ShareTheMiracle spreading kindness over Easter

Thousands of people across the UK will be surprised with chocolate eggs and other gifts this Easter as hundreds of groups and individuals ShareTheMiracle of kindness with neighbours, complete strangers and organisations and charities in their communities.

Thousands of Easter eggs and other gifts are expected to be given out to among others homeless and elderly people, victims of human trafficking and children in hospital.

For the fourth year running, people in towns and cities up and down the country will be part of a movement which began in 2013 when Dan Usher decided to buy 100 chocolate eggs from a local supermarket and give them away to people in his community.

The movement has grown year on year. In 2014, the ground-breaking initiative spread and over 7,500 free Easter eggs and other gifts were handed out. Last year 15,000 people across the UK received gifts.

“The aim of ShareTheMiracle is very simple – to show kindness and help to release hope across communities, with neighbours, friends and local organisations,” says Dan Usher.

“I believe Easter is a time of new life and hope, so what better time of year to transform our communities, break down some of the social barriers which keep us apart and start new friendships?”

“Relationships are the key to healthy communities and it’s down to each one of us to play our part in creating the world we want to live in. We are all ‘designed for kindness’ and although giving out a gift, or an Easter egg – which is a symbol of new life – and extending an invitation to a community or social event, might seem a little thing we believe a simple intentional act of kindness can begin to change our world!” Dan says.

ShareTheMiracle invites people to form local groups, and gather chocolate eggs either by buying them or through generous donations from local companies (This year the team was delighted to receive the support of The Wellesley hotel, London’s finest boutique-grand hotel) – ShareTheMiracle works with generous retailers who donate eggs and gifts in communities across the country and this year organisers hope more businesses will get on board. Groups expected to be involved this year include businesses, schools, churches, local councils, voluntary groups and teams of neighbours.

“This year ShareTheMiracle is scheduled to run from mid-March to the Easter weekend (25th to 28th March, 2016) but it’s really down to local groups to decide when the best time is to share a little happiness and hope to those around them. Whether you get together with other friends, or work colleagues, or you just go it alone, we’d love 2016 to be biggest and best year yet for ShareTheMiracle,” says Dan Usher
Each egg or gift is accompanied by an Easter invitation card. Neighbours may be invited to dinner, an elderly person might receive a personal invitation to a social club and parents can be invited to be part of a local parent and toddler group. Teenagers may receive an invitation to a local activity or mentoring group, and some of those handing out invitations with their gifts may choose to encourage people to attend a special community Family Fun Day or Easter services at their local church.

The special invitations can be ordered from the website – – where there is also loads of information to help groups start sharing acts of kindness in their communities. Stories of communities transformed by ShareTheMiracle can also be found on the website.

In 2015 volunteers met and gave gifts to around 15,000 people in places as far afield as London, Surrey and Sussex to Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Birmingham. It wasn’t just individuals that were contacted, but also groups, agencies and local organisations including government officers, schools, elderly people, business colleagues, Saturday shoppers, homeless people and victims of human trafficking. Volunteers also visited and treated Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, handing out toys and gifts to the children there and this is expected to happen again in 2016.

If you want more information go to

Givey Scores3

Givey is Revolutionising UK Charity Fundraising

An independent social enterprise is reimagining charity with an innovative platform that shines the spotlight on digital donations. Voted the UK’s number one fundraising site by Money Saving Expert, Givey is taking on the big guns in a bid to transform the way Brits give.

Despite blue chip competition from entities such as Just Giving and Virgin Money Giving, Givey comes top on Money Saving Expert. Transparency underpins its business model, with the team ensuring that data, values and actions are all crystal clear. There are no set-up fees for users, charities or projects, with a 5% transaction fee added on to contributions, as opposed to deducted as per most other digital donation sites. This David versus Goliath advantage has created a resounding buzz within the UK charity sector, as reflected by its recent acknowledgement from the nation’s number one consumer website.


