Category Archives: General

  • The Superhero Series is the only mass-participation sports series dedicated to the everyday superhero – the UK’s 12 million people with disabilities[1] – and their friends and families
  • Launched by Paralympian Sophia Warner and supported by celebrity Team Captains: Sophie Christiansen, Kadeena Cox, Dave Henson, JJ Chalmers, Sophie Morgan, Anne Dickins and Megan Giglia
  • Team Captains are calling on the public to join their team for the Celebrity Superhero Tri, one of several sporting challenges designed to inspire people to have a go

Today, Tuesday 15 November, a host of Paralympic gold medallists helped launch the Superhero Series, the UK’s only mass-participation sports series for everyday superheroes. Sophia Warner, Marc Woods, and Team Captains Sophie Christiansen, JJ Chalmers, Sophie Morgan, Anne Dickins and Megan Giglia attended the launch event at Beany Green in Paddington and called on the public to sign up and get involved in this unique event.

Leveraging the inspiration of the fantastic Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and the 64 gold medals won by ParalympicsGB, the Superhero Series aims to increase disability sport participation at all levels by removing restrictive rules and regulations imposed by mass-participation events. Team Captains will be taking on one stage of the Celebrity Superhero Tri (150m swim, 3k bike, 1k push/run) and are calling out to the nation (disabled and non-disabled) to complete their relay team. To enter the competition, simply head to and tell us in your own words why you should be picked for a Celebrity Superhero’s team and which stage of the triathlon you’d like to do.

Big, bold and gusty, Superhero Series gives total beginners through to elite athletes the chance to find their inner superpower and achieve an inspirational goal. The debut event is on 19 August 2017 at Dorney Lake, Windsor.

Alongside the Celebrity Superhero Tri, the debut event will hold three triathlon challenges over three distances. Participants don’t have to take on all three stages, opening up four popular sports.

Three ways to take part:

  • Team up – do one stage each. Unite with family and friends (disabled and non-disabled) to share the work and the fun.
  • Grab a Sidekick – a world 1st! This a unique chance for a Sidekick (a Superhero helper) to tow a friend or loved one in the water and push or pull them around the bike & push/run stages.
  • Fly solo – for those who want to take on all three triathlon stages. Everyone entering a solo event must consider themselves to have a disability. Details of an elite race will be announced Jan 2017.

The three distances:

  • Sprint Superhero Tri: 150m swim, 3k bike, 1k push/run
  • Half Superhero Tri: 400m swim, 10k bike, 2.5k push/run
  • Full Superhero Tri: 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k push/run

There will be 20 Team Captains in all, with the first to be announced being:

  • Sophie Christiansen, OBE, eight-time Paralympic Gold Medallist, Paraequestrian (also a Superhero Series Ambassador)
  • JJ Chalmers, former Royal Marine and Channel 4 Rio 2016 Paralympics Presenter
  • Sophie Morgan, TV Presenter, artist and model, and part of Channel 4 Rio 2016 Paralympics presenting team
  • Anne Dickins, Paralympic Gold Medallist, Paracanoeing
  • Megan Giglia, won Britain’s first Gold Medal in Rio 2016, in C1-3 3,000m cycling race
  • Kadeena Cox, Paralympic Gold Medallist in Rio 2016 in C4-5 cycling time trial and T38 400m sprint
  • David Henson, MBE, Rio 2016 bronze medallist in 200m sprint and inaugural Invictus Games team captain
  • More to be announced!

With Superhero Series prioritising the sporting interests of the everyday superhero, we are also proud to announce four ambassadors:

  • Sofia Crockett, 12-year-old Sofia lost her leg through Meningococcal disease at the age of two and regularly competes in sport, often with her family
  • Team Williams – Mum Jenni (swimming), Dad Steve (cycling) and ‘Tiny Tornado’ Eve, 4 years old (walking hand in hand with her Sidekick Mum for the final leg). Eve has a rare chromosome condition that causes global development delay and epilepsy
  • Stephan and Chloe Couture – father and daughter duo who have tackled many sporting events together and will be participating in the Sprint, Half and Full Sidekick triathlons at the Superhero Series
  • Sophie Christiansen – also a Team Captain. Demonstrating elite sportspeople also want the opportunity to come together and compete for fun.

Sophia Warner, Paralympian and founder of the Superhero Series, said “I have been involved in disability sport for 25 years, and am thrilled to be launching an event that unites people of all disabilities, and gives the one million people with disabilities who regularly do sport the chance to come together, compete and challenge themselves.”

Team Captain Sophie Christiansen said “I cannot wait for people to share their superpower and get involved in the Superhero Series. I am really looking forward to reading all the stories and being part of a team of everyday superheroes.”

Superhero Series ambassador Eve Williams is taking part in the Sidekick Tri with her Superhero family. Mum Jenni said “the Superhero Tri shows what is possible when given the opportunity and allows us to work towards and enjoy a great sporting challenge as a family. Eve is such an adventurous and determined little tornado and what a way to encourage and channel these amazing qualities.”

To find out more about Superhero Series and to sign up visit Regular need updates on twitter: @superherotri.

