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Scott Mills

Together with the MS Society I’m calling on people in the North West to nominate volunteers who have made an impact on people living with, and affected by, multiple sclerosis (MS). Whether that’s through supporting and empowering individuals, or fundraising and influencing on behalf of the whole MS community – we want to celebrate them!

More than 130,000 people live with MS in the UK and without volunteers’ time and energy, it would be impossible for the MS Society to deliver the services and support that it does.

Being an MS Society Ambassador has meant I’ve met so many superstars over the years who have done incredible things to support people like my mum, who lives with MS – and I’m delighted to say I’ll be hosting the first ever virtual Impact Awards ceremony on Wednesday 5 October at 7pm.

If readers know a volunteer in the North West who they’d like to see get one of six special awards, please visit https://www.mssociety.org.uk/volunteer-awards Nominations close on Sunday 21 August.

Scott Mills

MS Society Ambassador and broadcaster

Dear Editor,

As we approach the International Day of Friendship (30 July), Mary’s Meals is celebrating heart-warming stories of hope and camaraderie from around the world.

Mary’s Meals is a charity that serves nutritious school meals in 20 of the world’s poorest countries. The promise of a good meal attracts hungry children into the classroom where, instead of working or looking for food, they can gain an education.

As your readers will know, the classroom is also where lifelong friendships are made. Friendships like that of Fridah and Annette, from Zambia.

Fridah’s life changed forever when she fell ill with an undiagnosed illness, losing all ability to move and communicate. Luckily, she has a wonderful friend in Annette.

The two girls attend school together, where they eat Mary’s Meals. Despite the challenges she faces, Fridah is determined to get an education. She uses her toes to write and turn the pages of her books.

Fridah dreams of becoming a professional footballer when she is older. With our nutritious school meals giving her the energy to learn and play, and a good friend like Annette by her side, we hope she will achieve her dream.

It costs just 8p a day to feed a child with Mary’s Meals, meaning every donation – no matter how small – will make an enormous difference. For more information, please visit marysmeals.org.uk

Thomas Black, Head of major giving and partnerships, Mary’s Meals

Dear Editor,

Last week data from the Department of Education showed that the proportion of 16-year-olds who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) is at its highest level since 2012.

This is a devastating indication of the effect that years of interrupted education and the pandemic has had on our young people, on their ambitions, on their mental health. In our education centres we are aware of these missing young people, the ones that were already vulnerable, already struggling but because of the pandemic this wasn’t picked up. Unfortunately, many of those young people have now slipped through the net. We need a reunited effort to find these young people and to engage them back in education, training or employment. Once we had a national Connexions service which could do this exact task. Now we have a patchy, postcode lottery of provision to support and engage NEET young people. They deserve better than this. We need more focus and more funding for those young people who are disengaged from education and we need this funding to be extended to cover 16-18 year olds through a Pupil Premium Plus.  

Elise Temple

Director of Education and Skills

Nacro (one of the country’s largest independent providers of further education and skills) 

Ballah and friend Zinnah depends on the promise of Mary’s Meals

Dear Editor,  

Today, more than 64 million primary school-age children miss out on an education around the world because of poverty. 

Leaving a gift in your will, no matter how small, is an incredibly generous way you can help us bring hope to those desperately hungry children who often need to work or beg for food in order to survive. 

With the promise of a daily meal in a place of education, Mary’s Meals is attracting hungry children into the classroom giving them the energy to learn how to read and write. 

For children like 13-year-old Ballah from Liberia – who used to skip school – Mary’s Meals fills his empty stomach and is allowing him to gain a precious education so he can follow his dreams of becoming a doctor.  

“Food is important,” he says. “Most days, I don’t eat breakfast and I feel so hungry I can barely study. After eating Mary’s Meals, I feel active. 

“When I qualify as a doctor, I’d like to stay in Liberia and teach others how to do the same.” 

With a gift in your will, you can help us keep our promise to more than 2.2 million children in some of the world’s poorest communities who rely on our nutritious meals and will be giving children like Ballah the chance of a brighter future. 

If you would like more information about leaving a gift in your will, please visit www.marysmeals.org.uk/will 

Lori Cobley, partnership manager at Mary’s Meals 

Catherine Hunt

Dear Editor, 

It’s time to make a stand.  

