29 Jan

Iron Age Mexican Eggs…

Intrigued? So was I. Meet fantasy author Angus Watson, to find out more.

Angus is a neighbour of Councillor Belinda Donovan, one of our long-standing supporters and volunteers. Belinda asked Angus to donate his signature Mexican Iron Age Eggs recipe for The West London Cookbook, which we are selling to raise awareness and funds for WLAC.

I first met Angus at the Cookbook launch event last September. I was standing at the back by the door because I didn’t want it to squeak and distract from the speeches. He and his wife were sneaking out early because they needed to get back for the babysitter. As they were leaving, Angus handed the copy of the Cookbook that he had bought back to me.

‘That’s a bit odd,’ I thought.

Having heard more about the charity’s work with local families, I want to give this one back and buy five instead,’ he said. ‘And please can you put me on your charity mailing list?’ Then he gave me his business card.

I immediately recognised Angus’s name from the Cookbook.

‘Iron Age Mexican Eggs?’ I asked. ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘Page 54’.

Is there anything else I can do to help WLAC?’

‘Erm….may I interview you for our newsletter?’ I asked. ‘Yes of course,’ he said immediately, ‘Anything to help.’

We met again a few weeks later for coffee.

I explained that I wanted to find out more about why he is supporting West London Action for Children. And also the backstory to the Eggs.

Angus told me he doesn’t actually enjoy cooking very much. He likes this recipe because it requires minimal effort but looks pretty spectacular and goes down well with all the family. Sounds like my kind of recipe!

What Angus loves is writing. ‘When you cook, what you’ve spent all that time making just gets eaten,’ he explained. ‘When you write, there is a book at the end of it.’

So why Iron Age historical fantasy novels?

Angus said he was lucky to have had lots of fascinating assignments as a freelance writer and journalist, back when newspapers were prepared to invest in such things. He went looking for Bigfoot in the USA for the Telegraph and was sent diving on the scuppered German fleet at Scapa Flow for the Financial Times. He even found himself swimming with sea lions off the Galapagos Islands for the Times.

These adventures fed his curiosity and fuelled his imagination.

But it was actually closer to home, whilst researching British hill forts for the Telegraph that he decided to write fantasy novels set in the Iron Age.

‘I have become fascinated by the mystery surrounding those times. I enjoy making up a history’.

As a mother of two teenage boys, I am always on the lookout for books that might appeal to them. However, Angus warned me that his are very much written for a grownup audience. Perhaps one for my bookclub then…

So, apart from being Belinda’s neighbour, why does Angus support WLAC?

First and foremost, because he is a parent.

Angus says he knows how challenging parenting and family life can be, even if you are lucky enough to have had a secure and stable upbringing yourself, strong family support and reasonable finances. He also talked about how having your own children changes something within you and makes you look at the world differently. He wants to help children and other families who are in tough circumstances.

Angus also knows how profound and lasting the impact of early intervention therapy and counselling can be. He says that his eldest godchild who has special needs and her family have received incredibly valuable support from WLAC to help them cope with the particular challenges they face. Angus talked about about how cuts to mainstream services have significantly impacted on families like theirs and how they have to ‘fight’ for the support and resourcing they need.

Angus wants to do more to support WLAC and our work so that we can help more families.

Thank you for supporting WLAC. Together we are making a difference.

Click here to order your copy of The West London Cookbook and find out how to make Iron Age Mexican Eggs (page 54).

Or maybe buy five like Angus did. And give four to friends and neighbours and start conversations about WLAC and how we are making a difference.

23 Jan

Our most successful Bridge Evening to date!

Thank you to everyone who came along to our WLAC Bridge Evening in Brook Green last week, and helped to raise over £4000 for WLAC!

The evening was held at the Holy Trinity Parish Church in Brook Green, and saw nearly 80 guests enjoy a fantastic evening of Chicago Bridge.  Guests were treated to a delicious supper, whilst fighting it out for the WLAC Bridge crown!  Well done to our winners, and our thanks to all who came along to play and support WLAC.

Thank you to our wonderful Brook Green Events Group – Isabel, Brian, Emma, Gilly and Vicky – for their tireless energy and seamless organisation of the event, and to our kind sponsors Bective Leslie Marsh their continued support.

23 Jan

Over £44,000 raised for WLAC through the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2019

We are delighted to announce the final figure raised by West London Action for Children via the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2019 is £44,235!

A huge thank you to everyone who supported us in the challenge, both by donating and by spreading the word.  We are thrilled to have been able to unlock and utilise all of our match funding from our Pledge Givers and from our Charity Champions The Childhood Trust, helping us to hit our fundraising target.

All money raised will go directly to providing free counselling and therapy services for local children and parents in need – supporting families to reduce feelings of isolation and increase self-confidence and resilience.

From everyone here at West London Action for Children, thank you