The Superhero Series is only possible through the support of its sponsors: Irwin Mitchell, Barclays, Ottobock, Quest88, Gatwick Airport and Daisy Green.

Remembrance Sunday is always a very special occasion at Pangbourne College and in the village of Pangbourne. As one new member of staff was heard to say: ‘At Pangbourne they do it properly’.

Over 1,000 people, including parents, grandparents, Old Pangbournians, Parents of Old Pangbournians and former members of staff, joined the College community in the morning for a service, led by the Chaplain the Reverend Neil Jeffers, and parade taken by Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, former First Sea Lord (2009-13), to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

In the afternoon, the Marching Band, led by final year student and Drum Major Sasha Pokrovskaya, gathered with Bandmaster Mr Jeremy Clack, Director of Music Miss Ellie Calver and Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) Colin Hearn to lead the village uniform groups, such as Brownies and Cubs, as well as the Royal British Legion in their parade through the village to the War Memorial and service at the church of St James the Less.

At the morning service in the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel, the Chamber Choir, conducted by Miss Calver, sang a capella Sir Hubert Parry’s rousing My Soul, There is a Country prior to the Service of Remembrance. During the service wreaths were laid by Rear Admiral Roger Lane-Nott, Chairman of Governors, the Headmaster of Pangbourne College Mr Thomas Garnier and Mr Merrick Rayner, Chairman of the Old Pangbournian Society. 

In his sermon, the Chaplain reminded the congregation of the 176 Old Pangbournians and one Governor who died in World War II and also the 255 servicemen, including Colonel H Jones VC and three civilians, who died in the Falklands War of 1982. The Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel is a living memorial to those who lost their lives – and there is a World War II Old Pangbournian memorial window which is hung at the south end of the Chapel.

The College Choir sang two moving and poignant anthems: We Will Remember Them composed by David Perkins, himself an RAF serviceman, and written by his wife Caroline Dooley, who were present in the congregation, and accompanied by the College Brass Ensemble (Mr Jeremy Clack, Philip Garnier, Lucy Perring, Finley South-Klein, Louis Winter, Toby Woollen and also French Horn players Laurence Livesey and Luca van der Wyck); and Gabriel Fauré’s In Paradisum from his Requiem. The Brass Ensemble also accompanied the National Anthem and Old Hundredth Psalm.

RSM Colin Hearn, himself a Royal Marine, led the congregation in the Act of Remembrance and, as an RAF Chinook and Puma flew overhead, Mr Clack played the Last Post.

Following the service, the Marching Band led the Remembrance Sunday parade at the College at which Chief Cadet Captain of the College (Head Boy), Fred Taucher, introduced Guest of Honour Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope to the College.

The sun shone brilliantly throughout and among the pieces performed by the Band was an arrangement especially written by Bandmaster Mr Clack for the Pangbourne students, Land of Hope and Glory. Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope and Lady Stanhope, with Rear Admiral Roger Lane-Nott and Mr and Mrs Merrick Rayner, were entertained by the Headmaster and Mrs Alex Garnier to a lunch at Devitt House, at which guests included Chief Cadet Captains Matthew Atkins and Charlotte Bowman and their parents. 

A large group of Parents of Old Pangbournians were hosted by Director of External Relations Miss Karen Hartshorn in the newly refurbished Old Library for lunch. Many enjoyed the new centenary Old Library corridor, in which there is a 100 Years Photographic Exhibition celebrating the College’s history. The afternoon parade and service in the village was supported by over 300 members of the local community.


The annual Berkshire Young Musician of the Year competition for 2017 has been launched and this year it is open to musicians who play stringed instruments. This prestigious competition is organised by Berkshire Maestros in partnership with Windsor Festival International String Competition and Philip Brown Violins, and showcases the skills of some of the most talented instrumentalists in the county.

Jonathan Burnett, Head of Strings for Berkshire Maestros, said:

“Berkshire Young Musician of the Year allows children from all backgrounds and standards to take part in a multi-dimensional competition. From uploading videos online to the final at The Guildhall in Windsor and receiving prizes in the Waterloo Chamber in Windsor Castle, last time presented by HRH The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO, – this is a unique opportunity to take part in one of the most forward thinking competitions in the country.”


The competition is open to instrumentalists who play violin, viola, ‘cello and double bass, and entrants need to be under 20 years old on the day of the final on Sunday 12th March 2017. There are multiple categories for aged 9 and under, 10-12 years, 13-15 years and 16-19 years old. Comprising three rounds, finalists will get to perform on stage at the Guildhall in Windsor.

Martin Denny, Festival Director of Windsor Festival, said:

“I am delighted that Windsor Festival continues to work closely with Berkshire Maestros, and is involved in this competition which is of such great value for the development of young musicians in the county. Running alongside our International String Competition we aim to inspire and encourage, and to add to the excellent support Maestros already provides with enhanced opportunities.”

Sean Law, Lead String Teacher for Berkshire Maestros, added:

“This is a fantastic chance for young string players from Berkshire. We are excited to launch our new website which has facilitated the video entry system and will open up the competition to an even wider range of students across the county.”

