Wildlife projects and areas of biodiversity in Wiltshire have received a £500,000 grant from Marlborough-based Hills Group Limited.
The money has been granted to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust by Hills from funds available through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF).
Mike Hill, chief executive of Hills Group, said: “We are long-term supporters of the Trust and have made this contribution to mark the occasion of their 50th anniversary. The funding will ensure that wildlife habitats are created and protected for future generations to enjoy.
“As a company we care about the locations that give us our living and do our best to give something back. It is a strong principle of ours and one which has benefited all communities in Wiltshire for a number of years.”
Gary Mantle, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Director explained: “We have set ourselves a target of raising £1m in our 50th Anniversary year so we can keep protecting Wiltshire’s precious wildlife and help communities enjoy their local reserves. We have challenged our members and supporters to raise £500,000 and we are absolutely thrilled that Hills have agreed to match this with their £500,000.
“We will spend the Hills money at our reserves across the county, which include some of the best wildlife habitats in Wiltshire. For example, at Blakehill Farm we will reseed the meadows with green hay to increase the number of wildflowers and at Ravensroost Wood we can now install dormouse boxes.
"In the wood at Cloately Meadows we will start coppicing to provide the right conditions for butterflies to thrive and at Markham Banks a new bridge means we can use ponies and sheep to graze our meadows.
“And it’s not just wildlife that will benefit. At our Lower Moor and Langford Lakes Nature Reserves we will be improving our visitor facilities to make sure local people can easily access and explore their local reserves.
“Hills generosity inspires us to achieve more and more for Wiltshire’s wildlife and communities and we are extremely grateful for their continued support and encouragement” said Gary.
Since 1996 the Hills Group has contributed more than £5.3m to the Trust through LCF to support the conservation of biodiversity and the provision of public amenities in the region.
A family pass to Charlie´s Farm in Colderton, trout fishing at Wilton House, tickets to Barbury Horse Trials and meals at local restaurants are among the prizes at a charity auction, as Pewsey businesses join forces to raise money for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
Pewsey accountants Farrant Frost and chartered financial planners Aisa Professional are hosting the charity auction at the Bouverie Hall, Pewsey on Friday, 18 May from 7pm to 10pm.
A fully licensed bar will be provided by the French Horn and a light buffet comes courtesy of Chequers Bistro. David Harrison from the Jubilee Auction Rooms will wield the gavel, and many Pewsey businesses have donated lots for the auction.
"We wanted to arrange a community event to raise money for a great charity, as well as trying to promote and support local businesses," explained event organiser Jenni Frost, of Farrant Frost.
"We´ve had some incredible donations from local businesses and attractions, as well as national organisations, including signed merchandise from Manchester United, Arsenal and EastEnders,” said co-organiser Colette Sowerby, from Aisa Professional.
"We are so excited about hosting a real community event. It´s great to bring local businesses and local residents together for such a good cause, and to have an enjoyable evening out."
Ticket, priced £5, and are on sale at pubs and shops in Pewsey or from the website, where a full list of auction lots can be found. www.pewseycharityauction.org.uk
A tour of the iconic Lloyds of London building and meal for four in the city is just one of the prizes being offered at a charity auction for businesspeople in Marlborough this month.
The money-can't-buy opportunity will be offered at the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce Olympic Jubilee Ball on Saturday, May 19.
Other prizes include:
- Golf for four followed by lunch
- Tickets to the Marlborough College gala performances and £160 towards a course at the summer school
- Two tickets to Wembley to watch the England autumn international
- John Lewis vouchers worth £250
- Marlborough Jazz Festival Stroller Tickets
- A year's free advertising on Marlborough News Online, worth £100
- A portrait by the artist Yvonne Cannane
- A photography voucher for £149 from Peter Davies Photography
The black tie event is being held to mark passing of the Olympic torch through Marlborough on May 23 and the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations in June.
Ticket holders will enjoy a champagne reception, three course dinner, live music and a charity auction in aid of Marlborough-based Swift Medics.
Proceeds from the auction will be donated to Swift Medics, a charity of volunteer doctors from hospital and general practice who provide what is known as ‘pre-hospital emergency care’.
