Monday, 17 October 2016

The Parks Trust Announces Winners of 2016 Photography Competition

By Sarah Featley

The Parks Trust, the self-funding charity that cares for Milton Keynes’ parks and green spaces, is pleased to announce the winners of its 2016 Photography Competition.
With 665 photographs entered by 230 people from across the city, the contest was tougher than ever before. Entries were made into three categories in adult and youth age groups; parklife, wildlife and landscape; with a winner and finalist chosen for each one. Of these three winners, an overall winner was then chosen from both the adult and youth sections.
Peter Watson was the overall adult winner, chosen for his striking winter image of Old Stumpy at Ouzel Valley Park, while Gracie Gardner’s stunning black and white close up of a swan clinched the overall youth winner title. Peter, as overall winner, was presented with his certificate by David Foster, Chief Executive of The Parks Trust, at the charity’s headquarters in Campbell Park,
The competition shortlist was whittled down by an expert panel of judges including Chairman of the New City Photography Society, Stephen Miller and Secretary, Don Byatt, and The Parks Trust’s Head of Community Engagement Briony Fox.
Briony commented: “We were hugely impressed by the quality of the photos submitted this year – people in Milton Keynes certainly know their bokeh from their contre-jour! It was difficult to narrow down the entries but we were blown away by Peter’s and Gracie’s in particular; they really are very special.
“We loved looking through people’s favourite images of their parks, and the competition truly demonstrated how lucky we are to have such a vast array of landscapes and habitats in Milton Keynes. We hope this will encourage even more people to visit the city’s green spaces, which are beautiful and inspiring all year round.”
The full list of winners for The Parks Trust’s 2016 Photography Competition is as follows:

Overall Adult Winner
Peter Watson (Old Stumpy at Ouzel Valley Park)
Adult Landscape category winner
Peter Watson (Old Stumpy at Ouzel Valley Park)
Adult Parklife category winner
Charlotte Green (Willen Lake)
Adult Wildlife category winner
Jo Angell (Willen Lake)

Overall Youth winner
Gracie Gardner (close up of swan)
Youth Landscape category winner
Sophie Bayliss (Wolverton Mill)
Youth Parklife category winner
Roslyn Moorhouse (Tree Cathedral)
Youth Wildlife category winner
Gracie Gardner (close up of swan)

For more information please visit

Tremayne Miller is in pursuit of silence: Film review

by LifestyleMK's Tremayne Miller

In cinemas 21 October
In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative film the explores our relationship with silence, sound, and the impact of noise on our lives.’
A film by Patrick Shen
Produced By: Patrick Shen, Andrew Brumme, Brandon Vedder

Running Time: 81 minutes


Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality (2005)
The Philosopher Kings (2009)
La Source (2012)
Hypaethral (2015)
In Pursuit of Silence (2015)

The film begins with 4 minutes 33 seconds of experimental silence paying tribute to the composer, John Cage, and his famous composition, 4’ 33”.
Momentum is gathering for silence to be introduced back into people’s lives, and it should be noted that the film is not silent all the way through, Shen, however, does combine static camera shots of a tree in a field and a petrol station at night, alongside interviews with individuals whose interests lie in the consideration of sound and silence across the globe, a mixture of academics, monks and audiologists.
Silence then breaks with an introduction to Greg Hindy, a Yale graduate, who’s taken a vow of silence and is walking across the United States to get away from noisy distractions, found in electronics and entertainment.
Shen hopes that the film will bring about change, “..slow down and on some level make the world new again ..”
The Noise Attitudes Survey by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in 2012 states that 48 per cent of people in the UK felt their home life was spoilt by noise.
Only a small amount of the world isn’t flown over by planes, and road noise can significantly be louder. According to the World Health Organisation, eight million people across Europe suffer from insomnia as a consequence.
A normal human conversation is set at around 50-60 dBA, and anything higher will require people to raise their voices.

