, resistance bands, stability ball, dumbbells) and rotate them through the house on a daily basis. Treat them as scavenger hunt finds – if you find the jump rope placed in the garage, you have to use it for one minute. Next time you may find it on the porch, or in the bathroom. Treasure hunt Hide something valuable, maybe a little money, or a special treat and put together a map for discovering where it is hidden. Make sure everyone gets a turn. Add a little challenge by coming up with rules to follow while hunting. For example, everyone has to skip or walk with high knees from location to location. Family goals Each week, measure your fitness levels to determine your family’s overall fitness average. Add each person’s own calculation of their level of fitness for the week; zero meaning they did nothing, and seven meaning they exercised daily. Divide the total by the number of family members. Set a goal to average at least a five or six each week, rewarding the entire family if it is met.

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Feature /// Family fitness


Family championship Pick an activity that you do each week and keep setting new goals or set up a championship round: come up with a list of activities that you can enjoy each and every week. Plot it out on a calendar and let the kids be involved in the planning process. One week it might be a family football match, and the next it may be swimming. Mix it up to keep everyone interested, and be sure that the kids are engaged so they stick with it. You will love the diverse offering of activities, and family fitness will become a common theme throughout the whole family. Interest them Since some kids (and adults) love long walks while others prefer football or hip-hop, even the most well-intentioned family fitness pursuits can backfire if your kids aren’t game. Offer lots of choice and variety for being active together, and experiment with activities that have a physical component but that also connect to each child’s identity. Got a kid who loves crafts? Decorate a balloon that you later use as a ball to volley back and forth. For a science-minded child, explore the great outdoors with books about creatures and plants, and magnifying glasses – you’ll reap the benefits of exercise while also exploring the science of nature.

Corby Borough Council’s summer holiday activities start from Thursday, July 26, across various facilities including; Corby International Pool (surf and turf, intensive swimming lessons and rookie lifeguard), Lodge Park Sports Centre (racket sports, astroturf hire and SPLAT Holiday Club for 6-14 year olds), Corby Heritage Centre, East Carlton Country Park, West Glebe Pavilion and fishing sessions at Corby Boating Lake. Follow them on Twitter #SMILE to keep up to date with news of sessions and offers. www.corby.gov.uk

Become festival goers The Foxton Locks Festival (June 16-17) has become a fantastic family event with something for all ages. Take the opportunity to show the children of all ages quite a variety of attractions including; the ever popular furry and feathered friends attending this year in strength, including alpacas, dogs, birds of prey and ferrets! There’s a medieval village, a traditional fun-fare with great rides and prize stalls, and the huge craft marquee. The music line-up playing on two sound stages includes an eclectic range of local talent and headlines two top international bands King King and The Truttles. www.foxtonlocksfestival.co.uk

Get crafty The Paint Pottle is a bright and friendly paint your own pottery studio in the middle of Market Harborough. The studio is the perfect place to spend time with your loved ones as everyone can enjoy this relaxing and creative activity – you don’t have to be an artist – they have lots of tips and cheats for you to create your masterpiece including all the paints, tools and inspiration you need. They stock a wide choice of pre-fired

pottery (bisque) for you to decorate, from practical homeware to unique seasonal ornaments and after you have painted your pottery, they glaze and fire it in their on-site kiln ready for you to pick up in a week or so. Contact Claire Webb - 07900 090851 claire@thepaintpottle.co.uk

Don’t just shop! This summer, families will be able to enjoy an even better day out at Springfields Outlet, the shopping and leisure destination in the East of England. With more attractions, more fun and more shops offering big discounts, it is expected to attract still greater numbers of visitors looking for a great day out. The new Springfields Adventure Land (open June 30) will include the UK’s largest JCB Young Driver’s Zone, giving children an exciting opportunity to drive around in bright yellow pedal diggers. They’ll also be able to enjoy the huge JCB slide and scaffold-themed climbing frame, and let their imaginations take over on a range of unique interactive play attractions. Families will be able to walk through the trees in the new Tree Top Village that has eight wooden towers and a massive 12sq m suspended net. Also, Springy’s Beach, offering a sand play area and rockpool water stream all covered by a huge canopy, will delight children who will be able to have fun whatever the weather. Families can try their luck at Dino Golf, with dinosaurs peering around every corner, then pan for gold at Goldie’s Gold Mine. Visitors can ride the miniature railway, aptly named Springy’s Railroad, through the woodland or take the overground Adventure Land Express train through the scenic, award-winning Festival Gardens. www.springfieldsoutlet.co.uk

Sneak in steps We tend to ferry our kids everywhere, and drop them off close to the door of where they are going. Instead, why not park a few streets away and make them walk – more often than not they won’t know you’ve sneakily added a few hundred metres extra walking to their trip, and it will help you too. Class room Family fitness can be in line with an organised group activity. Search out a class that you can enjoy together. Let the kids pick the class sometimes too so that they can play an important role in things. An organised group fitness class is a great way to exercise, and it’s fun to take it together and see how well you can keep up and maybe even develop a new skill.

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ACTIVE SPORT Walking the Witham Five, Great Easton and Nevill Holt, and all the latest challenges and sporting round-ups

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Guest column

Natural selection With teams being announced for the Football World Cup and golf’s Ryder Cup, Martin Johnson savours the delights of a pub debate on the players selected t wasn’t easy to get a drink at my golf club on royal wedding day, as the barmaid kept disappearing to grab another 10 minutes by the telly before returning to gush on about Meghan’s dress. Ordinarily, listening to shrieks of “oh, doesn’t she look lovely!” whilst peering at an empty glass would have triggered no more than mild irritation, but an interesting cricketing debate was taking place on the patio, and I was anxious to join it. The question being asked – and opinion appeared to be split roughly down the middle – was whether England’s new chief selector, Ed Smith, was a bold visionary or a complete chump. Here were England about to play their first Test match of the summer, and he goes and picks Jos Buttler – a Twenty20 specialist with a hopeless average in ‘proper’ cricket over the previous 12 months – for one of the key batting slots. Maybe we shouldn’t have been too surprised. The previous selectorial supremo, James Whitaker, once selected a 29-year old Grimsby-born Australian bowler with only 12 previous first class matches behind him, and while Buttler is a well known name, almost no-one, not even in the England dressing room, had heard of Darren Pattinson. One game, one flop, thanks for popping in. It’s the same in all sports. When it comes to selection, controversy nearly always follows, which is why reaction to the announcement of Gareth Southgate’s England football squad for the upcoming World Cup was so unusual. Scarcely anyone found much fault with it, apart from the discarded goalkeeper Joe Hart. Although Joe’s protests that he should have been picked didn’t cut much ice with Gary Lineker, who explained to Hart via social media that it had something to do with being “rubbish for the past two years”. If everyone agreed on everything, then even more British pubs would be closing than the current average of around 20 a week. I mean, what’s the point of nipping down to the local if you can’t have a good argument? “I’m glad they stuck with Alastair Cook to open the batting. He’s still a class act.” “Tosh and piffle. The bloke’s totally past his sell by date.” The minute you get a choice, you get a difference of opinion. Which is why you don’t hear horses having many arguments. At meal times, for instance, we can summon the waiter, but with a horse, or a sheep, there’s really not much point. “And what would sir like to start? We have grass, or would you prefer, er, grass.” Although I suppose he could always point to the blackboard and say “how about today’s house special? I’m afraid it’s grass again. But with just a hint of dandelion.” Talking of horses, I was once, as a new boy on the sports desk of the Leicester Mercury, given the job of producing the racing


