South East Online SEView April 2021


This January we raised £45.00 for Guide Dogs for the Blind We are presently putting together a box of Food and Toiletries for the Local Baptist Church Food bank.

In February we collected food items for Local Baptist church food banks.

We also, in time for Valentines, we sent out a ‘HUG INA MUG’treat to all colleagues at Tonbridge In time for Valentines day! This consisted of Hot Chocolate, Biscuits and a piece of chocolate. We even did a vegan friendly one! We handed out some in the office, then my daughter, with my other half as delivery driver, delivered them, at a social distance, to those living further away. We have had some lovely comments back from staff saying thank you for the treats sent out and funded by HASSRA


Nothing charitable at the moment I’m afraid but we’ve not long done our 1st competition on the HASSRA page (Valentine Duck Race). £1 a go with £10 Amazon vouchers for the winners. It was a great success as it introduced our new case managers and work coaches to the HASSRA ways! We’ve finally got our on line banking sorted (only taken us a year; lockdown has presented its challenges) and we’re starting our Easter Raffle, where possible going for on-line payments and a digital raffle board.


During lockdown, one of our very active committee members discovered on-line Duck Races and we used some of our summer lockdown grants for weekly duck races. The morale boost has been imme­asu­rable.­ We planned a Christmas duck racing and it was very enjoyable. We’ve made an additional 30 new members following recent UC work coach and case manager recru­it­ments, so these races were a great way to introduce them to the benefits of being a HASSRA member. Not least, the fun that we have in our jobcentre alone!­ We ran five races with five prizes of £20 each. We have a great team member who’s a dab hand at commentary and each race had a ‘guest commentator’ including Donald Trump, Boris Johnson as well as our resident G7.­ We’ve agreed that the ducks will continue to feature heavily in our club.­ We’ve entered the brave new world of HASSRA Live on-line competitions and we organised a Valentine’s race for our Folkestone colleagues.

Southampton – walking around the world

south-east-george-5-hotelOur group named “The Red Hot Chilli Steppers” started our virtual walk around the world and so far we have walked 1,281,487 of our target 137,249,367 steps and have ‘reached’ Paris.­ So, once we got to France we were ‘booked’ into Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris.­ Built in 1928, this luxurious landmark hotel off the Champs-Élysees lies 1 km from the Arc de Triomphe and 2 km from the Eiffel Tower.­ The bright, sophis­ticated rooms and suites, styled after Louis XVI, offer free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, minifridges and espresso machines. Elegant suites add sitting areas and private terraces. Room service is available 24/­7.­ There are three renowned restaurants, an ornate afternoon tea lounge, and a chic bar featuring antique furniture and 19th-century art. Other amenities include a marble courtyard, and a luxe spa, plus an indoor pool, a hot tub, a sauna and a steam room.­ Currently £907 a night, so we’re pleased we’re only staying virtu­ally!­ Sout­hampton members can join by sending in their step count to add on, we even accept “gues­si­mates” if you don’t have a pedometer etc. (2000 steps to each mile approx.)­ Come and join the fun, stay fit, visit new places in the world and all for free!! Our next stop is Portugal and we’d love some new Southampton members to join us - the more the merrier.

News from the latest Virtual Cross-Country Event

I would just like to say that running is probably the only thing that has kept me sane during the past year!­ Most of the time I just run for fun and particularly enjoy just getting off road and running in the countryside come rain or shine. Pre Covid I would try and take part in a race once a month just to give me something to focus on and for the pure enjoyment that running with lots of other people gives.­ Like everything else running has become “virtual” so it was nice to have the opportunity to do this and it helped me to regain a bit of focus. Thanks to all those who helped to organise this event and to all of my fellow competitors for taking part. Until such time that we can get back to the real thing I hope that some more similar events can be arranged and it would be great if we can encourage a few more people to join in next time.


