The National Trust Opens Its Doors To The Uks Best-Loved Cartoon Characters

The National Trust has, for the first time, given fictional characters keys to all of its 300 homes and access to the 617,500 acres of land it cares for. ‘The Beano’ team of illustrators and comic whizzes have had full creative control as characters from Dennis the Menace to Billy Whizz conquer castles and race ponies across grand estates.

The Beano characters have invaded to help the National Trust bring its many places to visit to life and prove that its doors (and copious amounts of fresh air) are open to all, breaking down preconceptions of the organisation.

Dennis the Menace and Gnasher kick off the chaos as they conquer Powis Castle in Wales, fooling National Trust staff with dozens of “hedge menaces” disguising the real rascal and his companion and becoming King for the day.

The Numskulls, who live inside Edd’s nostrils, are sneezed out at Edwardian Surrey estate Polesden Lacey into a game of croquet – and a planned bug hunt – to enjoy the buzz of bumblebee racing, while Minnie The Minx takes her dad on a manic trip to Northern Ireland to discover the iconic Giant’s Causeway and find the giant Finn McCool himself.

The Bash Street Kids days out in Devon, visiting the family manor Arlington Court and enjoying the great outdoors, while fellow mischief-maker Billy Whizz – the fastest boy in ‘The Beano’ – explores the country in less than a day. Fooled by Attingham Park’s false doors, to completing Cragside’s 8 foot high rhododendron maze in seconds and experiencing life as an Anglo Saxon at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, Billy Whizz has a fast-paced day topped off by a good night’s sleep in Lyme Park’s Edwardian Nursery.

Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust, commented: “We are delighted to open our doors to ‘The Beano’ and all of its mischievous characters. The National Trust and ‘The Beano’ are both British institutions and we are hoping the news that we have opened our doors to them all will encourage families to take a leaf out of Dennis’ book and organise a trip to one of our places. As our black and red stripy friend says; ‘a menace always has a plan’ and this summer should be no exception.

“Wherever we can we have tried to take away ropes and show the fun side of our places with everything from mazes to talking portraits. We are certain that real-life Dennises will find that it is not all ‘please don’t touch’ anymore; in some places you can even have a go on the snooker table.”

John-Paul Murphy, Head of Brand Marketing of ‘The Beano’ publishers, D.C. Thomson, added: “We couldn’t think of a better way to prove what fun kids can have at ‘Gnashional Trust’ properties by letting the world’s most famous menace and his friends from ‘Beanotown’ loose on them. Dennis hasn’t let his own 60th anniversary affect his ability to cause his own brand of havoc and it is a fitting birthday treat for him to become ‘King of the Castle’ at Powis. We’re sure ‘Beano’ readers will have just as much fun as the characters have when they visit the venues featured in our comic this summer.”

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Macmillan Cancer Support Reports 42 Per Cent Of Britons Will Get Cancer

Cancer rates are increasing at such a rate that research shows 42% of people who die in this country will have had a cancer diagnosis. And for most of them (64%), it is cancer which causes their death.*

The number of people living with cancer has also increased in the UK by 35% in the last ten years from 1.5 to two million in 2008**. This is due to more people getting cancer and, as treatment improves, people are surviving longer with cancer.

But whilst people are certainly living longer than ever with cancer, they are not necessarily living well.

New data from a Macmillan Cancer Supportstudyshows many have on-going, long term health problems.

The study shows that of those colorectal cancer patients still alive between five and seven years after their diagnosis***:
– Two thirds (64%) will have an on-going health problem.
– A fifth (22%) will have advanced cancers ****.
– Going on half (42%) will be living with on-going health problems like cardio vascular and intestinal illnesses

Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support said: “It is really alarming that the number of people who will get cancer is now well past one in three and that there are so many more people with cancer today than even ten years ago. The NHS really needs to recognise this long term impact and adapt their services to reflect this.

“There are currently two million people living with cancer in the UK and that number is doubling to four million over the next twenty years*****. Yet no one thinks the country can afford to double its spending on cancer. We’ve therefore got to become twice as effective in how we spend that money.

“We have a massive challenge ahead if we are to keep up with the relentless toll cancer takes on people’s health, and the NHS must rise to it.”

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Research Now Ltd Donates To Help The Japanese Tsunami Relief Efforts

Research Now Ltd has announced that together with Valued Opinions panellists from across the globe, it has raised £12,400 for the Jap anise Tsunami/Earthquake relief effort.

In March 2011, Japan was hit by a shattering, magnitude 9.0 earthquake. The tremor, which occurred 20 miles underwater, triggered a huge tsunami that swept across the eastern coast of Japan, destroying everything in its path and killing over 15,000 people*.

