Calling All Knitters!

BigKnit4Gloucester BiG Knit is helping local charities keep people warm this winter and we’re looking for knitters and crocheters to join us!

Sessions are being held at Gloucester Guildhall every Friday between 12-2pm and due to popular demand will continue past their original February end date. More casual knitters and crocheters can participate at home and drop off their items in the collection bins at the Guildhall. Every age and ability is welcome to join in and there are even small grants available to help those who’d like to set up knitting or crochet groups in the City.

Gloucester BiG Knit is gaining followers now and we want to reach as many people as possible.

BiG Knit will run throughout 2015 so people can drop their creations in to the Guildhall collection bin at any time, and there’ll be a final BiG Collection on October 1st, which is International Older People’s Day and ties in with Age UK Gloucestershire, one of our chosen charities.

Initially the Big Knit sought to attract older people but all ages love the sessions and the group now has a mix of age groups, genders and abilities. Items will go directly to local people in need, and knitters are reporting health benefits like reduction in stress levels and less arthritic pain.


BigKnit3A limited number of BiG Knit starter boxes are still available for anyone who’d like to join in and requests for a starter pack can be made on the BiG Knit Facebook page which has more info, tips and simple patterns.

Age UK Gloucestershire and Project Beacon – a charity that supports Gloucester’s homeless – will distribute knitted items directly to those in need as part of “Warm & Well Kits” later this year. The Pied Piper Appeal is BiG Knit’s other chosen charity but due to infection control cannot distribute items directly. Instead knitted creations will go on sale in their charity shop at Gloucester Royal Hospital and money raised will help sick and disabled children across the county.

Simple scarves, 6×6 inch squares, small blankets, hats or gloves/handwarmers are needed. BiG Knitters can choose which items they’d like to make and be as creative as they want to be!

If you’re part of a knitting or crochet club or would like to link in with the BiG Knit, share your stories with us at


You can also enquire about the BiG Knit by calling 01452 396396 and asking for Emily Jones or Isobel Edwards.

Pied Piper Web Logo Glos Age UK


BiG-KnitGloucester’s BiG Knit aims to stop older people feeling isolated or lonely

A new free and friendly project in Gloucester is bringing people together by knitting, crocheting or sewing to help stop them feeling isolated or lonely. Whilst the sessions are aimed at older people, everyone is encouraged to take part.

Each week creations, in the form of 6×6 inch squares, will be collected and something ‘BiG’ will be put together in early 2015 to show off to the whole city.

The sessions will run every Friday from November 2014 to February 2015, at Gloucester Guildhall, between 12-2pm.

The ‘BiG’ in BiG Knit stands for ‘Believe in Gloucester’, a campaign which celebrates all that is great about Gloucester, its people and places, its past and its present. For more information visit where knitting patterns and designs can also be found.

Cllr Jennie Dallimore, cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods at Gloucester City Council said, “This is an exciting new project for the city and it’s free to take part. The weekly sessions are aimed at older people who would otherwise be home alone in the daytime. Everyone’s individual squares work will be put together to create a large display piece for the city.”

Gloucester’s BiG Knit will also be supporting the Innocent Big Knit, which helps to raise money for Age UK by knitting hats for their smoothie bottles and donating money from each bottle sold.

There are two collections bins at Gloucester Guildhall in Eastgate Street; one for donations of yarn and knitting supplies, and another for participants to drop of their completed creations.

For more information contact Emily Jones or Isobel Edwards on 01452 396396.

Finalists chosen for the Believe in Gloucester Awards

By CitizenNews | Posted: October 31, 2014


The Believe in Gloucester Awards judging panel

Inspirational work done by individuals, businesses and organisations across the city have made choosing finalists for the Believe in Gloucester Awards an incredibly difficult task. But, after much deliberation, 38 lucky finalists have been chosen in 13 categories which all celebrate the work being done to make our city the great place that it is. The finalists will enjoy a glitzy awards ceremony with a Champagne reception and three-course meal at Kingsholm Stadium on November 27, where the winners will be revealed. Judges met earlier this week to sift their way through around 100 nominations and Mhairi Smith, of Marketing Gloucester, who was on the panel, revealed it was no easy task. She said: “It was a very long process and extremely difficult to choose the finalists, but we got there in the end.“It is a shame that we can’t give everyone an award. There were so many positive stories and fantastic achievements within the many nominations that we received.

