Monday, 6 September 2010

Mission Accomplished!

A great day was had by all on Saturday, as ITM & Friends set off from Brecon as planned at 11am.

It took a lot of effort by everyone, from the cyclists to the people supporting the event, however everyone made it to the finishing post in one piece.
Start Point at Brecon

There were a few incidents on the way, Tony fell into the Brecon Canal, the support vehicle was chased off someone's car park, and Tony (him again!) was deliberately misdirected by cheeky kids in Merthyr - however all agreed it was a great day.

It was nice to see a few familiar faces turn up at the finishing post to offer their congratulations, and also passers by and patrons of the Mochyn Du pub were extremely generous in donating too.

We'll be posting more over the next few days to explicitly thank people who've helped us, and give you an update on funds raised, but in the meantime enjoy an album of the big day here:

ITM & Friends on the Taff Trail

Click the image to open the album in a new window.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

We're halfway there!

Thanks to the participants' enthusiasm & commitment, and to your generous donations we've reached the halfway total towards the ambitious target £2,500.

In case you're wondering, the target of £2500 was set by Gary because:

  • 2008 first Alzheimer's Society Memory walk raised over £500
  • 2009 year two, 4 memory walks raised over £1200
  • 2010 year three, 6 Memory Walks and 55 miles cycle - the ambition is to double the amount raised year on year.

If you haven't already donated, please visit the JustGiving page (link on the right), if you already have given, why not come along on Saturday to see them earn your money! (see previous post for itinerary).

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The plan for the big day (Sat 4th Sept)

Thanks to everyone's hard work & commitment the big day is nearly here

While there are 9 enthusiastic riders, we'd welcome spectators along the long 55 mile route, so if your available why not pop along to cheer them on?

The itinerary is below, so anyone wanting to come along please join us at the following stopping off points, the intention is to feed them Mars bars and water before sending them on their way!

Start Point : meet at 10.30am, cycle starts at 11am.

The Canal Basin, Brecon, Tea & Coffee outlets here!

Brecon Canal Basin - picturesque!

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2nd Stage (1.30-2pm approx)

Red Cow Inn, Pontsticill

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3rd stage point at 3.30pm approx
Navigation House, Abercycnon

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The finishing Line: Y Mochyn Du, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 5-6pm, look out for the Alzheimer's Society Banners!

Y Mochyn Du, good food, ales!

View Larger Map

If you'd like to come along and want more info please contact us at

Monday, 30 August 2010

Why we are doing this - Part 3

Ian Thomas - Director of Services Alzheimer’s Society :

“Dear Peter and Gary
I wanted to write to you both personally to thank you for the enormous contribution you made to the conference on Tuesday. (July 13th Act on Dementia)
It was extremely brave of you Peter to show the film and talk in the way in which you did. I know how hard it must have been - and the impact on you was clearly enormous. I felt though that the impact you made on some very influential people was also enormous and no one could have done it better. Thank you.
And thank you Gary for sitting on the panel after the opera. Again this is not easy - but you handled the questions with knowledge and confidence. Of all of us sitting there you were the expert because you are living with it - and I think we all recognised that. Thank you
Having lived through dementia with both my mother and my sister I do know what it is like. All I can offer you is the support of the organisation - I hope we will be able to meet your needs, and my personal support and thanks for doing such a valuable job for people with dementia and their carers across Wales.”

Act On Dementia Opera

Claire Abrahams - Executive Assistant to the Group Chief Executive Grwp Gwalia Cyf:

“I just wanted to say on behalf of Grwp Gwalia and the University of Glamorgan, a big thank you to both you and your dad for coming on Tuesday and making it such a memorable day.  I think everyone there appreciated how hard it was for your dad to watch the film in a room full of people; it is very different to watching it in your own space at home.  It probably gave out one of the most powerful messages of the day and we are so grateful to your dad for that.

I would also like to thank you for taking part in the panel at the end.  I'm sure it wasn't easy, but you were great and brought a very different perspective to the whole Q & A session.

I will be writing to Ann Carpenter separately to thank her for putting us in touch with you.”

Michael Williams – Gwalia Group:

“Dear Peter and Gary,

On behalf of Gwalia and the University I am writing to thank you for your contribution to the Conference on the 13th July. We have had considerable supportive and favourable feed back from delegates. Your session was really appreciated. I think both you and Gary will have understood from the reaction of the delegates just how emotional, moving and educational your film was for them. You not only showed what the illness has done to your wife Ann, you also conveyed vividly how it has affected you, your family and Ann’s carers.

We hope the Conference will contribute to the better understanding of dementia and persuade organisations from the different sectors to work towards providing a better service for sufferers and carers.”

Diane Collins - support worker:

“My story is only a short one, for the simple reason I have only known Ann for a very short time. As I am relatively a new recruit in my job as a support worker, I certainly am learning and becoming very aware of how life can be turned upside down in a very short space of time.
Ann and her husband Peter decided 7 years ago to take early retirement, and move to Spain, where they bought a nice property, and started to have a wonderful life together. From photographs that I have seen, they were socialising a lot with family and friends, and with mostly wonderful weather and an easier way of living they thought they had it made.
But after 5 years things started to go seriously wrong. After several visits to Doctors in Spain, she was diagnosed with depression! After several months Ann was not getting any better, being very forgetful and distant. Peter decided to return to the U.K. and get second opinions.
On their return, Ann suffered a massive stroke, which left her paralysed down the left side, loss of speech, and eventually incontinence. After months of therapy and constant changes of medication Ann was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Ann in the last 12 months has learned to walk slowly again, and with the perseverance, determination and dedication of her husband and family and with the care provided it is still a long hard road to get her life back on track. Life for them will never be the same again.
Ann is a lovely lady. I started visiting a few months ago, getting to know her a little better each week. My biggest breakthrough was when after only the second visit Ann actually remembered and spoke my name. We went for a drive in the car for the first time, had great difficulty in manoeuvring her in and out. I took her to a Garden Centre Restaurant, and it took me half an hour to get her to sit down. She grinned at me all the time, but we finally succeeded. Ann shows a really wicked streak and has the most wonderful smile. She will nod and acknowledges you with expressions, her eyes tell it all. Sometimes she looks a little scared, you wonder what is going on in her mind. Each week I hope that there may be more breakthroughs but will there?
The main reason for my concern with this great lady is the fact that Ann is only 61 years of age, 3 years older than I am.
I feel that it is a good job we don’t know what is around that next corner.
Why does life have to be so cruel?”