Givey Scores


Drawing on the expertise of economists, psychologists and evolutionary biology specialists, Givey has created a platform that makes giving as intuitive and natural as possible. These nuggets of wisdom are manifested throughout the site, making the donation process fast, easy and innate. Already, Givey has helped 35,000 people raise £1.1m for over 8,000 projects and charities across the UK.

“Our entire ethos is underpinned by the goal of making giving a habitual part of everyday life,” says Neil Mehta, CEO.

Givey brings a personalised aspect to donations by encouraging users to set up a Post. These can then be shared on social media in a bid to kick-start donations. From chopping off eight years worth of dreadlocks, running the London Marathon and embarking on a 26 mile overnight hike, Posts turn altruistic feelings into proactive fundraising campaigns.


Givey Scores2


“Plain and simple, Givey hands Brits an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is. Through our platform people can make meaningful statements, coupled with meaningful donations that make a difference. This actively facilitates a deeper level of engagement between the giver and the receiver,” adds Mehta

The site sets itself apart from the crowd by supporting causes that people care about. With its sights set on expansion, Givey is currently recruiting small to medium sized charities to join its platform. The platform supports causes of all shapes and sizes. From national registered charities to charitable organisations, groups or individuals, no cause is too big or small.

As part of its growth plan Givey is also considering partnerships with charity specific web development agencies.

To find out more about Givey, explore the causes and join the giving revolution, go to:

motorbike trip for autism2

Africa Motorbike Trip By Hampshire Mum and Daughter

Melanie Cowpland and her nine-year-old daughter Sofia, from Liphook, are planning a trip from Bow in East London (UK) to East London (South Africa) – on a motorbike with a sidecar.  They will be raising money for the Adventure Autism Foundation, a charity they have set up to provide unique opportunities for children and adults with autism.


motorbike trip for autism


Sofia was diagnosed with autism when she was four, so this will be an epic journey of challenge and courage. The pair plan to start their adventure on the 14th November 2015 and expect to take nine months to cross Europe then Africa from north to south, covering approximately 20,000kms

Melanie, who is an experienced traveller, artist, author and spiritual coach, said: “I’ve always been an advocate for autism, in particular awareness of girls with autism, and I hope our journey will raise much-needed awareness of the need to grow and develop children with autism on a personal level so that they can realise their amazing potential.”


motorbike trip for autism1


“I believe it will be an extraordinary adventure for Sofia. With autism, there is not only an inability to make sense of the external world but also the internal world. This challenge will be an opportunity for Sofia to make better sense of who she is, what she is capable of, and who she is in the context of this world.”

The journey will be tough: mum and daughter will have to cope with the cold of winter in central Europe and the heat of the deserts of Africa.  Borders, language barriers and the rough state of African roads will be more challenges.

Melanie said: “I’m learning from scratch not only to ride a motorbike, but to know my way around the mechanics and maintenance.   Confidence off road has also been an important feature of training to ensure that should conditions get difficult, I am able to get the bike through it.”


motorbike trip for autism2


“The main challenge of all this, though, is going to be Sofia’s autism.  This will be a long, noisy journey on some very bumpy terrain, so all her sensitivities will be challenged, not to mention her many fears of the big wide world.  She will be receiving lots of preparation to ensure she knows exactly what it will be like to travel in the sidecar, and the various scenarios that she will be facing.”

Melanie added: “Sofia will be home-schooled during the journey to ensure that she is up to the same level as her peers when she returns to school in September 2016.”

Mum and daughter hope to raise awareness not only of autism, but of what is possible with autism. All funds will go to the Adventure Autism Foundation which will fund the trip, and which they have set up to give personal growth opportunities to children and adults who have been diagnosed with autism. This may include skills training for particular interests to help them find a career, or challenging experiences that will help them to discover who they really are and what they are capable of.

In support of their cause and their courage, Pure Hydration is providing Melanie and Sophia with water purification equipment for use throughout their journey. As the pair are sure to come across undrinkable water which they will need to make safe to drink, clean teeth and use for cooking, the purification equipment will ease health concerns as the mother, daughter team travel towards their goal. Please visit for details.

