Cool advertising

Cool advertising? Are we serious? Well, yes we are.

The money paid for advertising supports things, from print media including community magazines, to charity sponsorships, to radio shows, and a lot more. Love Island! I’m a celebrity, get me out of here! The Olympics, you get the idea. Lots of things, big and small.

However, our favourite? Horticultural advertising. Perhaps you’ve noticed, but often ‘in partnership’ with local councils, private companies and others advertise via plaques on green spaces, mainly planted verges and flower beds by roads. Those living spots of leaf and flower are uplifting, and often the alternative would be weed and rubbish-filled areas that are depressing.

So well done to those who sponsor with money or otherwise maintain green spaces and flowerbeds. In the case of my local area, Bromley, that means companies including PC Roofing (pictured) and further away, in Cockermouth in Cumbria, we spotted a flowerbed looked after by the local Rotary Club, above.

Well done to all concerned. Sometimes the sponsorship/advertising can be less obviously beneficial. A local roundabout, again in Bromley, has had signs advertising a local shutters company. Yet there isn’t a hint of planting and the grass and bushes look exactly as they have always done. Is that money improving anything except council finances? Doubtful.

Darren Weale, Founder, Cool Local

Independent bakeries: Coffee Kitchen Bakery, Cockermouth

The Coffee Kitchen in Cockermouth, Cumbria reminds us of why small, local, independent bakeries can be just great.

I visited them for the second time while on holiday in July 2021, and as with the first time kept going back for the two weeks I was there, The bread is very tasty (as in delicious) and there is plenty of variety, including a loaf made with coffee and an outstanding stoneground wholemeal. What the shop sells varies, with some filled rolls there regularly, others popping up at intervals, and with muffins and patisserie – such as apricot slices – appearing every so often.

Also, while the opening hours are regular enough, the doors are sometimes open when the bakery is just baking, and presumably getting pretty warm, and you can smell the lovely baking smell for some way around the area and see racks filling up inside, readying themselves for deliveries. The staff are cheerful too, even when it is raining outside. ‘classic Cumbria weather’, as one put it, and that despite their putting in many a long hour and working early, late, or both.

The Coffee Kitchen Bakery? Definitely cool, and if you’re in Cockermouth, cool.

Website –

Facebook –

Twitter –

By Darren Weale, Founder, Cool Local, 2nd August 2021

Rotary Work Club

The 8 Rotary Clubs in the London borough of Bromley have combined to offer free new online learning opportunities to local people who are unemployed or feel at risk of unemployment. Participants learn useful skills to help them to gain new employment or to start a business. The present circumstances of the Coronavirus pandemic can make a job search especially challenging and starting a business extra demanding. So, it is even more important that job seekers are enabled to do themselves full justice when applying and that prospective business owners have access to insights that enable them to succeed quickly.

The first, pilot, phase of Rotary Work Club ran from October to December 2020 and involved Rotary members and experienced volunteer presenters from different professional and business backgrounds. The workshop sessions offered free of charge, independent, practical guidance, and support.

The Rotary Work Club is not a recruitment agency or job brokerage – they don’t look for jobs for candidates or look for candidates for employers. They are also not a job referral scheme, so they don’t connect employers to candidates, or vice versa.

The Rotary Work Club in Bromley will commence a second phase of workshops alongside fortnightly coffee mornings from 11th January 2020. Details and dates will appear here.

