The Summer Holidays in Basingstoke with an 8 year old

I was having a cuppa with a friend this morning and we were talking about what to do in the summer holidays and we realised that I know LOADS of things, so thought I would share ;-).

Each week of the holidays I also put together a printed schedule for each week and pin it to a wall, so Miss NHM can see what’s happening for the rest of the week. It shows what we are doing each morning, lunchtime, afternoon and evening.  I find that it stops the “what are we doing today” questions that I used to get all through the summer holidays!! :-D.

  1. Book at least one pyjama day during the summer holidays! If only to “celebrate” not having to do the school run!!!

2. Our local Hobbycraft have FREE craft sessions on a Saturday for an hour in the morning.

3. Go paddling in a local stream 

4. Take a picnic and explore near to where you live. There is something awesome about eating outside. We are huge fans of breakfast picnics for something a little bit different!

5. If the weather is good, go to a local splash park like Eastrop Park or Chineham Splash Park 

6. Find out all of your local parks and go for a skate or bike ride to each one. This post is really good for finding good play parks and parks local to you: Local Parks and open spaces

7. Go Geo-cashing in your local woods. It’s really easy to do. Just download the app to your phone and off you go. It’s a great way to get children outside. Or Pokemon or Harry Potter hunting if that’s your thing ;-).

8. Book up a FREE session at our local Apple store in Festival Place. There at least two sessions every day and more in the summer holidays and they are a great way to occupy your child/children for an hour or two. You need to book in advance though and you have to stay with your child.

9. Boring as it is, school shoes are a necessity if you’re child is in school. I highly recommend Diane at Shoes2Adore on the way to Tadley. But book soon because she gets VERY booked up in the summer holidays.

10. If you’re child can’t ride their bike yet, make a plan to teacher them over the summer.

11. Go swimming at once of our local swimming pools. Lots of them do special deals and/or events over the summer holidays so check out their websites for more information. QMC Swimming pool does really reasonably priced swimming sessions during the summer holidays.

12. Sign up to the Reading Challenge that our local Libraries run every summer. You can sign children up from ages 4+ I think and they only need to read 6 books over the 6 weeks. If they complete the challenge and are at school they get a medal and a certificate that’s presented to them in school. Miss NHM is very proud of her previous reading challenge certificates and medals and it’s been a great way to get her to read more. Popping into the library for an hour a week during the school holidays is also a great time killer!!

13. Take the children to a local museum, especially the Willis Museum as it’s FREE!!

14. Kids cinema in the mornings during the summer holidays at around 10am. Both Vue and Odeon do reduce tickets for “kids Club” and I think it’s less than £2 per ticket.

15. Cash in your Tesco’s clubcard points or your nectar points to do something fun with your children.

16. Find somewhere to visit where the entrance ticket becomes an annual pass. If you buy a ticket to Milestones Museum, The Living Rainforest or the Army Flying Museum the ticket lasts for a year so you can re-use during other holiday times or after school.

17. Check out the “NHM Reviews” page for ideas of where to go and where to visit. Lots of places reviewed on NHM are FREE, although you may have to pay for parking.

18. Check out the Season Tickets to local attractions in North Hampshire – updated 2017 post which lists out local season tickets.

19. Miss NHM loves listening to audio books, so I splash out for the summer holidays and treat her to a new audio book. I buy mine from “The Book People” as they are very reasonably priced and Miss NHM has easy control over which cd’s she listens too.

20. Try “Bored Jar’s” when you are at your wits end!! These posts are tailored to toddlers but you can easily update them for older children.

21. Visit Hampshire Farmers Market. The nearest one to Basingstoke is in Winchester on a Sunday morning.

22. Check out the Nature Detectives website for some ideas of activities you can do outside.

23. Take a walk to Odiham Castle, along the Basingstoke Canal.

24. If it’s windy, fly a kite at Crabtree.

25. Visit a Pick Your Own farm.

26. Go for a day trip to the beach. There is also a great post by NHM Readers of their Favourite local beaches.

At Home

27. Blackberries are now ready in August so make sure you go blackberry picking at some point.

28. I’m planning on trying to drop some food off at our local food bank with Miss NHM.

29. Play boardgames together or try to create your own boardgame.

30. Put the tent up in the garden and sleep in it over night. If you don’t have a tent see if you can borrow a small one from friends and family.