Well-wishers can also find more information and keep up to date with the trip by clicking LIKE  on Africa With Autism FaceBook page. Donations are very gratefully received through Virgin Money Giving (search – To Africa With Autism) £10 = 100km = Autism Awareness


New Study Great British Plans: Who Made Them and How They Worked

‘Why does everything take so long and why do we find it so difficult to reach strategic conclusions and carry them out?’ asks Lord Heseltine in his foreword to Ian Wray’s exploration of how the British make and execute their greatest plans.

Great British Plans: Who made them and how they worked is no ordinary study of planning methods and implementation. But it is a study of how plans, which delivered nationally significant infrastructure or profoundly shaped the country’s physical environment, were successfully realized.

Opening with a description of the 1940 exploits of Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham, Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet, his terse signal on their completion: ‘Manoeuvre well executed’, sets the tone for what is to follow.

Nine detailed case studies range from the seventeenth century to the present day, and from landscape architecture and motorways, to building a new city and the ‘knowledge economy’. They reveal extraordinary tales of innovation, improvisation and individualism at the heart of successful plans, all driven by passionate individuals. And here’s the key point: they invariably worked without support (and sometimes with active opposition) from Whitehall.




In just some of his intriguing studies, Ian Wray shows how:

  • Whether in the era of Sir Christopher Wren, Sir Patrick Abercrombie, or the present day, the green spaces and built environment of London have been formed not by government plans, but by individual builders, landowners and objectors.
  • Birkenhead Park, the world’s first public park, and the model for New York’s Central Park, owes its existence to a handful of individuals, not to government action.
  • Thanks to Head of the Secret Intelligence Service, Sir Hugh Sinclair, the code breakers of Bletchley Park, were catered for by a top London chef. Sinclair purchased the buildings for them too, at his own expense, after Whitehall turned down his Bletchley plan. And it seems he was never repaid!
  • The saga of the Channel Tunnel and its rail link is typical of large-scale British infrastructure planning, with high dependency on private initiative and individual political leadership. Victorian railway baron, Sir Alfred Watkin was the first Briton to start building a tunnel under the Channel, but government and civil service were determined to stop him. When it came to the new rail link a century later, backed by Michael Heseltine, another private sector plan (from Arup) won the day.

In the final part of this revelatory and hugely readable book, Wray concludes that the lesson from his case studies is that ‘polycentric governance’ is a staple of the British style; that Britain has some of the densest networks of civic association (or ‘social capital’) in the world; and that working together these can serve the country well in the turbulent and unpredictable future ahead.

Ian Wray is a Visiting Professor in Geography and Planning and Visiting Fellow in the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice, University of Liverpool. He was Chief Planner, Northwest Development Agency, 2000–2010. He has written for The Architects’ Journal , Management Today and The Guardian and is currently a trustee of the Town and Country Planning Association and of World Heritage UK, and a member of the general assembly of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Puddy playing with the ball

This Christmas Why Not Adopt Dartmoor Pony Puddy?

ADOPT YOUNG DARTMOOR PONY PUDDY – and follow her progress all year round! To help fund its work to preserve the traditional Dartmoor pony on the Moor, the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust charity offers a “Pony Adoption Gift Pack”, suitable for anyone, of any age, who loves horses and ponies, but for whom buying a real one is simply not an option.

This year, in addition to its existing ponies George, Charlie, Smartie and Rolo, we have a new ‘girl’ who needs to be loved! Puddy is two years old and came to the Trust as a gift from Devon-based famous wildlife and adventure photographer, Tracey Elliot-Reep. Puddy represents the bloodlines and wonderful temperament of a herd that has now almost disappeared from the Moor. It is hoped that she will join the DPHT’s team of ponies that are the foundation of its ‘Ponies Inspiring People’ programmes – working with young people with challenging behaviour and disabilities – when she matures at 4-5 years old.

By buying an Adoption, you will be helping the DPHT to feed and care for the ponies based at its Devon Centre; and to give young moorland-bred ponies a basic education, so that they are more suitable for domestic and conservation grazing homes than coming straight off the Moor as wild, untouched animals.