page every day. And one of my tasks was to supply the reader with the likely winner of the 2.45 at Market Rasen, or whatever. For which purpose I enquired of the boss whether I was allowed to claim on expenses for the two vital tools I calculated I needed for the job. Namely, a blindfold and a pin. What I knew about horses began and ended with a vague awareness that the tail was somewhere around the back, so the blind stab with a sharp object into the list of runners and riders appeared to me to be as good a method as any. And guess what? A few of them won, and on one occasion a grateful reader phoned up to invite me to his local after giving him a 20-1 winner. It was almost as easy as being a football manager, where you pretend to be extremely clever and tactically astute, but basically all you do is stand on a touchline once a week, shouting a lot, waving your arms, pointing at your watch, and complaining to the fourth official. Then you hold a press conference to explain either why your diamond system outsmarted your opponent’s 4-3-2-1-1, or why it was only the incompetence of the referee which thwarted your superior tactics. Sooner rather than later you get the sack, and pocket 10 million quid before starting all over again with some other lot. It’s Ryder Cup year again in golf, and Europe’s captain, Thomas Bjorn, will be charged with making the pairings for the four partnership formats, and then the order of play for the final day singles. As is the custom, there will be fierce speculation beforehand about who is playing with whom, and when the announcements are made, panels of experts will convene to dissect the captain’s choice, and pronounce them wise or otherwise. For all we know, Bjorn may lock himself in his room every night, place some numbered balls in the bag – FA Cup draw style – and fish them out at random. Then someone in the studio will say, with justthe right amount of gravitas required in these situations: “ahah, I never saw that one coming. But I can see why Thomas might have thought those two would be a good fit.” There will undoubtedly be hard to fathom selections, as there will be with Southgate at the World Cup, and despite the air of approval I fear the poor chap has already got it badly wrong. As we all know, football matches are nowadays decided by who pulls off the best dive in the penalty box, and while Harry Kane has been given the captain’s armband for his proven form in this area, for my money Tom Daley’s mastery of the triple back somersault with pike should have made him a shoo-in for the number 9 shirt.  Martin Johnson has been a sports journalist and author since 1973, writing for the Leicester Mercury, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times. He currently writes columns for The Rugby Paper and The Cricket Paper, and has a book out called ‘Can I Carry Your Bags?’.

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Feature /// Challenges

I’M READY FOR THE JUNGLE! Simon Davies is now tackling his second challenge of three – the Jungle Ultra in the Amazon rainforest By the time you read this I’ll have just begun the second part of my Ice Desert Jungle challenge – the Jungle Ultra. Held in the Amazon rainforest in Peru, this is a 150-mile run over five days through suffocating jungle undergrowth, river crossings and mountain valleys. I’m expecting choking humidity; the body pouring with sweat in an effort to stay cool, deep mud, heavy rain and time spent running in the dark. As with the Ice Ultra, I’ll be carrying my entire kit for the five days including food, safety equipment and survival gear. For this race I’m most concerned about how the heat and humidity will affect me. I’ve run races in humid conditions before and found it incredibly tough. Your sweat doesn’t evaporate into the atmosphere so you can’t cool down effectively and your body temperature ends up getting hotter and hotter. The sports science team at Loughborough University have helped me out by allowing me access to their climatic chamber where the scientists set the temperature and humidity to the same conditions as the jungle so I could exercise hard in it.

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Looking at the race plan, the first four days of the Jungle Ultra seem like a fairly manageable 30-40km per day. However, the final day is an absolute monster at over 90km! I’ve never run that distance and it’s going to be an incredibly tough day, especially after four days of running in such a punishing environment. I just hope I can start the stage injury free. It’s now been 10 weeks since I completed the Ice Ultra and the time has gone so quickly. At first I found getting back into training incredibly hard. I think my body was more fatigued than I realised and at first I was struggling to complete even relatively small training runs. In the end I took about four weeks off and tried to give my body some time to rest and recover fully. I started running again properly in April, building up the miles and the weight in my pack gradually over the month. Then on the first May bank holiday weekend I decided at the last minute to enter the SILVA GL3D – a three-day mountain marathon race in the Lake District. Competitors were ‘treated’ to incredibly hot weather and day one was a 42km run with

nearly 3km of climbing. Perfect training conditions for the Jungle! I found the event hard – mostly due to the climbing – but it was a great opportunity to try out some kit ahead of the jungle. I tried out my food, hydration strategy (including different types of electrolyte supplements) and even kept the same clothes on for the entire event! I was particularly interested to see how my feet would hold-up wearing the same wet socks for three days. As well as the physical training there’s also a lot of equipment to think about, test and organise. I’ve been kindly provided with an ENO Hammock from my friends at Burton McCall so I’ve spent some time in the woods learning how to put this up as quickly as possible. I figure I’ll need to be able to do this on autopilot when I’m exhausted. Most importantly, the fund-raising for Rainbows Children’s Hospice is progressing steadily. We’ve now raised £19,778, so my £25,000 target is in reach. I desperately want to raise a meaningful amount of money as I’ve seen the difference they make to the lives of terminally-ill children and their families. If you’d like to read more about my challenge or if you’re able donate some money you can do so at www.icedesertjungle.com.

THE SUPER SIX! A team of six local runners all faced up to the arduous course and heat to raise funds for four different charities in memory of Wendy Hetherington, who suffered from depression and took her own life last year, aged 39. Wendy ran the London Marathon in 2006, and her sister Kerry Tanner was the first of the six to finish on Sunday in an impressive 4 hr 21 min. Kerry said: “It was hot and after 10 miles it became impossible to focus on anything other than finishing, but the fact we all completed the course is typical of the determination this group has demonstrated throughout training. My sister would be impressed, and would have loved the atmosphere.” Next to cross the finish line was Ellie Evans in an impressive 4 hr 48 min. Felix Cunningham clocked 5 hr 25 min and said: “The support was incredible, but miles 17-20 were definitely the toughest. I saw other runners fainting and being sick around me, but I knew I had done the training and I knew we could all complete it.”

In the hottest London Marathon in history, pre-conceived target times had to be shelved and Simone Ashley-Norman, Sophie Cornish and Zoey Wurfel supported each other to all finish the tough 26-mile course in under six hours. They also delivered the biggest smiles to the supporters on the sidelines and Simone added: “I was a good hour behind my target in that heat, but just had to abandon the timing around mile 15 and embrace the magic of the day, and boy was it magical! I am so proud to have done it with the Super Six.” The same six people (along with Sally Hullock) all organised the Always on My Mind Ball which was held on March 17 and raised approximately £35,000 on the evening. In conjunction with their individual marathon fund-raising the Super Six have raised more than £50,000 to be split between Mind, YoungMinds, the Mental Health Foundation and the Cavernoma Alliance.

THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE Stamford duo to tackle the Blenheim triathlon Alex Stephens, owner of Agri International, and Megan Page, who works in The Wine Bar in Stamford, have joined forces to raise money for RABI (The Royal Agriculutral Benevolent Institution) and hope to raise at least £1,000. As they are both newcomers to triathlons, and have only just started training, they have decided to tackle the sprint relay team event which consists of a 750m swim in open water, a 13.2km cycle and 5.4km run. Each team member takes on a discipline and apparently they can go round as many times as they like! Meg was most nervous about the swim, so has opted to do the running. She is pretty fit, riding horses daily and

is in the gym at 6am most days. Alex seems untroubled by it all and hasn’t done a great deal of training. An ex-Stamford Rugby Club player, he likes to think he is still pretty fit, throwing in the occasional run and cycle, and will happily tackle the swimming leg. They have roped in chartered surveyor Jonny Wells to do the cycling leg for them. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alexstephens2


Battling the exceptional heat, six local runners ran the London Marathon and raised thousands of pounds

GO CHARLIE! Charlie Martin is enjoying a strong start to the Ginetta GT5 Challenge With my first race of the season falling over Easter at Outlon Park, guess what was the last thing I wanted? Snow falling from the sky while I ate my breakfast, of course! Testing had gone well on the Friday, but race day wasn’t until the bank holiday Monday when the track temperature was barely above freezing; it was so cold that I lost the feeling in my toes and fingers waiting to qualify in heavy rain. Starting near the back of the grid, I climbed up to third in the Am class before being shunted off and coming home last – close but no cigar. I was determined to finish on the podium in the second race, and despite losing most of the view from mud kicked off the track, I brought the car home in third to take my first podium of 2018. Round two saw us at Rockingham four weeks later in similar monsoon conditions, but thankfully no snow. Friday practice was like a battle for survival with a lot of cars sliding off, myself included, but luckily without any serious damage. In race one I made up some good ground on the first lap, leading the Am class with a good margin. Sadly it wasn’t to last. About four laps from the end I ran wide defending and dropped down to third, after recovering from a spin. I was so frustrated for letting the pressure get to me, but another podium place was a good start to a tough weekend. Races two and three were both held when the rain had stopped. I claimed fourth in the second, after contact and a spin on lap one, before settling further down the order in the final race, despite being third at one point. All in all it’s been a great start. Crucially the speed and potential are already there, it’s now a case of working on my race craft and learning from a few rookie errors.

