A BARNSLEY man received more than 700 cards in celebration of his 100th birthday last weekend – with well-wishes even coming from the Queen and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Bert Vincent, who lives at Eboracum House on Park Grove, turned 100 on May 24, and was overwhelmed with the number of cards he was given following an appeal by the care home.
The manager at the home, Louise Nelson, 46, said: “It was great that we managed to collect the number of cards that we did and they came from all across the globe – from Germany to Australia, and even one from Hong Kong.
“Bert only expected to get ten to 20 cards from his family and friends so he was shocked to see the number of cards that he did get.
“He said that he absolutely loved the whole day and described it as the best day of his life.”
Due to lockdown restrictions it was originally thought that Bert wouldn’t receive a card from the Queen, but he was shocked to find that it did arrive, along with a personal letter from Boris Johnson expressing his gratitude.
As a part of the appeal, the home set up a GoFundMe page, which subsequently raised a total of £1,000.
“The amount of money that was raised was so helpful, we managed to hire a singer for the Christmas party, as well as purchasing a Facebook portal so families are able to regularly chat with their loved ones,” she added.
“On Bert’s birthday his family came to the window in the morning, and his son arrived later in the day which was great because he wasn’t actually expecting to see them – it was a great surprise.
“The morale here is very good at the minute, we’re all doing everything that we possibly can and it’s nice that we’re able to get the residents seeing their families, whether it be through social distancing or online, as much as we do.”
Police appeal for missing man
POLICE in Barnsley have launched an appeal to help find a man after growing ‘increasingly concerned for his welfare’.
Phillip Campbell, 34, was last seen leaving his home in Hemmingfield at around 12.40am on Saturday morning.
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: “His car has been located on Burying Lane, Elsecar, at 4am Saturday morning.
“Police are growing increasingly concerned for his welfare.
“Phillip is described as being a white male, six feet three inches tall with dark brown hair. He was last seen wearing black jeans and colourful trainers.
“If you think you may have seen him or know where he might be, please call 101 quoting incident number 197 of May 30."
Festival of Kindness at Highgate
KIDS at a Barnsley school have been taking part in a ‘Festival of Kindness’ – a series of virtual events and activities focusing on mental health and wellbeing.
The festival, inspired by mental health awareness week, was held at Highgate Primary Academy in Goldthorpe and saw pupils make bracelets, bake cakes and create cards for their friends who they couldn’t see in person.
Others who have been at home have sent in pictures of themselves helping out with chores like washing up after dinner, cleaning and doing the washing.
Jo Temperton, principal at Highgate, run by the Astrea Academy Trust, said: “Astrea's Festival of Kindness has encouraged and enabled our whole school community to pause, reflect and share our appreciation for others. No matter how small an act of kindness is, the impact can be positively overwhelming.”
Benedick Ashmore-Short, interim chief executive of Astrea Academy Trust, added: “In these unprecedented times adjusting to a different way of living and working can be challenging and frustrating, everyone is trying balance to their own unique and very personal circumstances.
“This can be overwhelming, lonely, and isolating, especially when we can’t see our friends, family, teachers and colleagues.
“That’s why it’s vital that we continue to support Highgate Academy and its community in a mindful and sensitive way.
“The Astrea Festival of Kindness will bring this support to the fore, in a fantastic week of raising awareness for such an important matter.”
Volunteer Judy refuses to stop putting her stall out in bid to help charity
A WOMAN who was one half of a fundraising duo alongside her late partner has continued to raise cash for Barnsley Hospice in his memory.
Judy Holling has worked as a volunteer for the hospice for more than two years, and would give her time to running stalls with partner Steve Riley – a much-loved local entertainer who died last month after a heart attack.
The couple raised more than £5,000 going ‘wherever they’d let us have a stall’, said Judy.
And the 74-year-old has continued to raise money for the hospice from her home on Baslow Crescent, Dodworth, setting up a stall selling all manner of goods – and making more than £2,000 in the process.
“Anything the hospice did, we were always there together,” she told the Chronicle.
“We never recorded how much we made until now, but we kept the receipts and it comes to £5,233 – all from little local stalls.
“I’ve always been active with charity work, as I used to work with the homeless.
“It was a good way to meet new people which we enjoyed.
“Steve was a big man with a big heart.
“We made a good team, we bounced off each other.
“It’s hard to carry on when you’ve loved somebody and done all these things together.
“But even when he was ill, Steve made the effort. He always used to say ‘God’s good’.
“It’s still not just me, it’s a team effort. Nobody can do it on their own.”
Steve died in Judy’s arms at home.
After his funeral, she said she started raising money ‘as something to do’ during the lockdown.
She sold spare plant pots from her garden, leaving a donation tin outside her home, and made £30.
“They came in fantastic for people who couldn’t get to the shops,” said Judy.
“I carried it on for a second day, and only made £3, but I kept going.
“Every day I wrote down how much I made. On VE Day, I managed to make £405, and we had a street party with bingo and singing that made the total £722.
“The stall’s still growing now thanks to neighbours and the good-hearted people of Dodworth.
“If Steve would’ve been here, he’d have lapped it up.”
Donations continue to mount, and Judy’s total currently stands at £2,100.
Sam hopes to raise dough for hospice
A LOCAL TV presenter is backing Barnsley Hospice by hosting his own virtual bake-off competition.
Sam Nixon is appealing to potential star bakers to get involved in the contest to help raise some ‘dough’ for Barnsley Hospice during the coronavirus pandemic.
Barnsley Hospice is losing around £2,300 a day due to the crisis, and in March it launched an urgent appeal for funds.
He recorded a special message to his social media followers to encourage them to take part.
He said: “Please get involved if you can and raise some much-needed funds for Barnsley Hospice.”
Sam Silverwood, fundraising manager at the hospice, added: “We are thrilled to have Sam’s support again this year, albeit in very different circumstances.
“We know that during the lockdown many people have been practising their baking skills, so it’s a chance for them to show off their best bakes while raising some vital funds for the hospice.
“To enter the virtual bake-off, bake something delicious, post it to the Barnsley Hospice Facebook page, donate £5 and nominate five people to take part.”
The hospice will choose a winner on their Facebook page each week.
Council leader looks ahead to schools reopening
THE LEADER of the council has said that pupil safety is paramount following the news that students can return to schools next week.
Coun Sir Steve Houghton spoke about minimising the risk of the spread of COVID-19 after it was announced by the government that pupils could return to classrooms as early as June 1.
Children of key workers have been eligible to stay in school throughout the duration of lockdown but under the new proposals nurseries, select primary school classes, and secondary schools and colleges can begin teaching pupils face-to-face.
Coun Houghton said: "Understandably, a key concern for many is how having more children in settings will impact on the transmission of coronavirus. Our priority is to make sure that children and staff are always as safe as possible, and our public health team and schools’ service will support schools and early years settings.
“Our approach in Barnsley is to base our decisions on the best evidence available at the time and to follow national guidance.
“Most schools have been open through the pandemic for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.
“Most schools are seeking to gradually extend this offer on June 1 for the stipulated age groups and vulnerable children and those of key workers. A small number of schools will take a two-week break at half term and in these cases, they will welcome pupils at the earliest opportunity on June 8.
“Based on risk assessments, we're supporting schools and early years settings to welcome children back, should their parents or carers wish to do so.”
Angel delight as project for the NHS is completed
A GRATEFUL woman crocheted more than 60 angels to show her appreciation to her sister-in-law for her hard work during the coronavirus outbreak.
Joy Rose, 64, of Shaw Lane, wanted to show her support and admiration for Alison Grant and her colleagues who work on ward 35 at Barnsley Hospital.
She decided to crochet more than 60 angels which will be delivered to each member of the staff on the ward as a celebration for their hard work during the outbreak.
“She came to me and said she wanted to do something nice for Alison,” said Joy’s brother and husband to Alison, Glyn Grant. “Alison works in surgical admissions and has been working long shifts – Joy wanted to help cheer her up.
“She is always keeping herself busy with crochet so she decided to make an angel for each member of staff who works on the ward.”
The project took Joy two weeks to finish and Glyn said she hopes to now make 100 angels to be distributed around the hospital.
“I’m really proud of her,” said Glyn, 67, of Dodworth Road. “When she had finished the project it brought tears to my eyes as I thought it was such a kind gesture. Alison was also very appreciative about the angels because it’s nice to get some recognition for the hard work you’ve been doing.”
The angels will be split between ward 35 and the intensive care unit.
Connor makes it on the cobbles
A LOCAL actor has made prime-time TV by landing a role on Coronation Street this week.
Connor Hewitt, originally from Cudworth, starred in Monday’s episode of the ITV soap as footballer Wayne.
The 24-year-old, who studied acting at the Arden School of Theatre in Manchester, was inspired to pursue his dreams after first studying performing arts at Barnsley College.
“The audition for Coronation Street just landed on my lap, I went along not expecting anything, and was thrilled to get the part.
“I can’t thank my agents and my training enough for helping me get the role.
“I’ve always wanted to go into acting, ever since I first studied it at Barnsley College and people encouraged me pursue it.”
Connor has received rave reviews for his role, and hopes to continue television acting in the future.
He added: “The reaction has been great, it’s had good reviews. My friends and family have been so supportive since the episode aired.
“I didn’t really expect anything, I just went to the set and did my best so I was definitely not expecting the reaction that it’s had.
“I just want to continue telling different stories, and if opportunities come along, I’ll jump at the chance to take them.”
Making a safe return to your workplace
This article relates to returning to work in England. You should confirm with your employer the steps it is taking regarding returning to work.
The Government is encouraging people to stay alert as many take their first steps back to their workplace.
Millions of people followed the initial advice to stay at home, and those who can do their jobs at home are still encouraged to do so.
However, some businesses are re-opening, and many have never closed. We look at how you can travel safely to work, and how companies have adapted to the challenges coronavirus has put in front of everyone.
‘I’m so proud to be ready for farm’s harvest’
CASE STUDY 1
There are signs that the country is looking forward to beyond the coronavirus lockdown with a Leeds-based farm all set to harvest its first crop of strawberries.
Annabel Makin Jones is a farmer, mother and businesswoman and said that the run up to “berry season” is hectic at the best of times but this year was one for the record books.
She runs Annabel’s Deliciously British, a brand of premium English strawberries grown on her family’s farm, Sturton Grange near Garforth, and is preparing the first pick later this month. She said: “The run up to berry season is always hectic, but this season is one for the record books. There have been so many complexities to contend with.
“We’ve adapted, planned, negotiated and coped with multiple challenges.I am proud to say, we’re ready.”
Annabel has had to balance protecting her staff with managing market demand after lockdown was implemented. She said: “Our teams come to us every year and they work as part of an extended family.
“We devised a meticulous system of keeping our teams in communities of eight teams of 10 for socialising, laundry and shopping.
“We’ve done their shopping and washing to help keep them shielded safe and healthy.If one team came down with symptoms and needed to isolate, we could rely on the other teams to fill in. Everyone is fit and well and ready to go.”
Green light for garden centres
CASE STUDY 2
TONG GARDEN CENTRE
Whether they were hankering for compost, lawn seed or bedding plants, gardeners were keenly anticipating the reopening of the vast majority of the UK’s garden centres.
And after an eight-week lockdown which made a washout of three of their four biggest selling weekends of the year - including Easter and the early May Bank Holiday - garden centres have been furiously busy getting ready to serve customers again.
Customers can now expect supermarket-style social distancing queues, one-way systems and limits on the numbers allowed inside.
Restaurants and children’s play areas will stay closed and for the time being it will not be a place to while away an afternoon.
Just 90 people at a time are allowed into Bradford’s Tong Garden Centre under rules which allow one person per 1,000 square feet.
Managing director Mark Farnsworth said they were excited, but nervous about “making sure we do everything safely for the team and customers”.
Mr Farnsworth said he expects people to make fewer visits, but buying more when they do, mirroring the way food shopping habits have changed.
Everything has been worked out, so people can get around the garden centre safely.
The five steps that will ensure safer working
The Government says there are five practical steps that companies can take to ensure everyone is working safely. They are:
Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment in line with the HSE guidance that includes consultations with workers and trade unions, and sharing the results of the risk assessment.
Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures such as increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning.
Help people to work from home by discussing home working arrangements and ensuring they have the right equipment, including them in all necessary and looking after their physical and mental wellbeing.
Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible. This includes putting up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance, avoid people sharing workstations, using floor tape to help people keep to a 2m distance.
Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk by considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate, keeping the activity time involved as short as possible, using screens or barriers to separate people from each other and staggering arrival and departure times.
For more information visit www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19
Consider walking, cycling or driving
The Government has issued advice on how people can travel to work safely during the coronavirus outbreak.
You should avoid using public transport where possible. Instead try to walk, cycle, or drive.
If you do travel, thinking carefully about the times, routes and ways you travel will mean we will all have more space to stay safe.
You should not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms or sharing a household with somebody with symptoms, are clinically extremely vulnerable.
Consider if your journey is necessary. This will help keep the transport network running and allow people who need to make essential journeys to travel.
Walking and cycling will reduce pressure on the public transport system and the road network. Consider walking and cycling. Consider all other forms of transport before using public transport. If you can, wear a face covering if you need to use public transport.
Band's fanzine to help tackle bullies
BARNSLEY grunge band Hands Off Gretel have released a quarantine edition of their fanzine in a bid to raise money for an anti-bullying charity.
The 48-page zine includes over 70 submissions of fan art for Brighton-based charity Ditch the Label – which was chosen by frontwoman Lauren Tate, who recently spoke out about the impact of years of bullying and online harassment.
Lauren said: “We just couldn’t believe the standard of the artwork that came flooding in.
“I decided that we had to create something really special, so that we could truly celebrate all of the artwork together, and I came up with the idea of a fanzine.”
Lauren has recently been subject to a spate of attacks on social media, something that has been going on for the past five years.
“On the one hand I was dealing with such amazing positivity from our fans with this wonderful art creations, but at the same battling this hatred online,” she added.
“I had felt so powerless that someone was actively using the internet to spread hate about me.
“Creating the zine to raise awareness of the impact of bullying and supporting the anti-bullying charity – Ditch The Label – just seemed like the obvious thing to do, turning this into something really positive and doing my bit to help others going through the same thing.”
Lockdown has led to a huge increase in bullying, harassment and online abuse – as the charity saw a 158 per cent increase in people contacting them.
Sue Jones, CEO of Ditch The Label, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the Hands Off Gretel fanzine, which will not only raise awareness of the prevalence and impacts of bullying and abusive behaviours, but will also raise vital funds.”