Monday, 31 March 2014

West Berkshire Mencap’s Thank You to their Reading Half Marathon Runners!

On the 2nd March, West Berkshire Mencap had 16 runners take part in the Reading Half Marathon in aid of their high quality services for local people with learning disabilities and their families and carers. The runners have raised, all together, over £4400 for this local charity. This amazing amount will make a huge difference to West Berkshire Mencap, who would like to thank these wonderful runners for all their support.

Carrie-Anne Ferrie, Fundraising Manager of West Berkshire Mencap, said “We are very grateful to all of the runners who took part in the Reading Half Marathon on 2nd March in aid of our vital services. The total funds they have raised for us is fantastic and will really help our services for local people with learning disabilities. All of the runners were full of enthusiasm and worked extremely hard to raise much needed funds for our services.”

West Berkshire Mencap has spaces for runners for the Great South Run on 26th October this year and would be grateful to hear from anyone who is interested in running in aid of them.

For further information please contact Carrie-Anne at West Berkshire Mencap on 01635 41464 or via email on 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Biddy in Cheap Street

The Empire Cafe for Luncheons & Teas’: what could be a more tempting invitation? Whether a regular being greeted by name or a stranger visiting for the first time, you are assured a warm and friendly welcome when you stop by The Empire Cafe in Cheap Street. It is just like being welcomed by family – well I certainly was when I popped in for a mid-morning coffee and bun when I was browsing that end of town recently. There is more than luncheons and teas to be had – breakfast for a start. I overheard one lady ask what time they finished serving breakfast: ‘About 6 o’clock tonight!’ was the cheery reply. Then there are sandwiches, cakes ... and puddings to go with the luncheons. There is plenty of seating, and books and magazines to browse whiling away a quiet half hour or so enjoying whatever snack or meal takes your fancy. But don’t think you have to eat in: The Empire is also a bakery so you can buy your loaf and buns (or how about a deliciously sinful lardy cake?) to take home. Don’t mind if I do!

The main reason for being in Cheap Street was a trip to the Post Office, but as you head towards the railway station there is a host of different types of shops and outlets which make an interesting mix, and which give Newbury real character. And what a mix it is: you will find everything here, from the showroom for Ripples bathrooms to estate agents to charity shops to Swan Upholstery Supplies – I didn’t know they ran workshops, and a friend of mine has some chairs she wants to reupholster so I will give her the heads up.

There are Chinese and Indian takeaways and restaurants, including, intriguingly, Just Lucky’s Indian tapas bar and restaurant. If this is not to your taste, there is the Grill House & Cocktail Bar. Or how about good ol’ fish and chips from The Plaice? You’ll go neither hungry nor thirsty as there are plenty of pubs in Cheap Street too, including Jack of Newbury, Diamond Tap and King Charles Tavern.

If you want your hair done there are several salons: Harris Hair, Super Stars and Bravo Hair – a particular favourite of mine. Next door to Bravo is Peter Earthy jewellers, the window packed with jewels with hand-written notes to describe the goods – ‘Brilliant cut three stone diamond’ and encouragement to ‘keep the real craft alive’ by buying British.

What else have we got? The Chiropractic Centre, Lucinda’s Beauty – and T4 Cameras who share a building with malt whisky specialist The Dram Room. Now there’s an unusual pairing! I told you there was a good mix!

There is much more here but time and space mean I cannot possibly mention everything, so do go and have a look yourself ... though I can’t let the moment pass without reference to Pageant – suppliers of fancy dress and all things party-related. I have been longing to hold a fancy dress party ... wonder if I could get away with going burlesque? Would give the husband a laugh anyway!

Until next time ...

Biddy x

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

West Berkshire Mencap’s Fashion Show in Conjunction with Sainsbury’s in Newbury!

West Berkshire Mencap is excited to announce that they will be having a Fashion Show to raise awareness of equal opportunities for people with learning disabilities at the Chequers Hotel in Newbury at 7pm on Tuesday 1st April. 

West Berkshire Mencap are very lucky to have Sainsburys in Newbury supporting them with this event who are providing clothes for the models and staff to help at the event. Local Rock Choir will kindly be providing the interval entertainment with a performance of their wonderful music and there will also be fashion and beauty stalls for the audience to browse before and after the show. 

Carol Irwin, PR Ambassador of Sainsbury’s in Newbury said “This is Sainsbury's second  fashion show with  West Berkshire Mencap, the last one  proved to be  a huge success so we are very excited to be involved again.  Their clients will once again be joining Sainsbury's Newbury colleagues on the catwalk and they are all very excited. The event  provides these individuals with the opportunity to voice their view that it shouldn’t matter if you have a disability or not, you should have the same opportunities as everyone else including taking part in events like this, which is very important to them. It is evident that they get a great deal from the show.” 

Tickets are £7.50 for an adult or £5 for a child. Tickets include refreshments at the interval. 

To book your space for West Berkshire Mencap’s Fashion Show please contact Carrie-Anne at West Berkshire Mencap on or 01635 41464