Toploader joining the line-up  for Swindon’s MFOR festival

Toploader joining the line-up for Swindon’s MFOR festival

Toploader, the band which had one of the most successful songs of the last 20 years Dancing In The Moonlight, has been named among the line-up for the MFOR Festival at Lydiard Park in Swindon in July. 

Formed in 1997, the band has sold over two million albums and had a string of top 20 hits in the UK and overseas. Their debut album Onka’s Big Mokasold over a million copies. 

In the year 2000 they released their most successful song to date – Dancing In The Moonlight– which was a global hit and stayed in the European Airplay Charts for over a year. It was re-released in 2013 and had millions of hits on YouTube making it one of the most successful songs of recent times. 

In 2013, they also released two singles Turn It Aroundand This Is The Night, the latter becoming their first No 1 in the Radio 2 Airplay Charts. 

Toploader will join the acts already announced. They include headline act Years & Years. They released their latest album Palo Santo last year and their debut album Communion was the fastest selling debut album of any UK based band in 2015. 

Forming part of the line-up is the singer songwriter Ella Eyre currently best known for her collaborations with Rudimental on their UK number one single Waiting All Night. That track won the 2014 Brit Award for British Single of the Year. She released her debut album Feline, in 2015.  Joining the line-up too, is local singer songwriter and X Factor finalist Jahmene Douglas.

Graham Stobbs, member of the organising team, said: “I’m thrilled to be able to confirm another act in the line-up.  We’d like to thank all of those who are supporting us and buying tickets. Prices go up again from Monday April 1 so please get your orders in quickly!”

The event will also offer a range of other experiences including a climbing wall and an inflatable assault course. There will also be a food and drinks area, community participation and a charitable element raising money for veteran charity Walking With The Wounded and other local projects. The Wiltshire-based Red Devils, the official parachute display team of the British Army who will be parachuting in. 

The MFOR Music Festival takes place on Saturday July 27. Gates open at 11am and the finish time is 10:30pm.  Ticket prices are tiered – the earlier a ticket is booked, the cheaper the price.

Tickets booked up to this Sunday March 31 are £32.99 for adults (aged 14 upwards), rising then to £37.99 until the end of May. Children’s tickets are £9.99 (aged five to 13 inclusive) rising to £12.99. Under fives go free – one young child per full-paying adult. VIP tickets for fast track access and extra benefits are £70 each.  Information and tickets are available on the website at

TV Antiques Star Returns to TV with a New Show Created  With His Wife

TV Antiques Star Returns to TV with a New Show Created With His Wife

Latest news from Hungry Gap Productions

Flog it!, may be no more – in terms or recommissioning at least. But fans and antique lovers need not fret, for Wiltshire resident and Swindon enthusiast will soon be back on your screens with his new show: Curiosity.

Paul Martin, TV Presenter and antiques expert.

TV antiques expert Paul Martin returns to our screens in a new vintage-themed show, Curiosity.

Curiosity is a competitive format which puts contestants’ knowledge of antiques and collectables to the test. In each episode two teams of two will move from room to room, using their skills, expertise and intuition to take on different tasks and challenges – all against the clock.

Paul and his wife Charlotte dreamed up the initial idea.

Paul, who lives in Wiltshire with Charlotte and their children Dylan and Meredith, said: ‘This show is the culmination of an idea Charlotte and I came up with at home at our kitchen table.’

‘I always loved any kind of treasure hunt,’ Charlotte Martin said. “Then working on various series myself in television, meeting Paul and being immersed in the world of antiques and collectables I began to think about how we could bring an element of a ‘searching’ together with our mutual love of vintage, quirky and social history into one programme. Gradually the idea of Curiosity took shape and it’s been amazing to see it become a reality.

The pair teamed up with Pete Lawrence, the boss of Bristol-based independent company Hungry Gap Productions to develop the format and bring Curiosity to life. 

The programme is set in a series of distinctive rooms including The Den of Antiquity and So Last Century and combines vintage and social history in an entertaining way.