The Medics provide emergency care at the scene of serious road traffic accidents and other life threatening medical emergencies including falls from a height, serious burns and incidents where casualties are unconscious or trapped.
The event will be held on Saturday, May 19 from 7pm to 1am. Tickets are £40, available from Chamber president Paul Shimell at Specsavers or from committee member Effie Robins of Joules. Both shops are on High Street, near the town hall.
A Marlborough man who lost his job with computer giant IBM has set up his own business, recycling unwanted PCs.
Simon Crisp (34), the founder of Green Machine Computers, collects old PCs and electronic equipment for free and refurbishes them be used by families on low incomes, students, or anyone in need of a computer for around £100.
And for each machine put back on the market, the company donates a percentage to charity – Marlborough-based Afrikaya and Helen & Douglas House are among the recent beneficiaries.
Simon said: “Being made redundant was a complete shock and almost broke me. To make it worse I was a long term temp, so got less than a month’s pay redundancy.
“It was tough at first as we had no income at all, two young children and an older one at senior school. After a week of stress and worry about looking for a new job I decided I never wanted to work for one of the big IT companies again and decided to start my own.”
Simon decided to start Green Machine Computers after spotting a gap in the market, and because he was annoyed that “the machines that often got destroyed at work at the end of their lives were often better than the ones I had at home, yet company policy seemed to be remove these from circulation to be dismantled."
“If you're on benefits and your washing machine blows up you’re pointed to a company like Refurbiz in Devizes, which offers second hand nearly new white goods for a low cost, but there is not a company, that offers this for computers,” said Simon.
“That’s when Green Machine Computers was born.”
The firm, which is now six months old, has collected and refurbished computers from around 30 companies, schools and charities across the area.
Recently, Green Machine Computers – which operates from a workshop at Membury Business Park, near Lambourn - was able to offer a laptop and mobile phones to a community in the Gambia.
The laptop was donated to Abdoulie Joku, a member of the Parent Teacher Association at a nursery school in the Gambia with which Afrkiaya is working.
Geoff Miles from Afrikaya explained: "Abdoulie is trainer in the Gambian Army and has recently started an IT course to improve his career prospects when he leaves the army.
"He asked us if Afrikaya could provide him with an old laptop to enable him to take best advantage of the course, otherwise they had to share 1 between 6 of them, and Simo kindly donated one."
To donate or buy a computer, log on to www.green-machine.org
or call Green Machine Computers on 01488 670350.
The first major event in the ballooning calendar celebrated its big 4-0 in the skies above the Savernake Forest this morning.
The 40th annual Icicle Meet saw around 30 hot air balloons take off from Warren Farm, near St Katharine's, over the space of a couple of hours – a vast improvement on 2011 when only six were able to take flight in windy conditions.
The ascents were a welcome sight to spectators and organisers after the pilots decided not to attempt lift-off on Saturday.
Organiser Pete Bish explained: “The perfect conditions for the Icicle Meet are clear blue skies and hard ground.”
“The weather on Saturday was deemed unfavourable, but as the forecast for the following day was better the pilots opted for a Sunday launch.”
The annual event – held on the first weekend of the year after New Year's Day– is well-known within the ballooning community, but unlike many balloon festivals it is not advertised as a public event.
As a result, members of the public who do pop along find themselves in the midst of the action as balloons are unpacked from trailers, burners are noisily fired and the colourful canopies are inflated.
Among the star attractions at this year's event was the BT Olympics balloon, branded to promote the communication giant's sponsorship of the 2012 games.
The first Icicle Meet was held near Newbury in 1973, when John Noakes of BBC's Blue Peter filmed in a balloon.
In 1978 it became the largest hot air balloon meet ever outside the United States with 85 balloons making 179 flights, and in 1989 a record 143 balloons flew.
In 1993 the event moved to Warren Farm, when 97 balloons took flight. A year later the event hit the headlines when an airship crashed into a tree in the flying field. The crew were rescued by the fire brigade.
It's not a race... but for the record this was the first balloon up
Inflating a balloon is a team effort
There was snow in the air... if only from the Snow Business balloon
The Union Flag on the tether of another balloon made for this interesting Olympic-themed picture
The BT Olympics balloon in flight
A cluster of balloons over the Savernake Forest