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02/05/2018 09:32

Feature /// Challenges

HARRY HEADS FOR HOME Harry Brooks tackles his third – and final – leg, crossing the mighty North Pacific in the Clipper Round the World Race before heading home to Rutland This is it... crossing the North Pacific. The leg that everyone in the fleet has been talking about in hushed voices for months. My third race lasted 28 days, covered 5,600 nautical miles where, at half way, the nearest human was on the International Space Station. Seattle, where we finish, seemed a long way off. My trip on CV21, the hull number of the UNICEF big blue boat, had so far taken me across the frustratingly light doldrums, the predictably stable trade winds, and the notoriously unpredictable Chinese fishing fleets. What would happen over the next four weeks would be vastly different – or so we were told. Our journey started with all that we had seen before – a wind hole, which made the sail down to the bottom of Japan a tortuous experience enlivened by the fishing fleets. Avoiding a fishing net at night is difficult enough, but when your boat is drifting at only a few knots trying to steer around them is near impossible. We eventually rounded the bottom of Japan. The fleet had faced such light winds that all 11 yachts were within sight of one another. Tactics would really play a part now and for the first time the fleet split. We were in the front pack of three, each boat finding its own patch of ocean, and we would not see another soul for two weeks. The forecasts sent to the fleet were suddenly full of words such as ‘hurricane’ and ‘phenomenal sea state’. With trepidation, and reminders that racing was secondary to safety, we all donned our bright yellow dry suits and waited for the storm to hit.

The yachts are designed to sail fast downwind. They have a wide rear end and a flat bottom (imagine a 70ft surfboard with a mast). The wind was behind us, which meant so were the waves. The storm brought winds in excess of 70 knots, and waves over 14 metres high. We would be sailing along at 16 knots or so, then the sails would flap as the wind had dropped out of them because the wave right behind us was so vast it actually sheltered us from the wind. Then the wave would pick us up and push us down it at well over 25 knots, to be repeated again and again. All the helm could do was try to keep the boat pointing in a straight line and hold on tight. Sailing in these conditions was extremely tiring and stressful. We lost our medium weight spinnaker in to the sea because of a halyard failure. When we hauled it out there was a large tear down the centre. We bolted the sewing machine to the floor of the sail locker and spent 100 hours, in hurricane force winds, trying to repair it, but to no avail.

The wind did ease eventually and we had an agonisingly close finish past Vancouver Island. We were able to hold off some tough last minute challenges to keep third place. After a motor through Puget Sound from the finish line we arrived in Seattle physically exhausted, mentally drained, but exhilarated and emotional. We had done it – 18 of us had sailed across the largest ocean on the planet. And remember, we are amateur sailors. This amazing 5,956 nautical mile journey from China was the last of my trip. I have travelled 13,000 nautical miles in all and it did not fail to meet expectations. It was the hardest challenge of my life and I loved almost every minute. To witness nature on this scale is an experience that is unlikely to be bettered. No picture, film or book can ever come close to capturing the majesty of the mighty North Pacific in full cry. This journey has seen me lose three hats, two pairs of sunglasses, one shoe and 13 kilograms in weight. But I have gained lots of new friends from all over the world, sailing experience and memories that will last a lifetime. CV21 continues on with the rest of the fleet, heading down to Panama and up to New York. But I’m heading home to Rutland. What next? Well, I’ll still be on the water – but calmer ones –- and can be found at Rutland Sailing Club during the summer. In years to come I hope to once again face the might of the world’s oceans, but maybe next time alone, unsupported and non-stop. But for now, sleep and a hair cut.

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Feature /// Staff challenges

TACKLE MY FEAR OF HEIGHTS AMY ROBERTS, ADVERTISING SALES After saying the words “that’s it, my challenge is done for 2018,” I then thought why not have a little challenge of trying out the Aqua Park course at Rutland Water, to help tackle my fear of heights? John, Lucy and I went to try out the course in May: the sun was out, wet suits were on and, wow, what fun we had. We all tackled something out of our comfort zones and loved every minute. Want to have a dip in Rutland Water? Then go and try out Aqua Park. In the meantime, I decided I need a challenge

or two later in the year, and I stumbled across the Grimsthorpe Gallop just down the road from me. Being a regular visitor to Grimsthorpe grounds I felt this was ideal; a beautiful setting which the kids can come and enjoy while I run. If that wasn’t enough I also thought I’d like to attempt the Rutland Water Night Run – which is quirky, fun and, again, something out of my comfort zone. Whilst I’m not the strongest at running and my back keeps hurting, I still love the adrenalin of crossing that finishing line. I have moments

around the course where I question if I can make it to the finish line, and that’s the moment I think, right dig deep and it’s mind over matter. I’ve had lots of advice and tips along the way which I’ve been very grateful for, and I want to improve each time by getting stronger muscles as well as being fit – that plays a big part after having two babies. So here we go again... only a month until Grimsthorpe so I’d best get the running shoes on. Any tips, please let me know – I’m always keen to learn a little more.

Climbing back to the top of the eventing ladder JULIA DUNGWORTH, EQUESTRIAN CORRESPONDENT What a challenge this last month has been. I thought we were going to have a super-busy month competing and was getting geared up to run three events back to back, but alas it was not to be. We have now had three cancelled events in a row due to over-subscription and latterly Keysoe being abandoned due to the weather, ironically that is where we are heading next and the ground has gone like concrete. We are now entered up for next month and hoping to do Great Witchingham intermediate if the next couple of events go to plan, which will mean that my horse will have achieved his first goal of going 90 to Intermediate (four levels) in one year!

WANT TO TAKE UP A CHALLENGE? Just email steve@ theactivemag.com with the subject line ‘TeamActive Challenge 18’ with what you are planning to do and we’ll give you some dates when we’ll need short monthly updates, and we will feature you in the magazine, and hopefully give you some much needed inspiration to keep going! It can be a fitness, wellness, sporting or self-improvement goal – we’d love to hear about your challenge.

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It’s been a funny old month in my quest to halve my handicap, which started badly, got even worse but ended on a high. I had a round early in the month at Brocket Hall, near St Albans, which is a lovely course and fairly wide and grassy too, and so should be good for scoring. Unfortunately the entire round, bar about three holes in the middle, was played in torrential rain and an incessant wind that refused to dip below 30mph. I went round in the mid to late 90s (I gave up counting after a while), and because of the conditions, it was either a solid par or eight or nine, and not much in between. I put the whole thing down to experience and decided that when you can barely hold the club due to sodden grips and gloves, you have to take the positives, which were the halfway house sausage bap and, as it was a corporate do, I got given a dozen Pro V1s just for turning up (I went home with considerably less though). Then it was back to home soil and two rounds at Burghley in less ridiculous conditions. The work I’ve been doing on my swing is having a noticeable effect, in two very different ways. I’m now incredibly consistent off the tee and on longer shots, and rubbish on the shorter ones. More of that later. But three rounds I played, which included the May medal, I was in position A off the tee on perhaps three-quarters of all the holes. All that was required then was a decent iron, or first putt, and pars would be raining down on my scorecard. However, through dreadful short irons, pitiful pitches and crapulous chipping I’ve been turning what should be solid pars into bogeys or even doubles. And the pressure builds, like a cricketer missing half-volleys or a striker putting clear chances in the stands.

