Author - Stuart | YLF

The Henry Allen Trust’s Easter Eggstravaganza Appeal has arrived at intu Milton Keynes

Now in its sixth year, The Henry Allen Trust’s annual Easter Eggstravaganza Appeal is back, and it’s come to intu Milton Keynes!

Members of the public and local businesses are being asked to donate chocolate eggs to the charity – as well as sweets, arts and crafts, and games. Volunteers will deliver them Milton Keynes University Hospital over the Easter period, to children and their families who are sadly spending this Easter on the wards.

Anyone with a donation to offer can drop it off to the customer information desk outside Debenhams at intu Milton Keynes. 

The Henry Allen Trust is a Milton Keynes charity that supports children, teens, young adults and their families battling childhood cancer, by granting wishes, providing advice and helping to improve processes within hospitals.

Shelley Peppard, centre director at intu Milton Keynes, said: “We are so proud to be able to help with ‘spreading Henry’s happiness’ as this wonderful charity calls it. Please – if you or your company can offer any donations – then pop along and do so. This is the most incredible cause and we are delighted to be helping thanks to our strong partnerships with the local community. Join us in having a positive impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our city, and donate to The Henry Allen Trust Easter Eggstravaganza Appeal today.”

Deborah Stockwell-Riddy, office manager for The Henry Allen Trust, said: “We are so excited to be working with intu Milton Keynes this year and so very grateful for their support with our Easter Eggsravaganza Appeal. We cannot wait to see the smiles the donations will bring to children and their families. Thank you to everyone in advance for their support and donations.”

Dawn Allen, Henry’s mummy, Director and Co-Founder for The Henry Allen Trust, added: “I know first-hand how much happiness an Easter egg or a Easter activity brings to a child battling childhood cancers in hospital. Please help Henry’s last wish and help us spread some Henry’s Happiness this Easter.”

Find out more about The Henry Allen Trust at Or find out more about intu Milton Keynes by visiting

Mayor of Milton Keynes still raising funds for Milton Keynes Cancer Centre

At the Mayor’s Civic Reception on Friday (March 6), Cllr Sam Crooks announced his plans to personally fundraise for the cancer centre, which opened its door to patients this month. The charity is already one of his mayoral charities for the year.

Now Cllr Crooks will be fundraising for a specific element of the new cancer centre – a comfortable couch for one of the new interview rooms.

Says Cllr Crooks: “It may sound like a simple thing, but the couch is about providing a comfortable chair for a patient and their family member or carer, to sit together and share news of test results, good news – or bad. It’s about making them much more comfortable at such an emotional time.”

Cllr Crooks says fundraising for the new centre means a lot to him personally. He says: “I’ve had people in my family die from cancer. I’ve also spoken with numerous people in the area I represent who have been affected – and that’s the thing; cancer can affect anyone.”

To support the Mayor of Milton Keynes in his fundraising, people can make a donation by visiting his JustGiving page:

The charity is still fundraising for elements of the building – including new artwork and landscaping for the courtyard and chemotherapy gardens.

For more information on Milton Keynes Hospital Charity, which is supporting the centre through fundraising, people can visit

Milton Keynes Brick Festival keeps on building!

Fans of all things LEGO are heading back to Milton Keynes this March for the very exciting Brick Festival, being held at Stantonbury Leisure Centre on Saturday 21st March!

Featuring brand new and never before seen LEGO displays by some incredibly talented builders from all over the UK and beyond.

There will be a fantastic array of builds, some huge & some highly detailed, with a wide variety of recognisable favourites like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel & DC Comics for fans to enjoy, as well as a Great Ball Contraption layout, and much more!

The Brick Festival will also be hosting the Community Canal collaborative build on it’s first outing. This project has been built by many AFOL (Adult Fans of LEGO) members of Brick Central – the Recognised LEGO User Group for the Central & Midlands region.
Each member has built a slice of the canal based on their personalities, hobbies and interests.

There will be a great selection of trading tables selling new and used LEGO sets, rare and hard to find items, LEGO minifigures, LEGO themed accessories and equipment, alongside millions of loose bricks to buy!
A great selection of activities will be available for all visitors, whether that is hunting for LEGO Minifigures amongst the displays or creating something beautiful at the Brick Building Tables. The if you’re up for the challenge or just want to test your LEGO building skills,
you could also take part in a variety of building competitions to show us what you can do – with separate rounds taking place for adults and children, this really is open to all abilities!

