Book Launch Swindonian Guide Book

Book Launch Swindonian Guide Book

Swindon: A Born Again Swindonian’s Guide

Book Launch Swindonian Guide Book

When: Saturday 8th August
Where: The Museum of Computing in Theatre Square
Time: 12 midday to 2pm

NOTE: the Museum of Computing is closed to the public (due to Coronavirus restrictions) but I, Angela, will be there, with a live Zoom broadcast. And maybe a Facebook live.

The Zoom event will offer an opportunity for interviews and Q&As and will incorporate poetry, music and more.

Find the Facebook event here:

NB: if you’re not on Facebook but would like to join the Zoom event, email me on: so I can send you the link.

Book cover with bookmarks and keyrings

Swindon author publishes new guide to her adoptive town 

Angela Atkinson holding copy of book - Book Launch Swindonian Guide Book

A Swindon author who published her first book a mere two years ago, is launching a fourth – and it’s the one she’s always wanted to write.

Angela Atkinson, who pens the popular blog Born Again Swindonian, is passionate about the town. And her fourth book is a further tribute to her adoptive home. She’s holding an official launch on Saturday August 8, from the town’s Museum of Computing. The event is part online and part face-to-face, to allow for lockdown restrictions.

Swindon: A Born Again Swindonian’s Guide uses the tagline #LookdownLookaroundLookup

It acts as a guidebook, encouraging readers to get out and about to explore some of the town’s treasures.

To help them do that, Angela has filled the book with urban exploration trails. Some of them pre-existing and some that she’s created, including a couple of quiz trails for children to do with their parents. Though she hasn’t forgotten green spaces and nature reserves!

It features some Born Again Swindonian blogs, some new chapters, and even an imagined guide book entry Angela wrote about the Magic Roundabout while studying for her English degree.

Derbyshire-born Angela’s previous publications, best-sellers among Swindonians, are:

  1. Secret Swindon
  2. Swindon in 50 Buildings
  3. and a retrospective on Swindon-born artist Ken White

What’s different about this book?

“The difference between this and the other Swindon books, is this one is for getting out and about with, while the others were to sit and read,” said Angela. “It’s the one I have always wanted to write, ever since I started the Born Again Swindonian blog. It’s curious, that something I conceived some years ago has now become very timely thanks to pandemic keeping people at home. Never was the word ‘Staycation’ on so many people’s lips.”

“So many people say Swindon is ugly, but that is a little word carrying so much meaning.

My friend and poet Carole Bent once wrote about the glitter in the concrete and the sparkle in the cement as a metaphor for life. Yet it is so true of Swindon. It’s got a rich history, and many wonderful buildings, walks, and works of art. And I’d love people to discover these.”

Swindon: A Born Again Swindonian’s Guide features hand-drawn maps by the artist Marilyn Trew to illustrate the trails. These include the West Swindon sculpture trail – one of Angela’s early discoveries – before she’d even heard the term public art!

Business, blog and books

When not writing Born Again Swindonian and books, Angela runs a proofreading, copywriting and editing business, AA Editorial Services. Angela founded the business after graduating with a First in Joint English Hons from the University of the West of England. She also attained a First for the travel writing module which kickstarted her blog.

She said: “I told my tutor wanted to do the travel writing module but I didn’t travel anywhere – I don’t even drive. He said the last thing he wanted was another account of a gap year Thailand, and asked me to write about what I saw. So I did, hence the first blog on The Magic Roundabout.”

Free gifts!

Angela will signing copies and there’ll also be some exclusive giveaways, including Sinclair C5 3D printed keyrings and bookmarks. All on a first-come-first served basis.

The book costs £9.95, and the first 30 purchased on the launch day will contain a limited edition postcard by Swindon artist Dona Bradley. There’s a competition attached to this – details below.

For information on the book, published by Hobnob Press, visit Angela’s Born again Swindonian blog at

Competition details for Book Launch Swindonian Guide Book

Underside of dona bradley postcard

The above image is the underside of a postcard by Dona Bradley. The first 20 of the books to go out at the launch will have one inside. The front of the postcard shows 9 Swindon landmarks.

