Beestonian London Marathon update

Regular readers will remember that Beestonian Stuart Baird was preparing to run the London Marathon in aid of JDRF, a charity who are carrying out vital diabetes research. I got back in touch with Stuart to find out how he did and this was his response…

My total raised was £3200. I was in a team of 145 runners for JDRF and just before we set off running, we met for a photograph at Greenwich park and they told us we had raised over £400,000 collectively. This is a great contribution to the clinical trials which are working towards a cure for type 1, and interventions to make kids lives healthier until that cure is found.

As for the run. Wow. If you are contemplating it and think you can do it – go for it. The support is just off the dial in London. Everyone shouting my name from the first hundred yards and for the next 4hrs 42 minutes of running!

I got in ‘synch’ at one point with a few runners and chatted with them. You meet such amazing people along the way. Because of this, I was in synch with a guy surrounded by high rise offices, I had lost track of mileage and as we turned right we both said together, ‘Oh, wow!’ – We had stumbled onto Tower Bridge (the halfway point) by accident. I may have got something in my eye at this point.

This is where the official cheer points are for all the charities – JDRF (including Helen, James and Will), Macmillan, Tommys, Dementia, Cystic Fibrosis etc – thousands of people looking for their team but supporting anyone and everyone. The noise went up several levels.

A couple of miles further down the road, the runners go down an underpass where no supporters can go, all you can hear is silence and runners feet for a quarter mile, but then you turn left and up the ramp out and you’re in the city again. The high rises have tiered walkways so the noise hits you as if you’re a footballer coming out onto a stadium – unbelievable. Again, lump in the throat time.

“Those in the room all stood and clapped.”

I did a good pace until 20 miles and left myself 1hr & 10 mins to do the last 10k (6 miles.) I have been known to do this in 52 mins so I thought all is good. I had forgotten all the advice about fuelling – you are meant to take gels from 6 miles onwards every 20 mins because if you deplete your body and leave it late, you just feel sick all the time.

I ran/walked the last four miles. More than that, I wasn’t aware that as part of the whole JDRF team (which was much bigger than my small part) the charity put on a reception in China Town and as we came into the room, there were official cheerers and those in the room all stood and clapped. There was loads of food and a sports massage. I was made to feel very special but more than that I was very aware I was just one bit of a huge team, organisers, supporters, families and friends to raise that amount of money.”

Congratulations to Stuart from everyone at the Beestonian for his superb efforts.

Down on the Reserve: Bumper Harvest!

A combination of one of the warmest springs in the last 100 years and a wet and mild June has provided the perfect growing conditions for plants and there is currently a wonderful display of colour at Attenborough Nature Reserve.

The most noticeable as you walk around the Reserve at the moment are the flowers and
blackberries on the bramble. This familiar thorny shrub grows almost anywhere on the Reserve and can commonly be found in woodland, grassland and within the hedgerows. The white and pinkish flowers are literally covering the bushes and on sunny days attract a huge number of bees, hoverflies and other pollinating insects.

Bramble is incredibly valuable for the wildlife at Attenborough. Not only do the flowers provide opportunities for pollinating insects, but the fruit provides food for mammals and birds – particularly during the autumn migration. The dense spiky bushes give valuable protection for nesting birds and also provides a habitat for a range of other small animals.

Whilst the blackberries are the most obvious fruit, a vast array of edible delights can be found around the Reserve including dewberry, elder, cherry, blackthorn, hawthorn and rose to name but a few

Incredibly some 400 micro-species of wild blackberry grow in the UK!
Following an abundance of flowers on the bramble this year it seems that we are going to be in for a bumper crop of blackberries! The fruit ripened some weeks earlier than we
would typically expect.

I have fond memories of foraging with my parents as a child. My mum in particular was a keen jam-maker and would have a large jam pan on the stove from late spring to autumn as different fruits became available. Blackberry season was always one of my favourite times of the year, and I possibly ate as many berries as I put in my ice-cream tub for the jam.

