Cheer Up Charlie! The theatre loving schoolboy who went from victim to national hero.

“The theatre is my tribe. It’s where I belong” An Arborfield schoolboy bullied for his love of musical theatre has won the hearts of the nation with his anti-bullying campaign, #CheerUpCharlie. Ten-year-old Charlie Kristensen, who was targeted for his love of singing and dancing, went viral last year as leading West End stars united to give him the boost he needed. The online attention responded to a tweet from Charlie’s music teacher Jacqueline Hughes who used her platform to request help fr

TAZ USHER: Hold on to those milestones

I’m 21, fresh out of university and ready to get my life going. The Coronavirus had other ideas. On March 13, I sat in my last lecture and had my last drink at the Students’ Union bar – without knowing it. When I’d waved goodbye to my friends that Friday I had expected to see them the following Monday ready for a week of coursework submissions and end of an era celebration. Our glasses are yet to clink. While I have many things to be grateful for during these strange times such as my health

Not all heroes wear masks… some make them!

An Earley resident is on a mission to supply the community with face masks. 8,000 masks later and she shows no sign of stopping. Lene Schoeman began making the masks as a hobby after being furloughed from her job as a nursery nurse. She said: “When I was furloughed I decided I wanted to do something to give back to the community. “I’ve always been creative and love sewing so thought this would be a good activity to fill my time with.” Lene has so far donated 300 masks to Birmingham Children’

Call for school to adopt a decolonised curriculum

A WOKINGHAM secondary school is being urged to adapt its classes in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. More than 350 current and former pupils of The Emmbrook School have signed an appeal stating that the institution’s curriculum requires amendments. The document, in the form of a virtual open letter, was presented to the school by current students, alumni and pupil’s parents in an effort to show its headteacher Mr McSweeney that change is necessary. Signatories asked the school to

“We’re going to tell you our stories how WE want to.”

“We’re going to tell you our stories how WE want to.” Refugees will share their stories with audiences at South Street this July. “We’re going to tell you our stories how WE want to.” “We’re going to tell you our stories how WE want to. I am not here to make your conscience feel better. I don’t need you to feel sorry for me.” A tale of cultural identity, fatherhood, and resilience will make its way to Reading this July. Phosphoros Theatre, one of the UK’s leading refugee theatre companies, w

Crowthorne woman fulfils dream of competing in European Masters Athletics Championships with help from employer.

A Berkshire company granted its employee the sporting opportunity of a lifetime last September when it sent Natasha Norris to compete in the European Masters Athletics Championships. The ten-day long tournament hosted in Venice between September 5 and 15 welcomed athletes aged 35 and over from teams across Europe to compete in the events. Representing GB in the women’s 40 100m and 200m was Natasha from Crowthorne who- aided by sponsorship from her employer Berkshire Consultancy Ltd -was compet

University of Reading pushes graduation ceremonies to next summer

The University of Reading has postponed its summer graduation ceremonies until July next year. The prestigious events, which take place on the University of Reading’s London Road campus, were originally rescheduled for December this year due to the pandemic. But students will now be waiting an extra seven months to don their gowns. In an email to students, Vice Chancellor Professor Robert Van de Noort said: “Following our previous decision to postpone our July 2020 Graduation ceremonies, we h

Get the pints in: Wokingham pubs reveal plans for reopening on Saturday

BAR TEAMS across Wokingham are prepared to welcome back customers this Saturday — with several social distancing changes in place. As the long awaited visit to the local edges closer, Wokingham.Today has spoken to landlords as they dust down the cobwebs and reopen their doors after three months of closure. Significant changes may include staggered entry times, booking systems, one way routes, queuing and reduced bar contact. Opening times and menus may change and toilets will be managed, with

Britain’s Got Talent winner to entertain crowds at local theatre venue this November.

Last year’s winner of Britain’s biggest talent contest will take to a local theatre venue this November as part of his comedy tour. Lee Ridley- who is famously known as Lost Voice Guy- won the 2018 series of Britain’s Got Talent and is continuing his success with an extended UK tour. The new performance dates, added by popular demand following Mr Ridley’s sell-out spring tour, span October and November and include venues in Exeter, Liverpool, Bath, and Maidenhead. Lee said: “The show seems to

1/5 of Wokingham’s workforce furloughed due to pandemic

A fifth of Wokingham’s workforce has been furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic new figures reveal. Across the South East, 1,387,400 people are currently at home – 17,200 of them are in Wokingham borough. Meanwhile neighbouring town Bracknell has furloughed 15,000 and 19,800 have received wage support in Reading. The data, published by HM Revenue & Customs, calculates the number of people helped by the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self-Employment Income Sup

Cooking, learning and crafts all in one.

