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Your chance to run the Marlborough Mile and raise funds for Comic Relief

One of the country’s most popular charity events is coming to Marlborough for the first time, and anyone who signs up before Thursday March 1 will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win tickets to see boy band JLS perform live.

The Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile, part of Comic Relief, is taking place nationwide on Sunday March 25 – and Marlborough is in on the act.

The Marlborough Mile, organised by Marlborough and District Junior Athletics club, will take off from the Leisure Centre on College Fields from 9.30am.  Up to 300 people are set to dash, jog or walk round the course, which also features three- and six-mile versions.

Ben Tarring, the athletics club’s publicity officer, told Marlborough News Online:  “The club is proud to be organising the town’s first Sport Relief Mile and many of our athletes will be involved, both behind the scenes and on the course.”

“Sport Relief is an excellent way of raising money for good causes and I hope that our event will reach its capacity of 300 people.  Come on Marlborough, get your running shoes on!”

To enter, log on to  The cost is £3 for a child, £6 for an adult and £15 for a family. The money covers the cost of organising the event, so all participants are encouraged to seek sponsorship.

The funds go to Comic Relief, which helps people living tough lives, both in the UK and across the world's poorest countries.

The course will start and finish at the Leisure Centre and go round the Marlborough College playing fields.  Everyone who takes part will get a Sport Relief medal.  The Leisure Centre is laying on its new bouncy castle for children during the event.

Parking is in the Marlborough College overspill car park: the turning is off the A4 opposite College Fields, next to the Memorial Hall.

The 10 winners of the JLS competition will be announced on Friday March 2 and will receive five tickets each to the one-off JLS Sport Relief concert on Saturday March 24 at the O2 Arena, where the band will perform their Sport Relief single, Proud.


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Sun 22nd April: get fit now for Prospect Hospice's BIG BIKE RIDE

Get on your bike! That’s the message from Prospect Hospice as it launches its latest event aimed at raising money for the charity – the Prospect Hospice Big Bike Ride, which takes place on 22 April this year.

This is only the second year that the Wroughton-based charity has put on the event, which last year saw 80 people ranging from families to the experienced cyclist, take on two routes from F1 Karting at Wroughton Airfield, raising over £6,500 in the process.

The event is being planned and jointly organised by members of Mountain Bike Swindon, who have devised the route and will be supplying some marshals for the event.

Tom Stickland, from Mountain Bike Swindon, said: “We’re really pleased with the routes that we’ve put together for this year’s event. The ride sets off from the Nationwide Pavilion, and covers two routes; a 24km route for any reasonably fit rider and a 40km route suitable for mountain bikes.

“Both routes start and finish using our volunteer-built mountain bike trail at the Croft Woods. It was designed to be suitable for novice riders as well as giving experienced riders a decent challenge. The trail is a purpose-built single track and has some narrow and muddy sections with easier options around any tricky parts.

 “The long route joins together some of our favourite sections of single track including two fast descents. We’ve added an optional bonus section so that another great downhill run is included. We’re really looking forward to this year’s Big Bike Ride and we’re sure it will be a lot of fun for everyone involved.”

Becky Gammon, Prospect Hospice’s event organiser, said: “We’ve tried to create an event that will appeal to both new and experienced cyclists, from families with children to members of cycling clubs and the more dedicated cyclist.

“We wanted to create something of a challenge for Mountain Bike enthusiasts, and were really grateful to MB Swindon for all their help in planning this.”

Events such as Prospect’s Big Bike are a vital part of the hospice’s fundraising. Each year Prospect Hospice needs £5m to deliver its care and services within the community, seventy percent of which it needs to raise itself. If you’re interested in taking part in Prospect Hospice’s Big Bike Ride, contact Becky Gammon in the fundraising team on 01793 816161 or visit

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Marlborough Cricket Club - Pre-Season Nets

Marlborough Cricket Club will be holding pre-season nets for senior and junior players on 20th/21st February at the Marlborough College cricket ground.

All new players are welcome.  

Junior nets - for the under 11s and under13s teams will be held on Monday 20th February between 6 and 7pm.

Senior nets will be held the following evening - Tuesday 21st February starting at 8pm.

The nets are on the Marlborough College cricket ground just off Hyde Lane (up from 'The Sun' pub).

