Last Orders Gets Gold Award

Last Orders Gets Gold Award

Last Orders gets gold. This monster compendium of lost locals written by John Stooke has scooped the top prize at the annual awards held by the Guild of British Beer Writers. John’s gold award is for the best ‘not for profit’ piece of writing in 2020.

The substantial prize, sponsored by iconic Sussex brewery, Harvey’s, is named the Tom Paine Award after 17th Century Tom Paine. Locals hold the belief that Mr Paine, a writer local to Lewes, Excise Officer and radical helped draft the American Declaration of Independence.

Judges commented on the endeavour, the degree of detailed research and the warmth that shone through on every page.

Writer John Stooke said, “This is a huge achievement to get national recognition in this way, for what is, in essence, a local history book”. He added, “the first and only print run is beginning to run out. So if you still don’t have a copy the STEAM Museum have stock. It’s also in WH Smith in Regent Street and the Hop Inn, although it can only open at weekends at the moment.

“Due to Covid, the normal rather lavish dinner and award ceremony in a top London hotel, saw relegation to Zoom. Not quite as good, but a great honour all the same”.

John's gold award certicate
Last Orders gets gold!

Said Angela Atkinson …

Fellow Swindon author Angela Atkinson said “I so enjoyed the talk that John presented to Swindon Civic Voice about his book Last Orders in January – a lifetime ago now. He gave such a funny, informative and entertaining talk. His book is a thing of wonder that I urge you all to buy and support John and his charity. I offer my hugest congratulations to John on getting this book written and now winning this award. I couldn’t be more delighted.”.

Last Orders Gets Gold - John Stooke with this book at STEAM museum.
John Stooke with his book Last Orders at STEAM museum in Swindon
Last Orders by John Stooke

See also my original post about this book:

Ainslie’s Pavilion Edges Closer

Ainslie’s Pavilion Edges Closer

2nd November 2020

Legacy of much-loved Wiltshire woman moves closer with silent online auction this November

Ainslie’s pavilion edges closer as Swindon business owner Fiona Scott of Scott Media gets set to host her fifth annual virtual charity auction.

The auction’s aim is to raise the last £1,000 needed to start the rebuild of Purton Cricket Pavilion in memory of her much-loved friend Ainslie Duffell.

The auction is live from Monday 9th November – Sunday 6th December. It’s raising funds for Ainslie’s Pavilion project. The completed project will enable everyone to:

a. Enjoy and take part in local cricket and …
b. … create a lasting legacy for Swindon woman Ainslie Duffell.

Fiona Scott, founder and Director of Scott Media, and Phil Phil Duffell founder of Ainslie’s Pavilion Project are the auction’s supporters.

The auction lots include many business strategy sessions with leading local business figures. There’s also handmade silver jewellery, cricket tickets and handcrafted Christmas decorations. 

The motivation for the auction to make Ainslie’s pavilion edge closer

Since Ainslie Duffell died from breast cancer in 2015, one of her best friends, Fiona Scott, has held an annual online social media auction to support ‘Ainslie’s Pavilion Project’.

Ainslie’s Pavilion Project focuses around rebuilding the cricket pavilion at Purton Cricket Club, Purton, near Swindon. It arose from Ainslie’s personal experience of being unable to watch her son play due to being a wheelchair user in her final months. The pavilion will be a living legacy. It will have disabled access, as well as facilities for female players. All to reflect the needs of the sport in the modern era. 

Fiona had intended the final fundraising event, ‘The Purple Soiree’, for April 2020 as a celebratory culmination of five years of efforts to raise £50,000 to kick-start the project. But COVID-19 and the later national lockdown resulted in cancellation. So it seemed as though we wouldn’t meet the five year target .

Fiona, a PR consultant and journalist, has decided to make her 5th annual auction bigger and better than ever. She aims to raise the final £1,000 needed to hit the £50,000 target. That will open access to grants and extra funding. 

She said: ‘I wasn’t going to let the pandemic stop us achieving our goals. It’s so poignant that we reach the £50,000 target this year, as Purton Cricket Club will be 200 years old. It’s time to bring the facilities into the 21st century. Then no other wheelchair user will struggle with access and female cricket players will have access to their own toilets and changing rooms.’

The intention of the online auction is to raise the final sum before grant funding can be sought to complete the pavilion in its entirety. 

Ainslie's Pavilion Edges Closer - Fiona  Scott with Phil Duffell
Fiona Scott with Phil Duffell

Swindon business support

Fiona added: “Local businesses, including branding expert Mike Land of Nickel Design and Paul Holmes of PCH Business Support have been most generous. They’ve donated multiple business strategy & support sessions totalling more than £2,000. 

