2019 WORLD WEDDING TRENDS: New report unveils all

London – VIJAY SHAH

Global wedding events association International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning (IAWEP) has released its fifth annual ‘International Wedding Trend Report’ highlighting the hottest new trends for weddings this year as well as the essential statistics on the wedding planning industry according to experts in the field, journalism.co.uk reports.

 

The hundred experts who lent their observations to the report include household industry names such as Colin Cowie and Mindy Weiss and the document covers many of the upcoming wedding trends making their mark in 2019 in the UK and Europe, North America, Australasia, South East Asia and the GCC region. Overall, there is an increasing trend towards ‘eco-conscious’ weddings that minimise the use of plastics and other environmentally unfriendly materials.

In announcing the free public release of the report, the IAWEP’s chief executive officer, Kylie Carlson said in a press release from the association: “The International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning is a global leader of continuing education in the weddings and events industry,’

“Our connection to industry experts around the world provides us with the unique opportunity to invest in researching and revealing worldwide wedding trends. Each year offers new and exciting styles and designs, and we’re thrilled to share that 2019 has a lot in store.”

Among the highlights covered in the International Wedding Trend Report will be the rise of new colour trends and floral arrangement choices among brides and grooms-to-be, as well as trends in centrepiece and table layouts.

More couples are opting for sharing foods and buffets over traditional plated assemblies, they increasingly want to capture the memories of their big day as videos and animated images such as GIFs, rather than the classic shoot with a wedding photographer, and more people are opting for holding their weddings on Fridays and Sundays, rather than the usual Saturday, the report states. The report can be accessed via this linkHighlights from the Report can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLYtFv57ag0

SOURCES:

“2019 wedding trends unveiled in annual international report” – journalism.co.uk (7 January 2019) https://www.journalism.co.uk/press-releases/2019-wedding-trends-unveiled-in-annual-international-report/s66/a732755/

“Get your FREE copy of the Global 2019 Trend Report.” – International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning https://weddingacademy.lpages.co/the-wedding-trend-report/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:W E D D I N G 1 (67357911).jpeg” – Cj Hudgins & Vember Photo via 500px, Wikimedia Commons (20 August 2018) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:W_E_D_D_I_N_G_1_(67357911).jpeg  – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Advertisements

SOLIHULL REMEMBERS: Special exhibition on town’s World War soldiers launched

Solihull – VIJAY SHAH via DAVID IRWIN and BirminghamLive

The central England town of Solihull, which lies close to the major city of Birmingham, has launched a World War I historical exhibition to commemorate the locals who gave their lives and who fought gallantly in the ‘Great War’, which saw its centenary last year. The exhibition will feature tales of an underage soldier, a recipient of the Victoria Cross, and two soldier siblings who perished within two hours of each other on the gloomy battlefields of continental Europe.

 

As reported by city paper the Birmingham Mail and featured on its BirminghamLive news portal, the exhibition, entitled ‘Solihull Remembers 1914-1918’ is being held at the The Core’s Heritage Gallery. The Core is a council-owned community building based in the city’s Touchwood district. The event will run until 2nd of February, 2019, organisers say.

The exhibition will feature detailed displays and imagery of the time, as well as telling the stories of Solihull residents who answered the call for their country. It is the result of four years of painstaking research by the heritage and local studies service of Solihull Council, who uncovered the accounts of 800 Solihullians who died in World War I. In addition to telling stories from the front line, the exhibition will also show the public the contributions of women who joined auxiliary staff who assisted the war effort, often facing grave dangers themselves.

Tracey Williams, a council heritage and local studies librarian who was leader of the research team at the council that researched the material for the exhibits, told the Birmingham Mail: “At the latest count we have 811 casualties … the challenge has been to bring their stories to life, so it isn’t just a list of names.

“Unfortunately there are still some people we have not been able to identify, which when you consider what they went through is quite upsetting.”

Local councillor Joe Tildesley, who is cabinet member for leisure, tourism and sport and himself a descendant of a World War I soldier, praised the ‘tremendous work’ that went into organising the exhibition. He said: “It’s important that we remember all those who were killed in action,”. Solihull’s mayor, Flo Nash, who officially opened the exhibition, added: “This helps you appreciate what people lost all those years ago,”

“So many young people lost their lives and so many families lost loved ones.”