“All of our physical rhythms are being affected by sound..,”says Julian Treasure, a “sound evangelist,” as well as chairman of  The Sound Agency.
He goes on to say that our bodies are affected by noise in four different ways; and the farther we get away from silence, the more we lose our sense of humanity and we begin to resemble a synth not unlike those in Channel 4 Series, Humans.
Sudden noise can cause the body to produce a shot of cortisol, “the fight-or-flight hormone.”
Sound affects our mood. “If you’re surrounded by noise .. it has a .. bad effect on the spirit,” says Treasure, hearing that many scenes of domestic violence tended to involve police at the scene of the crime having to turn down loud device, often those emitting music.
The reason we cannot understand two people talking at the same time is because our auditory input channel is distinctly limited in its bandwidth. The equivalent to 1.6 human conversations.
The World Health Organisation writes that noise pollution is a “major public environmental health burden, second only to air pollution,” which can greatly affect one’s concentration.
Children in schools under flight paths are said to have a lower reading ability than their peers whose studies are conducted in a quieter environment.
Noise is also apparent in hospitals, where doctors must make critical decisions.
“..delays in decision-making, errors in receiving information, errors in transmitting information, errors in calculations of medication dosages and a whole series of other downstream problems” have been linked to noise pollution.
Noise is the cause behind some hospital admissions, and Professor of Psychiatry at Queen Mary University of London, Dr. Stephen Stansfeld says that recent studies prove that “hypertension, high blood pressure .. cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and even death” can be tracked back to noise pollution.
FACT: Mumbai is thought to be the loudest city in the world, with its most common cause being motor vehicles. Other sources include - generator sets, office machines, aircraft and activities from industry and construction.
It took the rape of a 10-year old girl one year at the Ganeshotsav carnival for people to stand up and fight against the levels of noise, which on this occasion prevented anyone from being able to hear the child’s cries for help.
‘So why is silence good for us?,’ you ask. Well, scientists are finding that time spent in solitude can be beneficial to our health – both our body and mind.
“silence is where we hear something deeper than our chatter..”
A Japanese environmental researcher who features in the film discusses the silence of the forest, a place where a human’s health and well being can be vastly improved.
“There is a deep wonder in silence and quietness and when you start to experience it, it becomes the thing you want to run to find because in it you feel topped up, inspired. You get genius ideas out of nowhere that make the rest of the day go well.”
This could be because sitting in quiet, without noise or stimuli to distract us, helps to activate the brain’s “default mode”.”

The silent movement
A change is already beginning, particularly in the world of consumer goods. The buying director of John Lewis, Johnathan Marsh says that there is now a higher demand for quieter appliances, especially among those who have an open-plan kitchen, sitting room or dining room.
In Pursuit of Silence a vision of the future is painted, where not only buildings but road networks and entire cities are constructed with auditory impact in mind, as Treasure shockingly reveals an architect in the UK can train up to five years, and only devote one day to sound! It’s no wonder, therefore, that [buildings are] entirely ocular, he says.
It should not be forgotten that we once used silence as a means of survival, and to lose sight of it completely would represent a huge loss within true selves.

In Pursuit of Silence ‘pays homage to the ineffable qualities of silence,’ proving the contention that the balance of noise and silence in our lives has fallen dramatically out of sync.

Silence does not really exist in this modern, artificial world we live in, we just pick up on other sounds.

*The film was launched with a Kickstarter campaign in 2013, and was then further helped in autumn 2014 with a second successful Kickstarter campaign.

*In Pursuit of Silence is the first major film to be made about noise pollution, shooting in 8 different countries, including The U.S., Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, China, Taiwan and India. This took place over a 2 year period.

* La Source Shen’s third documentary premiered in 2012 at AFI Docs. It was narrated by Oscar nominee, Don Cheadle, and told the story of Josue Lajuenesse. Lajuenesse, a janitor at Princetown University, visits Haiti post the earthquake of 2010 to deliver clean water to his village.
*‘Patrick has received a grant from the Fledging Fund and for the past three years has been selected by the U.S. Department of State and the USC School of Cinematic Arts to participate in the American Film Showcase..’

Writer © Tremayne Miller

Tremayne Miller regularly presents her reviews on LifestyleMK Tuesdays 7 - 8pm.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Newsletter w/c October 16th


Every Sunday we'll update you on the special shows on Secklow Sounds.
You can get in touch:
T: @secklowsounds
Fb: Secklow Sounds Radio



The Sticks Gets Moody Blue - AGAIN 

Joining Terry Sullivan on this week’s Sticks show is John Lodge the legendary guitarist of The Moody Blues. John will be talking about his career from his humble beginnings in Birmingham to joining The Moody Blues also about his new solo album “10,000 Light Years Ago” Plus what’s on this week in MK and surrounding areas.
The Sticks show can be heard at 10am Mondays. Tune in via the Secklow Sounds web site or via the TuneIn radio app.
Twitter: @thesticks9
Contact Terry with requests, dedications, shout-outs
Twitter: @thesticks9 Email:

TUESDAY October 18th, 7pm - LIFESTYLEMK with Audrey & Gill - Start something new TODAY!

The LifestyleMK team are chatting with Mumpreneur Bianca Chappell on the show this week.  Bianca started "MumpreneursMK" a network and business development agency dedicated to supporting mums in business.

Bianca is a Life and Business Coach with a practice for mums and female entrepreneurs and we are inspired by her empowering approach to motherhood, womanhood and business.

For more about Bianca and Mumpreneurs, CLICK HERE

...and of course the Team will also be looking at what's new in fitness, how to build a home for nature and update you on their weekly lifestyles!

