Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Monty Python Comes to Aberystwyth

Two Monty Python stars came to the very town that banned the Life of Brian film 30 years ago to attended the first screening of the film – and help raise funds for the BHF’s local nurse appeal.

The Mayor of Aberystwyth, Cllr Sue Jones-Davies invited fellow actors Michael Palin and Terry Jones to Aberystwyth last week to view the film at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre.

Sue (pictured with Michael Palin) appeared in the film as Brian’s girlfriend Judith Iscariot.

Jayne Lewis, BHF Fundraising Volunteer Manager for West and Mid Wales said: “It was a fantastic evening and great to see so many Monty Python fan out to greet their heroes – definitely a night to remember!”

Donate to our Local Nurse Appeals in Wales

For BHF events see our Events Finder on our main website.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

MPs support heart plan

MPs were out in force for the launch of the Cardio & Vascular Coalition's new plan outlining how the Government should approach the fight against cardiac and vascular disease.

The CVC is a group of 41 charities representing patients, charities doctors and nurses.

Its report - Destination 2020 - calls for a plan in England which will incorporate coronary heart disease but also related conditions such as stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

Yesterday more than 60 MPs pledged their support (including Peter Hain, pictured) while over 125,000 people have signed our petiton.

Visit the Cardiac and Vascular Coalition website
Sign the British Heart Foundation's Online Petition for a New Heart Plan

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

London to Brighton 2009 - Doing It For Dad

Chris Olney (that's him on the right) is doing our London to Brighton Bike Ride this summer for the very first time. He's now one month into his training, so we've asked him to post regularly to this blog in the run-up to the event.

If you are also taking part in the ride and would like to share your training experiences or other L2B stories with us and others, please include them in the comments area below this post. Here's Chris's story so far...

"Hi! My name's Chris, I am 24, from Dartford in Essex, and am doing the London to Brighton Bike Ride this June.

"I am interested in raising money for the BHF because I have lost many family members, including my Dad nearly four years ago, through heart problems of one form or another.

"My Dad was a healthly man and never smoked or drank to excess, and so I want to help raise awareness that it can affect anyone, not just the danger groups you always hear about.

"I, like most of the country, find it difficult to do make sure I am exercising at least three times a week, so I have had to be extra disciplined with my training for this ride.

"Don't get me wrong, I am not hoping to win it! But just to finish I have realised will be quite some achievement.

"I started training for this about one month ago, and my general week consists of two gym sessions during the week with lots of work on the cycling machine and a bit of running.

"Then I do one cycle on a Saturday or Sunday. The big ride I do at the weekend I have been increasing the distance each week. I did ten miles last weekend, and I could really feel it on Monday morning on the front of my legs - there was a lot of uphill involved though!

"So as 10 miles is still a long way off the length of London to Brighton, I still have a long way to go. I am doing 12-15 miles this weekend and will let you know how it goes this week - as long as i can reach my computer!"

More from Chris here next week. If you are also taking part in the ride and would like to share your training experiences or other L2B stories with us and others, please include them in the comments area below.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Handbags and Gladrags

With spring in the air what better time than to clean out your wardrobe and take advantage of our fantastic Radley bag promotion.

Simply donate your unwanted handbag to your nearest Radley store until 30 April 2009 and you'll receive a £40 discount off a new Radley handbag of your choice, priced £120 or more.

All unwanted handbags collected by Radley will be given to BHF Shops around the UK, which are in urgent need of quality donated stock.

Radley tell us that since the bag amnesty was launched last week, over 60 bags have been handed into their stores including a few designer labels.

For more details on this great promotion see Radley Bag Offer on our main website...and tell your friends!

Find out more about donating your unwanted items of clothing to BHF Shops.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

How being obese can take years off your life

A new study of almost one million people from around the world - part-funded by the British Heart Foundation - has shown that obesity can trim years off a person's life expectancy.

The study found that moderate obesity, which is now common, reduces life expectancy by about 3 years, and that severe obesity, which is still uncommon, can shorten a person’s life by 10 years.

This 10 year loss is equal to the effects of lifelong smoking.

The study brought together data from 57 long-term research studies mostly based in Europe or North America. People were followed for an average of 10 to 15 years, during which 100,000 died, making it the largest ever investigation of how obesity affects mortality.

The studies used body mass index (BMI) to assess obesity. Though not perfect, BMI is useful for assessing the extent to which fatty tissue causes ill health.

Obesity increases death rates for some types of cancer and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Amongst middle-aged people in the UK, as many as one in four deaths from heart attack or stroke and one in 16 cancer deaths are due to being overweight or obese.

