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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 23 April 2007

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YOU can just imagine the reaction to this headline! But hold on just a moment...

Yes, London has more participants, yes, it's further, and yes, more money is raised for charities and good causes.

BUT, even though we don't have the TV cameras on every corner, and the sky is empty of helicopters, the Walkers in the Southport Rotary Annual Charity Walk are just as dedicated, just as motivated, and just as keen to do good as their colleagues in the bigger events.

AND there is one enormous advantage to the Annual Charity Walk. If you want to walk, you can. There's no balloting for places, no worry whether you'll get in. Your Walk awaits!

The Walk starts from Heaton's Bridge Inn at 10am on Sunday 13 May 2007, so there are just three weeks left. Three weeks to complete the sponsorships, look out the comfy shoes, and arrange transport to the start and from the finish.

But there is one deadline which is even closer. The closing date for reduced entry fees, and participation in the FREE £100 draw, is 1 May 2007. You can still register and take part right up to the Day, of course, but that £100 prize won't be yours!

This year we decided to add a little spice to the Walk. Everyone who starts the Walk will be given, entirely free of charge, a copy of the Walk Quiz. Ten questions about the canal, the buildings and the countryside. Just keep looking around you as you walk, and the answers to the Quiz will appear, just like magic. The questions will be in order, so once you have found the first answer you should start looking for the second, and so on!

Fill in the answers, hand in the Quiz sheet when you leave the Walk, and maybe you will be the lucky winner of a £100 prize. If you win, the money will be yours to do with as you like.

Most of the information you will need can be found on our website.   Click on 'Charity Walk' and everything will be revealed.

You can see on our website whether there are any last minute hitches (there aren't at the moment!) and check on the weather... though with only a five-day forecast, our information isn't that good until nearer the day!  You can also download and print off Registration and Sponsorship forms, and read all about where to go and what to do.

If you would like to talk to a real person about anything to do with the Walk, please give us a call on 07906 594144.

If we aren't there when you call, we will ring you back. Alternatively, send us a message to and we'll respond.

UK companies outstrip Europe's
Written with thanks to the Department of Trade and Industry

THE UK's largest companies are continuing to outperform their European competition, with those investing more in research and development or new equipment tending to be more successful.

The Department of Trade and Industry's 2007 Value Added Scoreboard, released on 23 April 2007, shows UK companies dominating the list, with 210 of the 750 biggest value adding, or wealth creating, firms in Europe.

The annual scoreboard uses 'value added' by companies, or the difference between sales and cost of bought-in materials/services, as a measure of businesses' economic contribution. It uses value added per £1 of staff and depreciation costs, or 'wealth creation efficiency', as a key performance measure.

Over the last four years, large UK-based companies have had higher profitability, faster value-added growth and higher wealth creation efficiency than their French and German equivalents.

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling, said:- "The UK is home to some of the world's best companies and it's a good place to do business. As the recent Budget shows, the Government is backing business and helping the UK to stay on top.

Of course, innovation is key to business success. That's why we're enhancing R&D funding for business, raising skills and improving access to world markets for UK-based companies."

Analysis shows that the most successful and sustained wealth creation results from ongoing investment particularly in areas like innovation and skills.

One reason for the UK's high performance has been its strength in high-value sectors such as financial services and oil and gas. But strong performances by individual UK companies within these and other sectors have also played a part.

The scoreboard lists the value added, or wealth created, by the top 750 European companies and the top 800 UK companies.

Key findings include:-

* Value added based measures continue to provide some predictive power for investors. Shares in 19 high performing companies identified in the 2003 Scoreboard are now worth 166 per cent more on average; the FTSE 350 index has risen by only 89 per cent.

* 55 per cent of value added is concentrated in the top 100 of the 750 European firms, while 45 per cent is found in six out of 39 sectors (Banks, Oil and Gas Producers, Automotive, Fixed-Line Telecoms, Electricity, and Travel and Leisure).

* French companies are ahead of their German counterparts in wealth creation efficiency, but behind UK firms.

Companies of all sizes can use the DTI's value added calculator to check and set a benchmark for their own performance.

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