Wingate & Finchley have won another award to add to the incredible set of trophies picked up this season!

Wingate & Finchley have won another award to add to the incredible set of trophies picked up this season.

At the Ryman League’s end of season awards night on Saturday, the Blues were chosen for the division’s Performance of the Season honour following the historic Treble that the side won during 2010/11. First team Manager David Norman collected the award with Club Official David Thrilling at the event held in Brighton’s Hilton hotel.

In other news, the Club are delighted to announce that more first-team regulars - Ahmet Rifat, Marc Weatherstone, David Laird, Paul Wright, Mark Henry and Ajet Shehu – have committed themselves to Club for next season’s foray into the Ryman Premier League. David Norman said “It is no coincidence that these players have been attracting offers from clubs at a higher level.  The last two years of success have enabled the players to put themselves in the shop window and I am very pleased that they have decided to commit to Wingate & Finchley for another season.  This shows their desire to succeed as they have turned down lucrative offers which reflects on the professional and homely environment which the chairman and coaching staff provide for the players here.”

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Wingate & Finchley Football Club Preseason Fixture and Charity presentation

Wingate & Finchley have announce their preseason fixture list for this coming summer. First up is a visit to the Great Britain Maccabiah side at the end of June, and the fixtures build up to testing matches against Uxbridge, Chesham Utd and Dulwich Hamlet. Hamlet were of course the beaten finalists in last season’s Ryman League Cup Final.

The full list is as follows:

Tues 28th June – v GB Maccabiah (at Rowley Lane), kick off TBA
Sat 9th July – v Cockfosters (at The Hive), kick off 3pm
Tues 19th July – v Cadicote (Away), kick off 8pm
Sat 23rd July (Game 1) – v Haringey Borough (Away) , kick off 3pm
Sat 23rd July (Game 2) – v Broxbourne Borough (Away), kick off 3pm
Tues 26th July – v Oxhey Jets (Away), kick off 7:30pm
Sat 30th July – v Berkhamsted (Away), kick off 3pm
Tues 2nd Aug – v Uxbridge (Home), kick off 7:45pm
Sat 6th Aug (Game 1) – v Chesham United (Away), kick off 3pm
Sat 6th Aug (Game 2) – v Leverstock Green (Away), kick off 3pm
Sat 13th Aug – v Dulwich Hamlet (Home), kick off 3pm
Sat 20th Aug – Ryman League Season Starts

W&F FC presenting cheque for charity

Wingate & Finchley Club President Harvey Ackerman and Commercial Director Mike Bayly are pictured handing over a cheque to Hazel Kaye from Jewish Blind and Disabled. The club raised over £2300 for the charity as some of its supporters and staff embarked on a sponsored walk to Waltham Abbey FC’s ground earlier in the year.

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Wingate & Finchley FC Appoint Tony Faulkner for the next season

Photo of Tony Faulkner
Wingate & Finchley are pleased to announce the appointment of Tony Faulkner as the Assistant Manager of the first team.

Faulkner has spent the past 18 months as Manager at Ware FC of Ryman Division One North. He guided them to safety in 2010 despite the side being nine points adrift in the relegation zone when he took over.

Last season Ware reached two cup semi-finals and improved dramatically in the league as they finished comfortably mid-table.

Faulkner has previously managed Brimsdown Rovers, Cockfosters and Broxbourne Borough, and has coached at Luton Town’s Academy.

Faulkner said on joining the club “Wingate & Finchley have a great set-up and a very good squad of players, who I am looking forward to working with. Dave (Norman) has a very good management team alongside him and I’m sure I can compliment them.”

Faulkner joins with a good background knowledge of all the squad and their abilities, in particular centre-forward Murat Karagul with whom he has worked twice before.

Faulkner added “Our first goal for this season is to build on last year by stabilising us as a Premier League team, and then look for good runs in the FA Cup and Trophy.”

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Wingate and Finchley FC held a memorable end of season presentation recently to celebrate the most successful season in the club’s history.