SOURCES:

interactive storytelling, ICIDS, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/icids/lists/interactive-storytelling

Solihull Updates, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SolihullUpdates

“Visiting Solihull’s First World War exhibition” – David Irwin, BirminghamLive/Reach plc. (4 January 2019) https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/visiting-solihulls-first-world-war-15626975

BOXING DAY SALES: Thousands of UK shoppers queue up from midnight

Newcastle – VIJAY SHAH via ED RILEY and Mail Online/Daily Mail

Today sees the launch of special Boxing Day sales promotions on high streets and shopping centres across the United Kingdom, with thousands of keen bargain hunters said to be queuing up outside shops from midnight in some places, reports the newspaper Daily Mail.

Ahead of an expected bumper day of GBP 4.75 billion flowing through the tills of Britain’s retailers, reports came in from Newcastle and Birmingham of massive queues in the dead of night, when most people would be sleeping off their Christmas roast dinners. In the northern city of Newcastle, shoppers were seen sitting on the pavement, huddled in blankets and decked in warm clothing.

In Newcastle, around 2,500 shoppers formed a queue at the Silverlink Retail Park, eagerly awaiting the opening of the Next superstore, which sells clothes, at 6 A.M. Next issued 1,300 tickets per shopper, as many as the store could legally contain, yet a 1,000 more will still waiting outside in the bitter north English cold. The store is reducing some of its lines by a hefty fifty per cent especially for the 26th of December.

 

One shopper told the Mail: “We ordered pizza at 3am to warm ourselves up.

‘Some people might think it’s extreme to wait for five hours for a shop to open, but we don’t want all the best deals to be gone by the time we get inside.

‘I am sure it will be worth it!’

Large early morning queues were also reported in Manchester’s Trafford centre. Across the country, many shoppers took their queue positions from as early as 12 or 1 AM, it was reported. Queues stretched around the block, with hundreds of participants.

Out of the projected £4.75 billion spend today, 3.71 billion is expected to come from purchases at physical stores, with the remaining £1.04 billion coming from online sales, according to research published by the Centre for Retail Research in tandem with Vouchercodes, a UK shopping discount website. Research from credit card company Barclaycard supported the Centre’s own findings, stating that that four in ten UK adults plan to shop in the sales over the Boxing Day period, anticipating an average spend of £188 each. Boxing Day is the most popular day to shop during the Christmas sales period, according to Barclaycard, with three in ten Britons planning to hit the sales on December 26 specifically.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, said: “Boxing Day was the biggest spending day ever last year, and will be bigger again this year.

‘Spending of £3.7billion in stores and a billion online will be so high because shops and customers keep saying that almost all shoppers will focus on day one of the sales, to get the best deals.

‘Research also shows many shoppers will spend all their money in one go, unlike a few years ago when people would go to the sales several times over a week or two.

‘Now it’s a Black Friday-style rush on the first day.”

The operations director for major shopping centre owner intu, Gordon McKinnon, added: “The Boxing Day bonanza will see many shoppers brave early morning winter weather to have first pick of the bargains.”

Konrad Kelling, managing director of customer solutions at Barclaycard, said: “Whilst most plan to spend Boxing Day with friends and family, Brits also don’t want to miss out on the best deals to be had.

‘Surprisingly, men plan to spend more than women in the sales this year – whether that be staying up late to buy that must-have item or even browsing online during the family festivities.”

Kelling also acknowledged that not all shoppers were prepared to go to the extreme length of waiting in the hours of the early morning in freezing conditions, adding: “Boxing Day remains the most popular day to shop for bargains over the Christmas period. However, this year the majority of consumers plan to shop online from the comfort and convenience of their own home rather than braving the winter weather and crowds on the high street.”

The British high street industry has suffered numerous setbacks over the past year, with significant store closures and collapses of some famous high street names, as more people opt to shop online. Though the record-breaking Boxing Day sales of 2018 could temporarily halt this decline, many store managers and CEOs are still feeling uneasy about the future of the big chain store in the face of online competitors.

