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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 190

Date:- 6 March 2005

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SPECIALISTS slams direct insurers who condemn fast-car mags. Leading specialist car insurance broker Adrian Flux today slammed reports from two direct insurers who called for banning the sale of 'lad car mags' to under-21s. "They don't know their actuarials from their elbows," said Gerry Bucke, operations director at Adrian Flux. "It's absurd"

The direct insurers, quoted in leading insurance industry paper Insurance Times, had called for the ban in what they call 'the interests of road safety'. Two magazines - Max Power and Fast Car - were especially targeted because 'they might encourage unsafe driving', especially as 'both magazines focus heavily on modifying standard cars'. 

"It shows just how little these direct insurers understand the market,"
Gerry Bucke said. "Drivers who modify cars are, according to our statistics, LESS likely to have a crash. And it's not surprising, they've spent time and money on their pride and joy and care for it. That's why we even give discounts for some modifications." 

Gerry Bucke also hit out at the allegation that such magazines 'encourage unsafe driving'. He points out that the opposite is true. Both magazines actively promote road safety. 

Indeed, Flux recently joined with Max Power and the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motoring) to launch 'Max Driver' - an advanced motoring course recently introduced in conjunction with the Institute of Advanced Motoring, and recognised by Road Safety Minister David Jamieson. Max Driver culminates in the Advanced Driving Test, with Flux offering 25% discounts on insurance to youngsters who pass it. 

"MAX POWER does NOT organise, promote or condone ANY type of dangerous driving, street racing or illegal driving"
, said a spokesman for the magazine. "We do however, encourage and celebrate throughout the magazine, the independence and freedom that cars can bring to young people. 

Unfortunately, there are and always will be a small minority of people who will go to an extreme, and it is our strong belief that these people would exist with or without MAX POWER."

Fast Car magazine echoed this:- "Those direct insurer's comments were, at best, misguided, and suggest a lack of market understanding, which is probably why many insurance companies are missing out on huge opportunities in this sector", said Fast Car's editor Gez Jones. "Our readers cherish their cars, and spend large amounts of precious cash and time enhancing them and making them look their best. The last thing they want to do is put their cars at risk." 

Gez Jones also defended his magazine's stance on insurance:- "Fast Car carries more insurance advertising than any magazine in the performance sector. There are 18 dedicated pages in our latest April issue alone. We also promote insurance awareness and responsible driving courses within editorial features, such as our buying guides."

Gez Jones added that Fast Car is itself in an advanced stage of setting up an advanced driving scheme and branded insurance service for its readership. 


THE Teaching Awards Trust is urging everyone across the North West of England to nominate an outstanding school or inspirational head teacher, teacher or teaching assistant for the Teaching Awards 2005 before the deadline of 18 March. Anyone parents, pupils, colleagues and members of the school community, can make a nomination online at Finalists from the North West of England will be announced at the Teaching Awards 2005 Ceremony for the North West of England on Thursday 16 June at Manchester Town Hall. 

There are 10 Award Categories including:-

The new Award for Healthy Schools; 
The BT Award for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School; 
The Guardian Award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School; 
The DfES Innovation Unit Award for Lifetime Achievement; 
The Promethean Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Primary School; 
The RAF Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School. 

In addition to the 10 Award Categories, The Teaching Awards Trust has teamed up with the Northwest Regional Development Agency to introduce the Northwest Regional Development Agency Award for Enterprise in Schools.

David Hanson, Chief Executive of the Teaching Awards Trust said:- "The Teaching Awards provide a fantastic opportunity to offer recognition to exemplary schools, teachers and teaching assistants. It's up to members of the local community to help us identify and celebrate the unsung heroes of teaching who have made a real difference to pupils' lives by making a nomination online. This year's Awards Ceremonies will showcase excellence in teaching and honour those who represent the best in the profession. I urge everyone to make a nomination before the deadline of 18 March."