I know it is a minor league, and your editor not sure what readers feel, but isn’t it great that our Finchley team is doing so well? Football is not my scene – it’s the wrong shape ball – but that doesn’t stop your editor feeling proud that we are moving up the ladder. The following was taken from their excellent press release:

After winning the Treble of promotion to the Ryman Premier Division, the Ryman League Cup and the London Senior Cup, there were plenty of awards to be handed out to many worthy candidates.

The varying Player of the Season Awards went to defenders Ahmet Rifat and Daniel Nielsen, ageless goalkeeper Gavin King and winger Gary Burrell. Another defender Ajet Shehu took the Young POTY award.

In a rare award, the Asher Rebak Award for Exceptional Achievement was handed out for only the third time in its history, and was given to David Norman for managing the side to an unprecedented Treble.

The Under 18 Player of the Season gong went to starlet Liron Mannie, who recently signed forms to play in the Ryman League with the first team and is sure to have a huge influence within the club next season. Sam Robbins took the award for the FLEX player of the season.


The full list of 2010/11 Award Winners are as follows:

Board of Directors Player of Season - Ahmet Rifat
Managers Player of Season – Daniel Nielsen
Supporters Player of Season – Gavin King
Players Player of Season – Gary Burrell
Top Goalscorer – Leon Smith
Club Person of Year – Aron Sharpe
Young Player of Season – Ajet Shehu
Asher Rebak Award for Exceptional Achievement – David Norman

U18s Player of Season – Liron Mannie
U18s Most Improved Player – Andy Ward

FLEX Player of Season – Sam Robbins
FLEX Most Improved Player of Season – Henry Akinsuyi

U16s London Player of Season – Cameron Saul
U16s London Most Improved Player of Season – Oliver Gnandi

U16s Herts Player of Season – Mica Wellington
U16s Herts Most Improved Player of Season – Thomas Magnitis

U15s Player of Season – Ciaran Power
U15s Most Improved Player of Season – Jamie Nelson

U14s Player of Season – Andrew White
U14s Most Improved Player of Season – Mehmet Ismail

U13s Player of Season – Ronaldo Jones
U13s Most Improved Player of Season – Stephen Garr

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Wingate & Finchley FC’s tremendous end to the season, winning 9 of their last 10 games and drawing one.

Although football isn’t my sport (wrong shape ball) I think it is terrific that our Finchley team, based in Summers Avenue, North Finchley, is doing so well here is their press release. Note that I always put press releases in a lighter colour and indent them to show that it wasn’t our hard work!

Tuesday 10th May 2011 – London Senior Cup Final – Wingate & Finchley 3-1 Hendon

Wingate & Finchley came from behind in this London Senior Cup Final, to beat Hendon and complete an historic Treble including promotion to the Ryman Premier Division and the League Cup.

Both sides were slightly depleted, Hendon through injuries and Wingate’s squad shattered from the two extra-time matches of the last five days. On the pot-holed dusty pitch it was Hendon who dominated the opening stages and took the lead in the 14th minute with a scrappy goal bundled home from a near-post corner by Greg Ngoyi.

Wingate responded immediately from this setback, and the Hendon centre back James Parker should then have been sent off for cynically hauling down Murat Karagul when through on goal, but the referee was too afraid of giving such an important decision so early in a cup final.

The lively Karagul then equalised on the half hour mark. Receiving a ball upfield from Jones he showed strength to hold off his marker, and from close range swivelled and volleyed low through the helpless goalkeeper.

The game was deservedly level again, but Hendon’s Scott Cousins was the second player who was lucky to stay on the field after an over-the-ball challenge on Ola Williams on the halfway line which brought only a booking.

Both sides found life tricky on the embarrassingly horrendous football pitch, as it was clear that both sets of players were more comfortable playing a passing style of football. 

The Blues then took the lead ten minutes after the break. Lewis Jones worked hard to press and close down the Hendon right-back, who lost all confidence in reading which direction the ball may next move off the surface, and the ball broke for the onrushing Sam Sloma. He forged into the box and showed great composure to slot the ball at the near post under goalkeeper James Reading.