Any questions regarding juniors, call Magnus Painter - youth development officer and 2nd team captain on  07980 292 595, or regarding seniors, call Rob Atkinson - membership secretary on 07867 525 987.

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Our female sporting stars have to pose in scanty underwear, protests Claire Perry

Claire Perry has protested that Britain’s female sporting stars have to pose in “scanty underwear shots” to get public recognition.

And the Tory MP for Marlborough has complained that single women with children are “trapped” by a benefits system that makes it impossible for them to return to work.

Appearing for the first time on BBC Question Time – it was the last programme of the current run – she was asked about the controversy over no women being selected for the forthcoming BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The candidates are selected by media sports editors, all of whom happen to be men, now accused of sexual bias.

 “I have two daughters and one of the hardest things is to get teenage girls to go out and exercise and play team sports,” Mrs Perry told the audience in Stoke on Trent. “Little boys seem to have no trouble in getting a game of football but getting girls to go into anything is really, really difficult.”

“But who here knows that we have a world beating women’s cricket team at the moment or that our women’s rugby team is actually world class.  There are amazing women out there.”

“And I think one of the most depressive images is these fantastic women cyclists that we have, who have won gold medals, who will win gold medals at the Olympics next year, have to pose in scanty underwear shops to get any sort of recognition.”

“I think it is really appalling.  I think the BBC should actually start covering some of the fantastic women’s sporting events that we have out there.”

Questioned on whether there was a lack of compassion in the country following the latest results of the British Social Attitudes survey, Mrs Perry pointed out that record sums being given to charity showed that there was no evidence of “compassion fatigue”.

She went on: “What we are seeing is that people are sick to death of a something for nothing culture.  Whether it is bankers at the top or benefit scroungers at the bottom, I think people are fed up with that.”

But one problem was that people were left on benefits for too long and not encouraged to seek work, though jobs were becoming harder and harder to find.

“There is a trap in the system now where if you go on to benefits when you lose your job the system traps you,” she declared.  

“The welfare state has stopped being a trampoline and started being a big mattress that kind of smothers you and keeps you in there forever.”

“If you’re a single mum with kids it is very, very difficult to go out to work.  Right now you lose your childcare benefits very early on in the work process.  It is very difficult to find flexible work.”

“We make it really hard for people to get off benefits.”

The panellists on the TV programme, held the day before David Cameron used the British veto in the Brussels summit Euro talks, was also questioned about whether there should be a referendum.

“I have to say I have always thought a referendum would be a good thing,” said Mrs Perry.  “The AV referendum was a chance for the British people to get involved in quite complicated arguments and understand the facts.”

“And the problem with the whole debate about Europe is that it happens in a fact-free vacuum so much of the time.  The problem with the referendum is What’s the question?”

“The notion of whether or not we should be in or out of the trading block is actually slightly a redundant question at this point.  Lets have facts in front of the British people.  We have been denied for decades to have say.”

“This is why people have become so heated about it because they are so frustrated.  We have never given them the opportunity to actually have a democratic vote on this process.”

Editor’s note:

We have asked Mrs Perry’s views on David Cameron’s veto decision but she has yet to reply.

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Rower Aodhán hopes to shatter world record

Marlborough sportsman Aodhán Kelly (pictured on the far left of our photo) hopes to shatter a world record when he rows across the Atlantic Ocean in January as part of six-man team Atlantic Odyssey.

The specialist team of rowers and adventurers has been put together by Guinness World Record holder and skipper Matt Craughwell.

The aim is to be the first rowing boat to cross the ocean in less than 30 days - the ''four minute mile of ocean rowing" considered by many to be impossible.

The world record attempt will begin early in January 2012 and will take the team across the mid-Atlantic from Morocco in Africa to Barbados in the Caribbean, a route of over 3,000 miles.

The crew were selected from nine different rounds of competitive sea trials that began in April 2011.

The team that emerged from these trials has proved to be exceptionally strong both physically and mentally and have already formed a strong bond to take on the challenge together.

 Aodhán (26), a native of Dublin and a former member of the Irish national rowing squad will be the only Irishman in the crew. He works for Adam Matthew Digital, a publishing company in London Road, Marlborough.

He has been rowing since the age of 10 and is currently a member of Reading Rowing Club with whom he competed at Henley Royal Regatta this year.

