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Issue:- Monday, 6 June 2016

Headlines and reports on this page = 3 news items.    Page - 7.

Supporter Steve getting on his bike for charity

Photo caption: Steve (third left) and his team after their first bike ride for R Charity, with his wife Barbara (front)

DEDICATED fundraiser Steve Walls and a team of friends have already got on their bikes twice to raise funds for the Royal with long distance bike rides; and now they are planning a long distance cycle to make the new Royal even better. When his wife Barbara was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and treated at the Linda McCartney Centre at the Royal, Steve was determined to help. So he rallied some fellow Liverpool Freemasons and in June 2014 they cycled the 133 miles from Leeds to Liverpool to raise funds, with Steve's son Chris as a member of the all important 3 man support team.  "When we reached the Pier Head, Barbara was all smiles and delighted with our achievement. I finished on my 62nd birthday, and it was a wonderful homecoming. That's when we decided we had to do it again, and then make it a hat trick of rides." says Steve, 63, a father of 2 from Garston.

The epic cycle ride raised £5,830, with £3,160 going to the Linda McCartney Centre and the remainder to other charities. The July 2015 team cycled 163 miles coast to coast, from the Humber Bridge to the Pier Head, raising a further £3,800 for the Centre; almost £7,000 in all. "Sadly Barbara passed away in March 2015 aged just 69... But we were determined to go ahead with our fundraising to help other patients and families." says Steve,

Photo caption: Barbara celebrating following Steve’s first fundraising ride from Liverpool to LeedsIn all the team have raised over £11,500 through the two rides, with two other charities benefiting by over £4,600. The team pay their own expenses, and all donations go to charity. Since the team were determined to complete three challenges, this year's feat starting on 8 June 2016 is a 'Street to Street' cycle. "Street to Street doesn't sound much, but we're cycling from outside the Royal on Prescot Street in Liverpool, to Great Queen Street, Covent Garden in London. We are committed to fundraising to recognize the support the Royal has given so many families, and to help R Charity provide even better facilities to help patients and families in the future. We're not superheroes; we just get on with it.  We have already raised £3,500 towards this year's target of £5,000 and hopefully we will achieve that before the end of the ride."

The funds raised over the 3 events have been ring fenced by R Charity, and will be used to part fund equipping one of the state of the art inpatient cancer treatment rooms at the new Royal and are part of R Charity's £10million fundraising Appeal to make the new Royal even better for patients. The charity now aims to erect a plaque in Barbara's memory, and to thank Steve and the team of riders and support team for their achievements. Aimee Clare, senior community fundraising manager for R Charity, said:- "Steve and his team have done so well. It's so exciting to hear that they have set themselves another challenge for 2016! I'll look forward to meeting them before they set off."

To support the 2016 ride or make a donation in support of the ride, they can contact Steve and the R Charity fundraising team, at the Royal, via:- email or by calling:- 0151 706 3150 to find out how.

Local theatres pull together to host Spotlight Open House Festival

LIVERPOOL'S best actors will gather on Monday, 13 June 2016 and Tuesday, 14 June 2016, for a 2 day festival of learning, development and networking with industry leading professionals to cultivate the local performing arts industry.  Spotlight Open House is an opportunity for everyone involved in the Liverpool performing arts industry to share ideas, learn and network with people and organisations who are striving to increase the amount and quality of local theatre, TV and film produced in the North West. The event is aimed at actors who want to develop their career within Liverpool; there will also be networking opportunities that are available for anyone involved in the local industry. Sessions will be run by Hollyoaks casting director Gill Charnock from Lime Pictures, accent coach Laura Carroll and writer/directors Andrew Sherlock and Bob Eaton of Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre. There will also be a series of professional development workshops from industry experts from outside the North West. A performance of well received Page to Stage's Welcome to Paradise Road will also be featured. The Open House festival is run by Spotlight, the leading casting platform in Europe, and supported by Pearson Casting, in association with Liverpool Empire Creative Learning Department and The Royal Court Liverpool Trust. Ben Seale, Spotlight CEO, says:- "As a performing arts industry, it's important that we help to generate work locally and provide opportunities for actors to be cast in productions all over the Country."  James Pearson, casting director, says:- "Liverpool is a hub of acting talent. The inaugural Spotlight Open House festival will help everyone who is involved in the local industry to develop more opportunities for home grown actors and tell more of Liverpool's stories."

Tickets are free for Spotlight members or on application online.

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