Wingate sat back well and the defensive line of Marc Weatherstone, Paul Wright, Ahmet Rifat and Daniel Nielsen forced the Hendon strikeforce into mistakes time after time. Then on 70 minutes, as the green army were committing men forward, Lewis Jones all but sealed the trophy for Wingate & Finchley finishing off a great counter-attack. A superb run down the right from Williams attacking two players, took him into the area where a low cross found Jones who diverted the ball in at the near post from ten yards.

At the other end Hendon hit a post from a tight angle wide on the right with one of their only meaningful shots of the second half, whilst for Wingate Leon Smith was substituted on and nearly made an instant impact with a shot at the near post which the keeper Reading did well to get his whole body behind.

The regimented side knew just how to hold on to a lead – something they have had a lot of practice doing in recent weeks having won 9 and drawn 1 of the final 10 games at the business end of the season – and they played out the final moments with extreme professionalism, sealing a quite incredible Treble of honours that goes down in history as the Club’s most successful.

Lineup: King, Weatherstone, Wright, Fowler (Henry 46), Nielsen, Rifat,  Williams (Smith 75), O’Brien, Karagul, Jones, Sloma (Laird 80). Subs: Cooper, Burrell.

Man of the match Murat Karagul, who scored the side’s opening goal, said “We’ve won this treble in our club with a fantastic atmosphere, and we are already looking forward to next year and taking the Premier League by storm.”

Manager David Norman said: “an incredible end to a fantastic season. This evening’s game showed how much work and effort the staff and players have given this year. Having secured promotion after two strenuous matches, six changes were made to the starting lineup. This evening’s result shows the quality in depth of the squad we have assembled here at Wingate, and we will all enjoy the break and focus on consolidation in the Ryman Premier.”

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Wingate & Finchley football club earns promotion to the Ryman League Premier Division in the Playoff Final

Wingate and Finchley team celebratingWingate and Finchley team celebrating

Wingate and Finchley team celebrating after their win

Wingate & Finchley have beaten Brentwood Town 3-2 after extra time (2-2 FT) to earn promotion to the Ryman League Premier Division in the Playoff Final. A Lewis Jones goal in the 117th minute sealed the momentous victory.

Captain Daniel Nielsonwas absolutely delighted with the players, the managers and everyone behind the scenes, at what we have done. We are where we deserve to be now…onwards and upwards!”

Chairman Aron Sharpe said “It was an incredible day, the most wonderful in the club’s history but it is not over yet. We have a hard game on Tuesday when hopefully there will be a changing of the guard as we battle Hendon in the Final.”

Manager David Norman told us “It’s a fantastic achievement for everybody involved in Wingate and Finchley Football Club, the squad have shown togetherness, resilience and a team spirit which is second to none. To win the Ryman League Cup, promotion to the Ryman Premier and still looking forward to the London Senior Final against Hendon on Tuesday night underpins their desire and commitment to reaching the highest possible level they can. We will enjoy the next few days however we will be focused for Tuesday night where Hendon will provide us with quality opposition.”

Do not forget the Club is now on course for an historic Treble with potential victory in the London Senior Cup Final on Tuesday 10th May at 7.30pm. The side face local rivals Hendon at Tooting & Mitcham’s ground.

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Play offs secured for Wingate and Finchley Football Club last Saturday.

By Jamie Dickens

The gulf between both sides, in this exciting encounter on Saturday afternoon, was evident as Waltham Forest played victims in a five-nil drubbing at the hands of Finchley’s impressive Wingate and Finchley FC.

Tensions were high at Summers Lane as the play offs were within touching distance for the hosts. David Norman’s side started off confidently as an instinctive long ball from keeper, Bobby Smith, well within his own half caught Forest’s defence napping and found David Laird inside the box. Laird could only volley into the keeper’s hands but it was a sign of what was to come.

The opener was to come shortly after this opportunity which came about after an excellent piece of skill from Wingate’s fearsome striker, Leon smith. Combining strength and nifty footwork to leave three Forest defenders scrambling in his wake, he slid the ball into the bottom corner past on-looking keeper Sidney Anguilley.