“I just wanted to vote for them all. All of the categories were equally tough to narrow down. A lot of discussion took place between the judges.”

The Citizen launched its 2014 Believe In Gloucester Awards at the Cathedral’s Chapter House in August to celebrate the start of this year’s mission to search for the very best in the city. There are 13 categories including Business of the Year, New Business of the Year, Best Customer Service, Best Eating Out Establishment, Best Pub/Bar, Ambassador of the Year and Retailer of the Year. Fellow judge Jenny Eastwood, editor of the Citizen, said: “It was incredibly difficult to choose the finalists as we had such a fantastic amount of nominations.

“We have such a wealth of enthusiasm and passion in our city with so many people from all walks of life trying to improve where we live and work.

“These awards help celebrate those talented individuals, businesses and community groups who go the extra mile to promote Gloucester.”

This year, there is a special Lifetime Achievement Award.

Whether it is someone who has raised countless sums for charity, a long-serving teacher who has made a difference to education in Gloucester or a community activist who has remained committed to the city, this new award will recognise contributions made over their entire career and the winner will be announced on the night.

Finalists for the Best Pub/Best Eating Venue are yet to be decided

Citizen readers can vote online at for their favourites and they have until Friday, November 7, to submit their vote.

Sponsors of the Believe in Gloucester Awards include Marketing Gloucester, Gloucester City Council, Gloucester Quays, WSP Solicitors, Kings Walk Shopping Centre, Eastgate Shopping Centre, Peter Hickman, Prospect Training, Taynton Solicitors, The King’s School, Heather Resource Management Limited and Hatton Court Hotel.


Gloucester Ambassador of the Year (21 and Over)

Alan Myatt

Jamie McDonald

Kevin Tudor


Gloucester Ambassador of the Year (Under 21)

Dan Seamarks

Eli Heathfield

Laura Pearsall


Business of the Year

Linda Gray Bridalwear

Prima Dental

Roberts Limbrick Architects


New Business of the Year

AB Motor Vehicle Services Ltd

Ritch Hill Cycles

Roman Co


Best Customer Service Award

Plantation Florist

Richard Burnham, Cafe Q

Severnside Software Limited


Best Retailer of the Year

Chez Rose

Eastgate Cycles

Woodys Fruit and Veg


Best Eating Out Establishment Award/Best Bar Award

C&W African Experience

Dr Fosters

Portivo Lounge

Best Community Project

Freedom Kids Youth Club

Hollie Gazzard Trust

One Church


Best Community Event of the Year

Gloucester 10k

Gloucester Paint Jam

Sportbeat Festival

Summer Hollie Day

Sports Champion of the Year

Gerry McGarr

Jon Pitman

Tom Webb


Regeneration Award

Gloucester Civic Trust

Gloucester Quays

Kingfisher Treasureseekers


Tutor/Mentor of the Year Award

Janine Smith

Leanna Wisbey

Luke Stokes

English Civil War Weekend to revive past glories

The English Civil War Society is holding a whole weekend’s worth of activities to commemorate the city of Gloucester’s involvement in the war on Saturday 23 and 24 March. There will be parades with Cavaliers and Roundheads in full costume, fun and interesting talks at Gloucester City Museum, demonstrations at Gloucester Folk Museum and cannon firing at the Historic Docks.

English Civil War Weekend – full schedule of parades and events

What is the origin of Gloucester‘s strong ties with the English Civil War? The city was besieged by Charles I’s Royalist forces from 3 August until the arrival of the Earl of Essex’s Parliamentarian army on 5 September 1643. After a summer of Royalist victories, Gloucester was one of the few remaining Parliamentarian strongholds left in the West. Charles wished to consolidate his power in the South West and felt that Gloucester’s small garrison would provide little resistance. Colonel Edward Massey led the defence of the city, withstanding cannon attacks and surviving an attempt to undermine the walls at the East Gate (thanks to a spell of bad weather). By the time the Earl of Essex relieved the city, Massey only had three barrels of gunpowder remaining.

