Friday, 29 March 2013

Hoonaloon Books

Hoonaloon Books will be offline for a few days but will be back in action in no time at all.

This Month`s Good Cause, April 2013 - Derbyshire Blood Bikes

This month`s good cause is going to have to appear a couple of days ahead of schedule.

Late last year I was fortunate enough to meet two of the volunteer bikers who run Derbyshire Blood Bikes, a charity providing free out-of-hours transportation of blood, organs and medical supplies for hospitals in Derbyshire and elsewhere.

The benefit to the NHS is considerable. As it is not viable for them to directly employ drivers to do the work, before DBB was formed they relied heavily on taxi companies at considerable expense.

Their website is very informative and allows you to see an `Operational Record` detailing the journeys made to date.

Visit their site here ;

Last month`s good cause (March 2013) was Brake ; The Road Safety Charity (

Discover the Phoenix Greenways

The Phoenix Greenways are a series of linked trails across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, designed to "connect people to communities and places of interest".

The paths link the Five Pits, Silverhill, and Pleasley-to-Teversal Trails. Many of the trails and country parks linked by the scheme are old pits and railways (Pleasley Pit Country Park, Brierley Forest Park etc), hence the use of the term `Phoenix` to indicate that they are being given a new lease of life.

While the paths may not appeal to seasoned walkers, they do have the advantage of being user-friendly for less intrepid souls. The Greenways are generally level and properly surfaced and entrance structures intended to discourage unauthorised use of motor vehicles have been designed to as to allow accesss for wheelchairs, mobility scooters and buggies.

Most of the paths allow use by walkers, cyclists and horse riders, though a couple of very short paths allow only walking and cycling and there are two or three which are for walkers only.

Various bodies are supporting the scheme, including The Forestry Commission, Bolsover Countryside Partnership, Bolsover Local Strategic Partnership and a number of local authorities. From what I can make out, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire County Councils are the major players and the contact point for further enquiries can be found here ; .

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Grass Roots Humanism

The British Humanist Association defines Humanism as "an ethical and fulfilling non-religious approach to life."

They aim to "extend and deepen public understanding of Humanism" , to promote a way of life that is "rational...and ethical" and "seek to make meaning in life in the here and now".

One audience the BHA hopes to reach is religious people - not to `convert`  them away from their beliefs, but "with a view to increased mutual understanding" and "to ensure that humanists and the non-religious are represented in dialogue between people of different beliefs on a local level."

If that sounds like your kind of thing and want to learn more, click here ;

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Leicester`s History Preserved

Earlier this month, Leicester Civic Society launched their `At Risk` War Memorials Project. They are asking for the public`s help to trace four missing memorials and they are also appealing for more information on two servicemen whose memorials they have rescued.

The two sites involved are St Saviour`s and St Michael`s & All Angels, both churches and both in Leicester City I believe.

More information can be found here ;

If you are interested in this issue you may also like to see my article `War Memorials`, posted 13 June 2012 at .

The Leics Civic Soc has also joined the campaign by a local councillor for a statue to commemorate suffragette Alice Hawkins (1863 - 1946), who lived in Leicester for most of her life, working as a machinist at a local shoe factory and also raising a family there ;

 Alice Hawkins
 Alice Hawkins` descendants run a memorial website in her honour, `Alice Hawkins Suffragette ; A  Sister of Freedom`. A link to the site can be found by clicking on the Civic Society link directly above this picture.

Friday, 1 March 2013

This Month`s Good Cause ; Brake - The Road Safety Charity

Another change I`ve made to this blog is the addition of a `This Month`s Good Cause` feature at the top right-hand side of the blog as you look at it.

I`m making a start with Brake - The Road Safety Charity.

I`ve been interested in this organisation for quite a while - when it was formed in the mid-`80s (as Brake - The Campaign for Safer Lorries) the trade union I was a member of at that time was one of it`s main backers and for some reason the interest stayed with me.

Since then, Brake has grown in size and sophistication and now takes on a much broader role than originally envisaged, including support for victims of traffic accidents and their families.

Of course, there are many charities and other worthy causes competing for our attention these days, but give Brake`s site a look. If anyone feels moved to send a donation or become involved in some way, that would be great, but if I only manage to raise a few people`s awareness of the work they do, I`ll be happy with that.

The Amiable Virtues of Amber Valley

Regular visitors to this blog may notice that I`ve made a few changes lately.

Among these are the inclusion of a set of links relating to Derbyshire`s  Amber Valley, the area in which I live, particularly Visit Amber Valley and Amber Valley Info.

Amber Valley is an area that combines attractive countryside, a fascinating history, particularly in the area of industrial heritage, and, let`s be honest, some areas badly in need of regeneration. 

Personally  I  feel that the countryside in this area is not nearly as widely known and appreciated as it could be, and, as you may have noticed, I do try to address this issue in my own small way from time to time.

I would like to take this opportunity to give an extra plug to Amber Valley Info, a project set up by local councillor Paul Curran-Bilbie to promote business, community and tourism in the area. I am very much in favour of this, and would encourage others to visit the site. If you like it, recommend it to others !

I`ve already provided a link, but just to re-iterate, the site can be found at