The pilot Rotary Work Club sessions, now completed, are listed below:

19th October 2020 – Get back on your feet and build your confidence – with Zeenat Noorani, Vida De La Mariposa Coaching –

27th October 2020 – Writing a killer CV – Pat Rosser, Rosser & Terrier Ltd –

4th November 2020 – Job Search Success – Denise Meade-Hill, Transitions Career Management and Training Ltd –

12th November 2020 – Interview Skills – Liz Hamlet, Spark Succeed Coaching and Consulting –

20th November 2020 – 10am – Start your new business with a Bang! – with Darren Weale, In Tune PR –

30th November 2020 – 10am – Coffee Social Morning

9th December 2020 – 10am – Networking meeting

Life In: Urmston, Manchester, by Carla

We invited Carla Speight, a photographer, writer and PR to tell us about some Cool Locals in her neck of the woods. Carla chose businesses trying to create a ‘new normal’ in the leafy suburb of Urmston in Manchester. Over to Carla. Editorial note: this was written after #lockdown1 finished and sadly we are now, in November 2020, in national #lockdown2:

Local Economy Heroes

Two business owners in Urmston have come together to arrange a pop-up market aimed at bringing attention to the independent businesses in the local area. Mark Rackham, of the Barking Dog Pub and Gemma Marshal, of Gem’s Delicious Treats, have come up with the idea of hosting a weekly pop-up market. It’s designed to inspire the residents in the area to shop local and to continue to support local business. It’s held on the soon to be constructed M41 Market site on Railway Road and has already received a great response from the community, as Gemma pointed out. “Saturday was a huge success and it was super to see so many people enjoying the event. We really hope more people will come out and show their support over the next three weeks.”

Mark explained that this weekly event has a clear safety plan with a focus on building up the local economy again. “We followed Government guidelines closely in the development of the market and are confident that the format works well to ensure everyone can enjoy the event fully without any concerns about overcrowding or personal space. We really hope that these events enable local traders to get back up and running again in a safe and well-managed open-air environment.” They have worked closely with Trafford Council to ensure the entire event is Covid compliant and safe for all visitors and staff. The numbers in and out are carefully monitored to ensure that the event is able to enjoy the event safely. The event is already a hit with locals and the organisers are hoping it will encourage the Urmston community to return to local business in the future. More details can be found on their Facebook page.

Dancing the Lockdown Away

Lockdown has been tricky for many to feel like they could connect with others from a distance. This has had detrimental effects on the mental health of so many people all over the UK. But throughout the lockdown we have seen some wonderful people doing thoughtful and amazing things to inspire people to keep going. Karen Green of Urmston’s K & K Dance Academy has been one of the inspirations that we could all learn from.
Throughout the whole of the lockdown, Karen couldn’t just sit around and do nothing. Her love of dance and years of experience meant that she couldn’t just leave her dancing shoes in the cupboard. In fact, she encouraged her entire street to dust off their Sunday best and take to their front gardens at 2pm every week for a dance lesson. This proved a hit with her neighbours and on social media too.

Alongside the growing popularity of dancing on your doorstep, Karen has embraced technology and turned to teaching her students online. Despite the lockdown rules, Karen refused to allow this to stop her students from accessing their lessons and has used Zoom to keep their lessons going and keep their spirits up. She’s also been actively encouraging beginners to join in and learn to dance too. For more information about what Karen and the K & K Dance Academy are doing, and to view the truly uplifting videos of dancing on your doorstep, go to the K & K Facebook page. Do also check out this video.

It’s Important to Talk

Early on in the first lockdown, Sarah Steinhöfel from the Smart Bear, knew how vital something as simple as a conversation with like-minded people, could be to help ease mental health issues. Sarah is the owner of the Hive Mind Company, and she hosts a Facebook group dedicated to local independent business owners, and her weekly online chats have been a lifesaver for those who have had their livelihoods taken off them by the government rules.

Each week Sarah has created a theme and set up online sessions to tackle specific issues business owners have faced with the ever-changing lockdown rules. Her efforts have helped several Urmston-based business owners overcome the feelings of fear, anxiety, and stress that has been imposed on them with the economic uncertainty they face. Alongside her weekly chats, she has created monthly catch-ups that have provided a further opportunity for the Hive Mind Group members to get together and discuss worries. Plus she regularly posts motivational images and opportunities for the members to promote themselves or engage with the theme of the posts in the group.