This is where you need to be quick on the draw with your camera.

The first ADULT and the first under-16 to send me photographs of ALL 9 landmarks depicted on the postcard, in one go, gets a prize!

I’m not judging photographic quality – it’s merely about being quick off the draw.

You can send the images to me via DM to my Born again Swindonian page:

And from there I can make arrangements to get your prize to you – part of which is a voucher to spend in the library shop in the central library.

Swindon Festival of Science

Swindon Festival of Science

All eyes on ‘Tomorrow’, Swindon’s first festival of science, technology and engineering – 21-22 February 2020.

Swindon Festival of Science

Families from Swindon and beyond can explore the latest in science, engineering and technology at the Tomorrow Festival at STEAM museum, next month – 21-22nd February 2020.

A host of top universities and high-tech companies will join the Science Museum, the UK Space Agency and UK Research and Innovation. Together they are presenting Swindon’s first festival of science and technology.

Events Listings and Ticket Booking

See listing of events here: and to book tickets follow the link here.

The Tomorrow Festival

The ‘Tomorrow’ festival is the brainchild of Science Swindon. This collaboration between local company, New Elements, and STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway, brings together the latest scientific discoveries and cutting-edge technologies in this two-day event.  

The festival features a range of ticketed science shows, talks and panel debates with government and industry. There’ll also be a free-to-enter interactive zone. In the interactive zone visitors can meet real scientists and engineers working at the cutting edge of research and try out some of the latest technologies for themselves.

Set against the backdrop of Brunel’s railway engineering legacy, the event will explore:

  • The future of health & medicine
  • Energy & environment
  • Gaming & VR
  • Space & astronomy and the future of travel.  

Space shows and workshops from the Science Museum

Recognising Swindon as home of the UK Space Agency, London’s Science Museum is sending their popular space shows and workshops to run on both days of the festival.

The action-packed show, called Out of this World, will take visitors to the festival, at STEAM museum in February, on a journey into space.  Led by the nationally recognised Science Museum outreach team, they’ll discover what it takes to become an astronaut, launch a rocket, explore the Solar System and look for alien life. The show promises explosions, super-cool liquid nitrogen, eye-popping vacuums and even wee drinking!

This festival is shaping up to be a fantastic celebration of the innovation in Swindon and the region,” said Ian Larrard, Director of the Business West Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative.  ‘Swindon is at the forefront of tackling our greatest challenges and opportunities, from climate change and vehicles of the future. Encouraging young people in Swindon to enjoy STEM subjects is critical to Swindon’s future.’

Swindon Festival of Science - science swindon logo

We’ve had a great response to the festival idea. We’re delighted that Business West have decided to support the event,” said Rod Hebden, from Science Swindon.

Science Swindon is a collaboration between New Elements and STEAM museum, in Swindon, who are running the festival.

‘We’ve got an incredible line-up of events and activities. I urge people to follow Science Swindon on social media, book tickets to the talks as soon as possible, and come along to the festival next month.’

For more information, contact Rod Hebden on 07410113966 or, or visit

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The Royal Big Knit

The Royal Big Knit

The Royal Big Knit

The 8th of June 2019 is a special day. The Yarn balls are aligning for a spectacular event : The Royal Big Knit.

The Swindon Big Knit is hosting another afternoon of knitting, crocheting and sewing to create lovely warm blankets for Swindon’s homeless.

These events are held every other month or so, at the Customer Service Hub at the Swindon Orbital Shopping Centre. Everyone is welcome to come along and help. It’s free to join in and all materials are provided.

We’re always appealing for more knitters, crocheters and sewers to help make the blankets. The workshops are only two and a half hours long and warm blankets for the homeless are in such great demand. It’s a short time to make as many blankets as we can and extra hands are appreciated.

the royal big knit - crown on a cushion

The next event on the 8th of June is a special date because it’s the day to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday.