Did you know the flamingo is own pink because of its diet? Louise Fennell from Wokingham believes cooking and crafts are what help us glow, and she’s sharing this message with her new educational website named after the exotic bird itself. Launched at the start of lockdown, The Cultured Flamingo is a free information hub for families who love adding fun to their learning. The website and social media pages feature recipes and creative activities from a range of countries and cultures. Ms Fen

You have escaped lockdown, but can you escape from Bracknell?

The countdown has begun for the opening of a Bracknell escape room experience. Puzzalogical Escape Rooms, based on Easthampstead Works, will unlock its doors for the first time on Sunday, August 1. The new immersive experience will feature three rooms filled with different games and puzzles which contestants will have one hour to solve. Co-founder of the business, Debbie Gibbons said: “We’re really looking forward to opening and welcoming our first teams to the venue. “My husband Nathan and

Grub Club looks for a new home

THE GRUB Club has helped hundreds of households through the pandemic — and now they need help finding a new home. The Norreys-based food hub, which launched last summer to help families entitled to free school meals, extended its support to anyone hit badly by the crisis. Operating out of Norreys Church, the club has distributed more than 1,250 food parcels to residents over the past 16 weeks using donations from Reading wholesaler Brakes, Wokingham’s COOK, as well as supermarkets Lidl, Waitro

Wokingham wedding expert Debbie goes from helping brides to helping nurses

The pandemic has caused many to repurpose their skills and talents. But Debbie never predicted she’d be swapping wedding dresses for medical scrubs. Debbie Rees, from Wokingham’s Keep Hatch area, had her bridal shop dreams paused in March as the Covid-19 lockdown caused many local businesses to close. Having only launched the Rances Lane business last September, the Government measures led Debbie to furlough her new staff as dress enquiries and bookings grounded to a halt. It reopens this we

Vegan market to return this Sunday

Fudge, cakes and pastries are just some of the treats you can enjoy this Sunday, July 12 as Wokingham’s vegan market makes a much welcomed return. The monthly event will take place in Wokingham town centre after three months of closure due to the pandemic. There will be 18 stalls offering hot food, drinks and treats, as well as plants and eco-friendly homeware. Speaking ahead of Sunday’s re-opening, event manager Sarah Zeneli said: “We’re really excited to be back this Sunday. “There’s been

Bamboozled! Who is Earley’s two-wheeled panda?

Giving Top Gear’s Stig a run for his money, the newest addition to Wokingham’s roads has got residents talking. The man in the Panda suit, also named Earley Panda, has spent the last two weeks cycling around the borough, always to be met with the same question – who are you? Covering areas including Earley, Woodley, Sonning and Reading town, the furry rider uses a GPS system to track his every route, sometimes matching them to memorable shapes such as turtles or jellyfish. Earley Panda has al

Spencers Wood photographer hits fundraising target for Royal Berks- 5 times!

A Wokingham photographer began May on a mission to raise £250 for the Royal Berks charity. 82 photo shoots later, and she’s smashed her target fivefold. Carrie Naish from Carrie Naish Photography has been touring the borough as part of her Lockdown Front Door project in an effort to support those working on the frontline. Beginning the initiative as a small scale fundraiser in Spencers Wood, Carrie aimed to raise funds for the Royal Berkshire Hospital while helping neighbours create precious m

MP's role in tackling racism

Millions of protests have broken out across the globe as anger towards the killing of George Flloyd boils over. Black Lives Matter demonstrations began after a video of Mr Floyd’s death went viral. The shocking clip, showing how a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the unarmed black man’s neck until he stopped breathing, was filmed on May, 25 2020 and has since sparked world-wide outrage. Across the UK tens of thousands of protestors have gathered in opposition to racial injustice, resulting

Charity gives out a year's worth of advice

A YEAR’S worth of clients in just 12 weeks – that’s what the coronavirus pandemic has done to a help centre for Wokingham borough residents. Citizens Advice Wokingham says that it has helped more residents during the pandemic than it normally does in a year. Since March, the charity has partnered with Wokingham Borough Council and local charities to respond to the Covid-19 41crisis and has supported 2,257 people in that time. Chief executive of Citizens Advice Wokingham, Jake Morrison said: “

Make a date with Marla and support our NHS heroes

Some people say a picture paints a thousand words, and this Wokingham creative is proving just that by taking photos to raise money for the NHS. Marla White – from the borough’s St Crispin’s area – has joined the national Photographers Without Frontiers initiative to express her gratitude to the NHS and their work throughout the pandemic. Launched by Ronan Ryle and internationally renowned photographer, Damian McGillicuddy, Photographers without Frontiers sees more than 100 photographers from
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