Several legends came out of the Siege of Gloucester, one of which was the pig that saved the city. It is said that a pig was carried around inside the city walls during the siege. The poor little pig was tormented into making an almighty racket, hopefully giving off the impression to the Royalists that there were plenty of pigs and that there was no chance of a food running out in Gloucester. For more about Gloucester’s affinity with our porcine friends visit the Centenary of the Gloucestershire Old Spot Exhibition at the Gloucester Folk Museum.

The Mystery of Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty was said to be the name of an unprecedentedly large mortar imported from Holland. It was mounted on the walls of Llanthony Secunda Priory where the Royalist forces were encamped during the Siege of Gloucester. It was apparently named (disparagingly) after a famously rotund MP of the day. As the artillerymen trained their sights on Gloucester’s cathedral, the cannon misfired. Another assertion was that Humpty Dumpty was a ‘tortoise’ siege engine that featured a series of covered bridges to enable King Charles I’s men to cross the defensive ditch and scale the city walls. This second theory was put forward by Professor David Daube in The Oxford Magazine in 1956, but like many other origin theories of the nursery rhyme, it was a case of fitting square pegs into round holes.

Gloucester Day
Celebrated annually for hundreds of years following the lifting of the Siege of Gloucester on 5 September 1643, the event died out in the nineteenth century. However the celebration was revitalised by town crier Alan Myatt and the Gloucester Civic Trust in 2009 and forms an integral part of the Gloucester History Festival.

Mock Mayor of Barton
During the Restoration of Charles II, the king settled scores and penalised Gloucester’s impertinence during the Civil War by knocking down the once unbreachable walls and reducing the city boundaries. This left Barton outside the city limits and without a mayor to defer to. The residents of Barton ‘elected’ a mock mayor (usually a man who had made the biggest fool of themselves in the previous year) to thumb their noses in defiance at the city of Gloucester’s authority.

The Spirit of Gloucester
Perhaps the Siege of Gloucester is seen as a prime example of the defiance of the fiercely proud inhabitants of this small city. This spirit has been documented since the days when Gloucester (or Glevum) was a Roman colonia – the highest status afforded to a provincial town in the Roman Empire. It was a small colonia, but it had colonia status nonetheless. Today, Gloucester revels in its reputation of passion and pride – just ask the fans at Kingsholm (officially the most passionate fans in the Aviva Premiership). If Gloucester is succesful in being named as one of the venues for the Rugby World Cup in 2015 despite it being the smallest (and only club) ground on the shortlist, it will be down to indomitable spirit of its people.

Half-term ideas for Gloucester


A few suggestions for a Halloween-themed Half Term in Gloucester including arts and crafts, spooky shows and more….

Download a PDF with the full list of events.

Gloucester Folk Museum

The annual Apple Day celebrations (20 Oct) are back when the traditional horse drawn cider mill will once again be in action with the help of Fergus the horse turning the mill and crushing apples! There will be lots of local ciders for sale in the garden, apple crushing and oeeling opportunities for kids, an apple-themed caligraphy workshop, plus many apple flavoured delights in the tearooms!

Gloucester Waterways Museum

Witches, mysterious creatures, robbers and drunken fairies will all be found at Gloucester Waterways Museum when John Bassett, from Spaniel In The Works Theatre Company, presents a 30 minute solo version of the company’s popular comic show Dark Tales of Gloucestershire on October 24.

Dark Tales of Gloucestershire is suitable for children over five years old and takes traditional folk tales from across the county and retells them in a lively, funny and exciting way using rhyme, music, and dance. The performances will form part of the Museum’s Wicked Wednesday series and are scheduled to start at 12 noon, 1pm and 2pm on Wednesday October 24. The performance is included in the normal admission price to the Museum.

On Saturday October 27 come dressed up as a ghoul, ghost or witch and take part in the museums Halloween trail to win a prize.

Plus the 45-minute boat cruises will be running throughout half-term leaving at 12 noon, 1.30pm and 2.30pm

Gloucester Quays

Bring your little horrors to Gloucester Quays Monster Mash and enjoy half term activities including pumpkin carving, magic shows and craft workshops. Be careful you don’t bump into our creepy characters roaming the malls and have a hoot watching the wise owls.