Each year the Berkshire Young Musician competition focuses on a different group of instruments, including voice. Last year the focus was on woodwind and brass players, and the competition was won by 17 year old flautist Fiona Martin. She said:

 “Achieving such an award has given me confidence to pursue performance further.”

Young instrumentalists who are keen to follow in her footsteps can enter online at

It was a real magical moment when a teacher and student got to perform together in the UK tour of Shrek at Wimbledon. Amy Punter who has taught dance at Stagecoach Wokingham for 3 years, was delighted when Millie Cook was cast as “young Shrek” and “Grumpy”. over 60 students wen to see them on stage earlier on in the year, and the cheers for their bows brought the house down. We also got to meet Amy and Millie afterwards, and we are sure they felt like celebrities!

After the success of our student and teacher both starring in the Shrek UK tour – Stagecoach Wokingham is delighted to be launching a brand new Friday school due to popular demand. The classes will run from 4:15-7:30pm for ages 6 and above at The Holt School. They are led by Claire Stainer who has been working with students for over 10 years to develop performance skills and confidence. Call us today on 0118 371 2998 or email [email protected] for further information.

Shrek 2

Reading charity Cianna’s Smile is launching the ‘Know Your Trait campaign’ to educate Berkshire about the health condition called Sickle Cell. The charity is taking a stand by distributing information to doctor surgeries and health care clinics by being an ambassador for the illness.

Inspired by her 8 year old daughter Cianna who has Sickle Cell, charity founder Hayley King is launching the health care campaign to dispel myths and educate families about the illness.

Hayley King says:

I believe that raising awareness is extremely crucial. If we are able to provide a service that will encourage and educate healthcare professionals about the disorder, then those suffering from Sickle Cell will receive efficient treatment on admission to hospital and an empathic service.

Cianna was born 11 weeks premature and within the first few days of her life; her parents were told she has Sickle cell anaemia.

Sickle cell anaemia is a serious inherited blood disorder where the red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body, develop abnormally.  The sickle-shaped cells contain defective haemoglobin that can block blood vessels, resulting in episodes of severe pain, known as a sickle cell crisis that can last for days.

Sickle cell is one of the most common genetic diseases in the world with over 250,000 carriers of Sickle Cell gene in England. Carriers of the Sickle cell gene are generally healthy and have no symptoms but there is a 1 in 4 chance that a baby can have Sickle Cell if both parents are carriers.

Dr Georgina Hall from the Royal Berkshire hospital, Reading describes Sickle Cell as a ‘life long disorder.  We see patients from little baby stage, right through to adolescent and teenage years. Sickle Cell can affect any part of the body. Mainly we look to see the effects of a painful crisis such as pain in the chest or bones’.

With strength of mind, Hayley launched Cianna’s Smile in 2012 to increase awareness about Sickle Cell anaemia. The charity aims to raise money to educate families and patients affected by Sickle Cell Anaemia, in the Thames Valley area.

To raise awareness of the illness, Cianna’s Smile has an exciting year of activities planned.

The charity is launching the ‘Know Your Trait campaign’ in June to encourage people to understand the NHS screening programme and find out if you have the sickle cell inherited trait.

Hayley and the team will be distributing information to doctor surgeries and health care clinics to share the necessary information.

We are delighted to announce that the charity will be holding a masquerade ball: an elegant and fun filled evening to raise awareness about Sickle Cell Anaemia at Crowne Plaza Reading on Saturday 17th September 2016.

Cianna’s Smile also aims to hold their first Sickle Cell Awareness conference for healthcare professional in June 2017.

Donations to Cianna’s Smile can be made via:

‘The World’s Greatest Living Explorer’, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, was guest speaker at the Uganda Charity Night Dinner hosted in February by Pangbourne College for 200 guests in which £18,000 was raised to support the work of Nabugabo Community Learning Centre, which is based in the Masaka District of Uganda.  The Centre, which was founded in 2013, provides invaluable education, nutritious food and life-changing facilities for over 70 children.

Since 2014, Pangbourne College has developed links with this Centre and the money raised from the Dinner will go towards educational materials, uniform, games kit and building materials.  Additionally, this year, for the first time, 32 Pangbourne College students aged 16 to 18 years old will join 5 members of staff led by Mr Colin Hearn and spend 3 weeks there, helping to teach English, build homes, and run community sports events.  It is hoped that their visit will be the first of many annual trips of Pangbourne College students to Nabugabo.

All those planning to visit the Centre in Summer 2016 helped host the evening and among the silent auction lots were two very special paintings with an African feel to them and one pencil drawing of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, also signed by him, by Upper Sixth student, Phoebe Hessian.

Mr Colin Hearn, who has visited Nabugabo Community Learning Centre over three times over the last two years, said, “As Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’  I am over the moon that with the generosity of parents, past parents, old girls and boys, as well as members of the local Pangbourne community, we have been able to raise such a large sum for Nabugabo at this dinner.  To have Sir Ranulph Fiennes as our guest speaker was the icing on the cake.  With amazing determination, he has achieved so much in his life time and is a great example to those of us who have dreams of exploration work.”