I am always eager to put my senior rail card to good use and last week I used it to travel to Oldham where I had accepted a voluntary role in helping out Richard Outram and Maria Ellis (from Peace Talks Oldham) in covering a wide range of events for Oldham Peace Week. The week (six days of peace related activities in fact but we won't quibble about a day!) commenced on the International Day of Peace the 21st September 2016.
For details of Day one see my previous blog post
Day 2 involved a short journey to another local town Bradford where Richard, Maria and I visited The Peace Museum in Bradford - the only museum of it's kind in the UK (so far). Oldham's Mayor Councillor Derek Heffernan and his wife Di Heffernan (the lady Mayor) were also invited but due to the museum's location being up six flights of stairs and their reliance on walking aids this was too much for them so we were to meet them later in Bradford's City Hall (more about that later.)
Oldham Council, it's former and current Mayor along with Peace Talks Oldham and a rapidly growing list of other groups are demonstrating their hearty commitment to peaceful values with an impressive string of events starting on International Peace Day 21st September 2016 and culminating with a special Mayors for Peace event on the 26th September.
Oldham's Peace Week kicked off this morning at the town's civic centre with the raising of their Peace and Respect flag.
Councillor Derek Heffernan and his wife Di Heffernan, who are the incumbent Mayor and Lady Mayor respectively, hosted the ceremony and invited guests afterwards to see some of the souvenirs brought back from Italy in 2015\16, where Oldham councils policy officer Richard Outram and his partner Maria Ellis (founder of Peace Talks Oldham) were invited by the Secretariat to the Pledge To Peace shortly after Oldham became the first council to sign the pledge.
Among the enthusiastic guests in attendance were:-
Richard Outram and Maria Ellis representing Peace Talks Oldham
Nicola Malone a primary school teacher from Burnley Brow Community School which was the first of four local primary schools to sign the Pledge To Peace. (6 more such schools are also expected to sign in the near future!).
Phillidia Shipp from Saddleworth Peace Group - the group is the most recent signee having signed the Pledge To Peace a month ago.
In the afternoon Maria Ellis went to Lyndhurst Primary School to help run a workshop with 14 children to decorate doves and hearts - these will be hung in Oldham's Gallery/Library on Friday afternoon in good time for a string of Peace week events being held there on Saturday.
There was another afternoon event at Knowlsey Junior School involving 90 children split into three workshops - there the children were introduced to Roamer the Robot by founder Dave Caitlin and volunteers from Valiant Technology. The Mayor and Lady Mayor attended as the Mayor is also chairman of the board of governors. Richard Outram and Maria Ellis were also there to witness the School sign the Pledge To Peace as well as to advise and help them formulate some new Peace Pledge initiatives.
Then Dave Caitlin suggested a special Pledge be devised and together with Richard Outram and Maria Ellis they came up with a specific pledge which will be inscribed inside a Dove - the pledge they came up with reads:
"I pledge to try to feel peace in my heart every day and live peacefully with my family, friends and everyone in Oldham".
At the Gallery/Library events on Saturday the Dove will be displayed and children will be invited to sign their name underneath on an A4 sheet of paper with help from a Roamer Robot.
Tomorrow is another day and I can't wait. In the interim if you would like more details about peace events in Oldham this week you can visit the council webpage which lists details of the planned activities. Finally local newspaper The Oldham Chronicle published a very positive article today about Oldham's Peace Week entitled "Give peace a chance to spread global unity"
British Forces Radio's (BFBS) Positive Report on the Save Our Soldier\TPRF Peace Education Initiative for Veterans...
Chris Kay from BFBS (the British Armed Forces Radio Broadcasting Service) attended and interviewed some of the presenters to the Introduction to TPRF's Peace Education Programme held in Crook , County Durham on 26th August 2016.
The event was masterminded and hosted by the veterans charity Save Our Soldier who specialise in helping former service personnel(now including emergency services) suffering from PTSI or PTSD. Volunteers from The Prem Rawat Foundation collaborated with Lee Hayward (CEO of Save Our Soldier) to help with the presentation and included a short "taster" from one of the 10 main sessions to help illustrate what a Peace Education session is like in actual practice.
You can hear Chris Kay's report by clicking the picture above or the link below as the broadcast is now posted on the Audioboom website (audio content sharing\on demand platform) where BFBS have their own page.
The piece is entitled "Free Workshop To Support PTSD Sufferers" and can be accessed here.
UN International Peace Day is celebrated every 21st September, and this year's theme is 'Sustainable Development Goals'.
We are very pleased to have been invited to partner with The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) again for this year's celebration; their Peace for People 2016 campaign will include a special short video for release one week before Peace Day.
Peace Partners are promoting the video through mailings, through our Facebook page posts, and on this website.
he following is Maria's appeal message:
Maria 's PERSONAL MESSAGE
PLEASE HELP MARIA & RICHARD FROM PEACE TALKS OLDHAM, TO RAISE MONEY FOR TPRF - FOOD FOR PEOPLE PROGRAMME, BY WORLD FOOD DAY - SUNDAY 16th OCTOBER, 2016.
Hello, I'm Maria Dawn Ellis, Chairperson of Peace Talks Oldham, based in North West England.
I decided only a few days ago, as I've not felt fit & healthy for quite a while, I NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT!
I thought if I did a Sponsored Slim, I could possibly raise pounds for losing pounds!
It didn't take long for Richard Outram, co-founder of PTO & I to decide to help the Food For People programme. It seemed a fitting project to eat less, to help others, less fortunate than myself, to eat more! The deadline for completion, in exactly 9 WEEKS time is appropriately WORLD FOOD DAY!
My goal is to lose a Stone = 14 lbs by SUNDAY 16th OCTOBER. If I do well I might try & lose another 4 lbs as well = total 18lbs. Richard also wants to lose same amount of weight as me. 14-18 lbs