Anguilley was given no chance by his defence for Smith’s and Wingate’s second. When an extremely distinctive chipped ball was played into the prolific striker’s path by Gary Burrell, Forest’s captain, Gbenga Sonuga, was left in no-man’s land and could only watch as the ball nestled in the bottom corner once again.

After the interval things only got better for the impressive Leon Smith. He bagged his 27th of the campaign seconds after the re-start. Cleverly, he wrong footed the unlucky Gbenga Ladega and produced an exquisite finish to complete his hatrick. This opened up the flood gates and the fourth was clinched by an outstanding Ahmet Rifat goal on the hour mark volleying in from the edge of the area. The final goal was turned into his own net by former Wingate captain, Marvin Samuel.

This was an emphatic win for the home side and after a slip up by Sudbury they had clinched their play off place by the final whistle. Manager David Norman said “This was the most important game of our season; this is because it could have been a major slip up if we hadn’t got the result. We had a game plan today and the lads responded to it very well. All credit to the opposition, we knew it would be a tough game for us today despite their position in the table, however, after having matched them physically there would be only one winner today and the quality of my squad shone through.”  When asked about a possible man of the match, Norman said “Obviously we cannot ignore the fact that Leon has scored an incredible hat-rick today, but he wouldn’t have been able to do this if we hadn’t worked so hard as a team so I’d put today’s result down to a team performance rather than an individual.”


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Deserving Win for Wingate and Finchley FC during their Community Day

By our roving football reporter, Ayisha Khan

Wingate & Finchley FC — 2

Cheshunt FC — 1

Wingate and Finchley cruised to victory last Saturday over Cheshunt, giving them a comfortable four point lead over the bottom playoff contenders. It was a match that Wingate set out to dominate, with Cheshunt attempting to resist in midfield but unable to create enough chances.

The match got off to an even start with both teams attempting to win possession, but just four minutes into the game, Wingate gained an early decider. A long ball was collected by Leon Smith, who on slipping in the box managed to find Lewis Jones, who then smacked it into the back of the net.

Chances for Wingate continued, but as Cheshunt took control of midfield, they dispossessed Smith and Josh Cooper, with Gary Burrell constantly battling for the ball. His cross was brilliant, but no one could claim it, and Wingate missed the chance to double.

As the game went into the first half hour, Smith came close to goal but couldn’t get round the Cheshunt defenders; Jones unable to assist. Cheshunt began to unravel Wingate’s midfield as they made a threatening long pass, but were overcome by a Wingate tackle. Burrell made another perfect cross to Jones, who couldn’t stretch to head the ball into the net.

Wingate attacked again as Cooper passed to Joe O’Brien, who split Cheshunt’s two defenders but eventually lost the ball. Smith found himself isolated on numerous occasions, yet unable to get past Cheshunt’s excellent goalie, Joe Wright. At the other end, Cheshunt’s Sam Byles shot just wide over the goal corner.

The second half opened with Wingate pressing forward once more, this time with Cooper shooting wide. Wingate’s left flank worked overtime when Wright, Burrell and Jones collaborated to produce on target shots that were all but futile. Smith found himself alone in the box, winged by chasing Cheshunt defenders, and persistence rewarded as he made a beautiful diagonal cross to Burrell, who fired it into back of the net to double the host’s lead.

The game then steered into a succession of free kicks for Wingate, one of which was taken by Cooper, but sailed over the heads of his team mates. Cheshunt followed with a superb assailant on Wingate’s defence, having an attempt cleared off the line by Wright, who unluckily handed the ball back to Sam Byles in the process. Byles scored hot off the rebound in the 72nd minute to close the gap for the visitors.

With under 15 minutes left to play, Wingate pressed for a third, but were cleared by Cheshunt’s tight defence. Cooper came close as he chipped the ball towards the net, only to go wide. In the last seconds of stoppage time, Cheshunt’s Dave Hicks tried for the draw, but Bobby Smith made a comfortable save.

