Tag Archives: Catherine Osborn

Elentone Singers Christmas Concert – 15th December – Cox Green School, Maidenhead

PRESS RELEASE
MAIDENHEAD, UK

The Elentone Singers will be holding their Christmas concert on Thursday, 15th December, at Cox Green School, Maidenhead. The concert, which starts at 8pm, will feature a varied programme of seasonal music from around the world, traditional carols and mulled wine, and proceeds will benefit the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice.

Choir director, Lyn Thomson, explains this year’s choice of charity saying, “We were delighted to discover that Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice, a much-needed facility for families throughout Berkshire, will be built a very short distance from our base at Cox Green School. When they heard that the charity had won planning permission for the building, choir members were keen to help out in any way they could.”

The choir welcomes members of all abilities, there are no auditions, no waiting lists and fees are just £40 per term. Lyn, who also teaches music to 0 to 11-year-olds, adds, “We’ve had people coming to us claiming to be tone deaf who were singing in tune within a short space of time. My aim is to help each one of our members to be the very best they can be – and it’s huge fun too.”

People who are interested in joining are invited to attend the concert, see what the choir is all about and then come along for a free trial session when rehearsals resume in January.

The concert will be held in the theatre of Cox Green School on Thursday, 15th December, from 8pm. Tickets are £5 on the door, or from members of the choir.

http://www.elentonesingers.com

01628 622651

Why We Need a Cure for Cancer

I’m lucky to come from a family where longevity is the norm but every so often, once in a generation in fact, something happens to shock us out of our complacency.   In 1941, great uncle Jim was killed, probably executed, in the Siege of Crete at the tender age of 23.  Just over 40 years later, my dad’s brother Brian succumbed to liver cancer at the age of 39, dying just six weeks after he was diagnosed.  Fast-forward to this year and my apparently healthy mum was struck down by a massive brain haemorrhage just one month short of her 70th birthday.

Although Mum obviously lived longer than my uncles, we still felt that she died too soon – we were robbed of her 70s and 80s and she was robbed of precious time with her grandchildren.  In the midst of our shock, however, we comforted ourselves with the knowledge that she didn’t suffer for long – 30 seconds at the most.  And, although it is difficult to look at the positives in situations like these, we are truly grateful that she never had cancer.

The weekend before Mum died, I remarked to her and Dad that I was really lucky to have both parents – all but two of my close friends don’t.  In the last ten years, the toll stands as follows:

  • One mother lost to breast cancer
  • One mother lost to a brain tumour
  • A mother and a father lost to lung cancer
  • Two mothers lost to ovarian cancer
  • Three parents lost to other causes (stroke  x 2 and Alzheimer’s)
  • One friend about to lose her good friend to cancer – a young mother in her 30s

Against that grim backdrop:

  • One friend is in remission from leukaemia
  • One friend’s husband is free of kidney cancer after it was caught early.
  • The sister-in-law of another friend has been clear of breast cancer for 5+ years
  • My father-in-law is a survivor of bowel cancer (10+ years)

In 2009, we learned that the Queen Mother was successfully treated for bowel cancer in her 60s.  She escaped a painful, lingering death to die peacefully in her sleep in her favourite armchair, at the age of 101.  Who wouldn’t want that kind of exit for themselves or their loved ones?

Finding a cure for cancer isn’t about cheating death, it’s about seeing our children to adulthood, watching our grandchildren growing up and possibly even meeting our great grandchildren.  It’s about dying peacefully, without pain and, we hope, without fear.   There will always be people who leave us too young but by eliminating cancer we can slash the number of premature and painful deaths.

In July, I will be running the Race for Life to remember Uncle Brian and raise money for Cancer Research.  If you would like to help me reach my target of £250, please take a look at my sponsorship page.

Thank you!

The Buzz that is Social Networking

It’s really exciting to have been able to watch the digital revolution unfolding and bringing with it new ways of working and interacting with people.  As someone who has always relished the idea of working from home as a writer, social networking offers the opportunity to do exactly that, without losing touch with my clients, family and friends.  And increasingly, I’m finding myself helping people with their social networking while they focus on what they do best.