Despite continuing to work, Sarah has taken time to encourage the wellbeing of local business owners and motivate them to embrace the time they have in lockdown. She’s helped them to not only come up with innovative ways of adapting their businesses but also encouraged her members to take the time to look after their own wellbeing too.
Find out more about Sarah’s inspirational work on The Hive Mind Company Facebook page here.

The Local Milk Man Brings More Than Milk and Orange Juice

Urmston-based Creamline was established in 1945. For several years they have employed the local milkman, who traditionally brings milk and orange juice. Over recent years they noticed that the older community residents would benefit from a few essentials such as eggs, milk, etc, and have been introducing and expanding this service for a while.
The lockdown has created so many more vulnerable people, there have been 2.2 million people restricted to shielding in their homes. They probably didn’t expect the local milkman to become a lifeline, but Creamline has ensured that this community wasn’t left without.
Creamline’s expanded range, beyond the daily essentials of milk, orange juice, bread, eggs, etc, is called the Best of Local. They offer locally sourced delights from butchers, bakers, deli’s, greengrocer, and fishmongers; a far cry from what we are used to. This range of products has not only helped the clinically vulnerable, but it has also helped support the local economy too. Their daily essentials range has also been expanded to include baby essentials, home and garden products, cupboard essentials, and drinks and snacks. It’s safe to say that your local milkman has embraced the lockdown and become an essential lifeline to many. For more information on the products available from Creamline visit their website.

Shocal Suppports Local

A locally designed delivery App, Shocal, set up in 2019, has seen an unprecedented rise in demand by both local businesses and residents of the Urmston community. When toilet rolls vanished from the shelves of the supermarkets, Shocal could deliver them within the hour. The panic buying saga that stripped the shops of bare essentials meant that the demand for the innovative shopping experience provided by Shocal grew quickly.
The app was created by Urmston-based neighbours, Max Thorley, a web developer for the NHS, and Ashley Warrington, an independent florist. They wanted to help independent business to compete with delivery giants and their ever-increasing commission rates. The ethos for their App is that there’s fair pay for delivery drivers and minimal commission paid to them, to enable small businesses to thrive in the Urmston community. Dentist to the stars, Lance Knight came on board to help make the idea of Shocal become a reality. Little did they know, his experience in scaling up business, became a vital lifeline that the Shocal app would be grateful for a year later.
The pandemic has forced many businesses to cease trading, and left their futures uncertain. Shocal has worked hard to save a huge number of businesses from going under. Lance explained, “We pay our drivers double what the big boys do. All the people that work for us now were laid off or self-employed and had no work. They’ve all now got enough money to feed and clothe their family and keep a roof over their head. We charge less than half the commission that the big players do. Supermarkets have such buying power that they dictate the buying price for farmers rather than the other way around. We’re not looking at bleeding a retailer dry. We’re doing the opposite. The whole reason that we set this up is to promote and boost their businesses.”

The most notable difference in the Shocal app is that it has the function available to order from multiple retailers in one delivery. If you fancy one kind of food for dinner and your partner or the kids want something else, along side a bottle of wine from one place and craft beer from another, you are able to do that all in one delivery.

Apps like Shocal have made it easy for residents of Urmston to self-isolate, with its many businesses available, this App leaves you with very little reason to leave the house. The drivers are all covid safe, wearing masks and gloves and delivering socially distanced. You can also order for your loved ones who are vulnerable, and their personable approach offers the opportunity to send deliveries and check up on loved ones.
To join the Shocal movement, you can order from their website and find links to download the app there too.

Hope and inspiration series post 2 – starting a business

If you want to start a new business of any sort, your best chance for success (however you define it for yourself) is to learn and to keep on learning how best to do it. This post has contributions from a small number of experts and quotes from some successful businesses that can help.

Before we get to the actual advice, bear in mind there are a lot of free resources out there covering everything you need, such as those found on the Enterprise Nation website; and there are many people you can talk with to get advice and help from other business people through to professional paid business coaches. There are also organisations you can join that can help you and provide useful contacts, such as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). We will be seeking content from these and other organisations.