So, for a bit of fun we thought we would call it the Royal Big Knit.

Nearer the time we’ll email out free knitting and crochet patterns for attendees to make themselves a crown to wear at the event.

We will email the patterns out to everyone signed up to the Swindon Big Knit Newsletter. You can add yourself here

NB: The crowns are for fun and not a requirement.

The 8th of June is also World Wide Knit In Public Day which started in 2005 as a way of bringing knitters together.

We hear a lot about how knitting is good for your wellbeing. Yet it it’s a very solitary activity unless you bring a lot of knitters together in one room – and then it becomes a yarn party!

The up and coming Swindon Big Knit is an important event in the yarn calendar. We’re Purling One for the Queen, Knitting one for the World Wide Knit In Public Day and Gaining one for the Swindon Homeless. While having a good time!

We would love to invite more people to the Big Knit events. It’s such a good cause for the crafters and the recipients. If you can, please come along and join in.

If you can’t make the June date add yourself to the newsletter so we can let you now when the next event is.

When and Where?

The Royal Big Knit is happening on the 8th June 2019 at the Costumer Service Hub, at the Swindon Orbital.

It’s the last building on the same side of the road of Boots and DW, towards the roundabout near Haydon Wick.

It starts at 2pm till 4.30pm – it’s free and all you need to bring is yourself. You can bring your own tools if you prefer

Tickets are flying for Swindon’s only pop music festival as full line-up is confirmed

Tickets are flying for Swindon’s only pop music festival as full line-up is confirmed

Latest news from the MFOR Festival team

TICKETS for the first MFor Festival are selling faster than anticipated as the team behind this inaugural event confirm the full music and activity line up.

Taking place at Lydiard Park in Swindon on Saturday July 27 between 11am and 1o.30pm MFor will be both a music festival and a family-friendly community event. 

Graham Stobbs, co-organiser and founder of Synister Music, said: ‘We’re so thrilled with the support we’ve already seen in ticket sales from across Swindon, Wiltshire and the surrounding areas – and also from local businesses and organisations – who are queuing up to support this unique community music festival.’

The music line-up features headline act Years & Years who will be appearing as part of their Palo Santo World Tour. Other acts include special guest Ella Eyre, HRVY, Becky Hill, Toploader and opening the music will be Swindon’s own Jahmene Douglas.  Jahmene will open the line-up at about 3pm and the headline act will take to the stage at about 9pm.

Latest news from the MFOR Festival team

A second stage has now been included and there will be DJ sets, street dancers and other local music acts. One of those will feature local DJ, Jay Hayden. 

Co-organiser Debra Collins. ‘MFor is not just about the music. Fun, family and community is at the heart of this great event and everything we do. Axe throwing, archery, crossbow, assault course, inflatables and so much more are included free to guarantee an exciting day for everyone. We are truly humbled by everyone’s support.’

Experiences on offer include climbing walls and a huge inflatable assault course, go-karting, a rifle range, axe-throwing, a funfair and a dedicated children’s area including activities such as face-painting, workshops and entertainment from street performers.

There will also be a food and drinks area (operating a Challenge 25 policy around alcohol consumption), community participation and a charitable element with money being raised 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 will also be parachuting in at about noon. 

Many businesses have already lined up support the event.  These include:

  1. Sky’s The Limit Entertainment – providing the inflatable assault course. 
  2. Farrs Catering of Swindon – for providing food vendors and a fun fair.
  3. Bring The Game Over – providing virtual reality games’ experiences.  

Graham said: ‘We would especially like to thank Tom Falding, Bailey Farr, Swindon Borough Council and Lydiard Park, who have really become part of the organising team and supported us in getting this first event off the ground.’

The MFOR Music Festival takes place on Saturday July 27. Gates open at 11am and the finish time is 10:30pm.  

Ticket prices were tiered and now cost £37.99 per adult until the end of May.

Children’s tickets are £12.99 (aged five to 13 inclusive) and must be accompanied by at least one full-paying adult.

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

See also:

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.