The Milton Keynes Brick Festival has been set up to provide a fun day out for all the LEGO fans in your family, from the die-hard collectors to the casual fans, providing an ideal environment for all fans of the brick! Tickets are available to book online – so don’t miss
Adult Early Bird Entry (including free gift) from 10am Price: £10*
Adult Standard Entry from 11am Price: £5*
Child (4-12) Entry From 11am Price: £3*
Family Ticket (2 Adults and 2 Children) From 11am Price: £15*
Under 5s gain admission for free (with a paying adult)
*Plus a £1 Booking Fee

Milton Keynes Brick Festival – 21st March 2020
Stantonbury Leisure Centre
Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes manufacturing company helping to battle Coronavirus worldwide

PPS is a leading UK manufacturer of decontamination equipment and personal protective equipment. We specialise in providing complete solution packages to a wide variety of hazard-prone industries.

Milton Keynes based manufacturing company PPS has been distributing protection suits, shelters and masks worldwide to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

PPS has also been distributing its isolation capsules to contain the disease and stop it from spreading if a patient has already contracted it.

PPS’ products, manufactured in Tilbrook in Milton Keynes, have been in extremely high demand since the coronavirus outbreak started in December 2019.

Since the infection began to spread PPS has had huge orders from all over the world for our high-calibre personal protection equipment.

With coronavirus showing no signs of slowing down the demand for products is only increasing – taking PPS’ suits, shelters, masks and isolation capsules around the world.

Pam Parker, Managing Director of PPS, said;

“We’re determined to do our bit to help stop the spread of coronavirus around the world.

“Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working round the clock to distribute our products worldwide… all from our factory in Milton Keynes.

“Since the coronavirus outbreak, the demand for our products has been huge.

“We’re in the process of delivering our isolation chambers, personal protection suits, shelters and masks to;

Chile, China, Germany, India, Italy, Panama, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, and the UK.

“We’re very proud of our work – our products have proved to be critical to several countries over the last few weeks – we’re really pleased to see them being put to such good use.

“Our staff have been nothing short of phenomenal – we’re incredibly grateful to them all for the effort they’ve put in recently – not just as employees, but as people.

“We’re in the privileged position of being able to help people in a time of crisis – which is something they’ve really grasped – I can’t thank them enough.

Iain Stewart MP and Ben Everitt MP urge MK Council to bid for more Electric Buses

The Department for Transport announced on the 6th of February that local areas can apply to become Britain’s first fully electric bus town.

Local authorities can now apply to become the UK’s first all-electric bus town, setting the ‘gold-standard’ in environmentally friendly public transport.

Iain Stewart MP welcomes this announcement and hopes the Milton Keynes Council will launch a bid to secure the funding.

The winning area will receive up to £50 million to help pay for a brand-new fleet of electric buses, reducing emissions and cleaning up the air in their community.

A town with 200 electric buses could save around 7,400 tonnes of CO2 each year, the equivalent to taking 3,700 diesel cars off the road.

Milton Keynes already has 8 electric buses operating on Route 7, which have been running since 2014, covering 15 miles between Wolverton and Bletchley and carrying an estimated 800,000 passengers a year.

Iain Stewart MP said:

“It would be fantastic if all of MK’s bus fleet could become electric and help push to MK’s goal of being carbon neutral.

“We have the electric buses on Route 7 so there is evidence electric buses are feasible in Milton Keynes. By having an entire fleet of electric buses, it will go hand in hand with MK’s drive to be a hub of innovation.”

Ben Everitt commented:

“We want Milton Keynes to lead the way on tackling climate change so I’d encourage the council to bid for this funding so we can continue to be a hub of innovation and green technology.”


Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said:

“Buses carry more people than any other form of public transport in the UK, and with 200 electric buses able to offset 3,700 diesel cars, it is clear they have a crucial role to play in bringing down emissions.

“But Britain’s first all-electric bus town is just the start. Helping deliver on our manifesto promise, this £170 million package will help us to create communities which are cleaner, easier to get around and more environmentally friendly, speeding up journeys and making them more reliable.

“By focusing on efficient and affordable transport, we will make greener journeys the natural choice.”

How to prune a clematis

Pruning your clematis keeps it healthy and vigorous, helps stop the plant collapsing under its own weight, and encourages flowers to bloom at a sensible height. But when and how do you go about pruning a plant notorious for its tendency to gallop away into a tangled mess?