31. This year I’m going to create a “Summer Holiday box” which will be very similar to the “Christmas Eve Box” that I put together every Christmas. Each Monday I plan to fill it with different things, like an audiobook that Miss NHM hasn’t listened too in a while, some party bag fillers that I’ve kept back, sticker books that Miss NHM hasn’t got round to using, some books she hasn’t read yet that have been in her bookcase for AGES, and little things like that which can keep her occupied for a while.

32. Clean a neighbours car in exchange for some money that will go towards charity.

33. Ask your child if there is anything in their bedroom that they no longer need or want as the summer holidays is a great chance to declutter.

34. Something we are going to do this summer is clean out the kitchen cupboards together!!

35. Have a look at Baker Ross for some cheap craft activities you can do together or use something from the recyling bin as a craft project.

36. Create a summer scrapbook where your child or children can write in what they have done over the summer holidays. It will be a great memory for when they are older.

37. Bake some fairy cakes or buy a baking kit such as the ones you can get from local company BakedIn.

38. Ensure you schedule in some “boring” days where you have nothing planned, so your children can occupy themselves for a while. It’s supposed to help with their resilience, although it may drive you batty listening to the “I’m bored” whining <facepalm>!

NHM Readers Recommend: Top Tips when Visiting Orlando

An NHM Reader recently asked “We are off to Orlando for the last few weeks of August and I was wondering if the NHM Community had any top tips? It will be a “once in a lifetime trip” so we want to ensure we get the most out of our time there.”

Thank you for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Top Tips when Visiting Orlando

Rhiannon said “There are often Facebook groups that give hints and tips on certain trips, especially if youre planning on doing the parks.”

Jo said “I would say join a fb Orlando group…I did this before we went to Disneyland Paris in March and got some fab insider tips”

Kerri said “You will need to take plenty of fluids with you so buy cheap water bottles and pack. In Disney and universal there are drinking water refill stations. Food at the parks is pricey and even more so because of the exchange rate so stock up on snacks at a local store. Although you’ll read that you can’t take picnics in we did on many occasions and the staff always let us through. There’s a lot of walking. We hired a pushchair for our then 5 year old as it was too much for him in the heat. It’s pricey to hire pushchairs in the park but we bought one from Walmart for $20 which was basically a days hire. The queues can be long but they’re well prepared for it and there’s often things to see and do in the lines. You can pre book your fast track rides months in advance and it’s worth doing.”

Rachel H replied “Where did you read you can’t take picnics into Disney? Just curious. We’ve never had an issue taking food in with us and I’ve never read you can’t.”

Susan said “Look up ‘Everything free to do at Disney’ You can go behind the scenes in one of the restaurants, ride the monorails etc…/10-free-things-you-can…/. Also

Vicky saidI’d highly recommend signing up to the website The Dibb. It’s a fantastic source of Disney and Orlando information. There’s a forum which has great advice and free planners you can use to maximise your time. There is a ‘busy day’ calculator so you can plan which parks will be best to visit on which days (it uses data collected from previous years) & pretty much advice on any aspect of your holiday. Have a great time (I’m not jealous in the slightest!!).”

Rachel H saidTake a picnic and/or snacks (not as important if free dining offer). Quick service locations offer free water (ice water), no need to buy bottled. Avoid the water fountains, warm and strange taste. Quick service locations, adults can order kids meals (they are big portions).

Use the my Disney experience app in the parks to book the next fast pass once the initial 3 have been used (as soon as you scan into the last ride you can book the 4th).

Hit the parks early, you’ll get lots done in the first two hours.

We love Boma for breakfast (Animal Kingdom Lodge), if doing Princess dining, we preferred Akershaus, but there is something amazing about eating in the castle.