If you've got a story to share or something you'd like to say, get in touch with them:
Audrey: @draudreyt
Gill: @gillian7751
or email:


The subject is Heroines.
  There’s music for such new films as Bridget Jones’s Baby and The Girl on the Train.   We’ve got music for Serena Williams, Elizabeth the First, Brave, Mulan, Xena The Warrior Princess, Hundra and Red Sonja among others.  What a feeling!

Soundtracks: 1 hour Tues 10pm, repeats Thursday 2pm, Sunday midnight and Mon 11am
Catch past shows on Mixcloud


The stock of ALL the past SOUNDTRACKS shows (over 200!) on a variety of topics RIGHT HERE

THURSDAY October 20th - Transition 3 - 4pm 

David Stimson talks business and young enterprise on Thursdays 3 - 4.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

We Need Your Help: The Parks Trust Gears Up for Annual Make a Difference Day

by Sarah Featley

The Parks Trust is calling on the people of Milton Keynes to pull on their wellies, wrap up warm and lend a hand on its annual Make a Difference Day, which will be held on Saturday 22nd October 2016.
This year, help is needed to plant spring bulbs at Willen Lake North between 10am and 12noon. Those keen to take part should meet staff from The Parks Trust at The Labyrinth maze at the north of the lake at 10am.
Volunteers are asked to dress for outside work with relevant footwear, and bring gardening gloves and a spade or trowel – all other equipment will be provided. Free parking can be found at Willen Pavilion car park.
Carla Boswell, Volunteer Coordinator at The Parks Trust, said: “The work of our volunteers is vital to ensuring Milton Keynes’ green spaces remain beautiful and inspiring places for people to visit and enjoy – we simply couldn’t do it without them!
“However, we know that there are those who would love to come and help but can’t commit to regularly volunteering, which is why we so hope they will join us for our Make a Difference Day.
“It’s a great opportunity to spend some time outdoors and enjoy the autumn season, while also helping us complete an important task before the weather gets cold.”

For more information please contact or call 01908 255388

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Get defensive in Leighton Buzzard

Dr Audrey and Gill from LifestyleMK visited Combat Academy in Leighton Buzzard.

They'll be covering their experience in a show later this season, but if you want to learn some essential life skills - not just physical, but psychological as well, get down to HQ!

You can be aged 7 or 70 - and the Combat Academy Team will teach you - not to "beat" your opponent - because realistically, that's not your aim in a real life situation, but not to lose...and THAT'S the key.

Run by ex military personnel, the session is (surprisingly) warm and welcoming - I say "surprising" for your benefit - once you've met the team you are completely at ease, and you start beginning to wonder if they aren't all just teddy bears in combat gear! Again I jest - the service history of the Instructors is as applaudable as their skills set including positive psychology, criminology, Military Police, the British Army, the Egyptian Armed Forces. Operations and Service tours.  This team truly knows their stuff, and not only that, they know how to teach you so that you learn, and inspire you to want to learn more.

To find out more, please visit Combat Academy's FACEBOOK PAGE or WEBSITE  Their introduction to Self Defence and Personal Safety Bootcamp is only £25 and it's going to be one of the best (or most essential) 4 hour blocks you will ever experience!

LifestyleMK with Audrey, Gill and the Lifestyle Team broadcasts Tuesdays from 7 - 8pm on Secklow Sounds

Monday, 10 October 2016

Rare Damselfly Spotted in Milton Keynes for the First Time

by Sarah Featley, The Parks Trust

In a real coup for nature lovers across the city, the Willow Emerald damselfly has been spotted at Tattenhoe Valley Park. This is the first time this rare insect has been recorded in Milton Keynes and even Buckinghamshire as a whole.
The Willow Emerald damselfly was spotted by one of The Parks Trust’s dedicated volunteers, Harry Appleyard, at a pond in Tattenhoe.  Harry and Martin Kincaid, Biodiversity Officer for The Parks Trust, were able to watch a female damselfly ovipositing (laying eggs) on a goat willow tree by the water.
The Willow Emerald damselfly was first recorded in Britain in 2009, since then it has slowly spread along the east coast and through East Anglia. This record is probably the furthest West it has so far been recorded. Generally between 39 and 44mm in length, and of a metallic green colour, this damselfly is found near ponds, canals or other still water with overhanging trees.
Martin commented: “This is a really exciting discovery and full credit to Harry who walks this patch regularly and reports the wildlife he finds. This is one of a number of insects which is increasing its range in the UK with climate change and it’s great that the first Bucks record has come from Milton Keynes.”
Alan Nelson, Country Recorder for dragonflies said “I am delighted to confirm that the first Willow Emerald damselflies for Bucks were found in Milton Keynes on 29th September and have been seen regularly since then. This insect is easily overlooked and we can expect to find it in other locations across Milton Keynes in the future”.

For more information please visit