 Aodhán is also raising funds and awareness for the children’s charity Plan International and their campaign called ‘Because I Am A Girl’ aimed at helping provide girls in developing countries with equal access to education.

He will be joined by the famous Scottish endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont who set the world record for circumnavigating the globe by bicycle in 2008 and the subject of a number of BBC documentaries.

The crew will need to row in a two hour on, two hour off shift pattern 24 hours a day for the entire crossing and will need to maintain a speed of four knots to complete the trip in less than 30 days.

The boat, named Sara G, is a specially designed 11 metre ocean rowing boat. It has three rowing positions and cabins at each end for berths. It will need to carry all the supplies for the entire voyage as an official world record must cross the ocean completely unsupported.

The team will be fuelled by each man consuming around 6,000kcal per day – more than twice the average for a normal man – but they will also expend around 12,000kcal per day which means that each crew member is likely to lose in the region of three stone in body weight in just one month.

To save dragging excess weight the team have packed just 35 days of rations for the expedition.

This venture is not to be underestimated as many teams have tried and failed to break the sub-30 day barrier and the first team to do so will achieve what has seemed for many involved as the unassailable mark in the sport’s history.

The team has a huge range of experience in the boat from many different backgrounds including experienced high level racing rowers, to full-time adventurers and hardy seamen.

This range of experience coupled with a very strong team ethic makes this one of the strongest ocean rowing teams ever assembled, say their backers. 

“As a rower I’m well used to pushing myself to the limits and beyond but the Atlantic is going to be something like I have never experienced,” said Aodhán.

“It’s something that I’ve felt I just have to do for a long time – it really captured my imagination from the start. I’m now looking forward to what should be the adventure of a lifetime and hopefully a name in the record books.”

To read Aodhán's personal account of training and the record bid, or to sponsor Aodhán, log on to

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Wiltshire offers funding to find the Olympic stars of the future

Wiltshire’s search for young sporting stars of the future hoping to win Olympic medals for Britain begins today (Thursday) with an invitation for them apply for Wiltshire Council funding.

Young sports men and women aged 21 and under can submit applications for payments of £1,000 each from the council’s Funding Future Olympians grant scheme.

The council has allocated £5,000 to give five successful applicants seeking Olympic success in the years ahead.  It is available to support people across the county to continue their development in their respective sports, with a view to challenging for Olympic honours.

Cabinet member for leisure, Stuart Wheeler, told Marlborough News Online: “This is the second year running we have allocated this funding to some of our most promising local sports men and women.”

“Last year’s applicants continue to do really well in their chosen sports and I hope their stories will inspire other sportspeople to apply for this funding.  Getting to the top in sport takes a lot of hard work and dedication.”

“I am delighted that the council can offer this support to some truly talented local sports stars.”

Applications are invited by individuals who are competing at a national league level or above in their team sport, competing at nationally recognised events as an individual, or is a member of a national training squad.  This can be in either a summer or winter Olympic sport.

All applicants must be 21 years old or under on 31 December 2012 and live in the Wiltshire Council area.  Deadline for applications is 5pm on December 1 2011.

A decision will be made in early January and a presentation event held in February 2012 for the successful applicants.

Application forms and the criteria can be downloaded from

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Marlborough’s Sports Forum given £1,000 grant to boost its work

The Marlborough Sports Forum is to be given a £1,000 grant by the town council to boost its campaign aimed at promoting and developing sport and sports facilities in the area.

The funding will come out of a residue of £2,600 that remains unspent in the budget of the Marlborough town council’s finance and policy committee.

And it follows the creation of a “mission statement” from the Sports Forum that was presented to the committee, which includes encouraging young people to participate in sport and to support them with financial assistance when appropriate.

The Forum also plans to create its own website to increase awareness of its activities.

“We should be facilitating and helping organisations like this in the town and supporting their activities,” Councillor Guy Loosmore told the committee.

And Councillor Peggy Dow added: “Organisations like this are working so hard in the town and we should give them all the help we can.”

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Two local rugby players picked for the England Saxon’s elite player squad

Jonny May from Ogbourne St George and Jamie Gibson from Minal, both aged twenty-one, have been named to join the England second squad, The Saxons.   England’s interim head coach, Stuart Lancaster named the Saxon’s thirty-two member elite player squad when he announced the new senior England squad for 2012.