Our first expert is Liz Hamlet, founder of Spark Succeed Coaching and Consulting, who works with a lot of startup businesses. We asked Liz for five tips to turn your business idea into a reality.

“Working a lot with budding entrepreneurs, I often hear many fantastic ‘killer business ideas’. What I also hear a lot of is that they don’t know how to turn their business idea into a reality.

This may be due to a lack of knowledge on how to launch a business or technical know-how.

It may be through lack of money.

That it’s not the “right time”.

Or pure fear of taking that first step.

Or they may be caught up in a cycle of “research paralysis” – where they keep researching, taking on more and more confusing information, or completing more courses and qualifications – thinking that they will feel “ready” once they have done enough research or completed that final course.

What is almost never due to is a lack of passion for their idea.

If you recognise yourself in the above – keep reading! These 5 tips will help you turn your killer business idea into a reality.

  1. Get your idea out of your head and down onto paper

It may only start with a few paragraphs or slides, however putting your idea down on paper forces you to solidify your plans. The process will help you to identify what steps need to be taken, by when and by who (always put a name against each).

This can form the basis for you to ‘test out’ your idea with friends, family and trusted contacts.

Has this been tried before? Are there similar products/services out there? Is there even a market for your product or service? What is unique about your idea? What problem do you solve?

  1. Weigh up your resources

This isn’t just about what money you have to back your idea – although this is very important.

It’s also about the time and energy you can dedicate to getting your idea off the ground.

Will you be working full time in the early stages? Realistically what time and energy can you dedicate daily/weekly to your business idea?

Do you have the funds to develop and market your product or service? If not, do you have access to funds? – Investment, crowdfunding, friends and family, loans, etc.

  1. Set out your game plan

Have a plan to develop the network of support you will need. Are there any networking groups in your area focusing on your industry? What about groups for small business owners? Would you benefit from joining your local Chamber of Commerce?

Ensure you have concrete steps planned out – after all “A goal without a plan is just a wish”.

Try not to overwhelm yourself with one big goal like ‘I will launch my new business on 1 December’. Think about how you can break this down into manageable, specific, and measurable steps running up to your launch date.

For example, if you wish to launch your service business on 1 December with a new website, your steps may be:

  • Have a landing page completed by 1 October;
  • Write rough draft website copy by 10 October;
  • Finalise website design and copy, including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) by 6 November;
  • Finalise launch plan activities by 10 November;
  • Launch website and service on 1 December.
  1. Measure your progress and celebrate small successes

Set target date milestones and metrics on how you will gauge your progress.

Work out which metrics you will use – your goal should be to break steps down into small chunks and more regular milestones. This will allow you more regular celebration of your progress!

Ensure you take action on your business idea every day. Complete at least one thing daily to move your idea forward. Build momentum.

  1. Just do it!

There is no “perfect time” to launch a new business, product or service.

Many entrepreneurs get caught in the trap of wanting to have everything ‘just right’ before they launch – wanting to have the best service or product possible – however perfection is simply an unattainable goal.

If you have a great idea and have identified that there is a need for it – then JUST DO IT!

Final thought: It’s important that the actions you take daily on your business idea are moving you towards your final goal – and aren’t simply to keep you “busy being busy”.

What’s the first step you will take TODAY to turn your business idea into a reality?

Want to find out more about our start up coaching and mentoring package helping you to spark up your start up? – Head to

Cool Local note: Be inspired by other businesses. Here are two examples of success. IC Mushrooms in Kent, which in under two years from simply growing mushrooms for sale is hiring more growers and helpers and entering new markets. They also offer courses in mushroom growing. Meanwhile, showing that there is room for newcomers in any market, Lewis Morgan co-founded the company Gymshark and six years later sold his share for £100m. (Yes, that is £100m). More here.