So the game of golf, taking the mickey as ever, was flipping my play on its head so that previous strengths (wedges, shorts irons) have become clownish while previous weaknesses (driving, long game) are pretty regal. Combine some very firm greens and brutal May rough, and playing even to 13 was looking hard going. Dispiriting stuff. And then, at the end of the month, it all clicked. I resolved to not worry about the technicalities of my swing (especially on shorter shots) and just concentrate on keeping things nice and simple. The result was I still hit it off the tee well and for the first time ever I can now hit a draw and fade, nearly at will, and was solid on shorter shots. One round in particular, if only it wasn’t for a couple of careless three putts, would have broken 80. So a month which was testing my sanity has ended on a real high. Things are definitely moving in the right direction, and it’s now a case of not ballooning easy chances over the bar, but sticking them solidly in the bottom corner.

Reduce my waistline and lose weight WILL HETHERINGTON, CONTRIBUTOR I’m currently walking the 500-mile French Way section of the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. I started walking on May 16 and hope to finish on June 23. Day one was a 25km walk, which doesn’t sound too daunting until you realise it involved 1,400 metres of climbing into the Pyrenees, crossing the border from France to Spain.That’s higher than Ben Nevis, which most people would consider a significant achievement in itself. It also equated to more than 230 flights of stairs and was pretty much the toughest one day walk I have ever undertaken. By the end I was exhausted, along with the other 250 odd people who had set off from St.

Jean Pied de Port in southern France with me in the morning. I’m now four days in and, apart from tight calf muscles, my legs are feeling strong. Blisters are the biggest concern, and I take my shoes and socks off at every stop to reduce the moisture. I don’t know if or how much weight I will lose, because it’s far too early to tell and the food here is exceptional, but I hope the walk helps me achieve my targets of losing 13kg and reducing my waistline by three inches. The Camino is not really about health benefits but if they come as a by-product then that would be welcome.

I’m now one month away from race day and it’s all starting to become very real. I can now do all three discipline distances happily, just on different days. I just need to combine them into about three or four hours, consecutively and on the same day. Having struggled to get to the end of one length without needing to stop for a breather at the start, I’m now comfortably swimming 1.5km. I went out for my first open water swim at Rutland Water too; they’re great sessions run by Mary Hardwick from Inspire2Tri. At one of the outdoor sessions Mary had invited Angus Greenwood, CEO of Yonda Sports, to demonstrate his wetsuits. Having tested one out, I’m now the proud owner of a Yonda Ghost wetsuit – it was so much more comfortable than any other wetsuit I’ve tried. I’ve been out on the road notching up some miles, including a 60km ride – by far my longest to date. I’m heading back to Rutland Cycling soon to pick up a bike for race day – a Specialized Roubaix Elite. Running has been fairly steady, with a couple of 6km runs each week to support the cycling and swimming. Transition is now something I need to focus on. I’ve been back to see Dawn Revens from The Compeater. She retested me and the results showed some positive movements in body fat percentage. The main focus was on competition nutrition, making sure that for the week leading up to the event and on the event day itself I’m fully hydrated and energised. Dawn has given me some ideas about what to eat and drink on the day and is always keen to stress that I should eat natural products to help fuel myself during the event. I’ve now got to put a nutrition plan together so I know exactly what to eat and when.

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Feature /// Great walks


THE WITHAM FIVE This loop takes in five villages, an ancient oak tree, a golf course and a once famous spa, all in eight miles. Will Hetherington reports

Spa was a Braceborough retreat popular Victorian natural spring because of its house was built waters. A bath orge III was in 1841, and Ge his treated there for ‘madness’.

Photography: Will Hetherington

Difficulty rating (out of five)


Park at the Six Bells in Witham if you plan to spend a few pounds in there afterwards, or nearer to the church along the main road. Take the footpath to the left of the church and set off north. You will soon cross the bridge over the small brook and head uphill on a narrow track alongside a house. Turn right on to the track at the top and go past the Grange, a lavish looking new build on your right. You will soon see the footpath sign to the left, so head off into the field and make sure you make the right turn in the direction of Toft after a couple of hundred yards. This path then goes through three fields as it gradually descends towards the A6121 Bourne Road. When you get to the road turn left and take care walking over the hump back bridge on the

6 2 J U N E 2018 ///

way into Toft. At the golf course turn right at the footpath sign and turn right again to go past the front of the shop. The footpath south through the course is clearly marked and if you are lucky you might see some good or bad shots on the way through, but I would advise caution because you may be in the landing zone sometimes. Follow the signs and you will go through a hedge and see the sign for the path to Manthorpe. Head south-east and you will soon be on the lane into Manthorpe. Turn right to walk almost all the way through the village and you will find the footpath again on your left just before the end of the village. Take this path downhill and head for the bridge over the river just north of Bowthorpe Park Farm. The stile here was basically nonexistent when I did this walk, but you can still get over the fence and cross the bridge. Then go straight uphill to the farm where the gate is attached by a flimsy piece of string. Turn left after the gate and then immediately right to pick up the path as it goes diagonally through an enclosed field. If you look to your

right here you will see the Bowthorpe oak tree which, at more than 1,000 years old, may be the oldest oak in England. After the next stile turn right and after about 400 yards turn right over the bridge and then take the path which heads across the field to Spa Lodge Farm. It’s not very clearly cut in the field but you can see the post you are aiming for on the corner in the distance. When you get to Spa Lodge Farm walk the track down past Station House and continue south east until you get to Braceborough. When you get to the village turn right and look out for the footpath sign on the right. When you get past the houses and cross the small stream take the right hand option and head across the fields past Braceborough Lodge and into Braceborough Woods. Do a very quick right/left when you get to the woods and you will be on the path which leads out into the open fields all the way to Carlby. Walk almost all the way through the village (ignoring one footpath sign on your right) and then just before you come to the edge of Carlby


➛ ➛ ➛ ➛

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION Where to park Either at the Six Bells in Witham if you plan to spend a few pounds in there afterwards, or nearer to the church along the main road. Distance and time Eight miles/two and a half hours. Highlights The massive and ancient Bowthorpe oak, the tranquility of Braceborough Spa and Braceborough Woods, and the path from Carlby to Witham. Lowlights Not to be advised with a cold easterly or northerly wind. It’s quite exposed in parts and it’s eight miles Refreshments The Six Bells in Witham. Difficulty rating Four paws. It’s eight miles but apart from a few tricky stiles it’s fairly good underfoot. For your own safety and navigation make sure you have an OS map with you when you go out walking. You won’t regret it.


take the footpath which goes up between two houses. It’s hard to see until you are on it but you have to take this path. It then winds around behind the back of some houses before straightening out and heading north. From here it’s a beautiful path for a mile and a half all the way back to Witham. Clockwise, from main

The dogs are guaranteed a good walk; the route crosses a number of streams but some may run dry in the summer; Witham on the Hill is an attractive village and the Six Bells is an excellent pub

/// J U N E 2018 6 3

Feature /// Great walks



Two beautiful villages and a prominent hilltop hall make for a stunning walk in the Welland Valley. By Will Hetherington

is a Grade I Nevill Holt Hall d dates back an ing Listed build used to be a It . 00 13 to before now owned is d an l prep schoo rehouse Wa e on by Carph vid Ross. co-founder Da

Photography: Will Hetherington

Difficulty rating (out of five)


I parked on Brook Lane in Great Easton, which really is one of the most attractive villages in the whole area. With a prominent church, decent pub, any number of stone built thatched cottages and an extremely convenient location it has a lot going for it. Not least some good walking, as I was about to discover. Wherever you park strike out west on Easton Road in the direction of Drayton and Medbourne beyond but as you near the western edge of the

6 4 J U N E 2 0 1 8 ///

village take the footpath signposted to the left. This section is also part of the Jurassic Way which runs from Banbury to Stamford and you will pass through a couple of grazing fields before entering a large arable field. As you get close to the far hedge take the obvious right branch in the footpath to head uphill towards Middleton Road which you will join just south of Bringhurst. Walk up the hill in to almost ridiculously pretty little Bringhurst and turn left to walk past the church. Enjoy the gorgeous stone buildings before going through a gateway and you will see a footpath post in the hedge on the right. Take the right hand option here and leave the Jurassic Way to wend south west towards Northamptonshire. From here it’s downhill through a few small grazing fields over a stream and up into Drayton,

which doesn’t really match the charm of some of the neighbouring villages. The footpath goes through a private garden and up the gravel driveway where you then turn left and walk along the main road in the village for 200 metres or so until you turn right on to Nevill Holt Road and leave the main road behind. This is a quiet country lane and it’s pretty much straight uphill for 600 metres with most of the countours stacked into the last 100, so you will have really earned your view by the time you get to the left hand turn at the top. The footpath straight across the fields to Nevill Holt is clearly marked and embraces a few more mini valleys on the way so by the time you reach the beautiful old hilltop hall your legs will know about it. I went up to the road behind the hall to

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Feature /// Great walks


Where to park Somewhere on the road in the middle of Great Easton. I parked on Brook Lane.


