This year's award-winning Southwell Folk Festival (5th - 8th June) promises to be more internationally-eclectic than ever before, attracting great acts from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, the USA and Estonia alongside established British talent such as Bella Hardy, Feast of Fiddles, the Poozies and young stars Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar.

As 31 January 2014 marked the beginning of the Year of the Horse in the Chinese calendar, the RSPCA is announcing a huge rise in the numbers of horses rescued and taken in by the charity in England in 2013.

The charity is also highlighting some of the incidents from the past year that made 2013 unlucky for our equine companions.

Figures show that the number of horses taken in or rescued by the charity in England rose by 69 per cent compared with 2012. In 2013, the RSPCA rescued, collected or took in 1,526 equines, compared with 901 the previous year. These horses included those rescued*, taken in after being abandoned or neglected, signed over following court cases or given up by their owners.

The RSPCA is always seeking new homes for its many horses, ponies and donkeys, with 165 being adopted between July and December 2013 and another 159 in the adoption process. At the moment the charity has 800 horses in its care.

RSPCA chief inspector Cathy Hyde said: "We have just four equine centres in England and none in Wales. They are able to take in around 100 horses at any one time, leaving the majority of equines in our care in private livery. The RSPCA still funds the care of these horses and it costs us more than £4million each year to do this.

"The horses we take in are often the most neglected which means they prove to be the most expensive and challenging to rehabilitate. Usually, as well as not being provided with basic feed and care, they will never have seen a vet, been wormed, seen a farrier or been vaccinated.

"However, we work hard to rehabilitate these horses and desperately need people to rehome them and also to foster the younger equines that aren't ready to go out to permanent homes. However, if people aren't able to take in a horse they can also donate towards the care of our horses via the Sponsor a Stable Block scheme."

The situations dealt with by the RSPCA in 2013 included a dramatic rescue in which a pony left dangerously tethered next to a cliff was left dangling from his rope in Suffolk; 46 horses that had to be removed from a field in Hampshire after being left without sufficient grazing; two emaciated colts found dumped in West Yorkshire; an injured pony left abandoned in the West Midlands and two ponies dumped and left to die in Kent.

There were also several incidents involving multiple horses, some of which had been left without adequate food, water or veterinary treatment and others that were at risk from rising flood waters.

RSPCA head of public affairs David Bowles said: "2013 wasn't a good year for horse welfare. We've been out to thousands of horses that have been left abandoned or fly grazed, many of which are victims of the rising cost of feed and care combined with a drop in the price they can fetch at market. This means that irresponsible owners often leave their animals to breed indiscriminately and fail to provide them with even the most basic level of care.

"It hasn't all been bad news, however, as the Welsh Government has just introduced new legislation to tackle fly grazing and abandonment problems and we are urging Westminster to do the same in England or we could see a rise in horse abandonments in England. The demand to rehome horses at events like Equifest and Your Horse Live has also given us hope, along with some of the happy endings we've been told about by our adopters."

To find out how to rehome a horse from the RSPCA and to see a selection of the horses available for rehoming please visit http://www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/horses

To find out more about sponsoring horses in our care please visit http://choices.rspca.org.uk/Appeal/sponsor-a-stable-block

Jessie is an 8 month old Boxer who has had a bad start in life. 

She was taken to the vets with her leg broken in three places. After transfer of ownership to the Boxer Rescue and various operations, Jessie is now doing very well and will not lose her leg as first thought. She is currently with a foster-carer and once fit enough, will be offered for adoption.

The organisation however, is faced with a rather large vet's bill of nearly £1,000. We are appealing for donations and arranging fund raising activities to pay the bill, including a raffle for a portrait from local pet artist Richard Biggs.

Tickets are £1 each and can be purchased from the naybr web site (see link below), all money raised will go towards Jessie's vet fees. The raffle will be drawn at Boxer Rescue HQ on Saturday 1st February at 8.00pm.

Over the Christmas period alone we have taken in four dogs that we hope will soon be offered for adoption or in long term foster-care.

For information on adoption, fostering or how the organisation works, please visit www.nayboxerrescue.co.uk or email Lorraine at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you

Back row (L to R): Karen Hiscock, Hayley Witham, Marie Bailey. Front row: Sarah Terry, Gemma-Louise Williams, Sophie Seymour.