Check opening hours, Magic Kingdom will close early some nights for the Halloween Parties.

The balloons are ridiculously expensive, if getting one, purchase at the start of the holiday.

If staying onsite without a car, allow plenty of time to get to reservations. The buses can take a while.

Sign up for a Landry card if eating in their restaurants (rainforest cafe is one).

We were impressed with Red Lobster food, quality and price.

Crazy golf is great.

It’s impossible to do everything, so don’t try to. Pick what is most important to you, not what others say has to be done.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs running over the summer for 3 year olds

I recently had the following question from an NHM Reader “There seem to be lots of things going on in the summer break for 4 plus, as my little one doesn’t turn 4 till end of August is there a list of clubs etc that are running in the summer hols for 3 year olds?”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order.

NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs running over the summer for 3 year olds

Louise Nhm said “This link might help:…/classes-still-running…/

Heather saidBasing beans is still on in the holidays. Tuesday 10 till 1130 at Lychpit Village Hall.”

Jo said “We are running our under 5 activities until the last 2 weeks of August, all being well. Our under 5 activities are at The Hurst Leisure Centre. Tomorrow we have Messy Play.

Cerys said “NCT Coffee & Chat is open every Friday at Brookvale Village Hall, 10.00-12.00”

Kim said‘What’s Inside The Box?’ Story Time sessions with Routine Riots are still running over the summer too at Viables…with some extra summer sessions also!”

Andy said “We are running family exercise classes for under 5’s. Check out our page for the times @Tntfamilyfitnessuk

Sarah P saidI am running 3 Hartbeeps classes in Hook. Perfect for toddlers.

HOOK 3 week mini-summer half term
Class 1: Tuesday 24th July
Class 2: Tuesday 31st July
Class 3: Tuesday 7th July

10.00-10.45 Happy House (confident walkers and their older/younger siblings – older siblings up to 8yrs welcome)
11.00-11.45 Baby Beeps (independently sitting babies to walkers)
12.00-12.45 Baby Bells (new born to independently sitting babies)

Location: Elizabeth Hall, Raven Rd, Hook, RG27 9HH
Cost: 3 wk half term = £18.00, (plus £3.00 per class for 1st sibling)

Email me to book your toadstool,”

Sarah C replied “Sarah is lovely and fab with kids! Mine love her!!!”

Lee-Anne saidAlphabetty Adventures is running every Friday at Oakridge hall at 10 am. Full of dancing, singing and crafts.”

Kelly T said “The hurst leisure are running lots of activities for under 5’s”

Allison saidTot Cross Buns is running classes – perfect for 3 year olds”

Kelly W said “Jiggy Wrigglers are collaborating with other baby/toddler groups to give little ones memorable summer activities Jiggy Wrigglers – Summer Events

Katie said Check out our classes here…. A few for 3 year olds to try…. We also have dance classes for age 3 on 1st and 3rd August too. Drop me a message and I can send you all the details.”

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Review 2018: TNT Family Fitness

Thank you very much to “L” for today’s NHM Secret Review!

Review 2018: TNT Family Fitness

My 2 and a half year old daughter and I recently attended the first TNT Family Fitness ( session at Viables Community Centre.

The TNT Family Fitness moto is ‘making family’s fit’. Their classes cater for all the family by using activities that are fun and engaging for children but in a way that means adults can exercise.

By joining the fun and fitness together it means you can be doing something beneficial whilst having great quality family time!

I was a bit nervous about attending the class as I’ve not done loads in the way of exercise since having my second baby and my eldest always takes a little while to warm up to classes and start to join in. I had no need to be worried! The first thing Andy did was throw a load of football’s out for the children to play with while parents filled out their registration forms, that was it my little girl was straight off running around and playing with the other children!

We started off doing a warm up but this was no ordinary warm up, it was ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ complete with lots of lunges, stretches and running! After that we played a game that involved running to different colour cones and doing various movements including star jumps, high knees and stretches.