Lineup: Smith B, Weatherstone, Wright, O’Brien, Rifat, Shehu, Cooper (Sloma 77), Henry (Fowler 65), Smith L, Jones (Karagul 77), Burrell. Subs: Williams, McLachlan.

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Fantastic Family and Community Day at Wingate and Finchley FC

By Ayisha Khan, our roving football reporter

Wingate & Finchley FC are hosting a Club Community day for their match against Cheshunt FC this Saturday. The ‘Renault Enfield Community Day’, originally scheduled last year, will offer a chance for new and existing fans to enjoy an afternoon’s entertainment and watch a crucial Ryman league match.

Commercial Manager Mike Bayly says, “There will be a number of events for people to take part in, including a Penalty Shoot Out competition, Games Console tournament and a Speed Cage event, where fans can test how hard they can strike a ball!

We also have a number of great prizes available in our raffle, including tickets to watch Arsenal play, and signed football shirts.”

Bayly says they are also running coaching and small-sided games on their Astroturf facility for school children, and players are signing autographs and taking photos. At an event that offers something for everyone, parents will have the chance to talk to the club about getting their children involved with it’s highly successful youth team.

The club thanks Renault Enfield and the Ackerman Group for their kind sponsorship offers, which have enabled The Blues to lay on additional entertainment. Renault are showcasing one of their cars at the ground for the motoring enthusiasts amongst you.

Entrance on the day is £8 for adults, £3.50 for concessions and free for U16s. Events start at 1pm. Further information can be obtained by contacting Mike Bayly on 07931 777958, or emailing mike@wingatefinchley.com

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Nigerian woman runs for Grace House and other charities

 

Photo of Joy

Joy Okoye

 

Joy Okoye of Finchley has been a barrister in England and Wales since 1981 and also a Solicitor & Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria since 1982. She provides a specialist advocacy and advisory service based on her extensive experience of all aspects of family law and child protection Joy is running a marathon, supporting four charities, including Grace House in North Finchley.

We hope you will be generous in your donations and the following is a write-up on the charity donation website.

Photo of Grace House

Grace House

Grace House

Grace House was and is the vision of Ann Gilbert. After so many years of working in care homes, Ann found herself becoming disillusioned by the care received by the elderly. She was so moved by their plight, that she set about campaigning for better care of the elderly, not just in residential homes but as outreach care.

 

Photo of Ann Gilbert

Ann Gilbert

 

The news of Ann’s care spread and soon there were many who wanted to be cared for by her. As this was not possible given her limited resources, Ann approached a group of Christians at St Paul’s Church, Finchley, to set up a charity, for the purpose of caring for the elderly, both in a residential and community setting. Thus Christian Care Trust was registered as a Charity. Grace House, has now been going for 11 years. Although Grace House has a Christian ethos, it admits and cares for all religions and races.

Grace House as a result of its not for profit basis has often struggled financially, despite this Grace House has never stinted on the care delivered to the elderly. Grace House is in a wonderful house at 110 Nether Street, North Finchley and has grown from just a sole client to room for nine residents.

It is truly a home from home. Grace House boasts a team of highly skilled staff. Over the years Grace House has fast become a hub of the community, offering its residents various activities such as holistic therapies, exercises, concerts, garden parties, and the highlight of the year is usually the Quiz night, which is hugely enjoyed by all.

These activities keep the residents feeling very much as they belong to a caring community. There are regular services held for residents and staff. More recently Grace has had to put in a lift to improve the quality of life for its resident. This has put enormous pressure on their resources. Furthermore grace House hopes to be in apposition to provide subsidised care to at least two residents who may not be a position to pay for their care.

Grace House is passionately committed to ensuring a good quality of life for those that they care for and so important to give them the dignity and respect in their golden years.

Joy Okoye is running the Neolithic marathon on the 1st May 2011, and has chosen Grace House as one of her charities. Joy is also a trustee of Grace House. We hope you will support her efforts. It just goes to show that even in relative old age you can run a marathon!!!

