Wednesday, 18 February 2015

GCSE students moved by inspirational young dancer

GCSE students at Newbury College were moved by an inspirational presentation and dance performance by local young dancer Frankie Rae when she visited the Monks Lane campus earlier this month.

Frankie gave a presentation to students about how she has remained motivated despite her disability and struggles with depression, and imparted the techniques she has learnt to help her deal with them. Born with a condition called Holt Oram Syndrome, that causes defects in the hands, arms and heart, Frankie has had to undergo ten operations and have major reconstructive surgery on both of her hands.

Talking of why she was happy to share her story, Frankie said, “I wanted to speak to the students today to share with them the battles that I have faced and show them that no matter what you face you can still achieve your dreams”.

Frankie’s difficulties have not stopped her determination to pursue her love of dancing as a career. Dancing from a young age helped to save Frankie from losing the use of her hands and arms and also meant that she spent less time in hospital undergoing physiotherapy. She has danced for a number of local dance organisations including Italia Conti Associates Newbury and after Wilkes Academy of Performing Arts she is well on her way of achieving her dreams.

GCSE student Dean Miller who attended the presentation said, “Her visit was truly inspirational and has motivated the whole course to always try their hardest. We no longer say ‘we can’t’, we now say ‘we can try’. We learnt this from Frankie”.

The visit concluded with a special performance of ‘Hold your dream’.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Biddy in Victoria Park

Thank heavens for green open spaces, even if they are in the middle of town. Or perhaps that should be especially if they are in the middle of town. And one such area in Newbury brings a welcome relief after a busy morning shopping. After an essential coffee at Café Rouge, I stepped over the road and into Victoria Park (or Vicky Park if you want to be more casual about it). What a lovely spot to get away from it all, for a quiet stroll, some thinking time, or just a place to sit awhile, and a haven for dog walkers, joggers, and parents with pushchairs.

The avenue of trees as you enter the park from Parkway is a pretty scene at any time of year, and there are plenty of seats to rest and watch the world go by. (I am also impressed by the number of bins, so no excuses for litter or doggie-doos to spoil it for everyone else.) The flower beds are always tidy – with a changing array of flowers depending on the season, but even in the coldest months they look smart with rose bushes pruned and the promise of things to come. Thank you to the council for making them so.

The park’s namesake stands in all her glory in red sandstone at the far end of the park, with the modest inscription ‘To the great and good Queen Victoria 1819–1901’. Although originally in the Market Place, the statue has been in the park since 1966 and dear old Queen Vic has much to look out on, with the tennis courts before her and skateboard heaven off to her right. Here too is a younger children’s area with climbing equipment and things to ride on and a slide with four ways to get to the top and two routes to slide to the bottom. And, of course, my particular favourite – the swings: I am not averse to kicking up my heels and flying through the air on one when no one is watching. (Ssssh! Don’t tell!) There’s a sandpit too, great fun for little ones.

The lake is a focal point and a great attraction to the swans – and indeed seagulls: close your eyes and you can almost believe you are at the seaside. Of course it’s from May to September that the park really comes to life with entertainments such as boating on the lake, refreshments at the café, music at the bandstand and a host of events taking place – funfairs, the carnival, the Crafty Craft boat race and so forth. All lovely on a fine day. But for me, on a bright winter’s day, a solitary stroll back along the avenue of bare trees is an absolute pleasure and a lovely break before I head back to the car and home.

Biddy x

Monday, 2 February 2015

Newbury College Team 19 5 a-side Football Tournament

Newbury College held a 5-a-side intra Team 19 football tournament at the end of January with six teams taking part from courses ranging from Motor Vehicle and Construction to Public Services and Animal Care.

The event took place to launch the Team 19 football programme at Newbury College, a programme which aims to address the 16-19 participation drop-off within sports by driving intra-college Team 19 football leagues which are led by students for students.

Sports Maker at Newbury College Aimee Kaur who organised the event said, “It was brilliant to launch a Team 19 football event which engaged students of all abilities from a variety of curriculum areas. We worked closely with Association of Colleges Sport and Berks and Bucks Football Association to ensure it was successful. The students worked incredibly well together and fostered good sportsmanship throughout”.

Aimee has recently been appointed as the new College Sports Maker and aims to deliver a wider sporting variety for students and help drive up student sport participation encouraging new participants during her time at Newbury College.

There is something for everyone at Newbury College. For more information go along to the Open Evening at the Monks Lane campus on Tuesday 10 February 4pm-8pm. For any other queries please contact on 01635 845000 or visit our website