I was delighted, therefore, to be invited to assist with a series of workshops run by Success Network.  Not only did I meet some really interesting people and extend my “real-life” network, I also got the chance to pop in and visit some old colleagues at the Regus building in Slough!

There are various reasons why people shy away from social networking; for some it’s the fear of the unknown, some find it difficult to find the time and some people just haven’t had the chance to assess the business benefits.  The workshop covered all of these areas along with a whole lot more and the feedback was really positive.  I’d thoroughly recommend them to anyone who likes the idea of using social media as a networking tool, without overselling and becoming a marketing bore (yes, that’s covered too).

I was also more than happy to help out with the PR.  You can read the press release below or in today’s Business Monthly in the Maidenhead Advertiser (copy here).

Photo: Andrew Sansom

 

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BERKSHIRE, UK

New Training Initiative Takes the Fear out of Social Media

Success Network has just run a series of highly-successful “Social Media in Practice” courses at Regus in Slough, two of which were exclusively for micro businesses run by women. These highly-practical, hands on courses were an overriding success and the funding organisation praised its innovative format and design and the great results.

The participants found using social media much easier than they thought and said the course was really easy to follow due to the simple step-by-step instruction. Attendees said that they now feel much more comfortable with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, with Caroline Shaw, of Shaw Styling, adding, “it really takes the fear out of social media!”

The sessions were run by Success Network founder and networking expert, Ute Wieczorek-King, with other experienced colleagues. Ute says, “Understanding how social networking works can bring huge benefits to a small business. It is much more than a free marketing tool and small businesses who get on board now will secure a huge advantage over their competitors.”

The delegates were all owners of micro businesses who wanted to tap into the power of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to enable them to promote their businesses more effectively.  Ute added, “Unlike any other tool, social media can help you to keep up with the competition and understand your target audiences better.”

Attendees had been asked to bring their own laptops so that they could work online in small groups, with the assistance of experienced facilitators. 

The delegates left the course with new contacts – each other!  More importantly, however, the course taught them the skills necessary to find, connect and communicate with the right people online. Trisha Mentzel from B2B Event Management, who attended one of the courses  says, “The workshop was excellent at giving the basics for starting to use social media and it gave me the confidence to start writing comments, posts and tweeting. Now I just need to stick to my goals! Thanks for a very practical and enjoyable workshop.”

Success Network’s next hands-on workshops run during May and June, in Maidenhead and Marlow.  More information can be found on the Success Network website at www.successnetwork.org.uk/workshops.htm

#ENDS

Secrets of a Millionaire

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Secrets of a Millionaire

Businesswomen Find Fun and Inspiration at Thames Valley’s Annual Celebration of International Women’s Day

Liz Jackson, MBE

Liz Jackson, MBE (Photo: Alison Crown)

120 Thames Valley businesswomen attended an event to celebrate International Women’s Day, “Essential Business Secrets for Success” at Reading’s Hilton Hotel on Monday 8th March.  A successful first joint venture by Success Network, Business Link and the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, the highlight of the evening was a keynote speech by Secret Millionaire, Liz Jackson, MBE.

Liz gave a humorous account of how she built up her marketing business from scratch at the age of 25, despite having rapidly-failing sight and no money.  A key component of her success, she told the audience, was to embrace set-backs, as these represent “the best learning curve” that a person can experience.  She went on to warn that traditional goal-setting, which focuses on achievability, can stifle potential.

Guest Diksha Chakravati, of Fixme, said, “‘Meeting so many like-minded dynamic women in business, listening to Liz Jackson and tucking into the delicious food was a truly heart-warming and inspirational experience. I’d like to thank the organisers for this splendid event and I’m looking forward to the centenary event next year!’”

Success Network founders, Ute Wieczorek-King and Mary Fraser, offered their customary blend of focused mini-workshops and speed-networking events, whilst a roulette table and more traditional raffle raised funds for children’s hospice Naomi House. Ute said “We really appreciate Business Link’s support this year and were also bowled over by the generosity of all our sponsors when donating prizes and in particular Champneys, Kinnarps and Menzies Accountants.”

Shemila Therani, representing the evening’s key sponsor, Business Link, said, “This first joint venture has proved a resounding success.  By taking part in this three-way collaboration, we were able to create something that was greater than the sum of its parts and initial feedback shows that the attendees found the evening both entertaining and inspirational.”  