My daughter’s favourite activity was tidying the balls away. It wasn’t just tidying balls away though, there were football’s and tennis balls everywhere! We had to run to them and parents had the option of lunging, squatting or doing a press up to pick up the ball and then run and place it in the right coloured hoop. Great activity for the parents as it really got us moving and great for the children as it got them moving and thinking about colours!

Other activities involved an egg and spoon race (my daughter was better than me!!!) And capture the flag (the tent was a big hit!). We finished off with a cool down.

We really enjoyed our session and it’s definitely something we’d do again!

There are still more sessions on this summer at a variety of locations in Basingstoke and it’s not too late to book.

14 August at Old Basing
21 August at Melrose Hall
28 August at Melrose Hall

The time of the session depends on the age of your child – there is one for under 5s and one for over 5s.

More information can be found over on the TNT Family Fitness Facebook page!

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I’m now on holiday until the 4th of September 2018! WHOOOP!!!!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago I’m going to (properly) take the summer off from NHM this year.

This means that I won’t be posting daily on although I will still have “recur” post working which means that historical posts will be re-published to NorthHantsMum FB Page every afternoon, around 4pm.

I also have a backlog of posts that I’ve promised to publish so will get to those at some point next week, but I won’t be “accepting” any new posts on NHM for the rest of the summer.

I need a break! 

I am still happy to take anonymous questions on “Louise NHM Smith” over the summer and I will continue to share posts from others that are useful for the NorthHantsMum Community.

However, I will be out of the country from Friday 17th August until Tuesday 4th September so will be doing NOTHING on NHM then.

I will still be working on my “day job” during the summer but I plan to spend more time with Miss NHM and to dramatically reduce the amount of stress that I normally have to deal with during the academic year.

It definitely feels like the last few years are catching up with me and I desperately need a “proper” break.

September Emails

I am quite worried about being bombarded with emails in early September, so if you already know about class changes, etc, please email them to me now and the NHM team and we will work on them in the background.

If you plan to send me emails about class schedule changes, etc, please note that it may take me a few weeks to get through them when I get back from holidays.

Please also ensure that what you send me can just be copied and pasted into the Class list as I don’t have time to format stuff anymore.

If you have any questions at any point, please don’t hesitate to get in touch but apologies if I don’t come back to you quickly.

I’m really, really, reeeeaaaalllllyyyy looking forward to a bit of a break!!! I hope you have an AWESOME summer too!

As always thank you for your amazing support!


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NHM Readers Recommend: Great Summer Holidays with Kids

An NHM Reader recently asked: “I was wondering if you could ask everyone for recommendations for great summer holidays with kids? Our specifics are a big sandy beach, hotel with kids facilities, but in a place that’s not too touristy & heaving in the summer. This may be a big ask!” Many thanks to the NHM Community for their responses, listed below in no particular order.

NHM Readers recommend – great summer holidays with kids

Wendy said “If you don’t like it too busy consider the end of August rather than the start. We stayed in mestral and llebeig in Menorca. Quiet resort. The buildings are spread over three sites, one apartments around the busy noisy pool, one side apartments around the not so noisy pool and food and entertainment plus trampolines etc across the road. It’s not the best resort if you like restaurants (as there aren’t that many, although a few good choices for breakfast) but if you like all inclusive it works. Another thing to look at would be a villa that’s owned by a hotel that lets you use their facilities. There are lots of these in Menorca.”

Louise said “  Claire is great at finding family holidays to suit and has two children of her own”

Lizzy said “Alcudia is amazing in Majorca massive long sandy beach (miles) with really shallow calm seas. Lots of family friendly hotels. Look at Zafiro hotels. Nearer old town side is less touristy. Not been over summer holiday but been quiet in other holidays.

Edie said “Would highly recommend Tots To Travel. All their properties and hotels are perfect with kids and they give you all the kit and toys so you don’t need to bring anything apart from clothes. All their pools are gated for child safety too. You pay a bit of a premium but I think it’s worth it. We’ve just booked our next holiday with them – berry farm in Brittany. Can’t wait!