Did you know that one in seven diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year die within two months after diagnosis? We are being failed. Enough is enough. 

On Tuesday 28 June I am marching to No 10 Downing Street, alongside Target Ovarian Cancer campaigners, to hand in our open letter signed by 20,000 people. Together, we’re demanding the government takes action on the awareness crisis in ovarian cancer.  

In 2019 I was working long hours in the City of London. With a daily commute, busy lifestyle and regularly visiting my sick mum, I was tired. But, like many women, I ignored this and continued on. Then one night, I felt a painful lump in my tummy. It was a tumour. I was later diagnosed with stage IIIa ovarian cancer. 

For me, ovarian cancer affected my whole body. My right leg bloated due to deep vein thrombosis and a clot on my lung was discovered. I had intense surgery to drain my kidneys and remove the tumour, as well as a total hysterectomy and many other procedures. I then underwent six rounds of chemotherapy.  

Ovarian cancer changed my life, and with no screening in place it is essential that we are all armed with awareness of symptoms. This means the cancer can be found earlier, and outcomes are significantly improved. No one should die because of a late diagnosis. 

Four out of five women cannot name the key symptom of ovarian cancer, bloating. This needs to change. 

I’m writing to ask your readers to take just two minutes of their time to learn the symptoms and spread the word to their families and friends: persistent bloating, feeling full or having difficulty eating, tummy pain, and needing to wee more often or more urgently.  

Become part of this movement to make change happen in government today by campaigning to improve the lives of people affected by ovarian cancer.  

With best wishes, 

Catherine Hunt

Catherine Hunt Target Ovarian Cancer is the UK’s leading ovarian cancer charity. We work to improve early diagnosis, fund life-saving research and provide much-needed support to women with ovarian cancer https://targetovariancancer.org.uk  

Dear Editor,  

As Father’s Day approaches, I’m thinking about the joy my children bring to my life. Their energy, enthusiasm, and the happiness they take from even the smallest of things all give me hope for the future. 

And hope is important. We are living through challenging times in a world devastated by war and food insecurity – as well as the cost of living crisis affecting many people here in the UK. 

I support Mary’s Meals because this wonderful charity is a beacon of hope around the world. With the promise of a daily meal in a place of education, hungry children are attracted into the classroom where they have the energy to learn their way to a brighter future. 

It costs Mary’s Meals just 8 pence to serve a life-changing meal to a hungry child, meaning every donation to the charity – no matter how small – can make an enormous difference. 

Please join me in supporting the Hope Conquers Fear campaign, so that Mary’s Meals can keep its promise to the 2,279,941 children who rely on a daily meal. 

For more information, please visit marysmeals.org.uk 

Thank you. 

Gary Maclean, The National Chef of Scotland and MasterChef champion 

Dear Editor,

Like many Muslims, I deeply consider the causes I give to during Ramadan.  

This year I’m supporting Mary’s Meals, a wonderful charity that feeds more than two million children every school day. These little ones are living in 20 of the world’s poorest countries – including India, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. 

Named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, it feels like a natural fit with my respect of Mary, who we know better in the Quran as Maryam (Peace Be Upon Her). So, I suggested that the charity should ask Muslims to continue to pray for the children it feeds during Ramadan and make Sadaqah (voluntary giving) so that even more hungry children can be reached. 

I love the simplicity of Mary’s Meals’ mission. Its nutritious school meals attract hungry children into the classroom, giving them the energy to learn and hope for a better future.  

And it’s really important to me that at least 93% of all donations are spent directly on its charitable activities. I always make my Sadaqah to organisations I can really trust.  

During this blessed month, I hope your readers will join me in praying for the children who eat Mary’s Meals and consider donating to the charity.  

Ramadan Mubarak, 

Zahid Nawaz, supporter of Mary’s Meals 

Dear Editor,

I’m proud to support Mary’s Meals, a charity which feeds more than two million children in some of the world’s poorest countries every school day.

With spring now upon us, it’s an ideal time for your readers to get active to help Mary’s Meals reach more hungry children. The charity’s Move for Meals campaign allows people to set their own challenge – whether that’s running, hiking or cycling – to raise funds for its work.

