Features Sneak Peek: January 21, 2023

SYSTEM © Illustration of Bewdley.

Simon Whaley explores the hidden surprises of the Severn-side Worcestershire town of Bewdley, in the January 21, 2023 issue of “The People’s Friend”.

Join Simon as he takes in the best that this beautiful part of the world has to offer. You can’t catch a regular train here, so he has hopped onto the historic Severn Valley Railway, which runs steam and diesel trains between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth.

As the train approaches the outskirts, there’s a moment when it passes the West Midlands Safari Park. There can’t be many steam train journeys where travellers can spot giraffes and elephants from the window!

Once we’ve disembarked, it seems we have been transported back over 100 years ago. Hanging baskets and planters full of flowers bedeck the platforms, and old advertising signs for products like Bovril, Cadbury and Robertson’s marmalade line the walls. There is even a selection of metal milk churns standing beside the footbridge.

During our trip, we’ll go to Bewdley Museum, which has a fascinating mixture of informative displays and exhibits, recounting the town’s history, dotted along the shambles. As the museum will demonstrate, the town has a very interesting history.


Claire Goodwin-Fee

Photograph courtesy of Claire Goodwin-Fee.

On March 14, 2020, just before the UK went into lockdown, Claire Goodwin-Fee had an idea. Her idea has since helped thousands of people who worked on the COVID-19 frontline.

Claire is the founder of Frontline19, a free, confidential service for psychological support. Frontline19 matches healthcare professionals whose mental health has been adversely affected by the COVID pandemic with therapists such as psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors.

Claire, who is a psychotherapist, was inspired to set up Frontline19 after hearing about the conditions nurses in the first COVID wards were working in.

Janey Swanson met Claire to find out more.

Medical Detection Dogs

Jackie with bio-detection dog in training Chip.

Photograph by Medical Detection Dogs.

Anyone who has ever welcomed a playful puppy into their home will know only too well that it can be challenging to train and socialise a young four-legged friend.

It’s also incredibly rewarding, especially if you’re playing a crucial role in the early development of a dog destined to be a lifesaver.

Jackie Ferneyhough, who lives with her husband in the Buckinghamshire market town of Stony Stratford, is a volunteer for Medical Detection Dogs. She has been one of the charity’s puppy socialisers since 2018.

Lorna Cowan learns about the rewarding work being done by Medical Detection Dogs volunteers.

Sixty Years Of “Summer Holiday”

Cliff Richard in "Summer Holiday".

Photograph by Shutterstock.

Released in early 1963, in the midst of one of Britain’s coldest-ever winters, “Summer Holiday” offered shivering teenagers a perfectly timed slice of escapism.

It began with a reminder of the weather outside: bleak black-and-white shots of the wet British seaside. Then, as a London bus pulled out of the rain, the film morphed into glorious colour to reveal a beaming Cliff Richard at the wheel.

He and a gang of fellow bus mechanics were going to borrow a double-decker, convert it into a rolling hotel and drive it across Europe.

From there, we set off on a sun-drenched road trip through glorious scenery, pausing only for sunny song and dance numbers.

In the magazine, Douglas McPherson celebrates Cliff Richard’s most famous film.

Etymologist Paul Anthony Jones

Paul Anthony Jones.

Photograph courtesy of Paul Anthony Jones.

Do you want to build a snowman? Here’s something to mull over while you’re doing so. When you start rolling a snowball so that it gradually grows bigger, that ball of snow is called a hodmedod. According to “The English Dialect Dictionary”, it’s a figurative use of an old word for a spiral-shaped snail’s shell.

To warm up afterwards, you may form an ingle-ring, which describes a circle of friends around the fire.

Paul Anthony Jones uncovers lots of fascinating words like this, along with facts and oddities in the English language, and shares them in his new book “Why Is This A Question?”

Paul has a Twitter following of more than 90,000 and has been described as a “linguistic phenomenon”, but where did has passion for words come from?

Etymologist Paul is the perfect man to have a word with as Yvonne on the Features Team discovers.

Elsewhere, we have a collection of recipes for Burns Day, and a craft project to make an applique bag.

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