SOURCES:

Sherrie Bachell/Facebook.

“The biggest Boxing Day sales ever! Thousands of bargain hunters queue from MIDNIGHT at shopping centres across Britain as they try to beat the rush ahead of £4.75BILLION festive spending spree” – Ed Riley, Mail Online News/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd (26 December 2018) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6529703/Thousands-bargain-hunters-queue-MIDNIGHT-ahead-Boxing-Day-sales.html?ito=social-facebook

IMAGE CREDIT:

“London December 24 2016 (17) Sale Starts Boxing Day” – DAVID HOLT, Flickr (24 December 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/zongo/31846107145

PILL IN SWEETS PACK: Stockport child sent to hospital by painkiller in Smarties

Stockport – VIJAY SHAH via ALIA ROPUN, upday, JOE ROBERTS and Metro

A five-year-old English child was taken to hospital after coming across a painkiller tablet she found inside a packet of chocolate sweets, online newspaper Metro reported yesterday.

The little girl, Annabelle Stark, had gone out trick-or-treating for Hallowe’en with her three-year-old brother, Joel, in the northern England town of Stockport. She was given a pack of Smarties, a sweet containing chocolate covered in a sugar shell popular among children in the United Kingdom.

Her mother, Kayleigh Stark, gave the packets of sweets to her children as a treat, only to discover that one of the Smarties was a prescription pill, namely the strong anti-inflammatory medicine Diclofenac, which is only available via a doctor’s prescription note. The mother became concerned that Annabelle had eaten a pill and immediately rushed the child to hospital, Metro reported.

 

The orange-coloured pill, which bears a strong resemblance to a Smartie, was also taken by the mother to show to doctors at Stepping Hill Hospital. She had opened the box this past Thursday and poured the sweets into a bowl for her son when she spotted the medicine, which is believed to have been put in the box of Smarties after the multipack it was in was opened by the original purchaser who gifted it to the children.

Stark told Metro: “It was right at the top (of the Smarties box)”

‘I noticed it because it was slightly bigger and wasn’t shiny like the other Smarties.’

Kayleigh called her husband Chris to notify him of the discovery, and found out that their daughter had already eaten another box of Smarties on Hallowe’en. Worried for her health, they called the 111 non-emergency number run by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), where an advisor asked her to take Annabelle to her nearest hospital accident and emergency ward.

“We just didn’t know if there had been another pill – or what it even was,” she said.

Kayleigh added: ‘Annabelle was fine, we could see that, but we wanted to be on the safe side.’

‘We took her to Stepping Hill hospital and they carried out loads of tests – blood pressure, temperature, blood sugars, urine samples, heart trace.

‘She was quite scared by it all as she didn’t feel poorly. I had to explain to her that she hadn’t done anything wrong, but that there was a naughty pill in her brother’s sweets so we had to check her over.

‘It was quite overwhelming for her.”

Thankfully, Annabelle was given a clean bill of health, although medical staff warned the mother that had her child ingested the Diclofenac, she would have suffered vomiting.

The manufacturer of Smarties sweets, Nestlé UK, and the Greater Manchester Police were both informed of the incident and are currently investigating. In a statement, Nestlé told the Metro: “We are aware of this instance and have been speaking with the family involved. We have very strict controls in place to ensure the quality and safety of all of our products.”. As the box was opened after purchase and before it was given to the Stark family, there is no implication that the pill was included in the pack under Nestlé’s watch.

SOURCES:

Alia Ropun/WhatsApp.

upday for Samsung https://www.upday.com/en/

“Girl, 5, rushed to hospital after pill found in box of Smarties” – Joe Roberts, Metro News/Associated Newspapers Limited (24 November 2018) https://metro.co.uk/2018/11/24/girl-5-rushed-to-hospital-after-pill-found-in-box-of-smarties-8174666/amp/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Smarties British Candy” – William Jones, Flickr (28 February 2009) https://www.flickr.com/photos/fritish/3325010034

SNACKS WITH ADDED HOP: UK supermarket to start selling insect nibbles

London – VIJAY SHAH via Sky News

If you are tired of the same old potato crisps, peanuts and trail mix for your snacking needs, and want to try something radically different, a supermarket in the UK has begun selling an ‘edible insects’ range, where you can now chow on crickets or graze on a grasshopper.