And with it costing just £15.90 to feed a child with Mary’s Meals for a whole school year, it’s easy for your moves to make a difference.

Thank you!

Mark Beaumont, athlete and broadcaster


Dear Editor, 

This March I am supporting Mary’s Meals’ lovely Mother’s Day campaign, Mums Make Mary’s Meals.  

These wonderful women volunteer their time so that children can have a good meal and the chance of an education that can lead to a better life. Just like my mum and others here in the UK, they know the food will nourish their little ones and give them the energy to learn and play. 

This Mother’s Day, you can show your love and appreciation to the wonderful women in your life by giving them a gift from Mary’s Meals – the charity has a beautiful range of gift cards and digital gifts, starting from just £15.90, that will feed a child every day for full a school year. 

Please visit marysmeals.org.uk for more information about the Mums Make Mary’s Meals campaign or to buy a truly special Mother’s Day gift. 


Ching He Huang MBE, celebrity chef and food writer 


Dear Editor,

I wouldn’t blame the children of South Sudan if they just gave up. One third are suffering chronic malnutrition. Half are missing school. Millions are displaced. And none of them have ever known anything but war.

One of my colleagues there, a 45-year-old man, tells me he has never seen peace in his lifetime. But he has seen hope. He has witnessed the hope our colourful bowls full of maize and beans bring to some of the poorest children on earth.

Mary’s Meals feeds more than two million children every school day in 20 of the world’s poorest countries. Our nutritious meals attract little ones into the classroom, where they can gain an education that gives them hope for the future.

We are already reaching around 70,000 hungry children in South Sudan, and – with the support of your readers – we can serve our life-changing meals in even more schools. Please visit marysmeals.org.uk to find out more about our appeal.

The children of South Sudan aren’t giving up. And nor are we. We know that no child on this earth is unreachable.

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder of Mary’s Meals

Dear Editor, 

Women are being failed as the awareness crisis in ovarian cancer deepens. Symptoms of ovarian cancer are being ignored – both by those experiencing them and their GPs.  

This March, for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Target Ovarian Cancer is urging the public to sign open letters to governments across the UK and tell them what is needed to combat the crisis. We desperately need to make progress in people’s knowledge of the symptoms. 

In 2010 my mother, the actress Marjie Lawrence, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer just three weeks before she died. Had we and her doctors been aware of the symptoms, Marjie might be alive today. If diagnosed at the earliest stage, 9 in 10 women will survive. But two thirds of women are diagnosed late, when the cancer is harder to treat.  

I’m writing to ask your readers to take just two minutes of their time to learn the symptoms and spread the word to their families and friends. The main symptoms of ovarian cancer are: persistent bloating, feeling full or having difficulty eating, tummy pain, and needing to wee more often or more urgently.  

If you believe in a future where every woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer has the best chance of survival, please show your support and add your name to the open letter: campaign.targetovariancancer.org.uk/openletter 

With best wishes, 

Sarah Greene, Target Ovarian Cancer Patron 

Dear Editor  

We want to let your readers know that this is the last month for their donations to Mary’s Meals to be matched through the charity’s Double The Love campaign. 

We have been enormously moved by the stories of the children who eat Mary’s Meals. Children like 11-year-old Failo, whose life is in some ways no different to that of children living here in Greater Manchester. He enjoys playing football with his friends and, in class, loves reading and writing best.  

But his life can be very hard. He lives in a rural village in Zambia where there is no electricity, and his windowless home is made from mud bricks. Food is scarce and Failo relies on a serving of porridge from Mary’s Meals each morning in school – often his first meal of the day. 

More than two million children in 20 countries eat Mary’s Meals every school day. The food attracts them into the classroom, where they receive an education that can, in the future, be their ladder out of poverty.  

Until 31 January, donations made to this wonderful charity’s Double The Love campaign will be matched by a group of generous supporters, up to £1.6 million – meaning even more little ones will receive a nutritious meal at school. We hope your readers will visit marysmeals.org.uk/doublethelove to donate. 