Southwell resident Hayley Witham invites you to her new Hair Studio - offering a wide range of services from a fantastic hair cut or colour to nails, eyelashes, waxing and teeth whitening. Joining Hayley at the Studio are Stylists Marie Bailey, Gemma-Louise Williams and Sophie Seymour and Beauty therapists Sarah Terry and Karen Hiscock.

See voucher below for some fantastic offers or visit www.thekitchenhairstudio.com or facebook: kitchenhairstudio

The Nottingham Storytellers have moved to a new venue due to the Broadway cinema undergoing building work. On Thursday 30th January at 8.00pm they will be at The Lord Roberts Pub, Broad street Nottingham. NG1 3AL.

The tale told will be The Goose Wing. This wonderful story is performed by professional storyteller Christine McMahon and was an award winning commission at the 2010 Wenlock storytelling festival. It is full of fun and mischief and is one not to miss.

Tickets £5.00 on the door, enquiries 0115 9558054.

Hope to see you there.

One of the most heart-rending relics from the English Civil War is set for its first public display when the UK's first national centre of its kind opens in Newark.

Work is under way to create a £5.4m National Civil War Centre which will house scores of artefacts from the epic 17th century conflict between King and Parliament.

The flagship project by Newark and Sherwood District Council has been backed by £3.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Using a treasure trove of recently discovered archive material the story of civilians caught in the cross-fire will be told in unprecedented detail. Curators are now working to catalogue and conserve precious artefacts, including cannon balls, battle plans, swords and propaganda tracts.

Among them is an exquisite mid-17th century gold ring found by a local metal detectorist near Parliamentary earthworks at Shelton, south of Newark. Glyn Hughes Team Leader, Collections and Exhibitions at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said:"The ring is inscribed with the words 'No calamity will separate our amity'. We know that some families had split Royalist and Parliamentary loyalties and brothers even ended up fighting against each other. One theory we are working on is that it was given by a friend or family member to someone who was on the opposite side of the conflict. It is not too fanciful to think that for the ring giver the bonds of love transcended differences of beliefs. It is a beautiful object and one which will go on display when the National Civil War Centre opens."

Newark was a fulcrum of the civil war, enduring three deadly sieges before the King finally surrendered the town in 1646 to an army of Scots to the north of the town.
The National Civil War Centre will be housed in the Grade II* Old Magnus building, the oldest parts of which date to 1529. Local construction company Woodhead Heritage is carrying out the year-long works, which will involve conserving the building's historic features, including schoolboy graffiti from the 1600s, and installing modern new galleries, lift, toilets, reception area and gift shop.

"It will allow us to display many historic items for the first time," said Mr Hughes. "It is a massive project for us and the first centre of its kind dedicated to the tumultuous British Civil Wars."

A charity that provides life-changing support to homeless, vulnerable and excluded people says it has been 'humbled and amazed' by the strength of public support in the face of potentially devastating cuts to the services it provides.

In its initial budget proposals for the three years from April 2014, Nottinghamshire County Council outlined plans that would result in the closure of almost all emergency and supported housing for homeless people in the County. It would also withdraw funding from community-based support for vulnerable people living in their own tenancies, and for crisis prevention work to avoid homelessness from occurring at all.

Framework has labelled the proposals as "devastating, unfair and catastrophic" because they would force the closure of four vital emergency accommodation centres and fatally undermine its prevention work with those at risk of homelessness and other crisis events. Those affected would include people with serious mental health issues and learning disabilities, substance misusers, victims of domestic violence, care leavers and people leaving the forces. In response to the proposals Framework launched a campaign just five weeks ago to highlight the value of the work it does and canvas support for its retention.

On 16th January, Chief Executive Andrew Redfern, supported by service users, presented to the County Council an total of:

· 3,500 Letters of support from members of the public
· Petitions signed by more than 4,000 people
· More than 300 personal and moving hand-written personal accounts from people whose lives have been changed by the services under threat.

Mr. Redfern said: "The response to this campaign has been wonderful. Indeed we are humbled and amazed by the depth of the public support we have received, and by the number of people – from inside and outside the organisation – who have given up their time in order to help.