Harry Potter Day – FREE

Monday 22 Oct, 11am – 3pm

(magic illusion shows at 11am and 2pm)

Creepy Crafts and Spooky Snaps – FREE

Tuesday 23 & Wednesday 24 Oct, 11am-3pm

Petrifying Pumpkins! – FREE

Thursday 25 & Friday 26 Oct, 11am – 3pm

Gloucester Cathedral

The Big Draw

Tuesday 23 & Wednesday 24 Oct

Collect your clipboard, paper and pencil and then start drawing. Be inspired by the building and draw your favourite part.

Nature In Art

British Wildlife Photography Awards

The 90 winning and shortlisted photographs from the 2012 competition recently launched in mid September in London. World class images celebrating the diversity of British fauna and flora and their environments.

More Halloween Half Term events:

Last chance to visit Painswick Rococo Garden (closes on 31 October)

Frightmare at Over Farm (20-31 October)

Getting your costume ready for the Gloucester Zombie Walk (Saturday 27 October)

Download a PDF with the full list of events.

Worldwide event hopes to illuminate issue of dwindling lighthouses and lightships

The International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW) is an annual event and the SULA Lightship in Gloucester is participating for the second successive year. The event was started in 1998 by a Scottish HAM Radio Amateur and has grown into a massive global event with almost 400 participating lighthouses and lightships.

The basic objective of the event is to promote public awareness of lighthouses and lightships and their need for preservation and restoration, and at the same time to promote amateur radio and to foster International goodwill.

Lighthouses are fast becoming an endangered species with the introduction of Global Positioning Systems and Satellite Navigation and the automation of the light source to solar power which has resulted in the withdrawal of management personnel (Keepers). In the UK, Trinity House, who manages the lighthouses, have started a program to extinguish lighthouses and sell them. It is hoped that this ILLW weekend event will highlight this situation and help prevent further desecration of these magnificent structures all around the world.

This year the event takes place on 18-19 August.

The Sula Lightship will be open to the public on both days from 10am till 5pm. There will be an opportunity to learn about lightships and small groups can climb up into the light-tower. Presentations will be held during both days.

Members from the Cheltenham Amateur Radio Association and the Gloucester Amateur Radio and Electronics Society will be manning the Radio room on board and will talking to other stations around the world. The general public will be able to see them in action and listen-in to those signals and conversation from exotic and remote locations. The station will operate HF radios for long-distance calls and VHF/UHF radios for more local contacts.

Weather permitting, people can enjoy coffee and teas on deck of the historic lightship, enjoying a perfect view of the Gloucester-Sharpness canal.

The SULA Lightship is the home of Lightship Therapies, Gloucester’s Holistic Centre. During the weekend, various taster treatments and demonstrations will be available. For those who are not too interested in ships and radios, a pampering treatment is a relaxing alternative.

SULA also hosts the Gloucester Buddhist Centre and information about Buddhism is available. Why not have a look at the only Shinghon Buddhist temple in the UK?

With lots of activities over the weekend, this is a perfect family day out with something for everybody!
Please call SULA on 01452-527566 for more details.

Believe in Gloucester: The Infographic

Gloucester, the Infographic – part of the Believe in Gloucester campaign by Marketing Gloucester

Embed Gloucester, the Infographic on your site: Simply copy and paste the code below

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Gloucester Cathedral doubles as the Palace of Westminster for Shakespeare’s Henry IV

BBC’s Shakespearean Hollow Crown saga continues tomorrow night with Henry IV Part 1 – starring Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddlestone. Shot on location within the atmospheric bowels Gloucester Cathedral, back in February we managed to speak to acclaimed screen and stage director Sir Richard Eyre about filming in our fair city.

Read about the Hollow Crown programmes on the BBC website.

Local boy to sing for the Queen

King’s School, Gloucester pupil and Cathedral Chorister, Sebastian Ferris, has been given an opportunity of a lifetime to sing for Her Majesty the Queen as part of the Diamond Jubilee Choir in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Following auditions held recently as part of a countrywide search, 10 year old Sebastian, who hails from Cheltenham, has been selected as one of only 41 children who will sing at the Diamond Jubilee thanksgiving service in St Paul’s Cathedral on 5 June – the first such service since the reign of Queen Victoria.

Sebastian, who travelled to Exeter Cathedral for his audition, had to undertake a rigorous audition process with hundreds of children around the country performing Londonderry Air and Be Thou My Vision for the panel of judges.