To make your donation go to Charity Choice. Christian Care Trust have kindly agreed to split the monies paid into their account between Joy’s four charities.

If you prefer you may make a donation to her directly by cheque, made out to Christian Care Trust and she will distribute it between the charities.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Joy by email

Finally, your editor has known Ann for nearly two decades and she is everything mentioned in the above, and more.
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Tip Harry the wink!

By  Ifé Fatunasé

If you listen to the news or read the newspapers, you would have no doubt have heard the words ‘The Big Society’. In its ideal form, it means everyone coming and working together to make their community a wonderful place to live, but Howard Greenfield, doesn’t believe you would see that in Finchley any time soon, or anywhere else in London for that matter.

The Big Society is now lost’ says the director of the Winkworth Estate Agent in Finchley Central. ‘There are too many people, so much diversity and different cultures, that it’s maybe impossible to have a community like there may have been 40 years ago”

But that doesn’t mean he, or his company have given up on the area. Howard Greenfield believes schools are the way to break in if you want to reach out to communities, because there are children from across the board and it’s a place where their parents do come together and form a small society.

That’s why Winkworth in Finchley Central helped sponsored the Chalgrove School summer fair. They also made financial donations to ‘Safestart’, an independent road safety scheme, to help publish leaflets that was distributed to parents at Moss Hall and St Mary’s primary schools.

School rugby photoAnd if you head out to watch Hampstead Rugby club, you’ll notice the name Winkworth in quite a few places because they also sponsor the team, paying for their shirts, goal posts and corner flags.

At the moment Winkworth in Finchley Central only make donations and they don’t get involved, but they are looking to change that. In fact Winkworth branches across North London have got together to try and find a way become more integrated in their local communities.

The question is, how do they actually do that?

Howard says ‘ There are so many different parts of the community. Round here there isn’t one community’

He told me about his colleagues outside cities where ‘communities’ do exist.

People talk and meet at central places like the local pub, so Winkworth staff there know the community socially and can get involved. People know who they are. People in Finchley don’t know who I am. They see this as a business and we don’t socialise together’

The Winkworth branches in North London are meeting again within the next month to nail down a way they can get involved, instead of just making donations to schemes. Some of their number have suggested local concerts like the picnic concerts at Kenwood House, but no firm decision has yet been made.

Make no mistake, there are obvious motives for Howard Greenfield and Winkworth wanting to get involved in their local communities. Howard acknowledges that advertising is a factor. The company wants to get its name out there, in as many ways as it can.

Howard says there’s more to it though. He’s been working in this area for 25 years, and says he wants to feel part of it.

We are not just here to make money’ he said, “We want to give back to the community. We are not just a corporate.”

Howard and his colleagues are still looking for a way to get more involved, so if you have any ideas, drop in, he’d love to hear them.

Photo of school rugby team

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“At the end of day…”

…we were bowled over by last night’s event at Finchley Bowling Club

Article by Pam Taylor – photos by Andrew Taylor

Dinner party at the Finchley Bowling Club

Finchley Bowling Club dinner and caberet

The dining area was jam packed with about 70 people and we had a most enjoyable three course meal. After the main course the cabaret started with Sally Ann Triplett, star of stage, TV and radio who entertained us wonderfully singing nearly a dozen songs from some of the shows in which she has starred. Further information on Sally Ann Triplett on Wikipedia. She was admirably accompanied on the piano by Lee Ormsby who surprised us later in the evening when he sang a medley from “Phantom of the Opera” – his voice was so beautiful I could have listened to him for ever.

Sally Ann Triplett photo

Stage star; Sally Ann Triplett

Photo of Danny Lane

Future star of stage musicals; Danny Lane

Photo of Lee Ormsby

Lee Ormsby who surprised us all

We were invited to this event by one of the committee members, Eddie Lane, and the second singer of the evening was his son, Danny, who sang four songs from Chicago, Follies, South Pacific and Les Miserables. He is only 16, has a lovely voice and is very self-assured. This guy is definitely heading for a star-studded future.

