A social group for disabled adults in the Bedford area
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FLAG Bedford
Friendship Link and Action Group
Registered Charity No. 1165681
CHAIRMAN’S REPORT The chairman’s report was read out by Tracey Brimmell. She reported that FLAG Bedford had another successful year and that FLAG has settled into its new home at Priory Methodist Church. It was reported overall membership being slightly down on the previous year, but the events were well supported by the members. The coffee/tea afternoons have proved to be popular. In the last year FLAG members have attended the following events; Shuttleworth Collection, London Zoo, Quiz Night, Christmas Meal and a Theatre Trip to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor dream coat. Tracey then thanked the committee members for the hard work they have all done over the last year and she also thanked the volunteers for all their help at the various events. TREASURERS REPORT The treasurer’s report was read out by Tracey Brightman. The total cost of last year’s events was £3,900, the cost to the members was £2,400 with FLAG paying the remaining £1,500.  The events were subsidised by FLAG by 39%, the target being 40% ELECTION OF OFFICERS The following members were elected unopposed back into their existing positions. Treasurer - Tracey Brightman Secretary - Lisa Thomas Ros Graham - Committee Support. The remaining roles are as follows. Chairperson - Tracey Brimmell wished to retire. Laura Peggs was elected unopposed. Vice-Chairman - Brendan Gaunt will retire. Jeff Noble was elected to the Committee and will take on the role. Fundraiser - Nick Cochran to retire from this role. Tim Branson was elected unopposed. Newsletter Editor - Jo Branson retired earlier on this year. Nick Cochran was elected unopposed. Administrator - Freda Dunlop will retire at the end of May 2013. Dylan Bowers will take over the role from the 1st June 2013. ANY OTHER BUSINESS There was no other business
AGM, Pizza Supper Priory Methodist Church - 11th April 2013
Members of FLAG at the 2013 AGM.
The boring stuff over with, we tucked into Pizza and Salad from the Honeycrust Bakery, Wendover Drive, Bedford.  We all agreed that the food was delicious and very reasonably priced.
NAIDEX Exhibition NEC, Birmingham - 1st May 2013
When the Committee canvassed FLAG members last year the NAIDEX exhibition at the NEC Birmingham was one of the most popular choices for a day out. However on the 1st May just 18 of us attended the event. As usual we had a Motts Coach with its brilliant driver, Steve. We arrived at the NEC and were dropped off at the entrance to the exhibition.   Naidex is the UK's largest disability, rehabilitation and homecare event with over 300 exhibitors featuring the latest products and services to aid independent living. It gives you the opportunity to keep up to date with the most exciting developments in the disability, rehabilitation and home care industry. The hall was packed with exhibitors showing products from Mobility and Transport, Bathing and Showering, Daily Living Aids, Children's Equipment, Access Equipment, Furniture, Communication and Telecare, Adaptation, Sports, Rehab and Leisure, Charity and Advice. Visitors were able to try out equipment like wheelchairs, stair lifts, sensory equipment, hoists and much, much more. You could also get advice about care, accessible holidays and security equipment. I was very interested in an automatic door opening system until I asked about the price, £2K+ which is when I decided that maybe I didn't need it after all. I ended up buying 2 non slip Dycem coasters for £8. The one thing that I came away thinking was that the equipment and expertise needed for disabled people to overcome their disability is out there, but as with most things, the cost is a limiting factor. We arrived back in Bedford just after 5.30. This was Freda's last event as FLAG's Administrator. Tracey Brimmell called for three cheers to thank her for all her hard work. Freda will carry on as a volunteer so we will still see her at future events. Tracey Brightman.
On a beautiful sunny Monday morning, 33 FLAG members met at Priory Methodist church to await one of those fantastic Motts coaches to take us to the River Thames.  Once the coach had arrived just before 10.00am, it wasn’t long before we were all strapped in and starting out on our journey to Greenwich.  It was a very good run down the motorway and we arrived in time to enjoy our picnic lunches in the shade of the lovely Greenwich trees opposite the ‘Cutty Sark’.  We were due to board our boat at 1.30pm so arranged to meet at 1.15pm outside the ticket office.  Unfortunately the boat we had booked had broken down so we had a little wait before the next one arrived ready for us to board.  The staff were very helpful installing ramps for our wheelchairs and offering a hand to anyone who needed extra assistance. The cruise was enjoyed by all with a refreshing breeze as we moved along the Thames viewing the sights of Tower Bridge, London Eye, Tower of London, The Shard, the oldest pub in the country – to name but a few.  As different groups of people boarded and also left the boat at various stops along the way, we became quite knowledgeable about London landmarks as we heard the running commentary 3 times!  Just goes to prove all the waterways staff learn the same jokes!! After 2.5 hours, we arrived back in Greenwich to board our coach for the return journey to Bedford after a very enjoyable afternoon.  by Carole Mason.
