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Reports and updates relating to local clubs.

PAWS July – Bows ‘n’ Belles

Bows 'n' Belles with Musicians

Bows ‘n’ Belles with Musicians

Bows 'n' Belles Dancing

One of the dances

Traditional Clog

Traditional Clog


PAWS July – Bows ‘n’ Belles

Our meeting on 26th July, was our annual July Social, and was well attended with 44 members and 2 visitors. We first attended to business and then had a wonderful Fish and Chip Supper.  After supper we were entertained by Bows “n” Belles, a Colchester Clog Dancing Group. Continue reading


PAWS June – Basic Garden Design

Jackie Manning with Chris South who spoke about basic garden design.

Jackie Manning with Chris South who spoke about basic garden design.

PAWS June – Basic Garden Design

Our recent meeting in June was well attended by 43 members and a number of visitors, when we welcomed back Chris South, to give us a talk on “Basic Garden Design”.

Chris explained the essentials of redesigning a garden by knowing the type of soil you have, which direction it is facing,  Continue reading


PAWS April – Art Safari

Art Safari

Jackie Manning and Mary-Anne Bartlett

PAWS April – Art Safari

Mary-Anne Bartlett began her talk on April 26th by asking how many members owned a paint box.  The result showed just how many of our group have an interest in this field.  Mary-Anne started painting at her grandmothers’ knee Continue reading


PAWS March – AGM & Quiz

Jackie Manning & Pam Foakes (with bouquet)

Outgoing President Pam Foakes receiving bouquet from incoming President Jackie Manning

PAWS March – AGM & Quiz

34 members attended our recent AGM on the 22nd March and unanimously voted back in the current committee.  Reports were read by Pam Foakes, our outgoing President and Jane Anderson, our Treasurer, before Jackie Manning was voted in as Continue reading


PAWS February – Lady Grace

Stacey with Pam, President

Stacey being applauded by Pam (President)

PAWS February – Lady Grace

28 members attended our February meeting when Stacey Belbin gave us a talk on “Lady Grace”.  Her dad was a commercial fisherman and ever since she can remember she helped her dad clean and mend nets and catch fish.  When she left school she worked for a Bank. Her life was all about her career until she met her husband, then she realised life is for living and not for working all the time.

She met Scott at 18, his dad had brought him up in the angling world and hers had brought her up in the netting world.  On their first date, Scott took her angling and since then, her dad lost his crew and they decided to buy their own boat, “Galloper”, to take people angling at weekends.  They both had their day jobs, Scott as a carpenter and Stacey in the bank, but they used to spend weekends running the fishing trips.

Stacey on board

Stacey on board

As the business grew she decided it was time to get her own toy to play with.  In March 2011 they bought “Lady Grace”, it took until the end of August to get her ship-shape for passengers and then she ran her at weekends and continued her weekday job.  In 2012 she then worked “Lady Grace” during the May and October half terms and the full 6 weeks school holidays.  After running “Lady Grace” for 6 weeks solid during the school holidays, in January 2013 she made the decision to give up the day job from the April and run Lady Grace 7 days a week 364 days a year.

Lady Grace off West Mersea

Lady Grace off West Mersea

The first year was testing, but rewarding. Stacey loves working on “Lady Grace”, which was evident by her passionate talk, and every day and every trip being a different one, meeting different people and a forever changing scenery with the tide coming in or going out and the different birdlife visiting through the year. She is also a photographer of all things beautiful on the water, whether it be a landscape, sunrise, sunset or wildlife.

You can follow Stacey and “Lady Grace” on Facebook.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting is on the 22nd March and is our AGM and therefore a closed meeting.  However visitors are welcome afterwards from 8.00pm, for a Quiz and Nibbles, at a cost of £5.00. Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary of the home page of the Winstred 100 website. If you would like further information about P.A.W.S please ring either of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.


Sport Relief Grants

Sport Relief via Essex Community Foundation

Sport Relief Community Cash grant

Apply now for a Sport Relief Community Cash grant

Comic Relief brings Sport Relief Community Cash to North Essex and Suffolk. The Fund is now available, with Essex Community Foundation working with Comic Relief to get the cash to the groups that need it most.

Cash grants of £500 to £1,000 are available to small grassroots community organisations in North Essex (Colchester, north Braintree and Tendring) that are doing great work to help local people living tough lives. It is not only sporting projects or organisations that can apply, but groups across the whole of the community.

Applications for Sport Relief Community Cash need to be submitted by Monday 15th February 2016. Interested groups should click here for the grant criteria and guidance on how to apply.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Grants Team on 01245 356016 or [email protected] should you have any questions.

Essex Community Foundation are:

an independent charitable trust improving the quality of life of people in our community by investing and distributing funds on behalf of a wide range of donors.  Since 1996 our donors have invested £26 million of charitable funding directly into Essex, Southend and Thurrock making it a great place to live, work, learn and grow.

Further information about the Fund is also available at


PAWS January – Barney’s Bobbies

Michael Benning talked about Barney's Bobbies

Michael Benning

PAWS January – Barney’s Bobbies

Relating the story of Barney’s Bobbies, Michael joined the police force in 1969 and was paid the princely sum of £17 per week. He spent the first 5 years of his career ‘on the beat’ and spent many nights rattling shop doors and was in trouble from sergeant Barney if he did not detect some sort of crime on his shift! The sergeant was very hot on discipline and correct uniform and his ‘Bobbies’ were some of the best on the force.