Lorna Cummings, from Business Link, gave a very informative introduction to the support that the organisation offers to women in business, and other inspirational speakers included Beth Rogers, a leading sales management thinker as well as Helen Krag and Hélène Cooper.   

Ginette Gower, of Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, said, “’The event had something for all ladies present whether they are at a career crossroads, looking to start or grow a business, or just to take some time out. Along with the other sponsors, the Chamber is committed to support women in business”

#ENDS

About:

International Women’s Day:

This event has been celebrated annually for nearly a century. The day unites thousands of women all across the world in a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women. 2010 is Success Network’s fifth International Women’s Day celebration.  http://www.internationalwomensday.com/

Success Network:

The Success Network is a not-for-profit organisation which runs informal networking sessions and mutual support programmes for women members across the Thames Valley. Members work in all sectors, both as business owners and as employed professionals. http://www.successnetwork.org.uk

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce:

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group works with businesses across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire to help them achieve their full business potential through: meeting new customers; cutting costs; developing their workforce; influencing local decision makers; and arming them with business intelligence.  Membership is available to all businesses.  http://www.thamesvalleychamber.co.uk/.

Business Link:

Business Link helps entrepreneurs to start up new enterprises and maintain and grow established businesses.  This is done by ensuring that business owners and senior managers can quickly and easily locate and benefit from the broadest range of public, private and voluntary business support services.  Business Link’s information and advice services are available through the website http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/southeast or by phoning 0845 600 9 006.

His and Hers Rules for Working From Home

Do you work from home? Are you thinking about it? I’ve been home-based since 2007 and I love it – I relish the autonomy, the flexibility and simply being able to look out of my window and see the red kites soaring over the garden.

Like all good things though, it doesn’t come without a few disadvantages. The fact that I am also self-employed means that my income is variable and not guaranteed, domestic responsibilities often compete with my work and one thing I learnt early on is that you definitely can’t work and look after kids at the same time – childcare is still a must.

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Don’t Leave it Too Late – How Social Networking can Kick-Start your Writing

This morning, we woke up to the news that Boyzone’s Stephen Gately had died suddenly, at the age of 33. 

When young people die, it is always shocking but particularly so when it is unexpected.  It is not so much the reminder that we are mortal or that life is short – we all know that don’t we? – but the realization that this was not in their immediate plan.  Like Michael Jackson earlier in the year, Stephen was on the verge of a world tour.  Dying wasn’t on his agenda just like it isn’t on mine.  It’s the thought that I could pop out for milk and never drink that cup of tea on the worktop that I find particularly chilling.

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20 Goto 10: Memories of the Technological Revolution

I’m not terribly old but still, I grew up in the pre-internet era.  We used the landline to speak to our friends but mostly, we would take the opportunity when we were together, to make plans for the next time. 

If we didn’t see each other for a few days, we might write each other letters on brightly-coloured note paper and hand them over to read during lessons.  The 1980s equivalent of an SMS would have been a hastily-scribbled note passed under the desk.

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Four Tips to Avoid Email Misfortune

Doh!If you want to send a newsletter to your clients, there’s nothing simpler – you can sign up to a package and manage your newsletters online. 

When HTML newsletters were new, however, these services did not exist and it fell to me to design a template to be used with the company’s two email clients – Outlook and a sales database with an email add-on.

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Uncle Jim and the Poet Laureate

Jim and Gladys Upton

Jim (L) and Gladys (R) digging a shelter

Family legend has it that in early June, 1941, my grandmother Gladys was washing up in her mother’s kitchen when she heard the sound of the garden gate opening and closing.

Then, to her great surprise, she saw her younger brother Jim striding past the window, kit bag over his shoulder.  She ran out to greet him, but he was nowhere to be found.  Not long afterwards, his parents received a telegram with the news that all families dreaded (and my grandmother already knew): Arthur (Jim) Upton was dead at the age of 23.

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A Most Horrible Tale of Murder and Messages from Beyond the Grave.

This post has moved!  You can now find it on my personal blog, catherinemosborn.wordpress.com.