Catherine said “This place was recommended to me by a friend who has 3 and 6 yr old:

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NHM Reader Recommendations: Places to go with an 8 month old and no transport

An NHM Reader asked “I was wondering if you could help me out. I live in Basingstoke and have an 8-month-old son. I would love for us to be able to go out for the day somewhere, but I’m not sure where is good for babies. I don’t drive either, so it would have to be accessible by public transport or walking distance. I do have a railcard though. Do you have any ideas?”

Thank you to the NHM Readers for the below replies. Thank you also to Juliet for putting this post together! 

NHM Reader Recommendations: Places to go with an 8 month old and no transport

Lottie says “There’s a bus to Marwell Zoo which I think you can pick up in Winchester so you could get the train there”

Hannah says “Beale Park is a short train ride away. Also Millers Ark on the way to Hook…. has a bus stop not far from its entrance.”

Helen says “I second the Beale Park suggestion. As well as animals and the train they have a big sand pit and paddling pool. Go during the term time and it’ll be quiet.”

Vicky says “I downloaded this app it’s really good tells you what’s going on groups etc in your area for the age group you are looking for”

Wendy says “A walk by the Thames at Reading (there’s a park by Reading bridge and lots of swans). The New Forest has tourist buses in the summer. Paultons Park has a bus from Southampton station. The number 11 bus stops outside Manydown. Bus to Shakespeare Road (Popley East) for the Splash Park.

Jason says “The New Forest also has a train station”

Cathy says “Lots of free events coming up around town…/cate…/free-events

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NHM Reader Recommendations: Tips for Staying Cool

I recently asked the NHM Community “Given the glorious weather that we are having, what are your top tips for staying cool and/or places to go that are baby/children friendly and has fierce air con?” Thank you for all your replies, listed below:

NHM Reader’s recommendations for staying cool

Wendy said “M&S food hall!”

Kelly said “Supermarket freezer aisle is where I will be this lunchtime lol”

Rebecca said “I go back to work today and my office has fierce air con (and no windows so I won’t even see the sun)!”

Stephany said “Air con is not mega healthy. Stay in the shade with a breeze. I have lived in Asia and the Middle East and allowing your body to regulate to air temp is much better for you. Avoid extreme temps.”

LK said “Only one answer – ice lollies”

Steph said “Waitrose! Aircon in there is fab and you can have some cake in the cafe”

Catherine said “you could be stuck in an office working with freezing aircon wishing you could pick up from school and run to a splash park and enjoy the weather!”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

An NHM Reader recently asked “I’m looking for a sunscreen recommendation. It needs to be suitable for the face, sensitive skin. Ideally non greasy, non clogging and not full of chemicals. I don’t like it to feel sticky or slimy and if there is such a thing as a matt one that would be amazing. What do you use on your faces ladies?”

Thank you to the NHM Community for all your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend sunscreen for sensitive skin

Wendy said “General rule for Sun cream, the ones that are nice to put on are not nice for children’s skin. Mineral ones are better for sensitive skin and you need to patch test each year as skin changes. Also factor 30 is better for sensitive skin, offers almost the same protection but doesn’t clog the skin up the way 50 does.”

Childs Farm Suncream:

Emma said “I use the new Childs Farm suncream on my baby and I tested it myself and it’s brilliant. All natural ingredients, approved for use of sensitive skin & eczema sufferers and as a bonus is made in Sherborne St. John so it’s a local business!

Jo asked “How many stars does it have with regards to uva and uvb protection?”