Pete, founder of Hungry Gap Productions said: ‘It’s a fun show and it feels like anything can happen.’

‘Our teams are tasked with finding fakes, spotting links between objects and discovering the fascinating stories behind the kind of trinkets and treasures that cram collectable emporiums and second-hand shops throughout the land,’ Pete said.

‘Paul is a fountain of knowledge and he brings the stories of the objects to life explaining their provenance and unique attributes.’

Paul’s ‘co-presenter’ in the series is a four-legged actor – a Bassett hound named after his own dog: Baxter. 

‘Baxter is my mate and my side kick at home. The programme is a bit quirky like him. He’s a proper character and this is his five minutes of fame – sort of. In real life the specially trained stage dog is actually called Maggie! That’s Curiosity for you!’

Curiosity comes to our screens on Monday April 1 at 2.15pm on BBC One and will run weekdays for three weeks.  

Get Business fit with Business Village

Get Business fit with Business Village

29 December 2018

Get Business fit with Business Village

Free event will help businesses and their owners get fit for 2019

Getting fit for 2019, in personal and business life, will be the focus of a free event kicking off the New Year for breakfast networking group Swindon Business Village.

Ian Locke and Shirley Hensher will jointly deliver a presentation: ‘Fit for business: achieving personal wellbeing is key to your business success’ on Thursday January 10.

Get business fit for business village

Ian is a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He runs Thrive Personal Training, helping people move, eat and live in ways which improve their health and wellbeing. Shirley, under her business banner The Change Agent, enables corporate professionals and business owners to shape working lives which fit with their values and aspirations.

Shirley said: “The presentation is aimed at helping business owners who want to manage their health and fitness with the same level of energy and focus with which they manage their business. In other words, business owners who need motivation or support to create the opportunities for more ‘me time’ in their working week.”

Ian added: “For many of us, we are the most valuable asset our business has but we often ignore our own wellbeing in favour of the needs of the business. At the heart of our presentation is the question, your business needs you, but are you fit for business?”

The event, on Thursday January 10, is the first after the group’s Christmas break, and is free to anyone wanting to attend, as well as Business Village regulars.

It runs from 7.30-9am at The Campanile, West Swindon, and includes networking, one-minute introductions and breakfast. The usual charge for each weekly, Thursday meeting is £10 for booking online in advance (£9 early bird) or £12 on the door. The group charges no membership fee.

For more information and to book for the presentation, and other events on the Swindon Business Village calendar, visit

In their separate businesses, Ian and Shirley both work with corporate executives and business owners seeking personal transformation.

For more information about The Change Agent visit and for Thrive Personal Training visit

Students & Sanctuary Seekers highlight the importance of Safety & Welcome in Swindon

Students & Sanctuary Seekers highlight the importance of Safety & Welcome in Swindon

December 2018

Students & Sanctuary Seekers highlight the importance of Safety & Welcome in Swindon

swindon city of sanctuary

On Tuesday 11th December, 4:00pm-5:00pm, at Drove Primary School, teachers from Drove Primary School and artists Rachel Pryor and Nicky-Ann Walker will discuss  the inspiration for the new mural, The Journey to Safety and Welcome, now hanging in the entrance of the school. They’ll also explain how it came about as the result of a unique collaboration between children at the school and members of The Harbour Project Art Group.

Safety and welcome in Swindon mural

Begun during Refugee Week earlier this year, the work is part of an ongoing collaboration between Drove Primary School and Swindon City of Sanctuary through its Schools of Sanctuary work.

Schools of Sanctuary began in Yorkshire and there are now Schools of Sanctuary in Wales, Ireland and many English cities and towns. Here in Swindon, eight schools are working towards this nationally recognised award.

A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to being a safe and welcoming place for all, especially those seeking sanctuary. This could be people whose lives were in danger in their own country, who have troubles at home or are just looking for a space of safety.

