THE Countryside Alliance has launched its Rural Manifesto, our campaigning focus up to the General Election.

The manifesto identifies five key areas and is urging supporters to sign up to its aims.

As Britain’s best known and most effective rural campaigning group we are offering the next Government a blueprint for putting the countryside at the heart of its policy.

The manifesto promotes changes in five key areas that will make a real and lasting difference to the countryside: housing; education; farming; country pursuits and services.

Our countryside is a national treasure admired around the world but it is also a home and workplace for millions of us.

Yet those who live and work there can be forgiven for feeling at times that it does not receive the political support it deserves.

Divisive politics, media misrepresentation and a lack of understanding can create a gap between rural and urban areas. Yet there should be no conflict over ‘town or country’. The challenge is doing the best for both town and country.

Our aims are deliberately realistic and achievable. In these challenging times a vital, working and thriving countryside for the benefit of the whole nation is more necessary than ever. You can find out more about the manifesto and sign up to our aims at

Kate Hoey MP

Chairman, Countryside Alliance, Kennington Road, London

Reaching for sky

I’M RESEARCHING the history of British airshows in order to produce a book marking the 100th anniversary of the first British event in 1909.

I was wondering if any of your readers had recollections they may wish to share and photographs filed away that evoke memories of past airshows?

Attending airshows is just as popular today as it was during the 1920s and 30s and countless young (and young at heart) spectators remain fascinated by the aerial activity each summer. There must be thousands of unpublished photographs out there just waiting to be shared.

Memories and photographs can be emailed to me at

Steve Bridgewater

Hassocks Close, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 2GH

Make dream home

I’M currently working on a property series for the BBC and am looking for people from your readership area to take part.

Specifically I am looking for couples who live together in a property they own and who would like to turn their property into their dream home.

They will be given a cash sum to redecorate and make home improvements.

I’m sure you’ll agree this is a great opportunity in the current economic climate.

This is a nationwide search for people to take part. I can be contacted on the address below if you wish to take part.

Caroline Morris

Casting Associate Producer, Renegade Pictures, 3-4, Portland Mews, London W1F 8JF

Help for ME

IN APRIL we launched a competition to design an eye-catching poster to raise public awareness of the illness ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis).

We’ve had so many entries of stunning quality that we’re going to have a different theme for every month of the year.

To share the cost and energy, we’re looking for local representatives in every part of the UK to cover a 2-3 mile patch.

One of our art experts will make sure the poster for each particular month is ready.

Dr John GreensmithME Free For All 36a North Street, Downend, Bristol BS16 5SW

Paved with gold

ON BEHALF of The Children’s Trust, the official charity of this year’s Flora London Marathon, I would like to say a very special thank you to all the runners, including celebrities and the Yellow Submarine Team, who took part in the marathon on April 26 in support of the Trust.

Over 650 runners joined our team and have helped to raise what we hope will be over a £1m, making it the most successful event we’ve ever undertaken.Š

Diana De Moura Stewart

Marathon project managerThe Children’sŠŠŠ

Alzheimer’s appeal

THE Alzheimer’s Research Trust, with Sir Terry Pratchett as patron, is the least represented charity in the North West.

And if you talk to people, nearly everyone knows someone who has or had dementia.

We hope to fundraise for the Alzheimer’s Research Trust throughout the year, and are happy to train people to run the Alzheimer’s Charity Auction. All details are shown on our website

The Alzheimer’s Charity Auction is a fun event for everyone, for the people who donate valuable items and for the volunteers who collect the items and take them to the auctioneer for valuation.

All proceeds will go to the Alzheimer's Research Trust.

Later on in the year we’ll be organising a fundraising balloon race and we look forward to hearing from people who want to help. Call 07910 799112 or email

Den Rodenko

Trustee, Alzheimer’s Research Trust.