The Awards Panel Members assess every nomination against a set of criteria and will begin the rigorous process once the nomination period has closed. Finalists from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be celebrated at local Award Ceremonies, which take place from 13 June to 5 July 2005. Every Category Winner is considered for a National Award. The Teaching Awards 2005 National Ceremony will be televised on BBC2 on Sunday 16 October 2005.

"No smoke without fire" say mouth cancer campaigners

WITH No Smoking Day around the corner, the UK's leading oral health charity has urged smokers to think about the dangers of mouth cancer. The British Dental Health Foundation made the plea after announcing that Mouth Cancer Awareness Week 2005 will run from November 13 to 19. Mouth cancer kills 1 person every 5 hours in the UK, and the number of new cases is increasing faster than any other cancer. More than 1.25 million people are expected to give up smoking for No Smoking Day on March 9, but only 50,000 will resist the urge to start up again.

Smoking is the number one cause of the condition and people who drink and smoke at the same time are up to 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer. This is because as well as being independent causes of mouth cancer, drinking alcohol actually assists the mouth's absorption of tobacco.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation, commented:- "Mouth cancer is a very severe form of cancer, killing 50 percent of sufferers. If you smoke you should consider whether it is really worth placing yourself in a major risk group for developing mouth cancer - I suspect not!"

The Foundation, providers of free, impartial dental advice via the Dental Helpline (0845 063 1188) are keen to point out the other ways smoking can affect your oral health.

Dr Carter continued:- "Smoking causes bad breath, stained teeth, tooth loss and gum disease, which has been linked to heart disease. These problems can affect a person's confidence and, in turn, their happiness. Your dentist will be able to advise you on how to keep these problems to a minimum, but of course the most obvious solution is to give up smoking!"


ACCORDING to a report out this week measuring the cost of inland and European food distribution, if people switched to buying foods locally they would save £2.1 billion a year in environmental and congestion costs.

The good news is that there is already a great deal of support for the concept of buying locally. According to research carried out for the National Farmers' Retail & Markets Association (FARMA) almost nine out of ten households would buy locally produced foods, if they had access to them. The same research, by YouGov in June 2004, showed that 30% of households had visited a farmers' market and one third had used farm shops for food shopping in the past 12 months.

Access to locally produced foods has improved dramatically over the past seven years. The number of farmers' markets - where producers from a defined local area sell the foods they have grown, reared or otherwise produced, direct to consumers - has grown from one in 1997 to over 500 today, of which around half are Certified, or in the process of being Certified, as genuine farmers' markets by FARMA. The number of farm shops is around 3,500, Pick-Your-Own farms 1,000, and box-schemes 300.

Says FARMA's managing agent, Gareth Jones:- "What people can do immediately is buy more of their staple foods, primary and seasonal produce - meat, eggs, bread, fruit and vegetables and the like - from their local Certified farmers' market, farm shop or use box schemes, and reduce their visits to the supermarkets. It's good news that saving the planet happens to taste very good indeed with good, wholesome fresh foods from local sources, but it's a matter of getting more people to take action to change their food-buying habits."

He continues, "We have carried out research at member farmers" markets in recent weeks which showed that the majority of customers come from within two or three miles of the market. This is a cycleable, even walkable distance. Many farmers' markets were started as initiatives of Local Authorities and farmers, responding to environmental pressures to provide better access to local foods."

Current concerns about food traceability are driving more people than ever to farmers' markets and farm shops, where they can be confident of getting fully traceable foods. Just one example is Essington Fruit Farm near Wolverhampton, which is finding its sales of prepared foods are up by more than 30 per cent in the past two weeks, since the Sudan 1 story broke. Essington Fruit Farm's farmhouse kitchen meals are made with its own pork, and beef from a neighbouring farm, with ingredients that any cook would find in their own kitchen - no preservatives, artificial colours or other additives. 

Get our guide... FARMA is pleased to provide information for anyone wanting to know where their nearest Certified farmers' market, farm shop or PYO is located:- check to find links for Certified farmers' markets, farm shops and PYO, or send for our Local Fare guide by writing to P O Box 575, Southampton, SO15 7BZ enclosing three first class stamps.


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