‘We also have handcrafted Christmas decorations from Ard Alume, handmade silver earrings from Barking Hen Jewellery. And of course, cricket tickets from cricket fan Ged Montgomery. We’ll be adding a whole host of others, so there will be something for everyone.’

‘The starting bids will range from £1 so there’s a real chance to grab a bargain while supporting a fantastic cause at the same time.’

About the auction

“The starting bids will range from £1 so there’s a real chance to grab a bargain while supporting a fantastic cause at the same time.” 

The auction will begin at 8am on Monday 9th November. You can view items n Facebook at

Anyone wishing to see the lots via email can do so by emailing:

Ainslie’s Pavilion Edges Closer

Ainslie's Pavilion Edges Closer - Ainslie Duffell with her son Alex who is now 20 and a student at university in Cardiff.
Ainslie Duffell with her son Alex who is now 20 and a student at university in Cardiff. 

About Ainslie

Ainslie’s Pavilion Project became a reality on Valentine’s Day 2015. Within 24 hours of loving mum, wife, sister, daughter and friend Ainslie Duffell falling asleep. 

In her mid-30s and out of the blue, Ainslie found a lump in her breast. On diagnosis doctors told her she had an aggressive form of breast cancer that was already in her liver. They gave her a year to live. 

Through sheer determination and the support of her family, especially husband Phil and son Alex, she fought the disease.

After 12 years, having squeezed as much out of life as possible, Ainslie, aged 47, died with Phil and Alex by her side. 

Phil and Alex then read her journal, which she’d been keeping for them both. In it she talked about her pride in both her son and her husband, especially when it came to the sport of cricket. Sports journalist Phil had given up work to care for Ainslie. He then re-qualified as a cricket coach. Son Alex was already an accomplished player for the county. 

Purton cricket club

Both Phil and Alex had their sporting base at Purton Cricket Club nr Swindon. The oldest club in Wiltshire it celebrates its 200th birthday this year.

In her final months, when using a wheelchair, Ainslie was unable to attend matches as there is no wheelchair access to the club – indeed there are no dedicated facilities for anyone with a disability. The outdated pavilion also has no facilities for girls – no toilets or changing rooms. It’s simply unfit for a modern world. 

In her journal Ainslie spoke of her sorrow at not being able to go to matches to watch her son play and she missed his first century. 

Phil and Alex pledged to do something about this. They decided to raise funds to refurbish and update the pavilion. Or even rebuild it completely to create a community asset in Ainslie’s name. Their aim was to spend five years raising £50,000 to create a healthy nest egg for the project and then work with funders to apply for grants to move to the next stage. Phil and Alex wanted to reach this milestone in 2020 to coincide with the 200th birthday of the club. 

In 2020 this small team of volunteers will hit that financial target and Ainslie’s pavilion edges closer. Then the work will begin on seeking funding and getting the building work underway. 

The vision is to provide a living community legacy in Ainslie Duffell’s name. Any girl who plays cricket there will owe a silent debt to this dignified and wonderful woman and her family. And, thanks to Ainslie’s legacy, any disable person will be able to enjoy an afternoon of cricket. That most quintessential of English pastimes.

For more information visit

Drumstick Pens Beat It

Drumstick Pens Beat It

Simon Webb Artisan pen maker

Simon Webb, is well-known as a maker of beautiful hand-turned writing implements that tell stories. He’s crafted pens from woods that include church pews, Isaac Newton’s apple tree, the mulberry tree at the Richard Jefferies museum, HMS Victory and more.

But it’s arguable that his drumstick pens beat it all.

Visit Simon’s website to find our more:

Beat Out That Rhythm on a Drum

In 2019, Simon had the great good fortune to get an invite to a charity event at Middlewick House – erstwhile home of Camilla Parker-Bowles – and now the home of Nick Mason of Pink Floyd fame.

Selling his fine pens at the charity event, Simon sold one to Nick himself. An email exchange followed as Nick needed a fine nib fitting to his pen. A service Simon happily provided.

Said Simon: ‘During our email conservation I offered to make something for his charity auction – perhaps from one his drumsticks.

At length, to my great delight, I received a pair of his drumsticks signed by the man himself.’

Drumsticks signed by Nick Mason of Pink Floyd.
Drumsticks owned by Nick Mason of Pink Floyd
Some of Nick Mason's car collection

Nick holds the charity event every year.

He puts his car collection on show and raises money for Wilts Air Ambulance and the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust.