Sainsbury’s, a mid-market retail chain headquartered in London, will be selling various crunchy dried insects as snacks across 250 of its UK stores, retailing in small packs for £1.50 eachSky News reported yesterday. The range, titled ‘Eat Grub’ – a play on the traditional Cockney dialect term for food, ‘grub’ – is made by an external supplier of roast insects of the same name who have approached the supermarket chain to promote their products.

 

A highlight of the Eat Grub range includes BBQ-smoked crickets which taste-testers have described as being “crunchy in texture with a rich smoky flavour”. Sainsbury’s is not the first to sell the range of creepy-crawly nibbles though. Online upmarket supermarket Ocado, a division of Britain’s Waitrose and Partners retail firm, has been stocking Eat Grub for five months previously, to mixed perceptions among its shoppers. 

One online reviewer wrote on Ocado’s site in reference to the BBQ crickets: “My hubby [husband]… said they didn’t taste at all of BBQ… [all] he could taste was fish sauce? Way too expensive as well.”

Another reviewer however was more upbeat about the snacks. They wrote: “Tried the final flavour in this selection from Eat Grub and LOVED this – much tastier than a bag of crisps without the calories. Couldnt (sic) stop eating them!”

Sainsbury’s advised consumers brave enough to try the edible insects and grubs to eat them straight out of the packet as a quick snack or use them in cooking as a garnish for tacos, noodles and salads.

Insects and arachnids are common as a cheap and protein-rich food source for non-vegetarians/vegans in many parts of the world. In Malawi, people armed with giant nets catch and eat mosquitoes, crickets are roasted as a snack in Thailand, fried scorpions are big business in China, and Cambodians will go to great lengths to lure a species of endemic burrowing tarantula out of their holes to fry them and even sell them to passing tourists.

In the UK and much of the Western world, the idea of eating insects and other arthropods is often met with revulsion, even though crustaceans and molluscs are widely consumed there. However with intensive farming practices of larger livestock such as cows and sheep being increasingly harmful for the environment and animal welfare, experts have encouraged consumers and retailers to look at more sustainable sources of nutrition, with insects being high on that list of new food outlets.

According to the Eat Grub company, founded in 2014 by Shami Radia and Neil Whippey to introduce more people in the West to insect foods, dried crickets contain more protein per gram than beef, chicken or pork – with 68g of protein per 100g, compared to 31g of protein in beef.

Radia said: “Currently, insects are eaten and enjoyed by two billion people worldwide.

“We’re on a mission to show the West that as well as having very strong sustainability and environmental credentials, they are also seriously tasty and shouldn’t be overlooked as a great snack or recipe ingredient.”

According to a survey conducted by Sainsbury’s and Eat Grub, ten per cent of the British public have eaten insect snacks and around half have rated them as delicious.

SOURCES:

Shere Singh/Facebook.

“Sainsbury’s launches £1.50 edible insect range in UK supermarket first” – Sky News/Sky UK (17 November 2018) https://news.sky.com/story/sainsburys-launches-150-edible-insect-range-in-uk-supermarket-first-11556476?fbclid=IwAR19mzj7-VT83_Eqpp15OeWEbLRMJn9hR3aI7K7bF5HTKClNkQBU33puE5U

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Fried Crickets – Chiang Mai Night Bazaar” – Alpha, Flickr (12 March 2009) https://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/3429005598

VIRTUAL TEACHERS: UK university to trial ‘hologram’ lecturers

London – VIJAY SHAH via LEO KELION and BBC News

A university in the United Kingdom will become the first in the world to introduce ‘holographic’ teaching staff for its students, according to a report by national broadcaster BBC News. 

Imperial College London is bringing in 3D projection technology that will emit ‘holograms’ of lecturers who are unable to attend their lectures in person. While the teacher will not be physically present, the futuristic technology will carry across their voice and body movements. Similar technology was used for a Tupac Shakur music concert at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in 2010, and has also been adopted by airports and train stations.