Puddy playing with the ball

Puddy playing with the ball



The cost is just £20 per year for UK residents: £25 for those who live abroad. Every Adoption Pack includes a beautiful line drawing and an adoption certificate and you’ll also receive updates on the development and progress of the pony you have chosen, over the following year.

Ponies George, Charlie, Smartie, Rolo – and now young Puddy – look forward to meeting you and to becoming part of your family! They live at the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust Centre, at Parke, Bovey Tracey in Devon.

Visitors are welcome on selected dates throughout the year – see the website or phone the Centre. Come along to groom and handle the ponies and find out all about them, follow their interesting lives, discover their true value and how important they are to the Dartmoor landscape.

Puddy is a great example of how good Dartmoor ponies are as family ponies and for riding, driving and conservation grazing: they are fundamental to the DPHT’s innovative ‘Ponies Inspiring People’ education programme. Some incredible achievements have been made by students through their work with these loving, gentle, patient but tough little ponies.

The Aim of the DPHT is to preserve the traditional Dartmoor pony on Dartmoor, for future generations to enjoy.

If you are interested in adopting a Dartmoor Pony please look up our website

New Rubik’s Cube feet-only World Champion in 32.51 seconds

Brazilian Gabriel Pereira Campanha solves Rubik’s Cube with feet in 32.51 seconds

Sao Paulo, Brazil just hosted the global Speedcubing elite at the Rubik’s Cube World Championship – the first time that the competition has ever been held in South America.

At Colegio Etapa, a school in the centre of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s Gabriel Pereira Campanha completed the iconic puzzle in an average time of 32.51 seconds – especially impressive seeing as he used only his feet. This time was enough to earn him the crown in his first ever World Championship.

In a tight contest, he beat 2013 champion Jakub Kipa of Poland, whose average of 36.44 seconds was just enough to hold on to second place ahead of Japan’s Yuhei Takagi, who averaged 36.66 seconds.

Top five in 3 x 3 Rubik’s Cube ‘With Feet’ final:

Gabriel Pereira Campanha Brazil 32.51 seconds
Jakub Kipa Poland 36.44 seconds
Yuhei Takagi Japan 36.66 seconds
Chan Hong Lik Brazil 43.21 seconds
Rafael Werneck Cinoto Brazil 43.83 seconds

Other notable results were:

• Feliks Zemdegs of Australia who won the 3 x 3 category with an average time of 7.54 seconds
• Kabyani Talukdar of India who won the 3 x 3 blindfolded category with a time of 24.86 seconds
• Feliks Zemdegs of Australia who won the 3 x 3 one-handed category with a time of 11.85 seconds

The feet-only category was one of 18 different events at the 2015 Rubik’s Cube World Championship. Competitions included:

• 2×2 Rubik’s Cube
• 3×3 Rubik’s Cube
• 4×4 Rubik’s Cube
• 5×5 Rubik’s Cube
• One-handed 3×3 Rubik’s Cube
• Blindfolded 3×3 Rubik’s Cube
• 3×3 Rubik’s Cube (fewest moves)
• 3×3 Rubik’s Cube with feet
• 4×4 Rubik’s Cube blindfolded
• 5×5 Rubik’s Cube blindfolded
• 3×3 Rubik’s Cube multiple blindfolded

The Rubik’s Cube World Championship was first held in Budapest in 1982. In total, over 423 people from 41 countries competed in the 2015 Rubik’s Cube World Championship.

Film of the 3 x 3 Rubik’s Cube ‘With Feet’ event


To see a full list of results, please go to the official website at

To find out more about the Rubik’s Cube, visit the website at

Don your moustache and join MoRunners around the UK

MoRunning is calling on runners to don their moustaches as MoRunning returns to cities across the UK and Ireland in November 2015.

Following on from the success of last year’s MoRunning where over 15,000 Mo’Bros and Mo’Sistas took part in MoRunning events up and down the country, this year promises to be even bigger and better than before.