There is some evidence to suggest that trees and shrubs are fruiting up to three weeks earlier than they were 50 years ago, the result of global climate change. Although it would take many more years of data to confirm this, as an indication of just how far the seasons have come forward in the last 30 years, it would have been in the week before I went back to school after the summer holiday that we would head out to pick blackberries. In the last few years, I have taken my son out picking in the first week of the school holiday.

Wild foraging is certainly a great way to engage children in the wonders of the natural world. Whilst the blackberries are the most obvious fruit, a vast array of edible delights can be found around the Reserve including dewberry, elder, cherry, blackthorn, hawthorn and rose to name but a few. Most are wild set, but others such as crab apple, pear and plum serve as a reminder of the Reserve’s history within an agricultural landscape.

Whilst we do not discourage visitors from picking blackberries, we kindly ask that if you are going to go foraging on Nature Reserves such as Attenborough that you stick to the footpaths and do not trample the vegetation in order to get to the juiciest fruit. In 2011 we had a similarly early crop ofblackberries and the actions of blackberry pickers, trampling down the vegetation, led to a bird’s nest being uncovered – the chicks, unprotected by the prickly vegetation, were subsequently predated and died.

Please enjoy the wild harvest, but only pick what you know you will use/eat, leave some for the birds and other wildlife and finally only pick what you are certain is edible and that you have identified correctly.

TIM SEXTON, ATTENBOROUGH NATURE CENTRE.

Beeston Sailing Club

When it comes to sport in Beeston, many people are aware of its football club, the hockey team and even the croquet club, but one of the town’s oldest and lesser-known sporting clubs is a sailing club.

Situated just opposite Attenborough Nature Reserve, Beeston Sailing Club has a long history on the waters of the Trent since being established over 70 years ago.

“It was founded in 1948, by a group of gentlemen who met in the Angel Inn,” explained club secretary Clare Bailey.

“The part of the land here was actually owned by the Second Beeston Sea Scouts from around the 1920s and then in 1945/46 the lease was given to the sailing club and that’s how it was formed.”

The club has a proud history.

Whilst the club remains a relevant part of Beeston’s history, it has seen a sharp decline in members since the ’90s and currently has only 18 memberships.

“We used to have 200 plus when river sailing was quite popular,” said social secretary Terry Parker, who has been a member of the club for 18 years. “I remember on a Thursday night the river used to be full of Merlin Rockets, the name of the popular boat at the time.”

So why has the sailing club lost so many members over the past few decades?

“I think it was just lack of interest in sailing and the members were trying to keep it as a sailing club and not diversify into other things when you need to now,” says Terry.

“We’re sort of advertising ourselves to paddleboarders. It would be great if we had a fleet of them and canoeists.”

Past Trophy winners.

When visiting the club, there’s a real peacefulness about the place. The club sits far away from the busy roads in the area and the clubhouse is a great place for members to congregate.

It’s easy to see why it would be the perfect place for sailing, but Clare and Terry make it clear that the club offers more than just sailing to its members.

“We always get people who say, ‘I would love to live down here’ and I’ve said if you just want to come down for the weekend, join the sailing club. If you want to just chill out, bring your family and have a barbecue. This is a great area for birdwatching as well, with Attenborough Nature reserve just across the river” said Terry.

Like any business though, if Beeston Sailing Club is to survive, it needs to continue to gain more members, with operating costs making the sailing club increasingly expensive.

“We are looking for new members, but it’s about how we attract them and what it is that would be interesting for them,” Clare says. “We’re sort of advertising ourselves to paddleboarders. It would be great if we had a fleet of them and canoeists. It would be really good to get local children involved as well and to be able to offer them something which is so near to them.”

Anyone interested in joining the club can contact them at https://www.facebook.com/beestonsailing/

Nottingham Croquet Club

Nottingham Croquet Club has been a feature of Highfields Park for 80 years and with the club being the home of the reigning croquet world champions, Paddy and Miranda Chapman, Beeston is the home of one of Nottingham’s most successful sports clubs.