Photo of Sam McGeown

Willie Nelson, aka Sam McKeown, Finchley's country singer

Photo of Sandra Papier, Danny's Grandmother

Sandra Papier who sang from "Oliver"

Sam McKeown entertained us with an excellent rendering of Willie Nelson’s country song called “Me and Paul” and was followed by the lovely Sandra Papier (grandmother to Danny) whose “As long as he needs me” I found quite emotional.

There was a raffle and then Ron Raymond, their Vice President, announced it was Hilary’s swan song and thanked her for all the work she has done over the years for the club. She received a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Hilary then thanked everyone and especially some of the ladies for all their help over the years.

I do hope this is repeated next year and that Eddie invites us again.

Club bowling on a summers day

A day bowling last summer at the club

Finally, the Finchley Bowls club bowling green on a summer’s day.

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A full gym in your lounge (or kitchen)

The editors photographBy Andrew Taylor

I mentioned a little while ago that Pam and I had purchased a Nintendo Wii Keep Fit Plus machine and before I tell you about our experiences, a little word of warning. Especially if you are in your seventies, as I am!

If you don’t take regular exercise, start slowly. The newspapers are full of stories of people who have sprained muscles because they have been too rigorous with their new exercise machine. We have decided to start the first week with 10 minutes, building up, after seven days to 20 minutes which we will hold for a week before expanding towards our half an hour target. This we will hold at for the first month or so.

In addition, if you decide to buy second-hand, or even new on eBay, make sure you buy the Keep Fit Plus outfit as the previous “Wii Keep Fit” has far inferior electronics and nowhere near as many types of exercise.

Setting the parts together was not difficult. Nintendo have their own style plugs that are different to anyone else’s and, because of this, you can’t help but click everything into the right place. If you do have difficulties, your local eight year old should be able to set it up for you in seconds!

There are umpteen manuals and papers that come with it but don’t worry, providing you look at the grey Operators Manual – System Set-up, assembling is a doddle. There is a thick manual for the Wii Balance Board but 90% of this are in other languages. The English section is only a few pages. Ignore the thick Wii Keep Fit Plus manual as it is all in foreign languages, there is a separate thin English manual. Actually, the Keep Fit Plus is so intuitive, we have never even opened the manual but I will look at it in a month when I am totally familiar with everything just in case I am missing any finer points.

You have a decent choice of Yoga, Muscle Exercises, Aerobic Exercises and Balance Exercises. And as you progress, extra exercises are added to the lists. Then extra sections. These are all called rewards and to see what they are, you have to be exercising regularly. Otherwise you never get to the really fun ones.

As an extra bonus There is a Wii Sports DVD containing tennis, baseball, boxing, golf and bowling and, if you love this, you can purchase the full sports DVD with many more games. We have played golf, tennis and bowling so far and they are not only good, but make you take exercise.

Early conclusion: This is really fun, and a terrific way to exercise at home. Far better than going to a gym. Here you can exercise in your underpants, or knickers and bra (I chose the former) without worrying about onlookers. Also, you can fit in half an hour easier than a two hour (of travelling and exercising) visit to the gym. We are both totally hooked. When jogging on the spot, the Wii knows whether you are holding the control or whether you have put it in your pocket, it is that sensitive!

If you balance this against going to the gym, do take into consideration travelling time saved, petrol or fares saved, and gym costs. The whole Wii set-up costs £360.50 for the Wii at Amazon (don’t forget to use “EasyFundraising” so the Arrow benefits), which includes everything. No extra kit is needed (except for the sports disk which caters up to four people) for up to ten people to exercise which would include most families.

Please add £34.99 for an extra Wii Remote plus handset for each person wanting to play the extra DVD of sports matches (usually up to four players per game). However, sports taken in turns, such as golf and bowling can share a single control.

If you joined LA Fitness Gym in East End Road, it would cost £50 to join, and £571 per person per year. So you can see that the Wii is pretty good value for money. One last point. The help desk has an expensive 0870 number, but try 01753-483700, you may well get through as I obtained this from the www.saynoto0870.com website.

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