Runners raise £21k to beat leprosy

By Austeja Treinyte

Colchester-based charity Lepra is celebrating this week as 11 runners have completed the London Marathon raising over £20,000.

The runners raised money by holding quizzes, casino nights and even running their own fundraisers on Facebook to help transform the lives of people affected by leprosy.

They have all been training for months to run the 26.2 miles. Lepra’s fastest runner came in 3 hours and 18 minutes, flying past their cheer point at Mile 11.

A University of Essex graduate Soph Bailey-Smith, who joined Team Lepra at the Marathon, rose over £1200 for the charity. Soph said she was encouraged to help Lepra after meeting someone with lymphatic filariasis, a disease caused by parasitic worms.

Soph completed the marathon in 4 hours and 31 minutes and will continue to support Lepra in the future.  

Charity’s Supporter Engagement and Events Lead Olivia Egan said: ‘Places in events like the London Marathon give our supporters a chance to take on a challenge to help raise much needed awareness and funds for Lepra to help support people affected by leprosy.’

In 2017, 210 671 people were diagnosed with leprosy and evidence shows that over 3 million people are living undiagnosed. Due to the prejudice around the disease it means many people are left to endure a lifetime of abuse, isolation and shame.

In 2017/18 Lepra reached 301,000 children, women and men directly through diagnosis, treatment and care in India, Bangladesh and Mozambique.

The charity has a range of events throughout the year. This weekend they have a team abseiling down the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London and are looking for cyclists to take part in the Prudential Ride 100 in August.

Lepra was founded in London on 31st January 1924, but moved to Colchester in 1974. Olivia Egan said they love being part of the local community in Colchester and are always looking to work more with those in the community around them.

Our break in Corfu

By Emily Bickers

Thursday 11th of April Jake, Jakes family and I set off for a week in Corfu in aid of Jakes Dad’s 60th birthday. With a total of 9 people in tow we were good to go!

We were due to arrive at our accommodation later on that evening so it was going to be a long day. We arrived at about 10pm that night and I wont lie, I was freezing. Where can I get a cup of tea

Fast forward to the next morning, it was time to explore the town of Acharavi and get to grips on what we would be dealing with for the next 7 days.

There was a supermarket down the road from our apartment – literally 2 minuets away. This was great as we could stock up on things we needed for the week. It also meant we could get breakfast – bacon and egg sandwiches seemed to be the most popular idea – not great for our waist lines, but we’re on holiday right?

After breakfast was done we decided to do a little bit more exploring. The town consisted on a few restaurants, bars, coffee shops and clothing stores. There was the odd tourist shop but not many. We knew the beach wasn’t far from our apartment so we just needed to find it!

The first few days of the holiday weren’t the best in terms of the weather; we had a lot of rain and it was quite cold! This meant we couldn’t lounge around the pool all day (much to my disappointment), leaving us with the option of walking along the beach when it wasn’t raining. This was actually really enjoyable once you got going! On Monday we walked 8 miles in total!

After a few days the sun did eventually make an appearance making it beautifully hot. I wasn’t brave enough to go in the pool but I did paddle my feet in the sea. Maybe next time…


On the first night, myself, Jake, Jakes brother and his girlfriend went out for a meal. We decided the best way to decide where to eat was walk through the town and go to whichever one we fancied most….simple right?

We soon realised that there wasn’t much choice at all, what with it only being April it wasn’t quite the right season for some shops and restaurants to open yet. Thankfully, there were still a few open with different choices of food.

As we continued to walk further in the hope of something grabbing our attention, Jake was getting hungrier by the minuet. We saw ‘Angelos’ a pizza, pasta and burger restaurant that was open so we bit the bullet and went in.

I was very apprehensive about eating out as a whole because I am lactose intolerant which limits my choice significantly. However, I was pleasantly surprised as the waiter informed me that they offered vegan cheese in their pizza’s and burgers. Without going over the top, this was pretty much the best day of my life. I ordered a pizza with tomato, tuna and onion. Happy days.

The rest of the holiday consisted of eating in with Jakes family and eating out at the restaurants nearby.

One restaurant that I thoroughly enjoyed was ‘Pita House’. This was where I found my favourite dish ever.

Chicken Souvlaki in a pita with chips and salad…need I say any more? It was divine, so much so that after I found this meal it was all I ate for the rest of the holiday.

What made this dish more amazing was the price, €2.50 for one pita filled with salad and chips. How much better can it get?

Would I go back?

Absolutely! Overall the holiday was great. We had a great time as a family relaxing by the pool (when the sun did come out), walking along the beach and just enjoying ourselves! If I were to return to Corfu I would consider coming in the summer time just because I love the sun.