Need information or advice?

Monday, 16 March 2009

Download the new BHF free podcast

We thought you'd like to know that our latest free podcast is now available to download via iTunes by subscribing to the BHF podcast feed or from our website

In this latest podcast, called Recovery - The Facts in Five Minutes, we talk about some of the major issues faced by heart patients coming out of hospital after suffering a heart attack, or having undergone major heart surgery.

These include how much physical activity to safely do, whether or not to drive, how to cope emotionally with the new situation, dealing with financial and insurance issues, and knowing when it's right to return to work.

If you, or someone you know, is facing issues related to recovery or have other heart health queries, this podcast is for you.

You can also phone our Heart Helpline on 0300 330 3311, and check out the information and resources on our website at bhf.org.uk/recovery

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Blot clots breakthrough by BHF researchers

New Scientist magazine reports some exciting new BHF-funded research this week.

Dr Yotis Senis (who we can reveal skateboards to work - how cool is that?!) has made a discovery about how blood clot formation is triggered.

This could be a vital step towards developing better, safer, medicines to prevent heart attacks and strokes, which happen when a blood clot builds up and blocks blood supply to the heart or brain.

When an artery is diseased, platelets – small cells in the blood, pictured above – can stick to the inside of the blood vessel and clump together to form a clot that blocks blood flow.

In the first video below you can see this clearly occurring in a little blood vessel under a microscope – the platelets have been made fluorescent so we can see them clearly.

As part of his research, Yotis used platelets that had been engineered to lack a protein called CD148. In the next video below you can see that these platelets can’t build up on the vessel wall.

This could mean that if we could develop medicines that block CD148, they might be effective at preventing heart attacks.

Read more about the research and its potential application here

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

It's good to Tweet

For those of you who love to tweet, you'll be pleased to know the BHF can now be found on Twitter.

So far we have a modest 70 followers but as word spreads we know that'll grow.

Our latest tweets have updated our followers about availability of places on our popular London to Brighton bike ride but we're open to suggestions.

Please tell us what you'd like us to tweet about.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Brian's Life to boost the BHF

We're delighted to have been chosen to benefit from the proceeds of a very special film screening taking place in Aberystwyth later this month.

It'll be the first time the Monty Python classic The Life of Brian (pictured right) has ever been shown in the town, since it was banned for being "blasphemous" when first released 30 years ago - a move also taken by other UK cities and towns at the time.

Two Python stars who appeared in the original film, Michael Palin and Terry Jones, are due to attend the screening, the profits of which will come to the BHF.

The screening is being made possible by Sue Jones-Davies, who played Brian’s girlfriend in the cult movie and is now mayor of the Welsh town.

She said: “It was actually a journalist who pointed out to me that the film had never been shown in Aberystwyth because of the ban.”

“We decided that we might as well go on with it and see if we could arrange a screening in Aberystwyth.“

The film was first banned because of its comical portrayal of Jesus and alleged blasphemy. It has since gone on to be voted the greatest comedy film of all time by Channel 4, The Guardian and many other film critics.

“I’m pretty sure the event is already a sell-out. Aberystwyth Arts Centre is a beautiful venue and there are only 120 places,“ Mrs Jones-Davies said. “It will be a great evening and it is about time the film was shown anyway.”

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

A Mother's Day Treat

Sunday 22 March is Mother's Day - and we've got some great ideas for pampering mothers.

Our online shop has a special selection of gorgeous girly gifts including spotted hangars, embroidered lavender bags (pictured), photo frames and necklaces and the charming 'name a rose' gift box.

Show your mum you really love her by looking after her heart. See our heart health top tips for mums.

Or why not plan to so something with all the family - we've loads of fun family events across the UK over the next few months - find one near you.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Apply for London to Brighton places

It's been a busy day and we now have over 20,000 registrations. Thank you to everyone!

We've now switched to applications for the remaining limited places. Those of you who apply and are successful will be sent place offers in April. We'll also let you know if you've been unlucky - so please wait to hear from us.

If you emailed today - we'll be in touch as soon as possible. Please be patient as our inbox has been very busy.

London to Brighton registrations opened today!

Just a quick update - today our London to Brighton bike ride opened its doors for standard registrations.

We've received over 4,000 standard entries in the first few hours. Plus a few people have already setup their fundraising pages, here are two examples....

Louise Doherty
Will Moverley

Let us know about your L2B fundraising efforts by leaving a comment here.