There are three new MoRunning locations in 2015 ­ Birmingham, Belfast and Brighton – and this year we are expecting around 20,000 MoRunners to join us during November. Each location has restrictions on entries to ensure a super friendly, fun and great experience so it’s highly recommended to secure places early.

MoRunners can choose from 5km, 10km or 10 mile off­road runs which take place on weekends throughout November. This year there are events in 17 locations around the UK and Ireland ­ Bracknell (near Windsor), Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London (Battersea), London (Greenwich), Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, and Newcastle.

Now in its seventh year, MoRunning aims to offer a fun and friendly way to enjoy running whilst raising awareness of men’s health. Open to men and women of all ages, MoRunners are encouraged to wear a moustache, whether stuck on, drawn on or carefully grown for Movember! Fancy dress is very popular with prizes for the best dressed MoRunner and teams are also encouraged to take part.

MoRunners are encouraged to raise sponsorship to support Movember and fundraise for men’s health. In 2014, MoRunners raised an estimated £400,000 for the charity and in 2015 we hope to raise over £500,000.

Dave Krangel, MoRunning Race Director said: “There’s a MoRunning event to suit every runner, from 5km and 10km MoRuns to the 10 mile Muddy MoRun for those who enjoy getting their feet dirty.”

“We’re looking forward to welcoming thousands of MoRunners and raising funds for Movember.”

Entries are now open at:­ Places fill quickly so enter early to avoid disappointment!

2015 MoRunning dates and locations

Sunday 1st November
The Muddy 10k and 10mile MoRun
Swinley Forest, Reading

Saturday 7th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Edinburgh
Holyrood Park

Saturday 7th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Leeds
Temple Newsam

Sunday 8th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Glasgow
Glasgow Green

Sunday 8th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Newcastle
Exhibition Park

Saturday 14th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Dublin
Phoenix Park

Saturday 14th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Bristol
Ashton Court

Sunday 15th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Belfast
Ormeau Park

Sunday 15th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Cardiff
Bute Park

Sunday 15th November
The 5k MoRun London
Battersea Park

Saturday 21st November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Birmingham
Sutton Park

Saturday 21st November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Liverpool
Croxteth Park

Sunday 22nd November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Nottingham
Wollaton Park

Sunday 22nd November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Manchester
Heaton Park

Sunday 22nd November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Milton Keynes
Campbell Park

Saturday 28th November
The 10k MoRun London
Greenwich Park

Sunday 29th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Brighton
Stanmer Park

The MoRunning Journey

To be a MoRunner means you are part of something bigger than yourself! You’re part of a community, a family, a team.

When you step up to that start line at your MoRun, look to your left, look to your right, and remember friends are all around you!

So whether there’s a MoBro with a funny moustache, or maybe a MoSista that’s painted one on, or even someone dressed up as a superhero, give them a smile, shake their hand, give them a high five and just remember we are all in it together. Run hard, run fast, have fun and enjoy being part of something special!
To you the MoRunner, we clap for you, we shout at you, we support you, maybe even laugh at you (all in good humour of course) and we praise you for your commitment to the MoRunning community and the difference you make to supporting such a great cause.

MoRunners Receive

• Race chip Timing and instant race results
• Top class MoMedal bigger and better than 2014
• Yellow Winners Jersey for 1st finishers including Champion medal and free entry to 2016
• Legend and Superhero medals for best fancy dress and legends of MoRunning
• Discount for groups of 4 or more of 5% ( code for booking MR15-TeamEntry )
• Team Entry and Results
• MoRunning Headband
• Snacks and drinks at the event
• Photos to download
• Additional goodies from event partners

Costs of “Mega-Event” Games Could Prevent Host Cities From Applying

With the increasing popularity of global mega-events, such as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, many are beginning to wonder if hosting such a large-scale event is worth it. While these mega-events have been cited as providing an economic boosts to host cities, recently the negative after-effects have been greatly publicized—overpromising of benefits, underestimating costs, and using public resources for private interest. In the end, the building of new infrastructure comes at a significant cost to those in the surrounding communities, in addition to long-term negative effects on both people and the environment.