 

The new technology, which was launched officially this past Thursday, will be at first used solely for students learning at Imperial’s Business School, but the university expects the technology to become more commonplace, perhaps eventually superseding video conferencing and Skype. The technology also means lecturers can broadcast to several halls, holding the same lecture simultaneously, which will cut down on teaching hours.

“The alternative is to use video-conferencing software but we believe these holograms have a much greater sense of presence,” Dr David Lefevre, director of Imperial’s Edtech Lab, told the BBC.

“The lecturers have a high-definition monitor in front of them which is calibrated so they can point at people and look them in the eye. They can really interact.”

Unlike previous such projections, more than one person can be included in Imperial’s ‘holograms’. Projected users also do not have to be even in the same country as the lecture hall for the technology to ‘beam’ their image in front of scholars.

The Imperial technology was developed with the Canadian firm, Arht Media. Lecturers using the technology must stand in a special ‘capture studio’ in front of a black background. The university will be able to make use of two such studios in Los Angeles, USA and Toronto in Canada, alongside a portable projection kit for visiting guest speakers.

SOURCES:

HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind

Nicolas Babin, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Nicochan33

Simon Hewitt, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/shewitt_vp

“‘Hologram’ lecturers to teach students at Imperial College London” – Leo Kelion, BBC News/BBC (1 November 2018) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/technology-46060381

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:8oCongresoInnovacion05.JPG” – Thelmadatter, Wikimedia Commons (12 December 2013) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:8oCongresoInnovacion05.JPG

MOVEMBER: UK charity launches annual moustache-growing drive to fight cancer

Ilford – VIJAY SHAH

British charity The Movember Foundation has launched its yearly Movember campaign to highlight its war on prostate cancer, which claims the lives of 11,000 men a year in the UK and will affect one in eight British males, according to figures by Prostate Cancer UK.

Every November, men are encouraged to grow moustaches in any style they choose to help raise money to help fight cancer, as well as partake in other fundraising activities. The Movember campaign has broadened its scope in recent years from prostate  cancer to increasing awareness in men’s general health, mental illness, testicular cancer and suicide prevention.

 

The Movember Foundation is also encouraging participants to commit to walking, running or jogging sixty kilometres in November 2018, with each kilometre representing one of the sixty men who take their lives every hour in the UK. The charity is also supporting Mo-ments, fundraising occasions that men and women can organise and host.

The charity aims to use the funds from Movember to support men recovering from cancers of the reproductive system, formulate new mental health approaches to prevent the high rate of suicides nationally among young men and healthcare campaigns for males to live longer and healthier lives.

Supporters of the campaign, informally known as Mo Bros and Mo Sistas, have become a distinctive presence in offices across the country, with the charity’s moustache logo now being highly recognised. This year’s November is being partnered with leading men’s products sellers Gillette and L’Oreal Men Expert alongside gym chain The Gym. The Movember campaign is also being supported by Prostate Cancer UK, the country’s leading research NGO into this dangerous form of the illness.

Movember is a worldwide movement, also taking place in the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Spain. In 2014, 700,000 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas took part.

SOURCES:

Movember Foundation UK, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MovemberUK/

“Movember United Kingdom – Home” – Movember Europe https://uk.movember.com/?utm_medium=social_paidl&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=Global_Signup_2018&fbclid=IwAR2l0Y2smzUKwV_g4M0VlC45a16b5zc6BU2N571fJEiQO7wqeudOT6o42Xg

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Movember (8140182094).jpg” – Eva Rinaldi and Movember via Wikimedia Commons (31 October 2012) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Movember_(8140182094).jpg

LOVE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE: Rural matchmaking programme returns to British television

London – VIJAY SHAH via BBC

While city dwellers have many means and places at their disposal to find their special someone, it is more of a challenge for their country cousins. With smaller villages and fewer places to meet up, not to mention the toughness of rural life, people in the country have to work that little bit harder to couple up.