Distance and time Five and a half miles/two hours. Highlights Nevill Holt is something of a fortress and is a real gem. Great Easton and Bringhurst are beautiful villages. Stunning views over the Welland Valley. Lowlights Quite a lot of sheep. Refreshments The Sun in Great Easton or The Nevill Arms in Medbourne.

Difficulty rating Four paws. There are some quite steep sections and plenty of stiles. The pooch perspective With a lot of sheep you will have to keep the dogs on the lead for good sections of this walk. There are some fresh water streams but I don’t know how well they will flow in mid-summer. For your own safety and navigation make sure you have an OS map with you when you go out walking. You won’t regret it.


do a loop back through the very small hamlet, but there was a sign saying that the footpath was temporarily closed, so I retraced my steps to the south of the hall. If the path is still closed then it’s not really much of a problem and the path down the hill back to Great Easton is very obvious from the south eastern border of the hall. Once you are on the path to Great Easton you will descend quickly away from Nevill Holt as you go through some arable fields to start with and then a series of smaller sheep grazing pastures. There is a small brook running along the northern edge of these fields with one or two access points for the dogs which would be useful in the summer, assuming it doesn’t run dry. Keep following the signs and you will ultimately re-enter Great Easton on a lane called Deepdale. Turn right on to Pitchers Lane which turns into Brook Lane and you are finished. Right

Nevill Holt used to be a prep school and is now owned by Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross

6 6 J U N E 2018 ///

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25/05/2018 13:18

Feature /// Cycling

6 8 J U N E 2 0 1 8 ///

ON YOUR BIKE! Rutland Cycling’s Sally Middlemiss details a fast, flat training run from Stamford DESCRIPTION

This month it’s a fast, mainly flat 40-mile road route with a couple of short climbs. Starting and finishing in Stamford, the route takes in the picturesque Rutland villages of Teigh, Market Overton and Clipsham. You can get route notes and download a GPX file for your GPS at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27520224 or https://www.strava.com/routes/13263429. Enjoy the ride!


● Leave Scotgate and continue straight on to Casterton Rd/B1081 0.2 mi ● Turn left on to Empingham Ln 2.9 mi ● Continue on to Exton Rd 6.7 mi ● Slight right toward Oakham Rd 7.4 mi ● Slight left on to Oakham Rd 7.7 mi ● Slight right to stay on Oakham Rd 8.2 mi ● Turn right on to Cottesmore Rd 8.2 mi


Turn right at Exton Rd 9.3 mi Turn left on to Greetham Rd/B668 10.2 mi ● Sharp right on to Ashwell Rd 11.3 mi ● Slight right 11.3 mi ● Turn left on to Main St 13.2 mi ● Turn left on to Teigh Rd 13.7 mi ● Continue on to Teigh Rd 16.1 mi ● Continue on to Oakham Rd 16.7 mi ● Continue on to Ashwell Rd 18.2 mi ● At the roundabout, take the first exit on to Langham Ln 18.5 mi ● Turn left on to Cottesmore Rd/B668 19.5 mi ● Continue on to B668 20.2 mi ● Turn right on to Toll Bar/B668 22.1 mi ● At the roundabout, take the third exit and stay on B668 25.5 mi ● At the roundabout, continue straight on to Clipsham Rd 25.6 mi ● Continue on to Stretton Rd 26.5 mi ● Continue on to Main St 27.0 mi

Turn right 27.0 mi Turn right on to Main St 27.1 mi ● Turn right on to Holywell Rd 27.4 mi ● Turn right 29.4 mi ● Turn left 30.6 mi ● Turn right 31.4 mi ● Continue straight 32.7 mi ● Continue straight 33.1 mi ● Continue on to High St 33.8 mi ● Turn right on to Stamford Rd/A6121 34.3 mi ● Turn right on to B1176 36.6 mi ● Turn left 36.7 mi ● Continue on to Ryhall Rd 37.6 mi ● Turn left on to Old Great N Rd/B1081 39.2 mi ● Merge on to Scotgate/A606 41.2 m




Distance 40 miles

















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24/05/2018 10:53

Feature /// School sports

NATIONAL JUNIOR ROWING TITLE FOR STAMFORD HIGH SCHOOL DUO Charlotte Bolton and Poppy Shipley were crowned women’s junior national champions in the 15 x2 sculling event on the Olympic rowing lake at Eton Dorney. The pair, from Stamford High School, rowed 2,000 metres in eight minutes and 33 seconds, winning

the final by a clear six seconds. This latest win is the second success for Charlotte in the last two months after securing third place at the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships held at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre in London – in the Year 10 sprint race

she rowed 1,313 metres in five minutes. In her first year with the GB Rowing development programme, Charlotte is certainly showing great promise and has continued to go from strength to strength with her commitment paying dividends.

BROOKE ATHLETICS The Brooke Priory School invitational athletics event marked the start of the athletics season for the Oakham preparatory school. Involving visiting teams from Leicester Grammar School and Grantham Prep, more than 100 children from Brooke also took part. All children took part in a variety of disciplines including power, endurance and agility- based events which featured shot putt and sprinting, middle distance running and the standing triple jump. The team events were won by Leicester Grammar School and Brooke Priory School.


Above Charlotte Bolton and Poppy Shipley have been crowned national junior champions

WITHAM WINNERS The Witham tennis team recently travelled to Repton for their prestigious tournament. Lilia Dunn and Bella Fox were runners up in the Under 12 championship after being pipped to the trophy by a strong St Olaves side, 6-4. Rose Allport and Eliza Mardon won the U11 championships after a nailbiting final, winning 7-5.

Jack Peters and Elliot Strickland represented Spratton Hall School at the annual ISGA Wellington Salver golf tournament held at Wellington College. Around 30 schools travelled from as far as Scotland to compete for the U12 and U14 prizes. Aer a keenly-fought 18 holes, Jack came out the winner in the U12s with the lowest round of the day within his age group. Elliot got off to a fast start and put up a very spirited challenge. Both boys go looking for more success when they travel to Sunningdale Heath, Surrey.

SILVER FOR OAKHAM HOCKEY Oakham School’s U18 boys’ hockey team has been awarded a silver medal in the National Schools Outdoor Championships held at the prestigious Olympic Stadium in London. The squad put in an impressive performance in the semi-final match against Whitgift, winning the game 4-2 on penalty strokes after the score was tied at 1-1 at full time.

They faced Repton in the battle to win the national title, conceding three goals when they were down to 10 men, and resulting in a final 4-1 score to Repton. There was a great atmosphere during the matches with many young Oakhamians, together with recent Commonwealth hockey medal winner and OO Kathryn Lane, travelling to the stadium to support the players.

