The Annual Grippers Walk

With only one previous exception, The Autumn Annual Walk has enjoyed wonderful weather. Alas, the 13th such walk proved to be unlucky! The forecast of fog followed by steady rain on a strong northerly wind on the top of Cleeve Hill deterred many. In the event, seven stalwarts and two dogs set off and were rewarded with a break in the rain and because of the clear conditions, magnificent views of the Winchcombe valley as we passed close to the historic Postlip Hall and later across the Severn Vale all the way to the Malvern Hills. The steady climb up to the top of the escarpment warmed us up but we could only pause for a brief appreciation of the view before we were quickly cooled down by the wind and hastened on.

Just as the rain returned we arrived to a warm welcome at the Rising Sun and were soon steaming and glowing after a drink and roast lunch.

We are particularly pleased that several service users braved the elements and joined in what turned out to be a successful and very satisfying walk.


Murder Mystery Evening at South Cerney Village Hall

We were entertained to a moderately complex plot “Murder at Hill Crest House” which actually involved a double murder and another attempted murder (or was it an accidental poisoning?). The audience applied themselves to the task of eating and drinking as they were entertained and all too soon they had to commit their suspicions and reasoning to paper and submit the answers to the players from The Purton Amateur Dramatic Society for appraisal. In addition to giving up their evening, the PADS actors bought a lot of raffle tickets, so it was rather fitting that they took away most of the splendid prizes. The winning sleuths then stepped up on stage in recognition of their skills of observation and deduction and to receive their prizes to applause. Finally, the actors and their producer and all who had contributed to the success of the evening were thanked.

In addition to the fun, we are delighted to also report that the evening raised over £650.


The Rose Ball

The Rose Ball was a very well attended and happy occasion held in the really lovely garden and grounds of Poulton Fields Farm. After drinks and canapes in the garden, we sat down to a very tasty dinner. Our chairman introduced the guests to two recipients of Grippers funds. Firstly, he read out a letter of appreciation from Alex who wrote very movingly of her journey of recovery back to free expression of abstract art. One of her striking paintings was later auctioned at the ball and raised £650. Then, James very bravely took the microphone and entertained us with the story of how Grippers paid for a suit so that he could attend an interview. He too paid tribute to the importance of the practical and caring helping hand extended by Grippers.

We would like to thank Rosie Arkwright and her team who inspired and organised the whole evening and raised an astounding £6,500 for Grippers.


Sponsored Ascent to 6,300m (21,000 feet) on Aconcagua

Our intrepid fund-raiser, Eric Davis, returned safely from the most arduous trek he has ever done. As December is the middle of the Argentinian summer, the climbers set off in extreme heat, but by the time it came to the day of attempting the summit, Eric woke to minus 26 degrees C inside his tent.

He did not feel any effects of the high altitude, but as he climbed, the extreme cold began to affect his toes and so he had to turn back around 1800 feet below the summit. We are incredibly grateful to Eric for climbing for Grippers. Thank you to everyone who has donated through MyDonate.




12th Annual Grippers Walk

The 12th Annual Grippers Walk took place on another gloriously warm Sunday morning high on the Cotswolds around Foxcote, near Andoversford.

It was particularly pleasing to have a complete range of Grippers stalwarts taking part; Service users, carers, NHS staff and Grippers trustees and of course two lively dogs. Near the village we were greeted by a number of racehorses but then climbed gently through woods until rewarded by splendid views and a solitary roe deer stag who didn’t detect us until very close. The last mile or so brought a new vista with the added incentive of the Kilkeney Inn getting closer. Here we were made to feel very welcome by the owner Jules and enjoyed a really excellent roast lunch.

Even more satisfying is that we raised almost £400


Gloucester Symphony Orchestra Concert

Grippers are delighted to be chosen as the Gloucester Symphony Orchestra’s charity this year. The Orchestra gave their first concert of the year in St Barnabas Church, Gloucester. It was an impressive programme of music with Rachmaninov’s “Isle of the Dead” and D’Angelo’s “The Angel of the Flowing Light” both inspired by images.

After the interval, we heard a full-bloodied broadside in the form of Bruckner’s 4th Symphony to leave the audience inspired by a glorious echo from the high vaulted nave of St Barnabas. The warmth of the applause and smiling faces were a great tribute to the fantastic effort put in by conductor Glyn Oxley and every member of this great orchestra.