Love Emma and Sophie Thompson 

Dear editor, 

The charm of the presents under our Christmas tree lies partly in their very different shapes and sizes. Perhaps the same could be said of our own families. None of them look the same.  

Take 12-year-old Hawa – she lives with her granny, an aunt and four cousins in Liberia. Often there is not enough food for her family to eat. 

Mary’s Meals serves nutritious food at school to children living in some of the world’s poorest countries, attracting them into the classroom where they receive an education that can, in the future, be their ladder out of poverty. 

More than two million children receive our life-changing meals every school day – including Hawa. 

I am pleased to tell you that, until 31 January 2022, donations made to our Double The Love campaign will be matched, up to £1.6 million, by a generous group of supporters.  

Those children receiving Mary’s Meals might not have a pile of presents to unwrap on Christmas morning, but their dreams are alive and well, thanks to those who share our belief that every child should have enough to eat and go to school. 

You can learn more about our work by visiting marysmeals.org.uk 

Have a wonderful Christmas, 

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder of Mary’s Meals  


Dear Editor,

Yesterday’s government figures showed that job vacancies have hit a record high of 1.2 million, an increase of 20% in the past three months. It’s seems like a no-brainer that our young people should be able to train to fill these roles.

Many of the sectors continuing to battle with skills shortages, such as construction, manufacturing, and hospitality, are reliant on Level 2 vocational qualifications as a direct route into jobs in these industries.

Yet, the Government has failed to prioritise these lower level, work-ready qualifications, instead focusing their post-16 policy and funding at qualifications of A Level standard and above.

The Government have a chance to close the skills gap and the disadvantage gap that is so significant among 16-19-year-olds, boost the economy and give young people the future they deserve. But to do this, they must ensure a wide range of high-quality, employer-endorsed options are available at all levels.

Campbell Robb
Chief Executive


Dear Editor,

Today, more than two million children will eat Mary’s Meals in some of the world’s poorest countries every school day.  

Providing a daily meal in a place of education is helping even the most vulnerable children to attend school and concentrate in lessons, giving them the freedom to learn and fulfil their potential.  

Mary’s Meals began in 2002, by feeding 200 children in Malawi. Our growth since then has been driven by so many acts of kindness from people from all walks of life, helping us reach children in the greatest need.  

We are deeply grateful to all our supporters and volunteers, including in Greater Manchester – we simply could not have reached this incredible milestone without you.  

We hope your readers will join us in celebrating this amazing moment for Mary’s Meals and continue to support us to reach the next hungry child.  

Daniel Adams, Executive Director, Mary’s Meals.   

Letter to editor:

Calling all secondary school teachers in Greater Manchester, young people are now learning about saving lives. Blood, organ and stem cell donation are now on the key stage 3 and 4 curriculum and we have some free online resources to help you teach this important topic to 11 to 16 year olds.

Your pupils can be empowered to discuss and decide about donation and we hope they’ll prompt conversations at home too. Visit www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/teaching-resources to find out more, we have detailed lessons and optional extra activities.

You can also request a speaker, many of whom have a personal story linked to donation, to attend a school assembly.

Many thanks

Alex Cullen

Nov ’17 we moved to Broadheath from Salford, having lived & worked there for 10 yrs. 

In the recent yrs, Salford has progressed by leaps & bounds; the quays, the media city, the pull of intn students to the salford university, the regeneration of salford central, the leafy suburbs of worsley & monton; each one of them add value to the city.
In contrast, Trafford in general & Sale & Altrincham in particular, are largely dependent on the haloed grammar schools/faith schools/academies/prim schools, as its unique selling point.

These schools fuel inward migration from the northwest & beyond, bumping up the house prices. 

Over the past two years, I have been pounding the streets of Broadheath as a Conservative activist, & I can see the slow but steady change of demographics happening here; many have come here for the schools, including me! 

Many newcomers are unaware that, it was the Conservatives who have nurtured these schools, enabling them to thrive & achieve their national rankings.

God forbid, in future, if any of Alti girls, Loreto girls, Alti boys, Sale grammar etc, were to drop down the national rankings, I know it is very unlikely but; do we have a plan B? 

