A couple from Droylsden have raised thousands of pounds for charity after turning their home and garden into a Christmas wonderland.
Sue Farkas and her partner John Charlesworth originally decided to transform their back garden into a grotto simply for their grandchildren, but after putting so much hard work and love into creating the festive experience, they thought they would extend the invitation to children right across the local community.
And after a helping hand from family, friends and members of the public, the community heroes managed to welcome over 450 children to the event.
Each child lucky enough to visit the event was warmly welcomed by Mrs Claus, before being taken to the grotto to hear a stories from Father Christmas himself, getting the chance chat about the year that they’ve had, and finally receiving a small gift to take away with them.
The entire makeover – which took the couple three weeks to complete – saw lights, trees and characters all transform the exterior of their home and back garden into the winter wonderland.
Speaking to the Tameside Reporter ahead of the grotto opening earlier this month, Sue said: “We’ve put up lights around the trees, put up Christmas trees, reindeer and snowmen, everything really.
“It was just an empty garden before we started.
“There are [hundreds of] children booked in total [and] I’m just hoping they’re gobsmacked – we just wanted to make them smile.
“They’ve had a rough year and it’s been hard, so we just want to bring a bit of cheer.”
What’s more is that on top of spreading some much-needed seasonal cheer, Sue and John also decided that all of the money raised from the event would be donated to a charity of importance to them – children’s cancer research charity Kidscan – with the public also welcome to make additional contributions.
The pair chose to set up a GoFundMe page to accompany the funds raised throughout the event.
“It is close to our family because we’ve lost quite a few members of our family to cancer. It is a good cause and they really need all the money they can get this year,” Sue explained.
“They’ve lost so much money due to the pandemic over the last couple of months and it’s a good cause.”
Alison England – Community Fundraising Manager at Kidscan – has commended the couple for their fundraising efforts at such a crucial time, adding: “I saw a post on the Droylsden Facebook group as I live in Droylsden myself, and saw that John and Sue were going to do a Santa’s grotto all in aid of charity.
“I contacted them to ask whether they would consider raising money for Kidscan Children’s Cancer Research and they agreed. Having had family experiences of cancer they jumped at the chance to support our charity.
“I went along and had a chat with them about their plans and they explained that they will be giving each child a selection box and offering parents mince pies and mulled wine.”
“[so] I set about contacting local businesses for donations of these items.”
Alison continued: “Iceland, Quality Save, Spar, Tesco amongst others, all gave generously. Local people have also donated trees, decorations and lights.
“Sue and John have gone to great expense to decorate their entire house – front and back and turn it into something truly magical.
“They have ensured they are following all government guidelines and ensuring social distancing at all times.”
As a result of all the hard work gone into the event, Sue and John have managed to raise a whopping £2,612.54 and counting, with Alison adding that the money raised will go towards vital research into finding new and improved treatments for children with cancer.
Currently, children are receiving a watered-down version of adult chemotherapy, and even though 60% of children diagnosed with cancer survive, sadly 60-70% of those children go on to have life limiting, life-altering side effects including learning difficulties, mobility issues and infertility.
“We want to change this and with the help of people like John and Sue, we can do just that,” Alison concluded.
How brilliant is this?
If you would like to support Sue, John and Kidscan, you can donate via the GoFundMe page here.
Football fans call out ‘tone-deaf’ FA TikTok for mocking ‘life-threatening’ head injury
Football fans are calling out the official FA Cup TikTok account for mocking a serious head injury suffered by a Stockport County player earlier this week.
The Hatters beat Charlton Athletic in fine fashion with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, 7 December, with Will Collar’s hattrick (the club’s first since 2019) sending them through to the next round of the cup.
However, another notable moment from the night was right back Macauley Southam-Hales’ collision with advertising hoarders after a shove from Charlton captain George Dobson.
As the likes of County fan Joel Ward wrote on Twitter, many online were quick to slam the clip for joking about an injury that hospitalised the player, the consensus being that it isn’t a “great look” for the FA.
While many reacting in the comments recognised that Dobson didn’t intend to hurt Southam-Hales by shepherding the ball out of play, the Stockport defender does hit the predominantly metal structure with some force and was left in clear discomfort following the smash.
The video itself has since been removed from the official account following the backlash but people are still reacting as the clip continues to be reshared on social media.
The clip was branded as everything from “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to “simply unbelievable”.
What’s most concerning is that despite the recent push to promote awareness surrounding concussions, brain trauma and even heading the ball – which, historically, haven’t been properly monitored in football – whoever posted the video on behalf of the FA didn’t consider the very serious nature of the incident.
As alluded to above, perhaps what makes the post even more shocking and tone-deaf is that it comes just weeks after Bath City player forward Alex Fletcher was placed in intensive care following an almost identical accident.
The 23-year-old underwent life-saving brain surgery and although he has since been discharged from the hospital, he is said to have a “long road to recovery ahead of him”.
County confirmed that despite being the all-clear pitchside, Southam-Hales was taken to the hospital as a precaution after he suffered significant swelling around the neck area. Nevertheless, as we know all too well, it could have been much worse.
As for the FA, they have now apologised for the inappropriate attempt at humour, confirming that they have removed the video from all official accounts, admitting that “it should never have been published and assuring that they will “review [their] processes to ensure this never happens again.”
You can watch the full highlights from Stockport County vs Charlton Athletic HERE but we’d recommend you watch Alan Shearer reminding everyone who plays football to be more vigilant when it comes to head injuries.
Sleep researchers will send you FREE CHEESE if you take part in this new sleep study
Scientists currently researching how cheese affects our sleeping patterns are looking for people to take part in a new study.
The best bit? You’ll actually get sent loads of free cheese if you sign up.
New research has found that, while nearly a third of Brits say cheese is one of their favourite foods – and honestly, who can blame us? – almost a quarter of have actually avoided eating it too late into the evening cheese for fear it’ll give them nightmares or vivid dreams.
Out of people who reported they’ve had vivid dreams or nightmares after eating cheese, 70% said it was cheddar they’d been eating, 40% said mozzarella, and 35% said brie.
But, to actually test whether this old wives’ tale is true or just a myth, popular sleep company Emma is calling on people to join a new sleep-science experiment in which they’ll get the chance to eat their favourite cheeses for 15 days, all to test the effects of the cheesy goodness on our sleep quality and dreams.
So, how does it work then? Well, teaming up with cheesegeek, Emma will send selected participants a hamper consisting of three types of delicious British festive cheeses, along with a guide on how much of it to eat before going to bed.
They’ll then be asked to record their dreams to be analysed by the Emma sleep research team.
Putting a call out for people to take part in this cheesy test, Theresa Schnorbach – Sleep Scientist at Emma – said: “When it comes to cheese, we know there are elements at work that can have both a positive and negative impact on our sleep – from increasing your REM sleep density to inducing hormone production which aids in regulating your body clock.
“Through this experiment, we’ll explore the extent of these elements and put this old wives’ tale to the test.”
With Christmas – and cheese board season – fast approaching, the research also found that 32% Brits eat more cheese over the festive period compared to any other time of year, and just over one in seven said that they find they get less sleep over the Christmas period – with over a quarter (27%) admitting their sleep lessening around the festive period could be linked to their cheese intake at the time.
The types of festive cheeses provided in the experiment were all found to be some of the most popularly consumed around Christmas.