Michael soon had a new job on Cycle Patrol, which was great except that the bike was far too big. On telling his sergeant that he could not reach the pedals even if he could get on the bike, he was told to just wheel it around until he grew! There were no personal radios in those days so he had to phone in to the station every hour to get instructions using a Police Box (Tardis).

TV programmes such as Dickson of Dock Green and later The Bill were good representations of how the Police worked. Michael finished his career on the hijack team at Stansted Airport and ran many marathons in the Police team. He also gave us an insight into how things had changed in the Police Force over the years and of some of the amusing and sometimes dangerous incidents that he had been involved in.

Our next meeting is on the 23rd February when our speaker Stacey Belbin will tell us about “Lady Grace the boat.” Visitors are welcome at a cost of £5.00. Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary of the home page of the Winstred 100 website.

If you would like further information about P.A.W.S please ring either of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.


Energy Switch, Funding & More

Energy Switch, Funding & More

Offers to help you join Energy Switch and Funding opportunities are just two of many subjects in the numerous news updates Essex County & Colchester Borough Councils issue every week, the following are extracts that might be of particular interest.

Save hundreds in the Essex Energy Switch

An energy-saving initiative which has already saved Essex residents almost £1 million has reopened for new applications. Register now for the Essex Energy Switch to potentially save hundreds of pounds on your energy bills.

Registration is open till 1 February 2016. After this, energy providers will bid against one another in an auction with the winning bidder being the company offering the lowest price to all applicants. Following last year’s Switch, residents saved approximately £263 per household.

Anyone who pays for energy is eligible to take part. Signing up takes just a few minutes online. Visit for more information and to find out how to take part.

Funding available for community projects

Colchester’s Big Choice funding application process is now open! Bid for a share of £200,000 to fund new or existing community projects in Colchester. Finalists will be entered into a public vote at the end of February 2016 to decide on the winners.

If you have a project that could be eligible CBC needs to know more about it. Not all applications will go through to the final vote but in order to qualify CBC needs to know who you are, what you do and how your idea will benefit the residents of Colchester Borough.

Completing this online application form will guide you through the information CBC needs so please complete it carefully and take note of the deadlines as CBC has to stick to them. The online application form needs to be completed and received by CBC by 12 noon on the 15th January 2016.   Click here to find out more

#InstaEssex – Capturing the culture of Essex

What best describes Essex culture to you? Is it some of our buildings and architecture; our artwork and theatres; local street and contemporary social culture; or perhaps there’s an iconic image you think sums up the county? Whatever it is, the #InstaEssex campaign wants to capture it with a photography competition that’s open to both amateur and professional photographers.

15 winning images will be displayed at London Liverpool Street station and at branch line stations across Essex. From these winners the top three will be awarded cash prizes of £1,000 (first prize), £500 (second prize) and £250 (third prize).

If you’re stuck for inspiration why not take a look at the Explore Culture website.  Or if you’d like to brush up on your photography skills, why not take part in one of the #InstaEssex workshops.

If you don’t fancy submitting a photo but still want to share your thoughts, you can join the discussions on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #Instaessex.  The competition is open until Mon 15 February 2016 so there’s plenty of time to get snapping!

How to avoid a cold (caller) this winter

Free “No Cold Caller” stickers are now available at Essex libraries to help vulnerable people protect themselves from rogue traders.

Local Health Matters Meetings

Taking place twice a month in various parts of the North East Essex area, these meetings are free to attend without prior booking and give you an opportunity to discuss matters of concern or interest to you regarding Local Health matters.  The minutes of the recent meeting in Colchester will give you an idea of what they are about:

Boost Your Online Skills

If you were fortunate enough to receive a new smartphone, tablet or PC at Christmas and you’d like help to get online, then why not brush up your IT skills for free at CBC’s digital bazaar events and online drop-in sessions beginning this month and running throughout 2016.

At CBC’s digital bazaar events and online drop in sessions, you are encouraged to bring your own device where you will receive professional help with setting it up.

Computers are available at all of the events and staff are there to support and teach you and undertake tasks such as setting up email addresses. You will also have the opportunity to meet some of CBC’s dedicated multi-skilled Zone Teams who have in-depth knowledge of local areas.

One to One Support

CBC also offer one-to-one support at any of the library hubs across Colchester. To book a free one hour session please complete CBC’s online form or call 01206 282222.

Winter’s on its way

The unseasonal mild spell is coming to an end. Are you ready for wintry conditions on the roads? Keep up to date with road conditions via Essex County Council’s website or Twitter accounts.

Visit ECC’s winter travel web page for useful information about salt bins, salting (gritting) routes and links to other winter-related advice about school closures, flooding alerts and health. Follow @Essex_Travel and @EssexGritters for all the latest winter road updates from Essex County Council on Twitter. ECC does not manage the A12, A120, M11 and M25. Visit the Highways Agency website for information about these roads.

At midday every day during winter a weather report comes in to Essex County Council and the decision is made whether to send gritters out onto the Essex roads.  Essex County Council has 59 gritters which grit 2,500 miles of roads in the county using a mixture of salt and brine. Find out how the gritting service works in a feature which appeared in the East Anglian Daily Times this week.

Remember to always drive to the weather conditions to keep safe on the roads this winter.