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71 schools OK.indd 27

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Feature /// School sports

DEEPINGS WIN 108 MEDALS IN POOL Deepings Swimming Club was awarded top visiting club at the Tulip Meet in Spalding after a stunning weekend saw them win 108 medals, including 39 golds. The squad of 38 also achieved 78 county qualifying times and 162 personal bests (PBs), as well as winning 38 silvers and 31 bronzes. Hannah Matthews was top girl; among her medal haul from six races were one gold (100m freestyle) and five silvers, all with PBs and county qualifying times. In the 9 yrs age group, Lucia Karic collected the top girl trophy with six golds, one silver and two bronzes from her nine races. She

also swam two county qualifying times, in the 100m and 200m backstroke. An exciting end to both days saw the top six swimmers from the 50m freestyle in two age categories take part in a ‘skins’ competition, where the slowest swimmer is eliminated after each round until the final two race for gold. Also collecting gold were Lilly Tappern (100m freestyle), Holly Griffin (100m butterfly), Amy Tappern (200m backstroke) and Emma Wilde (50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke). Not to be outdone, the boys also produced some outstanding

performances. Nine-year-old Jacob Briers set a club record in the 200m individual medley, one of his five gold medals on the day. He also won one silver and two bronze and achieved five county qualifying times and seven PBs. Two golds were won by Alex Sadler, in the 50m fly and 100m freestyle, while Charles Harrison touched home first in the 50m and 100m backstroke, and 50m butterfly. Both boys also collected silver and bronze medals in their age groups, plus a score of personal bests and county times.

SWIMMING SUCCESS FOR STONEYGATE PUPILS In April Stoneygate School pupils Jacob and Sophie took part in the East Midland Regional Swimming Age Group Championships at Corby East Midlands International Pool. Jacob (year 5) qualified for five regional swimming finals, competing against children two years older than him. Not only did Jacob gain silver in the U12 50m freestyle final and fourth place in the U12 100m freestyle final, he achieved six personal bests. Sophie (year 8) qualified for seven regional finals and went on to record seven personal best times. She gained bronze in the U13 100m freestyle final and fourth place in the U13 50m freestyle final. Jacob and Sophie are part of a group of athletes at Stoneygate who are heavily involved in their chosen sport outside of school. They both swim and compete very

Le Stoneygate pupils Sophie and Jacob

STAMFORD GYMNASTS The Stamford Endowed Schools’ gymnastic U11 girls and U14 mixed squad represented the East Midlands at the National Schools’ Team Finals in Stoke on Trent in May. The U11 girls were the first to compete and despite having just returned from a week long residential, the girls performed with confidence and enthusiasm, both of which were praised by the judges. They did themselves, Stamford Junior School and the region proud to finish in a creditable eighth. On Sunday, the experienced U14 mixed team took to the arena. They performed with maturity on floor and power on vault and their team spirit was evident throughout. Aer a nervous wait for the presentations, they were delighted to be announced in third place.

ON A ROLL! Leicester Grammar School year 8 pupil Finn Connolly has successfully secured his place on the U12A team and U14A team for UK Roller Hockey. successfully at county, regional and national level. Naturally this means a punishing training schedule involving early mornings (5am to 7am) as well as evenings. Elsewhere, Year 5 pupils and teachers from Billesdon C of E Primary, Arnesby C of E Primary, Little Bowden School and Great

Bowden Academy attended Stoneygate School’s annual netball and football workshops. Pupils took part in skill acquisition sessions led by some of Stoneygate’s year 8 and 9 pupils, under the watchful eye of PE staff. The afternoon culminated in a group of matches followed by tea.

TEDDY MAKES THE PODIUM Sixteen-year-old South Luffenham racing driver Teddy Wilson surpassed expectations with two podium finishes on his debut in a recording-breaking 37-car grid in the Formula 4 United States Championship last weekend. Drivers from 12 States and 10 countries took part in the opening round of the Honda-powered championship at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). The field included 15 returning drivers and 22 rookies. “It was a really positive start to my first season both in single seaters and racing in America,” explained Teddy. “I went into the first round not knowing our potential and I was very happy to come away with a second and third at my maiden race meeting since moving from karts to cars.”

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73 schools OK.indd 27

25/05/2018 11:01

Roundup The scores, star performers and stats from a month in local sport


A soggy start as rain hampers season openers BY JEREMY BESWICK

AS THE SUN STARTS to make a late appearance, the cricket season has at last got underway after a week’s delay due to waterlogged pitches. It hasn’t all been plain sailing weather-wise since then either, the rain still managing to cause a number of abandonments even though the pitches were dry enough to be prepared. Medbourne endured two of those wash-outs and have had a “mixed start”, according to the club’s David Nance, who is nevertheless delighted that George Clarke has returned to Hallaton Road from Market Harborough. Clarke is now not only skipper but, after a relatively quiet start in their opening defeat to Countesthorpe, “won us the game” against Leicester Caribbean. The scorecard certainly backs up Nance’s comment; Clarke taking the wickets of two top order batsmen and also contributing a catch as Caribbean stuttered to 156 all out. He then helped Medbourne reach the total with ease, getting 112 not out with the bat. Oakham’s story was much the same, in that they won one, lost one and had two abandoned. Unusually for them, the batting hasn’t been great to date, only skipper Richard Martin averaging over 30 thus far. Kibworth will also feel their performances have been mixed, to say the least. Although they beat Leamington and Swarkestone in cup competitions and Uppingham at T20, they are without a win in the league, which is unheard of for them, albeit that only two fixtures have been completed to date. One side who have had a good start are Ufford Park, who sit proudly atop Cambs Division 2 with three wins and a rain-affected draw. Andrew Hinton tells me: “New captain Ross Keymer has been leading from the front with three 50s and the pick of the bowlers has been Tanveer Hussain, who’s been incredibly economic with his bowling in the middle overs.”

Those three wins included one by nine wickets away to Shelford. Restricting the hosts to 138 in the first innings, opener Keymar and number three Andy Larkin then knocked off the runs required with plenty of time to spare; Keymar top scoring with 70. The Sunday XI under Joe Harrington – like Keymer new to the role this year – won their opening two league fixtures too but alas they then lost a couple of cup ties. Hinton tells me they have new under 9 and under 11 teams this year, and would welcome more numbers down at the ground for these on a Friday evening. Another club who had a positive first month were newly-formed Ketton Sports. Their Saturday XI opened with a win in their first ever league game, against Leicester Caribbean, although by all accounts it was a close affair and the Sunday team made it a very good debut weekend with an easier victory against Grantham. A highlight was the form of their number three – Zeeshan Manzoor cracked 177 runs across the two weekend first team games, including 129 against Grantham. The Saturday side also looked in good shape the weekend afterwards by posting 214-7 against Queniborough before the rain came and they then went on to beat Ilston Abbey having recovered from 54-4 to score 187-5; captain Rob Vitas 61 not out. And we couldn’t omit Peter Rowe, with 152 not out against Weldon the following day for the Sunday team, or Tom Palmer who got 4-38 for the seconds. Vitas is banging the drum for that second XI and the club would like to welcome more supporters to their games, saying “the team is full of local youngsters, please do come down to Pit Lane to support them if you can, 1pm start on Sundays”. Stamford Town, playing at the highest level in their history after promotion last season, have also done well.