Emma replied “Jo, just went on their Facebook page and found this in the comments…

“Childs Farm: Hi Rachel, sunburn is caused by UVB rays, so the level of UVA protection won’t defend against sunburn. However UVA 3* is a high level and meets the EU requirements on sun protection. The SPF reading shows you the level of protection against UVB rays. Our sun care range is SPF 50+, however in testing it came out as SPF 71 – this is very high protection against UVB rays, which are the cause of sun burn. We hope that helps”

“Childs Farm: Hi Lisa, the UVA star rating system was developed by Boots, it is not an EU requirement to have a UVA star rating. Our UVA star rating according to the Boots system is 3 which a good level of protection and meets the EU requirements for UVA protection – this is displayed on the back of the packaging as a symbol with UVA printed in a circle. As far as we know, all sunscreens that are suitable for sensitive and also eczema-prone skin have achieved a 3* rating, as it is has not been possible to achieve a 5* rating using ingredients that are suitable for sensitive and eczema-prone skin. Hope that helps””

Vicky asked “Emma, can I ask if the Child’s Farm was greasy on looking / feeling at all on your face? I used a Piz Buin one specifically for the face on Saturday and within a couple of hours my eyes felt like they were on fire!!”

Emma replied “Vicky, I haven’t found it greasy. It sinks in really quickly and feels more like a moisturiser than a suncream to me. But I think it’s one of those things – everyone’s skin is different”

Herbalife nutrition:

Leah said “I work with herbalife nutrition and we have a big skincare range. Within this range is spf30 cream. I use this on all of us, incl the kids. It smells nice, is not greasy & kind to sensitive skin”


Colleen said “We’ve used Sunsense in the past. Very good and non-greasy, and the roller-ball is great for application. However, it’s quite pricey so we’re trying the Aldi Extra Sensitive one, no reactions so far but am keeping a close eye.

They seem to have updated the packaging since we bought it – now indicates that it has 5* UVA, which I was never sure about.”

Neals Yard

Zoe said “Neals yard do a nice one. It takes a little while to absorb but doesn’t irritate my skin or slip into my eyes.”

Christa replied “I use this one too, like Zoe, It’s lovely and light, Organic and smells beautiful.”

Soltan – Boots

Rachael said “Soltan from boots it’s 5 star for uva protection and really nice to wear”

Libby said “We use boots soltan once because it provides 8 hours of protection so covers the school day. It is thick but it needs to last!”

Wendy replied “And it doesn’t sting sensitive skin”

Ruza “So my understanding is from a dermatology perspective factor 30 is the maximum you should be using. Factor 50 does not allow the skin to breathe, clogs up pores, it can cause the skin to overheat and doesn’t allow for any natural skin defense to occur. I use boots factor 30 once (kids) for myself as well as my son. I can wear it on the face, but my son really doesn’t like it, so he has a big wide-brimmed hat, that shields the face.”


Sarah said “We use Ultrasun as my daughter has eczema and can’t use suncream with perfume/chemicals in and the Ultrasun is ideal for sensitive skin. It is not greasy at all, but is a bit pricey at about £20 for 100ml but is worth it.

Charlotte relied “We use this!”

The Green People:

Alison said “I use the Green People suncream on the kids and they have a great adults face suncream spf30 which is brilliant and doesn’t feel greasy at all. Not the cheapest tho ….”

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Sitting With Jane Art Trail revealed – Basingstoke’s Unique Celebration of Jane Austen’s Life on her 200th Anniversary

I keep seeing what my family is now calling the “Jane chairs” all over Basingstoke but wasn’t exactly sure what was going on with them.

So I was really pleased when a local Marketing company contacted me to ask me to share what it’s all about with the lovely NHM Community.

The trail maps are available in print in places such as The Willis Museum or available for download on

Sitting With Jane

‘Sitting With Jane’ is a public art trail in Basingstoke, Hampshire that opens on 17 June. The trail is made up of 24 ‘BookBenches’, each designed with a Jane Austen theme to celebrate Jane Austen’s birthplace and home for 25 years of her life, 200 years after she died.

Each BookBench acts as a 3D canvas – making the finished piece, not only a work of art, but an attractive piece of street furniture that will be accessible for all to see and sit on, to contemplate the artist, Jane Austen or the scene and landscape where it is located. It forms part of a worldwide celebration of Jane Austen’s life, and the ‘Jane Austen 200 – A life in Hampshire’. Sitting With Jane is being organised by not-for-profit company Destination Basingstoke, with headline sponsor, Festival Place.