Artist Rachel Pryor said her work at The Harbour Project made her very mindful of just how important safety and welcome is:

“In our art group, people often talk about home. They come to the UK with no network of friends or family and can wait a long time for a decision on their asylum claim. It’s unbelievably tough. Art can help express some of those feelings of loss, which are often better expressed in a visual language. “

She added:

“I was so impressed how the children helping had thought carefully about the things and people they would miss if they became refugees. Developing empathy and compassion is such an important part of our human development whatever age we are.”

It is a sentiment with which Cristina Bennett, volunteer Schools of Sanctuary lead, agrees:

“Schools of Sanctuary is all about embedding a culture of welcome and inclusion for everyone in the school – teachers and teaching assistants, non-teaching staff, pupils and parents. That’s why this mural is so special. It features the work of every single year group, from nursery through to Year 6, as well as the work of our Harbour Project friends. We hope it will inspire all who see it to think more deeply about what welcome means, to reflect on how we cannot take any of our freedoms for granted and, to think about our actions in welcoming people who are new to our communities.”

This event will also give teaching colleagues and friends the chance to share, informally, their own School of Sanctuary work since the launch on 17th January 2018.


About Swindon City of Sanctuary

Swindon City of Sanctuary fosters a culture of welcome, inclusion and support for everyone in Swindon, with a focus on those seeking sanctuary.

In practical terms, we do this by bringing people and organisations together, providing support through projects, running community events, raising awareness and campaigning for social justice, thereby contributing to the wider, national movement that is City of Sanctuary.

Social Media

The Harbour Project:

Swindon City of Sanctuary:


Photo credit

1. Mural of The Journey to Safety and Welcome – created by Rachel Pryor and Nicky- Ann Walker in collaboration with Drove Primary School and The Harbour Project Art Group.

Event: Vegan gourmet evening with Eggelicious

Event: Vegan gourmet evening with Eggelicious

Event : Vegan gourmet evening

I think this looks to be an interesting - and delicious evening

Vegan gourmet evening with Eggelicious

I think this looks to be an interesting – and delicious evening. In fact I KNOW it will be delicious because I’ve already tasted some of it.  Not that I am a vegan – nor have any intention of becoming so. In fact I’m the polar opposite. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to this event.

What do vegans eat? I’ve often wondered I won’t lie. According to the website for the vegan society:

So what do vegans eat?

A great deal – you’ll soon find a whole new world of exciting foods and flavours opening up to you. A vegan diet is richly diverse and comprises all kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans and pulses – all of which can be prepared in endless combinations that will ensure you’re never bored. From curry to cake, pasties to pizzas, all your favourite things can be suitable for a vegan diet if they’re made with plant-based ingredients. Check out our vegan recipes for ideas.’

And that is the point behind Ash Mistry, Eggelicious head honcho, putting on this event.  Swindon, lovely multi-cultural Swindon, is blessed with a plethora of ethnic supermarkets. In these stores you will find a magical array of vegetables and pulses with which you can great a great variety of vegan delights with no need for ‘special’ ingredients.

The critical information part

When: The Eggelicious Vegan Gourmet evening is on Saturday 24th of November. It starts at 6.30pm to 7.30 pm. Staggered entry for each guest/guest – the idea being to allow time to get acquainted.

You have free parking on our loading bay up on the roof of the Brunel Centre.

The evening begins at the entrance where you will have to give a secret password at the barrier.

Once you have parked on the allocated space you will be picked up and escorted to the Eggelicious Gourmet Evening.

On the evening we will have ‘A show and tell’, of the world vegetables, you are about to eat, so you have some references, if you ever wanted to buy from the Asian Delis, of Swindon.

There are nine fantastic courses for you to enjoy – so be hungry. We also have music and are fully licensed for the evening. The whole evening should be around 2.5hrs to 3hrs long.

There is a strong interest for this private event. To reserve a secured place , please leave a deposit at either of the Eggelicious outlets. The cost is £45 per person and you will be given a ticket and a free parking guide for the event.

NB: Eggelicious are on Wood Street in Old Town and in The Crossing in the Brunel Centre.


