Wednesday, 8 January 2014

West Berkshire Mencap Presents Award for their Fundraising Volunteer of the Year 2013

On the 17th December West Berkshire Mencap’s Chief Executive Leila Ferguson and Fundraising Manager Carrie-Anne Ferrie visited ADP Dealer Services International in Hungerford to present their ‘Fundraising Volunteer of the Year’ award to one of ADP’s employees Stuart March. The presentation had been arranged in complete secret with Stuart’s managers Andrew Chetland and Andy Mason and was a complete surprise to Stuart.

Stuart has been taking part in ADP’s Lend a Hand Scheme where they kindly allow their employees to take time out of their work schedule to do charitable work. Stuart has been West Berkshire Mencap’s volunteer photographer through this scheme for the last year and this has helped them tremendously to raise awareness of their work and their fundraising endeavours.

Carrie-Anne Ferrie, Fundraising Manager for West Berkshire Mencap, says “Stuart has been an absolutely amazing volunteer for us and really has become a very important part of the fundraising team. Stuart will turn up to take photos no matter if it is in spare time and whatever the weather. We are extremely grateful to him and his employer for allowing us to use his fantastic photography skills to help us raise awareness of what we do and why it is important. He has really earnt the title of Fundraising Volunteer of the Year for us!”

If you are a local company who would like to support West Berkshire Mencap or if you are an individual wanting to volunteer please contact  Carrie-Anne Ferrie at West Berkshire Mencap  on or 01635 41464

Friday, 3 January 2014

Biddy at Camp Hopson sales

Who doesn’t love a bargain? If you’re like me the January sales at Camp Hopson department store are an absolute must – and although I have never yet been driven to queuing outside through the night to get the really special one-off bargains on day one of their sale, you have to admire the spirit of those who do.

I really like Camp Hopson – it’s fantastic that Newbury’s independent department store thrives, offering all the style, choice and value of the big-named department stores but retaining an air of something that little bit different and special. I find it easy enough to browse here for hours at the best of times, but give me the January sales and I can disappear into its inviting arms for the best part of a day.

I ‘paid and displayed’ in Camp Hopson car park and decided to see what was on offer in their furniture department first of all, drawn in by the satisfying aroma of wood and leather – and a refreshing sense of calm. So what have we got? Quite simply, a magnificent range of styles to suit every taste, and bargains galore. Sofas, chairs, dining furniture, storage units, coffee tables, mirrors, pictures, wall art, bedding, bathroom accessories, kitchen textiles ... and that’s just downstairs. Then it’s upstairs for rugs, carpets and flooring, curtains, cushions, beds and bedroom furniture, and more sofas and furniture for living areas. And I must say the staff are great – without exception I was offered help in every area, but I never felt pressured: perfect. What was I tempted by? Well, lots, but there was some very stylish bedding at a hugely discounted price, far too good to pass by. And a friend of mine is looking for dining furniture; I spotted a lovely set that may be just what she is looking for. As it was reduced from £1,499 to £499 I took a quick photo and texted her. Oh the wonders of technology ...

It is just a few steps across the car park into the main store, and by now I was in need of sustenance so my next stop was Josephs, Camp Hopson’s restaurant on the second floor. I love the simple, clean lines of Josephs, everything looks fresh and bright and there is plenty of seating, plus an outside terrace for warmer days. I enjoyed a good strong cup of coffee (forgot to ask for decaff, oops!) and, despite my best efforts, I weakened and had a Viennese mince pie – a delicious, buttery, crumbly twist on the traditional variety.

Suitably caffeine stimulated I made my way down to the first floor and had a lovely long and leisurely browse amongst all the classy clothes. This really is the time to bag a bargain – warm winter coats, party frocks, a magnificent choice of separates, pretty lingerie .... I was very taken with a jacket that will be ideal for spring, and as it was reduced by almost 75% and they had my size, well I had to have it, didn’t I?

The kitchenware, luggage and haberdashery departments are a real treasure trove and definitely worth exploring – in fact I spent so long there I had to nip back to the car park and do a bit more ‘paying and displaying’. And I hadn’t even started my ground floor exploration.

There are some excellent finds to be had in the gift area – I’ve put a few bits and pieces by as presents for friends’ birthdays – and fantastic reductions on boots, shoes, handbags. Then of course there are all the prettily packaged toiletries, the perfumes and the make-up counters with their sparkling lights and tempting promises.

There are some terrific offers in the men’s department but the husband is quite happy choosing his own clothes so I resisted. What I couldn’t resist was a good look round the ground floor ladies’ boutique areas. There was nothing I needed, but what’s need got to do with it when there are bargains to be had? And, as you asked, I am looking forward to wearing my new top in the not too distant future.

Time to go – must leave something for the other shoppers! Thank you, Camp Hopson, for a great day’s shopping and Happy New Year to one and all!

Biddy x