The BookBenches have been designed and painted by a range of artists and are being installed in locations around Basingstoke and Deane  borough as well as in Alton, Chawton and at Winchester Cathedral. The trail will take people on a voyage of discovery of original pieces art and locations that played a part in the Jane Austen story. There is free access for all whether they are Jane Austen or art enthusiasts or just want a free family day out.

A free to download app is now available to guide people around the trail, and a trail map is available at local outlets.

“This is the culmination of months of work and it is very exciting to see not only all the artists’ work, which is spectacular,  but to see the BookBenches installed into places that showcase the Basingstoke area’s heritage, past and present”, said Felicity Edwards from Destination Basingstoke.

“We are really excited to see Sitting With Jane coming to life for everybody to enjoy this summer. It’s such a creative and inclusive way to celebrate this important anniversary, and the artists have clearly been inspired by the Jane Austen story and its connections with Basingstoke. Following the trail the grand auction of BookBenches offers the chance to own a unique piece of art while helping Ark Cancer Centre Charity raise valuable funds.”, added Sally-Ann Wilkinson, Director of Wild in Art.

The ‘Wild in Art’ event, is delivered by Destination Basingstoke as part of their work to showcase the quality of life in the Basingstoke area, this project is in association with Festival Place. The project is funded entirely by sponsorship and all of the BookBenches will be auctioned with proceeds to charity on 15 September.

Ark Cancer Centre Charity trustee Merv Rees said: “Ark Cancer Centre Charity is proud to be the charity partner for Sitting With Jane, and a successful auction of the BookBenches is a key part of the event and our 2017 fundraising campaign.

“The charity will receive 75 per cent of the proceeds raised from the auction of the BookBenches on Friday, September 15, and all of that money will help to fund the much-needed local cancer treatment centre. By looking after, as well as enjoying, the BookBenches, members of the public will be helping to ensure that the best sale price can be achieved for each one at the auction, and the largest possible sum is raised for the charity, so thank you in advance for your support.”

More information about the companies and charities involved

Destination Basingstoke: Destination Basingstoke is an independent, not-for-profit company working with businesses and other partners to promote Basingstoke and the surrounding area for its quality of life and quality of business.

The idea for Sitting With Jane has been developed by Destination Basingstoke as a creative way to encourage visitors to explore in and around Basingstoke to enjoy everything the area has to offer from the superb countryside, great leisure and cultural offer as well as appreciate the wealth of local history and heritage – and especially the area’s strong connection with Jane Austen. The project forms part of the ‘Jane Austen 200 – A Life in Hampshire’ project led by the Hampshire Cultural Trust. The project is entirely funded by sponsorship with Festival Place the headline sponsor. Destination Basingstoke will not receive any of the income from the charity auction.

Ark Cancer Centre Charity is the charity partner of the Sitting With Jane event, and is raising £5million towards a unique local cancer treatment centre that will be built in the Basingstoke area.

The success of Ark Cancer Centre Charity’s £5m appeal will ensure a range of support services and complementary therapies are available alongside chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments in a calm and uplifting environment.

The new centre is largely being funded by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT). It is earmarked for a location in the Basingstoke and Deane area, and if the preferred site near to Junction 7 of the M3 is approved, it will be easily accessible to everyone in the HHFT region.

The charity auction will take place on Friday 15th September – 75% of the proceeds will be received by Ark Cancer Centre Charity and 25% will be received by Wild in Art.



Wild in Art:

Wild in Art is one of the leading creative producers of spectacular, mass-appeal public art events, which connect businesses, artists and communities through the power of creativity and innovation. Since 2008 Wild in Art has animated cities across the world including Sydney, Melbourne, Cape Town and São Paulo and created trails for the London 2012 Olympics, the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Historic Royal Palaces and Aardman Animations.

Wild in Art events have:

  • Attracted over 7 million additional visitors to host cities across the UK and worldwide
  • Contributed over £1.2m to local creative communities
  • Enabled over £10m to be raised for charitable causes
  • Engaged over 100,000 young people in creative programmes

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