The food generally was cheap and if you’re looking for somewhere to relax and do nothing, Acharavi is the best place!

A trip to the zoo

By Jaimie-Paige Tucker

When school holidays come around, the age-old question is always “what do we do to fill the time”. In the half term, we decided to take my siblings to ZSL London Zoo. It’s been several years since I’d been to a zoo, let alone London Zoo but it was not a disappointment.

The Zoo is the perfect place for all ages, there are so many different areas and activities for everyone. For example, at 13:30 yesterday there was a live penguin show that we watched. It was really informative and so cute to watch all of the penguins fulfil their daily activities. Therefore, it was both educational, and a good time which is perfect for anyone aged 2 – 82!

We managed to get around the whole zoo in roughly 5 hours, which is pretty good going… And including travel that makes a whole day worth of fun, because who doesn’t love trying to work their way around the tube stations? We spent the whole day gawking at animals of all types! Reptiles, monkeys, lions and my favourite giraffes. My brother and sister loved it, giggling over which one looked the most like the gorillas. As you can imagine, the nice weather really lifted all of our moods too. All it takes is a tiny bit of sun to make any brit fancy an ice-cream, and that’s exactly happened.

I know that not everyone supports the ideology behind a zoo. Trust me, I’ve been sceptical myself at times, but I really appreciate the efforts that ZSL have put in to the zoo and to the charity that they are. “Fostering sustainable relationships between wildlife and people – because people thrive when wildlife thrives” is the moto that the zoological society stands by. When you buy your ticket in to the zoo, at optional 10% is added directly to the cost which goes directly to improving the animal enclosures. You can remove this, but who is saying no the animals? One lady kindly gave her whole estate to the ZSL when she passed, meaning a brand new, improved enclosure for the gorillas.

It’s a zoo and a charity! Which is easier on the mind in my opinion, as long as money is going into the animal’s welfare and treatment then I am willing to visit the zoo and go back again. ZSL London zoo is definitely worth the visit and is most certainly a worthy trip.

A week in the Canaries

By Sarah Dickson

Over Easter I stayed in my grandparents’ house in
Fuerteventura. Over six days, as well as sun bathing –obviously (although it doesn’t look like it now) – I did a lot of exploring of the island. On the first day I walked up what is known as Chipmunk Hill in Caleta De Fuste, which was a very long walk but so worth it, the views were amazing.

Then on the second day, I did some more walking along the beautiful coastal route into Costa Antigua. Which has a stunning man-made beach that goes on for miles and is surrounded by beach front restaurants and cafés. One of my favourite cafés along the stretch is called Café del Town. I go there every time I visit.

On the third day, we drove further out of the island where the big shopping centre was in Puerto Del Rosario, it’s so surprising how expensive Fuerteventura is compared to the UK, I spent 150 euro’s that day, Opps! Oh well I was on my holidays!

The fourth day, I didn’t really do much apart from lay in the sun and start to write this travel feature, why is doing coursework so much easier to do on holiday? It was probably the lovely heat; the sun makes everything better.

On the fifth day, we went out and about again but this time into the more mainland side of the island where all the lovely coves/bays are. The drive there was super scary, especially because we were going further and further up the hills. It felt like we were on a rollercoaster!

When we stopped driving, we got to this beautiful bay in El Cotillo which very traditional compared to everywhere else that was built up for the purpose of attracting tourists. While we were there, we had lunch in a very small and cute café over looking the bay, it was very picturesque! After lunch we decided to keep on travelling further up to see where we ended up, the roads were becoming steeper and scarier. Which I didn’t like as I’m not a very good passenger!

We stopped at a place called los Molinos, which was nothing but a rocky bay, so we couldn’t really stop.

On the sixth and final day, we went into Caleta, which wasn’t far from my grandparents house and had breakfast at the Atlántico centre which consisted of loads of shops and nice outside restaurants, before travelling home soon after.

I couldn’t recommend visiting Fuerteventura for a holiday enough, it is a beautiful island with loads of things to do.

#MeToo lives on in Facebook group

By Karin Ekblom

In December last year Maria Robsahm started the Facebook group #allavi (#allofus), to give women  a safe place to share their stories of sexual assaults and to break the silence about sexual misconduct.

The group started as a result of the #metoo-campaign that took of in October last year. In the description of the group, it states that its purpose is to give women a safe place to share their stories and to break the silence of sexual assaults. It also states that the group is for any woman affected by sexual assaults and today the group have over 57 000 members, and all who are women that in some way are, or have been, affected by sexual misconduct. The admins of the group stated that “our main focus of this group is to break the tyranny of silence”.

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