He will now join the other 40 children who have been selected in rehearsals at St Pauls’ Cathedral to learn a brand new choral work by young British composer Will Todd.

This piece, The Call of Wisdom, with words by Michael Hampel, Precentor of St Paul’s, has been composed especially for the occasion.

During the service, which will be broadcast live in the UK and also seen in many other countries around the world, the Diamond Choir will join the choristers of St Paul’s Cathedral and the Choir of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal for this unique performance.

Sebastian Ferris said:

“My singing is my life and when I found out I could be in the Diamond Choir I thought I’d better audition. When I found out I was singing for the Queen I was over the moon and thrilled with excitement. I hope this is the beginning of a long singing career – I would like that very much.

“I have been helped with my audition by Mr Partington (Director of Music at Gloucester Cathedral) and Mrs Burton (Music Teacher at The King’s School). I am most grateful for their support and the overall support of the School and the Cathedral.

“I am proud, excited and honoured to be given this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

His headmaster at King’s School, Alistair Macnaughton said:

“We are extremely delighted and tremendously proud of Sebastian. It is not easy being both a school pupil and a Cathedral chorister as it takes up a lot of their time but when you get selected for such an honour you can see how the work pays off.

“He continues a great tradition at the school of choristers and other pupils excelling in music – something that we are proud to continue.”

The Dean of Gloucester, the Very Revd Stephen Lake said:

“Well done to Sebastian! This shows the immense amount of time and commitment made by these young people who sing day by day in the Cathedral. I am proud that Gloucester is going to be represented so well by Sebastian.”

Sebastian will be following in the footsteps of many former pupils of The King’s School Gloucester whose musical talents have been recognised.

This year’s London Olympics will have a King’s School stamp on it as the Olympic stadium and other venues ring out the sounds of the Star Spangled Banner – a tune composed by former pupil John Stafford Smith. 16th century composer William Hayes and local born composer Ivor Gurney, all benefitted from a musical education at King’s and the Cathedral.

More recently the School has played a part in the education of composer Dr Richard Shepherd, highly-acclaimed music producer and engineer Andy Johns and conductor Edward Gardner.

Group travel operators discover a taste for Gloucester

On Friday 20 April 2012, Marketing Gloucester and a group of businesses in the Docks hosted the Quays Hospitality Day. The group travel market has been identified as a growth area in tourism and this was an opportunity to showcase the range of attractions on offer for tourist groups in Gloucester Docks.

The 75 influential guests were welcomed by Richard Rawlings (Centre Manager at Gloucester Quays) and Paul James (Chairman of Marketing Gloucester) at a morning reception. Chris Oldershaw (Chief Executive of Marketing Gloucester and GHURC) gave a summary of the regeneration work carried out in the city over the last five years and outlined what future plans are in the pipeline. He also highlighted the importance of events, such as the Gloucester Quays Food Festival, Garden Party, the award-winning Tall Ships Festival, and explained how the Believe in Gloucester campaign is bringing the feel good factor back to the city.

Afterwards, Gloucester Civic Trust guides took the guests on a whistle-stop tour of the attractions in the Docks. Group travel organisers were able to sample a taster of what is on offer at the Gloucester Antiques Centre, Gloucester Waterways Museum, Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum and English Holiday Cruises before taking an entertaining if somewhat bracing, 45-minute cruise along the Gloucester Sharpness Canal on board the Queen Boadicea.

A lunch reception was held at The Blue Elephant Restaurant (above Fosters), where Dawn Melvin and her team outdid themselves and put on a truly impressive spread for the hungry visitors. A prize draw was made with English Holiday Cruises offering an all expenses weekend for two to the lucky winners. Guests were then offered the opportunity to visit Gloucester’s magnificent Cathedral or spend more time in the Docks, but not before letting us know what a great time they had. All group travel organisers who completed the questionnaire said that they would be bringing groups to the City.

The Quays Hospitality Day was the collaborative brainchild of the Quays Marketing Group (which includes Marketing Gloucester, Gloucester Quays, Gloucester Antiques Centre, Gloucester Civic Trust, English Holiday Cruises, The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, Gloucester Waterways Museum, SULA Lightship Therapies and Gloucester Docks Estates Company Limited). The success of the event just goes to show how organisations working in partnership can make a positive impact on tourism which benefits the local economy.