Do look out for more posts on this topic and also on growing (with a contribution from Derek Read of Telecoms World) and rescuing and re-purposing established businesses.

Keep Cool and Carry On – the hope and inspiration series 1

Stephen Hawking, who achieved so much despite adversity with motor neurone disease, at Domenics’ hairdressers in Cambridge

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is hideous. Deaths; ways of life destroyed; jobs being lost; business and charities and organisations of all sizes broken, from tech-heavy (airlines and aircraft building companies) to the arts and heritage sectors, and more besides, on a massive scale. The consequences for personal and government finances, for families, for people of all ages and in most walks of life, are unthinkable. The lost incomes and changed and lost human interactions and build-up of stress and mental health issues are another dimension. It isn’t all bad news. For example, in the UK people have helped each other a lot in recent months with Captain Tom especially iconic; the furlough scheme has preserved many jobs for now; and there is a National Health Service and it is keeping people alive; people are finding new jobs and new careers and starting new and different businesses. Even toilet roll is back in the shops.

How the hell do we Keep Cool and Carry On with all that going on?

A recent blog quoted Margie Warrell, published author, speaker, leadership facilitator, and founding CEO, Global Courage, and in response to a topical question. Margie’s big topic and lifelong study is bravery, and bravery to get up and get going in the current circumstances is going to be vital. She was asked:

Is ‘being brave’ any different in the new, world-with-pandemic than it was before?

Margie replied, “Long before this pandemic started and long after it is gone, the need for courage and bravery will be crucial to thriving in life and being successful in business. It’s just that right now, when fear and uncertainty run so high, we have to dial up our courage and be even braver than we might ordinarily do.

“Many people in the face of uncertainty, tend to hunker down and protect what they have. Yet to really thrive and seize the opportunities inherent in seismic levels of change that have been brought on my this pandemic, we have to move from a defensive ‘play not to lose’ mindset to a proactive, offensive “play to win’ mindset. This is brave work as it requires embracing the discomfort of the unknown and stepping onto new, unfamiliar and unchartered new territory. But those who will seize the opportunities of this time will not be those who are ‘playing it safe’ but those who are focusing on how to adapt fast and think two steps ahead to whatever new norms and needs this brave new world we will emerge into will hold.

“As I wrote in You’ve Got This! when we reframe uncertainty into possibility, it elevates our perspective to see opportunities and possibilities where we may otherwise only have seen problems.”

Cool Local will soon start publishing a series of blog posts offering advice and links to opportunities that can help people to Keep Cool and Carry on. We will cover, initially, topics including:

  • Starting a business or becoming a freelancer (where Enterprise Nation, IPSE, the FSB  and others have a lot to offer);
  • Finding new jobs;
  • Becoming an apprentice or an intern;
  • Making additional part-time income, often known as the ‘side-hustle’;
  • Mental health. Help to find that courage, or at least to have resilience and to find strength in adversity;
  • Networking – an aid to all of the above.

We will draw on advice from numerous sources. We will talk to many people who have succeeded, including already in the pandemic, such as Mike Oldham, who lost his job due to Covid-19 and is now in a new job, with a further role as a professional podcaster.

We will talk to experts in all kinds of areas, such as Zeenat Noorani (wellbeing coach); James Newell (sales coach); Liz Hamlet (business startup coaching); Sarah Marsh-Collings (digital marketing) and from organisations such as Telecoms World re. the tech/connectivity tools needed for business startup, Newman Flexible Workspace (re. using ‘for hire’ meeting rooms and office facilities), In Tune PR (on promoting a business), and many more.

We hope this cheers you up, which is what Cool Local is about. You can find your own information and inspiration too. Why not do that now? You don’t have to wait for us. Research, talk to people, dream of what you could do and how to get there, and get started.

You can also reflect on this thought from Sir Kenneth Brannagh, actor, playwright and director: “Dream. Dream big. Don’t be afraid. Because in the end dreams and fears do not mix.”