‘I’ve been working this project and am now proud to reveal the result’ added Simon. ‘I’ve made a rhodium and gold fountain pen and included the signed section of the drumstick in the presentation box with the pen.’

Drumstick Pens Beat It - Nick Mason drumstick and pen set by Simon Webb
Drumstick Pens Beat It

It’s been a real thrill to do this and Nick has said he’s happy for me to use whatever is left of the wood for what I want. So I’m planning some cufflinks.

They’ll be available from me soon, complete with a certificate of authentication. See picture below showing a prototype where the hickory wood of the drumstick is surrounded by ebony in a sterling silver setting.

Prototype cufflink

An anecdote

Said Simon: I’d heard Nick on the radio early before I set up at the event. The presenter asked if he did any gardening. He replied that it was a standing joke that he was a ‘zero hours’ gardener.

So when my stand caught his eye and he wandered over to me, I shook hands with him and said it was great to meet another zero hours gardener.’🙂

See also:

Swindon Gadget Man Draws Appy

Swindon Gadget Man Draws Appy

Swindon’s own ‘gadget man’ launches drawing app to keep children entertained during lockdown

Introducing tech entrepreneur Joe Morgan

Swindon Gadget Man Draws Appy: Maths and physics whizz Joe Morgan has brought forward the release of his new free app: BAM The Drawing App. The aim? To entertain children locked down during Covid19.

The 39-year-old, who lives in Swindon, has launched his new tech product ahead of its original scheduled summer launch.

“Over the last two weeks, I’ve worked hard to get the app launched. I know it will be interesting and useful to young people at home during this period. Or indeed anyone who wants to draw and create original digital artwork.

“For me it’s about creativity made fast and fun. Anyone can be like David Hockney and get creative. There’ll still be some minor bugs that I’ll work on over the next few weeks. But it’s live now to try out and use.”

Joe’s Other Life

In normal life Joe, 39, is a private maths and physics tutor. In his own time, he’s worked on his app for months getting it ready for launch later this year. 

Swindon Gadget Man Draws Appy - Joe Morgan

“I’ve always been a builder of ‘things’,” Joe said. “Since childhood I’ve been able to build models, treehouses, rafts and robots. And, about 13 years ago I learned computer programming and can now build computer apps online. 

“I developed this app in the first instance to create an environment where maths and physics diagrams were easy to create. Many apps are too limited or too slow. As I built the app, I soon realised this is the fastest diagram and drawing app I’ve ever seen.”

Currently only available via the Windows app store, Joe created BAM the Drawing App, to deal with other issues he found with alternative apps. 

Solving Problems

“The first thing I wanted to address ensuring editing was quick and easy. Many apps take ages to edit when you want to squiggle and then change that squiggle. And that’s always frustrated me. With my app if you make an edit, the image changes with the edit and the ‘shape’ you’ve created moves with it in a logical manner. It doesn’t need making many, many small edits when you simply wanted to make one single change.”

The app also addresses these issues:

*If creating a segmented image around a single point eg. a triangle with a point at the top and strips of colour across the shape – if you move that single point, the drawing moves naturally with it. 

*When you fill a shapewith colour, known as ‘Colour Splash’, changing that shape in any way makes the colour autofill the new shape. 

*All buttons and functions come with a simple explainer video within the app. Thus, if you don’t understand what something does, you don’t have to come out of the app and search the internet for an explanation. You can simple click on the button and swipe right for the video to appear. This is called ‘Swelp’.

Further Features

*An ability to send an original drawing to friends and family via email actually within the app itself.

*The ability to upload original work to a personal or public gallery – subject to some copyright disclaimers. 

*The ability to send your artwork to trusted app partners to have the image printed on a mug or a t-shirt if desired (using affiliate links). 

Joe said: “I see this app as not only being user friendly with the ability to share your original artwork if you wish. I also see it as a celebration of original work. You cannot import photographs or artwork from elsewhere into this app. It’s the canvas and it’s up to you if you want to create your artwork for your own satisfaction, share with family and friends or even use it to create your own merchandise!”

The app is now live and available via the app store in Windows 10. You’ll find it on the Apple app store in the near future.

For a visual representation of the app visit

Global Voices Unite Amidst Covid-19

Global Voices Unite Amidst Covid-19

Voices from all over the world come together to help people with Covid-19 and Lockdown

1st April 2020

Global Voices unite amidst Covid-19, in the form of a group of people, who want to help each other, during the current Covid-19 pandemic. They’ve joined forces to write and produce a book. And all in the space of a week.