Can we develop #TraffordCollege Broadheath, as a centre of excellence, trying to compete with Man Uni? Conservative Policy

Forum Trafford Conservatives 
#resilience #sustainability #broadheath’

many thanks,kind regards,
Dr Kaushik Chakraborty resident, Broadheath

I was compelled to write having read your recent article regarding the proposed plans to demolish yet another Partington landmark.


‘The Mobil’ has served as a great little shop for those in the immediate area for many years.

I remember when it was a service station, with the chap that sat in the little cubby come rain or shine and filled your car having been alerted by the ‘ding ding’ of the rubber tube you drove over. 

It was the first petrol station I used when I passed my test, and perhaps having been treated to such a personal service is one of the reasons, having felt like a VIP each visit that I now resent having to do it myself almost 30 years later!

In earlier years we often popped there for milk, bread and a 10p mix, mum’s treat for going, as it was open later than Wood Lane shops, and closer than the village. 

The floor was always dusty, and there was an alien like divide with 50% of the shop (the door also rang a ‘ding ding’ on entry) having a fantastic array of sweets whilst the other half was equipped like a mini Halfords on steroids.

You needed it, they had it! It didn’t matter that the coat of dust came free with purchase. You were just glad to not have to venture out further afield.

And it even had its very own oily ‘working class’ smell. Think ‘The Mobil’ if you know, you know. 

As time moved on, the car wash sprung a new sense of purpose to the site and is forever busy providing a clearly well used and wanted service to the Partington community. 

Having been in recently, the shop has been kitted out inline with a decent alternative clean and bright convenience store, especially given there are a high proportion of elderly residents surrounding who have lived there for many years. Popping to ‘The Mobil’ a common Partington phrase.

To think that all that history, even of a grubby but once well loved and utilised family business will be bulldozed is very sad. More importantly it is testament to the fact that the Partington people have, all too often had to endure the loss of well valued services in the name of ‘progress’.

You cannot squeeze every ounce out of the village, without providing additional facilities the GPs, Dental Services and schools are already under pressure. There are no village pubs anymore, and don’t even remind me how the once thriving market at its old site was abolished.

Moved to the less communal edge of the car park as an after thought. 

Market days were a huge part of Partington life, providing anything else you needed with the added bonus of socialising with your community.

You could easily do a few laps of the mysterious rotunda that you were never quite sure what it housed, toilets? Storage? Who knows, we were only ever allowed to circle the steps! But you could guarantee you would see at least three of your best friends, and your mum would have seen twice as many of hers.

Whilst shopping for at least one elderly neighbour and enjoying a bag of chips on the best bench behind the bushes, now a car park. 

Partonians have endured long protracted periods of ‘progress’ sites left like rubble yards for years, and its face completely changed with very little say.

The loss of its identity as a village community, landmarks wiped from its history. And The Mobil perhaps is a shining example of how the village is being bulldozed, being seen as a grubby resident with no value other than to house more boxes with roofs for those who can’t afford to live in its more wealthier neighbouring towns of Sale and Altrincham.

How many will be affordable for long term residents?

Its sad that for the sake of 8 houses yet another part of Partington history, and another thriving business in an already struggling community will be killed. 

Viva Le Mobil! 
With Kind Regards
Carol Curtis (Formally Flanagan of Elderberry Walk)


Dear Editor,

Yesterday’s GCSE results highlight the resilience and determination of our country’s young people, who on average have missed 14 weeks of learning. At Nacro, our Further Education and Skills Centres teach some of the most disadvantaged 16–19-year-olds. Around 50% of our students started the pandemic without a digital device or Wi-Fi to study on. Yet today, despite coming to us without GCSEs in English and maths, they have gone to achieve great re-sit results, with an increase of high passes 4 and above. For them this is the golden ticket to a good job or further education.

This success has been a result of the hard work and determination of our learners, with support from our staff. But it has been bolstered by the use of the Government’s recovery tuition funding. Early analysis of our data shows that those who took part in the scheme achieved 15% higher pass rates compared to those who did not participate. We now need this funding boost to become permanent for those who need to fill gaps in learning or faced multiple barriers to education and skills. Well done to all those who are celebrating their achievements this week, in a year to remember.

Lisa Capper MBE
Director of Skills and Education, Nacro

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