"I was particularly moved by the hundreds of hand-written testimonies that have come from the people we exist to support – including many whose lives have been turned around by our work and others who are at the beginning of their journey. There have also been many appreciative messages from the friends and families of service users. It demonstrates very clearly the effectiveness of our work and I sincerely hope that Officers and Members of the Council will be minded to agree.

"I would like to thank everybody who has supported the call to 'Think Again'. It has been an effective and dignified demonstration that the Nottinghamshire public does want its resources used to help most vulnerable people. I know that elected Members want to do what is best for the county and am sure the strength of feeling will resonate with them."

The Council's formal consultation period into its proposed budgetary plans has now come to a close. Officers will now spend time digesting the public's feedback before preparing a final budget proposal to be voted on by elected members on 27th February.

After a successful first year, the Women's Running 10k will return to Nottingham this year. Due to its popularity, the race series is expanding from three events to ten in 2014. The race will start and finish at Nottingham's Victoria Embankment on Saturday 19th July.

The Women's Running 10k Race Series is organised by top UK magazine, Women's Running. The magazine inspires, motivates and encourages women to improve their running. As well as Nottingham, the first year of the series saw events in Bristol and London, with almost 2,000 women taking part.

Christina Macdonald, Editor of Women's Running said: "The first event in Nottingham was a real success and we received so much positive feedback, so we're really excited about returning in 2014. Our aim is to inspire and motivate women of all ages and abilities to run, and these events provide the framework to make that happen. All women taking part will be encouraged to achieve their own personal goals, from simply getting around a 10k course, to achieving a personal best, and we will be there to help them every step of the way."

To help runners around the 10 kilometre course, the Women's Running pacers will return to run with participants, to help them achieve their target time. Suitable for runners of all abilities, there will be a team of four pacers, targeting times of 50 minutes, 55 minutes, 60 minutes and a run/walk group aiming for approximately 70 minutes.

The race experience also includes a warm up, led by an expert from Women's Running Magazine, a technical t-shirt, a high quality drawstring goody bag and medal for every finisher, a post-race warm down with tea and cake and a personalised text message containing your race finish time and personal statistics from the day.

Christina added: "We want to provide the support for as many women as possible to start running, or help them to take their running to the next level and so offering pre-race training plans, combined with access to experienced runners in the form of pacers on race day is extremely important to us".

Runners taking part in the Nottingham race will enjoy the company of the River Trent for much of their 10k, which means a flat course is on offer.

In addition to the Nottingham Women's Running 10K race in 2014, the series will see two events in London, and one event in Birmingham, Cardiff, Southampton, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Bristol and Glasgow.

Popular model turned runner, Nell McAndrew will be the ambassador for the race series again next year.

The event is now open for entries, with an early bird price of £24. For more information, top training tips and to enter, go to www.wr10k.co.uk.

Nottinghamshire County Council has extended the consultation period for local people to have their say on a planning application for the proposed development of the Bilsthorpe Energy Centre.

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue's new Chief Fire Officer will be John Buckley – who will take over from retiring Chief Fire Officer Frank Swann on 1st April 2014. John is the current Deputy Chief Fire Officer and was appointed as the new Chief at a meeting of the full Fire Authority in December.

Members of Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Authority chose John for the role following a rigorous interview process.

Chairman of the Fire Authority, Councillor Darrell Pulk said: "We are sorry to see Frank go – but at the same time we are looking forward to working with John to help create even safer communities across the county."

John joined NFRS in 1996 as a firefighter, worked his way through the ranks and has been Deputy Chief Fire Officer since May 2012. John said: "I'm really proud to have started here and now reached the most senior position.

"My aim is to continue the fantastic work we are already doing to make Nottinghamshire a safer place – and it's by working together with the community, firefighters and staff, and the Fire Authority that we'll achieve this."

Chief Fire Officer Frank Swann retires on 31 March 2014 after being NFRS' Chief since early 2007 and there will now be a handover period between Frank and John.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dave Horton will also retire later in 2014 and, to ensure there is a smooth transition due to two senior officers retiring at a similar time, Area Manager Craig Parkin will be acting as a temporary Assistant Chief Fire Officer with immediate effect.