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GRACE NOTES Jeremy Beswick speaks to Gavin Griffiths, Leicestershire’s leading wicket taker this season Leicestershire have made a decent start to the season with glimpses of possibly better things to come. Young fast bowler Gavin Griffiths is one of the reasons for that – he’s the leading wicket taker in all formats of the game so far but was typically modest about his achievements when I spoke to him in late May: “It’s nice to chip in and get a couple of dismissals.” I asked him if he’d analysed why his bowling had improved over last year. “I’ve been more relaxed,” he said. “The coaching staff have encouraged me to be myself and go back to what got me here in the first place.” Did he think he might have been over-coached before, I wondered? “If there’s something technical in your mind as you run up to bowl you’re not quite right. You definitely can be over-coached but now I look a lot more natural than I was – searching for something that wasn’t there possibly”. That’s good to hear, because

many observers feel a few cricketers of enormous potential have been ruined by being forced to bowl or bat according to conventional wisdom about the ‘right’ way to do it. His best mates at the club are Zak Chappell and Callum Parkinson – the latter also from Lancashire – but when I asked him which of his colleagues had impressed him most he answered Ben Raine: “It’s the way he goes about it. I think he might discover another yard of pace and go on to the next level but, having said

Despite losing their opening fixture to St Ives and their third to Castor they beat Thriplow and Southill Park, the latter by eight wickets. Richard Field bagged four wickets and Andrew Hulme (64) and Simon Lem (51 not out) top scored. Uppingham are in the same position as Stamford, as this is their first ever season in the Leicestershire Premier but have had a tougher time of it in the league thus far, although they did have a confidenceboosting victory in the County Cup against one of their division’s title contenders, Syston. They also progressed at the expense of Ketton Sports in the Stamford KnockOut Shield. It’s early days but I’m sure they’ll settle into the task in the league. Burghley Park were another who didn’t get the start they wanted. Having lost their opener at home to Newborough, they travelled to Buckden looking to make amends but “poor fielding meant Burghley were their own worst enemies at times,” according to skipper Michael Jones with several catchable opportunities going down which allowed the hosts to reach 230 having been put into bat. In reply, they looked to be

that, there’s a big pool of talent here and if we can all stick together the future’s bright.” His favourite format is four-day cricket. Not the first young cricketer I’ve spoken to who feels that way. “It’s a true test of where you are as a player. You get an opportunity to show what you really are and the best side normally wins – it can be a bit random with the other formats.” We spoke about aspirations for the season. “We should be looking to qualify for a final in one of the white ball competitions,” he said. “We played some good stuff last season and were a bit unfortunate not to do better. In the four-day, we’ve performed pretty well in all of the four matches so far... Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I feel we’ve progressed.” And for himself? “I just want to play as much as I can. My goal is to earn the respect of my peers in the dressing room. I’ve started doing that – but it’s only a start.”

positive but the high total meant risks had to be taken and wickets fell at key times. Barry Hancock batted well for his 67 but ran out of partners as they finished their innings around 70 runs short. After their first match was called off, Uffington lost to March Town but then had a classic ‘victory from the jaws of defeat’ win over Isham. Having kept their opponents to an achievable total of 182 due to some fine bowling from Tom Bentley (5-36), ably assisted by Robert Dunn and Adam Hilless who chipped in with two apiece, they were nevertheless heading for defeat as the opposition’s Brandon Hawker took 6 for 33. In fact, numbers 10 and 11, Harry Bentley and Ben Jennings, came together with still well over 50 runs to make – yet Bentley was to make 36 and Jennings 18 to see them to the most unlikely of wins. Lastly, Nick Andrews’ performance for Deepings seconds against Claypole cannot go unacknowledged, with a return of 8-46. Frustratingly it wasn’t enough to see his side win – like so many performances this month it was slightly tainted by rain being the insurmountable, all-conquering opponent.

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Roundup RUGBY

Bourne and Oundle on the up, Stamford drop down BY JEREMY BESWICK THE PAST FEW MONTHS have been packed full of quality rugby around the area and no doubt every fan and player will have their own personal highlights from the campaign. There’s still much to catch up on before we say goodbye until the autumn. Market Harborough just missed out on promotion, finishing a creditable third. Despite that success, after 10 years in various roles including coach, manager and finally director of rugby, David Nance is stepping aside to become head of sponsorship. Having started with the juniors and then progressing through the colts to the first XV, as son Joel also rose through the ranks, he now feels – at the age of 68 – he can best contribute from behind the scenes. “It was a classic case of going along to watch my young boy play and then getting embroiled myself,” he told me,“but it’s now time for younger people to get involved with the playing side”. His proudest memory is of leading the Colts to the National Plate Final. Although they lost that day, some of that team have gone on to bigger things: “George Thornton is now with Wasps and has played for Scotland Under 20s and Sam Grahamslaw also represented both England and, through his grandparents, Scotland too.” He’s bullish about next season, feeling recent recruitments are key. “We suffered from having a small squad last year and lost some games we should have won when players were unavailable.” He leaves the post as the proud owner of two artefacts awarded by the players – a footstool to help him reach the bar and a t-shirt, the slogan of which we’re unable to share in a family magazine. Next season’s management team will be Richard Bowden, who steps up to director of rugby, Joe Hill, who joins to replace him as head coach, and Chris Bales as forwards coach. Bowden says his aim is to “create a club where people want to come and play rugby and socialise together with an increasing supporter base that the town deserves and can be proud of”. Bourne had a terrific season, finishing second to win promotion and appearing in the Junior Vase final. They lost their battle for the top spot on the last day of the season as a weakened side went down away to Thorney. Missing nine first team regulars, they still took the lead through an interception try from Matt Holden. At halftime, with the score 14-7 to the hosts, Bourne were still very much in the game but twenty minutes of pressure resulting from the dominant Thorney pack after the

restart finally told as Thorney scored their third try and Bourne then also lost coach Dave Maudsley to injury. They nearly came back at the end through skipper Dixon but it was not to be. In the same division, Deepings finished fifth having looked like potential promotion material for much of the season and were only three points off third place. Stamford College Old Boys propped up the table but earned plaudits from several opponents for their attitude and sportsmanship. Oundle coach Peter Croot will be very satisfied with their debut season in Midlands 1. They finished in the top half of the table and their last game of the campaign saw them run in nine tries in beating Leighton Buzzard 57-15. Croot was delighted they’d “ended on a high” and called their performance “rampant”. The tries came from James Keane (2), Toby Snelling, Vernon Horne (2), Robb Shingles, Ben Milborne, Gareth Jacob and skipper Joe Roberts, with Craig Tandy adding 12 points with his trusty boot. Stamford didn’t quite manage to escape relegation in spite of a slight rally towards the end of the season, meaning we will all miss out on the derbies against Oakham. Hopefully Matt Albinson’s men will be able to re-group and come back stronger next year. The club as a whole continues to thrive with a terrific youth setup and a ladies’ side which recently came third in the inaugural Stamford O2Touch Rugby Festival. Up in National League 2, South Leicester chairman Wayne Marsden will be gratified that they finished two places above Leicester Lions and will also be celebrating the Under 15s winning the County Plate for the second year in a row, beating Market Bosworth 42-12 in the final. Lions had a surprisingly weak end to the season, losing their last six games and will be hoping that run of form doesn’t carry over. Given that the second XV won their last four – and seven out of the last eight – some of the first team must be looking over their shoulders. Lastly, if you feel someone from your club deserves some recognition for their efforts, nominations are open in several categories for the National Rugby Awards. As they put it, this is for everyone including “the coaches, the players, the supporters, the dedicated, the committed, the enthusiastic”. Winners will be announced on August 29 at a gala lunch at Twickenham and you can find the entry form at www. nationalrugbyawards.co.uk/nominations.

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Jeremy Beswick looks back over a season where Leicester under-performed, failing to make the play-offs for the first time in 14 seasons It’s impossible to write an end-ofseason column about the Tigers without acknowledging the elephant in the room – that they didn’t make the play-offs for the first time in 14 years. Yes, it was incredibly close, points level with Newcastle and a countback on number of games won going in the latter’s favour. This after Tigers had led the same team by 10 points in the second half of the penultimate game of the season only to lose by one point to the last kick of the match – but they’ve missed out nevertheless. The truth is that they shouldn’t have been in a position where it was all or nothing on the one game. Coach Matt O’Connor has stressed the importance of consistency throughout the campaign and it’s gradually become clear that it’s a euphemism – a large part of what he means by that is the ability to grind out a result “on a wet winter’s night”. Pundits will propose as many theories as you can shake a stick at for the decline, but one observer who both cares about Leicester and knows the situation intimately is ex-player George Chuter. Speaking to the BBC, Chuter highlighted the forwards, saying: “I didn’t realise until a couple of months


Tigers coach Matt O’Connor

ago that Matt O’Connor had been doing some of the forwards’ coaching. That’s incredible for a big club like Leicester” They were four months without a specialist in that area after Richard Blaze’s departure and, since Mark Bakewell joined in February, things have improved. O’Connor appears to share Chuter’s view saying the lack of that expertise for that length of time “was instrumental in where we ended up,” although no explanation was forthcoming for the delay.