The book, Surviving the Coronavirus Lockdown and Social Isolation is available as an e-book. Any monies raised will go to a mental health charity. All the participants have given their time, knowledge and support free of charge. 

This collaboration includes 65 contributors, all committed to helping people in lockdown. and experiencing social isolation. They come from:

  • China
  • Hungary
  •  Italy, 
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Portugal
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden
  • Thailand
  • and United Kingdom.

How the book is arranged

The articles in the book offer ideas, advice, tips, and experiences that readers can draw from. They’re arranged under the following headings:

  • Conquering social isolation
  • Mastering mind and body, 
  • Understanding COVID-19
  • Community, learning and teaching,
  •  Work and organisations
  •  Personal stories and the future.

Contributors include the thoughts of children, teenagers, business owners, retired people. And also those with no convenient label but yet have something to say that can help others.

Using the hashtag #LetsResetNormal, the intent of this collaboration is:
1.To galvanise the positives and
2. Give people hope, direction and inspiration as we move towards an uncertain future together.

 Nobody knows what the new normal will look like. We hope this is a positive way of bringing these ideas together to influence politicians, business owners, and, most importantly, citizens that good can come from the situation we are in. If we work together.

This is a movement towards radical, positive change.

All have given their time for free. There is no commercial angle to this and the book will be widely available free of charge. And what also makes this project exceptional is its short production time. From conception to publication, the process has taken a mere ten days. That demonstrates the commitment of all involved, to help others.

Where to get it

The book is here (UK) and on the social media accounts/websites of everyone involved.

Global Voices unite amidst Covid-19!

See more Made in Wiltshire posts here.

Richard Wintle: Photographing Swindon’s History

Richard Wintle: Photographing Swindon’s History

March 31 2020

A Picture Is Only the Start of The Story

Richard Wintle, known to many Swindonians as the man photographing Swindon’s history through the decades, has been busy! As you’d expect for a press photographer, Richard has a VAST archive of photographs. And he’s put some of them into a book: A Picture Is Only the Start of The Story.

NB: Not only Swindon of course. Richard’s work took him far and wide.

See one extract from it below:

Extract from A Picture Is Only the Start of The Story - The Hungerford Massacre. Richard Wintle: Photographing Swindon's History
The Hungerford Massacre

In Richard’s own words:

Surrounded by my archive of about four million film-based and digital images, gathered over more than four decades of press photography in Swindon, I’ve discovered connections that run through the archive that weren’t obvious at the time.

In the book I reveal the connection between the Magic Roundabout and the Seekers pop group. And the connection between a Eurovision Song Contest entrant and a flight over the North Atlantic. I show how a work experience boy saw history made, as well as the story behind finding an unknown Swindon pop idol.

Then you’ll see how come there were twelve winners of a Miss Thamesdown competition.

During the book’s meander I explain too, the pictures we took that were published at the time but can’t be published now.

Diana Dorssee more on her here on the blog

Extract from A Picture Is Only the Start of The Story - Diana Dors. Richard Wintle: Photographing Swindon's History

A Picture Is Only the Start of The Story takes you on a voyage. A voyage of picture stories covered by Calyx Picture Agency. The journey traveres the decades, linking the protests, as the Railway Works closed, to Honda announcing it closure.

Richard Wintle: Photographing Swindon’s History, meanders through a series of interesting links as it wanders the modern-day Swindon story. As it goes it visits many events and places. At the same time it explains some of the technological changes to the industry during and the back stories associated with the agency.

“Richard’s life as a press photographer gave him with an excellent vantage point to document major local events.Drawing on his vast archive of images, Richard has created a truly unique book, capturing local life in a way unlike any other publication “ The Local Studies team, Swindon Libraries

Richard Wintle: Photographing Swindon's History - front cover of Richard's book

How to get hold of the book

The Covid-19 pandemic has rather put paid to a physical book launch. But fret not!! For you can still get a signed copy of the book through the Calyx website by following this link here.

Published by Hobnob Press the book costs  £14.95 + £2.50 P&P (UK only).

NB: At the time of writing Richard has only about 20 copies available.


£1 from every sale goes to Neuroendocrine Cancer UK. The book will be available through local outlets when COVID-19 passes and life as we have known it returns to something like normal.

Unsigned copies for international sales through Amazon by following this link here.

The mock up of the F35 stelth fighter on show at RAF Fairford as the worlds largest military air show gets under way at the Gloucestershire air base. - Clayx media.
©Calyx Modern day Teridactor? The mock up of the F35 stelth fighter on show at RAF Fairford as the worlds largest military air show gets under way at the Gloucestershire air base.