Life In: Leicester Square is Alright

By Darren Weale, Founder, Cool Local, Bromley, 25th August 2020

Life In is a new Cool Local series of blog posts about local life and cool things around the UK.

Leicester Square is  Alright. No, with this being written after a visit for a day in August 2020, things generally aren’t alright. The Brexit turmoil, the pandemic turmoil, the exams turmoil, and somewhat sidelined environmental turmoil. Let’s face it, there is a lot of unsettling stuff going on, with the pandemic having the most profound immediate impact across society. So much so that the term the ‘new normal’ has been coined for how society is re-configuring itself day to day.

I had to meet someone in Leicester Square this week. Owing to the nature of my work, I had successfully avoided trips to central London since lockdown began in March. The ‘mask on the train’, the social distance people avoidance, the seeing the busy places and the happy people lifeless and dull, as I feel is happening all too often, put me off.

This week’s trip, though, was surprisingly encouraging. A train trip to Charing Cross with a mask blowing my own warm breath up my face wasn’t good and I gave up reading to sleep on the journey if I could. I walked the short distance to Leicester Square and felt really nervous around people, as I have been when seeing people maskless in shops or getting carelessly close. Just doing what was normal when it isn’t and fearing the worse was horrid. But what did I encounter? Much of the old normal, in fact, including…

First up, musician Rob Falsini, a man with a very good voice, busking and doing a fine rendition of a U2’s ‘Blood Red Sky’, with a hopeful lyric – ‘We will begin again’. Then he decided to end his set with a Radiohead number, so I moved on before their sheer depressingness ate into my slightly revived mood. It revived a great deal more due to then meeting two homeless people.

The smiles of Mickey (Big Issue seller, left, above, in front of an open cinema) and Chris (right) were beaming their way around the square as they sought buyers for the magazines and for people to be nice to, and one of them was me. Mickey said that they are ‘brothers who look out for each other’ and they were simply a reminder of just how nice people can be, whatever their station in life. It made me reflect on one of the very few upsides of the pandemic, that the government has shaken its magic money tree to accommodate homeless people in a way and with a speed it never managed before, and long may it continue.

I passed a man sharing the word of God, another old Leicester Square favourite, and a French bulldog who was observing ‘Bones’, a puppet performing to music and talking to passers by. As Bones’ puppeteer said, “I built my own theatre. You’ve got to take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves.” One song was, thankfully, Pharrell Williams ‘Happy’, a one-song Radiohead antidote. I moved on to another reminder that the Leicester Square/Soho area is a melting pot of the affluent and the poor and dispossessed.

The Catholic Notre Dame De France church was the source of the queue (the longest in the square) of homeless taking food and drink from a small premises between a closed gentleman’s club and an also closed ‘Just Chips’ outlet. It was good to see the help being offered and received in the heart of London, and I stopped for a quick chat with a masked helper.

The Moon Under Water pub was taking its safety seriously, but my first visit to a pub in months felt as uncomfortable as I feared. That part of the new normal – calculating and accepting risk and enjoying things unhindered – is hard. However, the trip ended on a high with a few good things at the end.

The sight of a giant panda entertaining people in Chinatown was welcome, and so too was finding the Wong Kei, a contender for my new favourite Chinese restaurant after the New World nearby closed despite my personal dining support, maintained for over twenty-five years. The Wonky, as my lunch partner referred to it, was formerly described as the rudest restaurant in London. That was pre-2014. I don’t think it has changed that much, but the food is good.

No, the new normal isn’t much fun, but compared to how it might have been, Leicester Square is Alright.


Coffee with that? How coffee combos are rescuing the high street

Corporate coffee can be unpopular with people who value independent shopping on high streets. There are often objections to mega-chains such as Starbucks and Costa taking premises on British high streets and out of town locations (one in Wales here).