Thames River Trip River Thames, London - 15th July 2013
Bingo Night White Horse Pub  -  26th September 2013
On Thursday 26th September, 22 FLAG members enjoyed a social gathering and meal at The White Horse Public House. The evening began with two games of Bingo, where prizes of £2.50 for a "Line" and £5 for a "Full House" were won. The White Horse manager, Nigel, expertly called out the Bingo numbers in his own lively manner and awarded a packet of sweets to the very last person to get a number.. We all enjoyed our Chicken and Chips supper. For dessert, we had a choice of Chocolate Fudge Cake or Ice Cream. The meal was then finished off with a cup of Tea or Coffee. After the meal, it was time for two more games of Bingo. The evening ended with a raffle. Our Administrator, Dylan, had done a great job of gathering prizes, Well done to everyone who won money on the Bingo and prizes in the Raffle and a big thank you to all FLAG members and Nigel for making the occasion so very enjoyable and fun.
Halloween Karaoke Night White Horse Pub  -  31st October 2013
What a great Halloween Night that was. I think we have a few potential contestants for the X-Factor. Dylan started off  the evening with a great rendition of "Mr. Bojangles", then appropriately for the Halloween Night, Matthew sang and  danced, with all the Zombie moves, to "Thriller". New member Mervyn sang a couple of songs, as did Gordon and  you couldn't keep Karina away from the mic as she sang a total of three songs.  
Nigel, the White Horse manager, kindly judged the Karaoke for us. First prize, a certificate  and a box of chocolates, went to Jill Albers, who sang from memory, a brilliant version of  "Mull of Kintyre". A big thank you and well done to everyone.  
The White Horse gave us a tasty Buffet with FLAG providing a large selection of  Halloween themed cakes.  
Nigel again judged the Halloween Fancy Dress Competition  and gave first prize, a certificate and a box of chocolates, to  Laura.P  She made a big effort to come as Magenta, the  maid from the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and was a  worthy winner.
Way back in distant memory, December 12th 2013, FLAG members descended on The Toby Carvery on Goldington  Road, for our annual Christmas Meal. The Meal was very well attended with a record forty members and volunteers at  the event. The evening was expertly organised and managed by Dylan who did a sterling job especially with such a  large group. Both food and company were excellent as was the service provided by the Toby Carvery staff.   After the meal Dylan wore a stunning pair of gold baubles as earrings which give him a rather striking resemblance to  the Buddha. Unfortunately, rubbing his tummy brought you no luck. The evening ended with the Toby staff being  presented with Chocolates and Flowers for all their hard work. We received a lot of positive feedback, which is always  welcome and we thank everyone who came and made the Christmas Meal such an enjoyable and successful event.   .
The last time I saw "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" live was in the late 1970's at the Theatre Royal, Norwich. On the 19th February 2013 I went with other FLAG members to see the latest production of the show at the Royal & Derngate, Northampton. We boarded the coach at base, Priory Methodist Church. We didn't have our usual driver, Steve, but his replacement was also called Steve, so no having to remember a new name. It was a fairly short journey and Steve parked the coach just up the road from the entrance to the Theatre. We walked, hobbled, wheeled and shuffled down a slight hill and into the busy auditorium. We mingled around getting drinks, sweets and a programme for the show. Karina managed to buy a singing and dancing camel. Four of us, including myself, had seats up in the circle so we made our way up in a very spacious lift. As I sat waiting I could see the rest of the FLAG gang taking their seats down in the stalls. We were supposed to have been given disabled seating, which turned out to be down a step, and so somewhat defeated the object. The touring production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat retells the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours. It is directed by Bill Kenwright, with original lyrics and composition by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. In this production Joseph is played by British actor and singer Keith Jack. He was the runner-up on the BBC reality talent show "Any Dream Will Do" which offered the chance to be the next West End Joseph for the hit musical. He lost out to Lee Mead in the final on 9 June 2007. The house lights are dimmed, the music plays, the curtain is raised and Joseph's story begins. In the first act we are treated to songs like, "Any Dream Will Do," "Joseph's Coat," "Joseph's Dreams," "Poor, Poor Joseph," "One More Angel in Heaven," "Close Every Door," and "Go, Go, Go Joseph". During the interval I have an obligatory tub of ice cream. Act two begins as I check that I have my half eaten bag of wine gums to hand. The show continues with songs like, "A Pharaoh Story," "Poor, Poor Pharaoh," "Song of the King," "Joseph All the Time," and "Jacob in Egypt". The show concludes as Joseph dons his amazing coloured coat once more as we all sing along to the Finale: "Any Dream Will Do". What a great show, I loved every minute. We make our way back to the coach and as Steve drives us back to base I still have the songs playing on a loop in my head. by Tracey Brightman.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton - 19th Feb 2013
Christmas Meal Toby Carvery  -  12th December 2013