Joining in the generous global response, Research Now Ltd, owners of the Valued Opinions’ panels, made an initial donation of £3000. Throughout April, Research Now Ltd offered members of its UK opinion panels, along with those from the US, Australia, Canada and Japan panels, the opportunity to convert their Valued Opinions rewards into cash donations to The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a charity supporting Japan’s recovery. Big-hearted donors gave up shopping rewards for vital contributions to the relief efforts in a country that is still staggering from the impact of this disaster 3 months on. The initiative saw Valued Opinions’ members raise an impressive £9,400 throughout the 4 week campaign, which was then added to Research Now’s contribution of £3,000.

These donations have has been invaluable in propping up the work of the Japanese Red Cross Society as it provides vast-scale medical assistance, water and sanitation and psycho-social programming. The charity reports that, as well as running the only functioning Hospital in the Miyagi prefecture and vital first-aid stations in Kamaishi, it has used the funds to help mobilise 677 medical teams, which have already treated 63,567 patients. Addressing the huge mental trauma facing survivors, the charity has also established psychological support centres in two prefectures, deploying 300 staff who have benefitted over 6,000 people to date.**

A recent Valued Opinions online survey found that the most popular way for the British respondents to give is through sponsoring someone to participate in a fundraising event (19%), followed by making monthly cash or direct debit donations to charity (13%) and donating to charity via a street worker (11%). Overall, an impressive total of 51% of the British respondents choose to support charities financially, whether donating through charity websites, street workers, monthly donations or sponsorship.

In April 2011, Valued Opinions UK panellists’ generosity has helped to bring relief to a desperate situation. Regarding the Valued Opinions Tsunami Campaign, Research Now’s vice president, panel marketing and CRM, Thomas Lapperger commented: “I’m very proud to be involved in a series of campaigns that see Valued Opinions and our members working together to contribute towards worthy causes. Earning credits through online surveys UK participation and then claiming vouchers is a rewarding experience. Donating those credits instead to the Red Cross, who are helping Japan recover following the devastating tsunami, provides for a deeper and more meaningful rewarding experience. I would like to thank all members of Valued Opinions UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Japan for their participation in surveys. In particular, my gratitude goes to those who donated generously to the Valued Opinions Tsunami campaign.”

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World Renowned Japanese Entertainers Unite for a Los Angeles Benefit Concert for Japanese Quake and Tsunami Victims

In response to the ongoing and lingering negative effects impacting the victims of Japan’s devastating Earthquake and Tsunami, world renowned Japanese soprano Seiko Lee (soloist with the New York City Symphony) and Japanese/Hollywood actor Shin Koyamada (co-star of Tom Cruise’s epic The Last Samurai) have united their relief efforts for a special one night benefit concert to show that America has not forgotten their Japanese brothers and sisters.

Hosted by Nia Lyte and to be held Saturday, July 9, 2010 at the Japanese American Cultural Community Center (244 S. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012), the 90 minute or so concert will begin at 8:00 pm. Advanced ticket prices are $25 for adults 18 and over, and $15 for children ages 10-17. Tickets can be purchased at the door based on availabilty. Please call 888-338-8441

Under their respective N.P.O. banners, The Seiko Lee Project and the Shin Koyamada Foundation’s JERFA (Japan Emergency Relief Fund of America) initiative, Lee and Koyamada have dubbed their joint relief concert Waves of Healing from Los Angeles as a metaphor that although we can’t control the ocean’s waves we can create our own waves to balance the helplessness of our losses with humankind victories.

About Shin Koyamada:
Apart from being a 6-time national martial arts champion, Shin Koyamada became an international celebrity after co-starring with Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai. His star power was cemented with his starring role in Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior one of the Disney Channel’s top rated original movies ever. Through philanthropic work with Chuck Norris and President George H.W. Bush via the Boy and Girls Club of America’s youth empowerment Kickstart program, Bush and Norris inspired Koyamada to co-find the Shin Koyamada Foundation (SKF). In 2010, Koyamada was named the International Goodwill Ambassador of the Okayama Prefectural Government in Japan and continues to help other US nonprofit charitable events. Owner of the production company Shinca Entertainment, his latest venture, creation of the hot manga comic book series Dreamhoppers, merely further accentuates his entrepreneurship versatility.

About the Shin Koyamada Foundation (SKF):
Founded by Shin Koyamada and Nia Lyte in March 2008, the SKF is a United States nonprofit organization that offers youth scholarships to foster the importance of respect, honor, courtesy, value and manners through martial arts and active participation in global environmental issues. The current SKF president is the honorable Shoichi Nakagiri. The SKF also raises money to provide education for underprivileged individuals and families as well as to implement international cultural exchange projects. The SKF is all geared toward empowering youth to achieve their goals and dreams and promote an Earth-friendly lifestyle. For more information please visit

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