Don’t forget you can donate online by visiting the Just Giving Page

Saturday, 28 August 2010

A reminder of why we are doing this - part deux - testimonials

So far we have heard from Gary Oldacre and some of his reasons for wanting to raise awareness and raise the much needed funds to for the Alzheimer's Society. This is so that they can continue to spread the word and look to the future for a cure at best but to also maintain sustainable care for families and suffers of this wicked disease! Below are a couple of testimonials from friends and family as to why this work and fund raising is close to their hearts...

Gillian Cardall - Gary's aunty:

"I'm taking part in the BUPA Great North Run 2010 on 19/09/2010 to raise money for Alzheimer's Society and I'd really appreciate your support.

As you may or may not be aware, Alzheimer's is a subject very close to my heart. I’ve already lost my beloved mother Marie, my Aunt Edna, my Uncle George and my Grand-mother with Alzheimer's and now my eldest sister, Ann, has unbelievably also development this horrendous disease at the tender age of 58! She is now, wheelchair bound, cannot speak and is doubly incontinent. As you can imagine it’s a scary prospect for the rest of the family. After witnessing first-hand the heartbreak and stress Alzheimer's causes families, I would like to raise as much money as possible to enable research to continue until a cure can be found. All donations, no matter how big or small will be most welcome. I am also holding a Disco/Kareoke night, so hopefully we can raise funds and give people a night to REMEMBER!

It's easy to donate online with a credit or debit card - just go to my JustGiving page."

Andrea Brazier - Gary's Sister:

"At 58 my mum was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. Today, three years later, she does not walk or talk.
She still has a beautiful smile though!!

The support the Alzheimer’s society have given our family has been fantastic and their help invaluable.
On September 5th I am going to be doing the Great North Swim to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. The swim is 1 mile in the very big, very deep and very dark (and very full of scary things that touch your face when you are swimming) Lake Windermere. I'm a little bit scared!

If you’d like to sponsor me to help raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society that would be great A Big Massive thank you.

It's easy to donate online with a credit or debit card even the girls in the office have managed to do so - just go to my JustGiving page."

Julia Cherrett - DCCS Veolia Waters Head Honcho:

"I don't normally ask for sponsorship, but this is such a good cause.

Some of the IT team at work and I (and Louise Jones - the only other girl at work who has the guts to take on this elite team of athletes) are doing a sponsored cycle run for the Alzheimer's Society in Wales. A member of the team, Gary Oldacre's mum got Alzheimer's at a very early age, having just moved to Span to retire. She is now back in Wales and Gary has become very involved with the Alzheimer's Society here.

Gary is also our lead trade union rep and he and I work closely together but often on opposite sides of the table - so obviously I'll be trying my best to beat Gary's time on the day, though no doubt he will use his ultimate sanction of calling a work to rule by his ITM colleagues or some such nonsense!

Please visit and donate at our JustGiving page. Thanks!"

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Julia's prepared for the Taff Trail

As the big day is only just over a week away, it's safe to assume the participants are undertaking gruelling training regimes as we speak.

The training standard has been set by Julia's participation, as a keen cyclist she & Nigel have recently  enjoyed cycling holiday in the "Picos De Europa" in north east Spain (see below....) 

and back in 2008 they even managed to cycle Kerala, south India....

For the sake of their careers, one would hope that Veolia employees taking part would strive to keep up with Julia, who intends to complete the course in 2.5 hrs, followed by several pints in The Mochyn Du straight afterwards.

In return for all the hard effort of the participants, if you haven't done already please donate via the Just Giving link on the top right of this page.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

CSI Splott: Bike Thief Won't Stop Owen!

  • Crime Scene: Queen St nr Barclays & Central Bar
  • Date: 6th August 2010
  • Time: Between 7-11pm

While Owen was supping a well earned shandy on a Friday night, a callous thief managed to remove his bike chain by removing the front wheel & manoeuvring it around the bike frame. Owen's Friday night was ruined as all that was left of  his pride and joy, a Carrera Kraken mountain bike, was the front wheel!

Owen with a Carrera Kraken wheel, but no Carrera Kraken.
In the off chance anyone sees this (expensive) bike for sale somewhere, the details are:

Make: Carrera Kraken
Colour: Grey & White
Tyres: Speedking – White rims, with green slime inner tubes.

Despite this blow, Owen has unselfishly been totally determined to complete the Taff Trail on 4th September, and has been searching for a suitable bike as a temporary replacement, quote:

"Since it was stolen, a number of kind offers to borrow a bike for the event have been received, however the size of the bikes offered have been too small.

Not quite as good as the Kraken!
If anyone has a large frame (20inch plus) bike with some form of suspension, the lending of it would be much appreciated for September 4th or in advance for some practice.

Failing that, I will be completing the bike ride on an 11yr old mountain bike with no suspension, squeaky brakes, and 21 gears, of which only about 6 are selectable."

Contact Owen Via