So, given that hole is now plugged, is that Tigers fixed for next season? Improved certainly, but worries will remain about the quality of the second tier of players behind the first XV. However, earlier announcements about new recruits are reassuring – Will Spencer, Guy Thompson and David Denton will all strengthen the back five – but the competition will not be standing still either. Those of us of a certain age remember the times – and it seemed to go on for decades – when Tigers’ gate receipts and the resulting financial superiority, plus their sheer will to win, guaranteed them a place at the top table. Yes there was always stiff competition then too, but in those days it was usually ‘Tigers plus one’ vying for the top honours. The identity of the plus one side changed season by season, but Leicester were an ever present. Now the money from TV and the salary cap have levelled the playing field, probably for ever, so the reality is the Premiership will never again be dominated by any one side for long. That’s a good thing for English rugby as a whole, but a new and more competitive environment that Tigers fans will have to become used to.

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Piggy wins at Rockingham BY JULIA DUNGWORTH

AT LAST IT FEELS LIKE SUMMER has finally arrived. The Rockingham International Horse Trials definitely picked the most fabulous weekend on which to hold its event, even coinciding with the royal wedding on the Saturday, making for a glorious quintessentially English day out. It brought out a plethora of spectators for three days of competition where our local riders were in abundance and fared very well in all prize-givings. The CIC2* was won by Piggy French on Castletown Clover, Richard Coney was second and Constance Copestake was fourth. Piggy also went on to win another Intermediate section and was second in two other international sections. Simon Grieve also finished sixth on The Rutman in CIC2* section D. Jonty Evans was back on form on the crowd-funded Cooley Rorkes Drift, winning the AI on his dressage score after a disappointing Badminton. Kelly Aldous was back on winning form on Willow BDA taking one of the BE100 sections. Cottesmore queen Issy McEuen took one of the novice sections on Kursk Root, with fellow subscriber Hilary Butler in fourth. The Japanese contingents also had a great weekend, with Tanaka Toshiyuki and Ryuzo Kitajima both winning the 65-strong CIC*1 sections. The Pony Club showjumping was as popular as ever; the Burghley Pony Club again surpassed themselves with numerous placings in all sections, but the all boys team of Max Kettlewell, Oliver Lee, Harry Lee and Will McEuen won their jumping section. Kelly Hetherington, now back on her mare Rio Negra, won the 90 Arena Eventing having had a year off to have a foal (Rio, not Kelly). I’m sure they will be one to watch out for the rest of the season. Badminton also had a record year for spectators, and as usual our locals’ efforts were varied. Piggy French,

after so much publicity, got an early ducking in the Dew Pond. Richard Jones pulled up after a run out half-way round and has decided to re-route to Bramham in a few weeks where, of course, last year he had the terrible accident in the lorry park which caused him to lose his finger. Simon Grieve fared the best, finishing 28th on Drumbilla Metro with a clear cross-country and just one showjump down to add to their impressive dressage score of 38.8. Local showjumper Mattie Lanni was part of the NAF Junior Team competing in the Nations Cup in Lamprechtshausen. Mattie from Woodnewton was the third team member, riding Newbridges Master Brown– a 12year old owned by Stacey Webb. They had just one fence down in the first round for four faults and rode a beautiful second round to secure the third clear for Team GB and help them on their way into top spot on the podium. JumpCross has started again for the season and again seems to have hit the ground running with bumper entries for the season. They held their first show on May 13, with the joker fences playing a huge part in all the final standings. Grassroots winner was Lizzie Selby on Maggy, followed by Claire Mellor. The Intro, which had more than 30 starters, was by far the biggest field and was won by Andrew Duffin. He was followed by Kloe Davies who, incidentally, was the only person in the class to jump without penalty and both jokers! Group 3, although a slightly smaller field, was hugely competitive and winner Harri Green, riding Cuz, was again the only competitor to jump clear and jump both jokers even though most others tried! Training is now well underway for the next competition, so please take a look at the website for more details.


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Desperate Daniels disappoint BY DEAN CORNISH

THEY SAY THAT FOOTBALL IS a cruel game, and sadly that’s certainly the case if you’re a Stamford fan. It’s always a roller-coaster following the Daniels, but this season proved that more than ever, with Graham Drury’s men failing to secure promotion with almost the last kick of the season, losing 2-1 in the play-off final to Bedworth. In fairness, it would have been a massive upset if Stamford had won the game. In the end, they scraped into the play-offs by finishing sixth. The way that the non-league play-offs work sees the team finishing sixth play both semi-finals away, and then if they progress to the final, that’s also away. Harsh, but probably fair. The game against Bedworth wasn’t a classic, although Stamford’s Jake Duffy probably could have scored a couple of goals if he’d taken his shots earlier. The game looked to be going to extra time with the scores at 0-0 before Bedworth brought on Isedyn Christie, a football journeyman who started his career in the Premier League with Coventry City. His powerful volley put the Midlands side ahead on 86 minutes. However, the Stamford roller-coaster wasn’t done yet, with a goal mouth scramble in the 96th minute producing a Robert Morgan equaliser to send Stamford’s jubilant fans into delirium. What a time to equalise and prolong the season by 30 minutes more. Extra time was similar, with neither side willing to risk too many players forward in attack. Sadly though in the 118th minute Christie once again broke free and chipped across the box for Bedworth to head home. There was no coming back this time, and Stamford will have to make do with remaining at Step 4 of the nonleague pyramid. Drury said he was proud of his players. Rightly so too. Players like Henry Eze, Danny Haystead, Rob Morgan and Elliot Putman had a great season. The nucleus of a good side is there, but the lack of a 20-plus goal a season striker put paid to automatic promotion.

Stamford will also bemoan a lack of a cup run this season. They went out early in both the FA Cup and also the FA Trophy. The biggest positive of the season could be argued was the growth in attendance at the Zeeco stadium, and also the atmosphere at games. A young, vociferous crowd have started following the Daniels, and that bodes well for seasons to come. One division below in the United Counties League Premier Division, Harborough Town finished the season 11th – 27 points off top spot. The Bees lost three of their last four games of the season, including some thumpings too, with a 5-0 loss to Rothwell Corinthians and a 6-1 defeat to Leicester Nirvana. In the Division One, Blackstones finished eighth in a season that’s offered a huge amount of promise. Blackstones at times showed great form, but suffered defeats in six of their final seven league games. In the same division, Oakham United finished second bottom after a very poor campaign. The Tractor Boys managed to improve massively in recent weeks, picking up nine of their 17 points in the final eight weeks. In the Peterborough League Premier Division, Stamford Lions’ title challenge fell away a couple of months ago, with James Sheehan’s men finishing in fourth and 19 points behind Netherton United. The Lions did pick up some silverware though with a win over Stamford Belvedere in the Ancaster Cup. Stamford Bels themselves are pleased with their season under new young manager, Lewis Morley. They’ve consolidated a mid-table spot in Division 1, were runners up in the Ancaster Cup and managed a memorable PFA Cup Final win over Moulton Horrox Reserves. Bels will look to push on next season for promotion back to the Premier Division. The Bels were also victorious in the Veterans’ League (over 35s), with Richard Taylor’s side winning all their games to win the Division 1 trophy by seven points. Overall, a decent season for the Bels.

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Active Magazine // Stamford & Rutland // June 2018  

SPORT, LEISURE, getting fit and staying healthy – Stamford and Rutland is buzzing with people full of energy. Reflecting what’s going on th...

Active Magazine // Stamford & Rutland // June 2018  

SPORT, LEISURE, getting fit and staying healthy – Stamford and Rutland is buzzing with people full of energy. Reflecting what’s going on th...