I have always wanted to join in with the actual event but never had the confidence to, so seeing it being done virtually was great! I had my covid jab and it wiped me out a bit and getting out to complete the race got me out the house on a day I might not have otherwise (that and I thought I had two weeks from the 15th to do it! lol I really must read things more thoroughly!) I completed my distance along the prom at Bexhill at the end of work and got to see the most spectacular sunset! I even ended up going too far! Thanks to Andy for organising the event


Was pleased to take part in this event. I used to be into running until some 8 years ago. I gave up when I was 60. I decided I could do a "walk" – i.e. Walking from Thorrington, Essex along the B1029 on a route that made up the mileage of 4 miles to my home in Brigh­tlingsea, Essex. The weather was OK, cloudy with some sight of the sun now and again. I had done some running with HASSRA when I was still at work. I have been into ballroom dancing, which have not been able to do lately.­ Thank you.


I used to jog a little while ago but after an injury, I stopped and then I got super lazy. But I recently decided that things had to change, so got back out there and have been very gradually increasing my distance.­ When I saw this event, I passed it on to a friend as he is an absolute natural at running but I did not think I should enter as I thought I would be too slow. But he encouraged me to go for it and I am really pleased he did.­ For this 4 mile challenge I went from my home in town and then along Dover seafront. It is my favourite place to jog, providing it is not blowing a hooley as that is really hard going. I love the sea air, seeing the waves crash on the seashore and doing some peop­le-wat­ching as I plod on by. One of my last runs there turned into a woman versus sea challenge...­unsur­pri­singly, the sea won and I ended up with very soggy feet.­ To start jogging I used the Couch to 5k app and cannot recommend it enough for anyone considering giving it a go as it is designed for absolute beginners. I initially did not want to enter this event thinking I go too slow, but signing up gave me a reason to go out each week and my goal was to challenge myself to get a little quicker each time I ran the 4 miles. It really did not matter how fast everyone else would go, this was my race, my pace.­ Thanks for putting this on, HASSRA SE, it has given me the confidence to look out for other events.


I run to have a great time, not necessarily to get a great time. Running during lockdown has kept me positive, but actually being motivated to do it has been quite another matter. Taking part in this challenge spurred me on to go a bit further than my usual route. Thank you HASSRA for the motivation. Thank you Andy, looking forward to getting some miles in during April.


The HASSRA SE virtual Cross Country run was a great idea and has really helped me focus on my physical and mental fitness. Formerly a regular runner I had done very little since December 2019 when Sepsis gave me an early Christmas Present of four nights in Hospital followed up in early 2020 with a bonus of an operation that I did not fully recover from until late Summer. What with the pandemic as well, my mental health also suffered and I have always known that exercise helped me with this. The event gave me sufficient time to train and build up my distance and speed slowly. Without the motivation this event gave me I would probably not be running twice a week now with a new focus on a virtual 10k being organised elsewhere. Thank you HASSRA SE.

Colin MBE

As a keen(ish) runner Lockdown meant not having the much needed impetus of club running with friends and colleagues, so inevitably I found lots of reasons not to go out running as much as I should.­  Fortunately for us we spent 6 months of 2020 “stuck” in Cyprus (in 2 spells – Spring & Autumn) so we were at least able to enjoy the really lovely weather over there – there is a lot to be said for quarantining by the pool!!! We were also able to go out quite a lot (obeying all the various rules and regulations around Covid) with the Paphos Running Club (PRC).­ Since our return to UK in mid-December we have, of course, been in strict lockdown. However, motivated by a series of virtual challenges set by the PRC we have been out every day (walking from Lands End to John o’Groats .....and back!!, London to Athens etc etc etc). In the 12 months from first being locked down (16 March 2020 in Cyprus) between us we have done some 3850Kms on foot + over 750Kms on 2 wheels (that is 2 wheels each......we have not yet mastered unicycling – although Eddie Izzard did offer to teach me a while back, but that is another story!).­ As we are currently unable to have the usual HASSRA SE Cross-Co­untry, held annually in the very lovely Broadmoor Forest, we decided upon this virtual event.......­and a good thing too! Jane was 1st Female 65+ (yes, she was the only one in the category – but you do have to “be in it to win it”!) and I was in the winning Male/Mixed Team (yes, you guessed it – the only team entered!....­but again, you have to... etc etc etc). This has all helped us to stay (reasonably) fit, healthy & sane at a time when we have all needed that little bit extra help. It is easier when you are retired.....­but my advice is – keep on running (walking, cycling, whatever) and stay as safe as you can.

Andy & Jane BASHFORD (from a reasonably flat Bexhill-on-Sea)