Eggelicious contacts

So now. with no further ado, to whet your appetite, I’ll post the menu and some pictures of what you’re likely to be enjoying.

The Menu

Menu 1


Menu 2

The Dishes


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Event: The Journey

Event: The Journey

Event: The Journey

When does this journey take place?
9th December 2018 at 12pm and 4pm

This event looks like being epic. Though not as epic as the journey it sets out to portray: that of Joseph and the pregnant Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

They had to travel 90 miles to the city of Joseph’s ancestors: south along the flatlands of the Jordan River, then west over the hills surrounding Jerusalem, and on into Bethlehem. That was one gruelling and dangerous trip. It’s fair to say that this journey around Old Town won’t be quite so long nor anything like as arduous. But it promises to be an incredible experience.

When does this journey take place? 9th December 2018 at 12pm and 4pm

The Journey

The Journey

Welcome to an immense, immersive theatrical telling of the Christmas story.

A processional performance will unfold throughout Swindon Old Town, this Christmas.

Never before seen ‘behind the scenes’ access to the characters we are so familiar with, will reveal the true nature, the faith and the fearlessness, of those who were chosen to birth and raise Jesus Christ.

Meet Mary, the teenage bride, betrothed to Joseph and mysteriously pregnant. She risks shame, heartbreak and a painful death. Revealed are Joseph’s innermost thoughts. How can he understand the nature of Mary’s pregnancy? How will he find the strength to stand by her? Now forced by an occupying power they must make the impossible journey together, throughout the length of a nation, anyway they can.

This is a story of survival, courage, love and faith against all the odds.

‘Our creative team are keen to highlight how these circumstances reflect the difficulties faced by the refugee community and ask people to just consider that this is still happening today.  *See also David Bent’s Movement 2000 for resonances with what this performance is all about.

We are doing this by creating a huge number of people that will join the principal cast as they move down Bath Road and up Wood Street, to mirror those images seen in the media during the refugee crises of recent years.’

The Journey’s artistic director is Anna Friend of the Quirky Bird Theatre and the executive producer is Daphne Hardwick produced of the ever-popular Old Town autumn fayre at Christchurch.

Follow The Journey on Facebook:

To register for your ticket visit

To get involved email

Get your ticket for this free event here. And below is the route of the journey.

The Route

The performance will begin at Lethbridge Primary School and then proceed along Avenue Road, Bath Road, and Wood Street, culminating at Christ Church for our finale.

Route Map - public


If you’d like to get involved in this performance and be more than a bystander – here are some FAQs:

Can I bring my children?
Yes! We would love families to be part of this. Unfortunately we cannot have prams or pushchairs but babes in arms, toddlers and older children are very welcome!

How long will we be needed?
There are two performances, one at 12 and one at 4pm. We envisage that you will be needed for 30 minutes to complete the walk each time, but it could take longer, depending on the size of the group.

Will I need to provide costume?
Kind of…we would like you to wear dark clothing and make sure you are all warm! Shawls and blankets wrapped over shoulders would be great. Nothing brightly coloured, think middle eastern. We would also love if you could have bags with you but don’t worry if not – just you will be fab!

Do we need to rehearse?
Yes, a little bit. You will need to pop along on the 30th November to Christ Church Old Town at 8pm to register and meet Anna Friend, our Director who will talk you through the performance and your part in it. Children do not need to come along on the 30th, just parents! Then on the 2nd Dec we will have a full walk-through of the performance beginning at 12pm so we will need you then.

Anything Else?
No, that’s all, we are so glad you would like to join – please spread the word, we are looking for hundreds to be part of this one moment of the performance.

All you need to do now is confirm you will be involved by emailing

The journey of the Magi – T S Eliot:




Latest Swindon Ramblings

I’m always looking for new and interesting angles to share when out and about in Swindon.

A word about our sponsors

When I’m not being Born again Swindonian and writing Swindon-related books I offer proofreading, editing and writing services as AA Editorial Services.

Blog Categories

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