The Saxons, or second team, used be called the England A team or the England B team – and at one time they even went upon the scoreboard as “Emerging England”.

Jonny (pictured top) plays full back or wing for Gloucester and has been in devastating form this season scoring seven tries. He is the son of local vet Peter May.

Jamie (pictured right) is an open side flanker for the London Irish and played four games for the Saxons last season scoring a try in the final of The Churchill Cup against Canada.

The two played together in the England Under-20 side at the 2010 Junior World Cup tournament in Argentina when the team reached the semi-finals.

Jonny was at The Ridgeway School and then Hartpury College. He played rugby at Wootton Bassett Rugby Club until going to Hartpury at sixteen where he was part of an all-conquering team and was selected to join the Gloucester Rugby Academy.

Jamie was at Marlborough College and is currently half way through a Classics degree at Oxford University. His introduction to Rugby came when he was seven and played with the Marlborough Minis.  Much later, while he was playing for Newbury Rugby Club, he was spotted by the London Irish Academy.

Looking ahead to the next World Cup, Lancaster said: "We are very excited by the make-up of the two [England] squads.  Lots of players have been putting their hands up and there were some tough calls to make. However, in line with the selection philosophy about starting new era for English rugby, we have taken the chance to make changes and give players opportunities to be part of the journey towards 2015.”

"We very much see this as a group of sixty-four [players], with opportunities for the Saxons playing in the forthcoming A internationals to come into the senior squad at any time."

The England Saxons face the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds at Sandy Park, Exeter on January 28 and then Scotland’s A team in Galashiels on February 3. The squad has an average age of twenty-four years and five months, with seven players under twenty-one.

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Henry Cooper and Muhammad Ali lend a hand to Marlborough boxers

Boxing legends Henry Cooper and Muhammad Ali will be helping pugilists in Marlborough to build their own gym.

Members of Marlborough Amateur Boxing Club have been renovating the sports pavilion in Elcot lane to create space that will host top class facilities for a local boxing gym.

Now members, with the assistance of the Queen's Head pub in St Martin's, Marlborough are holding a fundraising event to finance planning and building control applications.

The event will include an auction of unique local services as well as souvenirs from boxing legends like a signed picture of Henry Cooper knocking out Muhammad Ali.

Live entertainment, fun and games as well as a hog roast will all be part of the afternoon and evening activities. The event starts at 2pm on Sunday, December 18.

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Sports clubs benefit from Marlborough town council grants

Grants to local organisations totalling £3,200 have been approved by Marlborough town council’s finance committee, among them £500 for Marlborough Cricket Club mainly to pay for equipment and similar grant of £300 to Marlborough Youth Football Club.

A grant of £500 also went to East Wilts Mencap, £300 to the Friends of the Railway Path, and £200 to the Mid Wiltshire branch of Relate.

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Marlborough’s top jeweller sponsors RAF polo team

Horses have been a passion of Marlborough’s top jeweller David Dudley since he learnt to ride while living in Kenya and extended his interest in horses on visits to Spain.

So you will find them depicted in diamonds and 18 carat gold in his displays of unique jewellery designs, which he promotes in particular among polo aficionados at major polo playing clubs – and at Tidworth.

Christine Lawrence designed necklace

  The Wiltshire base is the home of RAF, Army and Navy polo teams and now David has shown his interest in their activities by deciding to sponsor the RAF polo team, as a result of his friendship with the team captain Tim Brown.  “He is also a customer and has been trying to persuade me for years to help,” David, who regularly goes to polo events at Tidworth, told Marlborough News Online. “And finally I have decided to do it for 2011.”

“What it means is that the finance I am providing enables the team to have special training, to take courses to develop the team and that will improve their standard of play.”

Stunning 2.7 cara Horse Head diamond

  “It might seem a bit crazy that people who fly airplanes want to wack a ball around on the back of a horse but they love playing polo and it keeps them fit. One of the team told me it is more exhausting playing four chukkas than running a half marathon.”

David, who has been operating in Marlborough High Street, for 20 years, also uses polo to promote the designs of London-based Christine Lawrence, which include an 18 carat gold necklace set with diamonds (pictured).

Another remarkable piece of jewellery he has for sale is a 2.7 carat diamond cut in the shape of a horses head (pictured) – with a stunning valuation of £23,000

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