 

The United Kingdom’s public service broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been a helping hand to lonely countryside hearts lately, with a difference. They will be meeting their other half via the concrete jungle, with the programme showing how people from the city try to settle down with their rural sweetheart in a world very different from their own. Their hit programme, Love in the Countryside, which helps country singletons find love, is now returning to its channel BBC Two for a second series, reports the BBC’s news division.

Love in the Countryside is presented by Sara Cox, who herself grew up on a farm, returning to the fields to help those who rely on the land for their livelihoods find love with like-minded people. The show has even helped cross boundaries, getting urban people desperate to leave the rat race of city life for a more serene marriage and relationship out in the provinces. The show follows the new couples as they adjust to very different settings and lifestyles. The programme is produced for the BBC by Boundless, an agency owned by international media producer Fremantle.

Speaking with the BBC, Cox said: “I’m so excited about dusting off my wellies and heading back out into beautiful British countryside to help find love for more rural romantics.”

The programme’s controller, Patrick Holland, commented: “Love in the Countryside brought a fresh tone and joy to BBC Two’s evening schedule and with Sara Cox at the helm, we are excited to see how the series can grow and develop.”

The BBC is currently on the lookout for rural singletons looking to bring back an urban significant other, or city types searching for a more tranquil setting for their love story. Interested people can apply via the BBC at http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/takepart/love_countryside or email: LoveInTheCountryside@boundlessproductions.tv

SOURCES:

HEM Journalism Portal, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-journalism-portal

media.info UK tv, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/minfoUKtv

BBC Press Office, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/bbcpress

“Love in the Countryside returns to BBC Two for a second series to help more country singletons find love” – BBC Media Centre/BBC (7 October 2018) https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2018/love-in-the-countryside

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free stock photo of countryside, couple, field” – Scott Webb, Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-couple-love-people-136395/

FOUR MONTHS OF SNOW?: UK may see harsh winter this December

London – VIJAY SHAH via CONNOR BOYD and Mail Online

As autumn officially begins in the United Kingdom, the country has been warned that there is the chance of four months of snow, reports the newspaper Daily Mail. Experts say there could soon be the arrival of wintry conditions set to outclass even the ‘Beast of the East’ phenomenon that has gripped the nation in previous winters.

In summer 2018, the country experienced a record-breaking heatwave that lasted three weeks and saw reservoirs and rivers dry out and hosepipe bans instated. Now this winter could see weather records being broken again, this time in snowfall. Some meteorologists say the cold snap could kick in from November and extend into the first couple of months of the New Year.

 

Cold fronts sweeping from the Arctic region and the Atlantic Ocean could create a perfect storm of sustained snow, combined with the presence of the four-yearly El Niño weather system, seeing icy temperatures from December to February, according to forecaster James Madden, from the company Exacta Weather in an interview with the Daily Express newspaper. The expected cold snap could rival the ‘big freeze’ of 2010, the Mail claimed. A decline in solar activity is also expected around this winter, further exacerbating the frosty situation. El Niño may weaken the air currents which keep Britain warm, creating what meteorologists call a ‘Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW)’, which was responsible for the difficult winter of 2010.

Madden told the Express: All our long-range projections have been showing for quite some time that December is likely to be a colder than average month overall and we are expecting several widespread snowy periods.

‘This year we are expecting potentially hazardous winter conditions from early on in the season.”

However, such a scenario is highly unusual, even for the UK’s infamously variable weather, and the Met Office, which measures, studies and reports on the country’s weather, said predictions become difficult to make for longer than a 30-day period.

SOURCES:

Rabia Ali/Facebook

“Britain could be set for FOUR MONTHS of snow in ‘coldest winter for a decade’ following record-setting summer heatwave” – Connor Boyd, Mail Online News/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd (21 September 2018) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6194981/Britain-set-FOUR-MONTHS-snow-coldest-winter-decade.html?ito=social-facebook

IMAGE CREDIT:

“NX2961 : Winter at Kiltersan” – David Mapley, geograph (27 June 2008) http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/862525 © Copyright David Mapley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

WINGLIGHTS360 ON KICKSTARTER: Funding a new revolution in cycling safety

London – VIJAY SHAH

If you are a cyclist, or just happen to know someone who lives and breathes hi-viz, Lycra, and the wind through their hair while getting about on pedals and two wheels, you will know that cycling is a fun, adventurous and healthy sport. But like any sport, cycling comes with risks, and especially for urban cyclists, the roads of our cities are hazardous places where dangers can be unexpected.