When to prune a clematis?

Clematis fit into three pruning categories: early flowering, late flowering and large flowering. Some bloom on new growth and others on growth from the previous year. If you’re not sure which group your clematis belongs to, let it flower, take note of when it blooms and what kind of flower it produces, and prune accordingly.

Group 1: Early bloomers

Early bloomers
Early bloomers like Clematis ‘Armandii’ should be pruned as soon as its done flowering.
Image: Shutterstock

Clematis that bloom during the winter and spring, flower on the previous year’s growth. Prune these varieties as soon as they’ve finished flowering.

Avoid cutting too much of the very old wood as this is less likely to produce the new shoots on which next year’s flowers will bloom. Also bear in mind how vigorous the plant is – the faster it grows, the more cutting back it can take. Cut back dead wood, and reduce what’s left to fit the available space, remembering that it’s the new shoots that will produce next year’s flowers.

Group 2: Large-flowering clematis

Large flowering clematis
Large flowering clematis should be pruned in spring, while the plant is still dormant.
Image: Shutterstock

The large flowered clematis bear flowers on new shoots which grow from the previous year’s stems. Although they bloom during the late spring and summer, some cultivars also produce a second flush at the tips of the current year’s growth in late summer and autumn.

Prune your large flowering clematis during the spring, when the plant is still dormant. Remove any damaged, dead or weak stems, cutting back to a pair of healthy buds. Avoid heavy pruning at this stage as you may get less early flowers.

In early summer, when the first flush of flowers has finished, you can prune the plant again. Simply cut back flowered stems to a set of strong, healthy buds or a side shoot just below the faded blooms. This encourages healthy new growth.

Now is also the time to prune overgrown plants to reduce their size, something which is best done a little at a time over a number of years.

Group 3: Late flowering clematis

Late flowering clematis
Late flowering clematis like the beautiful ‘Kardynal Wyszynski’ are the easiest to prune.
Image: Shutterstock

Late flowering varieties and their cultivars are clematis that bloom from summer to late autumn on the current year’s stems. This group also contains the herbaceous clematis species.

Arguably the easiest to prune, cut your late-flowering clematis back to a pair of strong buds about 20cm (8”) above the ground in spring before they start into active growth.

Pruning clematis needn’t be a headache. By following these simple instructions, your plants should produce plentiful blooms for you to enjoy, without resembling a bird’s nest for the rest of the year.


Pruning guide courtesy of Thompson & Morgan

Excitement From Iain Stewart MP For Railway Announcement

The Government announced on the 30th of January its preferred route for the central section of the East West Rail.

The route will connect Bedford and Cambridge by rail with more stations being built on the line, which will eventually link with Milton Keynes via Bletchley Train Station.

This next phase of the East West Rail is welcomed by Iain Stewart MP, the Government’s Champion for the Oxford – Milton Keynes – Cambridge Arc, providing better connectivity to and from Milton Keynes’.

This move will allow MK residents easier travel within the Arc for work, tourism, and recreation.

Consequently, with the EWR being installed, less cars will be on the roads; reducing congestion on Milton Keynes’ roads and tackling our carbon footprint.

Iain Stewart MP commented:

“I am delighted that this next stage of the east-west has been announced. With preparatory work on-going for the section between Bletchley and Bicester, it is good to see the section east of Bedford being set-out.

“When completed, this line will be a major economic boost for Milton Keynes and help the environment by encourage a shift from road to rail transport.”

The Minister for Future of Transport, George Freeman MP, said:

“East-West Rail has the potential to improve rail links to support opportunities for new housing, reduce congestion and pollution and unlock the economic potential across the region.

“By boosting rail connectivity we can improve access to economic opportunities for people in this area, and boost the quality of life in this vital arc.”

MPs Celebrate Milton Keynes’ Birthday In Westminster

Politics isn’t always a piece of cake, but local MPs Ben Everitt and Iain Stewart celebrated Milton Keynes’ 53rd birthday with a slice of it in Westminster.

The town was founded on 23 January 1967 after an Act of Parliament, but already has a rich history from F1 successes Red Bull Racing being based here to holding huge concerts including acts such as Green Day, Michael Jackson and Queen.

And as MK moves into the future, it is already home to more electric car charging than anywhere else in the country and has become a hub for technology with the introduction of delivery robots and trials for driverless cars.

Ben and Iain made sure the busy world of politics didn’t get in the way of celebrating MK’s big day by grabbing a birthday cupcake – or two – and speaking about what makes the town so special.

Ben commented, “There is so much to celebrate about Milton Keynes on our 53rd birthday – it really is a wonderful place to live, work and bring up a family.

“While there are plenty of good reasons to celebrate MK’s past, the future is even more exciting. MK has so much potential to be a hub for innovation, tech and environmentally friendly businesses and I will continue to encourage that.”

Iain added, “Milton Keynes’ birthday is a great opportunity to reflect on what a brilliant place it is to live, work and play.

“The New City has so much to offer from an Internationally acclaimed Bletchley Park to an indoor ski slope, and with many more birthdays to come the potential is huge. Hopefully when we celebrate MK’s 100th birthday we will be home to a Premier League football team!”

New MP Ben Gets Stuck In To Keep MK Clean

Milton Keynes North MP Ben Everitt swapped the green benches of the House of Commons for the green parks of MK by helping a local community litter pick in Brooklands.

The community litter picks, run by local groups Broughton and Brooklands Community Connectors and The Parks Trust, have been running for two years now and in 2019, volunteers collected a total of 100 bags of litter during the Broughton and Brooklands community litter picks.

Ben and his family at Brooklands Meadows Park took time out of their weekend to help make sure the green spaces in the city remain clean.

He commented: “We’ve got some beautiful parks across MK. It was great to be able to get out in the fresh air and help keep MK looking green.

“We’re lucky to have so many amazing green spaces across MK so I really would encourage anyone to get out and get involved with any local litter picks. Even an hour or so can really spruce up an area!”

If you would like to get involved, please contact The Parks Trust via email or follow Broughton and Brooklands Community Connectors on Facebook

Local Charity Raises Over £88,000 to Help Support Families Battling Childhood Cancer

Milton Keynes based charity The Henry Allen Trust are delighted to announce that throughout 2018 they raised a massive £88,729 and on target to beat that this year. 

The Henry Allen Trust was formed after Henry Allen, aged just 4 years, said that he wanted to help other children with cancer. 

Dawn Allen, Director of The Henry Allen Trust said: “Henry made so many friends in hospital and you do become like a family. This meant that we could share experiences whilst in hospital and everyone had the same frustrations and concerns, this is where we chose to build the foundation of support that The Henry Allen Trust provides.”

Throughout 2018 The Henry Allen Trust used the funds raised to;

  • Fund the first “Trained by Henry” nurse, a programme that funds extra specialist training for Children’s Oncology Nursing Team,
  • Provide a monthly support group meeting and online hangout for families battling childhood cancer to share their experiences and give the children a chance to meet and play with other children without feeling out of place or different. 
  • Present papers to steering committees within health services to help improve the services offered within Child Oncology Services and provide a framework for medical professionals to understand the patient journey. 
  • Provide treats and wishes to give some respite and help families create special memories and realise dreams. These included ipad, laptop for schoolwork, family holidays, pushchair, treats whilst having treatments abroad, VIP trip to the zoo, merlin passes and driving lessons.
  • Support families with grants to ensure that they had the money available to cover travel and accommodation expenses, rent or mortgage payments, purchase of passports for treatment abroad, white good appliances, fridge freezers, washing machines or emergency repair bills. 

“It is natural to think that what we can’t do today can be done tomorrow, when you have a child with cancer you do not know how many tomorrows you actually have. Being able to create a special memory where it is you and your child rather than a patient is immeasurable.” Said Dawn Allen, Henry’s Mummy and Director of The Henry Allen Trust. “Henry was too young to have his wish granted by a national charity and by the time he was old enough it was too late. We know first-hand how important those special moments are to parents and that is something we are truly dedicated to building.”

“The work we do and the feedback from the health professionals we work alongside as well as the families we support is truly exceptional” Said Nicola Case, Trustee for The Henry Allen Trust. “But this all comes at a cost, for less than a cup of coffee a month the adult population of Milton Keynes could fund our treats and wishes programme for a year. We have just announced our Christmas Pledge Appeal to help fund our work, all we are

adult population of Milton Keynes could fund our treats and wishes programme for a year. We have just announced our Christmas Pledge Appeal to help fund our work, all we are asking is for people to spend 30 seconds to donate £2, or what they can afford, between now and 24th December.”

To help spread some Henry’s Happiness you can Text THAT4 £2 to 70470.