In the interval, Andrew Sabourin spoke eloquently about psychosis and the important work Grippers does in raising awareness as well as benefiting young Gloucestershire residents recovering from this horrible illness.

The retiring collection raised a spectacular £373.84 which will be boosted to £467.30 as this type of collection qualifies for Gift Aid. We are particularly touched that in addition to the response from the audience, many members of the Orchestra contributed very generously.


Murder Mystery Evening

March 17th, 2017 – The village hall at Poulton was the perfect venue for this highly successful Murder Mystery evening. The packed audience was treated to the play “Murder in the Atomic Age” by the eight talented players from Purton.

During the interval the teams of sleuths started the process of eliminating people from their enquiries while enjoying an excellent curry supper followed by chocolate brownies. The second act was devoted to each suspect being interrogated and then the teams got down to finalising their answers, all aided by liquid refreshment from the bar.

The winning detectives, ably led by Virginia Mullan, came up on stage to receive their prizes and applause. Finally the Purton Amateur Dramatic Society were thanked warmly for their excellent and entertaining production.

As well as being a lot of fun we are delighted to announce that the evening raised over £1000 for Grippers.


Cycling Across Southern Africa

After warming up with drinks and chat, we gathered to hear all about Rob Gardiner’s latest exploit; travelling 3,600 miles across Southern Africa.

Accompanied by some excellent photos, we learned a lot about the different character and culture of the countries en route, from the poverty of Malawi to the relative prosperity of Botswana.

We were also drawn into the philosophy of cycling, particularly the way in which the bicycle brings the traveller so much closer to the local people and the landscape they occupy, while still covering long distances.

Inevitably, things don’t always go to plan such as an early injury to Rob’s companion and too close an encounter with a bull elephant. Over two months in the saddle, cycling fitness led to the ability and ambition to cover increasing distances each day, until the final dawn until dusk dash to be able to dive into the Indian Ocean.

To round the evening off after such a splendid talk, the audience was treated to a lovely meal and in addition, raised almost £800.


10th Annual Sponsored Walk

Grippers came into being in August 2006 and its fundraising started with a sponsored walk on October 29thvery pleasantly warm sunshine in the glorious rolling countryside around Chedworth.

It was fitting that the group comprised a wide variety of supporters of the Charity; The Rambling Rabbits walking group, NHS staff from the GRIP team, carers and other supporters and a significant number of the people who have donated very generously since the charity was founded. The family atmosphere was rounded off by the presence of young children and some lively dogs. After the walk we enjoyed a lovely roast lunch in the Seven Tuns pub after which we were treated to a presentation of this year’s sponsored outward bound course in Wales.

We saw how 9 service users in the recovery phase of their illness benefited from a wide variety of challenging activities which stretched them from their comfort zones and involved introducing them to new experiences, relying upon each other, teamwork, independence and judging by the smiles, a whole lot of fun.

The Trustees of Grippers thank all our supporters over the past 10 years. We are delighted by the level of continuing interest and financial support the charity attracts and we look forward to the next 10 years of activity.


St John’s Methodist Church Concert

The delightful St John’s Methodist Church in Hereford provided a very attractive venue for this concert. In this dual celebration evening, Grippers was fortunate to celebrate its 10th year with the Hereford MIND team who were celebrating the opening of Hereford’s purpose built 14-bedroom mental health recovery facility, Miller Court.

With nicely resonant acoustic, spacious dais and good lighting in the Church, the Quartet was able to enjoy a receptive audience. The concert started with the strong rhythmic Boyce Sinfonia from the Baroque period and continued with Engelbert Humperdinck’s only complete string quartet. Spanning the Romantic and early 20th century periods, and known best for his charming opera Hansel and Gretel, Humperdinck’s string writing is mostly tuneful and comfortable to play, though sometimes a little testing harmonically and rhythmically. Borodin’s famous Nocturne, with yearning lyrical melodies contrasted. Last was Haydn’s Op. 50, no.2 quartet. In firm Classical style, developed by Haydn himself, innovative syncopation and part-writing typified the composer’s masterful intellect.

The interval gave members of both charities time to mingle over cups of coffee and tea and to examine details of building works on Miller Court and photos and reports from the Grippers archives up to the present day.


Registered charity no. 1117290