As Martin Muller of the University of Zurich writes in the Journal of the American Planning Association (Vol. 81 Issue 1, 2015), money needed for these ventures can now, “command a price of over $10 million,” as well as force the relocation of citizens to accommodate guests. Actions such as those often turn mega-events into obstacles, rather than benefits to urban development. This results in oversized or obsolete infrastructure that the public is forced to pay for. He suggests that a greater focus be placed on the long-term effect of mega-events. In addition to the incremental changes needed to improve the outcome, Muller’s research recommends implementing radical change in how mega-events are “planned, awarded, and governed.”

Mueller’s research advocates for:

  • No longer tie mega-events to large-scale urban development
  • Avoid higher risks that create cost overruns
  • Event-hosts should bargain with event-governing bodies for better conditions
  • Earmark and cap public sector contributions

An unforeseen side effect is the recent lack of host cities vying for upcoming mega-events. This includes the 2022 Winter Olympics, were a number of potential hosts either refrained from submitting a bid or withdrew. Muller believes that the best way to reduce a negative outcome is to, “avoid cost overruns, inefficient allocation of resources, and oversized infrastructure.” Ultimately research shows that change will not occur without pressure from the public.


Ice Warrior Offering Opportunity to Participate in World First Arctic Expedition

Jim McNeill, one of the world’s most experienced and respected explorers, is searching for aspiring expedition members for a quest to reach the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility – a world first.

The 800 mile (1,280 km) expedition is the latest flagship of the Ice Warrior project and will run from February to May 2016.

Applicants will be invited to a selection weekend in June or July at a location that will be revealed late to test participants’ organisational skills. Successful candidates will then undergo comprehensive and intensive UK and Arctic training.




The pioneering expedition will make use of new technologies such as the hybrid kayak-sledge QAJAQ, which was designed by Jim himself. It will serve as a vessel on ice, sea ice and water and double as a survival pod.

Former fireman Jim McNeill said, “We want to recruit ordinary men and women on this epic expedition, to show that most people have the ‘right stuff’. This is one of the biggest, boldest and most exciting expeditions of our time, and harks back to the golden age of polar exploration, when there were no experts.




“I want 28 people in four teams of seven who will commit to a 20 day period on ice; aged 18-80, from all walks of life and who want to make history and a crucial contribution to science.

“Expeditioners will be measuring many sea-ice parameters and the data they collect will further our knowledge of how it disintegrates and therefore how long it will last.”

Jim, who is 54 and has over 30 years of polar expedition experience, is passionate about opening up the Arctic to those willing to participate. “People don’t need to be super fit. Maturity, in the truest sense of the word, will help but what is essential is that people must be excellent team players.”





The journey, including all training and kit, will cost around £20,000 per person and participants are required to have the characteristics and drive to fundraise this money – making it available to anyone. The expedition will be split into four legs, each lasting 20 days. In total, the trek will cover 800 miles.

If you’d like to apply to be selected for the expedition, visit For information about Jim McNeill visit . The expedition is being promoted on Twitter with the hashtag #LastPole and participants can register their interest by texting ‘ICE’ to 66777.

BullGuard show who is tracking you phone

There are over one billion smartphones in use today – an enormous number and approximately one sixth of the world’s population. But are they just glorified trackers?

Smartphones are powerful tools enabling us to do all sorts of things while on the go. However, they can also track your every move and scoop up reams of personal information – without you knowing anything about it. If your phone has its geo-location services switched on, it most certainly will be monitoring your journeys. Even if it’s switched off but you’re hooked up to the internet via a Wi-Fi signal you can still be tracked. There are plenty of apps that persistently monitor your movements even when they’re not fired up. Of course you may say, and many do, that you’ve got nothing to hide, but this surreptitious mass surveillance is undermining privacy.

Take a look at this infographic from antivirus and mobile security expert, BullGuard, for a visualisation of exactly how your location data is being used and what you can do about it.




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