 

On any road network, junctions pose the most danger for cyclists. According to the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 75% of the 19,000 bicycle accidents a year in the country happen at junctions, where cyclists are forced to contend with often heavy traffic flows, large vehicles and blind spots. Many of these accidents are caused by drivers not spotting cyclists or being unaware of a cyclist making a turn at a crossroads. Today, a quarter of accidents involving cars and cycles are caused by drivers’ failure to judge cyclists’ paths, especially at night, where hand signals by cyclists may not be noticed by drivers. It is this type of statistic that has also discouraged many from taking up daily cycling. Whilst the number of commuters has increased by 144% over the last decade, 68% of non-cyclists still believe it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads, making cycle safety a key issue now more than ever.

Unlike cars, bikes have no way of indicating changes in direction, but a freshly minted technology startup dedicated to producing innovative cycling safety equipment has a solution to help reduce the large numbers of cycling injuries and deaths on Britain’s roads.

CYCL, a London-based cycling technology startup managed by co-founder and chief technology officer, Agostino Stilli, launched a revolutionary new product, WingLights, in 2015, with help from public donations raised via Kickstarter crowdfunding. This simple, yet ingenious, technology involves LED devices attached to the cyclist’s bicycle handlebars, which behave like the turn signals on motor vehicles. Designed to be lightweight, waterproof, shockproof and robust for outdoors use, the product was featured on the BBC programme ‘Dragons’ Den’ in 2017, where it was backed by dragon Nick Jenkins. The gadget was publicised on WIRED, Business Insider and Forbes, and was adopted as the ‘Future of Transport’ by the UK Government.

WingLights began to light the way for cycling safety innovation and in the three years since they were launched, CYCL has fitted 50,000 devices to bikes, including the entire delivery fleet at the British arm of  the takeaway restaurant chain Domino’s Pizza.

Three years after its launch, CYCL has returned to Kickstarter to raise money for the latest iteration of WingLights, inspired by the feedback left by the gadget’s users and the original project’s supporters from Kickstarter. One story in particular stuck out. A cyclist going for a coastal ride in Dorset lost both her front and back lights and retained visibility on her route only by tapping WingLights repeatedly for hours before getting home safely (the original WingLights switch off automatically after 45 seconds). There was a clear need for a steady light mode to provide constant visibility.

 

CYCL’s design team went back to the drawing board, developing an enhanced version of the WingLights with permanent white/red side light functions. They also added an improved utility function where all the cyclist needs to do is snap the gadget on the ends of the bike’s handlebars and switch on: one tap for flashing indicators, and a continuous hold for steady side lights.
The new version, WingLights360, also comes packed with a helpful selection of new key features to help keep cyclists safe. Constructed from CNC aluminium for strength and lack of bulk, the devices are attached to the handlebars using magnets, and when not in use, can be tucked away on the person as a handy keyring. Perfect for the commute, they are now USB rechargeable, with a 3 hours battery operation interval and can be charged in under 30 minutes. The product has already become hot property before its impending launch with Forbes magazine naming WingLights360 their Forbes’ Top Cycling Gadget for 2018.

CYCL is one of a breed of startups catering to previously unexplored and poorly catered-for technological markets and is highly passionate about improving cyclists’ safety on the roads. The firm’s co-founder, Luca, said: “We have created a product based on the concept that motor vehicles have white and red side lights. We wanted to recreate this for the bicycle market, to ensure cyclists’ positioning and intentions are clear to other road users”.

CYCL officially launched the WingLights360 fundraiser to the general public this past Tuesday (11 September 2018). You can donate to the fund at this Kickstarter page. Send enquiries to info@cycl.bike .

cycl.bike

 

SOURCES:

Agostino Stilli/CYCL.

“Compatibility” – CYCL/Indive ltd https://cycl.bike/compatibility/

IMAGE CREDITS:

CYCL