The club previously hosted the Women’s World Championships in 2015, which was won by Miranda and will be hosting the Under 21 Croquet World Championships in July this year.

“It’s really nice to have youngsters playing because everyone has an image of croquet as being about old people which it’s not,” said club chairman Beatrice McGlen.

The club are trying to bring croquet to new people and with the clubs slogan being ‘croquet for all’, Beatrice is hoping that more young people will get involved in the sport across Nottingham as they try to mirror the success that the sport has had with younger generations in New Zealand.

“In the Under 21 Championships coming up, there are 24 players who have been selected by the World Croquet Federation and 10 of them are from New Zealand, which is a pretty high number,” says Beatrice.

18-year-old James Galpin will be competing at the Under 21 Croquet World Championships at the club in July.

“The set up with sports and schools in New Zealand is very similar here, so we’ve got 5 local schools within the vicinity of the club who we are going to do a taster session with in June.

“We’re then going to have an afterschool club on a Thursday and the idea is to set up an interschool competition with the final being played during the Under 21 Championships so they can see the world’s best young people playing whilst having their own competition. Hopefully, we will end up with a thriving junior section within the club.”

Croquet is not only stereotyped as being for elderly people, but also for those who are mainly white and middle class, something which Beatrice tells me that the club are making efforts to address.

“We have a Pakistani member, Ferzana Shan, she’s our only Asian member and I was saying to her one day, ‘how can we make croquet more appealing to the Asian population?’ She said one of the difficulties is actually getting people through the gate, so last year we were invited to the Pakistani forum for the Pakistan independence day celebrations and we went along to their dinner and showed them how to play croquet.

“This year we’re talking about having an evening specifically geared for Asian families. It’s a perfect sport for multi-generational families to play because you can really play from 9 to 90 without any trouble at all.”

There are often several different games of croquet being played simultaneously at the club.

There are two types of croquet that are commonly played; association croquet which can be very tactical and requires more mental and technical skill and golf croquet which is seen as being more sociable.

Tim King has played almost 2000 games of croquet, which he tells me is the most in the croquet ranking system. Tim will be competing in the Golf Croquet World Championships this summer and says that although it is a simple sport to play, there is more to it than people might think. “Almost anybody can start playing a competitive game of croquet in about 10 minutes, but the fascination of it comes from the tactics. There’s lots of different choices, some players like to hit the ball harder and other players are really accurate and put the ball exactly where they want it to block the opponent.

“I love my cricket and football, but because I don’t have natural hand-eye coordination I was just never good enough, but in croquet, I very quickly became reasonably competent.

“The mental side is the one that keeps on posing a challenge. You have to learn to stay calm. When the likes of Sir Clive Woodward talk about thinking clearly under pressure, croquet is a sport where anybody of any age, gender or level of physical fitness, can go onto that court and experience what Sir Clive means.

“I would say to anybody who’s not played a competitive sport before because they feel they don’t have what it takes, croquet is a sport that they can really enjoy.”

Anyone interested in having a go at croquet can contact the club at https://www.nottinghamcroquet.org.uk/contact

Beestonian to run London Marathon in aid of diabetes research

On the 28th April, Beeston resident Stuart Baird will attempt to run the London Marathon to raise money for vital research on diabetes after his son James was diagnosed with type 1, the most severe form of the disease.

“He lost a dramatic amount of weight in a very short period of time and he was rushed to the children’s hospital. it was a big shock. Nobody in the family has any history of diabetes,” said Stuart.

Stuart is originally from Leeds but has been living in Beeston for almost 20 years. His love for the town is such that he has expanded his house twice since moving to the area in the late ’90s.

At the start of his sons’ treatment, Stuart was asked by one of the doctor’s if his son would be willing to take part in something called ‘the honeymoon trial.’ “It’s to test the functionality of the pancreas,” explained Stuart. “You’re having to inject yourself before every meal with insulin and you end up with a continuous closed loop monitor, which monitors his blood sugars and that talks to a pump which feeds him the insulin he needs,” he said.

The trial was funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) a charity which works towards funding type 1 diabetes research. According to JDRF, over 29,000 children in the UK suffer from type 1 diabetes, with Stuart hoping that the money raised will benefit them.

“My target is £2000,” reveals Stuart. “The funds will directly help children on this research trial in Nottingham and elsewhere in the country. The reason why it’s so important to fund these projects is so that young people and children who’ve got type 1 diabetes, can be helped to control there blood sugar’s from a very early age, which means that they will live happier lives and will have just as long a life span as everyone else would,” says Stuart.

I know not everyone can or wants to run but if you encourage others, it is so appreciated. You never know what that person is running for, or how hard it has been for them

Running the London marathon will be far from straight forward. At 26.2 miles, only the Paris marathon is bigger in Europe. In preparation, Stuart had been clocking up plenty of miles when we spoke at the end of February.

“It’s the first time I’ve done a marathon, even though I think I’ve done at least ten half marathons. I’ve already clocked up 180 miles in training over January and February. I’ll have to run next Sunday (3rd March) 16 miles, the next Sunday is 18, I do 3 lots of 20 miles and then one 22 and that’s just before the marathon,” he said.

“If you are raising money for a loved one, the last mile and finish line can get quite emotional – it’s journey’s end.

“For example, the Great North Run finishes with a mile uphill and just as you hit the top you see the North Sea, a beach and around 80,000 people cheering you on to the finish line. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

“When you have your name on your running number, people call out your name and encourage you. It’s a great feeling. I know not everyone can or wants to run but if you encourage others, it is so appreciated. You never know what that person is running for, or how hard it has been for them – a lot have lost children, parents or friends and are running for their memory, as well as raising money” said Stuart.

So what does Stuart hope to ultimately achieve from attempting this mammoth task?

“I want more people to know about type 1 diabetes and the challenges that those with type 1 have to face. It doesn’t just affect the person, but it affects the person’s family because you need to appreciate that they can’t just eat and drink and not care about what they’re putting into there body. They need to constantly think about there insulin and blood sugar levels

“I did run the London Landmarks half marathon for JDRF last year, but it’s not so much about me and running, it’s more about me running for JDRF because I’m a big believer in what they are trying to achieve and obviously James has directly benefited from the work that the NUH (Nottingham University Hospitals) team and JDRF have done. It’s just phenomenal really.”

To support Stuart’s efforts visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stuart-baird5?utm_id=26

 

 

Beeston Football Club

All to play for at Beeston FC

Beeston FC
Beeston FC under 9’s.

Beeston FC has grown considerably since we last covered them a year ago. The club has further developed there work with girl’s football, to the extent in which they now have four separate groups playing, whilst the club itself continues with its plans for a clubhouse which will benefit not just the football club but the local community as a whole.

“I’ve got a daughter who’s now 12 and she and her friends wanted to try football, so I ran a few sessions at Roundhill Primary School,” said Beeston FC’s Charlie Walker.

“As a club and the way football is evolving, the girl’s game is such an important part of it that we wanted to offer that. We’ve got groups at under 7, under 9, under 11 and under 13 with just over 50 signed up and we’ve put six coaches, a mixture of men and women, through there level 1 FA football coaching course.”

The club have come far with the development of their girl’s teams, with January seeing the under 13’s take part in their first competitive match in a friendly against Nottingham Forest Ladies under 13’s.

Football participation among females is at an all-time high in this country. In March last year, the FA revealed that 1.7 million females aged five and over, took part every month.The increased attention given to the England Women’s football team, nicknamed The Lionesses, has certainly helped to remove the stigma that football is a sport primarily for males.

Beeston FC took part in the FA’s Wildcat Scheme to try and get more girls interested in playing football, however, the Wildcat Scheme only lasted until the summer, something which makes running a girl’s football team throughout the year more difficult.

“Because the wildcat scheme was supported by existing coaches who all had their own teams, the challenge was to find coaches who would be willing to take it on should we support them and also, could we keep hold of those who came to the wildcat sessions and find more girls to join,” says Charlie. “But we have managed to do that, which has been our big achievement of 2018.”

Whilst Beeston FC is one of the most popular football clubs in the area, like many at grassroots level, it’s difficult to fund for new facilities.

In November 2017, the club where unsuccessful in there bid to receive £10,000 from the Aviva Community Fund, in order to improve the facilities even though they received over 5000 votes, one of the highest numbers in the competition.

“It’s important for us as a club, that as we develop the teams and attract more young people to play, that we can improve the facilities,” Charlie tells me.

“If we can have a clubhouse to bring people together and create a community feel within the club as well as bringing some benefit to the Rylands, then that would help in terms of the growth and development of the club.

We run a little fundraising event, we’ve just done a raffle. We advertise them on Beeston Updated so we’ll be publicising stuff” Charlie concludes.

If your daughter is interested in playing for Beeston FC please contact Charlie on 07803 592032.

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Beeston Touch Rugby Game

Beeston plays host to The European Touch Rugby Championships

Touch Rugby is a sport that many of you will have heard of, some may have played it at school, but few will have taken it seriously as a competitive sport.

touch rugby2
Some of the matches taking place at the event

This year, the European Touch Rugby Championships where held at Highfields Park for four days in July. Such is the growing popularity of Touch Rugby, that the event was broadcast on the BBC for the first time.

“I’ve been involved in the sport for eight years and it’s grown enormously since I started,” said Referee Manager and Beeston local, Dani Hegg. “When I started in Nottingham we had around 50 people involved and now we have about 300!”

Touch Rugby shares some similarities with Rugby, but with a few noticeable differences. Whilst you can score a try, there are no scrums. Tackling is done by a touch and there are no line-outs.

The matches last for 40 minutes, with two 20-minute half’s and a short break in between. “It involves a lot of sprinting, so it’s quite physical,” said Dani.

The open competitions including the men’s, women’s and mixed are the most popular, but there is also a senior’s category for over 45’s, proving that Touch Rugby is a sport where, if fit enough, anyone can play.

So how popular is Touch Rugby and what brings the sport to Beeston?

“The event has been going on for over 20 years,” explained Dani.  “The first time, it was obviously still quite small, but Touch (Rugby) is a growing sport and we now have about 800 to 900 players here to compete, with 100 referees. We always need at least 3 referees per game and 14 players per team, so there’s quite a lot of people involved at this event.

“Nottingham was put forward to host the event, because we have some of the best pitches. The last event was in Ireland, and we’ve got the World Cup happening next year in Malaysia, which will involve more teams.

touch rugby3
The tents of some of the competing nations

“There’s 17 countries taking part in this event, we have referees from all of these countries as well as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa who came to help us out, because the sport is a lot bigger in the southern hemisphere where the referees have years of experience that they’re giving to us here in England.”

Halfway through our conversation, a loud claxon sounds which Dani explains is the signal for the start of the second half of all the matches.

“All the matches are centralised, with the claxon going off for half-time and then when the matches start so everyone knows what’s happening.

“We have a Group Stage and then there’s Knockout’s followed by Gold Medal and Silver Medal matches.

“The Men’s and the Women’s Open are the most popular categories, because that is the highest level, where countries will put players in.”

So how do you get involved if you are interested?

“To join, there is a Facebook group called Nottingham Touch and we’re also on Twitter where you can contact us.

“We have Leagues where there are mixed Women’s and Men’s games which are played on the Beeston Hockey pitches in Winter and Spring and then we have the Summer League which is played at Gresham Playing Fields, so there’s quite a lot going off. Nottingham is one of the bigger clubs in the country.

“I hope that this event will have a good impact on Beeston. Nottingham Touch Rugby are always looking for players to join, so we are hoping that people coming here today will see that this is a great sport to participate in.”

Many in Beeston will not have realised that such an international event was taking place on their doorstep, but there’s no doubt that few sports are more fun, engaging and easier to play than Touch Rugby.

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