Project Arkadas – Hatay Visit

A blind Syrian boy reading Arabic in brail in a Hatay Syrian support centre

I visited Hatay at the end of January 2020, with Syria Relief, to conduct a needs assessment for Project Arkadas. The project was scheduled to be delivered in summer 2020 by a group of volunteers however the Coronavirus pandemic has changed that, the delivery timetable may have changed but the principles of the project remain the same.

Project Arkadas’ vision is to provide a friendly, caring, helping hand to those who have been deprived through crises.

The first visit to Hatay, visiting Syrian support agencies and refugees, sowed the seed that I hope will develop into a force for good. I have no illusions about the challenges that will be presented along the way in trying to introduce a scheme that has no immediate benefit to beneficiaries.

On this first visit I delivered several boxes of donations direct to Syria Relief in Turkey and arranged for further boxes to be shipped to Syria.

I visited several centres and business initiatives and gained mutual agreement to deliver training to beneficiaries.

The training initiative will be called Partnership with UK Friendship Training and I am developing an action plan to take this forward.

Achievement and disappointment!

I ran the Hackney 1/2 marathon yesterday, the first ever in Hackney. This was a first for me too, I have never run a 1/2 marathon before and in the build up to the day I realised that perhaps I should have started small and built up to the event. I should have run in an organised 5k or 10k run before going for a 1/2 marathon. Fools rush in as they say.

IMG_8014The day dawned with the promise of a lovely summers day. I worried that it might be too hot and I wouldn’t manage the whole course, but if it had been cold I would have worried that the cold would hinder me. I was nervous that I would let myself down.

I decided to run for the British Heart Foundation because it is a cause close to my heart. My lovely brother Mem died in 2008 after a lifetime of heart problems and my lovely husband Jon has had a quadruple heart bypass. I hope that any money I raise will go towards helping those with the sort of problems that my brother and husband had.

I thoroughly enjoyed the run , the before and the after. The hardest part was the walk to the car park after running 21k. At the time it felt harder than the run itself. The very good thing about the Hackney 1/2 marathon is it is in London, it is spectator friendly and most importantly for the runner it is flat, no hills! Would I do it again? Maybe? Probably!


So this weekend I had a fantastic personal achievement that was inter-mingled with grief and remembering my much missed brother. I also had bad news, 2 days before the run I learnt that the free school bid that I have been involved in at Ashmole School had been unsuccessful.Locally we parents of young children were optimistic that there may be two new schools in the Southgate area and this now seems to have been taken away from us. SWEAT campaigners (a group that I chair) have been striving for increased primary school provision  for over a year and we are bitterly disappointed that despite our efforts there is no progress.

IMG_8463We will not be beaten!

Red Nose Day

2013-03-15 19.45.43Thank you lovely bakers Jon, Mum, Liz, Flavia, Lorraine, Lucille and Julie whose delicious cakes helped raise £165 for Comic Relief.

Thank you also to all those people who supported us in the Bake Off by either sponsoring us or paying to eat our cakes.

It was funny, but also heart breaking to watch Comic Relief on the television whilst we Baked Off. As a mother with young children I got angry hearing about the preventable illnesses that the children in Africa are suffering. My anger is directed towards the Government’s of the countries which are rich in natural resources but allow their people to suffer. Thank goodness for charities like Comic Relief that improve lives.

I am fortunate to have generous friends and family who have helped to make a difference.

The title of Great Bourne Hill Baker went to the only male baker …. the odds were 7 to 1 against … and he is now the official baker in our house …. my Jon!

The Great Bourne Hill Bake Off


The Great Bourne Hill Bake Off …. well maybe not great …. and maybe not everyone lives in Bourne Hill … and maybe not funny (although we haven’t seen my daughter’s baking yet) …. but a few of my friends have committed themselves to raising money for Red Nose Day. If you are in the area on Friday 15th March at around 7.30pm and fancy some tea and cake , then for a donation you can sample our wares after a winning cake has been selected.

If you’re not in the area but want to support the cause please sponsor me. Thanks.

Running for TAMBA

My husband Jonathan is running the Great North Run 2011 in aid of TAMBA (Twins and Multiple Births Association).

They have been the source of help and support in the lead up and following the birth of our twins Harry and Poppy.

Jon is featured on the TAMBA website here

and Jon’s Just Giving page is here

I am considering running but worry it may not work as I would have to run with the twins!

British Heart Foundation

Last year I signed up for the Great North Run to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. I wanted to raise money for BHF because of the good work they do for those with a heart condition, something close to my heart. My brother Mem was born with a heart problem that he suffered with all his life. Sadly Mem lost his fight for life 3 years ago. My husband Jon has also suffered and had a quadruple heart by pass 4 years ago.  I wanted to raise money and give something back for all their good work.

Shortly before the race I found out that I was pregnant with twins and followed advice not to run. Fortunately my husband Jon took over and did the run for both of us. This is what I wrote on the day:

I  have to say what a fantastic event the Great North Run is! it is packed  with fun, energy, optimism, enthusiasm and raw emotion.

The start of the race is a long drawn  out affair but  no-one minds. There are plenty of fluids provided to  the runners at the  start line which caused an outpouring of runners  leaving the start for  an emergency toilet break. It was all very French  with everyone using  the bushes and trees along the course to relieve  themselves, women and  men alike.

The organisers put on a warm up which  was displayed on the huge  screens to all the participants, about 10  minutes before the off which  all the runners participated in  and  seemed to enjoy. 

The Metro radio DJ who was being  piped out was a jolly man who was  equally funny and sincere in his  broadcast. He had us in tears when he  asked everyone to spend a few  minutes remembering their loved ones and  why we were all  there representing different charities and then playing  “Abide with  me”. It was very moving!

Ant and Dec started the run and must have sore hands today.

They  started people  running by slapping the runners hands as they passed them  and wishing  them good luck with the sounds of “Let’s get ready to  rumble” in the  background.

And then 13 uphill miles to the  finish line to receive a finishers  medal. The support on the course was  fantastic! People were coming out  of their homes to give the runners  sweets and biscuits as well as moral  support of cheers, chants and  applause.  Well done all!

I was amazed at the finish line by  the number of runners wearing  silver ponchos who had the energy to be  walking around the town to get  to transport and eventually home.

A marvelous day! I look forward to next year!”