Cycle42, Orpington

Yet the high streets and shops that are doing best (or are, at least, surviving) frequently do so by adapting and mixing things up. Two are in Orpington in the London Borough of Bromley. Cycle42 is a bike/bike repair shop that has Lizzie fixing the coffee and Charlie fixing the bikes. Apparently there are cakes too, which means we’ll have to go back to investigate….

New Bookshop, Cockermouth

Meanwhile, we’ve also visited and greatly enjoyed the New Bookshop in Cockermouth in Cumbria. It isn’t that new, but it is very nice, and it too has coffee and cakes, and a few products related to the cute local sheep, the Herdwick.

The Orpington, Record Store Day 2019

Back in Orpington, a new part of the night (and day) life is ‘The Orpington’, a record shop and restaurant, another example of coffee meeting something different. That in turn isn’t a long way from Nicholas James, a butchers in Locksbottom that has, you guessed it, alongside the butchers, a coffee shop, a deli, wine and drinks, and a deli.

You could argue that all this is a bit confusing. Shouldn’t we have bakeries that are bakeries, DIY shops that are DIY shops, etc? The blunt answer is with so many of those closing, perhaps we can’t. Nor can we trust the government to help the shops out, as high street guru Mary Portas found. It may be too much to say that coffee is rescuing high streets, but it is certainly helping when used imaginatively. Perhaps it is time for more places on the high street to wake up and smell the coffee.


Get out there and do good #1

This is the first of a series of blog posts that talk about, unsurprisingly, getting out there and doing good.

The ‘getting out there’ is anywhere, really. Preferably real places with real people, or online, or a bit of both, but something positive. The ‘doing good’ is literally what it says – talk with people (many actually like that, some lonely people really need it); start or help a business; start or help a charity, sports club, or any non-profit activity that you love. Plant a tree. Stroke a cat or dog. Network. Meeting people online or, better, offline and face to face means you have more chances to help make this world a better place, something it badly needs. If you can walk to those meetings and not drive everywhere that is also good for your health and for the environment.

All of this – or the positive attitude behind it, I’ve not done all of those things (start a sports club? no!), has helped me and others in lots of expected and unexpected ways. The most memorable to date for me was helping out the Welsh Charitables RFC by sharing online what they do, as I love it. They help charities in Wales via the medium of their national sport, rugby, both playing it and having fundraising dinners.  A few years ago, a highly unexpected result of this was their inviting me to a fundraising event with the seven players involved in the most famous rugby union try of all time, from the Barbarians vs All Blacks match in 1973, which I am pretty sure I watched on TV as a young man.

The move was started under his posts by Phil Bennett and polished off by a flying Gareth Edwards. For more, read this from The Guardian newspaper –
I met all of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ and have their autographs and it makes me very proud, so an added and belated thank you to the Welsh Charitables RFC and particularly their Hon. Secretary, David Power. Without that invitation, I’d not have heard the speech by Tom Pullin, the only Englishman in the move, who said, ‘The only reason I got passed the ball is because I faked a Welsh accent’.

Cool Local will be sharing more stories like this, including many from guest writers. Meanwhile, if you’re not doing so already, why don’t you get out there and do some good?

By Darren Weale

Links to Welsh Charitables RUFC – their events also appear on our Events page:




Cool at the Croft

We like the Croft Tea Room in St Mary’s Cray in Orpington. It is a small, neat, and tasty place for food and drink. We don’t make empty recommendations. So locally we’ve been to would criticise. The (now closed) Bakery on Orpington High Street for its glacially slow service. The café at Carlton Parade in Orpington whose toast used to be limp, thin and terrible. Not now, from what we saw through a window the other day. The Croft Tea Room does, however, provide good meals and really good home made cakes you can see going in and out of the oven. It is also a much-needed community hub in an area that needs one, and is run as a Community Interest Company with quite a few volunteers, young and old. It’s limited by its small size, it isn’t on a road with massive footfall, but it is a good place, friendly, and, well, good. If you’re within reach, give it a try. Facebook:

Their Trip Advisor reviews make good reading, at time of writing: